A report from Don Brunnell, President of the Association of Washington Business, on an NAM-sponsored dialogue with Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat whose district covers the southern part of the Puget Sound area.
Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash-9) told a small group of business leaders at Weyerhauser Co. headquarters that he is an unabashed supporter of free and open trade which often gets him crosswise with some of his Democrat colleagues in Congress. According to Smith, America needs to find its niche and innovate. We have to realize that our competition and markets are global today and we cannot isolate ourselves by throwing up tariff and other barriers.
Likewise, Smith told the group, which included AWB President Don Brunell, that immigration reform is necessary as well. We need to make sure we can fill the positions the private sector needs to compete. Homeland security is important, but we have jobs going begging and too often crops are left to rot in the fields and orchards because we have a shortage of agricultural workers. We need workers to fill jobs that are going begging today.
On energy, Smith said it may be time to look at nuclear energy again. With all of the problems associated with fossil fuels and renewables like wind, solar and biomass, multiple strategies – including energy conservation – are important if the Northwest is to have low cost reliable electricity.
Smith also touched on the need for worker training.
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