When Gov. Jay Inslee signed Bill 5152 at VMAC on Friday afternoon, it was a win-win move for the Seahawks, Sounders FC, their fans and the trio of non-profit organizations that will benefit from the team license plates.
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A lot of events have transpired in the auditorium at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, but Friday afternoon brought a first as Gov. Jay Inslee signed a measure into law.
Surrounding Inslee as he put pen to SSB 5152, creating license plates for the Seahawks and Sounders FC, were those legislators who sponsored and supported the measure, as well as representatives from the three organizations that will benefit from the proceeds when the plates become available in early January – InvestED, Washington State Mentors and the Association of Washington Generals.
“This is a fun day,” Peter McLoughlin, Seahawks and Sounders FC president, said in kicking off the event. “Our fans have been waiting for this for a long, long time.”
And why did it take so long? The state had imposed a moratorium on specialty plates.
So how did this eventful day come to fruition? It didn’t take a village, but it did take a team – and teamwork.
Sounders FC executive Gary Wright stressed to Mike Flood, VP of community relations for both teams, that the soccer team needed a specialty plate. Flood took the idea to Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, who made it a Lt. Governor’s request bill and recruited Senators Tracey Eide and Curtis King to sponsor the legislation and get it approved by the Senate. Once in the House, Representative Eric Pettigrew helped shepherd it through that body.
“I called the Lt. Governor’s office with the idea,” Flood said. “They told him and the same day he called back and said, ‘We’ll do that.’ ”
That’s when Owen went to Eide and King, co-chairs of the Senate transportation committee.
“People are excited about the Seahawks and the Sounders, so I knew there’d be a lot of interest,” Owen said. “The only issue that hung it up a little bit in the end was where the money would go. And that was not necessarily a bad thing, because everybody wanted it. They recognized what value it would be.
“But in the end, it prevailed just the way we wanted it to because there was such strong support. For two reasons; one is the fan base of these teams, the other is where the proceeds went.”
Said Eide, “It’s fantastic when you get to look at some great non-profits that benefit children, our youth here in the state of Washington; and then our veterans. We just can’t do enough for them.”
The license plates will carry an iconic symbol for each team – the 12th Man flag for the Seahawks, a team scarf for Sounders FC.
But the real win-win situation for team executives and the contingent from Olympia is where the funds generated by the sale of those plates will go – to help kids and veterans. InvestED, which will receive the net proceeds from sales of the Seahawks plates, is a Seattle-based non-profit that partners with schools statewide to help students from low-income families pay for clothes, school activity cards, testing fees and other student needs. Washington State Mentors, which will get the bulk of proceeds from the Sounders FC plates, is a public/private partnership based in Issaquah that provides grants and assistance to youth organizations across the state. The Washington Generals, which recognizes outstanding individuals and promotes a variety of civic and veteran causes, will receive a smaller portion of the Sounders FC plate sales.
All because of the teamwork displayed by members of several teams.