Posted on May 27, 2017 in Opinion“America needs more welders and fewer philosophers,” proclaimed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio during the 2016 presidential campaign. He hit the nail on the head without disrespecting philosophers. Industry News reported in 1988, there were 570,000 welders compared to the 360,000 in 2012. Considering the manufacturing and construction sectors have boomed in recent years, the shortage of welders is troublesome.
For the last 20 years, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen (D) has served Washington well. Now, he is retiring and leaving the state senate as he found it — a dignified place to debate and enact public policy. Owen, a former convenience store owner in Shelton, will not seek re-election. It will be the first time in 40 years that his name will not be on the November ballot. He was elected to the state house in 1976 and then to the senate in 1983.
Recently, Washington state’s largest environmental, wildlife and natural resources agencies recognized 43 large forest landowners for their “exemplary efforts” to upgrade forest roads and stream crossings which improved salmon habitat and water quality. After investing more than $300 million collectively, these landowners rebuilt 25,000 miles of forest roads, replaced over 6,000 in-stream barriers to migrating fish, and opened in excess of 3,500 miles of previously blocked spawning habitat.