2/14/2013 12:37:00 PM Schmick named outstanding legislator of the year
Rep. Joe Schmick receives NFIB’s “Outstanding Legislator of the Year” award from Patrick Conner, NFIB’s Washington state director. Courtesy photo.
The representative group for Washington state's biggest job-generator last week singled out Rep. Joe Schmick for special commendation at its 20th annual Small Business Day at the Capitol event, thanking the Colfax lawmaker for always putting the agenda of Main Street, mom-and-pop enterprises first. "We have 147 senators and representatives who claim they're friends of small business, but Rep. Joe Schmick's actions prove it every single day," Patrick Connor, Washington state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, America's Voice of Small Business, said. "Among his many accomplishments for Main Street was making sure we had a voice in shaping the state's new health care exchange, which is ostensibly for the individual and small-business market. But until Rep. Schmick demanded a presence for small business, bureaucrats and big insurance companies treated the exchange as their exclusive playpen." Schmick was presented NFIB-Washington's Outstanding Legislator of the Year award at a luncheon in Tumwater. His 9th Legislative District includes all or parts of Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield, Spokane and Whitman counties. He is currently the assistant minority whip in the State House and ranking member of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. A second-generation farmer and small-business owner, he is also an NFIB member. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, 98 percent of all businesses in Washington state are small businesses, which employ 53 percent of the private-sector workforce. "The cost of health insurance continues as the No. 1 small-business problem, a position it has held for 25 years," Connor said. "Health insurance costs for small firms have risen 103 percent in the last decade." For the 2011-12 session for which he was named Outstanding Legislator of the Year, Schmick had a 100 percent, pro-small-business voting record on 10 issues, including two dealing with the new healthcare exchange, which NFIB opposed and which Schmick helped blunt the worst elements of.