The Washington Retail Association (WR) held its annual winter board of directors meeting in Olympia, Washington, chaired by Alesha Shemwell, Director of Retail for the Bellevue Collection. The board welcomed new members Marissa Wulf, CEO of Mud Bay, Chauncey Rice, Target Director of Government Affairs, and celebrated the retirement of Theresa Treat, VP of People Services for Ben Bridge Jeweler.
The meeting included legislative meetings with democrats and republicans representing districts across the state. The board discussed priority issues such as:
- Creating safe communities and tackling retail theft and organized retail crime. Representatives Maycumber and Boehnke have strongly supported legislation to increase penalties for multiple accomplices and in support of I-2113 to restore police vehicle pursuit.
- Extended producer responsibility and the current ReWRAP Act legislation and bottling bill. Debbie Heron, Walmart’s Director of Public Affairs and State Government Relations, shared WR member concerns about passing a broad and robust bill during a short 60-day session and adopting a beverage container recycling program, HB 2144.
- Artificial Intelligence and the need for a task force to represent retail interests. Eric Douglas, Director of Government Affairs for the Home Depot, expressed support for HB 1934 as long as retail is represented on the task force. Board members met with Representative Couture, prime sponsor, and Representative Walen, committee chair and co-sponsor of the legislation.
The board also met with Pat Sullivan, Policy Director for Governor Inslee and Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, and received a micro tour of the State Capital.
WR’s 20-member Board of Directors is comprised of a strategic mix of multi-state and Washington-based retailers. The Association represents approximately 3,500 storefronts across the state in all 49 legislative districts.