State Senator Bob Hasegawa travelled from Olympia last Wednesday, May 22nd, to speak to Whatcom County residents about the benefits of public banking: “A State Bank for Washington – Invest in WA or Wall Street?” He laid aside his slides and launched into a captivating impromptu talk on the definition of public banking and its benefits, largely to finance public infrastructure projects, for government entities throughout the state. He then fielded questions for about 35 minutes which further engaged the public and several candidates for public office who were in attendance. [For background on current efforts in Olympia see my most recent article “Public Banking Bill Re-Introduced in the Washington State Senate”]
The questions from the public revealed the extent to which public banking and its benefits have been hidden from the citizenry. Several attendees expressed their surprise, as well as skepticism, that public banking, a system under which the government owns its own bank and profits from using its own money, was too good to be true. Sen Hasegawa pointed out that there has always been strong opposition from commercial bankers who do not want to lose the billions and billions of dollars that they get by using other people’s (local governments) money for their own gain rather than that of the people. He has been frustrated in getting his public banking bill to the Senate floor because of opposition and lack of votes at the committee level, and suggested to the attendees that they write to their senator in Olympia. Of course, this drew much laughter from the cognoscenti in the audience who knew they are represented by Sen Doug Ericksen (42nd Dist), a man who is not likely to anger his bankster friends by supporting public banking.
However, prior to this talk I spoke to Sen Hasegawa to determine the role Whatcom County and its cities could play to support his public banking bill. He asked that the local councils pass resolutions supporting his legislation and transmit those resolutions to, in the language of his suggested draft support resolution, the “Washington State Governor, House and Senate leadership, his own office, and other civic-minded stakeholders for further dissemination to, and education of, the general public.”
The path is clear but action must be taken.* I urge you to review the video of Sen Hasegawa’s talk. His remarks, beginning about two minutes into the video, are about 20 minutes long followed by about 35 minutes of questions. This will change your concept of public banks, both for governments and the people, forever.
*The following is a list of local officials to whom you can write to urge their support for public banking:
Bellingham City Council - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville - email@example.com
Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws - firstname.lastname@example.org
Whatcom County Council - email@example.com
Representative 42nd Dist Sharon Shewmake - Sharon.Shewmake@leg.wa.gov
Senator 42nd District Doug Ericksen - Doug@SenatorEricksen.com
Representative 40th Dist Pos 1 Debra Lekanoff - No email - contact through this site.
Representative 40th Dist Pos 2 Jeff Morris - No email - contact through this site.
Senator 40th District Liz Lovelett - Liz.Lovelett@leg.wa.gov