Friday, April 30, 2010

Washington State Politics

Correction on tax initiatives. Initiative sponsor par excellance and alert reader Tim Eyman points out an inaccuracy in last Saturday's item about the tax increases Gov. Chris Gregoire signed. He and other tax foes in his camp have filed initiatives to repeal six of the taxes passed by the Legislature in its special session. The story said they had filed initiatives to repeal most of the taxes, and that's numerically incorrect. The Legislature raised 17 taxes, so their initiatives only cover about a third of them. Spokesman-Review. -- 4.29.10

Priest will run for Federal Way mayor, leaving the Legislature. Rep. Skip Priest has decided to enter the race to become Federal Way's first elected mayor. Priest, R-Federal Way, said he made the decision Monday and won't be running for a fifth consecutive term as a representative from the 30th Legislative District. STEVE MAYNARD in the News Tribune. -- 4.29.10

Lack of endorsement could signal trouble. The Olympia-based Washington Federation of State Employees has snubbed all of the incumbent Democratic lawmakers running for re-election this fall. The union, one of the largest state worker unions in the state, withheld endorsements for many majority Democrats in the House, too, sending a message that state workers are angry with the way Democrats have dealt with state budget and state worker issues over the last two years. Olympian opinion -- 4.29.10

Other Legislators dropping out:

State Senator Dale Brandland, a Republican who represents the 42nd District, has announced his decision to retire from the Senate. He has held the seat since being elected in 2002. The 42nd Legislative District encompasses most of Whatcom County. It includes northern Bellingham plus all of Whatcom's other incorporated cities: Lynden, Ferndale, Blaine, Everson, Sumas, Deming, and Nooksack. The district's two Representatives are Doug Ericksen and Kelli Linville. Linville is a senior member of the House Democratic caucus; she currently chairs the House Appropriations Committee. She now has the option of running for the position Brandland is vacating; but if she does, House Speaker Frank Chopp would need to find a viable candidate who can hold the chairman’s seat. Rep. Ericksen, a sixth-term Republican, has indicated he will be seeking the Senate seat.

Sen. Bob McCaslin’s return to the Senate following heart surgery is uncertain. McCaslin, R-4, Spokane Valley, had hoped to make it through session before the operation; however, he was experiencing difficulties and had to be hospitalized during the session. McCaslin has been ranking minority member on Judiciary and a member of the Economy Trade Committee.

Sen. Darlene Fairley, D-32 Lake Forest Park, Chair of Government Operations and Elections has decided to step down after 16 years saying it’s no longer fun.

In a surprise announcement at Sine Die, Rep. Lynn Kessler, D-24, Majority Leader in the House said she is retiring and will not seek a 10th term. She has served as Speaker Frank Chopp’s second in command for many years.

Rep. Mark Ericks, D-1 representative since 2005, will be appointed to a U.S. Marshal position and leave the Legislature. He was previously Bothell Police Chief for 12 years. He has been serving on House Finance and is vice chair of Ways & Means Committee. District 1, northeast King County and south Snohomish County, which includes Bothell, Maltby, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and parts of Lynnwood and Edmonds, will be losing both its Representatives.

Rep. Al O'Brien, D-1, also will be leaving the legislature after 14 years. He is a retired Seattle Police sergeant and served five years on the Mountlake Terrace City Council. He is vice chair of the Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Rep. Dave Quall, D-40. Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties will be retiring after 18 years. A retired teacher, counselor and coach, he is chairman of the House Education Committee. Mount Vernon Democrat Thomas Boucher, a member of U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen’s district staff, has announced he is seeking the 40th Legislative District seat being vacated by Quall.

Rep. Alex Wood, D-3 Spokane, a former broadcast journalist and radio and television talk show host, will retire after his seventh term in the House of Representatives. He has served as vice chair of the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

Rep. Deb Wallace, D-17 in Clark County, former Director of Business Expansion for the Columbia River Economic Development Council and current Chair of the House Higher Education Committee, has stated her intent to not run for re-election after eight years in the Legislature.

Also leaving office is Rep. Brendan Williams, D-22 Olympia, Lacy and Tumwater, who is vice chair of the Audit Review and Oversight Committee as well as a member of Commerce & Labor. Williams is one of only five legislators with a 100% scorecard from the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. An attorney, business consultant in private practice and past executive director of the Washington Health Care Association, he says he’s considering a run for the state Supreme Court.

Rep. Dan Roach, R-31 Bonney Lake, will be leaving the House to run for Pierce County Council. Replacing him as ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee will be 12th District Rep. Mike Armstrong. Armstrong spent 21 years with WSDOT and has been in the Legislature for ten years…eight on the Transportation Committee.

At the Federal level, Congressman Brian Baird, 3rd Congressional District Representative for six terms, will be retiring and has endorsed former Democratic legislator and State Capitol figure Denny Heck to take his place. State Rep. Jaime Herrera, R-18, has stated her intent to vie for the congressional seat, as well as Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-49 Vancouver.

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