IN THE NEWS: State not producing enough graduates in high-tech fields

State not producing enough graduates in high-tech fields

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O’Ban calls Medal of Honor event ‘opportunity for students to meet a genuine hero’

OBan Carter group shot


Calling it a “unique opportunity to learn from a genuine hero,” Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, today joined Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter at Lakes High School for a presentation on character building. O’Ban, who sponsored Senate Resolution 8713 to honor Carter’s heroic actions in Afghanistan, shared with students the importance of recognizing the remarkable service and sacrifice of our nation’s Medal of Honor recipients.

“As Sergeant Carter shared with students, true character is built one right choice at a time,” O’Ban said, “Character is built over the long run when you decide that even small acts of service or integrity are an opportunity to go above and beyond what is required.”

Back in March when Sen. O’Ban recognized Carter before the full Senate, he wanted to see his story shared with students in his district. “There are 79 living Medal of Honor recipients and seven of those reside in Washington including three who either live here or are from Pierce County: Carter, U.S. Army Sergeant Leroy Petry and U.S. Army Specialist Kyle White. We have a unique opportunity to learn from these heroes and to honor their exceptional service right here in our community,” said O’Ban.

On Oct. 3, 2009, Carter and his unit were attacked by more than 300 enemy combatants in Kamdesh district of the Nuristan Province of Afghanistan. He was able to retrieve additional weapons and ammunition to bring back to his station, treat the wounds of fallen soldiers and carry one more than 100 meters to a first-aid station where he helped keep his comrade alive until reinforcements arrived to assist in evacuation efforts.

O’Ban hopes more schools will create opportunities for Carter to share his remarkable story and to talk about character building. The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation provides a character building curriculum for middle and high school students to encourage what it calls “the ideals of courage and selfless service to build character and promote responsible citizenship.”

“These men have given so much for our country and helped to save the lives of their comrades in arms. I’m extremely proud that Sergeant Carter and three other Medal of Honor recipients call Washington state their home and I hope they choose to remain here for a very long time,” O’Ban said.

Carter currently serves at Joint Base Lewis McChord. His story of valor while serving in Afghanistan is available on the Medal of Honor website:

Sen. Braun Op-Ed on Tourism in Washington State


















Recently, Sen. Braun co-authored an Op-Ed on the tourism industry in Washington State relating to legislation that he worked to pass this year. Please see below for the published piece in the Puget Sound Business Journal.


Our Opinion: State neglects tourism at its own peril

Sen. John Braun, R-Centrailia, chairs the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee and is president of Braun Northwest, a family-owned company that builds emergency vehicles and employs more than 150 workers. Louise Stanton-Masten is the executive director of the Washington Tourism Alliance.

Washington has it all for visitors. Spectacular mountains, beautiful seashore, abundant outdoor recreation, desert sunshine, mountain snow, urban sophistication, wineries and much more – it’s all here.

You might think we’d shout from the rooftops about the wonderful things we have to offer, but surprisingly, we don’t.

This is unfortunate, because despite the state’s benign neglect, tourism is…

Click here to read the rest of this article in the Puget Sound Business Journal

Fain measure to address repeat DUI offenders signed into law

Gov. Inslee signs Senator Joe Fain's two bills addressing repeat DUI offenders.

Two bills sponsored by Sen. Joe Fain during the 2014 legislative session were signed into law today by Gov. Jay Inslee. The signing coincides with “Safe Roads Awareness Week” in Seattle, which is a series of events in memory of Dennis and Judy Schulte who were tragically killed by a repeat DUI offender one year ago.

Under the new laws prosecutors will be able to seek increased penalties for repeat DUI offenders. Fain crafted the proposals after working as a DUI prosecutor in King County between the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions.

“Those who drive under the influence create tragic consequences that are completely preventable. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated must be met with serious consequences and our local prosecutors will now have additional tools to seek more appropriate sentences,” said Fain. “These new policies act both as a way to keep proven dangerous drivers off the road and should serve as a deterrent for repeat offenders.”

Fain’s proposals were overwhelmingly approved by the Senate and House of Representatives during the 2014 legislative session that ended on March 13.

The first measure adds to the types of prior DUI offenses that can be considered during sentencing, providing a more comprehensive look at the offender’s criminal past. It also requires repeat offenders to appear before a judge prior to release.

The second successful piece of legislation increases the required time served for those who circumvent ignition interlock devices or operate a vehicle without one. Both allow prosecutors to seek more appropriate sentences given the offender’s previous actions and disregard for public safety.

Fain was joined by Frank and Carol Blair of Tacoma, the parents of Sheena Blair who was killed by a drunk driver in 2010. Tom McBride from the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys who helped refine and worked on the two proposals was at today’s event as Inslee signed both bills into law.

Energy Solutions for Washington: Debate on TVW’s Inside Olympia

One year after Skagit River bridge collapse, many others in state remain at risk

Section of the I-5 bridge that collapsed into the Skagit River. (AP)
Section of the I-5 bridge that collapsed into the Skagit River. (AP)
It’s been one year since a truck with an oversized load struck a beam on the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River, sending a section plunging into the water below. But very little has changed to prevent another similar accident from happening again on any number of bridges across the state.

Investigators determined the oversize load struck several overhead support beams on the bridge, leading to the collapse. The bridge, build in 1955, was considered “functionally obsolete” because it did not meet current design standards for lane widths and vertical clearance.

Click here to read the rest of the story from