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Public Policy’s Role at Greater Spokane Incorporated

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Here at Greater Spokane Incorporated, we do a lot of things. Our networking opportunities we offer come to mind.

But one aspect of our organization that you might not be too familiar with is our Public Policy division. This sector of GSI affects just about every business in some way. If you haven’t paid attention to what we are doing in Public Policy, be sure to become familiar. We do a lot in Public Policy, but in celebration of this election season, let’s give you a Cliff Notes’ version of what we do this time of year.

First and foremost, as the region’s chamber of commerce, GSI does not endorse any candidate running for any office. We have tremendous working relationships with U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. We also have great working relationships with our state legislators and local leaders.

What we’re concerned with is the business community, so whenever legislation or initiatives arise that directly affect the business community, we are usually involved. Such was the case last year when we took a position against Proposition 4. This year, we’ve announced our positions on three ballot items – Initiative 1082, Initiative 1098 and The Children’s Investment Fund. All of these issues directly affect the business community.

So how’d we come to these positions? There’s a process (not an app) for that.

The Public Policy Council (made up of a diverse group of 18 business leaders from various industries) at GSI meets twice a month for 90 minutes (sometimes, they’ll meet more often, depending on the election season).  Simply put, during the lead-up to an election, the council will hear presentations from each side of an issue that GSI is addressing. The council then votes on the issue and sends its recommendations to the GSI Board of Trustees. The recommendation on an issue may be to support, oppose or not take a position.

The Board then discusses and decides GSI’s position. I made it sound simple for this blog’s sake, but a lot of discussion, presentation and deliberating takes place. Sometimes the Public Policy Council and the Board have the same position, and sometimes they don’t. But rest assured, the issues are discussed in depth and all facts are laid out before any position is made.

GSI is not a partisan organization. Our interests lie in the broader business community. If you wish to become more involved in Public Policy at GSI, check out the pages on our Web site. There’s sure to be something for you in there.

And don’t forget to vote!

This Voters Guide provided by The Spokesman-Review

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