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.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Governor Christine Gregoire provides outstanding leadership

AP writer David Ammons, the dean of the Olympia press corps, wrote one of his finest columns this weekend, taking a look at the outstanding leadership that Christine Gregoire has been providing in just thirteen months as the Governor of the State of Washington:
Gov. Chris Gregoire is turning out to be state government's negotiator-in-chief.

This past week, she cracked open long-stalled talks between docs and lawyers over medical malpractice legislation. The two sides had been barely able to sit in the same room, but with Gregoire playing the peacemaker, they finally laid aside their rhetorical arms and agreed to deal.

The previous week, the governor brokered a landmark Columbia River water plan that had eluded negotiators for 30 years.

Before that, she signed a gay civil rights bill that passed after 29 years of trying. Her quiet personal diplomacy was credited with putting it over the top.

Next up: Gregoire is working with House Speaker Frank Chopp and other key leaders and representatives of business and labor to write a new unemployment insurance bill that both can support. More heavy lifting.

Her fingerprints are all over the new state budget. In "three corners" negotiations with the House and Senate leaders, Gregoire helped shape a budget that will leave at least $900 million in reserves. She put sideboards around the budget, guarding against a runaway Legislature, and is helping the two houses bridge their touchiest differences.

Last year, her deft touch at just the right moment spelled victory for the largest transportation package in state history.

Even Republicans are singing her praises as negotiator-in-chief, and her fellow Democrats don't seem to mind her big-footing issues they haven't been able to solve before now.

Gregoire, clearly in her element, credits her successes to her decades of lawyering and learning how to bring warring sides to the table and find common ground.

"That's my strong suit," she says.
Like her or not, the Governor is a hardworking, industrious leader who believes in moving forward and making progress. As Ammons noted, under Gregoire's watch, we've enacted a landmark civil rights bill and a landmark transportation package.

Gregoire has been a trailblazer in brokering compromises and bringing people together to reach new heights - and for this especially, we commend her.

There's a lot of work to be done if Washington is to have a truly sustainable future, but we're definitely pointed in the proper direction.

Here's to at least three more years of outstanding leadership.

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