Recognizing Gary Brackett on the Occasion of His Retirementby Representative Adam Smith
Posted on 2015-12-18
in the house of representatives
Friday, December 18, 2015
Mr. SMITH of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor and
congratulate Gary Brackett, longtime Business and Political Manager for
the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, on his retirement after
nearly four decades of service to the Tacoma-Pierce County community.
The Puget Sound region is home to a large number of military personnel, retirees, and their families. Over the course of Gary's 36 years at the Chamber, his top priority has been to advocate for this community in Pierce County and beyond. When Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM)--and other military installations--faced drastic cuts to its workforce in recent years due to federal budget cuts in defense spending, Gary led local efforts to retain [[Page E1832]] as many troops as possible by providing the U.S. Army with a quantitative analysis of JBLM's vital role to the region and to U.S. national security. His diligence and successful coalition-building helped to minimize the negative impacts that a reduction in military personnel would have entailed, including a projected $1 billion loss in economic activity in the region that could have resulted.
Throughout his career at the Chamber, Gary made it a priority to not only interact with local and state leaders, but to have a presence in Washington, D.C. as well. He was instrumental in helping to secure federal funding for the construction of much-needed elementary schools at JBLM, local water and sewage projects, and other transportation infrastructure improvements on base. In recognition of his leadership, Gary was asked by Governor Inslee to serve on the Washington Military Alliance (WMA) where he worked to ensure the continued liveliness of Washington's military and defense sector community.
Gary's success at building coalitions includes his significant role in the development of an ongoing positive relationship between JBLM and its surrounding communities. Through his work to create the Chamber's Military Affairs Forum, base commanders and personnel have the opportunity to interact with local business and political leaders on a monthly basis. The Forum has served as an open platform to discuss controversial issues including joint land use and clear zone funding. Due to its success over the years, the Military Affairs Forum has served as a model for similar military communities across the country.
Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I congratulate Gary Brackett on his retirement and accomplishments. His leadership has been critical to fostering a thriving economy and maintaining the quality of life of Pierce County businesses and military personnel and their families in Washington State.