OLYMPIA, Wash.– Coming to the car that you drive: Seahawks or Sounders FC license plates.
A bill to create personalized plates for each sports team has passed full State Senate (48-0 with one member absent) and the legislation (SSB 5152) is now scheduled before the key committee in the House (transportation) for March 14.
“A public hearing before the House Transportation Committee is a critical next step, and we are grateful to Representative (Judy) Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) for making that happen,” said Lt. Gov. Brad Owen (pictured above right) this week.
When Seahawks coach Pete Carroll visited the Capitol on Wednesday to generate funding for his A Better Seattle program, Owen had mentioned that the goal was to have the plates available by January 2014.
“Don’t hold me to it, but that’s our goal,” said the Lt. Governor.
Funds from the plates will benefit two programs – InvestED (http://www.invested.org/), which helps secondary students with resources they might not have for sports and other programs; and Washington State Mentors (http://www.wamentors.org/), which provides grants for mentoring students.
“These are two great programs that will be supported by a Seahawks license plate and a Sounders license plate,” Owen said.
Owen views InvestED as a resource to help kids stay in school, which starts with keeping them interested in school.
“We all know that part of keeping a kid in school is keeping their interest and keeping them involved,” Owen said. “If they can’t be involved, they’re less likely to hang around.
“If there are fees that a kid cannot afford to pay – whether it’s some special project in their art class, or even to turn out for track, or to go to the prom, or needs a backpack – InvestED is an organization that provides scholarships or grants to the school districts. Then they have this resource to help these kids.”
Washington State Mentors assists kids with the academic and social sides of their school life.
“We know how many kids are out there that could use a person standing by their side that’s helping them out, someone they can call and talk to when they have issues to deal with – because kids have a lot of issues to deal with these days,” Owen said.
So to Owen the passage of the bill and creation of the license plates is a win-win situation.
“Both of these are going to be very helpful in getting kids to school and on a positive path in life,” he said.
The Association of Washington Generals (http://www.wagenerals.org/) is another program that will benefit from funds generated by the sale of the plates. Mike Flood, vice president of community relations for the Seahawks and Sounders FC, is deputy commanding general of the organization and the one who brought the idea for the license plate for each team to Owen.
“Mike said, ‘We’ve got a Mariners plate, we’ve got these other plates. Why don’t we have a Seahawks and a Sounders plate? We would like to have one,” Owen said.
That prompted Owen to forward the legislation as a Lt. Governor’s request bill.
“The Senate just received it wonderfully. It was one of the first bills out of the Senate,” Owen said. “We are very hopeful that the bill will get the same reception in the House that it did in the Senate and be on the governor’s desk very soon.”
So fans will be able to show their support for the Seahawks and Sounders, while also supporting some worthwhile organizations.
“It’s incredible. You get the best of both worlds,” Owen said. “We all love the Seahawks. We all love the Sounders. They’re great teams. They’re great assets to the state of Washington.
“And so are our kids. So you’ll be able to show your colors and at the same times help a lot – I mean thousands – of kids around the state of Washington. Go Hawks! Go Sounders!”