Business and civic leaders from Kent visited Olympia on Thursday to advocate for the city's priorities and meet with Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, who represents Kent in the 45th Legislative District.
"It's invaluable to share our own perspective as well as that of our community and businesses," said Carmen Goers, who chairs the Kent Chamber of Commerce's Government Affairs Committee and is a commercial banker in Kent. "By coming to Olympia we're able to give lawmakers real-world scenarios about how their decisions impact our everyday lives."
The group's top priority is passage of a transportation infrastructure package that invests in projects in Kent and throughout South King County.
"As the fourth largest distribution center in the nation our transportation system impacts our quality of life and is an investment tool we think needs to happen soon," continued Goers.
The Senate released a bipartisan transportation proposal, negotiated and co-sponsored by Fain, which includes the completion of State Routes 167 and 509, improvements along the Interstate 5 and 405 corridors in South King County and projects to decrease congestion and improve freight mobility in Kent.
"Kent is a key economic engine for our entire state," Fain said. "Hearing directly from many leaders who work together toward common goals bodes well for our community's future."
The group of business leaders were joined by Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke and City Councilmember Jim Berrios.
"In Olympia you have an opportunity to voice multiple concerns with legislators as a captive audience," said Steve Haft, vice president of human resources for Kent-based Oberto and member of the Kent Chamber's board of directors. "When meeting with Senator Fain you don't feel like you're talking to just another legislator who is there to check a box. You feel like he's invested and cares and that is important.