Everybody’s unpacked, reorganized and reenergized. It’s time to share what we learned during our annual advocacy trip to Washington D.C.
More than 40 regional business leaders from Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho left for our nation’s capital on April 5 for a week of meetings with elected officials and meetings at the Pentagon. Here’s what we learned:
There is vast support for a four-year medical school at WSU Spokane
Our delegation heard from all our elected officials that they fully support expanded medical education at WSU Spokane. The Idaho delegation also supports the project and knows how Northern Idaho will be impacted as well:
While money for the Academic Health Sciences Building will come from the state, the Federal Government can affect the amount of residency slots at a medical school. Currently, Eastern Washington has only 100 residency slots available (for comparison, Western Washington has 1,550). The number is fueled by Medicare and capped. We’re hoping that cap can be raised, helping our region achieve this total economic impact:
(data from a Tripp Umbach study)
Fairchild Air Force Base is going to get some improvements
Two Military Construction (MILCON) projects are in the budget for Fairchild Air Force Base. A new headquarters building and a Phase II building for the survival school will soon be at the base.
And speaking of the Air Force…..
Update on the KC-46A Tankers
The Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley, gave an update on the new tanker contract. While he didn’t share any new news, Greater Spokane Incorporated will continue to work with Fairchild in hopes of getting the first round of new tankers.
The North Spokane Corridor is in good standing at the federal level
A portion of our delegation met with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to talk – what else? – transportation. Secretary LaHood didn’t guarantee anything, but said the North Spokane Corridor is in good standing because of the unified and organized effort our region has when advocating for the completion of the corridor. See how the corridor will benefit our region.
This is very encouraging news!
The federal budget battle was on everyone’s mind
Our delegation was in D.C. the week of the budget battle. It was obvious a lot of highly important meetings were being held at the Capitol. In fact, our delegation walked out of the Capitol to see a line of black limos and two ambulances, a sign that either President Obama or Vice President Biden were at the Capitol (ambulances are required to be present wherever the President and Vice President are).
We also learned that military veterans are a high priority with the federal government, as are jobs. It’s a fascinating time in the nation’s capital. Our delegation was proud to come home with positive news.
Rich Hadley, our President and CEO, was on KHQ’s Invest Northwest with Sean Owsley on April 17 to talk about our trip. Here’s what he had to say: