When area business and elected officials gathered in Cle Elum for a regional leadership summit last week, state Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, received the Sen. Scott White Regional Leadership Award.
The annual event, hosted by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, brings together elected leaders from state and local government with business leaders in a variety of fields.
Fain’s recognition stemmed from his work to pass the state’s 2015 transportation infrastructure investments and efforts to close the educational opportunity gap by creating a more equitable public school system.
“Combatting traffic and supporting our public schools are just a few of the big and complicated issues facing our region. Issues like these cannot be solved with attack ads or rhetoric, they can only be solved with cooperation and hard work,” said Fain, who represents South King County in the Senate and serves as vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “This ethic of collaboration and civil discourse was always modeled by Sen. Scott White, who I was fortunate enough to work alongside for many years and call my friend.”
The award, which was presented to Fain by the governor’s senior policy advisor on transportation, Charles Knutson, honors individuals who build bridges between competing interests, demonstrate a willingness to take on big problems and move policy issues from discussion to action.
Fain co-sponsored and spent two years negotiating a bipartisan agreement on more than $16 billion to maintain existing and build new transportation infrastructure.
“Auburn is lucky to have Sen. Fain working for us in Olympia,” said Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, who participated in the conference. “He is not just our senator but an active member of our community. I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of this award.”
The award was first presented in 2012 and recognizes the life and work of the White, who represented Seattle in the state Senate and House of Representatives between 2009 and 2011.
The award was also personal for Fain, who in addition to serving in the Senate with White, previously worked with and became friends with him while both were staff to the King County Council.
The Regional Leadership Conference is the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s premier event for the region’s top business, government and community leaders. Since 1987, the Chamber has convened top civic leaders for an annual retreat to develop innovative regional approaches to solving the toughest challenges and for the development of new economic development strategies that help grow the local workforce, improve quality of life and adapt to the needs of the future.