Election season 2010 is in full swing. There are the commercials, lawn signs and speeches. We in Washington are being asked to give our time, our money and in November our vote to those seeking political office and for this he/she promises to represent our interests.

Broadly speaking, the interests of Washington state are 1)support for basic needs and development opportunity for people; and 2) the health and safety of our environments.

These general interests should be the criteria our elected officials use to weigh their actions in office. They should use these concerns to advocate for policies that benefit the majority of people throughout WA State and beyond.

However in terms of trade, our elected leaders in WA State are allowing special interests to dictate how goods and services are made and exchanged. Trade policy is in the hands of global corporations, who are looking to keep increasing profits no matter the cost. In 2009 in WA State alone there were 7,595 new Trade Adjustment Assistance claims, meaning jobs continue to be off-shored, despite government tax breaks and incentives to keep jobs in the US.

Washington is one of the most trade dependent states in the US-therefore we are disproportionately impacted by bad trade policies. Our workers, farmers, and small-business owners have been calling upon our elected leaders to co-sponsor the Trade Reform Accountability Development and Employment Act (TRADE Act HR 3012/S2821) which is a blueprint for how trade policies should be negotiated.

Over 150 members of the House of Representatives are running on a trade reform platform, because they know that unless we change trade policy the job loss will continue, our trade deficit will grow and we will continue to hurt our planet.

In the coming months, we need to Make Trade an Election Issue for WA State.

As a voter, as a leader of your community, candidates will be coming to you, to ask for endorsement, for your to doorbell, to give them money and time and ultimately to give them your vote.

When they approach you, you need to ask them:

  • What have you done to protect my job and those of my colleagues to off-shoring?
  • What are you doing on trade reform?
  • Do you support the TRADE Act-if not why not?

We also need to remind our leaders of the WA State Democratic Party Platform and the Washington State Labor Council Resolution which calls on passage of TRADE Act and a stop to pending Bush FTAs.

We need to remind candidates that trade policy is linked to climate reform and development policy and immigration reform and financial reform and until we reform it, all other legislation they pass will not be reach its intended potential.

Will you commit to asking candidates in your district hard questions about trade reform when you see them at fundraisers, town hall meetings etc? This is the time our leaders our listening because their jobs are on the line-they need to hear us….because our job loss could also be theirs.