NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, September 27th, 2022

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, Joe Kent spar in vigorous, heated WA-03 debate

Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­gres­sion­al hope­ful Marie Glue­senkamp Perez and her ultra MAGA Repub­li­can rival Joe Kent kicked off the final phase of a hard-fought midterm elec­tion cycle this evening, spar­ring for about nine­ty min­utes over immi­gra­tion, cost of liv­ing, eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty, health­care, envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, for­eign pol­i­cy, and fit­ness for office at a livestreamed debate host­ed by RV INN Style Resorts.

Seat­ed behind long tables on a stage with a bright­ly illu­mi­nat­ed floor, the can­di­dates dis­cussed their own lived expe­ri­ences and pitched their ideas for the coun­try when they weren’t harsh­ly crit­i­ciz­ing each other.

The debate was well mod­er­at­ed, with short and sim­ple ques­tions, rebut­tal time pru­dent­ly pre-allot­ted for every exchange, and time lim­its con­sis­tent­ly enforced.

Glue­senkamp Perez, a small busi­ness own­er, skill­ful­ly and effec­tive­ly used her expe­ri­ence as the own­er of an auto repair shop through­out the debate to relate to peo­ple in the audi­ence and invite them to relate to her, while Kent leaned hard into right wing pop­ulist rhetoric in an attempt to make his mil­i­tant, dan­ger­ous ultra MAGA beliefs sound as appeal­ing and main­stream as possible.

Ken­t’s extrem­ism and embrace of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries was on full dis­play dur­ing the seg­ment of the debate focus­ing on the Amer­i­ca’s response to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. That was when he false­ly char­ac­ter­ized the COVID-19 vac­cines as “exper­i­men­tal gene ther­a­py” (the vac­cines are not a form of gene ther­a­py).

Kent did­n’t stop there.

“Antho­ny Fau­ci [the direc­tor of the Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Dis­eases and the Chief Med­ical Advi­sor to the Pres­i­dent] and a lot of his under­lings were run­ning amok as unelect­ed bureau­crats, fund­ing gain-of-func­tion research under the nose of our fed­er­al gov­ern­ment,” Kent fumed.

“They were fund­ing the very same peo­ple who cooked up the COVID-19 virus in the Wuhan Insti­tute and Fau­ci must be held account­able for that.”

“Does any­one else feel like they just spent a month on YouTube?” Glue­senkamp Perez retort­ed when it was her turn to speak. “And that’s what we’re sign­ing up for with Joe Kent. He thinks he can raise a lot of mon­ey say­ing stuff like this.”

“And maybe he can, but he’s doing noth­ing to heal our country.”

Glue­senkamp Perez neat­ly bal­anced rejoin­ders like that with sto­ries of try­ing to apply for a loan with the Small Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion, try­ing to find health­care for her employ­ees, and replac­ing repeat­ed­ly bro­ken win­dows as she artic­u­lat­ed her pri­or­i­ties for the coun­try’s future and vision for South­west Washington.

Lat­er on in the debate, hav­ing seem­ing­ly grown exas­per­at­ed with debat­ing an oppo­nent who owns a small busi­ness and lives in a rur­al com­mu­ni­ty in the dis­trict, Kent incor­rect­ly described Glue­senkamp Perez’s busi­ness as an auto body shop. She slipped a delight­ful rejoin­der into her rebut­tal time, explain­ing she co-owns an “auto shop, not a body shop… we fix things, we don’t make ’em pretty.”

Even after being cor­rect­ed, Kent per­sist­ed in call­ing her busi­ness a body shop.

Kent repeat­ed­ly reached for Trump’s great­est hits play­book when asked for his own posi­tions on the issues. He engaged in round after round of hyper­bol­ic Biden and Pelosi bash­ing, declared Democ­rats to be in league with Wall Street (even though Repub­li­cans, dur­ing Don­ald Trump’s regime, were respon­si­ble for the big tax give­away to Wall Street and the ultra­wealthy five years ago), and tried to project his own extrem­ism onto Glue­senkamp Perez and her supporters.

Glue­senkamp Perez, mean­while, made sure to bring up Ken­t’s fright­en­ing posi­tion on repro­duc­tive rights even though the debate orga­niz­ers did not allo­cate time to dis­cuss the top­ic. In one of her strongest moments, she told the audience:

“Joe Kent sup­ports a nation­al ban on abor­tion with­out an excep­tion for rape, incest, [or] the life of the moth­er, despite the fact that peo­ple in Wash­ing­ton State have been very, very clear that we sup­port the right of women to choose… He has said he’s going to over­ride the will of the states and impose fed­er­al pol­i­cy on us — and women will die because of it. It is not your place, Joe, to tell women to car­ry a baby to term. It is a slap in the face. You are not in charge.”

She was also ready to respond after Kent fired off his we need law and order  bom­bast in response to a ques­tion about pub­lic safety.

“Joe Kent wants to defund the FBI,” Glue­senkamp Perez point­ed out.

“He wants to excuse away vio­lent peo­ple at the Capi­tol who attacked the Capi­tol and attacked the police who were defend­ing the Capi­tol. He does­n’t think they should be pros­e­cut­ed. He calls them polit­i­cal prisoners.”

“She thinks I’m an extrem­ist,” Kent observed a few min­utes later.

In an attempt to make anoth­er of his extrem­ist posi­tions defen­si­ble, Kent offered a curi­ous ratio­nale for reject­ing any and all gun safe­ty laws, warning:

“You need to have that check on any kind of crazy author­i­tar­i­an, which is what you guys [Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers, Glue­senkamp Perez sup­port­ers] think we [the ultra MAGA fac­tion] are. Any kind of author­i­tar­i­an ten­den­cies that we have, we have to have the abil­i­ty to have our gov­ern­ment have a healthy fear of us, or we’re gonna end up like the Cana­di­ans or like the Australians.”

Cana­da and Aus­tralia, of course, are advanced, pros­per­ous democ­ra­cies with far few­er gun deaths than the Unit­ed States. Mass shoot­ings are com­mon here but not there, because they have sen­si­ble gun safe­ty laws and we don’t.

In anoth­er mem­o­rable moment, Kent spoke favor­ably of U.S. Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders of Ver­mont and expressed a desire to see the pop­ulist left grow stronger.

“There used to be some bipar­ti­san con­sen­sus with the pop­ulist left that we did­n’t need to be in end­less for­eign inter­ven­tions, that we need­ed to bring back our man­u­fac­tur­ing lines, that we need­ed to have a tight labor mar­ket,” Kent said, reply­ing to a ques­tion about work­ing across the aisle.

“Bernie Sanders used to talk about this stuff all the time,” Kent continued.

“The prob­lem is the pop­ulist left was con­sumed by Wall Street Democ­rats who now con­trol their entire par­ty. So I would love to rekin­dle the pop­ulist left so we could have some con­sen­sus on not get­ting involved in end­less for­eign wars, secur­ing our bor­ders and bring­ing back our manufacturing.”

Sen­a­tor Sanders, of course, is one of the most con­sis­tent and prin­ci­pled mem­bers of Con­gress. As any­one who fol­lows his work is aware, Sanders has not stopped talk­ing about the themes that he ran on in either 2016 or 2020. And the move­ment that orga­nized around his can­di­da­cy is hard­ly inac­tive. Peo­ple in pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics are work­ing every day to defend Amer­i­can democracy.

Oth­er well known Democ­rats, mean­while, are among the most dis­liked mem­bers of Con­gress on Wall Street, espe­cial­ly Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren, whose 2020 cam­paign for Pres­i­dent spooked many Streeters. Their active lead­er­ship in Con­gress belies the false notion that Wall Street con­trols the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party.

The War­ren wing’s influ­ence can be seen in the par­ty’s recent leg­isla­tive and pol­i­cy wins. For exam­ple, the recent­ly enact­ed Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act — which Kent assailed as bad pol­i­cy dur­ing the debate — raised tax­es on the coun­try’s biggest cor­po­ra­tions, not some­thing Wall Street want­ed and not some­thing that any Repub­li­can Con­gress going back decades has been will­ing to do.

The Biden-Har­ris admin­is­tra­tion’s empow­er­ing stu­dent debt relief plan, which will help mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, would not have hap­pened with­out the pas­sion­ate advo­ca­cy of Sen­a­tor War­ren and the War­ren wing either.

And, with respect to avoid­ing end­less for­eign wars, it must be not­ed that a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pres­i­dent made the deci­sion to with­draw from Afghanistan and take the heat for the inevitable fall­out. When talk­ing about Afghanistan, Kent likes to blast Biden for how the with­draw­al was imple­ment­ed with­out giv­ing Biden any cred­it what­so­ev­er for hav­ing got­ten it done, some­thing his idol Don­ald Trump did not man­age to do dur­ing his time in the Oval Office.

The debate end­ed with two very dif­fer­ent clos­ing statements.

Glue­senkamp Perez told those watch­ing she wants to be a prob­lem solver, reject­ing extrem­ism and divi­sive­ness. “We do not have enough peo­ple in Con­gress who believe in fix­ing things, who believe in work­ing across the aisle,” she said.

“I am not your typ­i­cal can­di­date for Con­gress. I am def­i­nite­ly not a typ­i­cal Demo­c­ra­t­ic [can­di­date], and I am so grate­ful to have the sup­port of so many inde­pen­dents and Repub­li­cans who are putting patri­o­tism above par­ti­san­ship because that is the only way we are gonna get out of this mess.”

“We can’t have two more years of just anoth­er vote for Nan­cy Pelosi and for Joe Biden,” Kent said when it was his turn. (He name checked Pelosi and Biden more than once.) “I’m going there to pro­vide a check and a bal­ance on that agenda.”

The duel­ing can­di­dates briefly greet­ed each oth­er onstage before going their sep­a­rate ways. They are slat­ed to debate again next month.

Monday, September 26th, 2022

Are we a January 5th nation, or a January 6th nation? We Americans must decide, Senator Raphael Warnock tells Seattle crowd

The events of Jan­u­ary 5th, 2021 yield­ed a small, cogent piece of evi­dence that the promise of Amer­i­ca is slow­ly being ful­filled: The senior min­is­ter of Ebe­neez­er Bap­tist Church in Atlanta, the pul­pit of Mar­tin Luther King Senior and Mar­tin Luther King Junior, now sits as a U.S. Sen­a­tor from Georgia.

Sen­a­tor Raphael Warnock is a top Repub­li­can tar­get this Novem­ber and was in Seat­tle on Sun­day for a brief fundrais­ing for­ay. Such are the man’s respon­si­bil­i­ties, as sen­a­tor and pas­tor, that the event for givers was repeat­ed­ly post­poned, but final­ly held on a drop-dead gor­geous day at a home on Lake Washington.

Senator Raphael Warnock makes a reelection pitch

Sen­a­tor Raphael Warnock explains how the Unit­ed States would ben­e­fit from an expand­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic U.S. Sen­ate major­i­ty and con­tin­ued Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol of the U.S. House (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

“I’m on to you: You tell the rest of the coun­try it’s dark out here and rains all the time,” joked Warnock.

Preach­ers begin with humor, but Warnock got serious.

The senator-reverend’s way of thank­ing donors was to raise spir­its of what remains pos­si­ble in this coun­try, and the role of an enlight­ened gov­ern­ment in mak­ing that possible.

He grew up the son of an auto mechan­ic in pub­lic hous­ing as the eleventh of twelve children.

He cred­its the Upward Bound pro­gram with get­ting him col­lege ready and cred­its Pell Grants and stu­dent loans with allow­ing him to attend More­house College.

He would go on to earn a master’s degree and doc­tor­ate in phi­los­o­phy from Union The­o­log­i­cal Seminary.

Over thir­ty years lat­er, after a spe­cial elec­tion put two Geor­gia Democ­rats in the Sen­ate, and flipped con­trol, Warnock found him­self in the White House, plead­ing with Pres­i­dent Biden for stu­dent loan forgiveness.

Biden decid­ed to offer $10,000 in relief, but Warnock believes he helped per­suade our 46th pres­i­dent to raise relief to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

The theme of his remarks on Sun­day: Pub­lic office allows you to work at close quar­ters to make good things hap­pen. The Unit­ed States expe­ri­ences “a pover­ty not of resources but of moral imag­i­na­tion,” Warnock argued, and is “a nation that has neglect­ed itself.” Exam­ples: creaky water sys­tems in minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties, and a lack of broad­band access for many of the nation’s poor.

The 2022 elec­tion, said Warnock, will make a mas­sive difference.

Democ­rats in the Sen­ate suc­ceed­ed in putting a Child Tax Cred­it into Biden’s Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan, to which Warnock attrib­ut­es a forty per­cent reduc­tion in child pover­ty. A Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled Con­gress would extend it.

The Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act put a $2,000 cap on drug costs to seniors.

Medicare can now nego­ti­ate drug prices with Big Pharma.

The bill also capped costs for seniors on insulin. “If we can hold my seat and get a cou­ple more, we can cap insulin costs for every­body,” said Warnock.

“I’m here because we have more to do,” said Warnock.

Seattle crowd listens to Senator Raphael Warnock

An upbeat crowd turned out on a gor­geous, sun­ny Sun­day morn­ing in Seat­tle to sup­port Sen­a­tor Warnock (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

The sen­a­tor stressed par­tic­u­lars, what Democ­rats have man­aged to accom­plish in a Sen­ate divid­ed 50–50 with Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris show­ing up to break ties.

But Warnock backed up to sur­vey the big pic­ture, dwelling on two days in win­ter. The dual Sen­ate runoff elec­tions in Geor­gia held on Jan­u­ary 5th, 2021 were neces­si­tat­ed by a state law requir­ing win­ing can­di­dates to get fifty per­cent of the vote.

The Repub­li­cans (David Per­due and Kel­ly Loef­fler) had come out ahead in the Novem­ber vote, but both fell short of a majority.

Wall-to-wall TV com­mer­cials sat­u­rat­ed local Geor­gia TV chan­nels in Decem­ber. Don­ald Trump came to Geor­gia, sup­pos­ed­ly to boost Per­due and Loef­fler, but main­ly to attack Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy. Elec­tion Day saw Warnock and Jon Ossoff win both Sen­ate seats from the Peachtree State. Warnock was elect­ed to fill out an unex­pired term, so he had to turn around and run again this year.

“We got the last laugh but we’ve been doing the work for a long time,” said Warnock. Fly­ing to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., he was del­uged with net­work inter­views, jok­ing: “I knew I had arrived when I went on ‘The View’ with Whoopi Goldberg.”

It was, of course, Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021, with a mob assem­bled at the White House, hear­ing fiery speech­es from Don­ald Trump and e‑New York May­or Rudy Giu­liani, and then march­ing on the U.S. Capi­tol to which Warnock and Ossoff had just been sent to serve. The insur­rec­tion and bid to over­turn the 2020 elec­tion remains a chill­ing episode in the Amer­i­can experience.

We will, and should, nev­er for­get Jan­u­ary 6th. But Warnock chal­lenged his lis­ten­ers to remem­ber what hap­pened in Geor­gia on Jan­u­ary 5th.

A state once the bas­tion of seg­re­ga­tion, home to seg­re­ga­tion­ist strate­gists Sen­a­tors Richard Rus­sell and Her­man Tal­madge, sent an African-Amer­i­can and a young Jew­ish guy to rep­re­sent them in the world’s great­est delib­er­a­tive body.

“We are a Jan­u­ary 6th nation, and we are a Jan­u­ary 5th nation,” said Warnock.

“We must choose who we are.”

Such are the stakes in 2022.

Warnock did not men­tion his Repub­li­can foe Her­schel Walk­er, a Trump-backed ultra MAGA Repub­li­can who has lied about his edu­ca­tion, his busi­ness record, his char­i­ta­ble dona­tions and even the num­ber of chil­dren he has sired (while cham­pi­oning what he says are fam­i­ly values).

Trump is unleash­ing mon­ey from his warch­est to back Walker.

“2022 is going to be the moment we save our democ­ra­cy,” ex‑U.S. Ambas­sador to Switzer­land Suzie LeVine said in urg­ing the assem­bled crowd to give more.

On the Sen­ate floor, just before the vote to con­firm the coun­try’s newest U.S. Supreme Court Jus­tice, Ketan­ji Brown Jack­son, Warnock and Sen­a­tor Cory Book­er, D.-New Jer­sey, were talk­ing to Vice Pres­i­dent Harris.

“She would not even be sit­ting here (for con­fir­ma­tion)” if Repub­li­cans still con­trolled the place, the Vice Pres­i­dent told them.

She chal­lenged Warnock to write a let­ter to his two daugh­ters, explain­ing what was being accom­plished that day, con­fir­ma­tion of the first African Amer­i­can woman to serve on the high court.

Har­ris pulled out paper to which Warnock put pen.

He had made a dif­fer­ence, and on a bright and sun­ny Sun­day, reflect­ed: “Leg­is­la­tion at the end of the day is a let­ter to your children.”

Sunday, September 25th, 2022

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (September 19th-23rd)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues on July 29th and dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Sep­tem­ber 23rd, 2022.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION REFORM ACT: The House on Sep­tem­ber 21st passed the Pres­i­den­tial Elec­tion Reform Act (H.R. 8873), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Zoe Lof­gren, D‑California. The bill would make numer­ous changes to Con­gress’s pro­ce­dures for reg­is­ter­ing the Elec­toral Col­lege votes for pres­i­dent, includ­ing requir­ing sup­port from one-third of the mem­bers of both the Sen­ate and House for an objec­tion to the Elec­toral Col­lege vote to be heard.

Lof­gren said: “This bill will make it hard­er to con­vince peo­ple that they have the right to over­throw the elec­tion.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rod­ney Davis, R‑Illinois, said the exist­ing Elec­toral Count Act was an ade­quate law for allow­ing politi­cians “to raise con­sti­tu­tion­al objec­tions to state elec­toral slates if they deter­mine some­thing may be improp­er.” The vote was 229 yeas to 203 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beutler

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

STUDENT LOAN RELIEF: The House on Sep­tem­ber 21st passed the Joint Con­sol­i­da­tion Loan Sep­a­ra­tion Act (S. 1098), spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Mark Warn­er, D‑Virginia The bill would allow two joint fed­er­al stu­dent loan bor­row­ers to peti­tion the Edu­ca­tion Depart­ment to split the joint loan into two sep­a­rate loans.

A sup­port­er, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bob­by Scott, D‑Virginia, said: “The bill pro­vides a path­way for an indi­vid­ual to apply to sep­a­rate a loan from a spouse, a cur­rent spouse or for­mer spouse, includ­ing in the event of an absen­tee or unre­spon­sive spouse, for an act of vio­lence or eco­nom­ic abuse.”

An oppo­nent, Rep. Vir­ginia Foxx, R‑North Car­oli­na, said it would give a joint bor­row­er the abil­i­ty to “use this new leg­is­la­tion as a weapon” by leav­ing the spouse with the bal­ance remain­ing in the sep­a­rat­ed loan.

The vote was 232 yeas to 193 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beutler

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

LAW ENFORCEMENT GRANTS FOR SMALL DEPARTMENTS: The House on Sep­tem­ber 22nd passed the Invest to Pro­tect Act (H.R. 6448), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Josh Got­theimer, D‑New Jer­sey, to have the Jus­tice Depart­ment award com­mu­ni­ty-ori­ent­ed polic­ing grants to local gov­ern­ment law enforce­ment agen­cies with few­er than 200 offi­cers. Got­theimer said of the need for more fund­ing: “We must ensure that local police depart­ments across our coun­try have what they need to recruit and retain the finest offi­cers, pro­vide nec­es­sary train­ing, and invest in pro­vid­ing men­tal health resources for our officers.”

A bill oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Jor­dan, R‑Ohio, said ample Jus­tice Depart­ment grant pro­grams for local polic­ing were already available.

The vote was 360 yeas to 64 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 not voting

MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT GRANTS: The House on Sep­tem­ber 22nd passed the Men­tal Health Jus­tice Act (H.R. 8542), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Katie Porter, D‑California, to estab­lish a grant pro­gram for state and local gov­ern­ments to pro­vide men­tal health treat­ments instead of law enforce­ment respons­es to peo­ple with behav­ioral health problems.

Porter said: “When we send police to peo­ple in cri­sis, we fail to get those peo­ple des­per­ate­ly need­ed health­care, and we take law enforce­ment away from tack­ling the vio­lent crime that they are trained to take on. This hurts every­one in our com­mu­ni­ty.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kel­ly Arm­strong, R‑North Dako­ta, said deploy­ing men­tal health offi­cials instead of police “will endan­ger the men­tal health pro­fes­sion­al, the sus­pect, the per­son expe­ri­enc­ing the men­tal health cri­sis, and the per­son who called 911” due to being in danger.

The vote was 223 yeas to 206 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beutler

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

VIOLENCE PREVENTION GRANTS: The House on Sep­tem­ber 22nd passed the Break the Cycle of Vio­lence Act (H.R. 4118), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steven Hors­ford, D‑Nevada. The bill would direct the Health and Human Ser­vices Depart­ment to issue grants to com­mu­ni­ties dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly impact­ed by vio­lence, includ­ing homi­cides, and cre­ate sev­er­al enti­ties relat­ed to the grants effort. Hors­ford said the mul­ti­ple bil­lions of dol­lars of grants autho­rized by the bill “will invest in proven, com­mu­ni­ty-based vio­lence inter­ven­tion pro­grams to build safer com­mu­ni­ties.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Gaetz, R‑Florida, said he object­ed to the grants because “the police pow­er is not a pow­er of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, it is a pow­er of our state and local governments.”

The vote was 220 yeas to 207 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

GRANTS TO FIGHT VIOLENT CRIME: The House on Sep­tem­ber 22nd passed the Vio­lent Inci­dent Clear­ance and Tech­no­log­i­cal Inves­tiga­tive Meth­ods Act (H.R. 5768), spon­sored by Rep. Val But­ler Dem­ings, D‑Florida, to estab­lish a Jus­tice Depart­ment grant pro­gram for state and local law enforce­ment agencies.

Dem­ings said that by help­ing police inves­ti­gate vio­lent crime, the grants would help “make sure that our men and women in blue — remem­ber, back the blue — have the sup­port they need to do their jobs.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tom McClin­tock, R‑California, ques­tioned whether grants issued by “the increas­ing­ly cor­rupt and politi­cized Depart­ment of Jus­tice” would improve law enforce­ment. The vote was 250 yeas to 178 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler and Dan Newhouse

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 13 aye votes, 4 nay votes

Read More »

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

Poll Watch: Elway finds solid lead for Murray; Steve Hobbs barely ahead of Julie Anderson

Crosscut/Elway today pub­lished find­ings from a statewide poll look­ing ahead to the Novem­ber 2022 gen­er­al elec­tion that sug­gest Democ­rats remain poised to do well, as they showed they were capa­ble of in last mon­th’s Top Two election.

Notably, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray leads Repub­li­can chal­lenger Tiffany Smi­ley 50% to 37%, with 12% undecided.

Those num­bers are almost iden­ti­cal to our Novem­ber 2021 statewide poll, which found Mur­ray at 50%, Smi­ley at 37%, and 13% unde­cid­ed. In our sub­se­quent statewide polls, Mur­ray has main­tained an advan­tage over Smi­ley, always gar­ner­ing major­i­ty sup­port. Like­wise, in last mon­th’s Top Two elec­tion, Mur­ray won a major­i­ty. She is on track for reelec­tion in a few weeks.

Poll­ster Stu­art Elway char­ac­ter­ized this year’s races as hav­ing “tight­ened up, which is typ­i­cal at this time of year as more vot­ers start to focus on the election.”

How­ev­er, our own polling sug­gests the tight­en­ing in Wash­ing­ton State’s U.S. Sen­ate race hap­pened months ago. We’ve asked about the U.S. Sen­ate race four times this cycle so far: in May of 2021, Novem­ber of 2021, Feb­ru­ary of 2022, and June of 2022. Mur­ray’s lead was six­teen points to start, dropped to thir­teen in Novem­ber of 2021, shrank to nine in Feb­ru­ary, and widened to eleven in June.

If Mur­ray’s advan­tage is indeed about thir­teen points at this junc­ture, that is a bet­ter spread for her than what we have found in either of our polls this year.

Tiffany Smi­ley had plen­ty of com­pe­ti­tion to take on Pat­ty Mur­ray in the August Top Two elec­tion, but in the gen­er­al elec­tion she’ll be Mur­ray’s sole opponent.

If we add up the votes received by every can­di­date iden­ti­fy­ing in some way as a Demo­c­rat last month (includ­ing Mur­ray, of course) and then com­pare those with the votes received by every can­di­date iden­ti­fy­ing in some way as a Repub­li­can (includ­ing Smi­ley), we see a spread of between thir­teen and four­teen points (55.3% for all Democ­rats, 41.47% for all Republicans).

A thir­teen point spread in Wash­ing­ton’s U.S. Sen­ate race a lit­tle over a month after cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is entire­ly con­sis­tent with what we saw in the actu­al elec­tion a few weeks ago that mil­lions of peo­ple vot­ed in. There won’t be a “not sure” option on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot, of course, but it won’t be sur­pris­ing if Mur­ray gets some of those unde­cid­ed vot­ers and Smi­ley gets some.

Mur­ray’s mar­gin over Smi­ley may not as be as great as her mar­gin over Repub­li­can (now inde­pen­dent) Chris Vance in 2016, but she appears on course to pre­vail more com­fort­ably over Smi­ley than she did over Dino Rossi in 2010.

Since we don’t know the future, we can’t say what will hap­pen, only what might hap­pen, but this does seem like the most prob­a­ble scenario.

Two Repub­li­can-aligned poll­sters have recent­ly put out data show­ing Smi­ley with­in sin­gle dig­its of Mur­ray. This new find­ing from Crosscut/Elway con­firms that those sur­veys are out­liers. The Trafal­gar sur­vey, in par­tic­u­lar, is just not cred­i­ble, as I explained here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate a few weeks ago.

Mean­while, on the gener­ic bal­lot, Elway found that Democ­rats con­tin­ue to enjoy an advan­tage. “Of those sur­veyed, 49% said they want­ed Democ­rats to keep con­trol of Con­gress, includ­ing 39% who said that was ‘impor­tant.’ Anoth­er 41% said they’d like Repub­li­cans to take at least one cham­ber of Con­gress, includ­ing 29% who called it ‘impor­tant’ to do so,” Cross­cut’s Joseph O’Sul­li­van report­ed.

The spe­cial elec­tion for Sec­re­tary of State is a dif­fer­ent sto­ry than the U.S. Sen­ate race. There, Crosscut/Elway found Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent Steve Hobbs bare­ly ahead of inde­pen­dent chal­lenger Julie Ander­son, the cur­rent Pierce Coun­ty Audi­tor. Hobbs got 31%, while Ander­son got 29% and 40% were undecided.

Ander­son end­ed up as Hobbs’ gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent due to Repub­li­can vote-split­ting. Repub­li­can can­di­dates Mark Milos­cia, Bob Hag­glu­nd, and Kei­th Wag­oner frac­tured the Repub­li­can vote so effec­tive­ly that they can­celled each oth­er out, set­ting up a gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot with no Repub­li­can stan­dard bear­er on it.

Hobbs and Ander­son are unknown to many vot­ers across Wash­ing­ton in part because they are run­ning statewide in a gen­er­al elec­tion for the first time.

Hobbs, appoint­ed by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee last autumn, is the first Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sec­re­tary of State in more than fifty years. To retain the office, he needs to at a min­i­mum con­sol­i­date the sup­port of Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Demo­c­ra­t­ic-lean­ing vot­ers, who are a major­i­ty of the elec­torate in Washington.

Hobbs received only 42% of the vote in Sno­homish Coun­ty, home to the 44th Dis­trict he used to rep­re­sent, and only 30% of the vote in Pierce Coun­ty, which Ander­son rep­re­sents, in the Top Two elec­tion. He did much bet­ter in King Coun­ty, gar­ner­ing over 55% of the vote against Ander­son and six others.

But as Kim Wyman showed repeat­ed­ly, it’s pos­si­ble to win an elec­tion for Sec­re­tary of State while los­ing King Coun­ty. She did it three times, in fact: in 2012, in 2016, and in 2020. Ander­son will try to use Wyman’s elec­toral recipe — Slade Gor­ton’s boa con­stric­tor strat­e­gy — to upset Hobbs this year.

How­ev­er, Hobbs can hold Ander­son off if he per­forms well enough in the state’s swing coun­ties, which include not only Pierce and Sno­homish, but also What­com, Skag­it, Island, Kit­sap, and Thurston. Sno­homish will be cru­cial: Hobbs is from there and Sno­homish can be eas­i­er for a Demo­c­rat to cap­ture than Pierce is.

We at NPI will be polling both of these con­tests next month in our final statewide poll of the cycle with Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling. We under­stand that KING5, The Seat­tle Times, WSU, and the UW also have one more statewide sur­vey planned in con­junc­tion with Sur­veyUSA. So we will be get­ting at least two more cred­i­ble dat­sets for each of these con­tests before Gen­er­al Elec­tion Day 2022.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

A close contest in WA-03: Marie Gluesenkamp Perez narrowly trails Joe Kent, NPI poll finds

Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­gres­sion­al hope­ful Marie Glue­senkamp Perez is run­ning a com­pet­i­tive cam­paign against ultra MAGA Repub­li­can rival Joe Kent in Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict and is one of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s strongest con­tenders for an upset vic­to­ry in the 2022 midterms, a new poll con­duct­ed this week for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling suggests.

Only three per­cent­age points sep­a­rat­ed the can­di­dates in the sur­vey’s final head-to-head matchup, with Kent gar­ner­ing 47% and Glue­senkamp Perez 44%. 9% are not sure. Those fig­ures are almost iden­ti­cal to respons­es to the ini­tial head-to-head ques­tion, in which Kent got 48% and Glue­senkamp Perez got 44%.

Visualization of NPI's WA-03 final head-to-head poll finding

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s WA-03 final head-to-head poll finding

Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd is a solid­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict cur­rent­ly rep­re­sent­ed by Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, whose reelec­tion cam­paign for a fifth term end­ed last month when a major­i­ty of Repub­li­can vot­ers aban­doned her for sev­er­al MAGA rivals. One of those, Joe Kent, nabbed the sec­ond place spot for the gen­er­al elec­tion after late bal­lots were count­ed, buoyed by an endorse­ment from Don­ald Trump.

Glue­senkamp Perez, mean­while, fin­ished first among the nine can­di­dates with the unit­ed back­ing of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, ensur­ing that Democ­rats would not be with­out a stan­dard bear­er list­ed on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot like Repub­li­cans were in the 10th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict in 2020, in the Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor’s race that same year, and in this cycle’s spe­cial elec­tion for Sec­re­tary of State.

Her­rera Beut­ler is one of ten House Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to impeach Don­ald Trump after the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion, along with col­league Dan New­house from the adjoin­ing 4th. While New­house man­aged to dis­patch all of his ultra MAGA oppo­nents in the Top Two elec­tion (includ­ing the odi­ous Loren Culp), Her­rera Beut­ler was unable to hold off Kent despite a decent Elec­tion Night lead.

Now, Kent is the only Repub­li­can left standing.

His extreme posi­tions — sup­port for a nation­wide abor­tion ban with no excep­tions, admi­ra­tion for Vladimir Putin’s mur­der­ous regime in Moscow, unques­tion­ing loy­al­ty to Don­ald Trump, sol­i­dar­i­ty with the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion­ists, and enthu­si­asm for dis­man­tling the FBI — make him a dan­ger to Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy in the eyes of pro­gres­sive Democ­rats and even some Republicans.

Glue­senkamp Perez, on the oth­er hand, sup­ports pol­i­cy direc­tions that most vot­ers in the 3rd Dis­trict sup­port. She may not be a Repub­li­can, but she has declared that she is build­ing a cam­paign that is inclu­sive and wel­comes the sup­port of Repub­li­cans who want effec­tive, hon­est, and eth­i­cal representation.

For Glue­senkamp Perez’s cam­paign to suc­ceed, she’ll need to gain the trust of at least some Repub­li­can vot­ers, because there aren’t enough Demo­c­ra­t­ic and true inde­pen­dent vot­ers resid­ing in the dis­trict to car­ry her to victory.

In its redrawn form, the 3rd vot­ed nar­row­ly for Don­ald Trump in 2020 along with Loren Culp for Gov­er­nor and Repub­li­cans for down­bal­lot offices like Trea­sur­er, Audi­tor, and Attor­ney Gen­er­al (all of whom lost statewide). Her­rera Beut­ler, mean­while, cap­tured 56.37% of the vote last cycle in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

A solid foundation to build on in the October homestretch

Despite being a late-declar­ing first time can­di­date who had prac­ti­cal­ly no name recog­ni­tion when she decid­ed to run for Con­gress in Feb­ru­ary, Glue­senkamp Perez is head­ing into Octo­ber in a posi­tion to seri­ous­ly con­tend. That much is evi­dent just from the ini­tial head-to-head ques­tion we asked of our respondents:

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive were being held today, would you vote for Demo­c­rat Marie Glue­senkamp Perez or Repub­li­can Joe Kent?

ANSWERS:

  • Marie Glue­senkamp Perez: 44%
  • Joe Kent: 48%
  • Not sure: 9%

After the Top Two elec­tion (in which she received 31.01% of the vote), Glue­senkamp Perez’s cam­paign com­mis­sioned an inter­nal poll from Expe­di­tion Strate­gies to ascer­tain its posi­tion and chances of vic­to­ry in November.

The cam­paign released some of its find­ings ear­ly this month, report­ing that Expe­di­tion Strate­gies found Glue­senkamp Perez nar­row­ly ahead of Kent, 47% to 45%, “before vot­ers are primed with any addi­tion­al information.”

While our sur­vey did not find a lead for Glue­senkamp Perez like the cam­paign’s poll­ster did, we can con­firm that this is a com­pet­i­tive race.

Thanks to this project, we now have mul­ti­ple data points sug­gest­ing the can­di­dates are pret­ty close to each oth­er about a month before bal­lots drop, with each hav­ing more than forty per­cent sup­port but less than fifty percent.

The Expe­di­tion Strate­gies poll con­sist­ed of inter­views with 400 like­ly gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers sur­veyed August 25th-30th. It has a mar­gin of error of +/- 4.9%.

Our poll con­sist­ed of inter­views with 834 like­ly 2022 vot­ers who were sur­veyed from Sep­tem­ber 19th — 20th by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling. 50% par­tic­i­pat­ed via land­line and 50% par­tic­i­pat­ed online via invi­ta­tion sent through text mes­sag­ing. The sur­vey has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.4% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy, includ­ing a break­down of who took the poll, please see this project method­ol­o­gy ref­er­ence page.

Even more evidence: Gluesenkamp Perez is already outperforming the top of the ticket

Since the 3rd is a dis­trict with a Repub­li­can lean, Glue­senkamp Perez will need at least some Repub­li­can vot­ers to cross over and sup­port her, as mentioned.

Any­one who doubts that Glue­senkamp Perez can pull this off and become the first Demo­c­rat to win this dis­trict in more than a decade should con­sid­er that she’s already part of the way there. Reveal­ing­ly, our sur­vey shows that Glue­senkamp Perez is out­per­form­ing Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, the well known Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date in this cycle’s mar­quee top of the tick­et statewide con­test, while Joe Kent is sig­nif­i­cant­ly under­per­form­ing Mur­ray’s Repub­li­can chal­lenger Tiffany Smiley.

Take a look:

QUESTION: If the gen­er­al elec­tion for Unit­ed States Sen­ate were being held today, would you vote for Demo­c­rat Pat­ty Mur­ray or Repub­li­can Tiffany Smiley?

ANSWERS:

  • Pat­ty Mur­ray: 42%
  • Tiffany Smi­ley: 53%
  • Not sure: 5%

Just to reit­er­ate: These per­cent­ages are for WA-03 only. Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray has led Repub­li­can chal­lenger Tiffany Smi­ley in every statewide poll we’ve com­mis­sioned this elec­tion cycle, includ­ing our most recent poll in June of 2022. Mur­ray won the Top Two elec­tion and fin­ished eigh­teen points ahead of Smiley.

It’s a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence: Smi­ley has an eleven point lead over Mur­ray in the 3rd, but Glue­senkamp Perez starts out only four points behind Kent, thanks in part to sup­port from Repub­li­can-lean­ing vot­ers who iden­ti­fy as independent.

It’s also worth not­ing that more WA-03 vot­ers are unde­cid­ed about who they’ll sup­port in their dis­tric­t’s U.S. House race than the statewide U.S. Sen­ate race.

Reproductive rights: A key issue for Gluesenkamp Perez

Wash­ing­ton State has long had a rep­u­ta­tion as a bas­tion for repro­duc­tive rights with­in the Unit­ed States, hav­ing vot­ed decades ago to legal­ize abor­tion care. That’s not only true at the statewide lev­el, it’s true at the dis­trict lev­el, too, in most of the state’s ten con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts. The 3rd is no exception.

We found sup­port both for the Wom­en’s Health Pro­tec­tion Act:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose the Women’s Health Pro­tec­tion Act, which would give Amer­i­cans the legal right to deter­mine whether and when to end a preg­nan­cy, and to pro­tect a health care provider’s abil­i­ty to pro­vide repro­duc­tive health ser­vices, includ­ing abor­tion services?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 57% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 47%
    • Some­what sup­port: 10%
  • Oppose: 36%
    • Some­what oppose: 10%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 26%
  • Not sure: 7%

… and for Perez’s stat­ed posi­tion on repro­duc­tive rights:

QUESTION: Marie Glue­senkamp Perez says that if elect­ed, she will work to pro­tect abor­tion rights in Con­gress and will oppose those who seek to crim­i­nal­ize repro­duc­tive health­care. Joe Kent says he sup­ports a nation­al abor­tion ban with no excep­tions, includ­ing rape, incest, or the life of the moth­er. Which candidate’s posi­tion do you prefer?

ANSWERS:

  • Pre­fer Marie Glue­senkamp Perez’s posi­tion: 52%
  • Pre­fer Joe Ken­t’s posi­tion: 33%
  • Not sure: 14%

We think the above is one of the most impor­tant find­ings from this survey.

Glue­senkamp Perez’s most res­o­nant crit­i­cism of Joe Ken­t’s ultra MAGA can­di­da­cy might well be his unabashed, extreme, and dan­ger­ous posi­tion oppos­ing repro­duc­tive rights, which only a third of our respon­dents said they preferred.

3rd District voters also support the PRO Act, the For the People Act, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Our sur­vey also found that vot­ers in the 3rd are in agree­ment with Glue­senkamp Perez and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty on a num­ber of oth­er issues.

For exam­ple, a major­i­ty of respon­dents back the PRO Act:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose amend­ing fed­er­al labor laws to give more work­ers cur­rent­ly clas­si­fied as con­trac­tors the right to col­lec­tive­ly bar­gain for high­er wages and bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions, pre­vent employ­ers from hold­ing manda­to­ry meet­ings for the pur­pose of dis­cour­ag­ing their employ­ees from union­iz­ing, and tough­en penal­ties on com­pa­nies that retal­i­ate against work­ers who try to form a union?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 53% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 35%
    • Some­what sup­port: 18%
  • Oppose: 26%
    • Some­what oppose: 14%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 12%
  • Not sure: 21%

… and key pro­vi­sions in the George Floyd Jus­tice in Polic­ing Act:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose cre­at­ing a new fed­er­al law to hold law enforce­ment account­able for mis­con­duct in court, require police depart­ments to report inap­pro­pri­ate use of force and racial pro­fil­ing inci­dents to a nation­al reg­istry, and reform police train­ing and poli­cies to make civil­ian-law enforce­ment inter­ac­tions safer?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 61% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 41%
    • Some­what sup­port: 20%
  • Oppose: 25%
    • Some­what oppose: 11%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 14%
  • Not sure: 14%

… and key pro­vi­sions in the For The Peo­ple Act:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose chang­ing the Unit­ed States’ elec­tion laws to expand vot­ing rights, change cam­paign finance rules to lessen the influ­ence of mon­ey in pol­i­tics, ban par­ti­san ger­ry­man­der­ing, and cre­ate new ethics rules for fed­er­al officeholders?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 63% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 49%
    • Some­what sup­port: 14%
  • Oppose: 20%
    • Some­what oppose: 8%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 12%
  • Not sure: 17%

These find­ings are a good reminder that even Repub­li­can and Repub­li­can-lean­ing vot­ers sup­port pro­gres­sive ideas on a range of fronts, espe­cial­ly improv­ing pub­lic safe­ty and strength­en­ing our democracy.

Final thoughts: Democrats have an opening in WA-03 this year. Will they seize an opportunity to go on offense?

In both 2018 and 2020, Democ­rats sought to put WA-03 in play and oust Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler with Car­olyn Long. While those efforts were unsuc­cess­ful, this cycle has demon­strat­ed the truth of the old polit­i­cal adage that there’s always anoth­er elec­tion. It’s Sep­tem­ber 2022 and Her­rera Beut­ler is out… a vic­tim of the ultra MAGA purge of Repub­li­cans deemed insuf­fi­cient­ly loy­al to Don­ald Trump.

The con­test in WA-03 is now a race for an open seat. Democ­rats have a relat­able young can­di­date who owns a small busi­ness and is rais­ing a child with her hus­band in a rur­al part of the dis­trict, while the only Repub­li­can left on the bal­lot is a neo­fas­cist with a dark and dis­turb­ing agen­da for the country.

Has the 3rd ever seen two can­di­dates who are more unlike each other?

Because can­di­date elec­tions turn on iden­ti­ty and trust, it’s not enough that lots of Glue­senkamp Perez’s issue posi­tions mir­ror those of majori­ties of vot­ers in the dis­trict. She must with­stand an inevitable bar­rage of Repub­li­can attacks against her can­di­da­cy, and win the sup­port of vot­ers who don’t usu­al­ly vote Democratic.

Can she do it?

We won’t know until Novem­ber, but the num­bers from the final head-to-head ques­tion sug­gest she heads into Octo­ber with a resilient base of support.

Ear­li­er, you saw that Glue­senkamp Perez starts out at 44%, with Kent at 48%. Strik­ing­ly, in the final head-to-head ques­tion, Glue­senkamp Perez’s sup­port is unchanged, with Kent slip­ping a sin­gle per­cent­age point to 47% and the per­cent­age of unde­cid­ed vot­ers also unchanged:

QUESTION: Hav­ing heard more about the can­di­dates and their posi­tions, let me ask again: If the elec­tion for Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive were being held today, would you vote for Demo­c­rat Marie Glue­senkamp Perez or Repub­li­can Joe Kent?

ANSWERS:

  • Marie Glue­senkamp Perez: 44%
  • Joe Kent: 47%
  • Not sure: 9%

The phrase Hav­ing heard more about the can­di­dates and their posi­tions refers to a sequence of ques­tions we asked con­cern­ing the can­di­dates’ posi­tions on issues (one of which is includ­ed above) as well as pub­lic state­ments they’ve made about each oth­er that we test­ed. We gave a selec­tion of each can­di­date’s crit­i­cisms of their oppo­nent an equal amount of space in our survey.

Notably, Ken­t’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Glue­senkamp Perez as “a rad­i­cal, pro-abor­tion extrem­ist who would be anoth­er reli­able vote for the Biden-Pelosi AOC agen­da…” (lan­guage we took from Ken­t’s cam­paign mate­ri­als) did­n’t put so much as a dent in Glue­senkamp Perez’s sup­port, as the last find­ing in the sequence shows.

The 44% who back Glue­senkamp Perez seem com­mit­ted to her can­di­da­cy. The vast major­i­ty of vot­ers who say they’d vote for Kent also seem pret­ty com­mit­ted. That leaves the unde­cid­ed vot­ers. If Glue­senkamp Perez can win over enough of them, she can win this very unusu­al con­test. It won’t be easy… but a Demo­c­ra­t­ic vic­to­ry in WA-03 this cycle is an achiev­able objective.

About NPI’s research

New Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate read­er? Wel­come! If you’re not famil­iar with the work of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute (NPI), you may be inter­est­ed in know­ing more about how we go about our research. Our polling is:

Cred­i­ble. NPI has ten years of expe­ri­ence com­mis­sion­ing pub­lic opin­ion research in the Pacif­ic North­west. We work with trust­ed poll­sters like Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling of North Car­oli­na and Change Research of Cal­i­for­nia that have a track record of excel­lence and are com­mit­ted to the sci­en­tif­ic method. We work extreme­ly hard to ask neu­tral ques­tions of rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ples so we can find out what peo­ple real­ly think about can­di­date elec­tions, bal­lot mea­sures, issues, and offi­cials’ job per­for­mance. Cut­ting cor­ners and stack­ing the deck is against our ethos.

Inde­pen­dent. We design our own sur­veys, writ­ing the ques­tions our­selves, and avoid rely­ing on a sin­gle indi­vid­ual or enti­ty to fund our research projects. We also do not endorse can­di­dates, give mon­ey to can­di­dates, par­tic­i­pate in inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures, or engage in elec­tion­eer­ing for or against any candidate.

Accu­rate. Polls can’t pre­dict how elec­tions will turn out, but a prop­er­ly con­duct­ed poll can cre­ate an accu­rate snap­shot of pub­lic opin­ion at a crit­i­cal junc­ture in time, indi­cat­ing what might hap­pen. For example:

We wel­come com­ments, ques­tions, and media inquiries. Feel free to use our con­tact form to con­nect with us pri­vate­ly about this poll or any of our oth­er polls.

Monday, September 19th, 2022

Tiffany Smiley’s emails: Heavy on ultra MAGA cliches and feverish pleas for donations

The count of email fundrais­ing blasts from Repub­li­can Unit­ed States Sen­ate can­di­date Tiffany Smi­ley has risen to five a day, used to deliv­er repet­i­tive per­son­al mes­sages from Smi­ley, repeat­ed claims of finan­cial des­per­a­tion, and late­ly to put an ultra MAGA face on the campaign.

At one moment, the cam­paign claims: “The Wash­ing­ton Sen­ate race is now the #1 bat­tle­ground race in the coun­try. Regard­less to say, all eyes are on us.” Lat­er the same day, we hear despair from the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee (or her con­sul­tants): “I am try­ing hard to not let neg­a­tiv­i­ty creep in, but it’s incred­i­bly difficult.”

The real rea­son for despair is that top Sen­ate Repub­li­can Mitch McConnell is shov­el­ing more than $60 mil­lion into unex­pect­ed­ly dif­fi­cult con­tests to hold onto seats of retir­ing Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Rob Port­man and Pat Toomey in Ohio and Penn­syl­va­nia. Smi­ley has raised a lot of mon­ey but appears large­ly on her own.

The FiveThir­tyEight odd­s­mak­ers now give Democ­rats a sev­en­ty per­cent chance of hold­ing onto con­trol of the Sen­ate, and Smi­ley just a three per­cent chance of upset­ting Mur­ray. The real mar­quee races are in Ari­zona, Geor­gia, North Car­oli­na, Neva­da, Wis­con­sin, Penn­syl­va­nia and Ohio.

Still, the shock-and-awe vol­ume of Smi­ley emails pro­vide a use­ful tool for exam­in­ing fundrais­ing tac­tics in the age of the Internet.

In days gone by, con­gres­sion­al staff or cam­paign vol­un­teers would face a day­long or night-long task of get­ting out a mailing.

Against a back­drop of stale donuts and cold, con­gealed piz­za, envelopes would be stuffed with dire fore­casts if dol­lars were not donated.

Nowa­days, a fin­ger on the “send” but­ton blasts out appeals.

Themes can vary by the hour, but basic tech­niques are interchangeable.

Pro­voke fear and alarm, warn of car­toon vil­lain ene­mies, and con­vince donors that the small­est con­tri­bu­tion can make a big dif­fer­ence. Email blasts do not test the mind. They want mon­ey, and to get you on the mail­ing list.

Over the years, Pat­ty Mur­ray emails — as craft­ed by fundrais­er Tra­cy New­man — car­ry the inevitable kick­er: “Fight Back.” The sen­a­tor warns of Repub­li­cans plot­ting nefar­i­ous deeds and depicts the Repub­li­can poised to pour in mil­lions if her fundrais­ing fal­ters. This year, the Mur­ray mes­sage has been giv­en res­o­nance by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs deci­sion and Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Lind­sey Graham’s pro­posed nation­wide ban on abor­tions after fif­teen weeks..

Often, the bom­bard­ment deploys the candidate’s fam­i­ly and sur­ro­gates, all of whom dis­play a mag­i­cal abil­i­ty to stay on message.

Jay Inslee, Tru­di Inslee, and Tra­cy New­man have deliv­ered appears in the hours before cam­paign report­ing dead­lines. At one point, copies of paint­ings by the gov­er­nor were used as induce­ment to give.

Smiley’s cam­paign is email fundrais­ing on steroids. Increas­ing­ly, in keep­ing with the MAGA cul­ture, com­plaints are lev­eled against “polit­i­cal megadonors” (as if Repub­li­cans don’t have enough), “Biden’s busi­ness exec­u­tives,” “cor­po­rate elites,” “polit­i­cal elites” “big city bil­lion­aires” and “elite coastal donors.”

The themes can be sep­a­rat­ed out:

Ersatz des­per­a­tion: On Sat­ur­day night came a mes­sage, “We’re at risk of hav­ing to go off the air with Tiffany’s tele­vi­sion ads. We need a huge fundrais­ing blitz this after­noon in order to keep our ads up through the Gen­er­al Election.”

The appeal came as view­ers watched Smi­ley tele­vi­sion ads on Wash­ing­ton-Michi­gan State, Notre Dame-Cal and even Deep South foot­ball games tele­cast by ESPN and Fox. It’s nev­er pos­si­ble to get a fix on the campaign’s actu­al need.

On Sat­ur­day, the cam­paign was “$4,275 short of our crit­i­cal goal.”

A night ear­li­er, Smi­ley spoke of her “mid-month dead­line” and how “we came up $427 short of our crit­i­cal goal.”

Ersatz opti­mism: If you missed the movie “Twister,” the Smi­ley cam­paign offers a sub­sti­tute. At one moment, it appeals for donors to “make his­to­ry”. On Sun­day morn­ing, Smi­ley’s cam­paign wrote: “The lat­est polls in Wash­ing­ton show that my oppo­nent and I will be neck and neck and I’m get­ting ner­vous. We’re bare­ly trail­ing behind Mur­ray but I need your sup­port to cross the fin­ish line.”

A few days ear­li­er, the can­di­date was fes­s­ing up her deep­est feel­ings: “There’s tru­ly no one who believes in this cam­paign more than me, which is why it kills me to say I may have to call it quits.”

Ersatz pop­ulism: Ultra MAGA Repub­li­cans have embraced the notion they are per­se­cut­ed, an argu­ment dri­ven home relent­less­ly by right wing media.

“They” are out to get us, Repub­li­cans wail. “They” is big tech com­pa­nies, the “deep state” Wash­ing­ton, D.C., estab­lish­ment, “Demo­c­ra­t­ic elites”, “elite megadonors” and peo­ple liv­ing on the East and West Coasts.

The Smi­ley emails are tap­ping into sev­er­al of these veins.

When it comes to com­plain­ing, Tiffany Smi­ley is to Wash­ing­ton pol­i­tics what John McEn­roe was to ten­nis. Her cam­paign has gone after the Nation­al Foot­ball League, after it raised objec­tions to an ad called “Game Day” on ris­ing costs of food pop­u­lar at tail­gate par­ties. “Woke NFL wants to can­cel Tiffany’s ads,” said an appeal. The league was even giv­en a nefar­i­ous goal: “They want to stop Tiffany’s ad from appear­ing on the air­waves and can­cel her from win­ning in Washington.”

The press has fig­ured in.

Smi­ley is get­ting rave cov­er­age on FNC, most recent­ly a lov­ing Lau­ra Ingra­ham inter­view. She’s been on CNN. But that doesn’t deter demo­niz­ing. “Watch Tiffany Smi­ley call out Wash­ing­ton media over bla­tant media bias,” said a recent appeal.

Smi­ley want­ed the edi­tors of The Her­ald of Everett to con­duct a joint inter­view with the two Sen­ate can­di­dates. Mur­ray declined, so The Her­ald arranged for sep­a­rate inter­views. Smi­ley used the episode to raise the famil­iar cry that the Fourth Estate is out to get her. Of course, Fox has giv­en her exclu­sive coverage.

Richard Nixon used to define the lane-chang­ing aspects of the stan­dard Repub­li­can cam­paign tech­nique. Move right dur­ing the pri­ma­ry cam­paign, feed red meat to rouse the party’s base. Swing back to the “cen­ter” come gen­er­al elec­tion time, with themes keyed to inde­pen­dent swing voters.

The Smi­ley cam­paign makes a few nods to that approach, the first a promise that she is “pro-life,” but would not sup­port a nation­wide ban on abortions.

She uses anoth­er TV spot, keyed to school clo­sures dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, to advo­cate for high­er teacher salaries. Lan­guage ques­tion­ing elec­tion integri­ty van­ished from her web­site. Smi­ley has refused to offer specifics on key issues, notably in a reveal­ing pre-Top Two elec­tion Seat­tle Times interview.

The end­less emails deliv­er a dif­fer­ent mes­sage, of a can­di­date tack­ing to the right, pur­su­ing ultra MAGA Repub­li­can themes, and demo­niz­ing cat­e­gories of Amer­i­cans – even by where they live (e.g. “elite coastal donors”).

The Mur­ray reelec­tion cam­paign, in a can­ny move, began its tele­vi­sion adver­tis­ing in the spring, with the goal of defin­ing Smi­ley before the chal­lenger could get up on the air. It worked: Mur­ray led Smi­ley by nine­teen points last month.

Monday, September 19th, 2022

Democrats pursue 2022 sweep of 10th LD’s House seats with Navy veteran Clyde Shavers

In last mon­th’s Top Two elec­tion, Democ­rats in Wash­ing­ton State sur­prised Repub­li­cans and many in the media by demon­strat­ing that they’re in a posi­tion to not only hold onto their gains from the 2018 midterms, but have real oppor­tu­ni­ties to pick up seats they did­n’t win four or two years ago.

One of those is in the new­ly redrawn 10th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict — a slice of the state so close­ly divid­ed it sup­port­ed Joe Biden for Pres­i­dent and Loren Culp for Gov­er­nor in 2020. While the 10th has only vot­ed for a Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date for House twice since 2012 (State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dave Paul, in 2018 and 2020), Clyde Shavers’ per­for­mance in the Top Two sug­gests this year may be dif­fer­ent.

Shavers received a major­i­ty of the vote (51.91%) in the Top Two, sur­pass­ing Repub­li­can incum­bent Greg Gil­day, who received 47.94% of the vote.

Exact­ly 2,000 votes sep­a­rated the can­di­dates at certification.

The 10th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict encom­pass­es the entire­ty of Island Coun­ty and por­tions of north­west Sno­homish Coun­ty and south­west Skag­it County.

Notable cities in the dis­trict include Oak Har­bor, Mount Ver­non, Coupeville, and Lan­g­ley. As men­tioned, Repub­li­cans have won each of the dis­tric­t’s state House elec­tions since 2012 except for two. In 2018, and again in 2020, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dave Paul won the elec­tion for Posi­tion #2. Paul was able to secure a com­fort­able major­i­ty of votes again in last mon­th’s Top Two elec­tion.

Shavers, a Navy vet­er­an and envi­ron­men­tal lawyer, is vying for the 10th District’s oth­er seat against Gil­day, who is seek­ing anoth­er term in office.

I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak with Shavers last week to learn more about his leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties and vision for rep­re­sent­ing the 10th Leg­isla­tive District.

Shavers firm­ly believes that “run­ning for office, whether it’s local or fed­er­al, should not be the first entry to pub­lic ser­vice. It should be a con­tin­u­a­tion of…. that individual’s life­long dedication.”

Clyde Shavers

Clyde Shavers (Cam­paign photo)

From “the moment [I] left high school, [I] was all about what can I do for the greater good… where I was for­tu­nate to serve in the Navy… for about eight years.”

He explains that his dri­ve and ded­i­ca­tion to oth­ers comes from his fam­i­ly back­ground. “My dad served in the U.S. Marines and after that he served as a police offi­cer… I am from a fam­i­ly of teach­ers and police offi­cers, sher­iffs and nurses.”

Addi­tion­al­ly, “serv­ing under three Pres­i­dents, from Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, and Trump, and Biden while in the Mid­dle East and South­east Asia, real­ly kind of, to me, defined the impor­tance of good pol­i­tics… pol­i­tics that is all about the people.”

When asked about his leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties, Shavers first offered a robust defense of repro­duc­tive rights, which the Unit­ed States Supreme Court has been gutting.

“Our cam­paign is all about this right, this free­dom,” he said. “The over­turn­ing of Roe v. Wade is un-Amer­i­­can, and I think it real­ly shows to us that access to abor­tions and pre­ven­ta­tive and pre­na­tal care is always on the bal­lot.” He stressed that he is “the only pro-choice can­di­date run­ning for this position.”

The next issue Shavers iden­ti­fied as a pri­or­i­ty was afford­able housing.

He empha­sized that his pri­or­i­ties are informed by his life expe­ri­ences. “Afford­able hous­ing is very per­son­al for me. I am on the board for a home­less shel­ter called Skag­it Friend­ship House in Mount Ver­non and I thought to myself, Serv­ing on the board is not enough, I need to vol­un­teer… so, every week I cook food, and serve food, and I have this unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to sit down with these res­i­dents and under­stand their life sto­ries, see how I can help them and hope­ful­ly, in the state Leg­is­la­ture, pro­vide the resources and ser­vices that would ben­e­fit everyone.”

Anoth­er pri­or­i­ty for Shavers is envi­ron­men­tal protection.

“I grad­u­at­ed from Yale Law School, after serv­ing in the Navy, and I stud­ied envi­ron­men­tal law. Dur­ing that time I worked with a group called the Nat­ur­al Resources Defense Coun­cil… it allowed me to under­stand the seri­ous­ness of envi­ron­men­tal issues that per­me­ate not just local­ly, but across the globe and the U.S.” Fur­ther­more, he said that as a young per­son (thir­ty-one years of age) he per­son­al­ly under­stands the urgency of cli­mate justice.

Shavers is also pas­sion­ate about education.

“Ensur­ing that every child in every zip code has good and tai­lored edu­ca­tion­al resources. My fiancé is a spe­cial edu­ca­tion teacher… through her, I have expe­ri­enced the impor­tance of ensur­ing schools across the dis­trict… have ade­quate resources to ensure that every child is successful.”

The final leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ty we dis­cussed is access to healthcare.

“This means low­er­ing pre­scrip­tion drug costs,” Shavers said. “That means that every­body, old and young, have access to good health­care.” He also cit­ed the need to ensure health­care for vet­er­ans. “Island Coun­ty has more vet­er­ans per capi­ta than any oth­er coun­ty in Wash­ing­ton State. We have a lot of retired vet­er­ans who need health­care access. This is a very per­son­al issue to me.”

When asked about how he hopes to make progress on intran­si­gent issues, such as afford­able hous­ing and health­care, if he is elect­ed, Shavers ref­er­enced his expe­ri­ence with the non­prof­it Goose­foot. “What we are real­iz­ing is that there are a lot of bar­ri­ers and obsta­cles to actu­al­ly build­ing afford­able hous­ing. My hope in the state Leg­is­la­ture is to break down these bar­ri­ers, break down these obsta­cles, and incen­tivize non­prof­its… to be able to build these afford­able facilities.”

Through­out the inter­view, Shavers told me that his cam­paign is focused on rep­re­sent­ing every­one in the dis­trict and ensur­ing that everyone’s voic­es are heard in Olympia. “My belief is that there are peo­ple here at home who feel lost and for­got­ten. My respon­si­bil­i­ty is to stand in front of them and say ‘I am here for you, I am lis­ten­ing’. Our cam­paign is about cap­tur­ing all of our sto­ries into a com­bined nar­ra­tive so that when I am in Olympia, their voic­es are heard.”

The final mes­sage that Shavers shared was that he “want[s] to impress upon peo­ple in my dis­trict and peo­ple in Wash­ing­ton state that this elec­tion is very impor­tant. It’s espe­cial­ly impor­tant because women’s rights [are] under assault.”

“I hope that this mes­sage is received by peo­ple across the state and that they are ener­gized to take part in active democracy.”

The 2022 gen­er­al elec­tion will con­clude in just under two months on Tues­day, Novem­ber 8th. The con­test in the 10th will like­ly be one of the clos­est races in the state. If you would like to learn more about Clyde Shavers’ cam­paign, you can find more infor­ma­tion on his cam­paign web­site. Shavers’ oppo­nent, Repub­li­can incum­bent Greg Gil­day, also has a cam­paign web­site, which you’ll find here.

Sunday, September 18th, 2022

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (September 12th-16th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues on July 29th and dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Sep­tem­ber 16th, 2022.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

PROTECTING THE FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICE SYSTEM: The House on Sep­tem­ber 15th passed the Pre­vent­ing a Patron­age Sys­tem Act (H.R. 302), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ger­ald E. Con­nol­ly, D‑Virginia.

The bill would can­cel an exec­u­tive order issued by Don­ald Trump in Octo­ber 2020 that cre­at­ed a new Sched­ule F except­ed ser­vice clas­si­fi­ca­tion for gov­ern­ment work­ers, and applied to employ­ees in exec­u­tive agency jobs that have to do with mak­ing pol­i­cy and are not nor­mal­ly replaced when a new pres­i­dent enters office.

Con­nol­ly said: “Chang­ing the nature and oper­a­tions of the civ­il ser­vice is rare, impor­tant, and should require express con­gres­sion­al par­tic­i­pa­tion through leg­is­la­tion.” A bill oppo­nent, Rep. James Com­er, R‑Ky., said the Sched­ule F clas­si­fi­ca­tion “sim­ply made it eas­i­er to dis­ci­pline or remove civ­il ser­vice offi­cials in our gov­ern­men­t’s pol­i­cy­mak­ing roles.” The vote was 225 yeas to 204 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

PROTECTING THE CENSUS: The House on Sep­tem­ber 15th passed the Ensur­ing a Fair and Accu­rate Cen­sus Act (H.R. 8326), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Car­olyn B. Mal­oney, D‑New York. The bill would set out var­i­ous restric­tions on the Cen­sus Bureau’s abil­i­ty to add new ques­tions to the Cen­sus, and pre­vent the Bureau’s direc­tor from being removed for non-cause reasons.

Mal­oney said: “Par­ti­san manip­u­la­tion of the Cen­sus is sim­ply wrong. My bill would pro­tect the Cen­sus and ensure this can­not hap­pen again.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive James Com­er, R‑Kentucky, said: “The bill severe­ly con­strains the abil­i­ty of future Cen­sus­es to include impor­tant new ques­tions, such as the cit­i­zen­ship ques­tion, which a major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans want asked on the Census.”

The vote was 220 yeas to 208 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

Read More »

Friday, September 16th, 2022

Washington State Debate Coalition announces October 2022 schedule of candidate debates

Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers will have a num­ber of oppor­tu­ni­ties to watch can­di­dates for fed­er­al and statewide office face each oth­er on the debate stage next month, the Wash­ing­ton State Debate Coali­tion announced this morning.

The Coali­tion and Braver Angels, a non­prof­it work­ing to cre­ate dia­logue between pro­gres­sives and con­ser­v­a­tives, are orga­niz­ing debates or can­di­date forums for U.S. Sen­ate, Sec­re­tary of State, U.S. House, and even State Sen­ate in the 26th LD. Here is the sched­ule that they announced this morning:

  • Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 15th: 26th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict (Emi­ly Randall/Jesse L. Young) Debate at 3 PM at the Norm Dicks Gov­ern­ment Cen­ter in Bre­mer­ton, in part­ner­ship with Braver Angels.
  • Tues­day, Octo­ber 18th:Wash­ing­ton Sec­re­tary of State (Julie Anderson/Steve Hobbs) debate at 7 PM in Schnee­beck Hall at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Puget Sound in Tacoma.
  • Sun­day, Octo­ber 23rd: U.S. Sen­ate can­di­date forum (Pat­ty Murray/Tiffany Smi­ley) at 5 PM at the Myr­tle Wold­son Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter at Gon­za­ga Uni­ver­si­ty in Spokane, in part­ner­ship with the Spokesman-Review and League of Women Voters.
  • Tues­day, Octo­ber 25th: 9th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict debate (Doug Basler/Adam Smith) at 2 PM in Pig­ott Hall on the cam­pus of Seat­tle Uni­ver­si­ty, in part­ner­ship with Braver Angels.
  • Tues­day, Octo­ber 25th: U.S. Sen­ate debate (Pat­ty Murray/Tiffany Smi­ley) at 7 PM in Pig­ott Hall on the cam­pus of Seat­tle University.
  • Fri­day, Octo­ber 28th: 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict debate (Matt Larkin/Kim Schri­er) at 7 PM in McConnell Audi­to­ri­um at Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in Ellensburg.

“This is an excit­ing elec­tion sea­son, and we are pleased to play an inte­gral role in facil­i­tat­ing can­di­date debates and mak­ing sure as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to see them,” said Ali­cia Crank, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Seat­tle City­Club, the Coali­tion’s orga­niz­er. “Thanks to our high­er edu­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ty and media part­ners, the Wash­ing­ton State Debate Coali­tion is expand­ing its civic ser­vice this year to include debates in com­mu­ni­ties across Washington.”

“From the envi­ron­ment and edu­ca­tion to the econ­o­my and elec­tions, it is crit­i­cal that this year’s can­di­dates share their vision for the future and that we pro­vide vot­ers with direct access to leaders.”

TVW, Wash­ing­ton State’s equiv­a­lent of C‑SPAN, will tele­vise the events and pro­vide tech­ni­cal lead­er­ship to make them acces­si­ble to Washingtonians.

“TVW is proud to part­ner with the WSDC on this year’s debates and pro­vide vot­ers with direct, unfil­tered access to can­di­dates seek­ing elect­ed office,” said TVW Pres­i­dent & CEO Renee Rad­cliff Sin­clair. “Debates remain a vital part of our demo­c­ra­t­ic process and the cit­i­zens of Wash­ing­ton deserve to hear direct­ly from the can­di­dates who want to rep­re­sent them. Pro­vid­ing open access to state gov­ern­ment is an inte­gral part of our work and we are excit­ed to be a part of the Debate Coali­tion’s pro­gram­ming again this year.”

The North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute is one of the Coali­tion’s Sup­port­ing Media Part­ners, as you can see from the coali­tion’s web­site.

Repub­li­can U.S. Sen­ate can­di­date Tiffany Smi­ley has been open­ly clam­or­ing for oppor­tu­ni­ties to debate Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, while the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty — which has gone all-in on Smi­ley — has been blam­ing Mur­ray on social net­works for a lack of announced can­di­date debate dates.

Seat­tle Times reporter Jim Brun­ner doc­u­ment­ed their impa­tience yes­ter­day in a sto­ry that looked at past U.S. Sen­ate debates in the state.

Mur­ray’s cam­paign has con­sis­tent­ly said that Mur­ray would par­tic­i­pate in debates, just like in the past, and that the sched­ul­ing was being worked on.

In recent elec­tion cycles, the debate sched­ule has usu­al­ly been announced some­time in Sep­tem­ber. Elec­tion Day is as late as it can be this year (Novem­ber 8th), so this week is about when our team at NPI expect­ed a sched­ule to drop. And not only has it dropped, but it’s more expan­sive than in past years, with events for the 26th LD and the 9th CD. There is no 3rd CD event, however.

We thank City­Club and the Coali­tion for doing the work to wran­gle these events, and we’re look­ing for­ward to cov­er­ing them next month. Mark your calendars!

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

Railway strike averted thanks to eleventh hour deal brokered by Biden administration

Nego­tia­tors rep­re­sent­ing Amer­i­can rail­road work­ers have reached an agree­ment with the nation’s biggest rail­ways on a new con­tract that will keep the nation’s rail­ways open and avoid a strike that could have raised prices and hurt the econ­o­my, Pres­i­dent Joe Biden announced in a state­ment ear­ly this morning.

“The ten­ta­tive agree­ment reached tonight is an impor­tant win for our econ­o­my and the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” said the Pres­i­dent, who lat­er deliv­ered remarks prais­ing the deal at the White House. “It is a win for tens of thou­sands of rail work­ers who worked tire­less­ly through the pan­dem­ic to ensure that America’s fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties got deliv­er­ies of what have kept us going dur­ing these dif­fi­cult years. These rail work­ers will get bet­ter pay, improved work­ing con­di­tions, and peace of mind around their health care costs: all hard-earned.”

“The agree­ment is also a vic­to­ry for rail­way com­pa­nies who will be able to retain and recruit more work­ers for an indus­try that will con­tin­ue to be part of the back­bone of the Amer­i­can econ­o­my for decades to come.”

“I thank the unions and rail com­pa­nies for nego­ti­at­ing in good faith and reach­ing a ten­ta­tive agree­ment that will keep our crit­i­cal rail sys­tem work­ing and avoid dis­rup­tion of our economy.

“I am grate­ful for the hard work that Sec­re­taries Walsh, Buttigieg, and Vil­sack, and NEC Direc­tor Deese put into reach­ing this ten­ta­tive agreement.”

“I espe­cial­ly want to thank Sec­re­tary Walsh for his tire­less, around-the-clock efforts that deliv­ered a win for the hard work­ing peo­ple of the US rail indus­try: as a result, we will keep Amer­i­cans on the job in all the indus­tries in this coun­try that are touched by this vital industry.”

“For the Amer­i­can peo­ple, the hard work done to reach this ten­ta­tive agree­ment means that our econ­o­my can avert the sig­nif­i­cant dam­age any shut­down would have brought. With unem­ploy­ment still near record lows and signs of progress in low­er­ing costs, tonight’s agree­ment allows us to con­tin­ue to fight for long term eco­nom­ic growth that final­ly works for work­ing families.”

Jere­my Fer­gu­son, Pres­i­dent of the SMART Trans­porta­tion Divi­sion of the Inter­na­tion­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Sheet Met­al, Air, Rail and Trans­porta­tion Work­ers, joined Den­nis Pierce, the Pres­i­dent of the Broth­er­hood of Loco­mo­tive Engi­neers and Train­men, in a state­ment explain­ing what the work­ers had agreed to.

“Ear­ly this morn­ing fol­low­ing near­ly three years of bar­gain­ing, [our unions] reached a ten­ta­tive Nation­al Agree­ment with the nation’s largest freight rail car­ri­ers which includes wage increas­es, bonus­es, and no increas­es to insur­ance copays and deductibles,” they said in the open­ing com­ments of their release.

“For the first time our Unions were able to obtain nego­ti­at­ed con­tract lan­guage exempt­ing time off for cer­tain med­ical events from car­ri­er atten­dance poli­cies. Our Unions will now begin the process of sub­mit­ting the ten­ta­tive agree­ment to the rank and file for a rat­i­fi­ca­tion vote by the mem­ber­ships of both unions.”

“The ten­ta­tive agree­ment calls for an imme­di­ate wage increase of 14% once com­pound­ed with an addi­tion­al 4% on July 1, 2023, and 4.5% on July 1, 2024. In addi­tion, wage increas­es of 3% effec­tive July 1, 2020, 3.5% effec­tive July 1, 2021, and 7% effec­tive July 1, 2022, will be ful­ly retroac­tive, for a com­pound­ed increase of 24% over the 5‑year term of the agree­ment. The agree­ment also includes annu­al lump-sum bonus pay­ments total­ing $5,000.”

“The par­ties’ Health and Wel­fare Plan point-of-ser­vice costs will remain unchanged; there will be no increas­es to copays or deductibles and there are no dis­rup­tions to the exist­ing health care net­works. After over twen­ty hours of nego­ti­a­tions, we were able to reach an agree­ment that freezes our mem­bers’ month­ly health care con­tri­bu­tions at the end of the agreement.”

“No addi­tion­al increas­es will apply to our month­ly con­tri­bu­tions while the par­ties bar­gain over the next Nation­al Agreement.”

Time off for med­ical appoint­ments had been a big stick­ing point in the stalled nego­ti­a­tions, but that was over­come. The unions’ break­throughs came just in time to avert a strike, but prob­a­bly could have come much soon­er if a medi­a­tion board had­n’t sided with the rail­roads ear­li­er this summer.

Nev­er­the­less, the ten­ta­tive agree­ment is a big win for the Biden-Har­ris admin­is­tra­tion, which inter­vened in the nego­ti­a­tions and made deliv­er­ing a deal a top pri­or­i­ty. It shows what can be accom­plished when true friends of work­ers serve in the exec­u­tive branch, like Pres­i­dent Biden and Sec­re­tary Walsh.

Busi­ness orga­ni­za­tions are also thrilled. The pos­si­bil­i­ty of freight rail­road dis­rup­tions was a big headache that retail­ers and oth­er busi­ness­es were dread­ing. “We are relieved,” said a state­ment by the Retail Indus­try Lead­ers Association.

Amtrak, the nation’s pas­sen­ger rail­road, imme­di­ate­ly began scram­bling to reverse its plans to tem­porar­i­ly scrap all long dis­tance ser­vice, a move prompt­ed by the loom­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty of a strike. (Amtrak’s own work­ers were not threat­en­ing to strike, but Amtrak’s long dis­tance routes and many short­er dis­tance ones oper­ate on rail­roads owned and oper­at­ed by freight rail­road com­pa­nies such as Union Pacif­ic or Burling­ton North­ern San­ta Fe / BNSF.)

“Amtrak is work­ing to quick­ly restore can­celed trains and reach­ing out direct­ly to impact­ed cus­tomers to accom­mo­date on first avail­able depar­tures. Book­mark Amtrak.com/alerts for the lat­est updates,” Amtrak advised.

A strike would also have inter­rupt­ed Sounder com­muter rail ser­vice in the Cen­tral Puget Sound region of Wash­ing­ton State, as Sound Tran­sit explained yesterday.

“In the event of a nation­al rail strike, Sounder com­muter rail ser­vice between Everett and Lake­wood and Seat­tle would be can­celed begin­ning Fri­day, Sep­tem­ber 16th until work­ers return, the agency said.

“Sounder will oper­ate reg­u­lar ser­vice on Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 15th.”

“Sounder trains are oper­at­ed by union­ized BNSF Rail­ways employ­ees under con­tract on tracks owned by BNSF. Sounder trains are also dis­patched by BNSF employ­ees affect­ed by a poten­tial strike.”

Mem­bers of Con­gress were also hap­py to see the deal struck.

“This ten­ta­tive agree­ment is an impor­tant mile­stone to pre­vent a stop­page and keep our rail­ways and our econ­o­my run­ning,” said Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Murray.

“I’m grate­ful for the hard work Pres­i­dent Biden, Sec­re­tary Walsh, Sec­re­tary Buttigieg, Chair­man Pucha­la, the rail unions, and car­ri­ers put in to stay at the table, nego­ti­ate in good faith, and help reach this agreement.”

“The agree­ment would not only deliv­er rail work­ers bet­ter pay, ben­e­fits, and work­ing con­di­tions, but also sup­port rail com­pa­nies by strength­en­ing our freight rail work­force. This is a win for rail work­ers and our entire economy.”

“It’s crit­i­cal that we have a work­ing freight sys­tem to move 95 mil­lion tons of goods in Wash­ing­ton annu­al­ly, includ­ing grain and oth­er prod­ucts grown and man­u­fac­tured in the state. I am glad that Pres­i­dent Biden helped bro­ker a deal between busi­ness and labor that will con­tin­ue to invest in keep­ing and skilling a work­force for tomor­row with the right ben­e­fits,” said Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell.

We at NPI are very hap­py that the rail­way work­ers were able to secure new lan­guage to enable them to take unpaid time off for med­ical appoint­ments with­out a penal­ty, in addi­tion to pay increas­es and pro­tec­tion from ris­ing health­care costs. They stood in sol­i­dar­i­ty for a bet­ter deal and pre­vailed — to not only their own ben­e­fit, but the ben­e­fit of the labor move­ment and the country.

Tuesday, September 13th, 2022

26th District hopefuls Adison Richards and Spencer Hutchins square off in Gig Harbor

Swing dis­tricts are where “the rub­ber meets the road” in pol­i­tics — where statewide majori­ties are made or lost. While Washington’s 26th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict has not elect­ed a Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date to the State House since 2012, Adi­son Richards’ per­for­mance in the Top Two sug­gests that could change this year.

Richards was able to gar­ner a bare major­i­ty of the vote (50.07%) in the ini­tial round of Wash­ing­ton’s two-part gen­er­al elec­tion sys­tem, edg­ing Repub­li­can Spencer Hutchins, who achieved 49.84% of the vote. Just one hun­dred and thir­teen votes sep­a­rat­ed the rivals and no oth­er can­di­dates were on the ballot.

The 26th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict encom­pass­es por­tions of Kit­sap and Pierce Coun­ty, stretch­ing from Port Orchard and Bre­mer­ton to the north to Gig Har­bor and the Key Penin­su­la in the south. Repub­li­cans have won each of the dis­tric­t’s state House elec­tions since 2014. Pri­or to that, the 26th had been rep­re­sent­ed in the House by Lar­ry Seaquist (who held Posi­tion 2) for more than half a decade.

Richards and Hutchins are vying for a rare open seat in a swing dis­trict because incum­bent Repub­li­can Jesse Young decid­ed to chal­lenge Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Sen­a­tor Emi­ly Ran­dall for a four-year term rather than seek reelection.

The two can­di­dates made a post-Labor Day joint appear­ance on Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 8th at a forum orga­nized by the Gig Har­bor Cham­ber of Com­merce, a local busi­ness asso­ci­a­tion renowned across the State of Wash­ing­ton and the Pacif­ic North­west for its com­mit­ment to civic engagement.

The can­di­dates exhib­it­ed civil­i­ty rather than ran­cor and high­light­ed many of their sim­i­lar­i­ties. Richards referred to him­self as a mod­er­ate and stat­ed that he “want[s] to work with peo­ple on both sides of the aisle to find solu­tions that are going to serve this com­mu­ni­ty.” Addi­tion­al­ly, when asked about which his­tor­i­cal fig­ure he would mod­el his career after, he cit­ed Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lincoln.

Mean­while, Hutchins talked about how “[Adi­son] and I have become bud­dies over the course of this cam­paign” con­tin­u­ing to say that he believes this kind of friend­ship, despite polit­i­cal dif­fer­ences, is what our pol­i­tics needs.

Richards iden­ti­fied address­ing the hous­ing cri­sis, pub­lic safe­ty, and help­ing small busi­ness­es as his top pri­or­i­ties for 2023–2024.

Hutchins also iden­ti­fied pub­lic safe­ty and the hous­ing cri­sis as key issues, but focused on the need for civil­i­ty in pol­i­tics and  empha­sized his dis­agree­ment with the pol­i­cy direc­tions cham­pi­oned by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

The can­di­dates spent the major­i­ty of the debate answer­ing audi­ence questions.

When asked about the pri­ma­ry issue fac­ing the dis­trict and how they would address it, both can­di­dates spoke about the need for increased pub­lic safe­ty and changes to the tax code to help small busi­ness­es. Although they agreed on the nature of the prob­lems fac­ing the state, they dif­fer on how to respond.

Richards cit­ed the prin­ci­pal obsta­cles fac­ing small busi­ness­es as safe­ty and tax­es. “I was talk­ing to a small busi­ness own­er on the Key Penin­su­la who runs an auto repair shop. He hasn’t got­ten a full night’s sleep in a cou­ple years. He’s always get­ting wok­en up in the mid­dle of the night, the alarm going off… that isn’t right for our small busi­ness­es.” With respect to tax­es, he sug­gest­ed “cre­at­ing anoth­er cat­e­go­ry for small busi­ness­es, a micro-busi­ness cat­e­go­ry” as the state’s cur­rent tax code does not accu­rate­ly account for the size of most small businesses.

He empha­sized the need to stream­line reg­u­la­tions across the local and state lev­els to set small busi­ness­es up for suc­cess and prosperity.

Hutchins empha­sized that the costs of dam­ages from van­dal­ism and theft hurts busi­ness­es’ bot­tom lines, and railed against reg­u­la­tions. Hutchins insist­ed that “the first thing we’ve got to do in order to sup­port our local small busi­ness­es and our local econ­o­my is get the state out of the busi­ness of tak­ing, tak­ing, taking.”

The can­di­dates were asked how they would respond to the adop­tion of reg­u­la­tions that will ban the sale of gas-pow­ered cars by 2035.

Richards argued that the state can­not sim­ply con­tin­ue to issue mandates.

Richards said: “I am about out­comes, and if the out­come we want to achieve is to get gas pow­ered cars off the road, well, then we’ve got to make it tan­gi­ble. We’ve got to make it affordable.”

Hutchins’ response focused less on the actu­al issue and instead on his oppo­si­tion to what he views as a “gov­er­nor who is leg­is­lat­ing by exec­u­tive fiat” and empha­sized the need for local rep­re­sen­ta­tives to speak truth to power.

Addi­tion­al­ly, the can­di­dates were asked by an audi­ence mem­ber if they would sup­port leg­is­la­tion increas­ing or decreas­ing access to abor­tion or leg­is­la­tion increas­ing access to abor­tion for those out of state.

Hutchins demurred on the issue, empha­siz­ing that it is a per­son­al mat­ter that “the vot­ers of the state of Wash­ing­ton have made their deci­sion on this issue many years ago,” and that “[he] believe[s] that any changes to our abor­tion regime, our laws around abor­tion in Wash­ing­ton, need to be made by the vot­ers of the state of Wash­ing­ton”. He also stat­ed that the laws of Wash­ing­ton should be respect­ed by oth­er state gov­ern­ments, some of which are cur­rent­ly Republican-controlled.

Richards, on the oth­er hand, offered an unequiv­o­cal state­ment sup­port­ing repro­duc­tive rights. He told the audi­ence: “I will sup­port and pro­tect repro­duc­tive free­dom and I will sup­port expand­ing access to those who need it because of what is hap­pen­ing across the country.”

When asked about the Legislature’s response to the 2021 Blake deci­sion by the State Supreme Court, both can­di­dates were crit­i­cal. In this deci­sion, the State Supreme Court struck down a law that made drug pos­ses­sion a felony, there­by void­ing most drug pos­ses­sion cas­es in Wash­ing­ton. The Leg­is­la­ture respond­ed by pass­ing a new law mak­ing drug pos­ses­sion a misdemeanor.

Richards said: “The Leg­is­la­ture basi­cal­ly punt­ed on how to han­dle the sub­stance abuse cri­sis in our state” and called for increased fund­ing to sup­port those expe­ri­ence sub­stance abuse or men­tal-health cri­sis… Right now, sim­ply hand­ing out cards to peo­ple who are deal­ing with sub­stance abuse is not effective.”

Hutchins argued that the Leg­is­la­ture did not punt and instead “the Leg­is­la­ture drilled into some very, very unwise pol­i­cy. It took all the teeth out of our drug laws.” He argued this is a mat­ter in which bad pol­i­cy needs to be reversed.

On an addi­tion­al ques­tion regard­ing the allowance of police pur­suits, for crimes such as car theft. Richards stat­ed that he “support[s] and will even spon­sor leg­is­la­tion to allow pur­suits, for car thefts for exam­ple, with­in reason.”

Hutchins echoed his ear­li­er com­ments regard­ing repeal­ing bad pol­i­cy stat­ing “we need to repeal the very very bad police pur­suit law.”

Anoth­er area of diver­gence between the can­di­dates was over what poli­cies they would sup­port to meet the state’s para­mount duty to pro­vide edu­ca­tion. Richards argued that the state needs to fun­da­men­tal­ly change its fund­ing mod­el to make it more fair. “We con­tin­ue to require the home­own­ers pay a large amount of prop­er­ty tax­es in order to try and keep up with the Mer­cer Islands of the world.”

Addi­tion­al­ly, Richards believes that more path­ways to trade schools need to be opened while address­ing the lack of col­lege affordability.

While he does not believe in elim­i­nat­ing col­lege tuition, he “believe[s] that you should be able to work through school again, like we used to.”

Hutchins agreed that the fund­ing of edu­ca­tion must fun­da­men­tal­ly change.

“We are rely­ing on local school dis­tricts to foot the gap, the bill, for the basics of edu­ca­tion out of bond and levy funds and that is wrong.”

He argued that the Leg­is­la­ture needs to pri­or­i­tize using gen­er­al fund dol­lars for edu­ca­tion needs — though most of the gen­er­al fund is already com­mit­ted to K‑12 schools and high­er edu­ca­tion and has been for a long time.

Through­out this debate, the can­di­dates showed that although they share many sim­i­lar­i­ties, their val­ues and prin­ci­ples differ.

While Hutchins con­sis­tent­ly railed against the Leg­is­la­ture, Richards empha­sized how through effec­tive, strong rep­re­sen­ta­tion, the com­mu­ni­ties in the 26th Dis­trict can work with the State Leg­is­la­ture to meet their com­mu­ni­ty’s needs.

The elec­tion for this posi­tion will con­clude in less than two months, on Tues­day, Novem­ber 8th. This will be one of the most com­pet­i­tive races in the state, giv­en the dis­tric­t’s almost even­ly divid­ed elec­torate and Richards’ vic­to­ry in the Top Two elec­tion, which is com­pelling evi­dence in sup­port of the argu­ment that the dis­trict is flip­pable for Democ­rats. If you would like to view a record­ing of the can­di­date forum, it’s avail­able to watch on demand from the Gig Har­bor Cham­ber.

Monday, September 12th, 2022

New poll finds huge support for affordability-focused solutions to Bellevue’s housing crisis

An over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of res­i­dents in Wash­ing­ton State’s fifth largest city feel that the hous­ing mar­ket is fail­ing to meet the needs of the com­mu­ni­ty and agree that a stronger “hands-on” approach is urgent­ly need­ed to deliv­er afford­abil­i­ty-focused solu­tions for Belle­vue, a new ground­break­ing poll con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and its part­ners has found.

NPI, Com­plete Streets Belle­vue, the Sight­line Insti­tute, East­side For All, and the Hous­ing Devel­op­ment Con­sor­tium (HDC) teamed up this sum­mer to ask Belle­vue res­i­dents about their views on the hous­ing mar­ket and hous­ing policy.

Our sur­vey, which our col­leagues at Change Research field­ed for us from August 15th — 19th, found wide­spread agree­ment that the sta­tus quo in Belle­vue sim­ply isn’t work­ing for res­i­dents or prospec­tive res­i­dents, along with a great deal of enthu­si­asm for promis­ing new poli­cies that could begin to change that.

One of the first ques­tions we asked was Do you agree or dis­agree that the hous­ing mar­ket in Belle­vue is cur­rent­ly meet­ing the needs of the com­mu­ni­ty?

A whop­ping 68% of the 475 res­i­dents sur­veyed said they dis­agreed, while only 27% said they agreed. Just 6% over­all expressed strong agree­ment, a fig­ure that real­ly stood out to us. Only 5% said they were not sure.

Visualization of one of NPI's Bellevue housing poll findings

The vast major­i­ty of res­i­dents we sur­veyed don’t feel the hous­ing mar­ket in Belle­vue is meet­ing the needs of the com­mu­ni­ty (Visu­al­iza­tion by NPI)

We next asked respon­dents to tell us about their hous­ing experience.

  • 51% said they know some­one who works in Belle­vue but must com­mute from far away to be able to afford rent or housing.
  • 46% said that hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty in Belle­vue is a prob­lem that has impact­ed them per­son­al­ly — and many took the time to share their stories.
  • 42% said that hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty in Belle­vue is a prob­lem that is impact­ing mem­bers of their fam­i­ly (chil­dren, grand­chil­dren, par­ents, grand­par­ents, sib­lings, oth­er close relatives).
  • 24% (near­ly a quar­ter) said they know a senior who can’t find suit­able hous­ing to down­size and remain in the Belle­vue community.

Just 16% said that it has been easy for them to find hous­ing in Belle­vue that meets their needs and is afford­able. 12% told us they know a Belle­vue res­i­dent fac­ing fore­clo­sure, evic­tion, or an unsta­ble hous­ing situation.

Giv­en the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and a sig­nif­i­cant amount of antic­i­pat­ed pop­u­la­tion growth in the next twen­ty years, we asked respon­dents whether they want to see a “hands-on” man­age­ment approach from the city, or a “hands-off” approach.

Once again, we saw a huge divide. 65% of res­i­dents expressed sup­port for a hands-on approach, while only 19% pre­ferred a hands-off, lais­sez faire approach.

What form should that hands-on approach take? One of the most pop­u­lar ideas that we test­ed was a manda­to­ry hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty (MHA) require­ment, some­thing that many neigh­bor­ing cities are already doing.

A total of 78% of res­i­dents agreed that Belle­vue should require devel­op­ers con­struct­ing new hous­ing in Belle­vue to reserve a per­cent­age of units with­in their projects as afford­able hous­ing, like adjoin­ing cities such as Red­mond and Kirk­land already do. Just 18% expressed dis­agree­ment with this idea. 4% were not sure.

We also asked res­i­dents for their views on a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of addi­tion­al pol­i­cy ideas. We’ll share the results of those ques­tions in the com­ing days.

With 151,854 res­i­dents accord­ing to the 2020 cen­sus, Belle­vue is the sec­ond most pop­u­lous city in King Coun­ty and the fifth most pop­u­lous in the state, as not­ed at the begin­ning of this post. The city’s land area spans 86.7 square kilo­me­ters / 33.48 square miles, and expe­ri­enced pop­u­la­tion growth of 24.10% between the 2010 and 2020 cen­sus­es. Seat­tle, Belle­vue’s larg­er sib­ling across Lake Wash­ing­ton, expe­ri­enced growth of 21.09% dur­ing that same time period.

An aerial view of Downtown Bellevue, taken in late summer 2022

The sky­line of Belle­vue, Wash­ing­ton, as seen in Sep­tem­ber of 2022 from the Wilbur­ton neigh­bor­hood. The ele­vat­ed track­way of Sound Tran­sit’s East Link / Line 2 light rail line can be seen in the fore­ground. (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Though Belle­vue is a very afflu­ent city — 60% of our respon­dents said they make $100,000 or more per year, with near­ly a quar­ter mak­ing over $250,000 per year — the city’s hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty cri­sis has got­ten so bad that all but the very wealth­i­est fam­i­lies are feel­ing it. Even fam­i­lies with mul­ti­ple adults who are work­ing full time expressed frus­tra­tion with the city’s hous­ing market.

“Even though me and my hus­band are work­ing pro­fes­sion­als and make well over $215k/year, we could not afford to buy a home in Belle­vue at this point,” said one respon­dent, who iden­ti­fied as an Asian Amer­i­can / Pacif­ic Islander female home­own­er between the ages of thir­ty-five to forty-nine.

She added: “We do have some con­cerns that with the rapid­ly ris­ing prop­er­ty tax­es, we may get priced out of the home we cur­rent­ly own.”

“I cur­rent­ly rent an apart­ment which has recent­ly increased rent by 17% for renew­ing my lease,” said a male Asian Amer­i­can / Pacif­ic Islander res­i­dent who is between the ages of eigh­teen to thir­ty-four. “Even with the increase, we have no choice but to stay because every­thing else is way more expen­sive. My wife and I would’ve liked to buy a home and start a fam­i­ly but home prices are too expen­sive and there are not enough options that fit our needs.”

“I grew up in Belle­vue and cur­rent­ly rent,” said a male white respon­dent who is between the ages of thir­ty-five to forty-nine. “I make good mon­ey but still can’t afford even a starter home in Belle­vue. Hous­ing prices are going up faster then my abil­i­ty to make more mon­ey and save for a down pay­ment. Even though I am mak­ing more mon­ey every year. I feel shut out of the city I grew up in.”

“My fam­i­ly is blessed to have an income into the $100,000+ and we strict­ly bud­get,” said a New­port female res­i­dent between the ages of thir­ty-five and forty-nine who did not state an eth­nic­i­ty. “I have lived here my whole life, born at Over­lake. We have not been able to com­pete with the Wall Street firms, pay­ing 100k+ over ask­ing for an already over­priced house. We have the income and sta­bil­i­ty and by all account[s] we should have been able to buy a house years ago. Instead we spend over $40k a year in rent. My gen­er­a­tion alone has faced two eco­nom­ic col­laps­es, a dead­ly pan­dem­ic and out­ra­geous cost of liv­ing rise, col­lege expens­es and out­ra­geous housing/ food/ transportation.”

“I’m a stan­dard tech Yup­pie who has rent­ed in DT for ~4 years,” said anoth­er respon­dent, who iden­ti­fies as a white male between the ages of eigh­teen and thir­ty-four, and lives in the city’s down­town [DT] core. “I do want to buy, but I don’t need a sin­gle fam­i­ly detached home as a sin­gle per­son. Find­ing a con­do or even a town­house that isn’t priced like a Man­hat­tan apart­ment is rare, and what does become avail­able dis­ap­pears quick­ly for well over ask­ing price.”

“Had to move out — am in shared hous­ing arrange­ment now, but do not expect I will or able to stay. Need afford­able senior hous­ing option!” said a white female res­i­dent old­er than six­ty-five years of age. Anoth­er woman in the same age brack­et told us: “Would like to down­size to a one floor home, but would cost the same or more than the home I have now with no sav­ings for retirement.”

The above are just a sam­pling of the sto­ries that we heard from our respon­dents. They span every age and income brack­et. Peo­ple of many dif­fer­ent back­grounds in Belle­vue are in strong agree­ment: the hous­ing mar­ket is fail­ing and City Hall must take action to ensure that Belle­vue remains inclu­sive and welcoming.

Here’s the text of all the ques­tions we’re releas­ing today, and their responses:

QUESTION: Do you agree or dis­agree that the hous­ing mar­ket in Belle­vue is cur­rent­ly meet­ing the needs of the community?

ANSWERS:

  • Agree: 27%
    • Strong­ly agree: 6%
    • Some­what agree: 21%
  • Dis­agree: 68% 
    • Some­what dis­agree: 29%
    • Strong­ly dis­agree: 39%
  • Not sure: 5%

QUESTION: Please tell us about your hous­ing expe­ri­ence as a res­i­dent of Belle­vue, and that of the peo­ple you know (fam­i­ly, friends, col­leagues, or employ­ees). Check any of the fol­low­ing state­ments that apply.

ANSWERS:

  • 51%: I know some­one who works in Belle­vue but must com­mute from far away to be able to afford rent or housing
  • 46%: Hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty in Belle­vue is a prob­lem that has impact­ed me personally
  • 42%: Hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty in Belle­vue is a prob­lem that is impact­ing mem­bers of my fam­i­ly (chil­dren, grand­chil­dren, par­ents, grand­par­ents, sib­lings, oth­er close relatives)
  • 24%: I know a senior who can’t find suit­able hous­ing to down­size and remain in our community
  • 16%: It has been easy for me to find hous­ing in Belle­vue that meets my needs and is affordable
  • 12%: I know a Belle­vue res­i­dent fac­ing fore­clo­sure, evic­tion, or an unsta­ble hous­ing situation
  • 16%: Oth­er (please specify)

QUESTION: The City of Belle­vue has com­mit­ted to adding 35,000 new house­holds with­in the next two decades as its con­tri­bu­tion to the Puget Sound region’s expect­ed growth. Which approach to man­ag­ing this growth do you agree with the most?

ANSWERS:

  • 65%: Belle­vue should take a stronger “hands-on” approach to hous­ing and adopt more poli­cies that encour­age or require the devel­op­ment of homes that peo­ple can afford to buy or rent.
  • 19%: Belle­vue should take a “hands-off” approach to hous­ing, reduc­ing reg­u­la­tions and zon­ing require­ments, and let the pri­vate mar­ket deter­mine what type of hous­ing is built in the city.
  • 16%: Not sure

QUESTION: Do you agree or dis­agree with the fol­low­ing approach­es for invest­ing in afford­able hous­ing in Bellevue?

Idea: Requir­ing devel­op­ers con­struct­ing new hous­ing in Belle­vue to reserve a per­cent­age of units with­in their projects as afford­able hous­ing, like adjoin­ing cities such as Red­mond and Kirk­land already do

ANSWERS:

  • Agree: 78%
    • Strong­ly agree: 50%
    • Some­what agree: 28%
  • Dis­agree: 18% 
    • Some­what dis­agree: 7%
    • Strong­ly dis­agree: 10%
  • Not sure: 4%

Our hous­ing-focused sur­vey of 475 Belle­vue city res­i­dents was in the field from Mon­day, August 15th, through Fri­day, August 19th, 2022.

The poll was con­duct­ed entire­ly online for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and its part­ners by Change Research. It has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 5.2%.

Fol­low this link if you’re inter­est­ed in a detailed primer on the survey’s method­ol­o­gy along with infor­ma­tion about who took the poll.

Like its north­ern neigh­bor Kirk­land, Belle­vue has a coun­cil-man­ag­er form of city gov­ern­ment and is gov­erned by a sev­en-mem­ber city coun­cil. The cur­rent Coun­cil con­sists of Con­rad Lee, Jen­nifer Robert­son, Jared Nieuwen­huis, May­or Lynne Robin­son, Jan­ice Zahn, John Stokes, and Jere­my Barks­dale. All but Barks­dale have been elect­ed to mul­ti­ple terms; Barks­dale is serv­ing his first term.

How­ev­er, unlike Kirk­land and oth­er neigh­bor­ing cities, Belle­vue has yet to embrace many of the ideas gain­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty in our region for keep­ing peo­ple in their homes and increas­ing the avail­abil­i­ty and afford­abil­i­ty of housing.

Staff and con­sul­tants have been study­ing ideas for tack­ling the hous­ing cri­sis and col­lect­ing feed­back from the pub­lic, but the Coun­cil has yet to take deci­sive action and imple­ment the kinds of poli­cies that res­i­dents told us they want in Bellevue.

As men­tioned, near­ly two-thirds of respon­dents said they want­ed Belle­vue to take a stronger “hands-on” approach to hous­ing and adopt more poli­cies that encour­age or require the devel­op­ment of homes that peo­ple can afford to buy or rent. And 78% — yes, that’s near­ly eight out of ten res­i­dents in the city! — favor requir­ing devel­op­ers con­struct­ing new hous­ing in Belle­vue to reserve a per­cent­age of units with­in their projects as afford­able hous­ing, like adjoin­ing cities such as Red­mond and Kirk­land already do.

Sur­pris­ing­ly, even half of Repub­li­can res­i­dents sur­veyed (49%) sup­port manda­to­ry hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty, which was strik­ing to us.

Repub­li­can res­i­dents were more divid­ed on the philo­soph­i­cal ques­tion of whether the city should adopt a “hands-on” approach to man­ag­ing growth ver­sus a “hands-off” approach. 38% of Repub­li­can res­i­dents of Belle­vue favored a hands-on approach to 41% who favored a “hands-off” approach.

Still, it’s impres­sive that so many res­i­dents who iden­ti­fy with a par­ty that has tra­di­tion­al­ly cham­pi­oned dereg­u­la­tion and lais­sez-faire eco­nom­ics think the city needs to be inter­ven­ing to address a sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket failure.

Once con­sid­ered a Repub­li­can bas­tion, Belle­vue is now indis­putably a Demo­c­ra­t­ic city. In our poll, 68% of res­i­dents who are vot­ers and par­tic­i­pat­ed in the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion said they vot­ed for the Biden-Har­ris tick­et, while 59% iden­ti­fied as Democ­rats to some degree. Only 23% iden­ti­fied as Republicans.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic res­i­dents, as you might expect, are in favor of deci­sive action and afford­abil­i­ty-focused solu­tions by mas­sive mar­gins. 77% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic res­i­dents want to see a “hands-on” approach, ver­sus 10% who want a “hands-off” approach to man­ag­ing growth. And 88% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic res­i­dents sup­port manda­to­ry hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty, while 10% are opposed. Inde­pen­dent res­i­dents are only slight­ly less enthu­si­as­tic: 81% of them also sup­port an MHA policy.

Lat­er this month, we’ll be shar­ing addi­tion­al find­ings from this poll that will nice­ly illus­trate the extent of Belle­vue res­i­dents’ enthu­si­asm for poli­cies that could get us clos­er to a future of hous­ing for all. If you’d like to watch the press con­fer­ence where we rolled out the find­ings dis­cussed in this post, that’s avail­able on NPI’s In Brief. We wel­come your ques­tions and thoughts on this research: you can get in touch with us through our con­tact form or leave a com­ment below.

Sunday, September 11th, 2022

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (September 6th-9th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Sep­tem­ber 9th, 2022.

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives was in recess.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

JOHN LEE, APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Sen­ate on Sep­tem­ber 7th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of John Z. Lee to be a judge on the U.S. Sev­enth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals. Lee, a judge on the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the North­ern Dis­trict of Illi­nois since 2012,was pre­vi­ous­ly a pri­vate prac­tice lawyer in Chica­go and, in the ear­ly 1990s, a Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyer. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Dick Durbin, D‑Illinois, said of Lee: “Dur­ing his time on the bench, he always applied the law to the facts before him in an even­hand­ed and fair fashion.”

The vote was 50 yeas to 44 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

ANDRE MATHIS, APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Sen­ate on Sep­tem­ber 8th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Andre Math­is to be a judge on the U.S. Sixth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals. Math­is has been a pri­vate prac­tice lawyer in Mem­phis, Tenn., since 2007. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Dick Durbin, D‑Illinois, called Math­is “a per­son of out­stand­ing cre­den­tials and integri­ty to serve the com­mu­ni­ty that raised him.”

The vote was 48 yeas to 47 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House will recon­vene on Tues­day after a month-long break that was inter­rupt­ed by a vote to pass the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act. Bills being tak­en up include Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene’s Improv­ing Seniors’ Time­ly Access to Care Act of 2021, the Whistle­blow­er Pro­tec­tion Improve­ment Act of 2021, the Ensur­ing a Fair and Accu­rate Cen­sus Act, and the Pre­vent­ing a Patron­age Sys­tem Act of 2021. Major­i­ty Leader Ste­ny Hoy­er’s office also advised mem­bers that there could be a vote on an appro­pri­a­tions bill for Fis­cal Year 2023.

The Sen­ate is slat­ed to con­tin­ue work­ing on judi­cial nom­i­na­tions. The next nom­i­nee to be con­sid­ered will be a Wash­ing­ton­ian: Sal­vador Men­doza, Jr., who was nom­i­nat­ed to be a Unit­ed States Cir­cuit Judge for the Ninth Cir­cuit. (The Ninth Cir­cuit includes the entire greater Pacif­ic North­west: Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, Ida­ho, Mon­tana, and Alas­ka, plus Cal­i­for­nia, Hawaii, Ari­zona, and Nevada.)

The Sen­ate will also move towards con­fir­ma­tion votes on two oth­er appel­late nom­i­nees: Ari­an­na J. Free­man from Penn­syl­va­nia to be Unit­ed States Cir­cuit Judge for the Third Cir­cuit and Lara E. Mon­te­cal­vo from Rhode Island to be Unit­ed States Cir­cuit Judge for the First Cir­cuit. There are a total of 179 judge­ships in the fed­er­al appel­late sys­tem, spread over eleven circuits.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2022 Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice, LLC. 

Sunday, September 11th, 2022

In memoriam, twenty-one years later

Today is the twen­ty-first anniver­sary of the Sep­tem­ber 11th attacks, which destroyed New York’s World Trade Cen­ter, dam­aged the Pen­ta­gon, and claimed the lives of thou­sands of inno­cent Americans.

In hon­or of those who died that day, we’re repub­lish­ing a poem that we post annu­al­ly here on The Cas­ca­dia Advocate.

New York's Twin Towers

Two thou­sand one, nine eleven
Two thou­sand plus arrive in heaven.
As they pass through the gate,
Thou­sands more appear in wait.
A beard­ed man with stovepipe hat
Steps for­ward say­ing, “Let’s sit, let’s chat.”

They set­tle down in seats of clouds,
A man named Mar­tin shouts out proud,
“I have a dream!” and once he did
The New­com­er said, “Your dream still lives.”

Groups of sol­diers in blue and gray
Oth­ers in kha­ki, and green then say
“We’re from Bull Run, York­town, the Maine”
The New­com­er said, “You died not in vain.”

From a man on sticks one could hear
“The only thing we have to fear…”
The New­com­er said, “We know the rest,
trust us sir, we’ve passed that test.”

“Courage doesn’t hide in caves.
You can’t bury free­dom, in a grave.”
The New­com­ers had heard this voice before
A dis­tinct Yan­kee twang from Hyan­nis­port shores.

A silence fell with­in the mist
Some­how the New­com­er knew that this
Meant time had come for her to say
What was in the hearts of the two thou­sand plus that day.

“Back on Earth, we wrote reports,
Watched our chil­dren play in sports
Worked our gar­dens, sang our songs
Went to church and clipped coupons
We smiled, we laughed, we cried, we fought
Unlike you, great we’re not”

The tall man in the stovepipe hat
Stood and said, “Don’t talk like that!
Look at your coun­try, look and see
You died for free­dom, just like me.”

Then, before them all appeared a scene
Of rub­bled streets and twist­ed beams
Death, destruc­tion, smoke and dust
And peo­ple work­ing just ’cause they must

Haul­ing ash, lift­ing stones,
Knee deep in hell, but not alone
“Look! Black­man, White­man, Brown­man, Yellowman
Side by side help­ing their fel­low man!”
So said Mar­tin, as he watched the scene
“Even from night­mares, can be born a dream.”

Down below three fire­men raised
The col­ors high into ashen haze
The sol­diers above had seen it before
On Iwo Jima back in ’44

The man on sticks stud­ied every­thing closely
Then shared his per­cep­tions on what he saw mostly
“I see pain, I see 20 tears,
I see sor­row – but I don’t see fear.”

“You left behind hus­bands and wives
Daugh­ters and sons and so many lives
are suf­fer­ing now because of this wrong
But look very close­ly. You’re not real­ly gone.

All of those peo­ple, even those who’ve nev­er met you
All of their lives, they’ll nev­er for­get you
Don’t you see what has happened?
Don’t you see what you’ve done?
You’ve brought them togeth­er as one.”

With that the man in the stovepipe hat said
“Take my hand,” and from there he led
two thou­sand plus heroes, New­com­ers to heaven
On this day, two thou­sand one, nine eleven.

— by Paul Spread­bury, ded­i­cat­ed to the vic­tims of Sep­tem­ber 11th

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