We believe that strong public policy creates a vibrant community. Engagement in critical public policy issues on behalf of individual members and organizations is at the core of the Chamber’s mission. Our work in public policy ranges from land-use and permitting issues, to direct appropriations of state capitol dollars. We develop and implement strategies to support critical issue management in Thurston County and throughout the South Sound region.


We’ve established a public policy team to manage public policy issues facing our region. This team includes a public policy expert, legal representation and a public relations professional. The Chamber’s Public Policy team will

  • Impact regulatory, land-use and permitting issues.
  • Provide direct advocacy for business and industry.
  • Continue to partner with local government, assisting in obtaining state and federal resources for regional projects.
  • Support critical partners such as higher education and K-12 education.

The Thurston County Chamber is growing a prosperous economy and vibrant community by connecting people, ideas and resources.

About Us

Doug Mah of Doug Mah and Associates serves as division coordinator. Mah is a past Mayor of the City of Olympia. As a management and public affairs consultant with over 20 years of experience, Mah focuses on eliminating communication barriers and building strategic partnerships in the areas of real estate and resource allocations.

Heather Burgess of Phillips Burgess Law, our region’s premier land-use attorney, serves as legal counsel. For over a decade, she has represented high-profile private and public sector clients throughout Washington in all phases of real estate development. Repeatedly ranked among The Best Lawyers in America ® by U.S. News & World Report, Burgess has worked on permitting and zoning matters under the Growth Management Act, Shoreline Management Act, and Federal Endangered Species Act in jurisdictions across Thurston County.

Natasha Ashenhurst of Mosaic Marketing Studio manages strategic communications. Ashenhurst is an award-winning professional acknowledged for consistent excellence as an organizational communications consultant and marketing program manager. Highly creative, with demonstrated ability to develop cohesive integrated MarComm programs incorporating social media and traditional media. An impactful writer and message manager; transforms staid, technical content into a relatable and actionable narrative that increases member and stakeholder engagement.

David Schaffert, Thurston Chamber President/CEO, has over 25 years of experience working in public policy including state appropriations, land-use, regulatory, economic and community development. As Thurston County Chamber CEO he sees first-hand the importance of advocating for business and community for a prosperous community.