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Book Review

Simply Washington is simply wonderful

I have never made any qualms about saying how much I love Sunnyside, but it is important to remember that my affection for my city spreads to this beautiful state.

Simply Washington, a 46-page booklet available from the Washington Office of the Secretary of State, is a fantastic review of everything that makes this a great state.

From its agriculture to industry, its rich history to its seemingly endless potential, Simply Washington celebrates the land, the people and the ingenuity the drives the state forward.

Simply Washington was first published last year, but it is now available from the Washington Office of the Secretary of State website with numerous updates. The file is free to download and available to be used by anyone.

My favorite section of the booklet focuses on the history - from its pre-territorial days to statehood, Washington's rich history is succinctly detailed along with a 500-year timeline.

The book also reveals the long and complicated history behind the design for the official seal of the state of Washington as well as our state flag. Did you know the state did not adopt an official state flag until 1923, 34 years after Washington was admitted into the Union as a state?

More fascinating information from the book comes on the state symbol page. The state has 17 state symbols, with everything from the state song (Washington, My Home), to the state fossil (Columbian Mammoth).

The booklet also features a breakdown of the state government, detailing the process of making a law, the powers of the three branches, government departments and the innovated initiative and referendum process that gives citizens a powerful voice in state legislative measures.

The book also celebrates the state's rich agricultural history, with several pages dedicated to apple growers, wheat farmers, dairymen and even Washington's budding wine industry.

The facts on Washington's agriculture range from the common (apples are the state's top commodity), to the lesser known (there are over 600 wineries in Washington and White Riesling is the top variety grown in the state).

Another good portion of Simply Washington focuses on the innovative strides Washington residents have made over its short history. The state's technology sector employs more than 380,000 people, the booklet reveals, and ranks first in the nation for creating new software companies.

As far as companies go, Amazon.com got its start in Washington state, along with Boeing, Costco, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Starbucks and Weyerhaeuser.

To put it simply, Simply Washington is a perfect little resource on all that makes this state unique. With only 46-pages to work with, there is a lot of information that is condensed and left out, but overall it represents the state well and would be perfect for sending to out-of-state friends or family, use in a classroom, or simply to enjoy on your own.

Simply Washington is available by visiting the Washington Office of the Secretary of State at www.sos.wa.gov.

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