For the Reporter
Members of the Leadership Institute of South Puget Sound visited Olympia on Wednesday as guests of Sen. Joe Fain (R-Auburn).
The group toured the capitol campus, heard from leaders and elected officials from state agencies, and got a firsthand look at what it takes to pass legislation.
The group included 28 members enrolled in the program, which prepares local private sector, government and community members for civic and business leadership opportunities.
The institute accepts students from Auburn, Kent, Maple Valley, Black Diamond, Covington, Burien, Des Moines, SeaTac and Tukwila.
“I’ve received great feedback from past attendees about the value of seeing firsthand how Olympia works,” said Fain, who represents Auburn, Kent and Covington in the state Senate. “These future leaders, whether in business, volunteer efforts, or government, are going to engage with elected officials and state government. Growing their awareness of the political process is essential for success. It’s also very refreshing to see so many future leaders that are dedicated to our local community now and years down the road.”
During the morning session the group heard from Fain, who hosted the group in Olympia for the third consecutive year. They also had the opportunity to visit different areas of the capitol campus during a walking tour focused on the diverse efforts required to pass legislation.
“Coming to Olympia helps class members know that they have a role in the legislative process. It is essential for them to become a part of the process to be active community leaders,” said George Frasier, who serves as executive director of the Leadership Institute. “We greatly appreciate Senator Fain’s work and support in making this happen.”
During the afternoon session attendees heard from Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Washington State Department of Transportation Director Lynn Peterson and Brian Bonlender who heads the state Department of Commerce.
“I have come to Olympia to testify in committee, but this experience provided me the opportunity to understand the process from start to finish,” said Derek Brandes, who is enrolled in the program and lives in Auburn. “The infrastructure here that makes things happen is amazing. With all the roles Senator Fain has taken on, I don’t know how he does it.”