NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Monday, April 26th, 2021

Pacific Northwest congressional delegation to grow as Oregon gains sixth U.S. House seat

For the sec­ond straight decen­ni­al redis­trict­ing cycle, the Pacif­ic North­west appears set to gain a new con­gres­sion­al dis­trict, which will slight­ly increase the region’s clout in the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives begin­ning in Jan­u­ary of 2023.

The Unit­ed States Cen­sus Bureau revealed today that Ore­gon has expe­ri­enced pop­u­la­tion growth suf­fi­cient to mer­it the allo­ca­tion of a sixth con­gres­sion­al dis­trict, one more than the five it cur­rent­ly has.

Mon­tana will also gain a Unit­ed States House seat, which will mean it will have dis­tricts instead of hav­ing an at-large rep­re­sen­ta­tive as it has for decades.

States gaining House seats for 2022

States gain­ing House seats for 2022 include Ore­gon, Mon­tana, Col­orado, Texas, Flori­da, and North Carolina

That would result in an eigh­teen-mem­ber House del­e­ga­tion for the region in the 118th Con­gress. For at least ten years, the U.S. House would then include ten mem­bers from Wash­ing­ton, six from Ore­gon, and two from Idaho.

Repub­li­cans would very much like for this new dis­trict to be friend­ly turf.

Ore­gon’s cur­rent del­e­ga­tion to Con­gress con­sists of four Demo­c­ra­t­ic Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and two Demo­c­ra­t­ic Unit­ed States Senators.

Of the state’s cur­rent five dis­trict map, only one dis­trict is rep­re­sent­ed by a Repub­li­can: the 2nd, which is a solid­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict span­ning east­ern and cen­tral Ore­gon. It is far and away the largest con­gres­sion­al dis­trict by size in the entire Pacif­ic North­west, with a land area of 179,856.98 kilometers.

It’s also the sec­ond largest by size in the entire coun­try, after New Mex­i­co’s 2nd Dis­trict, not count­ing four of the five states that are too small to have mul­ti­ple House dis­tricts, and thus have at-large Unit­ed States Representatives.

Ore­gon Democ­rats have agreed to allow the com­mis­sion that draws the 2022–2030 maps to be split even­ly between Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans, giv­ing the Par­ty of Trump more of a say in where the bound­aries go.

Wash­ing­ton State has been using a bipar­ti­san com­mis­sion sys­tem for decades, but this year’s com­mis­sion will have the same num­ber of con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts to work with that the pre­vi­ous com­mis­sion had, instead of a new one like Oregon.

Wash­ing­ton gained a tenth con­gres­sion­al dis­trict fol­low­ing the 2010 cen­sus; that dis­trict cur­rent­ly is locat­ed in Wash­ing­ton State’s South Sound region and is rep­re­sent­ed by Mar­i­lyn Strick­land, Den­ny Heck­’s suc­ces­sor. (Heck is now Wash­ing­ton State’s Lieu­tenant Governor.)

“It is excit­ing that we will gain an addi­tion­al seat in Con­gress and Ore­go­ni­ans’ voic­es will be bet­ter rep­re­sent­ed in Wash­ing­ton D.C.,” Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Sen­a­tor Kath­leen Tay­lor said in remarks report­ed by The Asso­ci­at­ed Press.

Tay­lor serves as the Ore­gon State Sen­ate’s Redis­trict­ing Chair.

Ore­gon Democ­rats nat­u­ral­ly want a map that gives them five winnable dis­tricts, which would allow the Beaver State to help sus­tain the House­’s cur­rent Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty in the 2022 midterms. The par­ty reached out quick­ly to its sup­port­ers with an urgent fundrais­ing appeal, explaining:

The stakes of the 2022 midterm elec­tions just got even higher.

After the Cen­sus Bureau com­pletes the cen­sus every ten years, they use the results to re-cal­cu­late how many Con­gres­sion­al Dis­tricts each state is enti­tled to. Today, we learned that Ore­gon will be gain­ing a new Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict for the first time in near­ly forty years!

This is a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty for Ore­go­ni­ans to elect anoth­er Demo­c­rat to our Con­gres­sion­al Del­e­ga­tion – but we know nation­al Repub­li­cans will throw every­thing they can at the race for Ore­gon’s new Sixth Dis­trict while try­ing to flip at least one or more of our cur­rent Demo­c­ra­t­ic seats.

It won’t be an easy task, but we know that so much is pos­si­ble with Ore­gon Democ­rats like you by our side. Will you donate to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of Ore­gon and help elect Democ­rats to Ore­gon’s soon-to-be six-per­son Con­gres­sion­al Delegation?

It is unlike­ly that either of Ida­ho’s con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts will be com­pet­i­tive in 2022, and Wash­ing­ton seems like­ly to have at most one or two com­pet­i­tive­ly drawn dis­tricts. There­fore, Ore­gon will present Democ­rats in the Pacif­ic North­west with the best oppor­tu­ni­ty for pick­ing up a seat. Exclud­ing Alas­ka and Mon­tana, the region’s cur­rent dis­tricts could be char­ac­ter­ized as falling into four buckets:

Utter­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic (CPVI above ten for D’s)

  • Wash­ing­ton’s 2nd
  • Wash­ing­ton’s 7th
  • Wash­ing­ton’s 9th
  • Ore­gon’s 1st
  • Ore­gon’s 3rd

Reli­ably Demo­c­ra­t­ic (Favor­able CPVI for D’s, but below ten)

  • Wash­ing­ton’s 1st
  • Wash­ing­ton’s 6th
  • Wash­ing­ton’s 10th

Swing/Competitive (CPVI of five or less)

  • Wash­ing­ton’s 8th (Demo­c­ra­t­ic representation)
  • Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd (Repub­li­can representation)
  • Ore­gon’s 4th (Demo­c­ra­t­ic representation)
  • Ore­gon’s 5th (Demo­c­ra­t­ic representation)

Solid­ly Repub­li­can (Favor­able CPVI for R’s of more than five)

  • Ore­gon’s 2nd
  • Wash­ing­ton’s 4th
  • Wash­ing­ton’s 5th
  • Ida­ho’s 1st
  • Ida­ho’s 2nd

CPVI means Cook Par­ti­san Vot­ing Index; see this Wikipedia entry for an expla­na­tion, and see Cook’s web­site for the com­plete cur­rent index.

As men­tioned above, it’s unlike­ly that any changes to Ida­ho’s map will yield a dis­trict that Democ­rats could win (although it’s not total­ly out the realm of pos­si­bil­i­ty; Democ­rats did cap­ture Ida­ho’s 1st as recent­ly as 2008.)

How­ev­er, the man­ner in which Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton’s maps are drawn will mat­ter a great deal. The opti­mal con­fig­u­ra­tion for Democ­rats would prob­a­bly be a map with thir­teen winnable dis­tricts: eight in Wash­ing­ton and five in Oregon.

For Repub­li­cans, the opti­mal con­fig­u­ra­tion is prob­a­bly a map with eight winnable dis­tricts: four in Wash­ing­ton, two in Ore­gon, and then both of Idaho’s.

This is a real­ly big polit­i­cal devel­op­ment for Ore­gon, con­sid­er­ing that the state has­n’t got­ten a new seat in Con­gress in four decades.

For Mon­tana, gain­ing back the seat lost in the 1990 reap­por­tion­ment is also a big deal. Here’s the back­sto­ry on that, cour­tesy of Wikipedia:

From state­hood in 1889, until the cre­ation of geo­graph­ic dis­tricts in 1919, Mon­tana was rep­re­sent­ed in the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives by mem­bers elect­ed at-large, that is, requir­ing vot­ing by all the state population.

From 1913 to 1919, there were two seats, still elect­ed at-large; the top two fin­ish­ers were award­ed the seats. After that time, two rep­re­sen­ta­tives were elect­ed from two geo­graph­ic dis­tricts of rough­ly equal pop­u­la­tion, from the east and the west of the state.

In the reap­por­tion­ment fol­low­ing the 1990 cen­sus, Mon­tana lost one of its two seats. Its remain­ing mem­ber was again elect­ed at-large.

Begin­ning in the 2022 midterms, every state in the greater Pacif­ic North­west will have dis­tricts except for Alas­ka. The five states (mean­ing, the three core Pacif­ic North­west states plus Mon­tana and Alas­ka) will send a total of thir­ty-one peo­ple to the Unit­ed States Con­gress: twen­ty-one rep­re­sen­ta­tives and ten senators.

We will have addi­tion­al com­men­tary and analy­sis on what this con­se­quen­tial reap­por­tion­ment means for our region in the weeks to come.

Sunday, April 25th, 2021

VICTORY! State Senate okays final version of capital gains tax bill, sending it to governor

His­to­ry has been just made in the Wash­ing­ton State Legislature!

More than six years after Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee first put the idea on the table for law­mak­ers’ con­sid­er­a­tion, the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate has joined the State House in giv­ing final approval to a bill (ESSB 5096) that would at last levy a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy to bal­ance Wash­ing­ton’s tax code and raise sore­ly need­ed fund­ing to sup­port our fam­i­lies’ child­care needs.

Levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy has long been one of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s top leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties. NPI research has con­sis­tent­ly found robust pub­lic sup­port for levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy.

A total of 59% of like­ly Wash­ing­ton vot­ers sur­veyed expressed sup­port when we asked about levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax to fund edu­ca­tion last May, with just 32% express­ing oppo­si­tion — few­er than the per­cent­age express­ing strong sup­port (42%). 9% said they were not sure. (For more details, read this post.)

“I’m glad to see the Leg­is­la­ture pass Sen­ate Bill 5096,” tweet­ed Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, adding: “This bill will help us address our upside down tax sys­tem and has been one of my pri­or­i­ties for years. It’s a good day in Wash­ing­ton State.”

The water­shed vote came on the final day of the 2021 leg­isla­tive session.

Twen­ty-five Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors agreed to adopt the final ver­sion of the bill nego­ti­at­ed in a con­fer­ence com­mit­tee with the House late last week, while three Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors joined all twen­ty-one Repub­li­cans in vot­ing nay.

The roll call was as follows:

ESSB 5096
Cap­i­tal gains tax
Sen­ate vote on Final Pas­sage as Rec­om­mend­ed by Con­fer­ence Committee
4/24/2021

Yeas: 25; Nays: 24

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tor Bil­lig, Car­lyle, Cleve­land, Con­way, Darneille, Das, Dhin­gra, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hunt, Keis­er, Kud­er­er, Liias, Lovelett, Nguyen, Nobles, Ped­er­sen, Ran­dall, Robin­son, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Salomon, Stan­ford, Well­man, Wil­son (Claire)

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tor Braun, Brown, Dozi­er, Erick­sen, For­tu­na­to, Gildon, Hawkins, Hobbs, Holy, Hon­ey­ford, King, McCune, Mul­let, Muz­za­ll, Pad­den, Rivers, Schoesler, Shel­don, Short, Van De Wege, Wag­oner, War­nick, Wil­son (Jeff), Wil­son (Lyn­da)

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors who vot­ed nay were Kevin Van De Wege of the 24th Dis­trict, Mark Mul­let of the 5th Dis­trict, and Steve Hobbs of the 44th District.

Van De Wege was pre­vi­ous­ly a sup­port­er of the bill when it orig­i­nal­ly came up.

He trad­ed places with Annette Cleve­land, of the 49th Dis­trict, who was in the no camp on the last go-around, but became an aye vot­er for this last and most essen­tial vote, the final step in get­ting SB 5096 out of the Legislature.

Inslee first pro­posed levy­ing a state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy in Decem­ber of 2014, ahead of the 2015 long ses­sion. At the time, Repub­li­cans con­trolled the Sen­ate, and they pre­dictably refused to give the idea any consideration.

Democ­rats regained a work­ing major­i­ty in the Sen­ate near­ly three years lat­er fol­low­ing Man­ka Dhin­gra’s vic­to­ry in the 45th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict, and then expand­ed their majori­ties in both cham­bers in the 2018 midterms.

These elec­tions yield­ed more sub­stan­tive con­ver­sa­tions about levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax, but still no action. The 2018, 2019, and 2020 ses­sions all adjourned Sine Die with no vote on a cap­i­tal gains tax bill in either cham­ber, large­ly owing to the fact that not enough Sen­ate Democ­rats were on board with the idea.

Then came last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Though Democ­rats saw no net change in seats in either cham­ber, the com­po­si­tion of each cau­cus changed.

Cru­cial­ly, in the Sen­ate, the 28th Dis­trict ceased to be rep­re­sent­ed by anti-tran­sit Repub­li­can Steve O’Ban and instead became rep­re­sent­ed by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor T’wina Nobles. Nobles, who host­ed NPI’s 2020 FallFest last autumn, pro­vid­ed a cru­cial vote for ESSB 5096 ear­li­er this ses­sion and did so again today, enabling the bill to secure the con­sti­tu­tion­al major­i­ty need­ed for passage.

Sen­a­tor Nobles’ work and pres­ence in Olympia is a tes­ta­ment to the dif­fer­ence that one per­son can make in our sys­tem of rep­re­sen­ta­tive government.

Sen­a­tor Nobles is a coura­geous and exem­plary law­mak­er. We can­not thank her enough for her out­stand­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the 28th Dis­trict in her inau­gur­al ses­sion. What an impres­sive start to her career in pub­lic service!

Among the sev­en­ty-sev­en Democ­rats who vot­ed for this bill, there are four in addi­tion to Sen­a­tor Nobles who deserve spe­cial recognition:

  • State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Noel Frame, the Chair of the House Finance Committee;
  • Sen­a­tor June Robin­son, the prime spon­sor of ESSB 5096 and a vice chair of the Sen­ate Ways & Means Committee,
  • Sen­a­tor Chris­tine Rolfes, the Chair of Ways & Means,
  • and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tana Senn, the prime spon­sor of the com­pan­ion bill in the State House Representatives.

These incred­i­ble women worked tire­less­ly through­out the ses­sion to ensure this vic­to­ry could become a real­i­ty. Their lead­er­ship and stead­fast­ness was piv­otal. We would­n’t be here today with­out their efforts. We hope Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate read­ers will join us in thank­ing them for the time and tal­ent they brought to this cause.

Our work is not done, of course. There is sure to be a legal chal­lenge, although the work of defend­ing SB 5096 in court will fall pri­mar­i­ly to Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s office, who we have no doubt will assem­ble an out­stand­ing team to give this leg­is­la­tion the best pos­si­ble defense it could pos­si­bly have.

There may also be a chal­lenge from the oppo­si­tion in the form of an ini­tia­tive to the peo­ple for 2021 or (more like­ly) an ini­tia­tive to the leg­is­la­ture for 2022.

Through our Per­ma­nent Defense project, NPI has near­ly two decades of expe­ri­ence com­bat­ing right wing bal­lot mea­sures. We will glad­ly con­tribute all of that expe­ri­ence to the coali­tion that forms to defeat any bal­lot mea­sure that attempts to over­turn this vital­ly impor­tant, fis­cal­ly respon­si­ble legislation.

Today, though, is a day of celebration.

Today, the leg­isla­tive process worked, and yield­ed a bill that will final­ly require the wealthy in our state to pay a bit more in mem­ber­ship dues to sup­port the essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices that make our com­mu­ni­ties strong and healthy.

Onward to the bill signing!

Sunday, April 25th, 2021

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

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, April 23rd, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

CONFERRING STATEHOOD ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: By a vote of 216 for and 208 against, the House on April 22nd passed a bill (H.R. 51) that would admit to the union a fifty-first state includ­ing most of the cur­rent Dis­trict of Colum­bia. The new state named “Wash­ing­ton, Dou­glass Com­mon­wealth” (hon­or­ing the for­mer slave and abo­li­tion­ist leader Fred­er­ick Dou­glass) would give the more than 700,000 D.C. res­i­dents — a pop­u­la­tion larg­er than that of two cur­rent states — vot­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Con­gress, adding two seats to the Sen­ate and one in the House.

A por­tion of the cur­rent Dis­trict con­tain­ing the Capi­tol, White House, Supreme Court and oth­er prin­ci­pal fed­er­al gov­ern­ment build­ings would not be part of the new state. Dis­trict of Colum­bia res­i­dents pay fed­er­al tax­es and are rep­re­sent­ed by a non­vot­ing del­e­gate in the House. The Dis­trict casts three elec­toral votes in pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, as would the new state.

Jim McGov­ern, D‑Massachusetts, said D.C. res­i­dents “pay more per capi­ta in fed­er­al income tax­es than any state.. They have defend­ed our nation in every war… It’s time to give [them] the full vot­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion and the con­trol over local mat­ters that they right­ful­ly deserve.”

Guy Reschen­thaler, R‑Pennsylvania, said: “This is noth­ing more than a mere pow­er grab by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to try to stack the Sen­ate, try to get two more votes to end the fil­i­buster, to pack the Supreme Court… This is just an attempt to dis­man­tle our sys­tem of government.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

GIVING D.C. BACK TO MARYLAND: By a vote of 205 for and 215 against, the House on April 22nd reject­ed a motion to make the Dis­trict of Colum­bia part of the state of Mary­land, as an alter­na­tive to D.C. state­hood under H.R. 51 (above). The cur­rent fed­er­al dis­trict con­tain­ing the nation’s cap­i­tal was cre­at­ed on land donat­ed by Mary­land. Oppo­nents of state­hood offer return­ing the dis­trict to Mary­land as a way to pro­vide cap­i­tal res­i­dents with vot­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Con­gress and con­trol of local affairs with­out adding seats to the Congress.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

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

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes, 11 nay votes

BANS ON ENTERING THE UNITED STATES: Vot­ing 218 for and 208 against, the House on April 21st passed a bill that would restrict the pres­i­den­t’s abil­i­ty to ban entry to the Unit­ed States by class­es of foreigners.

The mea­sure (H.R. 1333) is a response to for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s orders pro­hibit­ing entry by trav­el­ers from some major­i­ty-Mus­lim nations, which were upheld by the Supreme Court after lengthy litigation.

The bill would pro­hib­it bias based on reli­gion in restrict­ing entry and make the pres­i­dent obtain a find­ing from the sec­re­tary of state that the for­eign­ers would under­mine nation­al secu­ri­ty or pub­lic safe­ty. To be legal under this bill, a ban would have to be based on spe­cif­ic evi­dence, be nar­row­ly tai­lored to address a poten­tial threat and pro­vide for waivers for fam­i­ly and human­i­tar­i­an reasons.

Judy Chu, D‑California, said: “We must make sure no pres­i­dent is ever able to ban peo­ple from com­ing to the U.S. sim­ply because of their reli­gion. While pre­serv­ing the pres­i­dents’ abil­i­ty to respond to emer­gen­cies like pan­demics, this bill… requires that any future trav­el ban is based on cred­i­ble facts and actu­al threats.”

Tom Cole, R‑Oklahoma, said the bill “would com­plete­ly gut the pres­i­den­t’s long­stand­ing powers…to make deter­mi­na­tions of who can enter the coun­try and under what cir­cum­stances. It would also bury the pres­i­dent under exten­sive and super­flu­ous noti­fi­ca­tion and con­sul­ta­tion require­ments that would elim­i­nate the pres­i­den­t’s abil­i­ty to move quick­ly to con­front threats.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

PROVIDING LEGAL HELP AT PORTS OF ENTRY: By a vote of 217 for and 207 against, the House on April 21 passed a bill (H.R. 1573) to per­mit per­sons detained at U.S. ports of entry for more than an hour of “sec­ondary inspec­tion” to com­mu­ni­cate with an attor­ney, fam­i­ly mem­ber, immi­gra­tion spon­sor or oth­ers who may help sup­port their appli­ca­tion for admission.

Cur­rent­ly, the right to con­sult an attor­ney is lim­it­ed to those tak­en into cus­tody or who are the focus of a crim­i­nal investigation.

The leg­is­la­tion was inspired by chaot­ic con­di­tions and pro­longed deten­tions at ports of entry in 2017, when the Trump admin­is­tra­tion abrupt­ly banned admis­sion of trav­el­ers from some countries.

Our own Prami­la Jaya­pal, D‑Washington, said the bill “would ensure that peo­ple who have already been vet­ted and grant­ed law­ful sta­tus have a mean­ing­ful oppor­tu­ni­ty to call an attor­ney, a rel­a­tive, or oth­er inter­est­ed par­ty, like a mem­ber of Con­gress, when they get held for more than hour in sec­ondary inspection.”

Tom McClin­tock, R‑California, said the bill “would grind legit­i­mate trade and trav­el to a halt by pro­vid­ing that vir­tu­al­ly any­one referred to sec­ondary inspec­tion can with­in an hour con­sult with an attor­ney and call oth­er third par­ties […] This bill gives CBP [Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion] the Hob­son’s choice of cur­tail­ing inspec­tions or rou­tine­ly back­ing up traf­fic for hours.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

ATTEMPTING CENSURE OF REPRESENTATIVE WATERS: Vot­ing 216 for and 210 against, the House on April 20th blocked a Repub­li­can-spon­sored mea­sure (H Res 331) to cen­sure Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Max­ine Waters, D‑California, for her remarks in Min­neso­ta on April 17th urg­ing pro­tes­tors to “stay on the streets” and be “more con­fronta­tion­al” if jurors acquit­ted for­mer Min­neapo­lis police offi­cer Derek Chau­vin of charges in the death of George Floyd.

Chau­vin was con­vict­ed on April 20th of mur­der and manslaugh­ter. Top House Repub­li­can Kevin McCarthy, R‑California, said the remarks “raised the poten­tial for vio­lence.” Major­i­ty Leader Ste­ny Hoy­er, D‑Maryland, said Waters did not advo­cate vio­lence and called the cen­sure res­o­lu­tion a “pho­ny effort to dis­tract” from Repub­li­cans’ vio­lent rhetoric.

A yes vote was to block the resolution.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

COMBATING HATE CRIMES AGAINST ASIAN AMERICANS: By a vote of 94 for and 1 against, the Sen­ate on April 22nd passed a bipar­ti­san bill (S 937) that would require the Jus­tice Depart­ment, states and local­i­ties to step up efforts to track and pre­vent hate crimes. While it would apply to all hate crimes, whether based on race, reli­gion, her­itage or gen­der, the leg­is­la­tion was prompt­ed by a recent out­break of attacks and harass­ment against Amer­i­cans of Asian and Pacif­ic Islander her­itage dur­ing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment would begin a year­long study of hate crime and, with the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices, advise states and local­i­ties on how to bet­ter track hate crime and con­duct pub­lic edu­ca­tion cam­paigns to raise aware­ness. Grants would be pro­vid­ed to help improve hate crime report­ing, inves­ti­ga­tion and pre­ven­tion efforts at the state and local level.

States and local­i­ties receiv­ing help would be required to report every six months on their hate crime sta­tis­tics and reduc­tion programs.

Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York, said: “Asian-Amer­i­cans across the coun­try have been vic­tims of a surge of dis­crim­i­na­tion and racial­ly moti­vat­ed vio­lence and big­otry… By pass­ing this bill we say to the Asian-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty that their gov­ern­ment is pay­ing atten­tion to them, has heard their con­cerns and will respond to pro­tect them.”

No sen­a­tor spoke in oppo­si­tion to the bill.

The neg­a­tive vote was cast by Josh Haw­ley, R‑Missouri.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

VANITA GUPTA, ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: By a vote of 51 for and 49 against, the Sen­ate on April 21st con­firmed Vani­ta Gup­ta to be asso­ciate attor­ney gen­er­al, mak­ing her the first woman of col­or to hold what is the third-rank­ing posi­tion at the Depart­ment of Justice.

Gup­ta, forty-six, an expe­ri­enced civ­il rights attor­ney, head­ed the depart­men­t’s civ­il rights divi­sion dur­ing the Oba­ma administration.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

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

LISA MONACO, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Vot­ing 98 for and 2 against, the Sen­ate on April 20th con­firmed Lisa Mona­co to be deputy attor­ney gen­er­al, the sec­ond-rank­ing posi­tion at the Depart­ment of Justice.

Mona­co, fifty-three, was a top home­land secu­ri­ty and coun­tert­er­ror­ism aide to for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma. A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

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

Key votes ahead

The Sen­ate will con­sid­er a water infra­struc­ture bill and a mea­sure to reduce methane emis­sions dur­ing the week of April 26th. There will be no votes in the House. Pres­i­dent Biden will address a joint ses­sion on Wednesday.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Thomas Vot­ing 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!

© 2021 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Saturday, April 24th, 2021

State House of Representatives adopts conference report on capital gains tax bill

Leg­is­la­tion that would final­ly levy a state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy in Wash­ing­ton State is on the cusp of reach­ing Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s desk.

By a vote of fifty two to forty-four, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed to adopt a final ver­sion of the bill (ESSB 5096) that was nego­ti­at­ed by a con­fer­ence com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of three state rep­re­sen­ta­tives and three state senators.

All that is now need­ed is a cor­re­spond­ing vote in the Sen­ate, and then the bill — one of the most impor­tant and con­se­quen­tial pro­gres­sive tax reform pro­pos­als in state his­to­ry — will be on its way to Gov­er­nor Inslee’s desk at last.

The roll call was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5096
Cap­i­tal gains tax
Final Pas­sage as rec­om­mend­ed by the Con­fer­ence Committee
4/24/2021

Yeas: 52; Nays: 44; Excused: 2

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Bate­man, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Callan, Chopp, Cody, Davis, Dolan, Duerr, Enten­man, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Good­man, Gregerson, Hack­ney, Hansen, Har­ris-Tal­ley, John­son, Kir­by, Klo­ba, Lekanoff, Lovick, Macri, Mor­gan, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Peter­son, Pol­let, Ramel, Ramos, Ric­cel­li, Ryu, San­tos, Sells, Senn, Shew­make, Sim­mons, Slat­ter, Springer, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Tay­lor, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Walen, Wicks, Wylie, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Barkis, Boehnke, Bronoske, Caldier, Cham­bers, Chan­dler, Chap­man, Chase, Cor­ry, Dent, Dufault, Dye, Eslick, Gil­day, Goehn­er, Gra­ham, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hoff, Jacob­sen, Klick­er, Klip­pert, Kraft, Kretz, Leav­itt, MacEwen, May­cum­ber, McCaslin, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Paul, Rude, Rule, Schmick, Steele, Stokes­bary, Suther­land, Vick, Volz, Walsh, Wilcox, Ybar­ra, Young

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives McEn­tire, Robertson

Two Repub­li­cans did not par­tic­i­pate in the vote. The rest vot­ed no, along with the same five Demo­c­ra­t­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tives who vot­ed against the bill ear­li­er this week: Mari Leav­itt, Dan Bronoske, Dave Paul, Ali­cia Rule, and Mike Chapman.

The oth­er fifty-two Demo­c­ra­t­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed aye.

Leav­itt, Bronoske, Paul, Rule, and Chap­man all rep­re­sent dis­tricts that, in their cur­rent incar­na­tion, are wide­ly con­sid­ered swing dis­tricts. As their votes were not need­ed to pass the bill, no pro­gres­sive activist should be upset that they vot­ed no. What is impor­tant is that this final­ly got done, at least on the House side.

As men­tioned, there is only one step left in the leg­isla­tive process before the bill leaves the Leg­is­la­ture and heads to the gov­er­nor’s office for bill action, and that’s the Sen­ate vote on adop­tion of the con­fer­ence com­mit­tee report.

Pre­sum­ing the same twen­ty-five sen­a­tors who pre­vi­ous­ly vot­ed for the bill do so again, NPI’s top leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ty will have received a total of four affir­ma­tive floor votes pri­or to Sine Die (the final adjourn­ment at the end of session).

It’s hard to put into words how elat­ed we feel right now.

We are so, so, so close to a major pro­gres­sive tax reform vic­to­ry in Wash­ing­ton State. Near­ly three in five Wash­ing­to­ni­ans sup­port levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy to ben­e­fit pri­or­i­ties like edu­ca­tion, accord­ing to our research. We have been ask­ing about levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy for six straight years, and we’ve always found a robust major­i­ty in support.

Kudos to Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors for final­ly mak­ing this hap­pen. We have one more vote to go, and then this wor­thy leg­is­la­tion will be in Gov­er­nor Inslee’s hands.

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

Book Review: John Boehner laments his party’s mutation into a cult in new memoir

A wave of Tea Par­ty Repub­li­cans, elect­ed in 2010, made John Boehn­er Speak­er of the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, a job he describes as “May­or of Crazy­town” in the new mem­oir On the House (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99).

The tone of Boehner’s book, toward his own cau­cus, evokes Ital­ian dic­ta­tor Ben­i­to Mussolini’s wartime remark: “The human mate­r­i­al I have to work with is useless.”

An exag­ger­a­tion? Nope. Of Repub­li­cans sent to Con­gress in 2010, Boehn­er writes: “You could be a total moron and get elect­ed just by hav­ing an R next to your name – and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair num­ber in that category.”

In retire­ment, Boehn­er has a lot to get off his chest. The exple­tives come so fast and furi­ous that, should Boehn­er tire of life as a cor­po­rate direc­tor, he could write for The Stranger. Wit­ness this spot-on descrip­tion of a fel­low Repub­li­can in the Sen­ate: “There is noth­ing more dan­ger­ous than a reck­less (exple­tive) who thinks he is smarter than every­one else. Ladies and gen­tle­men, meet Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz.”

The ex-Speak­er is, how­ev­er, wash­ing his hands of respon­si­bil­i­ty for awful deeds, acts of extrem­ism and fias­cos engi­neered by his caucus.

He had no respon­si­bil­i­ty for the 1998 impeach­ment of Pres­i­dent Clin­ton, which back­fired and cost the Repub­li­cans sev­er­al House seats (includ­ing two in Wash­ing­ton). It was all the doing of then-House Major­i­ty Whip Tom DeLay.

House Repub­li­can bomb throw­ers were also a thorn in the side of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, resist­ing leg­is­la­tion to sta­bi­lize the finan­cial sys­tem in 2008.

“Too many Repub­li­cans in Con­gress cared more about what Sean Han­ni­ty thought than the Sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury or the Speak­er of the House or the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States,” he writes. “They were ready to destroy the econ­o­my for decades rather than come up with any real­is­tic alter­na­tives – just as long as it looked like they were stand­ing up to the ‘estab­lish­ment’.”

What’s glossed over is that Boehn­er was once a bomb throw­er in the Newt Gin­grich mold, help­ing set the stage for the Tea Par­ty crowd to come.

He failed in lead­er­ship, unable to hold his cau­cus to nego­ti­ate any of the sort of bipar­ti­san deals that once raised the min­i­mum wage and gave us the Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act.

A dis­charge peti­tion — spear­head by the bipar­ti­san team of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Den­ny Heck and Dave Reichert — was required to go around Boehner’s House lead­er­ship and force a vote on renew­ing the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

One of twelve chil­dren, from a fam­i­ly that ran a bar, Boehn­er is from a mold of those brought into the Repub­li­can Par­ty by Ronald Reagan.

Hav­ing found suc­cess in busi­ness, he got angry that he was pay­ing more than he want­ed in mem­ber­ship dues to his coun­try. The man’s goal in pub­lic office was always to curb rather than expand social and human services.

On the House is strewn with anec­dotes. Boehn­er is a guy’s guy: His wife and daugh­ters are bare­ly men­tioned in the book. He smokes his Camels, so many that suc­ces­sor Paul Ryan spent months try­ing to rid the Speaker’s office of tobac­co stench. The beer of his youth had giv­en way to a taste for red wine. He is an avid golfer, writ­ing of Rus­sia: “The golf cours­es there are all (exple­tive) anyway.”

We learn that George W. Bush is a pok­er play­er unable to bluff.

Ex-Pres­i­dent Ger­ald Ford is a great guy save for one episode on the golf course. Ford hits three balls, in suc­ces­sion, into a water hazard.

Writes Boehn­er:

“And then the eighty-six-year-old for­mer leader of the Free World began to jump up and down scream­ing [the most famous exple­tive in the Eng­lish lan­guage] as loud as he could scream. Over and over again… It was like some crazy exer­cise rou­tine. I’d nev­er seen any­thing like it on a golf course and haven’t since.”

Ulti­mate­ly, for all his excus­es, Boehn­er is appalled at what has become of the Repub­li­can Par­ty he helped lead on Capi­tol Hill.

He is crit­i­cal of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma as a nego­tia­tor, con­ve­nient­ly ignor­ing the Mitch McConnell block-every­thing leg­isla­tive strat­e­gy. But there fol­lows this insight:

“He (Oba­ma) could come off as lec­tur­ing and haughty. He still wasn’t mak­ing Repub­li­can out­reach a pri­or­i­ty. But on the oth­er hand, how do you find com­mon cause with peo­ple who think you are a secret Kenyan Mus­lim trai­tor to America?”

Boehn­er has already intro­duced read­ers to Don­ald Trump by describ­ing his boor­ish­ness toward an aide who screws up names of golf­ing part­ners. His dis­gust with Biden’s pre­de­ces­sor, and Trump enablers, boils over at the end:

Trump incit­ed that bloody insur­rec­tion for noth­ing more than self­ish rea­sons, per­pet­u­at­ed by the [non­sense] he’s been shov­el­ing since he lost a fair elec­tion the pre­vi­ous November.

He claimed vot­er fraud with­out any evi­dence and repeat­ed these claims, tak­ing advan­tage of the trust placed in him by his sup­port­ers and ulti­mate­ly betray­ing that trust.

It was espe­cial­ly sad to see some mem­bers of the House and Sen­ate help­ing him along — although some of the peo­ple involved did not trust me in the least. The leg­isla­tive ter­ror­ism that I’d wit­nessed as Speak­er now encour­aged actu­al terrorism.

The Repub­li­can Par­ty of John Boehn­er – “of small­er, fair­er, more account­able gov­ern­ment, and not con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries,” as he describes it – has now grown to include “every­one from gar­den-vari­ety whack jobs to insurrectionists.”

What a dev­as­tat­ing admission.

The extrem­ists’ enablers have includ­ed a mem­ber of Boehner’s lead­er­ship team from this state, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, R‑Washington.

Already, mil­i­tant extrem­ist Repub­li­cans (includ­ing a state leg­is­la­tor) are plot­ting revenge against Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, R‑Washington, who vot­ed for Trump’s impeachment.

While enter­tain­ing his read­ers, John Boehn­er has laid out a chill­ing threat to Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy. Insur­rec­tion­ists didn’t just invade the U.S. Capi­tol. They are already inside and work­ing to destroy Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy from within.

I would love to share a glass of fine Wal­la Wal­la wine with John Boehn­er and hear his sto­ries of Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton tak­ing mul­li­gans on the golf course. But nev­er again can I vote for a House or Sen­ate can­di­date from his party.

Monday, April 19th, 2021

Walter Mondale: 1928–2021

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Wal­ter “Fritz” Mon­dale booked two events on a Seat­tle stop ear­ly in his 1984 cam­paign for the White House, a tony $500-a-per­son fundrais­er and a pub­lic ral­ly down at the Emer­ald City’s Pike Place Market.

The donors were treat­ed to a laid back, lucid, and at times very fun­ny Mon­dale, and emerged as believ­ers in his pres­i­den­tial bid.

But the pub­lic event saw a much more for­mal Mon­dale, his speech a suc­ces­sion of oft-repeat­ed lines and bows in the direc­tion of Demo­c­ra­t­ic inter­est groups.

A dis­tin­guished Seat­tle lawyer, future U.S. Dis­trict Judge Bill Dwyer, wit­nessed both events and shook his head at the contrast.

Mon­dale, dead at nine­ty-three, showed both those faces dur­ing a long, dis­tin­guished career in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. He could be so stiff as to be giv­en the nick­name “Nor­we­gian wood” after the Bea­t­les song, but when laid back with a cig­ar he could tell sto­ries of his rise in Min­neso­ta pol­i­tics and blend his humor to under­score his fights for pro­gres­sive causes.

Call him stiff, but Fritz was also stur­dy, a per­son who could make change hap­pen. He would serve as Minnesota’s attor­ney gen­er­al, spend a dozen years in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, four years as Jim­my Carter’s vice pres­i­dent, with a lat­er-in-life break to serve as U.S. Ambas­sador to Japan under Pres­i­dent Clin­ton (to be fol­lowed by retired House Speak­er Tom Foley).

“When I arrived in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate in 1973, Wal­ter Mon­dale was one of the first peo­ple to greet me,” said Pres­i­dent Joe Biden in a statement.

Vice Presidents Walter Mondale and Joe Biden

Vice Pres­i­dents Wal­ter Mon­dale and Joe Biden togeth­er in Min­neso­ta. Both would lat­er become the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial stan­dard bear­er, almost forty years apart. (Pho­to: Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s office)

“Through his work as a Sen­a­tor, he showed me what was possible.”

“He may have been mod­est and unas­sum­ing in man­ner, but he was unwa­ver­ing in his pur­suit of progress; instru­men­tal in pass­ing laws like the Fair Hous­ing Act to pre­vent racial dis­crim­i­na­tion in hous­ing, Title IX to pro­vide more oppor­tu­ni­ties for women, and laws to pro­tect our envi­ron­ment. There have been few sen­a­tors, before or since, who com­mand­ed such uni­ver­sal respect.”

“When Pres­i­dent Oba­ma asked me to con­sid­er being his Vice Pres­i­dent, Fritz was my first call and trust­ed guide. He not only took my call, he wrote me a memo. It was Wal­ter Mon­dale who defined the vice pres­i­den­cy as a full part­ner­ship, and helped pro­vide a mod­el for my ser­vice. And Joan did the same for Jill, help­ing her carve out a role for her­self as our nation’s Sec­ond Lady.”

“Dur­ing our admin­is­tra­tion, Fritz used his polit­i­cal skill and per­son­al integri­ty to trans­form the vice pres­i­den­cy into a dynam­ic pol­i­cy dri­ven force that had nev­er been seen before and still exists today,” Pres­i­dent Carter said in a statement.

Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale

Jim­my Carter and Wal­ter Mon­dale at the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, New York City on on July 15th, 1976 (Pho­to: War­ren K. Leffler)

Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris added her own attes­ta­tion, and went fur­ther, say­ing: “When he won the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion in 1984, Vice Pres­i­dent Mon­dale made a bold and his­toric choice. He chose Con­gress­woman Geral­dine Fer­raro as his run­ning mate – the first woman to be nom­i­nat­ed as Vice Pres­i­dent on a major par­ty tick­et in Amer­i­can history.”

In Mondale’s words, he opened “a new door to the future,” through which Har­ris — the nation’s first female vice pres­i­dent — passed last November.

As Veep, Mon­dale set out to rede­fine the servi­tude that had char­ac­ter­ized his men­tor Hubert Humphrey’s rela­tion­ship to Lyn­don Baines Johnson.

LBJ had once kicked Humphrey – hard – in the shins, order­ing him to get going on a project. Fritz real­ized that, as a sea­soned D.C. hand, he was a major add-on to a tick­et head­ed by Carter, a for­mer Geor­gia governor.

He would prove his worth in debate, play­ing the decent alter­na­tive as Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Bob Dole glow­ered and snarled about “Demo­c­rat wars.”

Mon­dale insist­ed in play­ing the role as col­lab­o­ra­tor. He broke bread with Carter every week, had dai­ly access to nation­al secu­ri­ty brief­in­gs, and used his expe­ri­ence in the Sen­ate to help pass the Pana­ma Canal Treaty.

Walter Mondale speaking

Wal­ter Mon­dale deliv­ers a speech dur­ing a vis­it to the Nether­lands in 1979, while serv­ing as Jim­my Carter’s vice pres­i­dent (Pho­to: Rob Bogaerts / Anefo)

He broke once with Carter but in pri­vate, furi­ous­ly ques­tion­ing the president’s 1979 speech in which Carter spoke of a “cri­sis of con­fi­dence” in the country.

The so-called “malaise” speech helped define a presidency.

It came as Carter was fir­ing mem­bers of his Cab­i­net, includ­ing Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary (and for­mer Wash­ing­ton House mem­ber) Brock Adams.

Mon­dale was prod­uct of Minnesota’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic-Farmer-Labor Par­ty, which entered the nation­al con­scious­ness with Humphrey’s civ­il rights speech at the 1948 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion. It was a par­ty com­mit­ted to civ­il rights, pro­gres­sive social spend­ing, and sus­tain­ing the fam­i­ly farm.

Alas, the DFL would pro­duce six­ty years of los­ing Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates: Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Mon­dale, and lat­er Amy Klobuchar.

Fritz had his turn in 1984, bare­ly beat­ing the insur­gency of Col­orado Sen­a­tor Gary Hart, only find him­self up against Ronald Reagan.

The choice of Fer­raro elec­tri­fied the par­ty. But the vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee became immersed in con­tro­ver­sy over her husband’s busi­ness finances.

Nor did Mon­dale help his chances with this line from his Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion accep­tance speech: “Let’s tell the truth. Mr. Rea­gan will raise tax­es, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.”

Way behind in the polls, he put aside attack pol­i­tics in favor of an upbeat respect­ful mes­sage in his first debate with the Gipper.

Rea­gan was caught off guard and deliv­ered a ram­bling per­for­mance in which he seem­ing­ly could not find the “city on a hill.” The Wall Street Jour­nal won­dered in a lead sto­ry whether the 73-year-old pres­i­dent was still up to the job.

The polit­i­cal car­toon­ist Pat Oliphant depict­ed Mon­dale as a David fig­ure with a sling­shot, stand­ing beside a dazed Rea­gan and say­ing: “Gee!”

In the sec­ond go-round, how­ev­er, Rea­gan had a game-decid­ing one-lin­er: “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this cam­paign. I am not going to exploit, for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es, my opponent’s youth and inex­pe­ri­ence.” (Mon­dale was fifty-six.) The Gip­per would win forty-nine states, with Mon­dale only car­ry­ing his native Min­neso­ta (by 3,500 votes) and the Dis­trict of Columbia.

As an elder states­man, how­ev­er, Mon­dale was an ide­al Ambas­sador to Japan. He, and Foley after him, dealt with the sen­si­tive issue of a large Amer­i­can troop pres­ence on Oki­nawa, and pub­li­cized sex­u­al assault cas­es involv­ing U.S. servicemembers.

When Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Paul Well­stone was killed in an air crash, Mon­dale stepped in as Sen­ate can­di­date in 2002, but lost to Repub­li­can Norm Cole­man. Fritz was actu­al­ly done in by rau­cous Well­stone sup­port­ers, who booed and jeered Repub­li­can con­gres­sion­al lead­ers who showed up for a pub­lic memo­r­i­al service.

Min­neso­ta, the ear­ly citadel of civ­il rights, is today on edge, the con­se­quence of two killings of Black men by police in the Twin Cities. Down­town Min­neapo­lis is board­ed up as a jury delib­er­ates the fate of the police offi­cer who held his knee to George Floyd’s neck for more than nine min­utes. The pro­gres­sivism of the North Star State is being ques­tioned in the nation­al news media.

The pro­gres­sivism of Fritz Mon­dale arguably wavered only once, when he delayed com­ing out against the Viet­nam War until the John­son-Humphrey admin­is­tra­tion left office. Oth­er­wise, he was a cham­pi­on of social jus­tice and social ser­vices, as was his late wife Joan Mon­dale, who died in 2014.

His lega­cy is best summed up by Al Gore, who once spoke of an his­tor­i­cal divide in the Amer­i­can vice pres­i­den­cy: before Wal­ter Mon­dale and after Wal­ter Mondale.

Sunday, April 18th, 2021

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

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, April 16th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN: Vot­ing 217 for and 210 against, the House on April 15th passed a bill (H.R. 7) to tight­en cur­rent fed­er­al law against gen­der-based wage dis­crim­i­na­tion and pre­vent employ­ers from pay­ing women less than men for equiv­a­lent work. Spon­sors of the bill said full-time female work­ers receive eighty-two cents for every dol­lar paid to male counterparts.

The leg­is­la­tion would pro­hib­it wage dis­crim­i­na­tion based on gen­der, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­ti­ty, preg­nan­cy or childbirth.

Employ­ers chal­lenged in court would have to show that wage dis­par­i­ties are based on fac­tors oth­er than sex — such as edu­ca­tion, train­ing or expe­ri­ence — and are a busi­ness neces­si­ty. Civ­il penal­ties would be increased, puni­tive and com­pen­sato­ry dam­ages would no longer be capped, class action law­suits would be facil­i­tat­ed, and retal­i­a­tion would be pro­hib­it­ed against work­ers dis­clos­ing pay infor­ma­tion or mak­ing inquiries or complaints.

Salary his­to­ry could not be used in the hir­ing process or in set­ting pay lev­els, so that pay gaps would not fol­low work­ers from one job to the next. Fed­er­al agen­cies would col­lect more pay infor­ma­tion from employers.

Rosa DeLau­ro, D‑Connecticut, said the bill “would give Amer­i­ca’s work­ing women the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fight against wage dis­crim­i­na­tion and receive the pay­check they have right­ful­ly earned.”

Tom Cole, R‑Oklahoma, called the bill “a very blunt instru­ment being used to address a very com­plex issue. It’s a bill writ­ten by tri­al lawyers for the ben­e­fit of tri­al lawyers and ulti­mate­ly caus­ing much big­ger prob­lems for employ­ers and employ­ees alike.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

SELF-POLICING BY EMPLOYERS: By a vote of 183 for and 244 against, the House reject­ed on April 15th a pro­posed amend­ment to H.R. 7 (above) that would have allowed employ­ers accused of wage dis­crim­i­na­tion to avoid penal­ties if dur­ing the pre­vi­ous three years they had con­duct­ed a job and wage analy­sis and tak­en steps to rem­e­dy any dis­par­i­ties based on sex that the audit revealed.

The amend­ment would allow employ­ers to put ground rules on dis­clo­sure and dis­cus­sion of wages. The Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office would be direct­ed to study caus­es and effects of wage dis­par­i­ties among men and women, dis­par­i­ties in nego­ti­at­ing skills among men and women, and the extent to which deci­sions to leave the work­force for par­ent­ing rea­sons affect wages and opportunities.

Mar­i­an­nette Miller-Meeks, R‑Iowa, said the amend­ment “cre­ates a vol­un­tary pay analy­sis sys­tem to encour­age the good-faith efforts of employ­ers to iden­ti­fy and cor­rect any wage dis­par­i­ties should they exist, cre­at­ing an envi­ron­ment of con­sis­tent self-reflection.”

Jahana Hayes, D‑Connecticut, said “Ask­ing the employ­er who may be involved in pay dis­crim­i­na­tion to self-police their prac­tices is a bla­tant con­flict of inter­est… The very idea behind this pro­vi­sion is insid­i­ous. It pre­sumes that employ­ers should be giv­en loop­holes to avoid lia­bil­i­ty after break­ing the law.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

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

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 5 aye votes, 12 nay votes

PROTECTING HEALTHCARE WORKERS FROM VIOLENCE: Vot­ing 254 for and 116 against, the House on April 16th passed a bill (H.R. 1195) to order new Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Admin­is­tra­tion (OSHA) rules pro­tect­ing health­care and social ser­vice employ­ees from work­place violence.

The bil­l’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic spon­sors said those work­ers need spe­cial pro­tec­tion because they are exposed to a par­tic­u­lar­ly high risk of on-the-job vio­lence from those they are work­ing to assist. Oppo­nents said the new rules would be rushed and over­ly rigid. OSHA would have a year to issue an inter­im stan­dard and forty-two months to com­plete the rule­mak­ing process.

Joe Court­ney, D‑Connecticut, said: “Every year we fail to enact this leg­is­la­tion we are con­demn­ing thou­sands of nurs­es, doc­tors, aides, EMTs and social work­ers to suf­fer pre­ventable injuries, some­times fatal.”

Vir­ginia Foxx, R‑North Car­oli­na, said: “This bill would impose yet anoth­er care­less reg­u­la­tion on busi­ness­es that have been hero­ical­ly fight­ing on the front lines to bat­tle the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

WENDY SHERMAN, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: By a vote of 56 for and 42 against, the Sen­ate on April 13th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Wendy R. Sher­man to the num­ber two posi­tion at the State Department.

Sher­man, sev­en­ty-one, was a high-rank­ing diplo­mat dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and was the chief U.S. nego­tia­tor of the 2015 agree­ment (the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) that sought to restrict Iran’s nuclear activ­i­ties. Don­ald Trump scrapped that agree­ment, but Pres­i­dent Biden has promised to try to rene­go­ti­ate the mul­ti­lat­er­al pact.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

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

POLLY TROTTENBERG, DEPUTY TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Vot­ing 82 for and 15 against, the Sen­ate on April 13th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Pol­ly E. Trot­ten­berg, 57, to the sec­ond-rank­ing post at the Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment. Trot­ten­berg was New York City’s trans­porta­tion com­mis­sion­er the past sev­en years and was a senior offi­cial at DOT dur­ing the Oba­ma administration.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

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

GARY GENSLER, CHAIR OF SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION: By a vote of 53 for and 45 against, the Sen­ate on April 14th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Gary Gensler as chair­man of the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion, the body that reg­u­lates Wall Street and pub­licly trad­ed com­pa­nies. Gensler, 63, who chaired the Com­mod­i­ty Futures Trad­ing Com­mis­sion dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and was an under­sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury in the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion, is expect­ed to pro­mote tougher rules and enforcement.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House will take up a bill con­fer­ring state­hood on the Dis­trict of Colum­bia in the week of April 19th, while the Sen­ate will debate a COVID-relat­ed hate crimes bill that would pro­tect Asian Amer­i­cans and Pacif­ic Islanders.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Thomas Vot­ing 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!

© 2021 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Friday, April 9th, 2021

The wait is almost over: Northgate Link will make its debut on October 2nd, 2021

Sound Tran­sit’s long-antic­i­pat­ed North­gate Link light rail exten­sion is near­ing com­ple­tion and will be ready to accept rid­ers in a lit­tle less than six months, agency lead­ers announced dur­ing a brief cer­e­mo­ny this morning.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan at a Sound Transit media event

Seat­tle May­or Jen­ny Durkan address­es the media at the cer­e­mo­ny announc­ing the open­ing date of the North­gate Link exten­sion (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

“With Northgate’s com­ple­tion, Sound Tran­sit will enter an excit­ing peri­od of open­ing major light exten­sions every year through 2024, near­ly tripling the region’s light rail sys­tem from twen­ty-two miles to six­ty-two miles,” said Sound Tran­sit Board Chair and Uni­ver­si­ty Place May­or Kent Keel.

“This drum­beat of progress will extend ser­vice to Tacoma’s Hill­top in 2022, East King Coun­ty in 2023 and Lyn­nwood and Fed­er­al Way in 2024. It will posi­tion us to keep build­ing to com­plete vot­er-approved exten­sions to Taco­ma, Everett, West Seat­tle, Bal­lard, DuPont and oth­er des­ti­na­tions across the region.”

Sound Tran­sit has set Octo­ber 2nd as the tar­get date for inau­gu­ra­tion of ser­vice. In keep­ing with agency tra­di­tion, that’s a Sat­ur­day. Every pre­vi­ous Link light rail sta­tion grand open­ing has also been on a Sat­ur­day. There are cur­rent­ly six­teen sta­tions in the sys­tem; when North­gate Link debuts, there will be nineteen.

The exist­ing sta­tions opened in 2009 and 2016:

  • July 18th, 2009: Tukwila/International Boule­vard, Rainier Beach, Oth­el­lo, Colum­bia City, Mount Bak­er, Bea­con Hill, SoDo, Sta­di­um, Inter­na­tion­al District/Chinatown, Pio­neer Square, Uni­ver­si­ty Street, West­lake (12 total)
  • Decem­ber 19th, 2009: SeaTac/Airport
  • March 19th, 2016: Capi­tol Hill, Uni­ver­si­ty of Washington
  • Sep­tem­ber 24th, 2016: Angle Lake

The three forth­com­ing North­gate Link sta­tions are:

  • U Dis­trict (at NE 45th Street and Brook­lyn Avenue NE)
  • Roo­sevelt (at NE 65th Street and 12th Avenue NE)
  • North­gate (1st Avenue NE and NE 103rd Street)

U Dis­trict and Roo­sevelt are under­ground sta­tions that feel like sub­way stops. Both have wide sets of non-emer­gency stairs that go all the way down to the plat­form, unlike Capi­tol Hill and Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, plus heav­ier duty “tran­sit grade” esca­la­tors that tol­er­ate wear and tear more gracefully.

North­gate, on the oth­er hand, is an ele­vat­ed sta­tion built over the streetscape along­side Inter­state 5, as you can see from this aer­i­al pho­to tak­en today:

Northgate Link Station from the air

The brand new North­gate Link light rail sta­tion, as seen from sev­er­al dozen meters above the ground (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

“This mile­stone will trans­form com­mutes and com­mu­ni­ties, and fur­ther demon­strate the pow­er of light rail to whisk rid­ers to their des­ti­na­tions quick­ly, sus­tain­ably, and absolute­ly reli­ably,” said Sound Tran­sit Board Vice Chair and King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine. “King Coun­ty Metro Tran­sit will expand North­gate Link’s ben­e­fits by tying local bus routes with sta­tions, so thou­sands of com­muters can sim­ply skip the dai­ly Ship Canal Bridge bottleneck.”

Lib­er­at­ing peo­ple from I‑5 con­ges­tion was a key objec­tive of the 1996 Sound Move plan that sup­plied Sound Tran­sit its ini­tial fund­ing and project mandate.

The Sound Move plan called for a light rail line that would run from North­gate to SeaT­ac. As not­ed above, Sound Tran­sit was able to com­plete the south­ern seg­ments of the sys­tem over a decade ago, and even opened a new south­ern ter­mi­nus sev­er­al years ahead of sched­ule (Angle Lake).

Neigh­bor­hoods locat­ed to the north of the Ship Canal have wait­ed near­ly a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry for light rail to reach them and begin service.

But their extra­or­di­nary patience is about to be reward­ed at last.

Con­struc­tion on North­gate Link has gone smooth­ly, and Sound Tran­sit is in now a posi­tion to deliv­er the new sta­tions on the revised 2021 time­line it com­mit­ted to back when the North­gate Link exten­sion moved out of the design phase.

A test train at the new Northgate Link light rail station

A test train at Sound Tran­sit’s North­gate Link light rail sta­tion (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Just as impor­tant­ly, Sound Tran­sit con­trac­tors are hard at work con­struct­ing more sta­tions in three dif­fer­ent direc­tions, which means we won’t have to wait half a decade for addi­tion­al neigh­bor­hoods to land their service.

In 2023, the sys­tem will under­go a mas­sive expan­sion as crews fin­ish the build-outs of the Sound Tran­sit 2 exten­sions. It won’t be long before light rail will begin cross­ing Lake Wash­ing­ton and the Sno­homish Coun­ty line. Light rail will also soon extend sig­nif­i­cant­ly fur­ther south, almost to the Pierce Coun­ty line.

An addi­tion­al set of light rail exten­sions approved by vot­ers as a part of Sound Tran­sit 3 (2016) remain in the design phase. Ris­ing real estate costs, cou­pled with the pan­dem­ic, have thrown seri­ous wrench­es into the projects’ finances.

I asked Sound Tran­sit CEO Peter Rogoff whether the Biden admin­is­tra­tion’s Amer­i­can Jobs Plan (also known more col­lo­qui­al­ly as the infra­struc­ture bill) could help those Sound Tran­sit 3 projects. Rogoff (for­mer­ly the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion’s Fed­er­al Tran­sit Admin­is­tra­tor) is hope­ful, as are ST boardmembers.

The North­gate Link exten­sion cost near­ly $2 bil­lion to con­struct, and was made pos­si­ble in part with a $615 mil­lion TIFIA line of cred­it. The project is expect­ed to wrap up under bud­get, Sound Tran­sit says.

As Exec­u­tive Con­stan­tine men­tioned, King Coun­ty Metro will make sig­nif­i­cant route changes in tan­dem with North­gate Link’s open­ing. Com­mu­ni­ty Tran­sit will do like­wise, under the lead­er­ship of its new CEO, ST alum Ric Ilgen­fritz. This will allow bus ser­vice in many neigh­bor­hoods to be fur­ther optimized.

The North­gate Sta­tion is a great exam­ple of a ful­ly mul­ti­modal facility.

It is adja­cent to Metro’s exist­ing North­gate bus hub, which has plen­ty of bus bays. It has a brand new park­ing garage steps away from the light rail plat­form and mez­za­nine. It will also have a beau­ti­ful pedes­tri­an and bike bridge that cross­es over Inter­state 5, link­ing the sta­tion to North Seat­tle College.

The bridge is under con­struc­tion now and should be fin­ished by Octo­ber 2nd.

NPI has cov­ered every sin­gle light rail sta­tion open­ing in Sound Tran­sit’s his­to­ry, and we look for­ward to report­ing on the open­ing of North­gate Link this fall.

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Biden administration to the rescue! OMB halts sale of National Archives’ Seattle campus

An obscure fed­er­al board­’s haughty effort to sell off and dis­man­tle the Nation­al Archives’ Seat­tle cam­pus has been halt­ed by the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, the White House­’s Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get announced today, in a deci­sion cheered by the Pacif­ic North­west­’s con­gres­sion­al delegation.

“I am writ­ing to with­draw OMB’s Jan­u­ary 24, 2020 approval of the sale of the Fed­er­al Archives and Records Cen­ter,” Act­ing OMB Direc­tor Sha­lan­da D. Young announced in a let­ter to the “Pub­lic Build­ings Reform Board”.

“Trib­al con­sul­ta­tion is a pri­or­i­ty for this Admin­is­tra­tion. [T]he process that led to the deci­sion to approve the sale of the Fed­er­al Archives and Records Cen­ter is con­trary to this Admin­is­tra­tion’s trib­al con­sul­ta­tion pol­i­cy, and I am accord­ing­ly with­draw­ing OMB’s approval of the sale of that facility.”

The let­ter added:

“Any effort to sell the Fed­er­al Archives and Records Cen­ter in the future, through any avail­able and appro­pri­ate author­i­ty, must com­ply with at least two sub­stan­tial require­ments. First, it must be pre­ced­ed by mean­ing­ful and robust trib­al con­sul­ta­tion, con­sis­tent with the Pres­i­den­t’s Jan­u­ary 26, 2021 Mem­o­ran­dum on Trib­al Con­sul­ta­tion. Sec­ond, it must pro­ceed through the appro­pri­ate admin­is­tra­tive process, based on a new fac­tu­al record, and must com­ply with the atten­dant sub­stan­tive and pro­ce­dur­al safe­guards of that process.”

The NARA Seat­tle cam­pus is an impor­tant resource for the Pacif­ic North­west. No amount of con­sul­ta­tion will ever jus­ti­fy its dis­man­tling. Before a fed­er­al judge (and now Biden’s OMB) inter­vened to stop this ill-con­ceived sale, NARA was going to move the con­tents of the facil­i­ty to Cal­i­for­nia and Missouri.

NARA’s Seat­tle cam­pus is aging, to be sure. But the solu­tion is not to demol­ish the build­ing and move the records. It’s to mod­ern­ize the facility.

Both of Wash­ing­ton’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors were quick to hail the decision.

Sen­a­tor Cantwell said:

“OMB, under the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, has come to its sens­es. It believes deny­ing a pop­u­la­tion access to its his­toric records is wrong. I’m glad they are going to con­tin­ue to allow Trib­al com­mu­ni­ties to access this impor­tant information.”

Sen­a­tor Mur­ray said:

“While this process nev­er should have begun in the first place with­out Trib­al and local con­sul­ta­tion, I’m glad that OMB has lis­tened to local Tribes and reversed their deci­sion to approve the sale of the Seat­tle Archive build­ing. I want to thank every­one who made their voice heard through­out this process, and be clear I will con­tin­ue work­ing to ensure the gen­er­a­tions of arti­facts and his­to­ry stored in the Seat­tle facil­i­ty will remain acces­si­ble to stake­hold­ers across the Pacif­ic Northwest.”

As allud­ed to above, the idea to sell NARA’s Seat­tle cam­pus came from the “Pub­lic Build­ings Reform Board”, a five per­son enti­ty that was cre­at­ed a few years ago by an act of Con­gress. The board did not both­er to seek pub­lic input pri­or to get­ting Trump’s OMB to sign off on the sale. An attor­ney for the board stat­ed last year that the board was “not required by statute to seek pub­lic input first.”

That kind of atti­tude is whol­ly incon­sis­tent with the val­ues the peo­ple of this coun­try expect their rep­re­sen­ta­tives, whether elect­ed or appoint­ed, to gov­ern by.

The “Pub­lic Build­ings Reform Board” should be abol­ished. An enti­ty that has no sense of prop­er pur­pose or account­abil­i­ty does­n’t deserve to exist. Pub­licly owned build­ings and pub­lic lands deserved to be treat­ed with care and rev­er­ence — they belong to the peo­ple of the coun­try and can­not be eas­i­ly reclaimed once sold off.

Con­gress must rec­og­nize that it made a mis­take in 2016 by set­ting up an unac­count­able board and charg­ing it with mak­ing weighty deci­sions about prop­er­ties like NARA’s Seat­tle cam­pus. This mis­take should be rec­ti­fied through bipar­ti­san leg­is­la­tion as soon as pos­si­ble. We hope the Pacif­ic North­west con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion will step up to lead that effort.

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Two Puget Sound bus rapid transit projects get a boost from the Biden administration

On Mon­day, the Fed­er­al Tran­sit Admin­is­tra­tion (FTA) announced it has approved four new grants for Bus Rapid Tran­sit (BRT) projects totalling $187 million.

Over half of the new grant dol­lars from the Biden Admin­is­tra­tion will be flow­ing straight to West­ern Wash­ing­ton for two projects: the Madi­son Val­ley RapidRide line in Seat­tle, and the Swift Orange Line in south­west Sno­homish County.

The Seat­tle project will receive $59.9 mil­lion in FTA Cap­i­tal Invest­ment Grants as part of its Small Starts pro­gram. The Orange Line will receive $37 million.

RapidRide Swift Feb 2014

A Com­mu­ni­ty Tran­sit Swift bus (left) and Metro RapidRide bus­es (right) are seen Feb­ru­ary 15, 2014 at the Auro­ra Vil­lage Tran­sit Cen­ter in Shore­line. (Image: Atom­ic Taco/Flickr)

A joint press release from Wash­ing­ton’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors, Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell, deliv­ered the wel­come news:

“My office has been work­ing close­ly with the Fed­er­al Tran­sit Admin­is­tra­tion and local tran­sit part­ners to secure these funds and I’m pleased to see those efforts come to fruition,” said Sen­a­tor Mur­ray. “These resources will reduce con­ges­tion, cre­ate jobs, and build more equi­table com­mu­ni­ties. Secur­ing fed­er­al dol­lars to help us invest in pub­lic tran­sit across Wash­ing­ton state will con­tin­ue to be a top pri­or­i­ty for me this Congress.”

Sen­a­tor Cantwell said: “The Madi­son bus rapid tran­sit line in Seat­tle will pro­vide fre­quent ser­vice along one of the city’s busiest tran­sit cor­ri­dors, with depar­tures every six min­utes at peak hours and con­nec­tions to Sound Tran­sit light rail and Wash­ing­ton State Fer­ries. And Com­mu­ni­ty Transit’s Swift Orange Line will improve bus trav­el times by 25% while con­nect­ing Edmonds, Lyn­nwood and Mill Creek com­muters with Sound Transit’s new light rail expansion.”

The release of fed­er­al funds should allow con­struc­tion on the RapidRide G Line in the Madi­son Val­ley to begin this year.

With 15,000–18,000 dai­ly rid­ers expect­ed, the 2.3‑mile long G Line is short but mighty. It will con­nect to the fer­ries at Col­man Dock, the Seat­tle Street­car, the 3rd Avenue bus cor­ri­dor, and Link light rail.

The Seat­tle Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion has a detailed syn­op­sis of the project here.

RapidRide G Line SDOT

The improve­ments need­ed along Seat­tle’s Madi­son Street to deliv­er Bus Rapid Tran­sit (BRT). (Pho­to: Seat­tle Dept. of Transportation)

Approx­i­mate­ly 45% of the pro­jec­t’s total cost will be cov­ered by this grant. The rest of the project will be cov­ered by levy funds and Sound Transit.

Issues with vehi­cle pro­cure­ment, fund­ing uncer­tain­ties from the pre­vi­ous fed­er­al admin­is­tra­tion, and admin­is­tra­tion issues have delayed the project since it was approved by vot­ers in 2015, as part of the Move Seat­tle levy.

But with new hybrid diesel-elec­tric bus­es secured, staffing issues resolved, and fund­ing now secure, the project is ready to exe­cute the grant and seek bids from con­trac­tors. If no fur­ther delays emerge, the G Line should begin ser­vice in 2024.

Fur­ther north in Sno­homish Coun­ty, $37 mil­lion has been set aside for the coun­ty’s third Swift bus rapid tran­sit line.

Swift Orange Line Map Jan 2021

The Swift Orange Line will con­nect Edmonds, Lyn­nwood, and Mill Creek. (Image: Com­mu­ni­ty Transit)

The Orange Line will serve Edmonds Col­lege, Alder­wood Mall, and Mill Creek Town Cen­ter, as well as major Park & Rides in the area.

At Lyn­nwood City Cen­ter, it will also con­nect to Link light rail, feed­ing com­muters onto high-capac­i­ty rail tran­sit south towards King County.

Bus rapid tran­sit is a pop­u­lar mode of mass tran­sit all over the world.

By des­ig­nat­ing lanes, entire road­ways, and sta­tions exclu­sive­ly for bus­es, BRT can reduce trav­el times for large num­bers of trav­el­ers on core routes.

BRT is not a sub­sti­tute for a rail spine, but it does nice­ly com­ple­ment a sys­tem like Link. In fact, Sound Tran­sit has its own bus rapid tran­sit sys­tem in devel­op­ment, called Stride, which will oper­ate along the I‑405 corridor.

King Coun­ty already has six RapidRide lines in ser­vice. Six more are planned to open in the next five years, includ­ing the G Line.

Com­mu­ni­ty Tran­sit’s Swift lines already con­nect Everett to Shore­line and Bothell.

Clark Coun­ty will start bus rapid tran­sit con­struc­tion in Mill Plain this year.

And Pierce Tran­sit is study­ing a BRT align­ment that could open in 2024.

Wash­ing­ton State has long been well posi­tioned to secure fed­er­al dol­lars for infra­struc­ture projects thanks to the influ­ence of its con­gres­sion­al delegation. 

Wash­ing­ton’s senior Unit­ed States Pat­ty Mur­ray is an influ­en­tial mem­ber of the Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, and her office played a sig­nif­i­cant role in bring­ing these fed­er­al dol­lars to Washington.

Wash­ing­ton’s junior Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell, mean­while, is the new Chair of the Sen­ate’s Com­mit­tee on Com­merce, Sci­ence, and Trans­porta­tion.

The sen­a­tors have worked togeth­er to advance many tran­sit-relat­ed ini­tia­tives, includ­ing a bill that would expand fed­er­al grants for projects near com­ple­tion, such as Sound Tran­sit’s Fed­er­al Way and Lyn­nwood Link extensions.

Sunday, April 4th, 2021

Happy Easter 2021!

Blossoms at Eastertide

Blos­soms on a tree branch dur­ing Holy Week, the most sacred week in the litur­gi­cal years of many Chris­t­ian faith tra­di­tions (Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

If you are observ­ing the East­er hol­i­day today, please accept best wish­es from all of us at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Institute.

East­er is the most sig­nif­i­cant holy day for Christianity’s many denom­i­na­tions, although not all of them are cel­e­brat­ing it today. Pas­sages like the fol­low­ing excerpt from the Gospel of John (20:1–9) are com­mon­ly read dur­ing East­er ser­vices and litur­gies as part of Chris­t­ian com­mu­ni­ties’ obser­vance of the hol­i­day, as they are con­sid­ered author­i­ta­tive accounts of the East­er sto­ry by Christians.

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Mag­dala came to the tomb ear­ly in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the oth­er dis­ci­ple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have tak­en the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the oth­er dis­ci­ple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the oth­er dis­ci­ple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the bur­ial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the bur­ial cloths there,
and the cloth that had cov­ered his head,
not with the bur­ial cloths but rolled up in a sep­a­rate place.
Then the oth­er dis­ci­ple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet under­stand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.

Easter liturgical services from Seattle Christian churches

St. James (Catholic faith tradition)

St. Mark’s (Epis­co­pal faith tradition)

Geth­se­mane (Luther­an faith tradition)

First Free Methodist Church

Easter messages from elected leaders

Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s com­ments to faith lead­ers on pro­mot­ing COVID-19 vaccines:

Pro­tect your broth­er and sis­ter. That’s what this is about. It’s about pro­tect­ing peo­ple. It’s a patri­ot­ic duty I think we have.

But they’re going to lis­ten to your words more than they are me as Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. When they’re in your sanc­tu­ar­ies, you can talk to them about what we have to do, what’s avail­able, and not to be fear­ful — not to be fear­ful get­ting the vaccine.

And I’ve said, I think it’s — I guess I should say and I’ll con­clude by say­ing: I think it’s more than a patri­ot­ic duty; I think it’s a moral duty. Put an end to the dark years behind us — a dark year — and do our part to spread the light in the spir­it of all hol­i­days of this spring season.

I want to thank you all for what you’re doing. I look for­ward to being able to get back into hous­es of wor­ship and vis­it like I have in the past and will hope to do again.

But, in the mean­time, God bless you all.

Thank you for look­ing out for your — our brethren.  And I think we can get this done. But thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Biden’s video East­er mes­sage is avail­able here.

(Unlike his pre­de­ces­sor, Joe Biden is a prac­tic­ing Chris­t­ian who attends church ser­vices every week and strives to live by the teach­ings of Jesus.)

Pre­mier John Horgan:

East­er is being cel­e­brat­ed by Chris­tians in British Colum­bia and around the world this weekend.

Dur­ing these chal­leng­ing times, we are remind­ed of the pow­er of love, humil­i­ty and self-sac­ri­fice as exem­pli­fied by the cru­ci­fix­ion and res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus Christ.

East­er is a time of joy and hope for Chris­tians — and there is much to be hope­ful for this spring. The fin­ish line is in sight, but we need to keep work­ing hard to pro­tect our loved ones and communities.

Many peo­ple will still be spend­ing this hol­i­day away from their fam­i­ly and friends, and I want to thank you for the sac­ri­fices you’ve made to help keep com­mu­ni­ties safe over the last year. The COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has been incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult, but we can look for­ward to bet­ter days soon. To every­one cel­e­brat­ing East­er this week­end, I wish you a safe, blessed and joy­ful holiday.

Easter reads

Again, Hap­py Easter!

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (March 22nd-26th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, March 26th, 2021.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

EXTENDING PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM: Vot­ing 92 for and sev­en against, the Sen­ate on March 25th gave final con­gres­sion­al approval to a bill (H.R. 1799) extend­ing from March 31st to May 31st the dead­line for small busi­ness­es to apply for COVID-19 res­cue funds under the Pay­check Pro­tec­tion Program.

Begun in March 2020, the PPP pro­vides firms with few­er than 500 employ­ees with for­giv­able loans for meet­ing pay­roll and cer­tain over­head costs includ­ing rent or mort­gage pay­ments. The loans are for­giv­en if recip­i­ents agree to not lay off work­ers and rehire those already dis­missed as a con­se­quence of Covid-19.

To date, the Small Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion has approved about eight mil­lion loans total­ing near­ly $704 bil­lion with $93 bil­lion yet to be allo­cat­ed, includ­ing $28.6 bil­lion ear­marked for restau­rants and addi­tion­al set-asides for minor­i­ty- and women-owned businesses.

Susan Collins, R‑Maine, called it “imper­a­tive that we act imme­di­ate­ly …because we are just days away from the PPP being closed” to new applications.

Rand Paul, R‑Kentucky, object­ed to the bil­l’s $15 bil­lion in deficit spend­ing, say­ing: “In Wash­ing­ton, every day is a good day to spend money.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to Pres­i­dent Biden.

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

DENYING AID TO CONVICTED RIOTERS: Vot­ing 48 for and 52 against, the Sen­ate on March 25th defeat­ed an amend­ment that sought to deny aid under H.R. 1799 (above) to any per­son con­vict­ed in the pre­ced­ing two years of a felony relat­ed to a riot at the Capi­tol or in U.S. cities.

John Kennedy, R‑Louisiana, said sen­a­tors “either approve of the riot­ing that hap­pened this sum­mer and at the Capi­tol or you don’t.”

Ben Cardin, D‑Maryland, said the amend­ment should be defeat­ed “for the sake of get­ting this bill to the president…so we can help our small businesses.”

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

MARTIN WALSH, SECRETARY OF LABOR: Vot­ing 68 for and 29 against, the Sen­ate on March 22nd con­firmed Mar­tin J. Walsh, fifty-three, the may­or of Boston, as sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of Labor, the first union mem­ber to head the depart­ment since 1977. Walsh had been pres­i­dent of Labor­ers Local 223 in Boston and head of the city’s Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Trades Council.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

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

VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Vot­ing 57 for and 43 against, the Sen­ate on March 23 con­firmed Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, forty-four, as U.S. sur­geon gen­er­al, a post he once held under for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma. An advis­er to Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden on COVID-19 issues fol­low­ing the Novem­ber elec­tion, Murthy has been a physi­cian at Brigham and Wom­en’s Hos­pi­tal in Boston.

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

SHALANDA YOUNG, DEPUTY BUDGET DIRECTOR: Vot­ing 63–37, the Sen­ate on March 23rd con­firmed Sha­lan­da D. Young, a for­mer staff direc­tor of the House Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, as deputy direc­tor of the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get. She also is under con­sid­er­a­tion to be nom­i­nat­ed as OMB director.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

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

RACHEL LEVINE, ASSISTANT HEALTH SECRETARY: Vot­ing 52 for and 48 against, the Sen­ate on March 24 con­firmed Rachel L. Levine, six­ty-three, as assis­tant sec­re­tary for the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices. She becomes the first open­ly trans­gen­der per­son to be con­firmed by the Senate.

Levine has been a pro­fes­sor of pedi­atrics and psy­chi­a­try at the Penn State Col­lege of Med­i­cine and was physi­cian gen­er­al for Penn­syl­va­nia from 2015 to 2017.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

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

LWIC will be on hiatus for two weeks

As is cus­tom­ary at East­er­time, Con­gress will be in recess for the next two weeks. Last Week In Con­gress will return in mid-April.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Thomas Vot­ing 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!

© 2021 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II to speak at NPI’s 2021 Virtual Spring Gala

As of today, we’re just two weeks out from NPI’s thir­teenth Spring Fundrais­ing Gala, which will be held vir­tu­al­ly instead of in-per­son for the sec­ond time due to the nov­el coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. Although we won’t be able to gath­er in per­son in Ren­ton for our tra­di­tion­al ban­quet, we will still have an infor­ma­tive and inspir­ing pro­gram that you can watch from the com­fort of your couch at home.

Our team is hon­ored and delight­ed to announce this morn­ing that our 2021 Vir­tu­al Gala fea­tured speak­er will be Michi­gan’s Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Gar­lin Gilchrist II, an NPI staff alum who also worked for Barack Oba­ma’s cam­paign, MoveOn, and the Cen­ter For Com­mu­ni­ty Change pri­or to join­ing Gov­er­nor Gretchen Whit­mer’s tick­et in the 2018 midterm elections.

“Born and raised on the east side of Detroit, Gar­lin Gilchrist II start­ed his life with a love for com­put­ers and tech­nol­o­gy when his grand­moth­er bought him his first com­put­er when he was five years old,” Detroit’s CW50 explained in a pro­file of the Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor that aired last month.

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II

Michi­gan Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor Gar­lin Gilchrist II, one of NPI’s alumni

The pro­file goes on to say:

Gilchrist’s moth­er spent thir­ty-two years at Gen­er­al Motors, while his father had a thir­ty-two-year career at the Depart­ment of Defense. Both of ​his par­ents were involved in their com­mu­ni­ty, as the Pres­i­dent and Vice Pres­i­dent of the neighborhood’s block club.

They sur­round­ed Gilchrist with activism, along with con­stant­ly watch­ing C‑SPAN or CNN. Gilchrist may have tak­en sev­er­al years of a dif­fer­ent career path before end­ing up in pol­i­tics, but he was raised in a fam­i­ly where com­mu­ni­ty involve­ment and car­ing about what was hap­pen­ing in the world was important.

While earn­ing a degree in engi­neer­ing from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan, Gilchrist had been offered to intern with Microsoft three times. Even­tu­al­ly he accept­ed a posi­tion with­in the tech com­pa­ny for four years. Dur­ing his time at Microsoft, he was part of the soft­ware engi­neer­ing team that devel­oped the pop­u­lar Microsoft ser­vice SharePoint.

It was while Gar­lin was work­ing at Microsoft and liv­ing here in the Pacif­ic North­west that he joined the North­west Pro­gres­sive Institute.

Gar­lin was part of the NPI team from 2007 to 2009. While on staff, he helped launch the series In Brief, which lat­er was spun off as NPI’s microblog, and cham­pi­oned caus­es like net neu­tral­i­ty and uni­ver­sal broad­band. He also par­tic­i­pat­ed in NPI’s 2007 NWroots Con­fer­ence in Olympia as a speaker.

In a Feb­ru­ary 2008 blog post here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, Gar­lin laid out the case for mak­ing invest­ments to improve Wash­ing­ton State’s Inter­net speeds:

Con­sid­er­ing Washington’s rep­u­ta­tion as high tech state with so a sig­nif­i­cant ecom­merce pres­ence, it’s easy to assume that we’re at the fore­front of high-speed Inter­net availability.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that’s not the case: only half of Wash­ing­ton res­i­dents have access to broad­band Internet.

Our broad­band isn’t the fastest around, either.

We’re 18th in down­load speeds and a mere 38th upload speeds com­pared to oth­er states.

Improved avail­abil­i­ty of broad­band is impor­tant for num­ber of rea­sons. The Wash­ing­ton Alliance of Tech­nol­o­gy Work­ers and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Work­ers of Amer­i­ca (Washtech/CWA) point out that wide­spread high speed Inter­net access results in a stronger econ­o­my, bet­ter health & safe­ty ser­vices, and increased edu­ca­tion­al opportunities.

What is need­ed to increase the avail­abil­i­ty of broad­band Inter­net access is a firm com­mit­ment at the state and local lev­els to require equal access, which would ensure a robust tech­nol­o­gy sec­tor and cre­ate new oppor­tu­ni­ties for growth.

Those words ring just as true today as they did then.

Inci­den­tal­ly, things are look­ing up for broad­band in Wash­ing­ton State right now.

Fron­tier Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, which acquired Ver­i­zon’s assets in the North­west over a decade ago and then failed to con­tin­ue Ver­i­zon’s fiber build-out, is no longer one of the region’s ISPs. Fron­tier depart­ed the North­west last year after sell­ing its infra­struc­ture to new local own­er­ship, Ziply Fiber. Ziply, which is well cap­i­tal­ized, has resumed efforts to expand high speed Inter­net access in the Northwest.

And State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Drew Hansen has been work­ing on a bill to lift the restric­tions in state law that pre­vent pub­lic util­i­ties and local gov­ern­ments from offer­ing broad­band ser­vices to Wash­ing­to­ni­ans themselves.

House Bill 1336 won House approval last month and advanced to the Sen­ate Rules Com­mit­tee yes­ter­day. It now awaits a floor vote in the Senate.

“We have learned a lot dur­ing the pan­dem­ic and one of the biggest lessons is that access to high-speed inter­net is essen­tial in the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry, but not every­one has that access. Tele­coms have had decades to build out fiber net­works but there are still regions in our state that are inter­net deserts or have very poor access. That’s inequitable and unac­cept­able,” Hansen said in Jan­u­ary.

“Let’s give our local pub­lic util­i­ties a chance to pro­vide this essen­tial ser­vice to peo­ple who need it to work, go to school, or attend a telemed­i­cine appointment.”

It can take years to lay the ground­work for leg­is­la­tion like HB 1336.

As a vet­er­an orga­niz­er and pro­gres­sive leader, Gar­lin Gilchrist II under­stands the impor­tance of per­se­ver­ance and per­sis­tence. Set­backs and loss­es are inevitable in the elec­toral and leg­isla­tive are­nas. But when we learn from our set­backs and loss­es — and build on those expe­ri­ences — we can set the stage for big wins.

Gar­lin’s own sto­ry shows us this.

After mov­ing back to Michi­gan a few years ago, Gar­lin ran for Detroit City Clark. He did­n’t win, but his cam­paign paved the way for his selec­tion as Gretchen Whit­mer’s run­ning mate in the 2018 midterms.

Today, he’s the Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor of Michigan.

We are proud of all that he’s accom­plished, and delight­ed to wel­come him to the vir­tu­al stage at our Spring Fundrais­ing Gala next month as our fea­tured speaker.

We hope you can join us on April 10th to hear from Garlin.

Get tick­ets for NPI’s 2021 Vir­tu­al Spring Gala

As in past years, we have three types of tick­ets avail­able: Indi­vid­ual, House­hold, and Liv­ing Light­ly. Indi­vid­ual admits one per­son, house­hold admits a fam­i­ly, and Liv­ing Light­ly admits a stu­dent or activist on a lim­it­ed income.

Please note that the Vir­tu­al Gala will not be pub­licly livestreamed. To par­tic­i­pate, you must have a gala tick­et. Pro­ceeds from tick­et sales will be invest­ed into NPI’s research polling, so when you secure your spot at the event, you’re help­ing to ensure NPI can con­tin­ue mea­sur­ing sup­port for pro­gres­sive ideas like just cause evic­tion or a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy.

If you have ques­tions, please use our con­tact form to get in touch.

Thanks for your sup­port of NPI’s work, it’s deeply appreciated.

We hope to see you — vir­tu­al­ly! — next month.

Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Meet the 2021 Seattle mayoral candidates: Councilmember Lorena González

In Decem­ber 2020, Seat­tle May­or Jen­ny Durkan announced that she would not be seek­ing a sec­ond term, upend­ing expec­ta­tions for the 2021 may­oral elec­tion. Durkan’s deci­sion came after a year in which Seat­tle was an ear­ly epi­cen­ter of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, and racial jus­tice protests rocked the city for months.

Both of these fac­tors strained the Mayor’s rela­tion­ships with her con­stituents and oth­er elect­ed city lead­ers to a break­ing point.

Durkan (a for­mer non­prof­it leader and U.S. Attor­ney) has pol­i­tics in her blood: her father was a state law­mak­er, two-time can­di­date for gov­er­nor, and one of the state’s most influ­en­tial lob­by­ists. By con­trast, one of the lead­ing can­di­dates to replace her grew up in one of the state’s most mar­gin­al­ized communities.

Coun­cil­member Lore­na Gon­za­lez grew up in a fam­i­ly of undoc­u­ment­ed Mex­i­can migrant labor­ers, migrat­ing from farm to farm in the Yaki­ma Valley.

As ear­ly as the age of eight, Gon­zá­lez was work­ing along­side her par­ents and sib­lings in fields and orchards. She was deter­mined to escape her family’s pre­car­i­ty, though, and worked her way up through com­mu­ni­ty col­lege and law school, earn­ing a Juris Doc­tor degree in 2005.

For the next decade, Gon­zá­lez made her name as a civ­il rights attor­ney, gar­ner­ing par­tic­u­lar atten­tion for her will­ing­ness to take on abus­es by police officers.

In 2014, her legal rep­u­ta­tion earned her a spot as a legal advi­sor for then-May­or Ed Mur­ray. From her posi­tion at the heart of city pol­i­tics, Gon­zá­lez mount­ed a suc­cess­ful run for the city coun­cil in 2015, becom­ing the body’s first Lati­na mem­ber. She was re-elec­t­ed in 2017, and became City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent in ear­ly 2020.

Lorena Gonzalez's swearing-in

Lore­na González is sworn in as a mem­ber of the Seat­tle City Coun­cil in ear­ly 2018 (Pho­to: Kevin Schofield, repro­duced under a Cre­ative Com­mons license)

As a child, Gon­zá­lez trans­lat­ed for her par­ents as they nego­ti­at­ed bet­ter wages with farm-own­ers. As an adult, she has­n’t had a prob­lem stand­ing up to pow­er­ful fig­ures. In 2017, she became the first mem­ber of the Coun­cil to call for the res­ig­na­tion of May­or Ed Mur­ray (her old boss) over child abuse alle­ga­tions, stick­ing to her guns even though it took months for the rest of the Coun­cil to join her. The fol­low­ing year, she was on the front lines of a pro­tract­ed bat­tle over a cor­po­rate “head tax” that ulti­mate­ly end­ed up being repealed.

Dur­ing the year­long cri­sis that was 2020, Coun­cil­member Gon­zá­lez had ample oppor­tu­ni­ty to shine. As Coun­cil Pres­i­dent, with a decade of civ­il rights lit­i­ga­tion under her belt, she was per­fect­ly posi­tioned to lead the Council’s response to protests sparked by the mur­der of George Floyd, and the sub­se­quent vio­lence met­ed out on pro­test­ers by Seat­tle PD.

As May­or Durkan’s admin­is­tra­tion dithered, Gon­zá­lez and her allies on the Coun­cil imple­ment­ed sweep­ing reforms to the police force, includ­ing a 20% bud­get cut.

On the oth­er big issues fac­ing Seat­tle, Gon­zá­lez is staunch­ly pro­gres­sive.

End­ing home­less­ness is, not sur­pris­ing­ly, one of her biggest priorities.

As a Coun­cilmem­ber, Gon­zá­lez pro­mot­ed afford­able hous­ing invest­ment and part­ner­ships with neigh­bor­hood busi­ness­es to help tack­le the problem.

She has crit­i­cized the cur­rent may­oral administration’s slow­ness to use Coun­­cil-allo­­cat­ed resources to help home­less peo­ple, and promis­es to quick­ly use avail­able resources, fol­low­ing a hous­ing-first strategy.

One of the next mayor’s first jobs will be to pick a new police chief for the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment. Gon­zá­lez has promised to pick a can­di­date who is com­mit­ted “at their core” to reform­ing the cul­ture of the department.

Gon­zález is like­ly to go fur­ther than reform – she is one of the city’s biggest pro­po­nents for a total over­haul of the pub­lic safe­ty sys­tem, mov­ing mon­ey out of police bud­gets and towards pre­ven­ta­tive and care-focused programs.

Gon­zá­lez also has a strong record as a work­ers’ advo­cate (going back to her child­hood with migrant work­ers) that she would like­ly bring to the may­or’s office.

In Feb­ru­ary, the City Coun­cil passed a haz­ard pay ord­nance for gro­cery work­ers. Gon­zá­lez staunch­ly defend­ed the mea­sure against crit­i­cism from the Wash­ing­ton Food Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion and the North­west Gro­cery Asso­ci­a­tion, say­ing the deci­sion was “not only the right thing to do, but also good for business.”

The city coun­cil’s posi­tion was but­tressed by a U.S. fed­er­al judge last week in an impor­tant ear­ly legal vic­to­ry for the city over the ordi­nance’s validity.

Although it is too ear­ly in the year for a full pic­ture of the may­oral race to emerge, Lore­na Gon­zá­lez is undoubt­ed­ly one of the best-posi­­tioned candidates.

As City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent, she already has a high pub­lic pro­file and (thanks to the Council’s fast reac­tions to the pan­dem­ic and protests against sys­temic racism) is seen as respon­sive to Seattleites.

She is the only can­di­date so far to have already won a city-wide elec­tion, win­ning for her cur­rent at-large seat on the City Coun­cil by over 70% in 2017.

Her fundrais­ing num­bers are also solid.

Although she lags behind home­less­ness advo­cate Colleen Echohawk by a lit­tle under $7,000. González’s team will soon com­plete the qual­i­fy­ing process to redeem over 3,000 democ­ra­cy vouch­ers that have been gift­ed to her campaign.

The Top Two elec­tion will be held on August 3rd; the top two can­di­dates will pro­ceed to the gen­er­al elec­tion runoff on Novem­ber 2nd.

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