Senate honors Central Washington leaders for community service

Sen. Curtis King

The state Senate today paid tribute to the retiring manager of the Central Washington State Fair and honored a Yakima auto dealership for its youth program promoting perfect school attendance.

The Senate passed Senate Resolution 8630, which honors Selah resident Greg Stewart for his 48-year career dedicated to the state’s fair industry, including 47 years as general manager of the Central Washington State Fair. The resolution was sponsored by 15th District Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. Sens. Curtis King, R-Yakima, and Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, co-sponsored the measure.  

“We are losing a fantastic director of the fair, and he’s done so much for it,” said Honeyford.

Reflecting on the historical context, Honeyford recalled, “At statehood there were several cities vying to be the capital. As politicians do, they divided the spoils. Olympia got the capital, Walla Walla got the state penitentiary, Ellensburg got the normal school, and Yakima got the original Washington State Fair.”

In 1972, Stewart was hired as assistant general manager of the Central Washington State Fair and was appointed general manager a year later. Under Stewart’s leadership, the fair doubled in length to a 10-day event. The Central Washington State Fair now has 181 event days.

“Greg is retiring this year and will be sorely missed,” Honeyford added. “We look at all the accomplishments while he was with the fair. We just celebrated the 125th anniversary a couple of years ago. Under his leadership, it has grown. We have the Sun Dome, the State Park raceway and the Yakima County Stadium. This is all due to the leadership of Mr. Stewart.”

Last October, Stewart received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington State Fairs Association.    

King resolution honors Bud Clary Toyota

The Senate also approved Senate Resolution 8653, which honors Bud Clary Toyota for creating the Perfect Attendance Creates Excellence program, through which elementary-school students in Yakima, Longview and Moses Lake who complete a school year with perfect attendance receive a new bicycle and helmet from the auto dealer and others. The resolution was introduced by King, who serves the 14th District.  

During his speech seeking support for the resolution, King praised the dealership not only for starting the youth program but also for partnering with Entrust Community Services so people with disabilities can help assemble the bicycles for students who achieved perfect attendance.

“This is what this company is about,” said King. “It’s not just about selling cars, it’s about community service.  That is demonstrated not only by this program that gives away bicycles for perfect attendance, but the way Bud Clary developed this partnership with Entrust just carries it one step further. I’m very pleased to stand today and honor Bud Clary Toyota for their community involvement and what they have meant to our valley and the kids who have received these bicycles.”    

King’s resolution notes the PACE program has donated more than 4,000 new bicycles and helmets to elementary school students since it began in 2012.  

The 105-day legislative session is scheduled to end April 28.