A congressional trade update may not always be the most fun or interesting discussion, and that’s coming straight from the mouth of Democrat Denny Heck, Washington State’s 10th Congressional District Representative.

“But who needs a recession?” And with that, Heck had everyone laughing.

More than 40 community leaders including those from the ports, rail and banking industries gathered in a Wells Fargo Plaza conference room over lunch to discuss the trade-driven nature of Washington state and its impact on the local economy as one segment of the World Trade Center Tacoma Monthly Speaker Series featuring Heck.

Of course there are the facts: Trade has increased fivefold since 1980 and a quarter of the state’s jobs rely on trade.

And then there were discussions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States – which is responsible for 255,000 jobs in the U.S., and the potential impact of comprehensive immigration reform on the economy.

But here’s what it comes down to.

“If we want to keep our middle class,” Heck said repeatedly, “we better figure out how to sell to the growing middle class in the rest of the world.”

Let us know your take on current trade issues by posting a comment below.