Archive for Election

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom won’t seek re-election

By | April 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Medina)

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom announced Monday he won’t seek re-election, citing family and health concerns.

Tom was one of two conservative Democrats who helped Republicans take control of the state Senate last year, forming the Majority Coalition Caucus. Tom became the new Senate Majority Leader under the power arrangement on the first day of the 2013 legislative session.

Tom’s seat is up for re-election in November. Former Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride, also a Democrat, previously announced she was running against him.

In a statement, Tom said he decided over the weekend to drop his bid for re-election because of a “series of events that have impacted my family and health.”

“Since the end of session, I have continued to work through some health issues, but the main reason for my decision is my 85-year old father who was hit by a car last week while walking in a grocery store parking lot. He’s going to require a lot of physical therapy over the next several months and I’m the only son who lives close to him. I have always said that health and family are the most important values — and beyond campaign slogans — I really do try to live by those values,” Tom wrote in the statement.

Tom, who is from Medina, was first elected to the state House as a Republican in 2002, but switched to the Democratic Party four years later. He was elected to the state Senate in 2010, where he represents the 48th Legislative District.

Tom said serving as the Senate majority leader has been “historic for Washington and an opportunity of a lifetime for me personally.”

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson said in a news release that Tom “clearly left a mark on the Senate and the Legislature that will not soon be forgotten.”

“There’s no question he will be remembered vividly for his work on both sides of the aisle and in multiple caucuses,” she said.

Democrats currently hold 23 seats in the state Senate, while the mostly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus holds 26 seats. This fall, 24 of the 49 seats in the Senate are up for election. The primary election in August determines which candidates appear on the November ballot.

On ‘Legislative Review:’ Voter deadlines, pre-registering teens and college budgets

By | February 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

On Thursday’s edition of “Legislative Review,” we have details about a bill that would change the deadlines for people to register to vote before an election. The same committee also considered a bill that would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote when they get their drivers license.

Plus, debate over a measure that would require colleges and universities to post department-level budget information online. Watch the show below:

Categories: Education, Election

Teens could pre-register to vote under House bill

By | February 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

Teenagers as young as 16 would be allowed to pre-register to vote as they get their drivers licenses under a House bill heard by a Senate committee Thursday.

Image by Department of Licensing

Several high school students told a the Senate Governmental Operations committee to pass HB 1279, which extends the Motor Voter law, which allows for citizens to register to vote when they go to the Department of Licensing, to 16-year-olds getting their first driver licenses.

Under the bill, 16- and 17-year-old citizens could pre-register to vote, so they are registered when they turn 18.

Isabella Fuentes, a student at Ingraham High School, says getting a license to drive is a rite of passage, and this bill could do the same for voting.

“As a 16-year-old I know how big of a deal getting your drivers license is. Many of my friends would do whatever it took to be at the Department of Licensing on their 16th birthday, even if it meant skipping school,” she said. She said the bill “would foster voting habits early on and create a new generation of lifelong voters.”

Erasmus Baxter of Garfield High School told the committee many young people intend to register, but don’t do it until they are asked.

“To ask people to register to vote is so important,” he said. “To incorporate somewhere where everyone goes, to get a driver’s license, is something that can make sure lots of people who aren’t registered today are registered to vote.”

The House passed the bill last month with a vote of 54 to 42 along mostly partisan lines. The chamber rejected amendments would have required proof of citizenship and verification of an address before the county sends a ballot.

If the bill passed, Washington would join six states and the District of Columbia, which have similar laws for citizens as young as 16.

Chanel Rhymes, a student at The Evergreen State College, told the committee the change would catch the 18- to 20-year-olds, who often don’t get registered to vote.

Bill sponsor Rep. Steve Bergquist (D-Renton) is said pre-registration could have side benefits.

“Can you imagine how much more engaged the student might be if they knew that they were already pre-registered to vote. And it just seems more realistic to them that, ‘Hey I’m part of the process and I will have a vote very soon.’ ”

You can watch the hearing in TVW’s archives.

Holmquist Newbry to explore run for Congress

By | February 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

State Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry (R-Moses Lake) announced Friday that she will form exploratory committee to consider a run for Congressman Doc Hastings‘ seat in Washington’s 4th Congressional District.

Hastings, 73, announced Thursday that he will not run for re-election. The Republican from Yakima has held the seat since 1995. The seat is up this year.

“I congratulate Congressman Hastings and his family on his retirement. We have been extremely blessed to have him representing us in D.C., and he leaves some very big shoes to fill,” Holmquist Newbry said in a prepared statement.

“I have faithfully served the voters of my district in the Senate and House, I have heard the concerns of voters in the 4th Congressional District, and now I am considering a possible run for Congress,” she said.

Holmquist Newbry has served in the State Legislature since 2001, first in the House of Representatives and in the Senate since 2006. According to her official biography, at 31 she was the youngest woman ever to be elected to the state Senate.  Holmquist Newbry is the chairwoman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

According to the Washington Post, Hastings’ seat is expected to be retained by the Republican party.

Holmquist Newbry’s committee will include Yakima mayor Micah Cawley of Yakima, according to her press release.

 “I’ve always looked up to Janéa and her leadership abilities.  I’ve seen her collaborate with Governor Gregoire to work on contentious issues while still representing her citizens through her values,” Cawley said in the prepared statement.

Former state Department of Agriculture director Dan Newhouse told the Yakima Herald Republic he is also considering running for the seat.

Categories: Election

GMO labeling supporters admit defeat, say they will continue the fight in 2016

By | November 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

Supporters of a GMO labeling initiative admitted defeat this week and pledged to bring the fight back to Washington state in 2016.

Voters were rejecting the initiative by 51 percent as of Friday, with nearly 35,000 ballots yet to be counted. Initiative 522 would have required labels on food with genetically modified ingredients.

“Despite being outspent 3-to-1, we are projecting winning 49 percent of the vote,” Trudy Bialic, the co-chair for Yes on 522, said in a statement released Thursday. “We are disappointed with the results, but the polling is clear that Washingtonians support labeling and believe they have a right to know.”

The No on 522 campaign raised about $22 million dollars, largely from a handful of out-of state companies, including Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The Yes on 522 campaign raised about $8 million.

The Yes on 522 campaign said low, off-year voter turnout was also to blame for the loss. Bialic said GMO label supporters intend to return in 2016 to “challenge and defeat the out-of-state corporations standing in the way of our right to know.”

The No on 522 campaign claimed victory on election night, when it was leading with 55 percent of the vote. While the campaign’s lead has shrunk in the following days, it still remains ahead by more than 45,000 votes.

TVW produced an hour-long documentary about GMOs this summer called “Washington’s Food Fight.”

Categories: Election, GMO

Updated election results as of Wednesday night

By | November 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

Updated election results released Wednesday night showed little changes in the state’s major races.

The GMO food labeling initiative was being rejected with 54 percent of the voters opposing Initiative 522, while 46 percent voted in support. The ballot measure would have required labels on food made with genetically modified ingredients.

Initiative 517, the so-called “initiative on initiatives,” was being soundly rejected with 61 percent of voters against the measure. Only 39 percent voted in support. The measure would give petition-gatherers a year to collect signatures and make it a crime to harass signature-gatherers.

In the 26th District Senate race, Republican Jan Angel is ahead of Democrat Nathan Schlicher, 52 to 48 percent. Angel is up by 1,237 votes in the close race.

In the 7th District Senate race, challenger Brian Dansel leads Sen. John Smith, 54 to 46 percent. Both are Republicans in northeastern corner of Washington. Dansel was ahead Wednesday by 1,745 votes.

Categories: Election, GMO, WA Senate

Jan Angel leads in a close Senate race expected to be a ‘nail biter’

By | November 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

Late Tuesday night, Republican Jan Angel had a 770-vote lead over Democrat Nathan Schlicher in the closely-watched race for the 26th District Senate seat.

Jan Angel at her election night party

There was a celebratory mood at Angel’s election night party in Gig Harbor, where she gave a speech to a cheering crowd after the first results showed she had 51 percent of the vote compared to Schlicher’s 49 percent.

“This kind of hope this early on says that the people of Washington and the 26th District are not for sale,” Angel told the crowd.

The race drew national attention and became the most expensive legislative race in state history with combined spending of nearly $3 million, much of it coming from outside interests.

Thomas Steyer, a billionaire hedge-fund manager and environmentalist from California, donated money to a committee that ran attack ads against Angel. A conservative independent committee paid for negative ads against Schlicher, criticizing him for tax votes.

Angel told TVW she didn’t know until Tuesday night how much the outside money would influence voters.

“I’m thrilled that this seat was not allowed to be sold and the will of the people is being heard,” Angel said. “That’s critical. The little 26th District — the voters should own who takes this seat. I’m honored that we have the lead right now to do that.”

At Schlicher’s election night party in Port Orchard, the candidate said he is looking forward to more election results from Kitsap and Pierce counties.

“We’re thrilled that there’s a 700-vote difference with 20,000 votes to go,” Schlicher said. “We knew this would be close — within a point — and that’s where we’ll probably end up. If Kitsap does what it is supposed to do, which is outperform Pierce, then this is going to be a nail biter at the end.”

The outcome will influence the balance of power in the state Senate, where a mostly Republican coalition holds a one-vote majority over Democrats. A victory by Angel would add another vote to the coalition.

More election results are expected after 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.

Watch “The Impact” on Wednesday at 7 & 10 p.m. for updated numbers as well as more reactions from the 26th District, I-522 and I-517 campaigns. The show will also highlight students who participated in the state’s mock election process.

Categories: Election

Early returns show GMO food labeling initiative failing, tight state Senate race

By | November 5, 2013 | 0 Comments

Both statewide ballot initiatives were losing in initial returns Tuesday night, while Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher appear locked in a tight race for a state Senate seat.

About 55 percent of voters were rejecting Initiative 522, which would require labels on food made with genetically modified ingredients. The ballot measure had 45 percent of voters in support and was winning in only four counties: King, Whatcom, Jefferson and San Juan.

Initiative 517, also called the “initiative on initiatives,” was losing by a larger margin, with about 60 percent of voters rejecting the measure. It would give petition-gatherers a year to collect signatures and make it a crime to harass signature-gatherers. So far, the initiative has only 40 percent in support.

Republican Jan Angel was leading in early returns to be the next state Senator in the 26th Legislative District by about 770 votes. Angel garnered about 51 percent of the vote, while Democrat Nathan Schlicher had about 49 percent.

Tune in to “The Impact” on Wednesday at 7 & 10 p.m. for the latest election numbers, as well as reaction from the I-522, I-517 and 26th District campaigns. The show will also highlight students who participated in the state’s mock election process.

Categories: Election

UPDATED: On TVW this week: Election results, GET program update, health care forum

By | November 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

UPDATED to include special session hearings. Here’s what we’re covering this week on TVW:

Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m.: The Legislative Advisory Committee on Advanced Tuition Payment will get an update on the state’s prepaid tuition program. Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program allows parents to buy tuition units at a set price, then redeem them in the future at one of the state’s public universities. TVW will live webcast the hearing at this link.

Wednesday, Nov. 6 from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.: TVW will live webcast an all-day health care forum sponsored by the Association of Washington Business. Speakers include Richard Onizuka, CEO of the State Health Benefit Exchange Board, as well as several business and insurance representatives. The full agenda is available here. Webcast links to each segment of the program are available on TVW’s schedule page.

Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 10 a.m.: The House Environment Committee is holding a work session on electronic waste recycling, mercury lights  and “life cycle” communities. TVW will webcast it at this link.

Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 & 10 p.m.: TVW will have the latest election results on  “The Impact,” as well as reaction from the campaigns for I-522, I-517 and the 26th District Senate race between Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher. Plus, meet students participating in the state’s mock election process and how it’s getting them involved in politics

Special session begins at 9 a.m. Thursday. On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he was calling legislators back to Olympia to pass a package of bills that will guarantee Boeing builds its newest plane, the 777X, in Washington state.

Thursday, Nov. 7 at 1:30 p.m.: The House Finance Committee is holding a public hearing on a proposal to extend tax incentives to Boeing and the aerospace industry. TVW will air it live on television, as well as webcast it at this link.

Thursday, Nov. 8 at 2:30 p.m.: The state Economic & Revenue Forecast Council will hear an economic review by chief economist Steve Lerch. The council will also approve the state’s budget outlook. TVW will live webcast the meeting at this link.

Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 & 10 p.m.: Boeing has pledged to build the new 777X airplane in Washington state if lawmakers approve a series of bills. On this week’s “Inside Olympia,” host Austin Jenkins talks with 777X Task Force members Sen. Rodney Tom and Rep. Larry Springer, and the governor’s aerospace director Alex Pietsch.

Friday, Nov. 8 at 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: TVW will live webcast the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting. The agenda includes a public discussion and decision on the state’s purchase of  589 acres in Yakima County and 5,497 acres in Kittitas County. Webcast links to each segment of the hearing are available on TVW’s schedule page.

Jan Angel, Nathan Schlicher step up efforts in final days of campaign

By | October 30, 2013 | 0 Comments


A week away from Election Day, the two candidates in the most closely watched legislative race of the year are busy making last-minute personal appeals to voters.

Democratic Sen. Nathan Schlicher and Republican Rep. Jan Angel are competing to be the next state Senator in the 26th District, which stretches from Bremerton to the Key Peninsula.

Between the two campaigns, they’ve rung more than 10,000 doorbells, dispatched hundreds of volunteers and made phone calls to scores of voters.

“It seemed like a calling when I decided to get involved as a citizen working on healthcare issues,” Schlicher explained to a voter as he made phone calls from his campaign headquarters in Gig Harbor.

A few minutes later, Schilcher grinned and gave a thumbs up — the person on the other line was a Republican who agreed to vote for the Democratic candidate.

At her campaign headquarters in Port Orchard, Angel showed off her new white tennis shoes before heading out to ring doorbells.

“You’ve got to walk it to win it,” Angel said as she power-walked through a neighborhood with a fistful of flyers. One person who answered the door said she’d already voted for Angel, and another pledged support.

TVW recently followed the candidates for a day and spoke with them about their priorities if elected. It will air on Oct. 30 at 7 & 10 p.m. on “The Impact.” (UPDATE: The video is now available online here.)

The race has big implications in the state Senate, which is controlled by a coalition of 23 Republicans and two conservative Democrats. A victory by Angel would shift more power to the coalition. If Schlicher wins, the balance of power would stay the same, but it would be easier for Democrats to recapture the chamber in the future.

The candidates discussed their positions on issues that will be central in the upcoming legislative session, including transportation and education funding. (more…)

Categories: Election

TVW launches Kickstarter campaign, website for annual documentary

By | August 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

TVW has launched its first Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for the making of our annual documentary.


TVW is a non-profit television station. We don’t air commercials. We have a contract with the state to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of the state Legislature, but our news shows are paid for by sponsors — similar to a NPR model. That includes shows such as Inside Olympia, The Impact, Legislative Review and our annual summer documentary.

Last year’s documentary, “Coal Crossroads,” won an Emmy award for best political show. This year, we’ve turned our focus to GMO food.

We wanted to make sure this project stayed independent from outside companies that may have a stake in this controversial election issue, which is why we’re turning to you  — the viewers — for help.

“Washington’s Food Fight” is a one-hour documentary that looks at the battle over labeling genetically engineered food in grocery stores. It’s an issue that Washington voters will be faced with this fall as they decide how to vote on Initiative 522. The documentary will air on TVW on Oct. 1, and it will be available online the same day.

The Kickstarter campaign will help offset the cost of production with individual donations as small as $10. You get rewards for donating, such as recognition on our Washington Food Fight website, production stills, a tote bag, a DVD and even lunch with the producers.

Head over to our Kickstarter page to watch a short preview of the documentary. Kickstarter_Logo

Categories: Election, TVW

August primary election results show Rep. Jan Angel in the lead for Senate seat

By | August 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

Primary election results show Republican Rep. Jan Angel ahead in the race for the 26th Legislative District Senate seat against Democratic Sen. Nathan Schlicher.

Angel garnered about 54.7 percent of the vote, while Schlicher had 45.3 percent of the vote in the district that includes parts of Kitsap and Pierce Counties. Angel is in her third term as a state representative. Schlicher is an emergency room doctor who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by now-Congressman Derek Kilmer.

The closely-watched race could influence the balance of power in the state Senate, where the mostly Republican Majority Coalition Caucus has a one-vote advantage over Senate Democrats.

In the 7th Legislative District, state Sen. John Smith will face Ferry County Commissioner Brian Dansel in the fall. Both are Republicans in the district that covers parts of several counties in the northeastern corner of the state.

Smith won 50.3 percent of the vote and Dansel came in second with 28.9 percent of the vote. A third candidate was eliminated from the general election contest under Washington’s Top 2 Primary system.

Two Republicans will also be advancing in the 8th Legislative District covering parts of the Tri-Cities area. Incumbent Sen. Sharon Brown, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, lead with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Richland City Councilman Phillip Lemley came in second.

View all election results on the Secretary of State’s website.

Categories: Election

GMO initiative on ‘The Impact’

By | June 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

On the latest edition of “The Impact,” we previewed the ballot initiatives that you’ll be voting on this fall — including Initiative 522, which would require labels on genetically modified food that is sold in Washington state.

We’d like to issue a clarification regarding how much money each side has raised.

We said on the show that “Yes on 522″ has raised $2.5 million, and “No on 522″ has raised nearly $1 million. To clarify, those numbers are actually totals raised by groups for and against.

The Yes on 522 campaign has raised $1.6 million so far. The remaining amount was raised by different groups such as Label it WA that helped collect signatures to put the initiative on the ballot.

You can watch the full episode right here.

For more on the issue, here are links to the Yes on 522 campaign and the No on 522 campaign.

Categories: Election, TVW

Candidate filing week comes to a close

By | May 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

Filing week for the August primary and November election ends today. So far, fifteen candidates have filed for eight statewide offices.

One race that could influence the power in the state Senate is the 26th Legislative District, which covers parts of Kitsap and Pierce counties. Republican state Rep. Jan Angel has filed to run against Democratic Sen. Nathan Schlicher. Schlicher is an emergency room doctor who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Derek Kilmer. Angel is a former real estate agent who has been a state representative since 2009.

In the 8th Legislative District in Benton County, Republican state Sen. Sharon Brown will be facing two members of her same party. Brown drew widespread attention when she filed a controversial bill at the end of regular session that would have allowed businesses to refuse services based on religious beliefs. Richland City Councilman Phillip Lemley and West Richland City Councilman Tony Benegas, both Republicans, have filed to run in the race.

In the Northeastern part of the state, Sen. John Smith will be on the ballot. The Republican farmer was selected earlier this year to replace Bob Morton, a former GOP senator who served more than two decades in the 7th Legislative District before retiring in January. Republicans Mike Brunson and Brian Dansel have also filed in the race.

Other statewide races include King Superior Court, Clark Superior Court and Benton, Franklin Superior Court, as well as Court of Appeals in Districts 1 and 2.

See the full list of candidates on the Secretary of State’s website.

Categories: Election

Debate over wolves, safety at mental health hospitals and ballot drop boxes

By | January 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

On Tuesday’s “Legislative Review,” we recap a handful of bills related to wolves. The bills would give ranchers and county officials more power to kill wolves that attack livestock.

We also cover testimony about a bill that aims to make state mental health hospitals safer for workers. Several employees testified that they are assaulted by patients at the state hospitals on a daily basis. Plus, should there be more ballot drop boxes on college campuses?

Sen. Adam Kline hopes to amend Citizens United decision

By | January 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

Senator Adam Kline at the press conference next to a stack of petitions.

Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, is asking U.S. Congress to pass an amendment to the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision.

He discussed his sponsorship of a Senate Joint Memorial at a press conference Thursday.

Under the 2010 Citizens United decision, corporations and unions were freed from restrictions on campaign funding, allowing them to donate unlimited amounts to so-called super PACs. The court ruled they were protected by the First Amendment. The Center for Public Integrity says the decision opened the door to nearly $1 billion in political spending during the 2012 election, much of that ultimately on ad campaigns.

Kline said separating money from politics is “good for the state government, good for the people” and “absolutely necessary.”

Also at the press conference were members of organizations that helped gather signatures in support of the amendment. Occupy Seattle’s “Get Money out of Politics” has collected 12,000 signatures in four months.

“We all share the same concern about how the voices of ordinary citizens can be heard when we don’t have a million dollars to spend on TV ads to air against politicians and ballot initiatives that threaten the profit margin for corporations,” said member Jonathan Tong.

Kline said that he will not be submitting the bill until he has asked all members of the Senate for support. Members, Kline urged, who need to hear from their constituents. “Nothing rings a legislator’s bells more than a contact, email, phone call that starts, ‘Senator, I live in your district and this is an issue I want you to pay attention to,” Kline said.

“We answer to the people, if we believe that people are against this issue, you can’t expect us reasonably to vote for it, we’re not going to lose our jobs over this unless you show us that people in our districts are in favor of it,” Kline said.

Categories: Election

Sen. Don Benton wins Senate race by 74 votes

By | December 5, 2012 | 0 Comments

Don Benton

Clark County elections officials announced Wednesday that a mandatory hand recount shows Republican Sen. Don Benton won the district’s Senate seat by 74 votes over Democrat Tim Probst.

It’ll be Benton’s fifth term representing the 17th District in the state Senate. He released a statement calling the results “welcome news” that will strengthen the GOP in the Senate.

Democrats hold a 26-23 majority, but two fiscally conservative Democrats have previously joined forces with Republicans on budget issues. GOP leaders have suggested the same thing could happen in the upcoming session, giving them a philosophical majority.

Benton said:

“Today’s outcome also confirms Republicans will gain a seat in the Senate come January, for a total of 23, while the Democrats will fall to 26 seats. That leaves the door wide open to the possibility that when the 2013 legislative session begins, the Senate may again find itself led by a bipartisan group – a ‘coalition majority’ that will take a more conservative approach to the way tax dollars are spent.”

Benton received 27,542 votes to Probst’s 27,468 votes.

Categories: Election

On ‘The Impact’ — Why is WA so slow to count ballots? Plus, what’s next for legal pot

By | November 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

Updated with video below.

On this week’s edition of “The Impact,” we look at why Washington state is among the slowest in the nation to count ballots. Ballots in this state must be postmarked by Election Day — which means that ballots continue to trickle in for days after the end of an election.

Rep. Sam Hunt (left) and Secretary of State Sam Reed talk with "The Impact" host Anita Kissee

In Oregon — also a vote-by-mail state — ballots are due at the county offices on Election Day. Outgoing Secretary of State Sam Reed has advocated for a similar approach that would change Washington’s deadline.

Not all agree — state Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, says that could disenfranchise voters. “Election day is election day,” Hunt said.

Host Anita Kissee talks with both Reed and Hunt on this week’s show about the issue.

State Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, announced this week she plans to introduce a bill requiring ballots to be in hand on Election Day, rather than in the mail. A similar bill sponsored by Becker last year failed to make it out of committee.

Plus, the state Liquor Control Board is gearing up for legal marijuana. Deputy Director Rick Garza talks about what’s next now that voters have approved I-502, and where the 332 marijuana retail stores will go.

Also on the show: The Department of Ecology launched this website to help explain the threats from chemical contamination. The website explains what you can do to help reduce contamination.

Watch the full show here:


Categories: Election, TVW

Sen. Ed Murray elected the new Senate majority leader

By | November 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

Sen. Ed Murray

Seattle Democrat Sen. Ed Murray will be the new Senate majority leader. He replaces Sen. Lisa Brown, who decided not to run for re-election after holding the leadership post for the last eight years.

Murray is fresh off the victory of Referendum 74, which grants same-sex couples the right to marry in Washington state.

Murray is a longtime advocate of gay and lesbian rights, and he was the prime sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill that voters approved last week. He’ll be the first openly gay majority leader in the state’s history.

Murray was first elected to the state House in 1995. He’s served in the state Senate since 2006, where he chairs the budget-writing committee. In an uncontested election, Senate Democrats chose Murray to serve as majority leader at a private caucus meeting today.

Here is Murray’s statement about the position:

“We have work to do in Olympia – prioritizing education, creating jobs for the middle class, and ensuring Washingtonians have the health care they need. And one of our challenges in a closely divided chamber is to ensure that the Senate is able to fulfill its obligation to govern the state, in tandem with Gov.-elect Jay Inslee and the House. These are not simple challenges, but they are solvable. We can find solutions that work for all of Washington.”

Sen. Lisa Brown released a statement congratulating Murray. “Under Sen. Murray’s leadership, the Democratic Caucus is well-positioned to continue to provide support for the people of Washington,” she said.

Gov. Gregoire meets with feds about Washington’s marijuana legalization law

By | November 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole in Washington, D.C. today to discuss the state’s new marijuana legalization law.

Gregoire’s office said the state intends to move ahead with implementation of Initiative 502, which legalizes, taxes and regulates marijuana.

Voters approved the initiative with 55 percent of the vote. Starting on Dec. 6th, it will be legal for adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, but the legal framework to sell marijuana in retail stores won’t be in place for at least a year.

Gregoire asked the Department of Justice to clarify their position on marijuana.

The Associated Press reports that federal officials have not yet made a decision on the issue. Gregoire told officials she wants to know soon if they plan to block the new law before the state begins spending money to implement it.

Categories: Election
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