Smith named to Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations
Rep. Norma Smith has a passion for economic development and creating job opportunities for Washingtonians by improving our state's business climate. She will now have the opportunity to broaden her work with an international emphasis as she was appointed to the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations (LCEDIR) this week.
“I am excited about this appointment. Outside of my life in politics, I have valuable experience in the private sector that I bring to this committee. As ranking member of the committee in the House responsible for economic development, I hear firsthand the challenges and opportunities faced by employers and entrepreneurs in our state. The work on LCEDIR should be focused on the impediments that stall economic recovery and growth,” said Smith, R-Clinton.
The LCEDIR studies and reviews economic development issues with an emphasis on international trade, tourism, investment and industrial development. It also assists the Legislature in developing comprehensive economic development policy.
“We are at a very critical time in our state and country as our economies continue to struggle. People want to work and provide for their families. State revenues are being impacted because of it,” said Smith. “The thousands of privately owned businesses in our state are the ones that will pump life back into our economy. We must provide opportunities and tools for employers to be more successful by enhancing stability, addressing our state's competitive disadvantages, and promoting and protecting our advantages.”
The committee may also find more on its plate this year than in the past. This year, the Legislature eliminated the remaining funding for the tourism division in the Washington State Department of Commerce. Although Smith did not support the decision, she is committed to being part of a positive solution.
“We are now the only state to cease all state funding for self-promotion. The businesses and communities in our state that rely on tourism are endless, so we must add extra emphasis on tourism. We have an extraordinarily diverse state when it comes to vacation and tourism opportunities. It will be extremely important for us to make sure we are offering strong support to the industry,” Smith said. “This gives the private sector some great opportunities to become more involved in the promotion of our tourism industry, but we must stay engaged with solid backing, until we can be assured Washington's assets and destinations are being successfully marketed. We have a beautiful state, but if the promotional duties are lagging, then it could end up costing us jobs and businesses.”
According to a 2009 Department of Commerce report, tourism is a $14.2 billion industry supporting more than 147,600 jobs, representing 3.8 percent of all jobs in Washington.
The committee's next meeting is scheduled for July 27 in Seattle to discuss the future of high speed rail in Washington.
###Washington State House Republican Communications