Posted by Dann Mead Smith on Mar 20, 2024

Today’s Featured Program: our member, Rachel Smith, President/CEO, Greater Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce who was introduced by Jon Bridge. Rachel previously worked as Deputy County Executive as well as for Seattle Mayor Greg Nickes and Sound Transit. Her presentation focused on: Championing the Resurgence of Seattle – The Stakes are High (we made them high which is a good thing).

Rachel told us that we now have alignment among voters, elected officials and businesses on the most pressing issues and how to address them, which she has not seen in the past.

Voters are aligned on the key issues of public safety, homelessness and affordability and they want “an all the above approach” when it comes to solutions.

She laid out the many challenges facing the city and the state including a proposal to increase the city’s payroll tax for housing that she called, an “ill-advised measure” given the group that is proposing to put it before voters this fall; and the most concerning challenge: the great decline of downtown office workers. “Downtown is the center of economic recovery: good jobs mean that people will pay taxes and then give back to the community.’’

“The challenges are real,” she said, but “the environment needs to fuel us to make changes. It takes a lot of work to rebuild vs. the short time it takes to tear down.”

The Chamber’s role she said is to tell voters about the key issues and be civic boosters and conveners. She shared a sneak peek of their new poll they will be releasing over the next few weeks that is providing some inspiration.

She concluded with:

· The time has never been better - this incredible opportunity is in front of us

· Compromise and pragmatism are needed

· Partners are needed – diversity of thought and opinion

· We can do it!

Linda Rough, Don Murphy, Ryan Bunbury with Sue Erber on violin led us in “America the Beautiful” on an overcast second day of spring. Bill Center, who was back in-person at our meetings after an injury from a fall a few weeks ago, led us in an Iranian prayer that focused on the power of love and the important task of making peace. Jim

McCurdy recognized our past president, Neil McReynold’s 50th Anniversary by looking back at his distinguished career serving Gov. Evans and working at ITT, Puget Sound Energy and Kaiser Group Health as well his volunteer work that included the founding co-chair of a minority and women-owned business mentor program at the University of Washington that continues with connections to our club today.

We were blessed to have two new members introduced today: Paul Spieldenner (introduced by Jane Pryor) and Tucker Minor (introduced by Faith Ireland).


Thanks Dann Mead Smith for another stellar meeting report!

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