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Once Brash Washington Home Builders Now Behind The Scenes

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The airwaves in Washington are chock-a-block with campaign ads. But one group’s missing from the fray despite its reputation for not pulling any punches. We’re talking about Washington home builders.

In June of 2008, a political action committee funded by the Building Industry Association of Washington hit the airwaves with this attack ad.

BIAW Ad: “Governor Gregoire signed the largest gas tax increase in state history.”

Before the recession, the Building Industry Association of Washington had a reputation for reputation for not pulling any punches. Photo by Steven Lee via Flickr
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Before the recession, the Building Industry Association of Washington had a reputation for reputation for not pulling any punches. Photo by Steven Lee via Flickr

The “It’s Time for a Change” PAC would go on to spend more than $7 million in 2008. Even so, Gregoire won a second term.

After that, the Great Recession hit, the housing market collapsed and BIAW coffers took a dramatic hit. There was also internal upheaval and new leadership took over.

Today, Art Castle runs the BIAW. He says the home building industry’s approach to politics has changed.

“BIAW is not running any independent expenditure on our own," he says. "Why not? We think it’s a good idea to build relationships and work with other groups in the business community that have the same goals.”

Castle says this year BIAW has contributed $500,000 to the Republican Governors Association. Overall, Castle expects to spend less than $1 million this election cycle.

On the Web:

Building Industry Association of Washington

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.