Washington Business Spring 2015 - Page 34

business backgrounder | economy Building Alliances AWB launched its local chamber of commerce Grassroots Alliance this January as a way to improve local and state issue advocacy and build a dynamic statewide outreach network. Bobbi Cussins Composed of 42 chambers of commerce across Washington, participants serve as the community voices on state and local policy issues that promote job growth and retention, prepare the next generation workforce and encourage legislation to authorize a comprehensive transportation infrastructure funding package. Three days before a critical hearing on a proposed $15 billion transportation funding and reform package, the newly formed Grassroots Alliance was activated. Word went out via email and a private social network, telling members of the Alliance about the date and time of the hearing, and equipping them with one-page issue briefs. On the day of the hearing, nine members of the Grassroots Alliance showed up in person to testify before lawmakers. ā€œIā€™m pleased to be here today joining AWB and my counterparts throughout the state,ā€ Lori Mattson, president and CEO of the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, said as she urged members of the Senate Transportation Committee to support the package. The strong showing of support from Mattson and other Grassroots Alliance members was exactly what AWB President Kris Johnson and Rich Hadley, the former president and CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated, envisioned when they began talking about building the new partnership. It also complements the work of Opportunity Washington, the initiative that launched in January to promote prosperity throughout the state. AWB and 3