AWC honors Rivers with City Champion award

Senator receives kudos for her work supporting local jurisdictions

The Association of Washington Cities, an Olympia-based organization advocating on behalf of Washington’s 281 cities and towns, honored Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) with a City Champion award in Vancouver on Oct. 20.

This is the second consecutive year Rivers received the award. She is one of two legislators to earn consecutive awards.

“We are happy to present this award to Sen. Rivers for her outstanding support of city interests,” said Washougal Mayor Sean Guard, who is a member of the AWC board of directors.

Guard noted that among other things, Rivers supported one of the association’s legislative priorities by helping establish a more sensible regulatory framework to provide legal marijuana to patients and recreational users.

Additionally, she played an important role in assuring state tax revenues from marijuana sales were shared with cities in an effort to protect public safety.

“As I worked to harmonize the often at-odds recreational and medical marijuana markets, it was clear that the interests of our state’s local municipalities were being overlooked, and someone needed to step up to protect them,” Rivers said.

She went on to say, “When voters approved Initiative 502, they authorized an industry that would be well regulated and also have a strong public-safety component. To meet voter expectations and increased public-safety demands on our cities, ensuring that our local governments receive shared revenue from this new industry was a vital piece of my work on this issue.”

Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, who co-presented the City Champion award with Guard, also lauded Rivers for her support of the state’s transportation investment package.

In addition to funding transportation projects throughout the state, the package provides an increase in direct distribution from the collection of additional fuel tax revenues and new revenues from the multi-modal account. Several state grant programs benefiting cities also received a boost in funding.

“Thank you, Senator, for looking out not just for your district, but for our region and the entire state,” Leavitt said.

AWC Chief Executive Officer Peter B. King noted that the 2015 legislative session was the longest in state history, yet cities saw signs of a renewed city-state partnership.

“We believe our success was the result of legislative champions like Sen. Rivers, who stepped up to help cities,” he said.

The AWC serves its members through advocacy, education and services.

Founded in 1933, it is a private, non-profit, non-partisan corporation that represents Washington’s cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch, and with regulatory agencies.

The AWC also provides training, technical assistance, and member pooling programs such as the Employee Benefit Trust, Risk Management Service Agency, Workers’ Comp Retro, and the Drug and Alcohol Consortium.

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