Published on Jun 19, 2019

Association of Washington Cities announces 2019 City Champion and Advocacy All-Star Award winners

Contact: Brian Daskam

OLYMPIA, WA – The Association of Washington Cities (AWC), an Olympia-based organization advocating on behalf of Washington’s 281 cities and towns, announced the recipients of its annual City Champion Awards and Advocacy All-Star Awards.

City Champion Awards acknowledge the hard work and dedication of legislators who championed critical city issues during the 2019 legislative session. Four legislators receive the award this year.

Advocacy All-Star Awards go to city leaders and groups who went the extra mile to advocate for city needs during the legislative session. Two city mayors, a deputy mayor, a police chief, and an association receive awards this year.

“Ensuring strong communities throughout the state is not simply a local issue,” said Peter B. King, AWC Chief Executive Officer. “It is critical that our friends in the Legislature work alongside city mayors and councilmembers to provide tools to enhance local economic vitality, help address affordable housing, and maintain local decision-making authority.”

The awardees will be recognized at the AWC Annual Conference in Spokane on June 26. The awards will be presented to recipients throughout the summer. This year’s recipients are listed below.

City Champion Award winners supported affordable housing, local funding, and local decision-making authority

As the new Chair of the House Local Government Committee, Representative Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle) quickly took on a leadership role for city issues in the House. Representative Pollet spearheaded an effort among House members to support the principles of local decision-making authority, options, and flexibility. He was a critical voice in recognizing the efforts cities have already taken to address housing issues and the need for tools and incentives instead of micromanagement.

Representative Keith Goehner (R-Dryden), a new member of the House, quickly stepped up to serve as his caucus’ point person for the Local Government Caucus, a bi-partisan group of House members who support city issues. With a background as a county commissioner, Rep. Goehner was an important voice for the needs of local government and a strong advocate for local decision-making authority and local funding.

Senator David Frockt (D-Seattle) was a key leader on several proposals that were critical to the success cities had in the 2019 session. He played a key role in building Senate support for new funding for affordable housing and was a prime sponsor of legislation providing dedicated stormwater funding to local governments. Sen. Frockt was also a key supporter of funding for local culvert corrections and infrastructure.

City Champion Senator Hans Zeiger (R-Puyallup) was perhaps the most vocal proponent of local control this session. He advocated strongly for local flexibility and incentives for housing issues. AWC appreciates his willingness to expand his traditional areas of interest, including supporting new fee revenue for cities to address affordability and new protections for tenants.

Advocacy All-Star Award winners lead the way in affordable housing, homelessness, and public safety

Mayor Mike Cooney of Chelan came across the mountains several times to advocate for funding and tools to address affordable housing challenges. His common-sense delivery made the Legislature sit up and listen. His advocacy extended to testifying on multiple bills, including proposals to create new tools for smaller cities to incentivize affordable housing construction.

With short notice, Mayor Cheryl Selby of Olympia stepped up to present to the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee on the difficult subject of protecting the civil rights of homeless individuals while addressing the impacts of homelessness on the community. Her willingness to step into the crosshairs on this emotional issue helped provide balance and context where some had tried to paint cities as bad actors.

Jay Arnold, Deputy Mayor of Kirkland was a fixture in Olympia in the 2019 session, helping legislators understand how new resources and tools could be used by cities to be positive partners in addressing housing and homelessness. He led Kirkland’s efforts to provide enhanced flexibility and authority for cities to use existing tax resources to address contemporary problems.

Police Chief Mike Zaro of Lakewood responded swiftly to AWC’s need for help in providing testimony on the use of automated traffic cameras. Chief Zaro provided measured and insightful testimony, ensuring that legislators heard directly about the cameras’ tangible public safety benefits.

The Association of Washington City Planning Directors receives an Advocacy All-Star Award for its members’ consistent work reviewing and commenting on dozens of drafts of complicated bills that attempted to micromanage local land use decisions around affordable housing. With concrete examples on what would and would not work for cities, the planning directors helped avoid unfunded mandates and local preemption while supporting the creation of voluntary and incentive-based approaches to addressing housing supply.

AWC congratulates all our award winners and thanks them for their hard work supporting cities during the 2019 legislative session!

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AWC serves its members through advocacy, education and services. Founded in 1933, AWC is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation that represents Washington's cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch, and with regulatory agencies. AWC also provides training, data and publications, and programs such as the AWC Employee Benefit Trust, AWC Risk Management Service Agency, AWC Workers’ Comp Retro Program, AWC Drug and Alcohol Consortium, and AWC GIS Consortium.

Media contact:

Brian Daskam
Communications Manager
briand@awcnet.org
(360) 753-4137

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