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.

Sunday, January 15th, 2023

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (January 9th-13th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Jan­u­ary 13th, 2023.

The Sen­ate was in recess.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

HOUSE RULES FOR THE 118TH CONGRESS: The House on Jan­u­ary 9th passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 5), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve Scalise, R‑Louisiana, to adopt a set of rules gov­ern­ing the House in the 118th Congress.

The rules include end­ing proxy vot­ing for rep­re­sen­ta­tives, time require­ments for leg­is­la­tion to be con­sid­ered before com­ing to a floor vote, and mea­sures to cut spend­ing. Scalise said of the desir­abil­i­ty of a new rules pack­age: “The way that this House has been run­ning for the last few years has not been designed to address the prob­lems of the peo­ple across this country.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive James P. McGov­ern, D‑Massachusetts, called the rules an attempt “to gut the Office of Con­gres­sion­al Ethics, attack wom­en’s access to abor­tion, make it eas­i­er for big oil com­pa­nies to pol­lute, and inter­fere in ongo­ing crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions into Pres­i­dent Trump.”

The vote was 220 yeas to 213 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Vot­ing Nay (4):  Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

The State of Washington

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

Vot­ing Nay (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 yea votes, 12 nay votes

SLASHING IRS FUNDING AND HELPING WEALTHY TAX CHEATS: The House on Jan­u­ary 9th passed the Repub­li­can-named Fam­i­ly and Small Busi­ness Tax­pay­er Pro­tec­tion Act (H.R. 23), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adri­an Smith, R‑Nebraska, to can­cel addi­tion­al fund­ing for the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS) that was includ­ed in last year’s Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act signed by Pres­i­dent Biden.

Smith called the IRS “an out-of-con­trol agency that is per­haps most in need of reform” rather than expand­ed fund­ing to con­duct more audits of mid­dle-class fam­i­lies. An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Richard E. Neal, D‑Massachusetts, said the cut, by decreas­ing tax col­lec­tions from the wealthy, “is bad for mid­dle-class fam­i­lies, it is bad for small busi­ness­es, who are then asked to pay more when the peo­ple at the top don’t pay their fair share.” Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer declared the bill would be dead on arrival in the oth­er chamber.

The vote was 221 yeas to 210 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Vot­ing Nay (4):  Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

The State of Washington

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

Vot­ing Nay (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 yea votes, 12 nay votes

FORMING A SUBCOMMITTEE ON COMPETITION WITH CHINA: The House on Jan­u­ary 10th passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 11), spon­sored by House Speak­er Kevin McCarthy, R‑California, to cre­ate a House Select Com­mit­tee on the Strate­gic Com­pe­ti­tion Between the Unit­ed States and the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.

The select com­mit­tee would inves­ti­gate tech­no­log­i­cal and mil­i­tary com­pe­ti­tion with Chi­na, and offer pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions on the matter.

McCarthy called the threat posed by Chi­na “an issue that tran­scends our polit­i­cal par­ties, and cre­at­ing the select com­mit­tee on Chi­na is our best avenue for address­ing it.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hank John­son, D‑Georgia, said he feared the com­mit­tee would be “a plat­form to unleash anti-Asian hate and divi­sion.” The vote was 365 yeas to 65 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (5): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRe­mer; Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Earl Blu­me­naue, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzanne Bonamici

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (9): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers; Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jayapal

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 yea votes, 2 nay votes

FORMING A SELECT COMMITTEE TO ADVANCE HOUSE REPUBLICANS’ AGENDA: The House on Jan­u­ary 10th passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 12), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Jor­dan, R‑Ohio, to cre­ate a Select Sub­com­mit­tee on the Weaponiza­tion of the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment on the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee. The sub­com­mit­tee would inves­ti­gate the col­lec­tion of and use of infor­ma­tion on cit­i­zens by the CIA, FBI, and oth­er exec­u­tive branch agencies.

Jor­dan said the sub­com­mit­tee’s goal would be to “respect the First Amend­ment” and the right to free speech and protest and prac­tice religion.

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive James P. McGov­ern, D‑Massachusetts, called it “a deranged ploy by the MAGA extrem­ists who have hijacked the Repub­li­can Par­ty and now want to use tax­pay­er mon­ey to push their far-right con­spir­a­cy non­sense.” The vote was 221 yeas to 211 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Vot­ing Nay (4):  Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

The State of Washington

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

Vot­ing Nay (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 yea votes, 12 nay votes

CRIMINALIZING ABORTION CARE: The House has passed the Repub­li­can-named “Born-Alive Abor­tion Sur­vivors Pro­tec­tion Act” (H.R. 26), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ann Wag­n­er, R‑Missouri, to require health­care work­ers to attempt to pre­serve the life of an infant who has sur­vived an attempt­ed abortion.

Wag­n­er said the require­ment was need­ed “to ensure that every sin­gle baby born in the Unit­ed States receives life­sav­ing med­ical care at their most vul­ner­a­ble moment.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hakeem Jef­fries, D‑New York, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader, called the bill part of a Repub­li­can effort “to crim­i­nal­ize abor­tion care, to impose a nation­wide ban, to set into motion gov­ern­ment-man­dat­ed preg­nan­cies.” The vote was 220 yeas to 210 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Vot­ing Nay (4):  Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

The State of Washington

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

Vot­ing Nay (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 yea votes, 12 nay votes

CONDEMNING ATTACKS ON ANTIABORTION GROUPS AND FACILITIES: The House on Jan­u­ary 11th passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Con. Res. 3), spon­sored by Rep. Mike John­son, R‑Louisiana, to con­demn recent attacks on anti-abor­tion groups and facil­i­ties and ask the Biden admin­is­tra­tion to deploy law enforce­ment agen­cies to com­bat such attacks.

John­son said: “We con­demn vio­lence, prop­er­ty dam­age, threats, and intim­i­da­tion tac­tics, and these clear vio­la­tions of fed­er­al and state laws must be prosecuted.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jer­rold Nadler, D‑N.Y., said the res­o­lu­tion is “a par­ti­san polit­i­cal ploy designed to advance an extreme anti-abor­tion agen­da and is not a seri­ous effort to con­demn polit­i­cal violence.”

The vote was 222 yeas to 209 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Vot­ing Nay (4):  Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers; Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Marie Glue­senkamp Perez

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 7 yea votes, 11 nay votes

BARRING STRATEGIC RESERVE OIL FROM BEING SOLD TO CHINA: The House on Jan­u­ary 12th passed the Pro­tect­ing Amer­i­c­as Strate­gic Petro­le­um Reserve from Chi­na Act (H.R. 22), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, R‑Washington, to bar the Ener­gy Depart­ment from sell­ing crude oil stored in the Strate­gic Petro­le­um Reserve to China.

Rodgers said: “Drain­ing our strate­gic reserves for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es and sell­ing por­tions of it to Chi­na is a sig­nif­i­cant threat to our nation­al security.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Frank Pal­lone Jr., D‑New Jer­sey., fault­ed the bill for not also block­ing petro­le­um reserve oil sales to Rus­sia, North Korea, and oth­er adver­saries of the U.S. The vote was 331 yeas to 97 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (4): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRe­mer; Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Val Hoyle and Andrea Salinas

Vot­ing Nay (2):  Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci and Earl Blumenauer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (6): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers; Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Rick Larsen, and Kim Schrier

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 yea votes, 6 nay votes

LWIC will be on hiatus next weekend

The House has joined the Sen­ate in recess and no votes are expect­ed next week. The House is expect­ed to recon­vene for votes on Jan­u­ary 24th, 2023.

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. 

Saturday, January 14th, 2023

Amtrak will restore a second daily round trip between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

Amtrak will restore a sec­ond dai­ly round-trip train ser­vice between Seat­tle and Van­cou­ver, B.C., as of March 7th, and promis­es to boost dai­ly trips between Seat­tle and Port­land from four to six come fall, accord­ing to a let­ter sent to the trans­porta­tion depart­ments of Wash­ing­ton and Oregon.

Rail ser­vice across the U.S.-Canada bor­der was sus­pend­ed in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, with one round trip restored last Sep­tem­ber. Before the arrival of the once-nov­el coro­n­avirus, 750,000 peo­ple a year took trains between the Northwest’s three largest cities.

The most enthu­si­as­tic advo­cate for restored rail ser­vice has been Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell, D‑Washington, who just hap­pens to chair the Sen­ate Com­merce, Sci­ence and Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee, and cham­pi­oned the bipar­ti­san infra­struc­ture leg­is­la­tion passed by Con­gress last year. The leg­is­la­tion pro­vid­ed for $66 bil­lion in rail grants, with $22 bil­lion going to Amtrak.

“I’m thank­ful that Amtrak is final­ly on the path to ful­ly restore ser­vice in the Pacif­ic North­west,” said Cantwell. “The Inter­state 5 cor­ri­dor in the state of Wash­ing­ton is one of the most con­gest­ed cor­ri­dors in the nation and the Cas­cades ser­vice pro­vides a con­ve­nient alter­na­tive to travelers.”

That’s espe­cial­ly true for those who don’t own a car and would oth­er­wise have to be whol­ly reliant on inter­ci­ty bus ser­vice from com­pa­nies like Greyhound.

Siemens locomotives at King Street Station

Two Siemens loco­mo­tives in Cas­cades liv­ery at King Street Sta­tion, in Seat­tle, the week that Amtrak resumed nor­mal sched­ules after a year of reduced ser­vice due to the pan­dem­ic (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rick Larsen, D‑Washington, is well posi­tioned in Con­gress’ oth­er cham­ber as rank­ing Demo­c­rat on the House Trans­porta­tion and Infra­struc­ture Com­mit­tee, and rode part of the north­bound route last year as a nudge direct­ed at Amtrak.

“Thanks to bold long term invest­ments in the bipar­ti­san infra­struc­ture law, Amtrak is able to renew and sup­port routes lie Cas­cades, Empire Builder and Coast Starlight that con­nect com­mu­ni­ties like Edmonds, Everett, Mount Ver­non, Stan­wood and Belling­ham in my dis­trict to Van­cou­ver, B.C., Seat­tle, Port­land and Eugene,” said Larsen.

The sec­ond dai­ly train between Seat­tle and Van­cou­ver was orig­i­nal­ly added in antic­i­pa­tion of the 2010 Win­ter Olympics in the Cana­di­an city, with arm twist­ing by Gov­er­nor Chris Gre­goire and British Colum­bia Pre­mier Gor­don Campbell.

Their suc­ces­sors, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee and B.C. Pre­mier John Hor­gan, pro­mot­ed the even­tu­al cre­ation of high-speed rail ser­vice in the cor­ri­dor between Van­cou­ver and Eugene, Ore­gon. NPI’s research last year con­firmed sup­port for both con­struct­ing high-speed rail and Amtrak Cas­cades expan­sion.

At times on the verge of extinc­tion – Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tions have sought to elim­i­nate its long-dis­tance routes – Amtrak has pros­pered under the Biden admin­is­tra­tion. The transcon­ti­nen­tal Empire Builder, run­ning between Seat­tle and Chica­go, was restored to dai­ly ser­vice last May.

The Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan con­tained $1.7 bil­lion for Amtrak, allow­ing restora­tion of such routes as Empire Builder and the City of New Orleans.

Oth­er rail projects have also pros­pered. The omnibus spend­ing bill passed by Con­gress last month, which funds the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment through Sep­tem­ber 30, includ­ed $583 mil­lion to sup­port extend­ing Sound Transit’s light rail sys­tem south to Fed­er­al Way and north into Sno­homish Coun­ty. It also pro­vid­ed $15 mil­lion to made the mono­rail sta­tion at Seat­tle Cen­ter acces­si­ble to all riders.

The Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan Act and the infra­struc­ture pack­age have also been kind to Washington’s region­al air­ports, includ­ing those in places unlike­ly to vote for Cantwell or Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, D‑Washington, who has just become chair of the Sen­ate Appro­pri­a­tions Committee.

Pang­born Field, serv­ing Wenatchee, is get­ting $10 mil­lion. There’s just over $1 mil­lion for a new ter­mi­nal at the Moscow/Pullman Air­port, plus $150,000 for the air­port in Ephra­ta and $110,000 for the field at Ocean Shores.

All told, Wash­ing­ton air­ports are get­ting $38.68 mil­lion in grants from the Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Administration.

The Portland/Seattle/Vancouver route is renowned for its scenery.

The trains used to run along the waters of South Puget Sound before the Point Defi­ance bypass reopened. Cas­cades trains still hug the coast­line at the base of Blan­chard and Chuck­anut Moun­tains south of Bellingham.

The Empire Builder, on its route east, skirts the south bound­ary of Glac­i­er Nation­al Park and pro­vides access at West Glac­i­er and East Glacier.

Friday, January 13th, 2023

NPI-requested bill to repeal Eyman’s push polls moves out of Senate State Government

Leg­is­la­tion request­ed by NPI and intro­duced by Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er that would per­ma­nent­ly abol­ish Tim Eyman’s advi­so­ry votes push polls and replace them with truth­ful, use­ful fis­cal infor­ma­tion is on the move in the Wash­ing­ton State Senate.

Sen­ate Bill 5082 was pre­filed last month; it offi­cial­ly dropped this week with a whop­ping four­teen cospon­sors — near­ly half of the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic caucus!

The spon­sors are:

Our thanks to all of them for sign­ing onto this bill.

After get­ting a hear­ing on the sec­ond day of ses­sion ear­li­er this week, the bill was report­ed out of the Sen­ate State Gov­ern­ment & Elec­tions Com­mit­tee today with a “do pass” major­i­ty rec­om­men­da­tion. The com­mit­tee also adopt­ed a strik­ing amend­ment we sup­port that makes minor changes to the por­tion of the leg­is­la­tion that replaces “advi­so­ry votes” with truth­ful, use­ful fis­cal information.

That amend­ment pro­vides for an online pre­sen­ta­tion of the bud­get sum­maries con­tem­plat­ed in the orig­i­nal bill, with a quick response code, phone num­ber, and URL in the print­ed voter’s pam­phlet to help vot­ers locate the information.

The bill has a fis­cal note.

For the first time since the incep­tion of this leg­is­la­tion, we have a Sec­re­tary of State, Steve Hobbs, who firm­ly sup­ports doing away with “advi­so­ry votes.” We are grate­ful to Sec­re­tary Hobbs for his enthu­si­asm and encouragement.

NPI’s research shows our bill would save tax­pay­ers mil­lions of dol­lars in bal­lot design, print­ing, and tab­u­la­tion costs every year due to the elim­i­na­tion of “advi­so­ry votes,” which waste space on our bal­lots. There would also be some small costs asso­ci­at­ed with the prepa­ra­tion of the replace­ment fis­cal infor­ma­tion. Con­se­quent­ly, SB 5082 has been referred to Sen­ate Ways & Means. Chair Chris­tine Rolfes is, as men­tioned above, a cospon­sor of the legislation.

The roll call on the bill in Sen­ate State Gov­ern­ment was as follows:

Sup­port­ing a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Sam Hunt, Pat­ty Kud­er­er, Bob Hasegawa, Javier Valdez (all cospon­sors of the bill)

Offer­ing a “do not pass” rec­om­men­da­tion: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Phil Fortunato

With­out rec­om­men­da­tion: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jeff Wil­son and Per­ry Dozier

“Advi­so­ry vote” cre­ator Tim Eyman is not sur­pris­ing­ly livid that we are con­tin­u­ing our noble efforts to lib­er­ate our bal­lots from his pro­pa­gan­da. Because he was­n’t pay­ing atten­tion (by his own admis­sion!), he hilar­i­ous­ly missed the hear­ing on SB 5082 and did not tes­ti­fy, spar­ing every­one on the com­mit­tee and all the oth­er tes­ti­fiers from hav­ing to lis­ten to one of his grat­ing, insult-laden tirades.

Annoyed with him­self, Eyman asked Chair Sam Hunt for spe­cial leave to recon­vene the hear­ing so he could deliv­er a dia­tribe to the State Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee before the exec­u­tive ses­sion today (a request that quick­ly became the sub­ject of jokes around the Capi­tol Cam­pus), but his plea went unanswered.

Eyman did make the hear­ing on the House com­pan­ion bill, HB 1158, the fol­low­ing day (Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 11th). HB 1158 is iden­ti­cal­ly word­ed to SB 5082 as it exist­ed when it was intro­duced at the begin­ning of the 2023 session.

HB 1158 has twen­ty-two spon­sors, includ­ing prime spon­sor Amy Walen (D‑48th Dis­trict: Belle­vue, Kirk­land, Red­mond). At that hear­ing, Eyman called the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton State “slaves” while denounc­ing our leg­is­la­tion; this prompt­ed com­mit­tee Chair Bill Ramos to gav­el Eyman out of order and declare his tes­ti­mo­ny at an end. (A video clip of Eyman’s offen­sive com­ments is avail­able here.)

NPI extends its most pro­found thanks to the State Gov­ern­ment & Elec­tions Com­mit­tee for quick­ly advanc­ing SB 5082 for­ward for fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion in the Sen­ate. This is leg­is­la­tion that will ben­e­fit all Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, knock­ing down a prob­lem­at­ic bar­ri­er to vot­ing and rid­ding our bal­lots of anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da.

Thursday, January 12th, 2023

McCarthy’s uneasy majority tries to give rich tax cheats a gift as its first legislative act

When the Repub­li­can-run U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, as its first leg­isla­tive act, vot­ed 221–210 to roll back $71 bil­lion in new fund­ing for the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice, cheers came from new­ly pow­er­ful Repub­li­can law­mak­er Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, R‑Washington (5th Con­gres­sion­al District).

“The last thing East­ern Wash­ing­ton fam­i­lies need is to be squeezed by the IRS for every last pen­ny, but that’s what Pres­i­dent Biden and Democ­rats planned when they an $80 bil­lion, 600 per­cent increase in the IRS bud­get last year,” said CMR, new chair of the House Ener­gy and Com­merce Committee.

McMor­ris Rodgers is try­ing to be to polit­i­cal spin what Jeff Beck was to gui­tar jam­ming. She is, how­ev­er, hit­ting sour notes, and play­ing a tune con­coct­ed to please the super-rich. The legislation’s real intent is to starve resources need­ed to audit the nation’s wealth­i­est taxpayers.

The House Repub­li­cans’ bill will nev­er make it through the Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled Sen­ate and would sure­ly be vetoed if ever it makes it to Pres­i­dent Biden’s desk.

Were it to some­how become law, how­ev­er, the Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office esti­mates it would increase the fed­er­al deficit by at least $115 bil­lion over the next 10 years, due to rev­enue not realized.

“Only this extreme Repub­li­can major­i­ty would use its first bill of the 118th Con­gress to embold­en tax cheats and cut ser­vices for work­ing Amer­i­cans: For decades, Repub­li­cans have been cut­ting nec­es­sary resources from the IRS,” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene, D‑Washington, a mem­ber of the tax-writ­ing House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee, said in a statement.

The Wash­ing­ton Post’s Fact Check­er col­umn gave the Repub­li­cans and their leg­is­la­tion four Pinoc­chios for false­hoods. It labeled House Speak­er Kevin McCarthy’s warn­ing of “87,000 armed IRS agents” a “Zom­bie false­hood.” Poli­ti­fact rat­ed Repub­li­can claims as “most­ly false.” But McCarthy boast­ed of a promise kept, say­ing: “We believe gov­ern­ment should be to help you, not go after you.”

Help who? A Repub­li­can Con­gress, in 2017, pushed through a mas­sive tax cut scheme that swelled the fed­er­al deficit while send­ing the lion’s share of its ben­e­fits to upper income tax­pay­ers. McMor­ris Rodgers was a big boost­er, tweet­ing up a storm on its ben­e­fits to ordi­nary folk in East­ern Washington.

At the same time, the rich have had far less to fear of being audit­ed by the IRS. The Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice has seen its bud­get cut by fif­teen per­cent in the past decade. It last report­ed 79,000 employ­ees, down from 95,000 in Fis­cal Year 2012.

Staffing at the IRS is at 1970s lev­els. Audits are down, with the great­est decrease com­ing for those with annu­al incomes of more than $200,000.

Of the super-rich, accord­ing to the Gen­er­al Account­ing Office, 21 per­cent of those report­ing more than $10 mil­lion in income for 2012 were audited.

By 2019, the fig­ure had fall­en to 3.9 percent.

We’ve been treat­ed – final­ly – to release of Don­ald Trump’s tax returns.

He paid $750 in 2017, and zero for his last year in office.

Trump claimed and wrote off huge los­es. Unlike pre­de­ces­sors of both par­ties, he was not audit­ed for two years while in office. The absence of audits has been attrib­uted to pres­sure or fear of the ex-pres­i­dent. But there’s anoth­er expla­na­tion – the IRS’ short­age of peo­ple trained to take on the com­plex task.

Accord­ing to the Gen­er­al Account­ing Office, “it takes four to five years to train a new hire to become an expe­ri­enced senior or expert rev­enue officer.”

Ex-IRS Com­mis­sion­er Charles Ret­tig, a Trump appointee, warned Con­gress last year that the agency’s work­force was due to fall fur­ther, and that it would need to “replace more than 50,000 work­ers lost through attri­tion over the next six years.”

In draft­ing the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act, crown­ing achieve­ment of the 117th Con­gress, the Democ­rats took note of an agency exist­ing on star­va­tion diets and result­ing impact on the fed­er­al treasury.

The non­par­ti­san Joint Com­mit­tee on Tax­a­tion has esti­mat­ed there is a $381 bil­lion-a-year gap in what is owed to Uncle Sam and what is actu­al­ly paid.

Hence, the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act moved to restore the IRS by boost­ing its spend­ing by $80 bil­lion over the next ten years.

We’re talk­ing about a decade.  The tax agency won’t just go out and hire 87,000 agents overnight, as Kevin McCarthy would have you believe.

Of the $80 bil­lion, $46 bil­lion would be spent on enforce­ment. The Trea­sury Depart­ment has promised there will be no increase in audits of those report­ing incomes of $400,000 or less. The rich won’t be soaked – the 2017 tax cut scheme made sure of that – but they will hope­ful­ly be made to bathe on a reg­u­lar basis.

The increase goes to oth­er uses as well, $25 bil­lion to oper­a­tions, with $4.8 bil­lion to be spent on mod­ern­iza­tion of cus­tomer service.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Del­Bene not­ed: “I hear from con­stituents reg­u­lar­ly who can­not get through to the IRS or are hav­ing prob­lems with their tax returns.

“The addi­tion­al resources that Democ­rats enact­ed last year in the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act are meant to improve tech­nol­o­gy, hire more per­son­nel to ensure cor­po­ra­tions and wealthy indi­vid­u­als pay their fair share.”

Four decades ago, the Rea­gan Admin­is­tra­tion pushed through Con­gress a big tax cut pred­i­cat­ed on the trick­le down the­o­ry, that ben­e­fits bestowed on cor­po­ra­tions and the rich would gen­er­ate growth and ulti­mate­ly ben­e­fit all. Still, after tout­ing tax cut ben­e­fits in one nation­al­ly tele­vised speech, Pres­i­dent Rea­gan threw in a kick­er: He said we must assure that the tax­es still owed get collected.

Any­body mak­ing the Gipper’s pledge in today’s Repub­li­can House Cau­cus would find them­selves labeled a RINO and a vic­tim of heavy sar­casm on Rupert Mur­doch’s FNC. McCarthy & Co. have enti­tled their bill the “Fam­i­ly and Small Busi­ness Tax­pay­er Pro­tec­tion Act.” The title is an out­right lie.

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

Governor Inslee delivers first in-person State of the State Address since pandemic’s onset

Today in Olympia, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee appeared before a joint ses­sion of the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture, as he has for the past decade, to deliv­er the annu­al State of the State Address, shar­ing his thoughts on Wash­ing­ton’s well being and lay­ing out his pri­or­i­ties for his eleventh year in office as the state’s chief executive.

This was the first State of the State Address to be deliv­ered in-per­son since 2020, the year that COVID-19 began spread­ing rapid­ly through­out the U.S. and the world. The last two ses­sions of the Leg­is­la­ture were both held remotely.

Inslee start­ed off the speech by tout­ing recent leg­isla­tive suc­cess­es, such as enact­ing paid fam­i­ly leave as well as trans­for­ma­tive cli­mate action leg­is­la­tion, con­tin­u­ing to build more homes, and improv­ing the behav­ioral health sys­tem, to name a few. But, progress is still need­ed in Wash­ing­ton, and the gov­er­nor quick­ly began dis­cussing what still needs fix­ing in the Ever­green State.

Inslee first addressed ris­ing rates of home­less­ness in Wash­ing­ton, and under­scored that “the fun­da­men­tal, under­ly­ing chal­lenge is that we don’t have enough hous­ing”. The gov­er­nor stat­ed that he wants to “go big” on hous­ing this ses­sion. He pro­pos­es to do that through “a $4 bil­lion ref­er­en­dum that will sig­nif­i­cant­ly speed up the con­struc­tion of thou­sands of new units”.

“When it comes to build­ing afford­able hous­ing, our Hous­ing Trust Fund has been our pri­ma­ry tool for decades,” Inslee noted.

“Unfor­tu­nate­ly, we can only adjust that dial a lit­tle bit here and there. And we’ve been adjust­ing it up every bien­ni­um since 2013 — $30-$50 mil­lion at a time.”

“It isn’t enough. If there was ever a time to go big, it’s now.”

“This ref­er­en­dum will fast-for­ward our abil­i­ty to build,” the gov­er­nor added.

“Impor­tant­ly, it offers us the scale and speed we need. Scale and speed are nec­es­sary for mar­ket-rate devel­op­ment, too. Res­i­den­tial zon­ing restric­tions block pri­vate devel­op­ers from build­ing denser and more afford­able options.”

“The state has been and will con­tin­ue doing its part to shore up capac­i­ty,” Inslee told leg­is­la­tors and guests. “We’ve added hun­dreds of foren­sic beds since the True­blood tri­al in 2015, and we plan to add hun­dreds more.”

Governor Inslee listens to the national anthem before State of the State

Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee lis­tens to the nation­al anthem ahead of the 2023 State of the State Address (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Then, Gov­er­nor Inslee talked about edu­ca­tion, and men­tioned to the assem­bled body that his “bud­get pro­pos­al increas­es K‑12 spend­ing by $3 billion.

“Meet­ing the social and emo­tion­al needs of our stu­dents has been an impor­tant effort, and I com­mend this Leg­is­la­ture for mak­ing his­toric invest­ments last year to increase fund­ing for schools so they can hire more nurs­es, coun­selors, psy­chol­o­gists and social work­ers,” the Gov­er­nor said.

Next, the Gov­er­nor moved to an issue he holds dear — com­bat­ing cli­mate dam­age. He spoke of shift­ing Wash­ing­ton’s focus “to imple­men­ta­tion and invest­ment,” such as increas­ing the state’s abil­i­ty to do R&D, “bol­ster our trans­mis­sion infra­struc­ture,” and more, includ­ing a con­tin­ued focus on “salmon recov­ery actions”.

“It was fan­tas­tic to join Sen­a­tors Joe Nguyen and Matt Boehnke in Tri-Cities last month to talk about the poten­tial for a new Insti­tute for North­west Ener­gy Futures at Wash­ing­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty,” said Inslee. “This insti­tute will put the region at the glob­al fore­front of clean tech innovation.”

On the pub­lic safe­ty side, the gov­er­nor asked for more fund­ing for law enforce­ment and gun safe­ty train­ing, but his head­line request of the Leg­is­la­ture is “to ban the sale of mil­i­tary-style assault weapons”.

“These weapons are designed for the sole pur­pose of destroy­ing lives — the lives of school chil­dren, law enforce­ment offi­cers, con­cert-goers, night­club patrons, and peo­ple gath­ered in hous­es of wor­ship,” Inslee somber­ly observed.

And final­ly, Inslee talked about an issue that Democ­rats cam­paigned fierce­ly on in 2022: “the rights of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans seek­ing repro­duc­tive care”.

He called on leg­is­la­tors to keep Wash­ing­ton a pro-lib­er­ty state for all, includ­ing refer­ring to vot­ers a new con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment “that express­ly estab­lish­es a fun­da­men­tal right to repro­duc­tive free­dom in Wash­ing­ton state”.

“The Dobbs deci­sion last year on the nation­al lev­el upend­ed decades of prece­dent that assured peo­ple across the coun­try had at least some mea­sure of con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­tec­tion for abor­tion care and con­tra­cep­tion,” said Inslee.

The Gov­er­nor con­clud­ed his remarks by thank­ing leg­is­la­tors for their service.

“You have each left your hearth and home to come here to serve your con­stituents and fur­ther the progress and suc­cess of our state,” Inslee said.

“And when you do so, you will strive and toil to enact poli­cies, and yet may nev­er know many of the actu­al peo­ple you’ve helped.”

The 2023 leg­isla­tive ses­sion began yes­ter­day and will run until April 23rd, 2023.

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

NPI to Legislature: Let’s make voting in WA easier by abolishing Eyman’s “advisory votes”

Edi­tor’s Note: The fol­low­ing is the writ­ten ver­sion of the tes­ti­mo­ny pre­pared by NPI’s founder and exec­u­tive direc­tor in sup­port of NPI’s 2023 bill to repeal Tim Eyman’s “advi­so­ry votes.” To watch Andrew deliv­er the ver­bal ver­sion, check out this TVW record­ing of the hear­ing on Sen­ate Bill 5082

Good after­noon, Chair Hunt and Mem­bers of the Committee!

For the record, my name is Andrew Vil­leneuve. I’m the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, a 501(c)(4) non­prof­it work­ing to raise every­one’s qual­i­ty of life through insight­ful research and imag­i­na­tive advo­ca­cy. NPI is cel­e­brat­ing its twen­ti­eth anniver­sary this year and is based in Redmond.

On behalf of our team at NPI, includ­ing our board and staff, I thank you for hear­ing this bill today, and I thank Sen­a­tor Kud­er­er for prime spon­sor­ing it.

I also thank Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs for his support.

The over­ar­ch­ing objec­tive of this bill is to make it eas­i­er to vote in Wash­ing­ton by elim­i­nat­ing “advi­so­ry votes” from our bal­lots. Con­trary to their name, “advi­so­ry votes” are not advi­so­ry. They are a form of dis­in­for­ma­tion invent­ed by Tim Eyman to pol­lute our bal­lots with anti-tax mes­sages that tax­pay­ers have to pay for.

Today, I’m delight­ed to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to sum­ma­rize the prin­ci­ples on which our bill has been writ­ten and explain why it’s crit­i­cal to the cause of vot­ing jus­tice to pass this leg­is­la­tion and repeal “advi­so­ry votes.”

There are four key prin­ci­ples under­pin­ning Sen­ate Bill 5082 and House Bill 1158:

Prin­ci­ple #1: The bal­lot is sacred and should be free of propaganda 

From our pol­i­cy brief:

“Advi­so­ry votes” are not bal­lot mea­sures. They are anti-tax mes­sages dressed up to look like bal­lot mea­sures. They can­not be used to mea­sure any­thing because they vio­late every sin­gle guide­line for ask­ing unbi­ased questions.

Ridicu­lous­ly, due to Tim Eyman’s for­mu­la­tion of the trig­ger that sets up “advi­so­ry votes”, bills that are not even tax increas­es but nev­er­the­less have the effect of increas­ing state rev­enue, like the Reusable Bag Bill or the rescis­sion of the Boe­ing tax breaks, are being pre­sent­ed to vot­ers as tax increas­es when they are not.

Prin­ci­ple #2: Dis­in­for­ma­tion cre­ates a bar­ri­er to vot­ing, sup­press­ing turnout

From our pol­i­cy brief:

At elec­tion time, we want every­body to vote a com­plete bal­lot and par­tic­i­pate ful­ly. Tim Eyman’s mali­cious­ly word­ed “advi­so­ry votes” are a bar­ri­er to secur­ing more robust par­tic­i­pa­tion because they con­fuse and mis­lead the elec­torate, negat­ing enthu­si­asm for vot­ing and acti­vat­ing an unhealthy, cyn­i­cal state of mind.

Research has shown that schemes like “advi­so­ry votes” inter­rupt the act of cast­ing a bal­lot. “Advi­so­ry votes” are not, to use a med­ical metaphor, benign. They are malignant.

Prin­ci­ple #3: Every­thing on the bal­lot should have mean­ing… can­di­date elections/ballot mea­sures and opin­ion polling don’t mix!

From our pol­i­cy brief:

Word­ing changes will not make “advi­so­ry votes” wor­thy of a place on our bal­lots. The bal­lot is sim­ply not an appro­pri­ate place to con­duct pub­lic opin­ion research of any kind. The only items on our bal­lots should be can­di­date elec­tions and bind­ing bal­lot mea­sures (ini­tia­tives, ref­er­en­da, and con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments, with the local equiv­a­lent being propo­si­tions and char­ter amendments).

Every deci­sion we make when we fill in an oval on our bal­lots should influ­ence pub­lic pol­i­cy or our representation.

Prin­ci­ple #4: We need real tools for mak­ing the Legislature’s work more transparent

From our pol­i­cy brief:

In addi­tion to repeal­ing “advi­so­ry votes”, our bill would make use­ful infor­ma­tion about the fis­cal deci­sions leg­is­la­tors have made avail­able online so that vot­ers can under­stand what bud­get­ing deci­sions are being made on their behalf. Each mea­sure that increas­es or decreas­es state rev­enue would receive a short fis­cal impact state­ment no longer than a let­ter to the edi­tor. Infor­ma­tion sum­ma­riz­ing the state’s finances and pro­vid­ing con­text from past fis­cal years would also be pro­vid­ed in graph­i­cal and tab­u­lar format.

NPI is a rec­og­nized leader in the field of pub­lic opin­ion research, with a decade of expe­ri­ence design­ing and exe­cut­ing sur­veys. Our polling is cred­i­ble and accu­rate because we rig­or­ous­ly fol­low the sci­en­tif­ic method. We often explain the impor­tance of neu­tral­i­ty in ques­tion word­ing to peo­ple who are inter­est­ed in know­ing how to gauge the cred­i­bil­i­ty of polling. Neu­tral word­ing is essen­tial: you can’t find out what peo­ple think if you tell them what to think first.

Because Eyman designed “advi­so­ry votes” to be prej­u­di­cial­ly word­ed, they can’t be used as a means of mea­sur­ing how vot­ers feel about the Leg­is­la­ture’s fis­cal deci­sions. “Advi­so­ry votes” are akin to the nefar­i­ous push polls that crop up at elec­tion time from oper­a­tives try­ing to bring down a can­di­date that they oppose.

There has nev­er been an advi­so­ry vote on “advi­so­ry votes” them­selves, but we know from our research that Wash­ing­to­ni­ans favor get­ting rid of them.

We’ve asked repeat­ed­ly in our statewide and local polls if vot­ers want “advi­so­ry votes” repealed, and they have con­sis­tent­ly said yes.

Here’s an exam­ple of a ques­tion that we have asked in our statewide polls:

ASKED STATEWIDE IN OCTOBER OF 2020 BEFORE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

QUESTION: The Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture is con­sid­er­ing leg­is­la­tion that would abol­ish the non-bind­ing statewide advi­so­ry votes that are trig­gered when­ev­er a bill is passed that increas­es state rev­enue. Pro­po­nents of advi­so­ry votes say they allow vot­ers to vote on tax increas­es and trans­form the voter’s pam­phlet into a tax increase report card, enabling vot­ers to find out what Olympia is doing to them. Oppo­nents say that advi­so­ry votes are actu­al­ly cost­ly push polls designed to con­fuse the pub­lic, which ought to be elim­i­nat­ed to save valu­able tax dol­lars and pre­vent legit­i­mate mea­sures and can­di­date elec­tions from being pushed to the back of the bal­lot. Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose abol­ish­ing non-bind­ing advi­so­ry votes?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port repeal (abol­ish): 42% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 22%
    • Some­what sup­port: 20%
  • Oppose repeal (keep): 22% 
    • Some­what oppose: 10%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 12%
  • Not sure: 35%

Our sur­vey of six hun­dred and ten like­ly 2020 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Wednes­day, Octo­ber 14th through Thurs­day, Octo­ber 15th, 2020.

It uti­lized a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respondents.

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 4.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence level.

And here’s an exam­ple of a ques­tion we asked in one of our local polls. This ques­tion was seen by vot­ers in King Coun­ty. The for­mat of this poll allowed us to offer a visu­al to go with the ques­tion, and we pro­vid­ed an image of what “advi­so­ry votes” look like, with­out any annotations:

ASKED COUNTYWIDE IN OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2022 BEFORE MIDTERM ELECTION

Tim Eyman's 2022 push polls

QUESTION: Each year since 2012, vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton State have been asked to respond to items on the bal­lot labeled “advi­so­ry votes” which con­cern rev­enue-relat­ed laws already passed by the Legislature.

Activist Tim Eyman, who wrote the 2007 ini­tia­tive that cre­at­ed “advi­so­ry votes,” says that they put tax increas­es on the bal­lot for the vot­ers to learn about and vote on, and are worth the cost because leg­is­la­tors have sab­o­taged the people’s right to ref­er­en­dum through the overuse of the emer­gency clause, bond­ing of tax rev­enue, and oth­er tac­tics. Eyman strong­ly favors con­tin­u­ing “advi­so­ry votes” and has filed law­suits request­ing that the courts order state offi­cials to put more of them on the ballot. 

Vot­ing jus­tice advo­cates say that “advi­so­ry votes” are a bar­ri­er to vot­ing because they are poor­ly and prej­u­di­cial­ly word­ed, lead­ing to con­fu­sion and neg­a­tive­ly impact­ing vot­er par­tic­i­pa­tion. They’re cham­pi­oning leg­is­la­tion that would elim­i­nate “advi­so­ry votes” and replace them with detailed, unbi­ased infor­ma­tion about the Legislature’s fis­cal deci­sions to the voter’s pam­phlet. These advo­cates say this would pre­vent “advi­so­ry votes” from clut­ter­ing up future bal­lots and save tax­pay­ers mil­lions of dol­lars on bal­lot design, print­ing, and tab­u­la­tion each year.

Do you sup­port or oppose replac­ing “advi­so­ry votes” with detailed, unbi­ased infor­ma­tion about the Legislature’s fis­cal deci­sions in the voter’s pamphlet? 

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port replac­ing “advi­so­ry votes”: 59% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 39%
    • Some­what sup­port: 20%
  • Oppose replac­ing “advi­so­ry votes”: 25% 
    • Some­what oppose: 11%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 14%
  • Not sure: 16%

Our sur­vey of 740 like­ly 2022 King Coun­ty gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers was in the field from Fri­day, Octo­ber 28th until Thurs­day, Novem­ber 3rd, 2022.

The poll was con­duct­ed entire­ly online for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Change Research and has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 4.0%.

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

Impor­tant­ly, Sen­ate Bill 5082 (and its House com­pan­ion, House Bill 1158) do not just repeal “advi­so­ry votes.” Our leg­is­la­tion also replaces them with truth­ful, accu­rate infor­ma­tion pre­pared by the Office of Finan­cial Management.

Part III of the bill requires fis­cal impact state­ments to be pre­pared for any bills that change state rev­enue after a ses­sion ends and requires those state­ments to be made avail­able from the front page of leg.wa.gov for easy access.

The state­ments are required to employ neu­tral language.

The print­ed voter’s pam­phlet pub­lished for state gen­er­al elec­tions would also con­tain instruc­tions on how to access the fis­cal impact statements.

In Wash­ing­ton, we believe that vot­ing should be as easy as pos­si­ble. We’ve enact­ed laws pro­vid­ing for same-day vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, pre­paid postage on bal­lot return envelopes, and more drop box­es, for exam­ple. But bar­ri­ers to vot­ing still remain, and “advi­so­ry votes” are one of the most glaring.

By pass­ing this leg­is­la­tion, we can elim­i­nate a bar­ri­er to vot­ing and pro­vide truth­ful, use­ful infor­ma­tion about the Legislature’s fis­cal deci­sions to vot­ers through the Office of Finan­cial Man­age­ment and leg­isla­tive websites.

We ask that you give SB 5082 a “do pass” recommendation.

Thank you for your ser­vice to the peo­ple of the State of Washington.

Sunday, January 8th, 2023

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (January 3rd-7th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Jan­u­ary 7th, 2023.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

ELECTION OF KEVIN MCCARTHY AS SPEAKER: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive-elect Kevin McCarthy, R‑California, was elect­ed House speak­er on Jan­u­ary 7th, 2023 (East­ern Time), with 216 mem­bers vot­ing to sup­port his can­di­da­cy, 212 sup­port­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hakeem Jef­fries, D‑New York, and six declar­ing “present.”

McCarthy’s elec­tion came on the fif­teenth bal­lot in an intra­party pow­er strug­gle stretch­ing over four days. The rules of the cham­ber require a major­i­ty vote to elect the House speak­er, who is sec­ond in line for the presidency.

After this vote, House mem­bers were sworn into office and the cham­ber began offi­cial­ly func­tion­ing as part of the 118th Congress.

McCarthy backer James Com­er, R‑Kentucky, said: “For the past two years, one-par­ty Demo­c­rat [sic] rule has result­ed in mul­ti­ple crises that are harm­ing Amer­i­cans with­out any over­sight or account­abil­i­ty from this body…. In a Repub­li­can major­i­ty under Speak­er Kevin McCarthy, this bro­ken Con­gress will final­ly be fixed, we will return to reg­u­lar order and we will drag those sen­a­tors kick­ing and scream­ing along with us every step of the way.”

Jef­fries backer Veron­i­ca Esco­bar, D‑Texas, said:

“I shud­der to think what a Repub­li­can majority’s inabil­i­ty to gov­ern would have meant on [Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021] and what it could mean in the future for those of us who believe in defend­ing our democ­ra­cy abroad, and now, more than ever, here at home. On this painful anniver­sary, thank­ful­ly, the hon­or­able Hakeem Jef­fries made sure that we came togeth­er to mark the moment… and ensure that we recom­mit to our repub­lic and our democracy.”

All Repub­li­cans vot­ing sup­port­ed McCarthy. All Democ­rats vot­ing sup­port­ed Jef­fries. The six mem­bers who effec­tive­ly did not vote by declar­ing “present” were GOP Rep.-elects Andy Big­gs and Eli Crane of Ari­zona, Lau­ren Boe­bert of Col­orado, Matt Gaetz of Flori­da, Bob Good of Vir­ginia and Matthew Rosendale of Montana.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing for McCarthy (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives-elect Mike Simp­son and Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing for Jef­fries (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives-elect Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

Vot­ing for McCarthy (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives-elect Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing for Jef­fries (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives-elect Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing for McCarthy (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives-elect Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 votes for Jef­fries, 6 for McCarthy

OTHER VOTES: A total of twen­ty roll call votes were tak­en this week. Most of those were votes for Speak­er that end­ed in a dead­lock, but there were also five motions to adjourn the House. No roll call votes on leg­is­la­tion have been tak­en yet in the 118th Con­gress, and there will be none until next week at the earliest.

Key votes ahead

On Tues­day, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is sched­uled to recon­vene and is expect­ed to take up a rules pack­age cre­at­ed by the Repub­li­can majority.

The Sen­ate will be in recess, and does not plan to recon­vene until Jan­u­ary 23rd, at which point it will con­sid­er one of Pres­i­dent Biden’s exec­u­tive nominations.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in this edi­tion of How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture was pro­vid­ed by Vote­Facts News Reports. 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!

© 2023 VoteFacts.com News Reports. 

Saturday, January 7th, 2023

View the official portraits of the Pacific Northwest’s three new members of Congress

After days of paral­y­sis, the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is final­ly start­ing to get orga­nized so it can con­duct busi­ness. A Speak­er has been cho­sen (Kevin McCarthy, who endured fif­teen rounds of bal­lot­ing) and the mem­bers of the 118th Con­gress have tak­en their oaths. There are cur­rent­ly 222 Repub­li­can mem­bers and 212 Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers, with one vacan­cy — not count­ing non­vot­ing del­e­gates such as D.C.‘s Eleanor Holmes Norton.

The Pacif­ic North­west has three new mem­bers of Con­gress who have not served in the insti­tu­tion before: Marie Glue­sesenkamp Perez of Wash­ing­ton, Andrea Sali­nas of Ore­gon, and Lori Chavez-DeRe­mer, also of Oregon.

The offi­cial con­gres­sion­al por­traits for each of our region’s new mem­bers is now avail­able. Below, you can view the por­traits and read the mem­bers’ biographies.

Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D)

Rep­re­sent­ing Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al District

Biog­ra­phy:

Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez

Offi­cial con­gres­sion­al por­trait of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Marie Glue­senkamp Perez

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Marie Glue­senkamp Perez is a fifth-gen­er­a­tion Wash­ing­ton­ian, for­mer small busi­ness own­er, and work­ing mom who serves as South­west Washington’s inde­pen­dent voice in Con­gress. As the daugh­ter of an immi­grant and pas­tor, Marie learned by exam­ple the impor­tance of work­ing for her community.

Marie earned her degree in eco­nom­ics at Reed Col­lege and co-owned an auto repair and machine shop with her hus­band, Dean, before com­ing to Con­gress. They were able to pur­chase their build­ing with the help of an SBA loan and know the dif­fi­cult choic­es small busi­ness own­ers often need to make.

In Con­gress, Marie is fight­ing to make progress on the issues fac­ing South­west Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, defend democ­ra­cy, and lev­el the play­ing field for work­ing fam­i­lies like hers.

Marie lives in rur­al Ska­ma­nia Coun­ty with her hus­band and young son.

Glue­senkamp Perez defeat­ed Repub­li­can Joe Kent in November.

Andrea Salinas (D)

Rep­re­sent­ing Ore­gon’s new 6th Con­gres­sion­al District

Biog­ra­phy:

Representative Andrea Salinas

Offi­cial con­gres­sion­al por­trait of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Andrea Salinas

Con­gress­woman Andrea Sali­nas is the proud daugh­ter of a Mex­i­can immi­grant and looks for­ward to serv­ing in Con­gress to lev­el the play­ing field for work­ing fam­i­lies like hers. Her father came to this coun­try as a child and picked cot­ton and toma­toes in the fields of the Rio Grande Val­ley. Her family’s sto­ry is an Amer­i­can sto­ry – one where hard work can pro­vide a path to a bet­ter life.

She was born in San Mateo, Cal­i­for­nia and grew up in Pleas­ant Hill, California.

She was the first per­son in her fam­i­ly to attend a four-year uni­ver­si­ty and earned her degree from Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berkeley.

Upon grad­u­a­tion, Andrea want­ed to serve her com­mu­ni­ty and coun­try by choos­ing a path of pub­lic ser­vice. She served as a US con­gres­sion­al aide and pol­i­cy advi­sor to Sen­a­tor Har­ry Reid and Con­gress­man Pete Stark. Andrea and her hus­band, Chris, moved to Ore­gon upon the birth of their daugh­ter, Amelia.

In Ore­gon, Con­gress­woman Sali­nas served as a dis­trict aide for Con­gress­woman Dar­lene Hoo­ley where she fell in love with the com­mu­ni­ties of the Willamette Val­ley. After work­ing for Rep. Hoo­ley, she served as an advo­cate for labor unions, envi­ron­men­tal groups, and repro­duc­tive rights orga­ni­za­tions. In 2017, she was appoint­ed to the Ore­gon House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and served through the end of her term in 2022. In the Ore­gon House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, she served as House Major­i­ty Whip and was the Chair of the House Health Care Committee.

Con­gress­woman Andrea Sali­nas looks for­ward to serv­ing Oregon’s Sixth Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict in the 118th Congress.

Sali­nas defeat­ed Repub­li­can Mike Erick­son in November.

Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R)

Rep­re­sent­ing Ore­gon’s 5th Con­gres­sion­al District

Biog­ra­phy:

Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Offi­cial con­gres­sion­al por­trait of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Con­gress­woman Lori Chavez-DeRe­mer is proud to rep­re­sent Oregon’s 5th con­gres­sion­al dis­trict that cov­ers Linn Coun­ty, most of Clacka­mas Coun­ty, Deschutes Coun­ty, and parts of Mult­nom­ah and Mar­i­on Coun­ties, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Pri­or to serv­ing in Con­gress, Lori start­ed her pub­lic ser­vice career in 2002 on the Hap­py Val­ley Parks Com­mit­tee, where she helped build the Hap­py Val­ley 4th of July Fes­ti­val that it is today. Lat­er she won a seat on the Hap­py Val­ley City Coun­cil and became City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent. She was elect­ed to May­or in 2010, becom­ing Hap­py Valley’s first female and Lati­na elect­ed may­or. She was re-elect­ed in 2014. In 2022, she was elect­ed the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to rep­re­sent Oregon’s 5th con­gres­sion­al dis­trict. She is the one of the first Lati­nas and first Repub­li­can woman elect­ed to Con­gress from the state of Oregon.

Lori is a mom and small busi­ness­woman. She is mar­ried to her high school sweet­heart, Dr. Shawn DeRe­mer, and sup­port­ed the cou­ple as he fin­ished med­ical school. Lat­er they found­ed an Anes­the­sia man­age­ment com­pa­ny and opened sev­er­al oth­er med­ical clin­ics in the Pacif­ic Northwest.

Lori and Shawn are par­ents of twin daugh­ters, who are mak­ing their own foot­prints in the world. Annie works as a senior recruiter for Anes­the­sia Asso­ciates North­west while Emi­lie is an assis­tant pub­lic defend­er in Michigan.

Chavez-DeRe­mer defeat­ed Demo­c­rat Jamie McLeod-Skin­ner in November.

NPI con­grat­u­lates our region’s new mem­bers of Con­gress on tak­ing their oaths. We wish them the best as they begin their new responsibilities.

Friday, January 6th, 2023

A Pyrrhic victory for Kevin McCarthy: He has finally won… the worst job in U.S. politics

After four days and fif­teen rounds of bal­lot­ing, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can Kevin McCarthy has final­ly claimed the title of Speak­er of the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, ful­fill­ing his ambi­tion of get­ting the cham­ber’s top post.

But it’s a Pyrrhic vic­to­ry: McCarthy will be the weak­est Speak­er of the House in mem­o­ry. He’ll wield lit­tle real pow­er and will like­ly lurch from cri­sis to cri­sis as he strug­gles to hold togeth­er a nar­row major­i­ty full of peo­ple who don’t like each oth­er and don’t trust each oth­er… a cau­cus that is already at the mer­cy of mil­i­tant extrem­ists who believe in destroy­ing gov­ern­ment rather than improv­ing it.

Despite hav­ing the same size major­i­ty as Nan­cy Pelosi did to begin the last Con­gress, McCarthy was unable to secure elec­tion to the job of Speak­er on the first day of the 118th… or the sec­ond… or the third.… or even the fourth.

He did get 216 votes… the same num­ber as Pelosi and John Boehn­er… but unlike them, he had to endure defeat in four­teen pri­or rounds of bal­lot­ing at the hands of his own mem­bers, some of whom seemed to delight in pub­licly attack­ing him.

It was not until the wee hours of Sat­ur­day morn­ing (East­ern Time!) that McCarthy’s wheel­ing and deal­ing final­ly pro­duced the votes he need­ed from his own mem­bers to secure the title. And for him, it is prin­ci­pal­ly a title.

McCarthy now holds — thanks to his own dys­func­tion­al and reck­less Repub­li­can major­i­ty — the worst job in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. So… congratulations?

The New York Times’ Emi­ly Cochrane not­ed this was sup­posed to be the easy part: “Imag­ine the arm-twist­ing that will come when it is time to pass pol­i­cy. Or a bill that needs Pres­i­dent Biden’s sig­na­ture to avoid a gov­ern­ment shutdown.”

The last few days have shown that the real pow­er in the House is wield­ed by the most extreme of the extreme mem­bers of the House Repub­li­can cau­cus. They do not care about gov­ern­ing. They are wreck­ers. They want to tear apart as much as they can because they fer­vent­ly believe that defund­ing the peo­ple’s essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices (except for per­haps the nation­al secu­ri­ty and police appa­ra­tus) will make Amer­i­cans’ lives bet­ter. But they are wrong. Utter­ly and total­ly wrong.

If McCarthy had hoped to be giv­en the gav­el by Pelosi, who was a true Speak­er of the House in every respect for four non-con­sec­u­tive Con­gress­es, he was dis­ap­point­ed. New House Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Hakeem Jef­fries per­formed the duty instead, and did­n’t hold back in mak­ing the most of an oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk about Demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues and pri­or­i­ties, mak­ing extreme­ly heavy use of allit­er­a­tion in his remarks (and mak­ing McCarthy wait even longer to hold the gavel).

Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer like­wise tweet­ed:

“Speak­er McCarthy’s dream job could turn into a night­mare for the Amer­i­can peo­ple. To get the votes, he sur­ren­dered to demands of a fringe ele­ment of the GOP. Amer­i­cans want Con­gress to build on the his­toric bipar­ti­san achieve­ments from the last two years, not more gridlock.”

McCarthy was, at least, able to swear in the new mem­bers of the House after get­ting his title. That means that some reg­u­lar order can return to the cham­ber. New mem­bers of Con­gress like Marie Glue­senkamp Perez and Andrea Sali­nas are now offi­cial­ly Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and can begin exer­cis­ing their respon­si­bil­i­ties. The delayed start has already had some reper­cus­sions, though the worst con­se­quences of a not-seat­ed House have prob­a­bly been avoided.

The adop­tion of a rules pack­age will appar­ent­ly have to wait until next Tues­day since Repub­li­cans still don’t have their act togeth­er on that front.

“Jill and I con­grat­u­late Kevin McCarthy on his elec­tion as Speak­er of the House,” said Pres­i­dent Joe Biden in a late-night statement.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple expect their lead­ers to gov­ern in a way that puts their needs above all else, and that is what we need to do now.”

“As I said after the midterms, I am pre­pared to work with Repub­li­cans when I can and vot­ers made clear that they expect Repub­li­cans to be pre­pared to work with me as well. Now that the lead­er­ship of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has been decid­ed it is time for that process to begin.”

“Today we learned that my plan to build an econ­o­my that works from the bot­tom up and the mid­dle out has achieved the low­est unem­ploy­ment rate in fifty years. And that we made 2021 and 2022 the best years for job growth on record.”

“It’s imper­a­tive that we con­tin­ue that eco­nom­ic progress, not set it back. It is imper­a­tive that we pro­tect Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare, not slash them. It is imper­a­tive that we defend our nation­al secu­ri­ty, not defund it.”

“These are some of the choic­es before us.”

“As the last two years show, we can do pro­found things for the coun­try when we do them togeth­er. For exam­ple, this week I trav­elled to Ken­tucky to high­light the grow­ing ben­e­fits that the Bipar­ti­san Infra­struc­ture Law is bring­ing to com­mu­ni­ties all over the coun­try. This is a time to gov­ern respon­si­bly and to ensure that we’re putting the inter­ests of Amer­i­can fam­i­lies first.”

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

Tina Podlodowski to retire this month as Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party

Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Tina Pod­lodows­ki announced today that she has decid­ed not to seek anoth­er term as the par­ty’s chief exec­u­tive offi­cer and will pass the baton to a new leader at the end of this month.

“I’ve decid­ed to not run for re-elec­tion as State Par­ty Chair this Jan­u­ary,” Pod­lodows­ki said in a post on Face­book. “This was not an easy deci­sion, but I feel strong­ly that I have accom­plished all I set out to do and it is now time to pass the torch to a new gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers ready to light the fires of democ­ra­cy, team­work, and com­mu­ni­ty around our state.”

Pod­lodows­ki made her deci­sion after con­sult­ing with her fam­i­ly over the hol­i­days. She released a let­ter to Demo­c­ra­t­ic PCOs, activists, and state com­mit­teemem­bers sum­ma­riz­ing the work she’s done as Chair and detail­ing her plans.

The let­ter was accom­pa­nied by one of my pho­tos of Tina, tak­en last Octo­ber at a get out the vote event in Kirk­land with Sec­ond Gen­tle­man Doug Emhoff.

Pod­lodows­ki has been chair for six years. She took over from Jax­on Ravens at the end of Jan­u­ary 2017, at a time when Democ­rats across the coun­try were still reel­ing from the dis­as­trous 2016 pres­i­den­tial election.

“It is a new day and we are going to build a new Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty that will orga­nize in every part of our state for work­ing fam­i­lies against the spe­cial inter­ests and extrem­ist politi­cians,” Pod­lodows­ki said after tak­ing office.

“We will imme­di­ate­ly begin orga­niz­ing the grass­roots to con­test elec­tions every­where, from school board and city coun­cil to the spe­cial elec­tions this fall where we will take back the state Sen­ate so we can solve the prob­lems fac­ing Wash­ing­ton fam­i­lies,” she vowed in a press release announc­ing her win.

The par­ty did just that. And more.

Much more, in fact.

Under Pod­lodowski’s lead­er­ship, the party:

  • Flipped the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate blue in 2017 with Man­ka Dhingra
  • Expand­ed its state House and state Sen­ate leg­isla­tive majori­ties in 2018, kept those majori­ties intact in 2020, and expand­ed them again in 2022
  • Flipped not one, but two con­gres­sion­al seats: the 8th, with Kim Schri­er (2018) and the 3rd, with Marie Glue­senkamp Perez (2022)
  • Regained the office of Wash­ing­ton State Trea­sur­er with Mike Pellicciotti
  • Elect­ed a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sec­re­tary of State, Steve Hobbs, for the first time in decades, result­ing in a 100% Demo­c­ra­t­ic exec­u­tive department
  • Car­ried the state for Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris in 2020, con­tin­u­ing a decades-long win­ning streak
  • Reelect­ed all oth­er statewide exec­u­tive incum­bents (Jay Inslee, Bob Fer­gu­son, Pat McCarthy, Hilary Franz, Chris Reyk­dal, Mike Kreidler)
  • Reelect­ed Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell (2018) and Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray (2022)
  • Estab­lished bench-build­ing and par­ty expan­sion pro­grams to make Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates more com­pet­i­tive and suc­cess­ful in local elections
  • Adopt­ed a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry for del­e­gate allo­ca­tion for the first time ever
  • Agreed on new rules for select­ing and replac­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tors to ensure Wash­ing­to­ni­ans are not betrayed by faith­less elec­tors in the future

Pod­lodows­ki leaves office hav­ing worked ener­get­i­cal­ly and suc­cess­ful­ly to sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase Demo­c­ra­t­ic dom­i­nance in Wash­ing­ton State politics.

The par­ty now con­trols every sin­gle statewide par­ti­san office in Wash­ing­ton, eight out of ten U.S. House seats, and almost 60% of the seats in the Leg­is­la­ture. Plus, at the local lev­el, Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Demo­c­ra­t­ic-aligned can­di­dates have flipped cities like Sequim and Sam­mamish that were once con­trolled by Republicans.

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is also the envy of state par­ties around the nation. It’s a well run union shop with a ded­i­cat­ed staff who get results.

What a record!

I was among those who helped recruit Tina to run for chair in 2016. As a mem­ber of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, I want­ed a leader who would real­ize the great poten­tial that the state par­ty had. I felt Tina was the leader we need­ed, and was real­ly hap­py she took on the position.

These past six years have demon­strat­ed that we in the WSDCC chose well.

I am sure that I speak for many Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers, PCOs, and activists when I say job well done, Tina. We appre­ci­ate you and we thank you!

Tina’s suc­ces­sor will be cho­sen on Jan­u­ary 28th, 2023, at the 2023 reor­ga­ni­za­tion meet­ing of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee in Olympia. On that day, she will pass the baton to who­ev­er the WSDCC elects as its new Chair.

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

Right wing group “Let’s Go Washington” fails to qualify any of its 11 statewide initiatives

A right wing group formed and pri­mar­i­ly fund­ed by Repub­li­can donor Bri­an K. Hey­wood of Red­mond has admit­ted defeat in its efforts to qual­i­fy a batch of eleven right wing ini­tia­tives to the 2023 Wash­ing­ton State Legislature.

Despite spend­ing $363,846.10 — most­ly on adver­tis­ing, print­ing and tex­ting — the group was unable to suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete a sig­na­ture dri­ve for any of its mea­sures, which var­i­ous­ly pro­posed slash­ing fund­ing for pub­lic ser­vices, rolling back pop­u­lar police reform laws, repeal­ing the state’s new cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy, ter­mi­nat­ing Wash­ing­ton’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Nation­al Pop­u­lar Vote Com­pact, and requir­ing pri­vate com­pa­nies to over­see some bal­lot tabulations.

As the clock ran out, Hey­wood and his asso­ciates spoke of qual­i­fy­ing at at least one mea­sure by the Decem­ber 30th dead­line, but could not fin­ish the task of gath­er­ing 425,000 sig­na­tures for even their favorite of the eleven schemes.

In a pub­licly post­ed mes­sage, Hey­wood com­plained that the ini­tia­tive process in Wash­ing­ton is “dom­i­nat­ed by deep-pock­et­ed spe­cial inter­ests, increas­ing­ly expen­sive con­sul­tants, and paid sig­na­ture gatherers.”

He added:

“Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton was found­ed on the idea that build­ing a grass­roots vol­un­teer net­work and ween­ing the process from an over-reliance on con­sul­tants is a worth­while pur­suit. How­ev­er, this takes time — more than we first thought.”

Hey­wood isn’t wrong that ini­tia­tives have become a big busi­ness, but in truth, his group was­n’t stymied by “spe­cial inter­ests” or “expen­sive con­sul­tants” or the Leg­is­la­ture’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties. It fell short prin­ci­pal­ly because — from what our team has been able to ascer­tain — the group did­n’t know what it was doing.

Sim­ply put, its ambi­tions far exceed­ed its logis­ti­cal capac­i­ty, as evi­denced by its  deci­sion to try to run eleven ini­tia­tives simultaneously.

Hav­ing failed to qual­i­fy any of them, Hey­wood pro­ceed­ed to award him­self and his group the equiv­a­lent of a par­tic­i­pa­tion tro­phy, crow­ing: “We gath­ered more sig­na­tures than any oth­er effort in our nation.”

But not enough to pass Go and col­lect $200.

Qual­i­fy­ing an ini­tia­tive to the bal­lot with most­ly vol­un­teers is pos­si­ble, and has been done as recent­ly as 2015, when WAmend — chaired by NPI Pres­i­dent Diane Jones and staffed by a team includ­ing NPI Advi­so­ry Coun­cilmem­ber Steve Zemke — suc­cess­ful­ly gath­ered enough sig­na­tures to qual­i­fy I‑735 to the Legislature.

I‑735 sub­se­quent­ly appeared on the Wash­ing­ton State bal­lot and was approved by over 62% of vot­ers. Its find­ings are cod­i­fied as RCW 29A.05.030.

Thanks to I‑735, Wash­ing­ton law now declares that the peo­ple of the Ever­green State do not approve of Supreme Court prece­dents sanc­tion­ing the legal fic­tions that cor­po­ra­tions are peo­ple and mon­ey is speech.

I‑735 suc­ceed­ed because it was backed by a team who had a grasp of the logis­tics need­ed to exe­cute a sig­na­ture dri­ve successfully.

Since I‑735 made it, the sig­na­ture require­ment has gone up (twice, ris­ing with the lev­el of guber­na­to­r­i­al elec­tion turnout as required by the Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion), paid peti­tion­er labor has become more expen­sive, and the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has made sig­na­ture gath­er­ing more dif­fi­cult. No ini­tia­tives have appeared on the statewide bal­lot for three con­sec­u­tive years as a consequence.

How­ev­er, the right wing did qual­i­fy one ref­er­en­dum, in 2020, which attempt­ed to get rid of a com­pre­hen­sive sex­u­al health edu­ca­tion law passed by the Leg­is­la­ture. Vot­ers decid­ed to keep the law, to the aston­ish­ment of the state’s right wing, which expect­ed a dif­fer­ent out­come and cried foul after being sound­ly beaten.

That cam­paign sym­bol­ized the grow­ing dis­con­nect between the vot­ers of Wash­ing­ton and the state’s right wing polit­i­cal forces. They inhab­it their own bub­ble or echo cham­ber and they seem not to under­stand or appre­ci­ate that their views are not wide­ly pop­u­lar. Con­sid­er this bit from Hey­wood’s letter:

Washington’s ini­tia­tive sys­tem was designed as a “safe­ty valve” for when the leg­is­la­ture pass­es laws opposed by the major­i­ty of vot­ers. Late­ly, the leg­is­la­ture has shown itself will­ing to ignore the peo­ple — repeatedly. 

Empha­sis is mine.

It’s amus­ing that Hey­wood is renew­ing his claim that the Leg­is­la­ture’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties are total­ly out of touch mere­ly a few weeks after vot­ers returned every sin­gle Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­isla­tive incum­bent who sought reelec­tion to Olympia and even expand­ed the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s majori­ties in both the House and Senate.

Wash­ing­to­ni­ans seem sat­is­fied with the work of their Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leg­is­la­ture and total­ly unin­ter­est­ed in the prospect of putting Repub­li­cans in charge: they sent even more Democ­rats to the state­house in an elec­tion that Repub­li­cans had expect­ed for a long time to be extreme­ly dom­i­nant in.

It’s worth remem­ber­ing that at the time Hey­wood launched Let’s Go Wash­ing­ton, Repub­li­cans were open­ly fan­ta­siz­ing about hav­ing con­trol of the Legislature.

That’s part­ly what spurred the group to attempt so many ini­tia­tives at once: they want­ed the abil­i­ty to send what they thought would be a House run by J.T. Wilcox and a Sen­ate run by John Braun a set of pro­pos­als that could be adopt­ed into law with­out the need for a guber­na­to­r­i­al sig­na­ture, know­ing that Jay Inslee would hap­pi­ly wield his veto pen against their destruc­tive schemes.

In August, how­ev­er, Democ­rats romped in the Top Two elec­tion and the air instant­ly went out of the right wing’s bal­loon. Wilcox, Braun, and Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Caleb Heim­lich con­ced­ed pri­vate­ly and lat­er pub­licly that Repub­li­cans stood no chance of flip­ping either cham­ber. Democ­rats con­tin­ued their leg­isla­tive elec­toral dom­i­nance in Novem­ber, leav­ing Repub­li­cans shak­ing their heads.

At NPI, we’re real­ly inter­est­ed in what peo­ple think about the work of our elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the issues of the day, so we do a lot of research, and we pub­lish new poll find­ings reg­u­lar­ly here on the Cas­ca­dia Advocate.

If Repub­li­cans like Bri­an Hey­wood paid any atten­tion to our research, they’d know that they are the ones who are ignor­ing the peo­ple and push­ing unpop­u­lar ideas. But they seem well and tru­ly ensconced in their echo cham­ber, unwill­ing to con­sid­er that pro­gres­sives actu­al­ly have a bet­ter grasp of pub­lic opinion.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

Top Republican Kevin McCarthy’s bid for Speaker fails on first day of 118th Congress

House Repub­li­can Leader Kevin McCarthy was humil­i­at­ed by col­leagues from his own par­ty on Tues­day, as for the first time in one hun­dred years, Con­gress’ low­er cham­ber failed to elect a House Speak­er on its first ballot.

McCarthy came up short three times, a sign that Repub­li­can have brought chaos rather than con­trol to the House.

The defec­tion of twen­ty far-right Repub­li­cans not only blocked McCarthy from the Speaker’s chair but pre­vent­ed the House from organizing.

The cham­ber adjourned until mid­day on Wednes­day, amidst swirling rumors and Repub­li­can recrim­i­na­tions. Ex-Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump appeared to with­draw sup­port from McCarthy, who has repeat­ed­ly tried to obstruct efforts to hold Trump account­able for the Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021 insur­rec­tion at the U.S. Capitol.

The stale­mate left Wash­ing­ton’s U.S. Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray tem­porar­i­ly sec­ond in line for the pres­i­den­cy, a posi­tion nor­mal­ly held by the House Speaker.

Mur­ray was unan­i­mous­ly cho­sen as Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore of the U.S. Sen­ate, where Democ­rats still hold sway. Mur­ray is the first woman to hold a posi­tion hith­er­to the domain of tough old men.

“I am tru­ly hon­ored to have earned the con­fi­dence of my col­leagues to serve in the role, and the sig­nif­i­cance of this moment is cer­tain­ly not lost on me,” Mur­ray said in accept­ing the post. She was sworn in by Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris with a stand­ing bipar­ti­san ovation.

Across the Capi­tol, there was acrimony.

McCarthy, with 202 votes, trailed new House Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Hakeem Jef­fries, who gained unan­i­mous sup­port from his 212-mem­ber cau­cus. The Democ­rats appeared in high spir­its, cheer­ing their leader’s vote totals on the House floor.

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion moved to con­trast its achieve­ments and com­mit­ment to bipar­ti­san­ship with the Repub­li­cans’ fratricide.

The 46th Pres­i­dent will appear Wednes­day in Cov­ing­ton, Ken­tucky, to cel­e­brate the bipar­ti­san infra­struc­ture pack­age. He will be accom­pa­nied by Sen­ate Repub­li­can Leader Mitch McConnell and Ohio’s Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Mike DeWine along with Kentucky’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Gov­er­nor Andy Beshear. They will appear at the Brent Spence Bridge, which links the Buck­eye and Blue­grass states.

“We do pro­found things for the coun­try when we work togeth­er,” White House press sec­re­tary Karine Jean-Pierre told the dai­ly brief­ing. Watch­ing the Repub­li­cans’ inter­nal feud, she added: “We’re cer­tain­ly not going to insert our­selves in what’s hap­pen­ing on the oth­er side of Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzan Del­Bene, D‑Washington, chair of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, was not so ret­i­cent. “The 118th Con­gress has yet to begin and Amer­i­cans are already see­ing how dis­as­trous GOP con­trol of the House is going to be,” she said in a state­ment. “No mat­ter who becomes Speak­er of the House or how many votes it takes, the con­trast is clear and in two short years vot­ers will reject the MAGA chaos and confusion.”

The Speak­er stale­mate put off by a day the swear­ing in of Rep. Marie Glue­senkamp-Perez, D‑Washington, the auto repair shop co-own­er elect­ed to rep­re­sent South­west Wash­ing­ton in Con­gress, and of Andrea Sali­nas, D‑Oregon, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Beaver State’s new 6th Con­gres­sion­al District.

With deft under­state­ment, how­ev­er, MGP under­scored dys­func­tion on the oth­er side of the aisle. “We want peo­ple who fix things for a liv­ing,” she said, adding: “The can­di­date selec­tion process is fun­da­men­tal­ly broken.”

Oppo­si­tion to McCarthy was splin­tered among far right Repub­li­cans on the first bal­lot. It coa­lesced lat­er behind Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Jor­dan, R‑Ohio, the stri­dent elec­tion denier who is a fix­ture on Rupert Mur­doch’s FNC. Quite like­ly play­ing a dou­ble game, how­ev­er, Jor­dan him­self nom­i­nat­ed McCarthy and vot­ed for McCarthy. Jor­dan is in line to chair the House Judi­cia­ry Committee.

The extreme right cost the Repub­li­cans numer­ous House and Sen­ate races last Novem­ber. Glue­senkamp Perez was elect­ed over Trump-endorsed elec­tion denier Joe Kent, after Kent upset Repub­li­can incum­bent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler in the August Top Two elec­tion. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mary Pel­to­la, D‑Alaska, beat for­mer Repub­li­can vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Sarah Palin to win a House seat held for forty-nine years by Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Don Young.

Ex-Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Her­rera Beut­ler sur­faced on CNN. “I hate it, I absolute­ly hate it,” she said of the Speak­er stale­mate. “There’s noth­ing good that comes of it… I think extremes right now on both sides of the aisle are wag­ging the dog.”

The bat­tle over Speak­er pro­duced angry divi­sions even among ultra MAGA Repub­li­cans. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and one­time House Speak­er Newt Gin­grich backed McCarthy, with Gin­grich going on Fox News to denounce cau­cus dis­si­dents. Hav­ing made a deal to back McCarthy, Greene turned her back on bud­dy Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Gaetz and said: “They’re hold­ing this coun­try hostage and pre­vent­ing us from doing our job for the people.”

In turn, the atten­tion-hun­gry Gaetz, R‑Florida, took to the House floor and sneered at McCarthy’s lengthy pur­suit of the Speak­er­ship, say­ing the Cal­i­for­nia con­gress­man has “sold shares of him­self for more than a decade to get it.”

Trump had giv­en his endorse­ment to the supine McCarthy, who made a pen­i­ten­tial pil­grim­age to Mar a Lago short­ly after the Jan­u­ary 6, 2021, insur­rec­tion at the U.S. Capi­tol. But Trump, when asked lat­er in the day about McCarthy’s endan­gered bid, told a radio host: “We’ll see what happens.”

Both remain­ing Repub­li­cans in Washington’s del­e­ga­tion, Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers and Dan New­house, vot­ed for McCarthy. CMR is in line to chair the pow­er­ful House Ener­gy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee, where she has pledged feal­ty to the fos­sil fuel indus­try, with more oil drilling and coal min­ing on fed­er­al lands.

What is going to happen?

McCarthy has kow­towed to the far right, promis­ing mul­ti­ple inves­ti­ga­tions of the Biden fam­i­ly and even of the Jan­u­ary 6th com­mit­tee that has been inves­ti­gat­ing the insur­rec­tion. He has deliv­ered lengthy, hyper­bole-laden House floor speech­es denounc­ing Sen­ate Repub­li­cans (includ­ing McConnell) for vot­ing for the $1.7 tril­lion fed­er­al spend­ing bill. He railed against the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act.

Not enough, say the dis­si­dents. In words of Mon­tana Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Rosendale, speak­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post: “We need a leader who can stand up to a Sen­ate and Pres­i­dent Biden and unfor­tu­nate­ly it isn’t Kevin McCarthy.” Rosendale argued that more rules are need­ed to empow­er the GOP rank-and-file.

But con­ces­sions have made McCarthy look weak, and only fueled the extreme right’s strat­e­gy: The more we demand, the more we get. “Time to make the change or get out of the way,” they said in a let­ter to McCarthy late on Monday.

McCarthy erupt­ed in anger at a Repub­li­can cau­cus meet­ing on Tues­day morn­ing, declar­ing: “I earned this job. We earned this major­i­ty, and (exple­tive) we are going to win it today.” He angri­ly rebuffed demands by Gaetz and Scott Per­ry, chair­man of the House Free­dom Cau­cus, for plum com­mit­tee assignments.

Where have the rea­son­able Repub­li­can gone?

It appeared Tues­day that they’ve decamped from Con­gress and onto cable TV pro­grams. Those remain­ing in the House have lined up with McCarthy, say­ing they will stick with the embat­tled leader come hell or high water. “Kevin McCarthy is going to be Speak­er: I don’t think there is any ques­tion about it, I think the ques­tion is how many rounds it takes,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bri­an Fitz­patrick, R‑Pa.

Sent to the side­lines, Her­rera Beut­ler urged McCarthy to show backbone.

“The real­i­ty, the major­i­ty of the Repub­li­can cau­cus is not going to give into these demands,” she told CNN. “When you put your foot down, you get bet­ter results than not.”

The mess on Day One of the new Con­gress is embell­ish­ing the tough-as-nails rep­u­ta­tion of for­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi.

With a 222-seat major­i­ty, Pelosi was able to push through land­mark infra­struc­ture leg­is­la­tion, the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act, a land­mark bill to revive America’s com­put­er chip indus­try, a mod­est pack­age of gun safe­ty mea­sures, plus fed­er­al recog­ni­tion of LBGTQ+ mar­riages. The nar­row Demo­c­ra­t­ic advan­tage in the 117th Con­gress held togeth­er on all of the above votes.

With 222 Repub­li­can seats, Kevin McCarthy can­not even secure the Speaker’s job.

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

Senator Patty Murray sworn in as the first woman U.S. Senate President Pro Tempore

Wash­ing­ton’s senior U.S. Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray made his­to­ry today as the first woman ever to become Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, suc­ceed­ing a series of nine­ty-one men in the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly-defined role.

With the office of Speak­er of the House cur­rent­ly vacant, Mur­ray is sec­ond in line to the pres­i­den­cy, after Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Harris.

“I hope that when young women now see me in this posi­tion they see they can accom­plish any­thing they set their mind to,” said Mur­ray in sub­se­quent remarks.

“I hope they see that they not only belong in Con­gress — but that their voic­es are need­ed here in Con­gress. We need their per­spec­tives and their insight — and we need a Con­gress that looks like America.”

“The year that I was first elect­ed to the Sen­ate, there were three oth­er women elect­ed to the Sen­ate with me, and twen­ty-four in the House,” she recollected.

“And that was enough for them to call it the ‘year of the woman.’ ”

“Well, today, we have more women serv­ing in the Sen­ate than when I first start­ed — but you know what: we need more. We need more women in lead­er­ship roles, and more women at the deci­sion mak­ing table.”

“But today real­ly is a sign of the progress I have fought for, for a very long time. And I hope we con­tin­ue to build on that progress.”

“We need to make every year the ‘year of the women.’ I do care deeply about the work we do here in Con­gress, and how that work can help friends and neigh­bors that I grew up with and the con­stituents that I rep­re­sent. I real­ly look for­ward to the oppor­tu­ni­ty to serve our coun­try as Pres­i­dent Pro Tem.”

Watch the swearing-in:

Mur­ray was accom­pa­nied to the dais by her pre­de­ces­sor Patrick Leahy of Ver­mont, where she took the oath in front of her col­leagues. It was admin­is­tered by Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris. The first woman to be Vice Pres­i­dent got to swear in the first woman Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore… now that’s cool!

If you’re not famil­iar with the posi­tion of Pres­i­dent Pro Tem (pro tem­pore is Latin for the time being), here’s some use­ful back­ground from Wikipedia:

The pres­i­dent pro tem­pore of the Unit­ed States Sen­ate (often short­ened to pres­i­dent pro tem) is the sec­ond-high­est-rank­ing offi­cial of the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, after the vice pres­i­dent. Accord­ing to Arti­cle One, Sec­tion Three of the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion, the vice pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States is the pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate (despite not being a sen­a­tor), and the Sen­ate must choose a pres­i­dent pro tem­pore to act in the vice pres­i­den­t’s absence.

The pres­i­dent pro tem­pore is elect­ed by the Sen­ate as a whole, usu­al­ly by a res­o­lu­tion which is adopt­ed by unan­i­mous con­sent with­out a for­mal vote. The Con­sti­tu­tion does not spec­i­fy who can serve in this posi­tion, but the Sen­ate has always elect­ed one of its cur­rent mem­bers. Unlike the vice pres­i­dent, the pres­i­dent pro tem­pore can­not cast a tie-break­ing vote when the Sen­ate is equal­ly divid­ed. The pres­i­dent pro tem­pore has enjoyed many priv­i­leges and some lim­it­ed powers.

Dur­ing the vice pres­i­den­t’s absence, the pres­i­dent pro tem­pore is empow­ered to pre­side over Sen­ate ses­sions. Except when nec­es­sary or to high­light impor­tant votes, the vice pres­i­dent and the pres­i­dent pro tem­pore rarely pre­side; instead, the duty of pre­sid­ing offi­cer is rotat­ed among junior U.S. sen­a­tors of the major­i­ty par­ty to give them expe­ri­ence in par­lia­men­tary procedure.

Unlike the Speak­er of the House, the Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore is not held by the per­son con­sid­ered to be the leader of the Sen­ate’s major­i­ty cau­cus. That’s a dif­fer­ent posi­tion… the posi­tion of Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader. (The House also has a Major­i­ty Leader, who is the usu­al­ly the chief deputy of the Speaker.)

Tra­di­tion­al­ly, the most senior mem­ber of the major­i­ty cau­cus has been elect­ed Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore by the body — but not always. Dianne Fein­stein of Cal­i­for­nia has more senior­i­ty than Mur­ray, but did not want the posi­tion. Mur­ray was next in line after Fein­stein and accept­ed the responsibility.

Mur­ray was also sworn in for her sixth term as a sen­a­tor today, after vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton over­whelm­ing­ly backed her reelec­tion cam­paign. She has now won half a dozen con­sec­u­tive statewide elec­tions: 1992, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2016, and 2022. In addi­tion to becom­ing Pres­i­dent Pro Tem, Mur­ray is the new chair of the extreme­ly pow­er­ful Sen­ate Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, also suc­ceed­ing Leahy.

Appro­pri­a­tions is one of three U.S. Sen­ate fis­cal com­mit­tees; the oth­ers are Finance and Bud­get. While all three com­mit­tees have names that sound like they have some­thing to do with mon­ey, they have dif­fer­ent scopes. Wikipedia:

The Bud­get Com­mit­tee should not be con­fused with the Finance Com­mit­tee and the Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, both of which have dif­fer­ent juris­dic­tions: The Finance Com­mit­tee is anal­o­gous to the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives; it has leg­isla­tive juris­dic­tion in the areas of tax­es, Social Secu­ri­ty, Medicare, [and] Med­ic­aid. […] The Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee has leg­isla­tive juris­dic­tion over appro­pri­a­tions bills, which pro­vide fund­ing for gov­ern­ment programs.

While the bud­get res­o­lu­tion pre­pared by the Bud­get Com­mit­tee sets out a broad blue­print for the Con­gress with respect to the total lev­els of rev­enues and spend­ing for the gov­ern­ment as a whole, these oth­er Com­mit­tees pre­pare bills for spe­cif­ic tax and spend­ing policies.

Since Appro­pri­a­tions decides what projects get fund­ed, it is a very impor­tant and pow­er­ful com­mit­tee. Mur­ray was already a vet­er­an appro­pri­a­tor before this Con­gress, but now she’s the Chair of the whole oper­a­tion, just as the leg­endary Sen­a­tor War­ren (“Mag­gie”) Mag­nu­son once was decades ago.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Sen­a­tor Mur­ray on her new respon­si­bil­i­ties; the Unit­ed States will assured­ly be well served with her in both of these impor­tant roles.

Sunday, January 1st, 2023

Dori Monson: 1961–2022

Long­time right wing talk radio host Dori Mon­son died sud­den­ly this week­end after being hos­pi­tal­ized last Thurs­day fol­low­ing a car­diac arrest, his employ­er Bon­neville Seat­tle announced on its web­site today. Mon­son was sixty-one.

“The KIRO News­ra­dio fam­i­ly and Bon­neville Inter­na­tion­al Cor­po­ra­tion – along with the imme­di­ate fam­i­ly of Dori Mon­son – are deeply sad­dened to announce Dori’s sud­den pass­ing Sat­ur­day night at a Seat­tle hos­pi­tal,” the com­pa­ny wrote.

“Dori’s career in radio start­ed in 1982 at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, and includ­ed work at KING-TV, KING Radio and at KIRO since the ear­ly 1990s.

“A man of deep faith and a fierce advo­cate for girls’ sports for more than twen­ty-five years, Dori coached Shorecrest High School to its first state girls bas­ket­ball title in 2016,” the brief announce­ment and obit­u­ary went on to say. “Despite health issues over the past few years, Dori enjoyed deep sea fish­ing with KIRO and ESPN col­leagues, and play­ing pick­le­ball with his fam­i­ly. He leaves behind a wife, three adult daugh­ters, a dog and many of his show’s loy­al listeners.”

Our team at NPI is sor­ry to hear this news.

We did­n’t agree with Dori Mon­son about hard­ly any­thing; he was­n’t a fan of our work, and we weren’t fans of his. Hav­ing spent time with Dori in his stu­dio in between seg­ments of his show a few years ago, though, I got a chance to get acquaint­ed with the per­son behind the loud, opin­ion­at­ed on-air persona.

When not in front of his micro­phone, I observed that Dori was cour­te­ous and pleas­ant. He was wel­com­ing and good-man­nered. He want­ed to ensure that while I was his guest, I was com­fort­able in the stu­dio, and hydrated.

I appre­ci­at­ed that.

That is the Dori Mon­son that I’ll be remem­ber­ing, not the Dori Mon­son who repeat­ed­ly trashed and insult­ed peo­ple on air for entertainment.

The Dori who got him­self sus­pend­ed from Bon­neville and fired by the Sea­hawks for trans­pho­bic com­ments and gave cor­rupt ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman a plat­form to keep his grift going and pro­mot­ed the can­di­da­cy of mil­i­tant extrem­ist Repub­li­can Joe Kent in South­west Wash­ing­ton was not a role model.

Our team can­not cel­e­brate or hon­or Dori’s work in broad­cast­ing giv­en that we found it repug­nant and com­plete­ly at odds with the val­ues we cher­ish: empa­thy, mutu­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, inclu­sion, free­dom, and fairness.

How­ev­er, we do offer all of his fam­i­ly and friends our condolences.

They’ve lost some­one dear to them and our team knows how painful and dif­fi­cult that is from expe­ri­ence, as over the years we’ve griev­ed the death of sev­er­al board and staff mem­bers, includ­ing two who passed very suddenly.

It’s tough to unex­pect­ed­ly lose some­one you love. We hope Dori’s fam­i­ly and friends find ways to mourn that bring them peace and healing.

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