Published August 2006

Business coalition to gear up
for election season

By John Wolcott
SCBJ Editor

Look for the Private Enterprise Coalition of Snohomish County to be actively involved in supporting pro-business candidates in the November elections, one of its major goals when the group was formed in February.

“We’ll be studying and evaluating candidates and rating them according to how well they support free-enterprise business issues,” said Tom Hoban, chief executive of Coast Real Estate Services in Everett and a founding member of the PEC’s executive committee. “We also hope to host some candidate debates for some of the more prominent races.”

One of the main reasons the group was formed is its members’ basic belief that it’s time to elect politicians at all levels of government who will back up their campaign promises of supporting the free-enterprise system and the rights of business property owners.

Members also believe it’s time to recruit, educate and support candidates for public office who will represent the interests of the business community and to support and encourage elected officials who understand business community issues.

“It’s time to educate voters about our free-enterprise system and why supporters of free-enterprise issues need to be elected. The public needs to understand the importance of basic free-enterprise concepts to our local, regional and state economic needs,” Hoban said several months ago when the group was formed.

In a recent interview, he said the PEC has received even stronger support than its founders had anticipated.

“Our membership is growing fast, and we’re continuing to look for more business-literate folks who create jobs in our community and recognize the importance of the business community,” Hoban said.

There are no monthly meetings during the summer, but committees have been busy seeking out business-friendly candidates for political office, interviewing candidates for state legislative offices and planning campaign debates between U.S. Rep. Rick Larson and challenger Doug Roulstone, as well as with Sen. Maria Cantwell and challenger Mike McGavick between Oct. 9 and 17.

The group also is supporting commercial airline flights from Paine Field and the development of a four-year university in the county.

“We’re delighted to be the business group advocating for all businesses in the county and being out-front on some of these major issues, such as the airport flights and the university,” Hoban said. “On the airport issue, we support some level of sensible expansion of airport activity, such as commercial passenger service, if there is a proven need for it.”

While Hoban acknowledges and praises the work of chambers of commerce, the Association of Washington Business, the National Federation of Independent Business and other groups, he said the PEC finds it easier to support many specific business issues in the county because it has a more unanimous view than more diverse business groups.

The PEC is nonpartisan, open to Republicans, Democrats and those with no particular political affiliation. The primary criterion is that members support the principles of free enterprise, Hoban said.

Serving with Hoban on the coalition’s executive board are Greg Tisdel, owner of Tiz’s Doors in Everett; Tom Lane, president of Dwayne Lane’s Family of Auto Centers, an Everett-based, countywide business; Gigi Burke, vice president of Crown Distributing, Arlington; and Doug Simpson, owner of The Capitol Project, a Washington state political affairs business in Everett.

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© 2006 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA