Are You Registered to Vote?

The 2012 election will be known for the race to occupy the White House.

But there are a ton of other candidates and issues that affect the business community, including initiatives on tax increases imposed by the state, and charter schools.

So why should you be registered to vote (deadline is Oct. 8!) and encourage others to do the same?

Decisions made locally, in Olympia and in Washington D.C. have a huge impact on the way people do business. While GSI doesn’t endorse candidates for office, we encourage the public to be educated and seek out the answers to any question someone may have.

Encourage your fellow employees, your clients – everybody! – to register and vote. Hold a voter registration day, or a voter registration lunch expressing the importance of voting. Talk about it in your staff meetings, on your email signature and on posters in your windows.

The Washington Prosperity Project has a handy Workplace Voter Registration Drive Toolkit that you can utilize in your office.

Visit your elections office website (here’s Spokane County’s) and understand what is at stake for your community. Get to know the candidates in your district and understand what decisions affect you.

For instance, if you’re concerned about the minimum wage, a state representative or senator would be the perfect person to bring that concern to. You can do that at Candidates and Conversation, an after-work networking event that will feature all candidates running for state office and county commissioner in our region.

Minimum wage isn’t the only issue on the business community’s mind, though. Workers’ compensation, the debt limit, funding for education, funding for our roads and many more issues can be addressed at the event. This is most likely the only time you will be able to meet every candidate in one location.

If you can’t make it to the event, many candidates filled out a questionnaire so you can educate yourself.

There’s also a high-profile race for Governor of Washington. Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna are vying for the state’s top executive. Get to know the candidates – where they stand on each issue, their vision for the state, etc.

If you have concerns about issues at the federal level, you’ll be interested in the race for the House seat in Washington’s 5th congressional district. Incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers and challenger Rich Cowan won’t be at Candidates and Conversations (that event is only for local races), but the two will debate at our Oct. 12 Good Morning Greater Spokane program.

There will also be some items on the ballot that could impact the way you do business, such as Initiative 1185, which addresses tax and fee increases imposed by the state government, and Initiative 1240, which, if passed, would allow 40 publicly-funded charter schools to open. Learn about those initiatives and others at the state’s 2012 Election Voters’ Guide.

We’re not asking you to vote one way or another. We’re asking you to be educated and thoughtful, and fulfill your duty as a U.S. citizen and vote.

But you have to be registered, first.


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