Lawmakers and leaders from near and far, including Speaker of the House Frank Chopp and state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, are scheduled to come to Port Angeles on May 10 to discuss rural economic development.

“This is about listening to each other, and working together, to help families and businesses in timber and farm country,” said Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles), the lead lawmaker for House Democrats on the issue. “It takes a team effort to create more opportunity and development for our small towns and counties in rural Washington.”

The first part of the day will start at Peninsula College, with opening remarks from Speaker Chopp and Rep. Chapman at 10 a.m. followed by talks with Franz, tribal leaders, local businesses and school board members and a tour of the college’s new child care facility.

“Health care and child care were huge concerns at our first rural event in Aberdeen,” Chapman said. “You can’t have a functioning community without doctors, nurses and hospitals. And working moms and dads can’t work if they can’t find good, affordable child care for their kids. Jobs, education, affordable child care, tax reform, health care, better infrastructure—all these issues are intertwined.”

In the afternoon, the event will switch to the Composite Recycling Technology Center for a tour of that facility, which has spearheaded research into repurposing leftover composite from aircraft and car manufacturing into products and new uses, including the possibility of embedding small composite beams into cross-laminated timber (CLT) to create “super wood.”

“Washington state can—and should be—a world leader in cross-laminated timber and composite recycling,” said Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Sequim), chair of the House Capital Budget Committee, which controls the state’s construction budget. “These new ideas can create good, middle-class jobs in rural Washington, if we have the courage and vision to see them through.”