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Learn more about our expanding role in Seattle

Come meet us in Seattle on Feb. 22

By Renée Sunde, President/CEO

Washington Retail Association is more engaged in Seattle than ever as we closely follow local politics and connect with local businesses heavily invested in their neighborhoods and communities.

As a statewide organization, much of our political efforts have remained at the Capitol in Olympia, where they have been since WRA was founded more than 30 years ago. But as the state’s population and business center, Seattle has increasingly set the political agenda for the state. We’ve responded to that trend by organizing a grassroots network of Seattle businesses known as The Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle (RICS).

Our Seattle work has been underway for just over a year. The network of Seattle businesses now linked as RICS members grows steadily. RICS is under the leadership of John Engber, who’s working with Sophia Stanley, his field director to build our coalition of businesses throughout the city.

You will find John and Sophia out talking with Seattle retailers large and small about the issues that concern them most. Many Seattle businesses are faced with the challenge of running a business and serving their customers’ needs while facing a myriad of regulations, ordinances and taxation that impact their ability to operate profitably in the local market.

As a voice for Seattle retailers, we advocate for these concerns through transparent dialogue with local council members and by attending key council committee meetings. This effort is particularly important not just to Seattle but statewide as other municipalities and state government follow Seattle’s political lead. Issues ranging from raising the minimum wage above the statewide minimum to portable benefits and a city-wide head tax continue to be driven at the local level, creating an unpredictable playing field between jurisdictions.

Our goal is to understand and anticipate the needs of Seattle businesses and communicate priorities to City Council members before they vote. By creating clear messages that represent the interests of our local retailers we hope that local officials will carefully weigh the unintended consequence of each decision they make.

We’d like you to meet our team at a RICS launch party to be held starting at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22 at The Dane, a café, bar and sandwich shop in North Ballard at 8000 15th Avenue N.W. in Seattle. We look forward to meeting you, hearing about what matters most to you, and learning how we can better represent you in Seattle.

Please accept my invitation to meet us at The Dane to learn more.

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