Tag Archives: Patty Murray

Your Washington electeds respond to State of the Union

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, issued this statement following the president’s State of the Union address:

“Tonight, the President detailed why America wins when a growing economy expands opportunities for everyone. Overall, we are creating new jobs and our unemployment rate is falling. Now we can do more to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to enter the middle-class, and that families still feeling squeezed find ways to get ahead. That means giving students the key to unlock the doors of a quality education, helping workers get the skills they need to compete for 21st century jobs, and ensuring our businesses on Main Street have the tools they need to grow and expand. The President also called for Congress to come together so we can keep the good economic news coming. I look forward to working with my colleagues to improve our infrastructure so businesses can more easily get their products to customers and to simplify a complex, convoluted tax code so we can encourage businesses to innovate and grow jobs here in the United States, not overseas.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, issued this statement:

“Tonight President Obama offered bold ideas that confront some of the most important issues facing our nation, foremost among them the need to provide working families with a more meaningful share in our economic recovery. It is my hope that Congress will pursue common ground with the President to tackle these issues, for the benefit of our state and the entire country.

“The first requirement for progress in a divided government is a willingness to work together. In order to move forward it is incumbent on all elected leaders to offer solutions to the challenges we face.”

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said this:

“I am very glad that President Obama laid out an agenda that puts well-paying middle class jobs first and would offer opportunities to all families in Washington state and across the country who want to work hard and succeed, not just the wealthiest few. Republicans control Congress and can decide to push us toward more gridlock and dysfunction if they want, but if they are willing to come to the table to get results for the families and communities we represent, I am ready to get to work.

“I was especially glad that President Obama reiterated his strong support for helping workers across the country increase their wages and economic security. Washington state is leading the way in showing that increasing the minimum wage raises wages far up the income ladder, increases demand for the goods and services local businesses provide, and helps the economy grow from the middle out, not the top down. And it’s time for the federal government to step up.

“I was glad to hear President Obama throw his support behind my Healthy Families Act, which would help workers earn paid sick days so they can care for a loved one without falling behind or losing a job they put so much work into. And I strongly agree with the President that we need to do more to make sure that big corporations can’t game the system and underpay their workers who put in overtime hours.

“A strong education for every student in America is a critical piece of a middle class economic agenda, and I am very glad that President Obama laid out some important policies and goals tonight. I am going to be working with his Administration and my colleagues in Congress over the coming months to fix the broken No Child Left Behind and make sure it works for every student no matter where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make. And I am going to continue fighting to increase access to higher education for students who want to work hard, graduate, and help local businesses succeed.

“I also strongly agree with President Obama that we should close wasteful loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, and direct those tax cuts and investments to the middle class and families who need a hand up—the ones who will actually drive economic growth. Many Republicans have spent years fighting to shift the tax burden from the well-off and well-connected to the middle class, but I am hopeful that public pressure will push those Republicans into working with us to put money into the pockets of the middle class, not those who need it the least. Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for more workers is one tax policy with bipartisan support that I will be fighting for and that we should be able to move on quickly.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., had this to say:

“Tonight, President Obama laid out a clear plan for strengthening the middle class. We see signs that our economic recovery is gaining ground, but too few Americans are participating. We must work across party lines to strengthen the middle class through investments in workforce training, more affordable higher education, and a focus on manufacturing jobs.

“I am especially pleased that the President has announced plans to open the doors of opportunity for millions more Americans by lowering the cost of community colleges. We’ve seen positive results with similar programs in Washington state. More than 1,000 students have gained access to higher education under a South Seattle College initiative that provided a free year of tuition to eligible students. Expanding community college access will help millions of Americans get new skills to pursue their dreams and grow our economy.”

From Republicans I pulled from other news organizations. Since we don’t have any representing us in federal office, they don’t send us their statements.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was quoted in The Columbian.

“The president outlined a number of initiatives tonight for which he will need help from Congress,” U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, said in a statement. “While he and I don’t always agree on the government’s role in helping individuals and small businesses, Americans are expecting us to work together to find common ground. I remain ready and willing to do just that.”

Joel Connelly at the Seattle P-I quoted to Washington Republicans.

But Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., a member of the House Republican leadership, was out with a statement that was hard, unrelenting and partisan.

She hoped President Obama would stand up for the “hardworking families” of her Eastern Washington district, McMorris Rodgers claimed. “Instead he stood up for Washington, D.C. He stood up for the old, outdated top-down approaches of the past — while I believe in an open, organic, bottom-up vision of the future.”

Newly elected Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., hewed to the Republican position that Obama is offering “the same government-centered, tax-and-spend approach of the past.”

Still, Newhouse said he is willing to “work with anyone” to help the beleaguered middle class, “expand energy and free trade policies that grow our economy.” Newhouse has a right flank to guard in Eastern Washington, but has served as both a GOP state legislator and state agriculture director under a Democratic governor.

Spotlight on Patty Murray, y’all

ED NOTE: There is at least one element of the budget Congress is about to pass that is causing significant heartburn locally. Inflation guarantees for military retirees younger than 62 were reduced. Tom Philpott, whose column appears in the Kitsap Sun, addressed the issue this week.

Spotlight on Patty Murray, y’all
(Yeah, Yeah)
The press is all aghast
(Yeah, yeah)
She got a budget passed
(Yeah, yeah)
Oh yeah! Oh oh yeah.

— Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music”, as written by a reporter who happens to be wearing tennis shoes at the moment.

There would probably be no better time for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to run for another term in the Senate. Washington’s Democratic “Mom in Tennis Shoes” is being heralded at Christmastime as the Senator who saved the holiday for many. To do it she worked with the House Republican who would have preferred to be Vice President about now. Together they crafted a budget deal, something we’ve seen scant few of in recent years.

That deal has something for everyone to dislike, for sure, but the bar is really low right now for the things we celebrate out of Congress. Murray worked as the Senate rep with House Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The deal was timed so well politically Speaker of the House John Boehner felt the moxie to knock the heads of a subgroup of Tea Party conservatives within in his own party, something lots of folks noticed.

Murray and Ryan got to a deal by working their own rooms, by keeping their negotiations out of the press spotlight, and by keeping the White House more or less out of the process. Murray had to get support from House Democrats, which was not easy particularly because of the cuts to federal retirement benefits, including for military retirees. She told them that Ryan wanted much bigger cuts, and for many of them that was at least enough to get support.

Kitsap’s congressman, Democrat Derek Kilmer, had long said Congress needed to at least get a budget done, and that was the tone he took in his comment following his vote.

“While there are parts of this budget I don’t like, I have spent the last year calling on my colleagues to set aside their partisan differences and pass a budget. I’m encouraged that Democrats and Republicans have found a way to work together, help avert a government shutdown, and halt most of the damaging across-the-board cuts that have hurt our region. Congress must now continue to work together on a plan that deals with our long-term fiscal health and grows our economy so we can get folks back to work.”

Murray’s effort has generated tons of media attention.

From CNN: Patty Murray emerges as bipartisan figure after budget deal

“Murray, a Democrat from Washington state serving her fourth term, is considered a steady hand in the Senate who shuns grandstanding and garners respect from both sides of the aisle.
“She is a liberal, but can be pragmatic and has some conservative thoughts on budget issues.”

From Politico: How Patty Murray won over Dems on budget fight

“President Barack Obama was on the phone repeatedly with Sen. Patty Murray during the high-stakes budget talks and asked how he could help.
“Murray’s response: I got this.”

From U.S. News & World Report:The Real Value of the Budget Deal

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a conservative Republican and his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray of Washington, a liberal Democrat, should be praised for breaking an impasse that has stymied the most basic function of a government over the last many years – adopting a budget. Even if the agreement falls short of addressing the fundamental federal budgetary challenges that confront the country’s future, and it does, it nonetheless demonstrates that two very different political philosophies can still find common cause in a polarized country and a divided Congress.”

There are naysayers about the budget bill.

From Katrina vanden Heuvel in the Washington Post: Undeserved applause for Ryan-Murray budget deal

“There’s something troubling, even farcical, about lawmakers applauding their own mediocrity, handing themselves medals of participation for showing up to work on time.”

Murray herself acknowledges the deal isn’t perfect in a column on Huffington Post, but urges the Senate to pass it so government stops “lurching from crisis to crisis,” such as another potential government shutdown. The Senate voted to end debate on Tuesday, meaning the budget bill is ready for a vote in the chamber. It only needs to a one-vote margin for approval. With 67 senators voting to end debate, bill passage seems likely.

It’s enough to make people watching politics to shine a spotlight, and to sing. I’ll spare you that and leave the singing to the experts.

We just might get a budget, ending sequestration

Derek Kilmer, Democratic congressman from these parts, was in the office last week talking about a lot of issues. Of particular import was his estimation that the House and Senate in Washington, DC will work out a budget that ends sequestration. It won’t be an overly ambitious one that settles things for years, but it would avoid another government shutdown and perhaps would not in and of itself become a campaign issue in 2014.

According to this Politico story, Patty Murray, Democratic senator from this state, has been negotiating with Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to get a deal Republicans and Democrats can live with, even if there are parts both sides will hate.

Kilmer, Murray on Syria

With Syria within sharp focus, Kitsap’s representatives in Congress remain undecided on whether they should vote to support U.S. military action in Syria.

In an email U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer sent out on Friday he tells constituents that he has not yet decided which way he would vote, what he is against and what questions he wants answered before he decides. The entire letter follows, but the main bullet points are that:

  • Kilmer does not support sending in troops;
    He does not support starting something that will create a larger regional fight;
    He does not support empowering extremists;
    Kilmer wants to know what success looks like;
    He wants to know what the effect will be in the short, medium and long terms;
    He wants to know what the price of inaction is.

Kilmer asked for your feedback and receives email at WA06DKima@mail.house.gov or you may call any of his offices.

Sen. Patty Murray’s statement, in which she also says she is undecided, follows Kilmer’s and her contact page is at http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme.

I don’t see an official statement from Cantwell, but news reports show her as undecided.

The full statements follow.
Continue reading

Farmers in Mason County Eligble for Federal Disaster Funds

Farmers in 20 Washington Counties that were declared disaster areas as a result of extreme weather last April, and farmers in 12 “contiguous” counties, including Mason County, are eligible for federal disaster funding, Sens. Maria Cantwell and Murray announced Tuesday.

“The losses in these counties were caused by the combined effects of excessive rain, frosts, freezes, unseasonably cold weather and high winds. Tree fruits, vegetables, hay and wheat were particularly damaged,” reads the press release from both senators. “Farmers in both the primary and contiguous counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), as well as the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of the Secretarial disaster declaration for apply for emergency loan assistance. People seeking more information should contact their local FSA offices.”

For the complete release. see below.

Chris Henry, reporter


For Immediate Release
January 11, 2011
Cantwell: (202) 224-8277
Murray: (202) 224-2834

Cantwell, Murray: WA Farmers Eligible for Assistance for 2010 Losses
20 counties given federal USDA disaster designation; can receive assistance for losses suffered from extreme weather

SEATTLE, WA – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that farmers in 20 Washington state counties are now eligible to apply for emergency assistance to offset losses suffered during extreme weather conditions in April 2010. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Adams, Benton, Chelan, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Klickitat, Pacific, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom and Yakima Counties as primary disaster areas, making farmers and producers in these areas eligible to apply for USDA emergency funding. Cantwell, Murray, and the rest of the Washington delegation wrote Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack in July, supporting of Governor Christine Gregoire’s June request for immediate disaster designations stemming from the weather-related losses.

“Washington’s farmers suffered severe losses after last spring’s severe weather,” Senator Cantwell said. “This federal assistance will help farmers maintain productive farms while they recover and rebuild after last year’s storms. I encourage our farmers to take advantage of this emergency aid.”

“Washington state farmers have been hit hard this season, and I am very glad that they are now going to get the support they need to get back on their feet,” said Senator Murray.

The losses in these counties were caused by the combined effects of excessive rain, frosts, freezes, unseasonably cold weather and high winds. Tree fruits, vegetables, hay and wheat were particularly damaged.

In addition to the twenty counties that have been designated as primary natural disaster areas, twelve counties have been named contiguous disaster counties: Garfield, Jefferson, King, Kittitas, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, and Whitman. Farmers in both the primary and contiguous counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), as well as the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of the Secretarial disaster declaration for apply for emergency loan assistance. People seeking more information should contact their local FSA offices.


Democrats Voted Here

If you are wondering why Democrats held on so well in Washington while across the nation they did not do well at all, the basic answer appears to be that they voted here. Democrats in Washington, despite the dire predictions for them nationally, mailed in their ballots. A Portland pollster makes that case, as well as the one contending that Washington is getting bluer.

Some of the information is included in a story about the county certifying the Nov. 2 election.

Moore Information of Portland, Ore. sent out an analysis (posted below) suggesting that Dino Rossi, Republican challenger for the U.S. Senate here, did better among Republicans than any other Senate candidate in the country. He also won the vote of independents by big numbers. He lost, according to Moore, because incumbent U.S. Sen. Patty Murray did even better among Democrats, and there are more Democrats than there used to be and they didn’t get too depressed to vote here.

Of course, if you read our story from Nov. 1, this may not surprise you at all. The last two paragraphs said this:

Turnout was markedly higher in 1998 and 2006. Carl Olson, Kitsap County Democratic Party chairman, said his party’s get-out-the-vote effort is tracking as well as it did in 2006, when turnout was 68.2 percent.

“My personal sense tells me there may be some surprises,” he said, meaning Democrats may do better than expected. Whether the party’s tracking of those who are solid or lean Democrat means they voted Democrat again, he said, he doesn’t know.

While Democrats lost ground in Washington, what their voters did by voting was prevent a party disaster. They maintained control of both chambers in the state. Locally every Democrat incumbent had a closer race, but they all won.

My hunch is this also explains why late votes, those counted after those from election night, did not break Republican as they have in past elections. Democratic margins, in fact, grew larger.

Moore’s analysis, co-written with Hans Kaiser, also with Moore Information, follows:

Continue reading

Party Roots of Patty Murray and Dino Rossi

Jerry Cornfield at the (Everett) Herald gets to the questions of how the candidates ended up in the parties they chose in the race between U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Republican Dino Rossi.

Cornfield points out that both had influences in their lives that could have pushed them in different directions. From the story:

Patty Murray, 59, and Dino Rossi, 50, are not party ideologues and neither engaged fully in partisan politics until comfortably in adulthood.

Both come from large, middle-class families. Each has six siblings; Patty and her identical twin, Peggy, are the second and third eldest while Dino is the youngest.

Both grew up in small suburban cities Murray in Bothell and Rossi in Mountlake Terrace. Their fathers are World War II veterans and their families each hit by hardship that tested their will.

While there are parallels in their lives as youngsters, by the time each reached college, their life’s journey was driven by very different political values.

I continue to periodically point out stories worth reading in the block of stories above, but this one deserves special mention. It confirms to me that the embracing of any political philosophy is not exclusively an intellectual exercise or a response to self interest.

Raider Fan Supports Dino Rossi

Sorry for the grainy image. I took the photo with my cell phone as I came into work this morning. We were stopped at a light.

This vehicle, festooned with Oakland Raider garb; including this decal, a license plate frame and a sticker on the suitcase rack on top, also includes support for Republican Dino Rossi in his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a three-term Democrat.

My question was does this sticker help Rossi or Murray? Did NFL conference realignment make this display less of an issue in this region? The Raiders, for those of you who don’t follow America’s national religion, used to be in the same division as the Seahawks. It meant our guys would play their guys at least twice a year. And the Raiders were considered the bad guys by fans of just about every team. That earned them some affection, mind you, from those who like the idea of a team with a bearded, long-haired quarterback throwing passes to a slow receiver being egged on by a fat, disheveled man on the sidelines and supported by a defense that considered dirty play part of the uniform.

The Raiders won three Super Bowls, including one when they were the Los Angeles Raiders. Nowadays the Raiders are about as powerful as the British monarchy, and they share a similar history. They once ruled the world but now are a kind of cute, little nuisance.

I wonder how people who are fans of Prince Harry line up in Washington in the Senate race as opposed to those who favor William.

Patty Murray to Chat with Vets and Supporters in Bremerton

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray will be in town as a senator and as a Democrat running for re-election Thursday. At 3:15 p.m. she will be part of a roundtable discussion with veterans to discuss employment. We will cover that one.

Later that day there will be a campaign event at the Kitsap Conference Center. We will not be covering that, because press is not invited.