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.

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Joe Biden touches down at SeaTac, beginning state’s first presidential visit in six years

The cool after­noon air felt elec­tric as press and staff await­ed the begin­ning of the first pres­i­den­tial vis­it to Wash­ing­ton State in near­ly six years.

Air Force One land­ed at 5:11 PM Pacif­ic Time at Seat­tle-Taco­ma Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. On the tar­mac, Pres­i­dent Joe Biden was greet­ed by Wash­ing­ton State Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, Seat­tle May­or Bruce Har­rell, Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith, and SeaT­ac May­or Jake Simp­son,​ before being whisked away to a DNC fundrais­er in the Lau­rel­hurst neigh­bor­hood of Seattle.

Pres­i­dents tend to vis­it swing states and their party’s strong­holds, so reli­ably Demo­c­ra­t­ic states like Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon haven’t expe­ri­enced the thrill of a pres­i­den­tial vis­it since Pres­i­dent Obama’s last trip in 2016.

This was the first Air Force land­ing I’ve expe­ri­enced in person.

I arrived at the air­port about an hour before Air Force One arrived to check in with the White House and Secret Ser­vice. After being screened, I walked out to the tar­mac. Reporters from all the major Seat­tle tele­vi­sion sta­tions and The Seat­tle Times had set up cam­eras atop a flat-bed truck parked par­al­lel to Air Force One’s des­ig­nat­ed park­ing spot on the tarmac.

As the wind picked up and began to fur­ther chill the air, I looked behind me to see a sniper team set up atop a ware­house roof direct­ly behind the truck and to the left of it. A Secret Ser­vice agent stood just behind the met­al bar­ri­cades near the front of the truck, and sev­er­al Port employ­ees could be seen mak­ing the rounds.

Police or Secret Ser­vice oper­at­ed vehi­cles occa­sion­al­ly crossed the tar­mac and cor­re­spon­dents filmed quick updates on flight delays in the periphery.

At 5:10 PM, every cam­era was point­ed to the north as Air Force One appeared on the hori­zon. By this point, the wind was blow­ing cold rain in seem­ing­ly every direc­tion for a prop­er Seat­tle welcome!

Ten min­utes lat­er, Pres­i­dent Biden’s VC-25A trans­port stood just 50 meters in front of our truck, and press and staff began spilling out of the mod­i­fied Boe­ing 747’s rear airstairs. The sight of the plane was awe-inspir­ing; this par­tic­u­lar pres­i­den­tial trans­port was a lot larg­er than I had imag­ined it would be.

The motor­cade of motor­cy­cles, SUVs, and limos began rolling in at 5:23 PM, offload­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee and local dig­ni­taries like May­or Har­rell near the plane. Pres­i­dent Biden descend­ed a set of truck-mount­ed airstairs at 5:25 PM, greet­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee first while staff and the trav­el­ing press climbed into black SUVs.

By 5:26 PM, every­one had loaded, and by 5:28 PM the motor­cy­cles and white vans bring­ing up the pres­i­den­tial motorcade’s tail end were rolling off the tar­mac. By 5:30 PM, the snipers and press on the truck were pack­ing up and head­ing out.

The speedy dis­em­bark­ing process ran like a well-oiled machine, with the tar­mac clear­ing just as quick­ly as it had filled up.

Although shiv­er­ing and wet, I couldn’t stop grin­ning at the curi­ous feel­ing of step­ping into a scene from The West Wing.

The jour­nal­ists present who have pre­vi­ous­ly cov­ered Air Force One land­ings assured me that wit­ness­ing the pageantry and grav­i­tas of the Unit­ed States pres­i­den­cy is always a lit­tle sur­re­al. And it nev­er gets old.

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

President Biden stops in Portland to tout Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The Unit­ed States is final­ly tak­ing mean­ing­ful steps to address its painful­ly deep infra­struc­ture deficit, Pres­i­dent Joe Biden declared today to a sup­port­ive crowd in Port­land dur­ing his first vis­it to the Beaver State as Commander-in-Chief.

“Ore­gon and Amer­i­ca have gone from being on the mend to being on the move.  We just go to get the hell out of our own way,” Biden told a gath­er­ing of elect­ed offi­cials and civic lead­ers in a hangar at the Port­land Air Nation­al Guard Base.

“When I was run­ning for office — I’m sure you’ve heard me say it a thou­sand times — I was going to build this econ­o­my from the bot­tom up and the mid­dle out,” Biden said. “Because when that hap­pens, every­body does well.”

“The wealthy do very, very well. The poor have a way up. And the mid­dle class can grow, as my dad would say, and just have a lit­tle bit of breath­ing room.”

“Just a lit­tle bit of breath­ing room. So we’re going to deal in the peo­ple and the places that have been left out and left behind.  We’re mak­ing progress.”

“Over the course of my pres­i­den­cy, our recov­ery has cre­at­ed 7.9 mil­lion jobs — more jobs cre­at­ed over the first 14 months of my pres­i­den­cy than any pres­i­den­cy in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. Over 420,000 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs.”

“Who says we can’t man­u­fac­ture our way through all of this? We have the best work­ers in the world.  Not a joke. Unem­ploy­ment nation­wide is at 3.6 per­cent, down from 6.4 per­cent when I took office 19 months ago — the fastest decline in unem­ploy­ment at the start of a term of a Pres­i­dent ever recorded.”

“Ore­gon, you’ve just added 122,000 jobs, and unem­ploy­ment has dropped from 6.4 per­cent to 3.8 percent.”

The Pres­i­den­t’s full remarks can be streamed here.

Biden spoke for about twen­ty-five min­utes, after land­ing at 12:41 Pacif­ic and then tour­ing projects at the air­port, with his remarks often punc­tu­at­ed by applause.

On hand were all of Ore­gon’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers of Con­gress — Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Earl Blu­me­nauer, Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er, and Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley — along with Gov­er­nor Kate Brown, Port­land May­or Ted Wheel­er, and many oth­ers. Lau­ren Heitz­man, an appren­tice elec­tri­cian with Inter­na­tion­al Broth­er­hood of Elec­tri­cal Work­ers, intro­duced the President.

Brown thanked Biden for pay­ing the state a visit.

​“I’d like to thank the Pres­i­dent for join­ing us today in Ore­gon to lift up the excit­ing and unprece­dent­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties the [Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act] will bring to our state,” said Gov­er­nor Brown.

“This his­toric invest­ment is tru­ly a game chang­er for Ore­gon, and our nation. I’m so hap­py you were able to see the Port­land airport’s mass tim­ber roof and the expan­sion efforts under­way, as it illus­trates the very best of Ore­gon val­ues — inno­va­tion, cre­ativ­i­ty, col­lab­o­ra­tion, and sustainability.”

“Equi­ty is embed­ded into every aspect of Oregon’s approach to imple­men­ta­tion of the [Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act]. In Ore­gon, we define infra­struc­ture as not only roads and bridges, but also the core com­po­nents to sup­port­ing the way Ore­go­ni­ans live, work, and play: access to high-speed broad­band, clean drink­ing water, and renew­able energy.”

“Mr. Pres­i­dent, we are grate­ful for your lead­er­ship as we work togeth­er to build a safer, more resilient, just, and equi­table Unit­ed States of America.”

“It’s always a good day when the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States vis­its Ore­gon and sees the inno­v­a­tive work our state is lead­ing to build Amer­i­ca back, stronger and green­er than ever before,” said Sen­a­tor Jeff Merkley.

“In this year’s fund­ing bill, I secured fund­ing for a com­mu­ni­ty ini­ti­at­ed project to help build a seis­mic resilient run­way at PDX to sur­vive a Cas­ca­dia Sub­duc­tion Zone earth­quake. Thanks to the [Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act] , we are cre­at­ing jobs and invest­ing in a bet­ter future. And Ore­gon is lead­ing the way with cre­ativ­i­ty and enter­prise. The new mass tim­ber roof at PDX is a tes­ta­ment to a vision of the future filled with Amer­i­can inno­va­tion, Amer­i­can crafts­man­ship, and the com­pet­i­tive­ness of Amer­i­can work­ers and industries.”

“As we invest in infra­struc­ture, though, it’s crit­i­cal that we’re mov­ing toward the infra­struc­ture of the future. If we don’t con­front cli­mate chaos by tak­ing swift, bold action to end car­bon pol­lu­tion and invest in clean ener­gy, we aren’t liv­ing up to America’s great­est poten­tial. Dur­ing the President’s vis­it, I reit­er­at­ed to him that we need fur­ther cli­mate action like he has pro­posed and we need to seize the oppor­tu­ni­ties we have this year to write the next great chap­ter of the Amer­i­can sto­ry. That means no new fos­sil fuel infra­struc­ture and mov­ing as rapid­ly as pos­si­ble to 100% clean, renew­able ener­gy so we stop fund­ing our ene­mies, pol­lut­ing our air, and mort­gag­ing our future.”

“In Con­gress, I’ll nev­er stop fight­ing for Ore­gon and for the poli­cies that will move our state and our coun­try for­ward. By work­ing togeth­er, we can be inno­v­a­tive, more resilient, and stronger. I thank the Pres­i­dent for being a stead­fast part­ner in that work, and I encour­age him to come back and see the great work that’s hap­pen­ing in our beau­ti­ful state many times through­out his presidency.”

After the event at PDX, Biden and Brown head­ed to the Port­land Yacht Club for a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee (DNC) event, the pro­ceeds of which are slat­ed for a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty fund intend­ed to ben­e­fit Biden’s 2024 reelec­tion cam­paign. The event, host­ed by Car­ol But­ler and Win McCor­ma­ck, was not open to the pub­lic, as is typ­i­cal of high dol­lar fundrais­ers, but was par­tial­ly observed by the reporter accom­pa­ny­ing the Pres­i­dent on behalf of the White House press corps.

The motor­cade left the air­port at 3:17 PM Pacif­ic arrived at the Yacht Club just nine min­utes lat­er, at 3:26 PM Pacif­ic Time, after pass­ing by a con­tin­gent of Trump fans, Biden sup­port­ers, and curi­ous onlookers.

Biden was intro­duced to event atten­dees at 3:35 PM by Joe Boyle of Colum­bia Sports­wear in a room dec­o­rat­ed with boat­ing flags and photos.

Audio of Biden’s com­ments is here.

After recount­ing how he end­ed up run­ning for Pres­i­dent in 2020, Biden piv­ot­ed to talk­ing about the cur­rent land­scape and the bat­tle for the soul of the country.

“This is not your father’s Repub­li­can Par­ty, by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion,” Biden told the assem­bly. “This is the MAGA Par­ty. Not a joke.”

“Think about it: This is a par­ty that’s owned whol­ly by guys like the sen­a­tor from Texas and oth­ers. I mean, real­ly and tru­ly, did you ever think we’d be in a cir­cum­stance where […] the head of the Sen­ate cam­paign com­mit­tee in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate and Repub­li­can Par­ty put out a plat­form that even Repub­li­cans have walked away from, some of them, say­ing — what? — that every five years we should recon­sid­er whether we keep Social Secu­ri­ty, Medicare…”

At that point, Biden was inter­rupt­ed by a sup­port­ive audi­ence member.

Respond­ing to laugh­ter, the Pres­i­dent said: “This is the God’s truth.  If you want a copy of it, I will send it to you. No, no, but this is what they’re run­ning on.”

“Here’s the deal, guys,” Biden added lat­er. “There’s so much we can do — so much we can do.  But what I real­ized is I’m mak­ing the same mis­take — and I mean this as a com­pli­ment because he’s still my best bud­dy — that — that we made when — in the Oba­ma-Biden administration.”

“I remem­ber say­ing to Barack after we passed the Afford­able Care Act, I said, ‘Let’s take a vic­to­ry lap.’ He said, ‘We don’t have time. We don’t have time.’ ”

“But guess what? No one knew what was in it. They did­n’t know why they had what they had. They did­n’t know why we were able to do the — peo­ple were cov­ered when they were nev­er cov­ered before.”

“Well, here’s what we — I have to do.  I’m not doing a very good job because so much — it’s like — you know, I used to say in Barack­’s admin­is­tra­tion, ‘Every­thing land­ed on his desk but locusts.’ Well, they land­ed on my desk.”

In mak­ing these obser­va­tions, Pres­i­dent Biden was acknowl­edg­ing a point made repeat­ed­ly here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate by NPI con­trib­u­tor Joel Con­nel­ly. Leg­isla­tive accom­plish­ments sim­ply don’t sell themselves.

Return­ing at the end of his remarks to his pre­vi­ous theme, Biden empha­sized that he thinks one of the rea­sons he’s been unable to get Con­gress to do more for the coun­try is that Repub­li­cans are unwill­ing to go against their mil­i­tant base.

“There are a num­ber of Repub­li­cans who know bet­ter, but they’re afraid,” Biden said. “I know — I won’t ask for names, but I’m sure my col­leagues can tell you from the Sen­ate at least six Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors have come to me and said, ‘I know — I know I should vote for this, Joe. But if I do, they’ll pri­ma­ry me and I’ll be out.’ It’s not very coura­geous, but… the Far Right has tak­en over that party.”

“And it’s not even con­ser­v­a­tive in a tra­di­tion­al sense of con­ser­v­a­tive,” Biden not­ed. “It’s mean. It’s ugly. It’s the way — look what’s hap­pen­ing down in Flori­da… They’re going after Mick­ey Mouse. I mean, seri­ous­ly, think about it.”

“As my friend used to say, “Who woul­da thunk it?’”

Biden fin­ished speak­ing at 4:07 PM and was back on the road at 4:25 PM, head­ed to Port­land Inter­na­tion­al Air­port. The return trip took only sev­en min­utes. Anoth­er sev­en min­utes after that, at 4:39 PM, Air Force One was rolling for Seat­tle, with local tele­vi­sion sta­tions like KGW livestream­ing the air­craft’s depar­ture.

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

President Biden is on his way to the great Pacific Northwest, travel pool says

Joe Biden is inbound to the great Pacif­ic Northwest.

The 46th Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States is on his way to Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton State for his first offi­cial vis­it as Com­man­der-in-Chief to both states, accom­pa­nied by a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of aides and advi­sors from the White House.

Biden depart­ed the White House at 10:29 AM East­ern on Marine One for Joint Base Andrews, accord­ing to the trav­el pool. He was accom­pa­nied by five aides on the helo, includ­ing Kate Bed­ing­field, the Direc­tor of Communications.

The flight end­ed eight min­utes lat­er and Biden emerged at 10:41 AM Eastern.

After arriv­ing at Joint Base Andrews, the Pres­i­dent was greet­ed by Colonel Matthew Jones, the Com­man­der of the 89th Air­lift Wing, and walked to the VC-25A trans­port that the Air Force usu­al­ly uses for cross coun­try and inter­na­tion­al pres­i­den­tial trips. After salut­ing and wav­ing, he embarked, begin­ning his trip to the Pacif­ic North­west. The cross coun­try flight is expect­ed to take under five hours. Air Force One is due into Port­land a lit­tle after half past noon.

(Note that Air Force One is a call­sign, not an air­craft; any Air Force bird car­ry­ing the Pres­i­dent is Air Force One, as opposed to a spe­cif­ic jet. For this trip, the Pres­i­dent will fly on a VC-25A, which is a famil­iar look­ing mod­i­fied Boe­ing 747.)

After arriv­ing in Port­land, Biden will make an appear­ance at the air­port with Gov­er­nor Kate Brown, Sen­a­tor Jeff Merkley, and Sen­a­tor Ron Wyden. This event will be car­ried live on WhiteHouse.gov for any­one inter­est­ed in view­ing it.

Fol­low­ing the event, the Pres­i­dent will trav­el to a DNC fundrais­er near­by in Port­land. After remarks and pos­si­ble Q&A, he will return to PDX and depart for Seat­tle. The flight up to Seat­tle will take slight­ly less than an hour.

The Pres­i­dent will be com­ing into Seat­tle-Taco­ma Inter­na­tion­al Air­port, prob­a­bly neces­si­tat­ing a tem­po­rary ground stop dur­ing rush hour.

Biden’s first stop in Seat­tle will be anoth­er DNC fundrais­er. After that, his pub­licly announced sched­ule is done for the day, and he’ll retire to his lodgings.

Tomor­row morn­ing, Biden will appear with Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell, and Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kim Schri­er at an Earth Day event in Schri­er’s dis­trict (Green Riv­er Col­lege in Auburn).

After that event con­cludes, Biden is sched­uled to return to Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Seat­tle and Port­land area trav­el­ers can expect some traf­fic and air­port impacts from the Pres­i­den­t’s vis­it. For oper­a­tional secu­ri­ty rea­sons, the Secret Ser­vice does­n’t dis­close what roads they will be using for the Pres­i­den­t’s trav­el, and thus it isn’t pos­si­ble for us to pass along any spe­cif­ic advi­sories about road clo­sures. How­ev­er, any­one who needs to trav­el in South King Coun­ty tonight or tomor­row should leave plen­ty of extra time for their trip.

We will offer con­tin­u­ing cov­er­age of Pres­i­dent Biden’s trip to the great Pacif­ic North­west here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate through its con­clu­sion tomor­row after­noon. If you’d like to get updates when they are pub­lished, you can use the sub­scribe by email option to your right, or our RSS feed.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

White House shares more details for President Joe Biden’s upcoming PNW visit

Today, White House Press Sec­re­tary Jen Psa­ki offered addi­tion­al details con­cern­ing Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s forth­com­ing trip to the Pacif­ic North­west, which begins tomor­row (Thurs­day, April, 21st) with a stop in Port­land, Ore­gon and will end on Fri­day (April 22nd) after mul­ti­ple events in Seat­tle, Washington.

At the dai­ly White House press brief­ing, Psa­ki made pub­lic an ini­tial list of sup­port­ing speak­ers at Biden’s offi­cial events and elab­o­rat­ed on the themes for each. Here’s a tran­script of her com­ments at the top of the briefing:

As you know, the Pres­i­dent is head­ed to the West Coast tomor­row, and I want­ed to give you a quick pre­view of his first trip to Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton. He will high­light the his­toric eco­nom­ic growth and near­ly 8 mil­lion jobs cre­at­ed as a result of his and con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats’ actions, includ­ing the Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan and Bipar­ti­san Infra­struc­ture Law, and his work to low­er costs.

He will vis­it Port­land Inter­na­tion­al Air­port tomor­row to high­light crit­i­cal invest­ments to ensure stronger, more resilient infra­struc­ture, such as an earth­quake-resilient run­way at the Port­land Air­port, and to help low­er costs on every­day items by ensur­ing goods can move faster and more efficiently.

Gov­er­nor Kate Brown, Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Con­gress­man Kurt Schrad­er will join the Pres­i­dent at the airport.

On Fri­day, he will mark Earth Day in Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton, by speak­ing to the need to bol­ster our nation’s resilience in the face of threats like wild­fire, and the need to rapid­ly deploy clean ener­gy. He will be joined at the event by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

The Pres­i­dent will also dis­cuss how he is fight­ing to bring down pre­scrip­tion drug costs, such as insulin, where he will be joined by Gov­er­nor Inslee, Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell, and Con­gress­woman Kim Schrier.

The Pres­i­dent will call on Con­gress to pass his plan to low­er pre­scrip­tion drug prices and ener­gy costs, but he’s not wait­ing for Con­gress to act. And he will high­light recent actions he’s tak­en to low­er ener­gy and health­care costs, and give fam­i­lies more breath­ing room.

This will be Biden’s first vis­it as Pres­i­dent to Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon. Biden pre­vi­ous­ly stopped in Ida­ho last year enroute to events in Cal­i­for­nia.

After this week, the Pres­i­dent will have set foot in each of the three states of the great Pacif­ic North­west. Also on Biden’s itin­er­ary, accord­ing to Axios, are mul­ti­ple DNC fundrais­ers, the details of which have not been pub­licly announced.

I remarked last Fri­day that it would be unlike­ly that Biden would appear in Seat­tle to talk about grow­ing Amer­i­ca’s clean ener­gy econ­o­my with­out Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, who is one of the coun­try’s best known cli­mate action champions.

Today’s announce­ment by the White House con­firms that Gov­er­nor Inslee will indeed be on hand for Biden’s vis­it, as I had guessed. And so will Sen­a­tors Mur­ray and Cantwell plus Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kim Schri­er, who is one of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee’s front­line members.

Mur­ray and Schri­er’s reelec­tion cam­paigns are the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s top pri­or­i­ty this year. Each has already won mul­ti­ple cam­paigns against Repub­li­can oppo­nents. Mur­ray is 5–0 in U.S. Sen­ate cam­paigns, while Schri­er is 2–0 in U.S. House cam­paigns. (Mur­ray and Schri­er share the dis­tinc­tion of hav­ing each defeat­ed peren­ni­al Repub­li­can can­di­date Dino Rossi in a fed­er­al-lev­el race.)

While NPI’s research has con­sis­tent­ly shown Mur­ray to be ahead of her Repub­li­can oppo­nent Tiffany Smi­ley, Schri­er’s dis­trict, the 8th, is a tossup dis­trict that is rather even­ly divid­ed between Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can vot­ers. It’s not expect­ed to be an easy hold for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party.

We look for­ward to bring­ing you more details about Pres­i­dent Biden’s trip to the Pacif­ic North­west here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate in the hours to come.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Transportation providers endanger health of traveling public in rush to abandon masking

With­in min­utes of hav­ing learned that a Trump-appoint­ed judge in Flori­da had issued a rul­ing yes­ter­day strik­ing down the Cen­ters For Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion’s fed­er­al reg­u­la­tion requir­ing face cov­er­ings on pub­lic trans­port, air­lines and many oth­er trans­porta­tion providers through­out the coun­try rushed to announce that masks were no longer required on board — includ­ing in some cas­es through irre­spon­si­ble mid-flight announce­ments made by jubi­lant pilots.

The sud­den pol­i­cy shift, made with absolute­ly no regard for the poten­tial adverse impacts on immuno­com­pro­mised pas­sen­gers, chil­dren, or those not wish­ing to trav­el in mask option­al envi­ron­ments, is yet anoth­er devel­op­ment that will like­ly help pro­long the pan­dem­ic — with dead­ly and omi­nous consequences.

“Let’s be real­ly clear about what is hap­pen­ing at this stage in the pan­dem­ic: We are giv­ing up on pub­lic health and embrac­ing the pri­va­ti­za­tion of health in ways that serve the able and young and write off any­one vul­ner­a­ble,” not­ed Meghan O’Rourke, author of The Invis­i­ble King­dom: Reimag­ing Chron­ic Ill­ness.

Tran­sit providers, with the notable excep­tion of New York’s Met­ro­pol­i­tan Trans­porta­tion Author­i­ty, wast­ed lit­tle time in fol­low­ing the air­lines’ “lead.” A news release sent this morn­ing that bore the logos of every major tran­sit agency in Puget Sound declared that mask require­ments would no longer be enforced.

In accor­dance with yesterday’s state­ment from the fed­er­al Trans­porta­tion Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion (TSA), agen­cies pro­vid­ing tran­sit to rid­ers through­out the Puget Sound region announced that face cov­er­ings will no longer be required on tran­sit, at tran­sit facil­i­ties or in tran­sit hubs effec­tive today.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in this announce­ment are the fol­low­ing agencies:

  • Com­mu­ni­ty Transit
  • Everett Tran­sit
  • King Coun­ty Metro
  • Kit­sap Transit
  • Pierce Tran­sit
  • Seat­tle Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (Seat­tle Streetcar)
  • Seat­tle Cen­ter Monorail
  • Sound Tran­sit

TSA’s ini­tial face mask require­ment went into effect on Feb­ru­ary 1, 2021. Pre­vi­ous to the TSA require­ment, Wash­ing­ton state and local health author­i­ties had issued man­dates for face cov­er­ings in pub­lic spaces.

While masks are no longer required on tran­sit, rid­ers are wel­come to con­tin­ue wear­ing face cov­er­ings if they wish. Please under­stand it will take time to update all of the announce­ments, signs, and oth­er com­mu­ni­ca­tions relat­ed to the fed­er­al mask mandate.

The glib we’re done with COVID atti­tude under­pin­ning these and oth­er recent pol­i­cy changes is iron­i­cal­ly hav­ing the effect of ensur­ing that we will not be “done with COVID” any­time this year, or in the indef­i­nite future, for that mat­ter. The demise of mask­ing require­ments will also set the stage for an uptick in the trans­mis­sion of oth­er air­borne virus­es, includ­ing the flu and var­i­ous cold viruses.

A sto­ry pub­lished just last week by CBS spells out what is like­ly going to hap­pen next, espe­cial­ly to the coun­try’s avi­a­tion indus­try:

Air­lines that dropped mask require­ments are now suf­fer­ing staff short­ages due to COVID-19

By Megan Cerullo

April 11, 2022 | 5:15 PM | MoneyWatch

Over­seas air­lines are hav­ing to can­cel hun­dreds of flights as they grap­ple with coro­n­avirus-relat­ed staffing short­ages weeks after they ditched rules requir­ing pas­sen­gers and staff to mask up in the air.

Epi­demi­ol­o­gist and health econ­o­mist Eric Fei­gl-Ding not­ed on Twit­ter two weeks ago that what hap­pened in Europe was entire­ly predictable:

Gov­ern­ment of the Unit­ed King­dom drops restric­tions, air­lines like easy­Jet drops masks… and less than 2 weeks lat­er… huge spike in pilots and flight atten­dants out sick with COVID-19 unable to work, and 120 flights can­celled! Air­line CEOs asked for this.

The same thing is now like­ly to hap­pen here in the Unit­ed States.

“Wear­ing a mask when exposed to a car­ri­er with no mask: upper bound risk of infec­tion is 30%,” tweet­ed health jus­tice advo­cate Michael Gra­novet­ter, cit­ing a study in PNAS. “When every­one is masked: upper bound risk of infec­tion is 0.4%. Pub­lic health breaks down when one makes it about per­son­al choice.”

Air­line CEOs and oth­ers now par­rot­ing the par­ty line of the we want to go back to nor­mal crowd seem rather des­per­ate to move on from the pandemic.

But a return to the past is not pos­si­ble. There is no going back. The only direc­tion we can go is onward. In their eager­ness to declare the glob­al pub­lic health emer­gency known as the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic over, they are ensur­ing that ill­ness and death will con­tin­ue… and alien­at­ing even more peo­ple in the process.

“Delta, your flight atten­dants greet­ing us ‘would you like cham­pagne? Let’s cel­e­brate no more masks’ is not what I paid for,” tweet­ed Ify Ike. “It’s not only child­ish but also cre­ates an uncom­fort­able, and poten­tial­ly hos­tile envi­ron­ment for those of us still masked. COVID is also not seasonal.”

Delta is already backtracking.

The air­line put out a state­ment that read, in part: “We are relieved to see the U.S. mask man­date lift to facil­i­tate glob­al trav­el as COVID-19 has tran­si­tioned to an ordi­nary sea­son­al virus.” After get­ting roast­ed online for absurd­ly call­ing COVID-19 an “ordi­nary sea­son­al virus,” Delta’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions team changed the state­ment to read: “We are relieved to see the U.S. mask man­date lift to facil­i­tate glob­al trav­el as COVID-19 tran­si­tions to a more man­age­able res­pi­ra­to­ry virus.”

Staff short­ages, can­cel­la­tions, and lots of upset trav­el­ers are like­ly going to be a fre­quent occur­rence this sum­mer as air­lines strug­gle to man­age COVID-19, hav­ing giv­en up on the most effec­tive tools for pre­vent­ing the virus’ spread.

Saturday, April 16th, 2022

Emily Alvarado, Leah Griffin vie to succeed Eileen Cody for open seat in deep blue 34th

When the six­ty-sev­enth Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture con­venes next Jan­u­ary in Olympia, Seat­tle’s leg­isla­tive del­e­ga­tion will look very dif­fer­ent than it does now. Four incum­bents have cho­sen not to stand for reelec­tion this cycle, while anoth­er is look­ing to move across the rotun­da from the House to the Sen­ate. Con­se­quent­ly, there are wide open races in most of the city’s leg­isla­tive dis­tricts this year.

One of those dis­tricts is the 34th, where Eileen Cody, the longest-serv­ing mem­ber of the Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, is from.

Cody is a retired neu­ro-rehab nurse cer­ti­fied in both reha­bil­i­ta­tion nurs­ing and mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis care and a found­ing mem­ber of SEIU 1199 NW.

Cody was first elect­ed in 1994 (after hav­ing been appoint­ed to the House ear­li­er that year) and has been reelect­ed every cycle since then. After almost thir­ty years in the House, how­ev­er, she has decid­ed to pass the baton.

The 34th LD, which includes West Seat­tle, Vashon Island, White Cen­ter, and parts of Burien, is one of the most reli­ably Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­tricts in the state, so Repub­li­cans are unlike­ly to even both­er field­ing a can­di­date. The gen­er­al elec­tion is expect­ed to be a runoff between two Democ­rats. Right now, those two Democ­rats could well be Leah Grif­fin and Emi­ly Alvara­do, the only two con­tenders who have filed with the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion to suc­ceed Cody.

Grif­fin, a recip­i­ent of Pat­ty Mur­ray’s Gold­en Ten­nis Shoe Awards who has worked with Mur­ray on crim­i­nal jus­tice reform, says that after she was raped in 2014, her expe­ri­ence as a sex­u­al assault sur­vivor inspired her to get involved in politics.

Leah Griffin

State House hope­ful Leah Grif­fin (Cam­paign pub­lic­i­ty photo)

“The jus­tice sys­tem was as trau­mat­ic as the rape itself, and I could not allow that to per­sist,” Grif­fin explains on her cam­paign website.

In 2015, Grif­fin joined the legislature’s Sex­u­al Assault Foren­sic Exam­i­na­tion Task Force as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of sex­u­al vio­lence survivors.

There, Grif­fin lob­bied for leg­is­la­tion that requires rape kits to be test­ed, tracked, and stored, rede­fined rape in the 3rd degree to hold more rapists account­able, and reformed sex­u­al assault pro­to­cols for hos­pi­tals and police investigators.

As men­tioned, since 2015, Grif­fin has worked with Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray on the Sur­vivors’ Access to Sup­port­ive Care Act, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly expands access to sex­u­al assault nurse exam­in­ers. Grif­fin was Murray’s guest at the 2018 State of the Union Address, and the law was passed this March.

Like NPI, Grif­fin was also involved in the suc­cess­ful effort in 2020 to pass and then defend the state’s com­pre­hen­sive sex ed law.

In 2017, Grif­fin joined Legal Voice as a leg­isla­tive advo­cate and one year lat­er, she began vol­un­teer­ing as a speak­er for the King Coun­ty Sex­u­al Assault Resource Cen­ter. In 2019, Grif­fin joined the board of the Sex­u­al Vio­lence Law Center.

Aside from crim­i­nal jus­tice reform, Grif­fin is inter­est­ed in advanc­ing pub­lic safe­ty, hous­ing secu­ri­ty, pub­lic edu­ca­tion, access to repro­duc­tive health, and eco­nom­ic mobil­i­ty. Inter­sec­tion­al­i­ty is impor­tant to her.

Grif­fin has been endorsed by Seat­tle Port com­mis­sion­er Ham­di Mohamed and House Speak­er Pro Tem­pore Tina Orwall (D‑33rd Dis­trict) among others.

Grif­fin is a librar­i­an at Uni­ver­si­ty Prep and lives in West Seattle.

“I took my rage, and I chan­neled it into reform,” Grif­fin says. “There is so much to do, and I look for­ward to mak­ing those changes together.”

Join­ing Grif­fin in this House con­test is afford­able hous­ing activist Emi­ly Alvarado.

Alvara­do says afford­able hous­ing, health­care, and edu­ca­tion will be her pri­or­i­ties if elect­ed. The first time can­di­date has worked on afford­able hous­ing pol­i­cy since 2009, advis­ing three hous­ing non­prof­its before shift­ing to the Seat­tle Office of Hous­ing in 2014. Over her sev­en years at the office (two as the direc­tor), Alvara­do over­saw $275 mil­lion in invest­ments sup­port­ing afford­able hous­ing for more than 3600 fam­i­lies and man­aged the Seat­tle Hous­ing Levy.

Emily Alvarado

State House hope­ful Emi­ly Alvara­do (Cam­paign pub­lic­i­ty photo)

Alvara­do is cur­rent­ly the vice pres­i­dent of Enter­prise Com­mu­ni­ty Part­ners, which is a nation­al afford­able hous­ing non-prof­it that finances and lob­bies for ear­ly learn­ing facil­i­ties and low-income, tran­sit-acces­si­ble housing.

Alvara­do also sits on the boards of both the Wash­ing­ton Low-income Hous­ing Alliance and its PAC, the Wash­ing­ton Hous­ing Alliance Action Fund.

She has been endorsed by sev­er­al leg­is­la­tors who have a his­to­ry of work­ing on attain­able hous­ing, includ­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Nicole Macri (D‑Seattle), Frank Chopp (D‑Seattle), and State Sen­a­tor June Robin­son (D‑Everett).

The West Seat­tle res­i­dent is mar­ried with two children.

Alvara­do earned her J.D. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton’s School of Law and her Bach­e­lor of Arts at Scripps University.

“I am excit­ed to work hard on these crit­i­cal issues for the 34th and every Wash­ing­ton­ian,” said Alvara­do in a press release.

Each can­di­date has a web­site where you can learn more about them.

Griffin’s site is here and Alvarado’s site is here.

In about one month, Fil­ing Week will begin. May 20th is the dead­line for leg­isla­tive hope­fuls to declare their can­di­da­cies. We’ll know at that time if the field of can­di­dates will be expand­ing to include any oth­er hopefuls.

This con­test is one of many that we’ll be keep­ing an eye on here at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute as the 2022 midterms play out.

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Putin’s war in Ukraine isn’t going well, but with no free press to hold him accountable, public opinion isn’t turning against him

Russia’s Vladimir Putin is viewed by many world lead­ers and free peo­ples as a treach­er­ous war crim­i­nal, killing thou­sands of Ukrain­ian cit­i­zens, dis­plac­ing mil­lions more, and turn­ing cities into rubble.

Yet Putin’s approval rat­ing in Rus­sia has nev­er been higher.

A recent Reuters arti­cle ref­er­enced a state-run poll­ster VTsIOM, not­ing that Russ­ian trust in Putin has risen to 81.06% from 67.2% before he ordered a huge num­ber of addi­tion­al troops into Ukraine on Feb­ru­ary 25th.

How is this pos­si­ble? It comes down in large mea­sure to how peo­ple receive their infor­ma­tion. Is it fac­tu­al news report­ing or propaganda?

Some his­to­ry: Back in 1994–1996, both Vladimir Putin and his pre­de­ces­sor, Boris Yeltsin, were com­mit­ted to Russia’s mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion in Chech­nya. At the same time, Russia’s new­ly found­ed pri­vate and inde­pen­dent TV sta­tion, NTV, had jour­nal­ists inves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­ble FSB stag­ing explo­sions in Moscow to jus­ti­fy the Kremlin’s actions. Such crit­i­cal report­ing had rat­tled both leaders.

While Yeltsin was tol­er­ant, Vladimir Putin prompt­ly ordered his own inves­ti­ga­tion that ulti­mate­ly put NTV and the oth­er media out­lets under state control.

It was dur­ing the Yeltsin era, that Vladimir Gusin­sky, a young and ambi­tious Jew­ish entre­pre­neur, acquired NTV, the news mag­a­zine Ito­gi (a part­ner of Newsweek), Echo Moscow radio sta­tion and the news­pa­per Sevodnya.

Gusin­sky also want­ed to be a pow­er bro­ker inside of Rus­sia, which was pos­si­ble as long as Yeltsin remained in office.

In David Remnick’s arti­cle in The New York­er on Feb­ru­ary 22nd, 1995, The Tycoon and the Krem­lin, Gusin­sky was best described as “the most pow­er­ful and mys­te­ri­ous mem­ber of the new Moscow elite.”

Rem­nick went on: “He is also Russia’s biggest media mogul and, as a result, is deeply embroiled in Krem­lin politics.”

His oth­er ambi­tion was to build net­works (media, finan­cial, polit­i­cal) in America.

At that time, I rep­re­sent­ed Mr. Gusin­sky, over­see­ing his sched­ule and accom­pa­ny­ing him at meet­ings in New York and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. His meet­ings with the Wash­ing­ton Post and Newsweek in April 1995 made a huge difference.

It was piv­otal, giv­en that he and his oli­garch bud­dies intend­ed their own­er­ship of media out­lets to advance their own busi­ness and polit­i­cal inter­ests. For Gusin­sky, it was a wake-up moment, real­iz­ing that he was posi­tioned to become a true cham­pi­on of free and inde­pen­dent report­ing in the post-Com­mu­nist era.

That ambi­tion would not sit well with Putin. Beyond the NTV’s crit­i­cal report­ing of the Krem­lin, what real­ly upset Putin was the pop­u­lar week­ly satir­i­cal TV show known as “Kuk­ly.” It dis­played a cast of hideous-look­ing latex dolls to mock politi­cians. One por­trayed Putin as a scream­ing, ugly baby, even hint­ing at him being a pros­ti­tute on the streets of Moscow. Putin would have none of that, which marked the begin­ning of the end of a free and inde­pen­dent press in Russia.

In June, 2000, the Russia’s Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­er­al had Vladimir Gusin­sky arrest­ed on fake charges and incar­cer­at­ed in the infa­mous Butyr­ka Prison. Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, Gusin­sky was giv­en a choice — turn over his Media Most assets to Gazprom, Russia’s largest ener­gy com­pa­ny, and leave the coun­try or face indef­i­nite prison time. The state’s legal claim was a demand that Gusin­sky imme­di­ate­ly repay to Gazprom a $300 mil­lion loan he had received a few years earlier.

Fac­ing grow­ing finan­cial pres­sures, Gusinisky fran­ti­cal­ly sought out­side investors, includ­ing CNN’s Ted Turn­er, to fend off an effort by Gazprom to take over his media oper­a­tions. But the high risks and lim­it­ed time left Gusin­sky with no choice but to sign an agree­ment turn­ing over all his media assets to Gazprom.

The crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion was sub­se­quent­ly closed and Gusin­sky prompt­ly left Moscow. On his last dri­ve to the Moscow air­port, he was accom­pa­nied by Boris Nemtsov, an oppo­si­tion leader who was assas­si­nat­ed in Feb­ru­ary 2015.

The news of Vladimir Gusinsky’s arrest and the Russ­ian government’s seiz­ing of his media assets made waves in many west­ern coun­tries, includ­ing the Unit­ed States. Here are a few head­lines from the turn of the century:

  • The New York Times (August 3, 2000): Rus­sia Try­ing To Get Assets of Top Crit­ic — A Bat­tle for Con­trol of Gusin­sky Empire.
  • The Wash­ing­ton Post (August 3, 2000): Russ­ian Faces Bat­tle to Save TV Sta­tion – Krem­lin Could Gain Con­trol Of Last Inde­pen­dent Channel.
  • The Wall Street Jour­nal (Jan­u­ary 25, 2001): Russ­ian Media Mogul Bat­tles to Hold On To a Besieged Empire
  • U.S. News & World Report (June 26, 2000): Is the new Krem­lin up to old tricks? — Tycoon’s arrest stirs fears for press freedoms

In the 1980s, as chair­man of the House For­eign Affairs Sub­com­mit­tee on Human Rights, I con­duct­ed a series of hear­ings on South Amer­i­ca coun­tries tran­si­tion­ing from mil­i­tary jun­tas to frag­ile democ­ra­cies. My final report empha­sized the three fun­da­men­tal pil­lars of any democ­ra­cy. They were (a) free and fair elec­tions, (b) inde­pen­dent news report­ing, and (c) a sov­er­eign judiciary.

Vladimir Putin fails on all three.

He poi­sons or impris­ons oppo­nents, con­trols the mass media by requir­ing it be state owned, and keeps Russia’s judi­cial sys­tem on a tight leash.

Of the three, press free­dom is per­haps the most important.

If Vladimir Gusinsky’s media con­glom­er­ate exist­ed today (report­ing the truth, not pro­pa­gan­da), Vladimir Putin’s poll num­bers would like­ly be reversed, and there would be a polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion capa­ble of ush­er­ing him out of the Kremlin.

It’s a good reminder that while the right to a free press can be messy from an elect­ed offi­cial’s point of view, it remains vital to any democracy.

Edi­tor’s Note: Don Bonker is a for­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive who rep­re­sent­ed the 3rd Dis­trict (South­west Wash­ing­ton) in the House from 1975 — 1988. He is the author of two books: America’s Trade Cri­sis and A High­er Call­ing — Faith & Pol­i­tics in the Pub­lic Square

Friday, April 15th, 2022

President Joe Biden returning to the PNW for Earth Day, will stop in Portland and Seattle

Pres­i­dent Joe Biden will spend Earth Day in the great Pacif­ic North­west as part of a swing through Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon that will include stops in Seat­tle and Port­land, the White House announced in a press release today.

“On Thurs­day, April 21st, the Pres­i­dent will trav­el to Port­land, Ore­gon to dis­cuss how the unprece­dent­ed invest­ments in his Bipar­ti­san Infra­struc­ture Law are Build­ing a Bet­ter Amer­i­ca,” the White House said in a state­ment sent to NPI and oth­er media out­lets around 11 AM Pacif­ic Time.

“On Earth Day, Fri­day, April 22nd, the Pres­i­dent will trav­el to Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton to dis­cuss his Administration’s efforts to con­tin­ue bring­ing down costs for Amer­i­can fam­i­lies and grow­ing our clean ener­gy economy.”

The Fri­day event or events will prob­a­bly fea­ture a joint appear­ance with Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee and pos­si­bly State Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz, along with local elect­ed offi­cials like King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Constantine.

It seems incon­ceiv­able that Biden would come to Wash­ing­ton State to talk about grow­ing our clean ener­gy econ­o­my with­out appear­ing with the gov­er­nor, who is one of the nation’s best known cli­mate action champions.

This will be Biden’s first trip to Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon as Pres­i­dent. Biden has already been to Ida­ho as Pres­i­dent, stop­ping in Boise for a vis­it as part of anoth­er trip out west that he took last year. Biden was most recent­ly in Seat­tle in 2019 dur­ing a pre-pan­dem­ic fundrais­ing swing as part of his pres­i­den­tial campaign.

The last time Wash­ing­ton State had a pres­i­den­tial vis­it was in 2016, in the final year of Barack Oba­ma’s sec­ond term as Pres­i­dent. Don­ald Trump did not vis­it Wash­ing­ton or Ore­gon dur­ing the peri­od of time that he occu­pied the Oval Office.

President Obama waves

Pres­i­dent Oba­ma waves to the crowd at Boe­ing Field after land­ing in Seat­tle to begin his third trip to Wash­ing­ton State.

As Vice Pres­i­dent, Biden made a num­ber of trips to Wash­ing­ton State over an eight year times­pan, includ­ing to sup­port Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell and Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray. Many of Biden’s appear­ances were in 2010 and 2014, both midterm cycles. Biden head­lined a Taco­ma ral­ly for Mur­ray in 2010 that was well attended.

Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray with Joe Biden in October of 2010

Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell speaks at a ral­ly for Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray in Octo­ber of 2010, flanked by Mur­ray and Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, who was at that time Vice Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Biden also showed up for Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell, head­lin­ing an event for her in 2014, although she was not on the bal­lot that year. (Cantwell was first elect­ed in 2000 and then reelect­ed in 2006, 2012, and 2018. She’ll be up again in 2024.)

Joe Biden greets Maria Cantwell

Joe Biden greets Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell at a cam­paign event in Octo­ber 2014 (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

The White House says addi­tion­al details about the trip will be avail­able next week. NPI is plan­ning on cov­er­ing the vis­it here on the Cas­ca­dia Advocate.

Res­i­dents of the Port­land and Seat­tle met­ro­pol­i­tan areas can expect some day­time traf­fic impacts on Thurs­day and Fri­day, and should plan ahead accord­ing­ly. For secu­ri­ty rea­sons, it isn’t pos­si­ble to know what roads the Secret Ser­vice will have local law enforce­ment close, or when those clo­sures will take place. If you’ll be out and about on Thurs­day or Fri­day of next week, just give your­self plen­ty of extra time to reach your destination.

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay to open NPI’s 2022 Spring Fundraising Gala

Today, we are pleased to announce that King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Gir­may Zahi­lay will be the open­ing speak­er at our 2022 Spring Fundrais­ing Gala, which will take place April 23rd at the South Belle­vue Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter.

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay

King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Gir­may Zahi­lay (Por­trait cour­tesy of King County)

First elect­ed in 2019 to rep­re­sent the 2nd Dis­trict, Coun­cilmem­ber Zahi­lay is an alum of Franklin High School, Stan­ford, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia who has a long track record of suc­cess­ful com­mu­ni­ty organizing.

His com­mit­ment to inclu­sion inspired him to run for coun­ty council.

As he explains: “I ran for this seat because I believe in the promise of all our res­i­dents from our youth to our senior citizens.”

“I ran because in one of the wealth­i­est coun­ties of the wealth­i­est nation in the world, none of our neigh­bors should be too poor to live.”

“I believe that coun­ty gov­ern­ment must take a lead­er­ship role in build­ing afford­able hous­ing, fix­ing our crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, pro­mot­ing envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, and pro­vid­ing reli­able access to transportation.”

“I want to change the pri­or­i­ties of our polit­i­cal sys­tem, give our com­mu­ni­ties greater access to gov­ern­ment, and fight for bold pro­gres­sive policies.”

Since join­ing the Coun­cil, Gir­may has cham­pi­oned suc­cess­ful changes to King Coun­ty’s plan of gov­ern­ment to make it eas­i­er for us to invest in pub­lic health and com­mu­ni­ty-based alter­na­tives to tra­di­tion­al policing.

He also put togeth­er the Mi’Chance Dun­lap-Git­tens Youth Rights Ordi­nance, which gives youth under eigh­teen the right to a pub­lic defend­er when the police ask them to waive their Miran­da rights.

And he secured pub­lic land for com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions to build a Youth Achieve­ment Cen­ter, a forth­com­ing hous­ing and resource hub for under­served youth in South Seattle.

Now halfway through his first term, he’ll update us on what King Coun­ty is doing to empow­er our com­mu­ni­ties to recov­er from the pan­dem­ic and ensure all young peo­ple have a future in the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond.

If you haven’t yet bought your tick­et to our 2022 Spring Fundrais­ing Gala yet, we urge you to do so now. A house­hold tick­et admits all the mem­bers of an imme­di­ate fam­i­ly and is a good val­ue if you plan to attend with oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers. You may attend either in-per­son or remotely.

If you choose to attend remote­ly, you’ll be able to watch the pro­gram live in HD, and min­gle before­hand with oth­er atten­dees par­tic­i­pat­ing online.

These are our tick­et rates:

  • Indi­vid­ual ($100, admits one person)
  • House­hold ($150, admits an entire family)
  • Liv­ing Light­ly ($25, for stu­dents and activists on lim­it­ed incomes)

We care about the health and safe­ty of our team and all our sup­port­ers. Accord­ing­ly, you must be vac­ci­nat­ed and boost­ed against COVID-19 if you wish to attend the gala in-per­son. Alter­na­tive­ly, if you are unable to be vac­ci­nat­ed against COVID-19 for med­ical rea­sons, you must present proof of a neg­a­tive test tak­en imme­di­ate­ly pri­or to leav­ing your home to join us in Belle­vue. Addi­tion­al­ly, while inside the event space at the South Belle­vue Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter, you must wear a mask or res­pi­ra­tor. We will serve all food and drink out­side the event space on the ter­race, and you are wel­come to remove your mask or res­pi­ra­tor while outside.

Stu­dents who want to vol­un­teer to help put on the event can get in the door at no cost. If you’re inter­est­ed in vol­un­teer­ing, please get in touch with us.

In the days to come, we’ll be shar­ing more details about our 2022 gala, includ­ing addi­tion­al speak­ers. We hope you’ll help us make this great sea­son­al event a suc­cess by buy­ing your tick­et and com­mit­ting to attend.

See you on April 23rd!

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Way beyond political theater: Greg Abbott is hiking prices on Texans by choking commerce

Like his coun­ter­part Ron DeSan­tis in Flori­da, Texas’ Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Greg Abbott is obsessed with pleas­ing Don­ald Trump’s base and becom­ing a foil to Pres­i­dent Joe Biden through any means at his dis­pos­al, includ­ing harm­ful, divi­sive leg­is­la­tion, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al exec­u­tive orders, lit­i­ga­tion, and media manipulation.

How­ev­er, Abbot­t’s eager­ness for con­flict with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has now land­ed him in hot water with the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty, both in and beyond Texas. Busi­ness lead­ers are furi­ous that truck traf­fic across the bor­der with Mex­i­co has most­ly ground to a halt due to the imple­men­ta­tion of Abbot­t’s scheme requir­ing trucks to be “inspect­ed” by state lev­el offi­cials answer­able to him.

Abbott and his fans call it “Oper­a­tion Lone Star.”

Pret­ty much every­one else calls it stu­pid.

“The new inspec­tions mea­sures are cre­at­ing hav­oc and eco­nom­ic pain on both sides of the bor­der, and as a this Quad-State region suf­fers, so is Texas and vice-ver­sa,” not­ed two Mex­i­can state-lev­el gov­er­nors. “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, polit­i­cal points have nev­er been a good recipe to address com­mon chal­lenges or threats.”

But Abbott seem­ing­ly does­n’t care. He made it clear today that he does not want or intend to unwind the scheme with­out more sym­bol­ic “agree­ments” with Mex­i­can states that he can use to claim that he’s get­ting results.

Last week, the Pres­i­dent of the Trans­porta­tion Club of DFW pre­dict­ed in com­ments to the Dal­las Morn­ing News that Abbot­t’s scheme would lead to “chaos.” Said Nor­ma Jean Payne: “We’ve had so many prob­lems in our sup­ply chain over the last year and a half, two years — I don’t think any­thing that’s going to delay or cause any more prob­lems is a wise deci­sion right now.”

“There’s got to be a bet­ter way to han­dle this,” she added.

Fel­low Repub­li­can Sid Miller, Texas’ Agri­cul­ture Com­mis­sion­er, called on Abbott to back down and rescind the scheme, say­ing: “You can­not solve a bor­der cri­sis by cre­at­ing anoth­er cri­sis at the bor­der. These Lev­el 1 inspec­tions serve as a ‘clog in the drain’ and divert com­merce and jobs to more west­ern ports of entry.”

“This is not solv­ing the bor­der prob­lem, it is increas­ing the cost of food and adding to sup­ply chain short­ages. Such a mis­guid­ed pro­gram is going to quick­ly lead to $2.00 lemons, $5.00 avo­ca­dos and worse.”

Miller has also open­ly bro­ken with Abbott in com­ments to reporters, say­ing: “This has real­ly back­fired on him. It’s com­pound­ed the prob­lem, in my opinion.”

Abbot­t’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent Beto O’Rourke trav­eled to Lare­do to address the peo­ple of the Lone Star State from one of its busiest bor­der cross­ings, exco­ri­at­ing Abbott for chok­ing essen­tial commerce.

O’Rourke also post­ed a video of backed up trucks wait­ing to move.

“High­er prices, more sup­ply chain prob­lems, few­er gro­ceries and goods in our stores. Abbott is hurt­ing the Texas econ­o­my,” O’Rourke tweet­ed today.

The White House, mean­while, released a scathing state­ment blast­ing Abbott and mak­ing it unequiv­o­cal­ly clear that he and his regime are to blame for the mess.

“Gov­er­nor Abbott’s unnec­es­sary and redun­dant inspec­tions of trucks tran­sit­ing ports of entry between Texas and Mex­i­co are caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tions to the food and auto­mo­bile sup­ply chains, delay­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing, impact­ing jobs, and rais­ing prices for fam­i­lies in Texas and across the coun­try,” said White House Press Sec­re­tary Jen Psa­ki in a mes­sage pub­lished around 8:17 AM Cen­tral Time.

“Local busi­ness­es and trade asso­ci­a­tions are call­ing on Gov­er­nor Abbott to reverse this deci­sion because trucks are fac­ing lengthy delays exceed­ing five hours at some bor­der cross­ings and com­mer­cial traf­fic has dropped by as much as six­ty per­cent. The con­tin­u­ous flow of legit­i­mate trade and trav­el and CBP’s abil­i­ty to do its job should not be obstruct­ed. Gov­er­nor Abbott’s actions are impact­ing people’s jobs, and the liveli­hoods of hard­work­ing Amer­i­can families.”

Abbott is seek­ing reelec­tion to anoth­er term as gov­er­nor of Texas this autumn. He was eas­i­ly renom­i­nat­ed a few weeks ago in the state’s Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, dis­patch­ing Allen West and oth­er rivals. West is among the Repub­li­cans who have crit­i­cized Abbot­t’s bor­der-relat­ed schemes, call­ing them counterproductive.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Vladimir Putin affirms intent to continue waging his murderous war in Ukraine

The present sta­tus of Vladimir Putin’s war of aggres­sion in Ukraine is very flu­id, vio­lent, and fre­quent­ly star­tling. NPI will try to err on the side of cau­tion when evi­dence behind claims or state­ments are lacking.

The begin­ning of the cur­rent month of April saw the Russ­ian mil­i­tary begin­ning to with­draw in earnest all mil­i­tary forces, using artillery fire to pro­tect their retreat, from their salient north­west of Kyiv.

April 12th war map in Ukraine by Nathan Ruser

Map by Nathan Ruser. Dis­claimer: This map and the infor­ma­tion below is informed by reli­able and ver­i­fied open sources, it is meant to con­vey the gen­er­al dis­po­si­tion of Russ­ian troops in Ukraine and should not be con­sid­ered con­firmed nor comprehensive. 

By April 3rd, they began to with­draw from their siege of Cherni­hiv and by April 6th all Russ­ian forces had with­drawn com­plete­ly from the Kyiv, Cherni­hiv and Sumy oblasts.

While con­cur­rent­ly the Rus­sians were solid­i­fy­ing their holds between just out­side of Kher­son and north by north­east of the south­ern­most reach­es of the Dnipro Riv­er near Kryvyi Rih and Osoko­riv­ka, the focus of the war large­ly turned toward the Don­bas region and the Rus­sians’ inten­si­fied attempts to turn the flanks of the pri­ma­ry Ukrain­ian defens­es there.

The Rus­sians main­tained pres­sure on Kharkiv to the north­west of the Lunan­sk and Donet­sk oblasts of the Don­bas region, pri­mar­i­ly through artillery but also with mis­siles and airstrikes.

Damaged Russian military column

A dam­aged Russ­ian mil­i­tary col­umn report­ed­ly from Rus­si­a’s 201st Mil­i­tary Base in Tajik­istan (Pho­to: Ukrain­ian Gen­er­al Staff)

Russ­ian units pre­vi­ous­ly in the north of Ukraine have been large­ly trans­ferred toward Izium with­in the Khark­hov oblast; Izium was ful­ly secured by the Rus­sians around April 5th.

Some ana­lysts expect the thrust to be a north­ern pin­cer of encir­clement toward key cities with­in the Ukrain­ian por­tion of the Don­bas, Slovyn­sk and Kram­a­torsk, but oth­ers thought that they might make a dash for the city of Dnipro, some 230 to 340 kilo­me­ters south by south­west, depend­ing on the route taken.

A sec­ond axis for the Don­bas has been south­west toward Sievierodonet­sk and Lsy­chan­sk, again like­ly toward Slovyn­sk and Kram­a­torsk, while a third has been attempt­ing to advance north­west from Donet­sk, most­ly toward Adi­iv­ka and Pisky, with the even­tu­al goal either the south­ern pin­cer of an encir­clement or a sec­ond dash toward Dnipro, over 260 kilo­me­ters to the northwest.

Mar­i­upol is still hold­ing out against Russ­ian resis­tance, though for how long is any­one’s guess. Although details are scarce, appar­ent­ly the Ukraini­ans had been, until recent­ly dis­cov­ered by the Rus­sians, send­ing heli­copters in to remove the wound­ed and pro­vide muni­tions and sup­plies to the defenders.

Russ­ian cru­el­ty to Ukrain­ian non­com­bat­ants became clear­er with the with­draw­al of their forces from the north­west of Kyiv, espe­cial­ly with­in the town of Bucha, but it is also appar­ent that a mobile cre­ma­to­ri­um has been in use through­out the siege of Mar­i­upol, with an empha­sis on elim­i­nat­ing evi­dence of dead civil­ians and liv­ing non­com­bat­ant observers of war crimes with­in the city.

Over four hun­dred thou­sand Ukraini­ans have alleged­ly been forced to leave their homes and enter Rus­sia, although it should also be not­ed that no one is sure if that num­ber includes around six­ty thou­sand Ukraini­ans liv­ing in the Russ­ian-occu­pied por­tion of the Don­bas that left or were forced out of the area just as the war began.  Of that num­ber, at least one hun­dred thou­sand have been moved to the Russ­ian Far East or to the Cau­ca­sus region.

As of now, over four and a half mil­lion peo­ple have fled Ukraine, and depend­ing on the source, between over sev­en and ten and a half mil­lion peo­ple with­in Ukraine are inter­nal­ly displaced.

Rus­si­a’s many set­backs have not deterred its dic­ta­tor Vladimir Putin, who made it clear yes­ter­day dur­ing an appear­ance with Belaru­sian Pres­i­dent Alexan­der Lukashenko at the Vos­tochny Cos­mod­rome that he is com­mit­ted to wag­ing his mur­der­ous war of aggres­sion no mat­ter the cost.

Putin repeat­ed­ly employed the defense mech­a­nism of pro­jec­tion as he sought to jus­ti­fy his pos­ture. For instance, he remarked: “That Blitzkrieg on which our foes were count­ing did not work.” By that, he meant the sanc­tions adopt­ed by the Unit­ed States and the Euro­pean Union. But “blitzkrieg” is a mil­i­tary term of art that means “an over­whelm­ing all-out attack, espe­cial­ly a swift ground attack using armored units and air sup­port.” It was Putin who count­ed on a light­ning war strat­e­gy to top­ple the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment and over­run Kyiv.

That gam­bit has now failed and Putin is chang­ing up his strat­e­gy and tactics.

The effec­tive­ness and poten­cy of eco­nom­ic and finan­cial sanc­tions as a response to regimes like Putin’s has been long debat­ed. There is evi­dence that sanc­tions pack some­what more of a punch over time as opposed to in the short term. That’s what makes Putin’s ref­er­ence to “blitzkrieg” all the more ridiculous.

Rus­si­a’s for­mer Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Andrei Fedorov, a for­mer Krem­lin offi­cial, says Putin is absolute­ly deter­mined to bring down Ukraine’s cur­rent gov­ern­ment and remove Volodymyr Zelen­sky from office, whether by force or otherwise.

“He will con­tin­ue until he reach­es the goal,” Fedorov said in an appear­ance on DW, com­ment­ing that he has known Vladimir Putin for many years. “And the goal is to change, frankly speak­ing, change the regime in Ukraine.”

Sunday, April 10th, 2022

Big money is flowing into a right wing ballot campaign to repeal state capital gains tax

New cam­paign finance reports filed with the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion show that a polit­i­cal com­mit­tee formed to force a statewide vote on Wash­ing­ton State’s recent­ly enact­ed state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy got a sig­nif­i­cant influx of cash in March from sev­er­al rich right wing donors.

The com­mit­tee, helmed by long­time Repub­li­can oper­a­tive J. Van­der Stoep, has not dis­closed its plans to the pub­lic, but its aim appears to be to qual­i­fy a mea­sure to the Novem­ber 2022 statewide bal­lot that would com­plete­ly repeal ESSB 5096, the pop­u­lar 2021 law that levied a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy to fund ear­ly learn­ing, child­care, and K‑12 edu­ca­tion.

Van­der Stoep’s oper­a­tion report­ed receiv­ing $211,900 in cash and in-kind con­tri­bu­tions since its last report in Feb­ru­ary. About half of that sum, $100,000, came from Stan Baty, the Vice Pres­i­dent of Colum­bia Pacif­ic Management.

Anoth­er $50,000 was pro­vid­ed by Mary Kay McCaw and a fur­ther $10,000 was pro­vid­ed by Matt McIl­wain of Madrona Ven­ture Group, a fierce and well known oppo­nent of pro­gres­sive tax reform. (McIl­wain is among those who have already donat­ed to the I‑1929 effort in months past.)

The com­mit­tee also report­ed a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of new pledges, total­ing $415,000, just $85,000 shy of half of a mil­lion dollars.

The pledges came from indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties that have a long his­to­ry of back­ing Tim Eyman and oppos­ing right wing tax reform, includ­ing the Build­ing Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton (BIAW Mem­ber Ser­vices Cor­po­ra­tion) and the Puget Shound chap­ter of the Nation­al Elec­tri­cal Con­trac­tors Asso­ci­a­tion PAC.

Here’s all of the March pledges:


The com­mit­tee also report­ed sev­er­al new expenses:

  • $70,000 to Moore Infor­ma­tion, one of the Pacif­ic North­west­’s best known Repub­li­can-aligned polling firms, for “sur­veys, polling, research costs”
  • $27,762 to Davis Wright Tremaine for legal fees
  • $12,000 to OK Indus­tries for web­site and design services
  • $342.16 to GoDad­dy for hosting
  • Mul­ti­ple five fig­ure expen­di­tures to con­sul­tants: Peri Hall & Asso­ciates, Mark Funk Pub­lic Affairs, The Clarke Com­pa­ny, and R.L. Stein­man & Associates

Van­der Stoep is the spon­sor of an ini­tia­tive to the peo­ple (I‑1929) that was filed last month with the Sec­re­tary of State to nuke ESSB 5096.

I‑1929 recent­ly received a bal­lot title from the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office that was prompt­ly chal­lenged, includ­ing by dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman.

Van­der Stoep has not involved Eyman in his I‑1929 oper­a­tion, but Eyman is known for latch­ing on to oth­ers’ efforts or hijack­ing them.

For instance, in 2006, Eyman launched a ref­er­en­dum sig­na­ture dri­ve to strip LBGTQ+ pro­tec­tions from Wash­ing­ton’s recent­ly amend­ed Law Against Dis­crim­i­na­tion. (The ref­er­en­dum did not qual­i­fy for the bal­lot due to Eyman’s incom­pe­tence, anger­ing many in the reli­gious right.)

The C4 filed on Fri­day by Van­der Stoep’s com­mit­tee only cov­ers receipts and expen­di­tures from March 1st — 31st, 2022. There has undoubt­ed­ly been more activ­i­ty since the end of last month, which won’t have to be report­ed until a month from now. It’s pret­ty evi­dent that Van­der Stoep and his crew of right wing oper­a­tives are gear­ing up for a sig­na­ture dri­ve and sub­se­quent fall campaign.

By the time the I‑1929 bal­lot title chal­lenge is dis­pensed with, how­ev­er, they will prob­a­bly be left with just nine to ten weeks for sig­na­ture gath­er­ing. Their hired peti­tion­ers will need to col­lect around 50,000 sig­na­tures per week to make it.

The cost of a suc­cess­ful sig­na­ture dri­ve alone might eas­i­ly top $2.5 mil­lion, on top of the hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars Van­der Stoep has already spent on lawyers, poll­sters, and con­sul­tants. ($12,000 for a cam­paign web­site which in all like­li­hood won’t have more than a few pages… really!?)

If they get on the bal­lot, Van­der Stoep and his crew are like­ly plan­ning to spend mil­lions more to sell their scheme to give Wash­ing­ton’s wealth­i­est fam­i­lies a big tax break. Their bal­lot title, what­ev­er it ends up being, is unlike­ly to sell itself: NPI’s research found last year that Wash­ing­to­ni­ans did not respond enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly to a scheme pro­posed by Tim Eyman and Jim Walsh that tried to neg­a­tive­ly brand the cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy as an income tax.

Pro­gres­sive lead­ers from SEIU 775NW, WEA, WFSE, Civic Ven­tures, and the Wash­ing­ton Bud­get & Pol­i­cy Cen­ter have formed a coali­tion to oppose I‑1929, No Tax Cut for the Super Rich, which filed its C1 reg­is­tra­tion on March 25th.

NPI’s Per­ma­nent Defense project, which has been suc­cess­ful­ly com­bat­ing right wing ini­tia­tives for over twen­ty years, will be doing its part to ensure that I‑1929 is defeat­ed should it qual­i­fy for the bal­lot. Our research has con­sis­tent­ly found pub­lic sup­port for a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy. We’re con­fi­dent that if Wash­ing­to­ni­ans under­stand that I‑1929 would slash edu­ca­tion fund­ing to enable Van­der Stoep’s wealthy bene­fac­tors to get a big tax cut, they’ll vote no.

Sunday, April 10th, 2022

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (April 4th-8th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, April 8th, 2022.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

SUBPOENAS FOR TRUMP AIDES INVOLVED IN INSURRECTION: The House on April 6th passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 1037), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ben­nie G. Thomp­son, D‑Mississippi, to rec­om­mend that Trump admin­is­tra­tion staffers Dan Scav­i­no and Peter Navar­ro be held in con­tempt of Con­gress for not com­ply­ing with sub­poe­nas issued by the House sub­com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing the Jan­u­ary 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Thomp­son said that because Scav­i­no and Navar­ro were gov­ern­ment employ­ees, they should respond to legit­i­mate leg­isla­tive inquiries “about their roles in try­ing to over­turn the 2020 election.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Gaetz, R‑Florida, said: “The rea­son Scav­i­no and Navar­ro should­n’t be held in con­tempt is that the Jan­u­ary 6th Com­mit­tee itself is so per­for­ma­tive, ille­git­i­mate, and uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, kick­ing off the Repub­li­cans that Leader McCarthy sent to serve on the committee.”

The vote was 220 yeas to 203 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

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

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Derek Kilmer

Cas­ca­dia total: 10 aye votes, 6 nay votes, 1 not voting

REVOKING RUSSIA AND BELARUS’ MFN STATUS: The House on April 7th passed the Sus­pend­ing Nor­mal Trade Rela­tions with Rus­sia and Belarus Act (H.R. 7108), spon­sored by Richard E. Neal, D‑Massachusetts, to autho­rize the pres­i­dent to increase duties on goods import­ed from Rus­sia or Belarus through 2023, and autho­rize a broad­er stan­dard for apply­ing visa and prop­er­ty-relat­ed sanc­tions against for­eign­ers accused of seri­ous human rights abuses.

The vote was 420 yeas to 3 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

SIMPLIFYING REGISTRATION FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA RESEARCH: The House on April 4th passed the Med­ical Mar­i­jua­na Research Act (H.R. 5657), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Earl Blu­me­nauer, D‑Oregon, to cre­ate a new, less strin­gent fed­er­al reg­is­tra­tion process for research into med­ical marijuana.

The vote was 343 yeas to 75 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 14 aye votes, 3 nay votes

OBLIGING HEALTH INSURERS TO COVER TREATING BIRTH DEFECTS: The House on April 4th passed the Ensur­ing Last­ing Smiles Act (H.R. 1916), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Anna G. Eshoo, D‑California, to require health insur­ers to cov­er birth defect treat­ments in their plans. Eshoo said the bill was need­ed because “for babies who have oral defects such as cleft palates, skele­tal defects, con­gen­i­tal cataracts, or hear­ing defects, insur­ance com­pa­nies have sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly denied or delayed med­ical­ly nec­es­sary treatments.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive H. Mor­gan Grif­fith, R‑Virginia, said vague lan­guage in the bill meant “that not one per­son can artic­u­late which med­ical pro­ce­dures or treat­ments would be required to be cov­ered by insurance.”

The vote was 310 yeas to 110 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 14 aye votes, 3 nay votes

TRADE AND ECONOMIC SECURITY ADVISORY COUNCIL AT DHS: The House on April 5th passed the DHS Trade and Eco­nom­ic Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Act (H.R. 4476), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter Mei­jer, R‑Michigan, to cre­ate a trade and eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty advi­so­ry coun­cil at the Home­land Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment. Mei­jer said the coun­cil’s work to “iden­ti­fy con­cen­trat­ed eco­nom­ic risks, set pri­or­i­ties, and coor­di­nate enter­prise-wide action on eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty mat­ters” would be of crit­i­cal impor­tance for the coun­try. The vote was 348 yeas to 75 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND DISASTER RECOVERY COORDINATION: The House on April 5th passed the Resilient Assis­tance for Mit­i­ga­tion for Envi­ron­men­tal­ly Resilient Infra­struc­ture and Con­struc­tion by Amer­i­cans Act (H.R. 5689), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter DeFazio, D‑Oregon, to change var­i­ous rules for fed­er­al fund­ing to local gov­ern­ments and non­prof­it groups for dis­as­ter haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion and plan­ning pro­grams. DeFazio said: “Fed­er­al pol­i­cy that focus­es on invest­ment in mit­i­ga­tion and bol­ster­ing resilience is basic good gov­er­nance and will lessen the impacts of future disasters.”

The vote was 383 yeas to 41 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

SOLIDARITY WITH NATO AND UKRAINE: The House on April 5th passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 831), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ger­ald E. Con­nol­ly, D‑Virginia, to stress the impor­tance of demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples at the North Atlantic Treaty Orga­ni­za­tion (NATO) and NATO’s com­mit­ment to bol­ster­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions in NATO mem­ber coun­tries. Con­nol­ly said of the need for the res­o­lu­tion: “The val­ues upon which the alliance have been found­ed are being chal­lenged by exter­nal ene­mies of democ­ra­cy, all too trag­i­cal­ly being wit­nessed in the Ukraine.” The vote was 362 yeas to 63 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 nay vote

HOLDING PUTIN’S REGIME ACCOUNTABLE FOR WAR CRIMES: The House on April 6th passed the Ukraine Inva­sion War Crimes Deter­rence and Account­abil­i­ty Act (H.R. 7276), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael T. McCaul, R‑Texas. The bill would require the pres­i­dent to send to Con­gress a report on war crimes and oth­er atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted dur­ing Rus­si­a’s inva­sion of Ukraine.

McCaul said: “We can­not wait for the next atroc­i­ty before we act. We must do what we can now to deter Russ­ian lead­ers, com­man­ders, and troops in the field from com­mit­ting fur­ther war crimes.” The vote was 418 yeas to 7 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

RESUSCITATING THE RESTAURANT REVITALIZATION FUND: The House on April 7th passed the Restau­rant Revi­tal­iza­tion Fund Replen­ish­ment Act (H.R. 3807), spon­sored by Rep. Earl Blu­me­nauer, D‑Oregon, to add $55 bil­lion to the Restau­rant Revi­tal­iza­tion Fund, a COVID relief grant pro­gram that began in spring 2021. Blu­me­nauer said: “Our small, inde­pen­dent restau­rants and oth­er busi­ness­es have not ful­ly recov­ered. This is why the leg­is­la­tion is critical.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Byron Don­alds, R‑Florida, said rather than appro­pri­at­ing bil­lions of dol­lars of new funds and fur­ther­ing infla­tion, Con­gress should use already appro­pri­at­ed funds to assist the restau­rant industry.

The vote was 223 yeas to 203 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

BARRING ENERGY IMPORTS FROM RUSSIA: The House on April 7th passed the Sus­pend­ing Ener­gy Imports from Rus­sia Act (H.R. 6968), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lloyd Doggett, D‑Texas, to bar the impor­ta­tion from Rus­sia of a set of ener­gy prod­ucts, includ­ing petro­le­um and nat­ur­al gas, with a poten­tial waiv­er of the ban if U.S. inter­ests war­rant a waiv­er. A sup­port­er, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kevin Brady, R‑Texas, said the ban was need­ed to end “the flow of Amer­i­can dol­lars toward Russ­ian oil that acts as a trea­sury for Rus­si­a’s war machine.”

The vote was 413 yeas to 9 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 not voting

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: The Sen­ate on April 7th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Ketan­ji Brown Jack­son to serve as a jus­tice on the Supreme Court. Jack­son, a judge on the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit Court of Appeals since June 2021, was ear­li­er a U.S. dis­trict court for Wash­ing­ton, D.C., start­ing in 2013, and a com­mis­sion­er on the U.S. Sen­tenc­ing Com­mis­sion from 2010 to 2013.

A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Mazie Hirono, D‑Hawaii, said: “Judge Jack­son has the intel­lect, the integri­ty, and the tem­pera­ment befit­ting an asso­ciate jus­tice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and she does­n’t have an ide­o­log­i­cal axe to grind.”

An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Rick Scott, R‑Florida, cit­ed “her record as a fed­er­al judge, which includes numer­ous instances of the type of judi­cial activism that we can­not and should not tol­er­ate from the fed­er­al judiciary.”

The vote was 53 yeas to 47 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

REVOKING RUSSIA AND BELARUS’ MFN STATUS: The Sen­ate on April 7th passed the Sus­pend­ing Nor­mal Trade Rela­tions with Rus­sia and Belarus Act (H.R. 7108, above), to autho­rize the pres­i­dent to increase duties on goods import­ed from Rus­sia or Belarus through 2023, and autho­rize a broad­er stan­dard for apply­ing visa and prop­er­ty-relat­ed sanc­tions against for­eign­ers accused of seri­ous human rights abus­es. A sup­port­er, Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York, said: “The leg­is­la­tion will go a long way to land­ing a painful, severe blow on Putin’s econ­o­my. It will hin­der his abil­i­ty to keep fund­ing his war machine.”

The vote was unan­i­mous with 100 yeas.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes

BARRING ENERGY IMPORTS FROM RUSSIA: The Sen­ate on April 7th passed the Sus­pend­ing Ener­gy Imports from Rus­sia Act (H.R. 6968, above), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lloyd Doggett, D‑Texas, to bar the impor­ta­tion from Rus­sia of a set of ener­gy prod­ucts, includ­ing petro­le­um and nat­ur­al gas, with a poten­tial waiv­er of the ban if U.S. inter­ests war­rant a waiver.

The vote was unan­i­mous with 100 yeas.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes

JAMES O’BRIEN, STATE DEPARTMENT: The Sen­ate on April 6th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of James O’Brien to be the head of the State Depart­men­t’s Office of Sanc­tions Coor­di­na­tion. O’Brien, a State Depart­ment staffer and offi­cial start­ing in 1989, has, since 2017, been an exec­u­tive at the Albright Stone­bridge Group, a glob­al busi­ness con­sul­tan­cy. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Robert Menen­dez, D‑New Jer­sey, said that at State, O’Brien “led a large and suc­cess­ful sanc­tions pro­gram and advised on a range of issues, includ­ing peace nego­ti­a­tions in Europe, sci­en­tif­ic and envi­ron­men­tal agree­ments, and ini­tia­tives to inves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute per­sons respon­si­ble for war crimes.” The vote was 71 yeas to 26 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes

ADDITIONAL SENATE VOTES: Along with this week’s roll call votes, the Sen­ate also passed the fol­low­ing mea­sures by voice vote: the Strength­en­ing Over­sight for Vet­er­ans Act (S. 2687), to give the Inspec­tor Gen­er­al of the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs tes­ti­mo­ni­al sub­poe­na author­i­ty; and a res­o­lu­tion (S. Res. 503), express­ing the sense of the Sen­ate that Chi­na’s gov­ern­ment should imme­di­ate­ly guar­an­tee the safe­ty and free­dom of ten­nis star Peng Shuai.

LWIC will be on hiatus until May

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Sen­ate have begun their East­er recess and will not be in ses­sion until the Mon­day after East­er. There­fore, Last Week In Con­gress will be on hia­tus until the first Sun­day in May (May 1st). Pro for­ma ses­sions will be held at var­i­ous times in between now and when Con­gress recon­venes. The Sen­ate is expect­ed to con­sid­er some of Pres­i­dent Biden’s Fed nom­i­nees when it returns, while the House­’s sched­ule was to be announced.

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!

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Thursday, April 7th, 2022

Ketanji Brown Jackson has been confirmed to the United States Supreme Court!

With Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris pre­sid­ing, Judge Ketan­ji Brown Jack­son today became the first Black woman to ever be con­firmed as a Jus­tice of the Unit­ed States Supreme Court. The final vote in favor of her con­fir­ma­tion was 53–47, with three Repub­li­can sen­a­tors join­ing all Democ­rats and inde­pen­dents in vot­ing yea.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as follows:

Vot­ing Yea: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell (WA), Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT); Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Lisa Murkows­ki (AK)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (ID), Dan Sul­li­van (AK), Steve Daines (MT)

Sen­a­tors Lisa Collins, Mitt Rom­ney, and Lisa Murkows­ki had all announced in recent days that they would sup­port Jack­son’s con­fir­ma­tion, ensur­ing that Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris’ tiebreak­ing vote would not be need­ed for a suc­cess­ful outcome.

Jack­son will suc­ceed Jus­tice Stephen Brey­er, who was nom­i­nat­ed to the Court by Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and con­firmed on July 29th, 1994. Brey­er announced his retire­ment sev­er­al weeks ago in an appear­ance at the White House with Pres­i­dent Joe Biden. Biden sub­se­quent­ly ful­filled his pledge to nom­i­nate a Black woman as his first pick for the Unit­ed States Supreme Court. Jack­son just so hap­pens to be one of Brey­er’s for­mer clerks, and Brey­er has made it clear he thinks high­ly of her.

Jack­son is cur­rent­ly serv­ing on the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit. Before that, she was a dis­trict court judge. She is a Har­vard alum and worked in pri­vate prac­tice and as a pub­lic defend­er before join­ing the Unit­ed States Sen­tenc­ing Com­mis­sion dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion — a posi­tion to which she was con­firmed unanimously.

In 2012, Jack­son was nom­i­nat­ed for the fed­er­al bench by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma. Future House Speak­er Paul Ryan, who had just fin­ished serv­ing as Mitt Rom­ney’s unsuc­cess­ful run­ning mate, intro­duced Jack­son at her con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing, remark­ing: “Our pol­i­tics may dif­fer, but my praise for Ketan­ji’s intel­lect, for her char­ac­ter, for her integri­ty, it is unequivocal.”

Jack­son is the most accom­plished and qual­i­fied Supreme Court nom­i­nee in many, many years, and arguably one of the most qual­i­fied ever. Even Repub­li­cans who oppose her nom­i­na­tion have admit­ted that she is supreme­ly well qual­i­fied. Unlike Amy Coney Bar­rett, Trump’s last nom­i­nee for the Court, Ken­tan­ji Brown Jack­son has been a fed­er­al judge at mul­ti­ple lev­els, includ­ing the appel­late level.

The Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion gave Jack­son its top rat­ing, with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the ABA, D. Jean Veta, stat­ing to the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee: “She pos­sess­es all of the oth­er impor­tant attrib­ut­es of a great jurist. She is prac­ti­cal and intu­itive and curi­ous and cour­te­ous and always impec­ca­bly well prepared.”

Jack­son is also one of the most pop­u­lar Supreme Court nom­i­nees ever. A poll con­duct­ed by Gallup last month found that 58% of respon­dents favored Jack­son’s con­fir­ma­tion, 30% opposed it, and 12% had no opin­ion. Those are extreme­ly robust num­bers for a Supreme Court nom­i­nee in high­ly polar­ized times.

Jack­son will take office and replace Brey­er at the end of the cur­rent Supreme Court term, which is when Brey­er plans to step down.

The White House says tomor­row, the Senate’s his­toric, bipar­ti­san con­fir­ma­tion of Judge Jackson’s nom­i­na­tion to be an Asso­ciate Jus­tice of the Supreme Court. This is sched­uled for 9:15 AM Pacif­ic Time on the South Lawn.

“Judge Jack­son is one of the most excep­tion­al Supreme Court nom­i­nees I have ever met, and I am so excit­ed that she’s on her way to the Supreme Court. It is incred­i­bly well deserved, and incred­i­bly good news for our coun­try,” said Wash­ing­ton’s senior U.S. Sen­a­tor, Pat­ty Mur­ray. “The bot­tom line for me is always — can I tell my con­stituents back home in Wash­ing­ton state that if they ever have a case before this judge, this is some­one who will lis­ten, some­one who will under­stand, some­one who will make a thought­ful, fair deci­sion for them based on the laws of our nation? And the answer with Judge Jack­son is a resound­ing yes.”

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