Eastern Washington Legislative Tour will Highlight Clarkston and Pullman Businesses and Issues
Trevan Pixley

Eastern Washington Legislative Tour will Highlight Clarkston and Pullman Businesses and Issues

CLARKSTON, WA - Around 20 Washington State legislators are expected to be in area early next week to take part in the Eastern Washington Legislative Tour, which is being co-sponsored by the Lewis Clark Valley and Pullman Chambers of Commerce.

The tour is the first of its kind in the area and will take place Sunday through Tuesday at various stops in Pullman, Clarkston, and at the tail end in Spokane. The tour will showcase people, businesses, institutions, natural resources, and key legislative topics of eastern Washington to members of the Washington Legislature and others, including lobbyists and special interest groups.

The tour is a copy of the North Idaho Legislative Tour, which is held every other year in a city or area of northern Idaho. In 2016 and again last year, the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce oversaw the organization of the event.  Kristin Kemak, President and CEO of the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber, saw the tour’s success first hand and wanted to try the same thing for eastern Washington to help educate Washington legislators on the key issues facing this part of the state.

Many of the committee members who helped organize the North Idaho Legislative Tour also helped put together the Eastern Washington Legislative Tour, Kemak said.

Kemak said for the initial tour, she is happy please with the turnout. More than 70 people will take part on the tours each day and another 120-plus are scheduled to attend Sunday night’s reception and Monday night’s leadership banquet, both at the Quality Inn in Clarkston.

Travel, food and lodging expenses for the legislators are covered by sponsorships from area businesses and organizations. Businesses and organizations that donate a certain amount receive a 30-60 minute session to address the legislators on a particular legislative topic that is of importance to them.

The three-day tour is also open to the public, lobbyists and others, but they must pay $500 per person, which covers their meals and local transportation.  Tickets for Sunday’s Welcome Banquet ($75) and Leadership Banquet ($100) are also available to the public, but must be purchased by Friday, Sept. 13. To purchase tickets for the tour the banquets, call the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber 509-758-7712 or visit http://www.lcvalleychamber.org/eastern-washington-legislative-tour

The tour begins on Sunday morning when some of the legislators and guests are picked up at the Spokane airport by bus and transported to Pullman. Another bus will leave Clarkston and the two buses will meet up at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center on the Washington State University campus where they will hear presentations from Avista and WSU, as well as an economic overview of the Quad Cities. The groups will then do a bus tour of the Moscow-Pullman Airport and stop at Merry Cellars before heading to Clarkston. The group will check at the Quality Inn, which is serving as headquarters for the event. Following the reception banquet, legislators will hold a caucus meeting.

Monday’s itinerary includes presentations on the river systems of the area, broadband in rural Washington, economic impact of tourism, regional agriculture, businesses who do business on both sides of the Idaho-Washington border, and health care. There will also be presentations by the Port of Clarkston and Port of Whitman, Walla Walla Community College, Alex McGregor, the Nez Perce Tribe, and Prestige Care. The group will also take a jet boat tour on the Snake River before heading back to the hotel for the evening banquet.

On the final day, the groups will visit Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman and the Elson S. Floyd School of Medicine in Spokane. The tour wraps up with lunch that day.

For more information on the tour, contact Kemak at 208-790-9995.

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