Jay Jennings, NMTA V.P. & Dir. of Government Affairs

When the political symphony quieted in 2013, and Washington’s ambitious politicos and incumbents swiftly grabbed a chair and a desk, it surprised many to see those same individuals occupying those chairs nearly a dozen years on. Yet, the melody has once again begun in Olympia, echoing within our congressional delegation.

Among the notable individuals opting for the sidelines over the political fray are Governor Inslee, who has marked a historic duration in office following his congressional service across the Cascades, and Hilary Franz, who aspires to transition from Public Lands Commissioner to a congressional role. Bob Ferguson is eyeing the gubernatorial seat with anticipation, ready to tackle formidable competition. Veterans such as Derek Kilmer and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers are stepping down from their Washington to D.C. commutes after decades of service. Numerous friends and veteran state legislators are also passing their batons to new contenders. 

While critical voices towards our leaders are expected, it’s essential to acknowledge the personal and familial sacrifices made, driven by a competitive spirit but primarily by a genuine commitment to bettering our state and nation. Their service deserves our gratitude.

However, not every player champions the interests of maritime, recreational boating, and sportfishing communities equally. As the political shuffle recommences and contenders vie for their spots, I urge you to get involved. The game of political musical chairs is also a team sport at its core, with the Republican and Democratic parties as the principal teams. The balance of power will shape policies and legislative agendas that could significantly impact your profession and lifestyle. In my 30-plus years of interactions with political candidates, the overwhelming majority have been warm and engaging. Yet, their support or alignment with our priorities hasn’t always been guaranteed.NMTA Lobby Day 2024

On March 14th at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom, led by Neil Falkenburg of Westbay Marina, our Government Affairs Committee will kick off a series of meet and greet sessions. These events provide opportunities to meet candidates in our key races who have accepted our invitation to introduce themselves, share their policy perspectives crucial to our community, and field questions.

While these sessions may not offer every detail needed for your voting decision, they serve as an initial step for further evaluation. The NMTA Political Action Committee, with your support, diligently assesses various factors before allocating our collective resources. Your investment in the NMTA PAC this election cycle could yield significant benefits, helping us combat a wave of regulation and extreme shifts in philosophy that threaten our access to water-based recreation and sports.

To put it plainly, if Washington’s candidates continue to win elections by promoting policies adverse to our lifestyle and livelihood without facing political consequences, our sector will remain vulnerable. I encourage you to research the candidates, engage with them, and prioritize support for the .