It’s that time of year again – the time when GSI leads a large delegation of business, community and education leaders to Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.
This year, we’ll bring 46 folks to our nation’s capital for meetings with our federal delegation from Washington and Idaho, Air Force officials at the Pentagon, and many others.
The main topics this year include transportation, health care, higher education, economic development, STEM education, Fairchild Air Force Base and the federal budget.
So why do we go to D.C. every year? Simple: to keep the greater Spokane region and Northern Idaho in the minds of our elected officials. If we don’t meet with them with a regional, unified and focused voice, we wouldn’t get the millions of dollars in Military Construction (MILCON) funds that we’ve received throughout the years, or the federal grants to help fund parts of the North Spokane Corridor, to name a couple accomplishments. Throughout the past decade, our advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels have resulted in more than $900 million in funding for projects that enhance our region.
Most recently, the expansion of the Spokane Mining Research Division was due to persistent advocacy by our delegation in D.C. Our 2013 trip featured meetings with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which runs the laboratory.
When our elected officials see more than 40 of their constituents with a clear vision and a unified agenda, it creates a positive impression of our region.
We use three words to describe what we do at GSI: Connect, Drive and Advocate. Here’s how this trip accomplishes all three:
The trip connects our members to their federal delegation in D.C. Our members also learn about programs underway that their business can keep an eye on.
Our agenda drives projects and initiatives – like STEM Education – that aim to improve our region. We present our agenda to each person we meet with in D.C. so they know what our unified vision looks like.
This one’s easy. We’re in D.C. to advocate. It’s simple. The opportunity to make a personal pitch each year for the greater Spokane and Northern Idaho regions is necessary for us to achieve our goals.
This trip has been successful in the past because of our aforementioned regional, unified and focused attitude. GSI is a non-partisan operation – we don’t endorse candidates. That strategy has proven to be effective for many years.
Follow this year’s trip by following @GreaterSpokane on Twitter and check back here each night for updates form D.C.