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Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Operation: Strong Cities. Take Action Now.

AWC exists to help you have, and maintain the authorities and resources you need to serve and keep your communities vibrant. Most of the tools at your disposal come from what State legislators decide you can or cannot do. Candidates for all 98 House, and half of the 49 Senate seats are now campaigning to retain or get newly elected, and unless asked, are not likely talking or thinking about why strong cities matter, and what it takes to keep them strong.

While electeds are in their home districts, and before they return to Olympia this winter, you and your colleagues across the State can advise and help them be a part of “Operation: Strong Cities.”

On the heels of several difficult legislative sessions that saw the State cutting and withholding revenues for city services and infrastructure, you, our members, and our Board of Directors asked us to re-tool our approach with the Legislature and Governor. AWC represents a wide spectrum of non-partisan city interests, and advocates for those in an increasingly partisan environment. AWC does not contribute to campaigns or endorse candidates. We aim to build and maintain strong working relationships with all Legislators and the Governor – regardless of political party.

Those relationships need nurturing, and we cannot do it alone. We have started to compile a number of tools that you can use to help us help you to make Operation: Strong Cities a success. Here are a couple places you can start:

Candidate Surveys

Become aware of which legislative candidates want to represent you, and where they stand on issues important to you. AWC asked candidates for the State Legislature a number of questions about their views on issues important to cities and towns. We are pleased with the number of responses submitted so far, and we continue to post submitted questionnaires on our website.

TAKE ACTION – Take a look at candidates’ answers to the questions, and have a follow-up conversation.


TAKE ACTION – If the candidate(s) in your legislative district have not yet responded, see if you can urge them to do so – or at least engage them in a conversation about the questions that we asked.

CML Credit

Earn credits towards your Certificate of Municipal Leadership (CML) by taking actions that support Operation: Strong Cities. If you want to get started immediately, these two activities will help you earn CMLs:

TAKE ACTION – Watch this 12-minute video of Tim Ceis’ presentation at AWC’s 2014 Annual Conference in Spokane. Tim’s informative and entertaining talk describes how local officials can better leverage their community leadership for legislative success.

TAKE ACTION – Compile and adopt a legislative agenda for your city or town. It does not have to be long or complicated, it just has to be communicated to your legislators and community. For those of you who are unsure how to format one, we have a couple examples. The City of Sequim introduced and passed a council resolution, while other cities frequently adopt less formal agendas like this document).

Once completed, submit your CML credit request here.

Municipal Champions

There are many legislators who do care about cities and towns, and not just the cities and town they represent. All legislators come to Olympia wanting to make their mark.Most are very open to thinking about, and acting on issues of importance to cities and towns.This year, we decided to thank and recognize five Municipal Champions who publicly and privately advocated for one or more of our priorities. Next year we hope to recognize even more!

TAKE ACTION – Talk with your legislators and candidates about what you think it would take for them to be one of next year’s Municipal Champions.


TAKE ACTION – Let them know it takes a willingness to advocate for authorities, revenues or something that matters to help keep cities strong all across the state.

In Closing

The challenges facing candidates who become legislators next session are significant. Their primary responsibility is to adopt a two-year State budget that adequately funds education without undermining important State programs and support for critical services and infrastructure needs in cities and towns across the State. Our job is to make sure whoever governs in Olympia is aware of our interests and concerns. Our Great State needs Strong Cities, and there are ways that they can help or hinder that critical partnership.