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2015 was an interesting year. In that time PLB through the support of the community and industry leaders was able to "Kill Bill" and stave off any thoughtless regulation or any regressive taxes.
After a very long 2015 legislative session we were all supposed to take some time off enjoy our friends, family, businesses and return to some normalcy. As it turns out, the end was just the beginning. Our victory at a state level was rewarded with proposed vaping bans in various counties starting with Clark County and ending with Pierce County.
During the summer and continuing into the winter season PLB and its supporters made phone calls, shared scientific studies on social media, wrote and forwarded emails, took private meetings with council members, garnered support from key legislators, showed up to public commentaries, and shared their heartfelt success stories. All of these efforts were in vain as the various counties and their participating health boards, regardless of our efforts, slapped ban after ban on the vape community and proprietors who drive the industry, create jobs and save lives.
With no sign of neighboring counties putting the brakes on county bans it has become clear that a new echelon of opposition must be activated. It's time to level up! If we are going to achieve thoughtful regulations on state level and create a consistent expectation for doing business in the vape community across the state, we must integrate into the bureaucratic political game in a way we've never had to before.
During one of the meetings I took during the County Battles a legislative supporter, Rep. Dick Muri, told me something I knew but was also very startling. Dick said "Among the Legislature, the vape community is seen as loud but ineffective". I could only stare at him and ask "Why"? Very straightforward Dick looked right in the eyes and said "Because you don't vote"! How embarrassed I was for the community I represent to hear this so directly. I knew he was right. All I could say is "We will remedy this!"
And that is what I plan to do. I'm not going to just encourage my vape community to register and vote. I'm going to encourage a level of participation in government that integrates the vape community into politics so deeply that one day, some of the very vapers I saw blowing clouds at the shop, I'll now address as Senator or Representative. Being that this is an election year, I can see no better time to activate a dormant base of voters into being a politically influential constituency.
The action we take next, during the 2016 legislative session, and during election season will solidify the vape community as a group who can effect change! Are you with me? #plblegion