Linda Haglund calls our own contract lobbyist and Gig Harbor resident Bruce Beckett a “shirttail relative” of all downtown Wenatchee retailers.
“We’re grateful for Bruce,” said Haglund, Executive Director of the Wenatchee Downtown Association. She and Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz recently awarded Bruce the 2020 Community Resource Award in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the community and Wenatchee retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to his work with the Washington Retail Association, Beckett represents the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. In that role, he works on behalf of employers across Chelan and Douglas Counties. His efforts dovetailed with the priorities of Washington Retail this past year, including:
- Securing operating guidance from Governor Inslee’s team
- Advocating for COVID-19 relief for retailers deemed “non-essential” in the early phases of the pandemic
- Securing grant funding to assist smaller retailers and ensuring these businesses receive relief from increases in Unemployment Insurance taxes
- Washington Retail and Wenatchee were also aligned in supporting changes to Washington’s Mainstreet Tax Program to benefit both downtown retailers and historic downtown Wenatchee.
“We needed Bruce to be that voice (with legislators) in Olympia,” Haglund said. “We didn’t always like what he had to tell us, but we needed to hear it.”
Downtown merchants have been overworked on recovering from the pandemic. They not only don’t have enough time to speak up on their behalf at legislative meetings. They don’t understand the inner workings of Legislature politics to nearly the same depth as the veteran lobbyist Beckett, Haglund said.
In presenting Beckett his plaque in Wenatchee, Haglund said, the downtown merchants wanted him to know how much they appreciated him being their voice in Olympia.
Bruce has worked with Washington Retail since 2018. Before forming The Beckett Group, Bruce represented the Weyerhaeuser Company for more than 12 years and then worked for several years building the Washington Hospitality Association.
“The award event reinforced that these businesses are the heart and soul of their communities,” Beckett said. “It’s a privilege to work on behalf of the retail community both statewide and in communities like Wenatchee.”