Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, July 18, 2005

McGavick quits Safeco, likely to challenge Cantwell

The AP:
Mike McGavick, chairman and CEO of property and casualty insurance provider Safeco Corp., announced Monday that he plans to step down as chief executive next month to consider "the possibility of public service."

McGavick has been mentioned as a possible Republican challenger to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., next year.

McGavick, who served as chief of staff and campaign adviser to former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., will leave his post effective Aug. 31, retaining his duties as chairman of the board.
So it seems McGavick intends to run against Cantwell. He obviously waited until after Rossi wrote that letter to Senator Dole. Now, he's leaving the top post to kickstart his campaign.

Diane Tebelius, who is apparently planning to run as well, is going to have competition. No word yet on whether Rick White or Rob McKenna are going to run.

Republicans are already gearing up to attack Senator Cantwell's record. Unfortunately, McGavick has a record, too...his four years at Safeco. This from McGavick's press release:
“I’ve come to the conclusion that my greatest contribution to Safeco has already been achieved,” said McGavick. “Our charge four-and-a-half years ago was to build a solid foundation of profit and growth. Thanks to the extraordinary work and commitment of my Safeco colleagues, we accomplished that work more quickly and effectively than anyone could have imagined.
Sorry, Mike - the WSLC doesn't see it that way:
McGavick is a guy who was the target of protests in Redmond last year because of the sorry and unsafe working conditions for the janitors at his headquarters.

His contractor was paying full-time janitors as little as $1,000 net per month, with family health care "offered" at a prohibitive cost -- as much as $540 per month.

Meanwhile, McGavick pulls in eight figures a year. EIGHT FIGURES.

In 2001, a year his company lost more than $1 billion and laid off 1,200 people, he got paid $10.8 million. Last year, while he was deciding to close that Redmond campus, he raked in another $13.3 million and is now holding almost $25 million more in stock options.
Even today, when his company is earning "record profits," he continues to cut jobs and outsource his IT work overseas (offensively calling it "SmartSource").

[This is] a guy who thinks UW and WSU should be privatized. A guy who says Washington state should be run like his business, cutting state employee jobs every year -- whether the budget is short or not -- "as a way to force efficiency into the government."

Mike McGavick is just another short-term-thinking boost-the-stock-price-now CEO who believes there's no downside to firing thousands of the people who helped build the company into what it is today. And he sees nothing wrong with personally raking in tens of millions of dollars while he does it.
Well, well. Now that sounds quite different.

The Republicans think they have plenty of ammunition for Cantwell. We've got news for them - there's a huge, huge trove to mine on McGavick too. Watch your step.

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