Category Archives: Governor

Action Photography

The picture you see here was taken by Carolyn Yaschur of our staff. Prior to her campaign stop in the Fountain Room of the Harborside Fountain Park, Gov. Chris Gregoire took a tour of some of Bremerton’s redevelopment efforts. She saw the marina, went somewhere in between then came to the park.

While there she posed for a picture with state Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. While the photo was being shot, the fountain sent off one of its towering blasts, which we had all already seen send water to places no governor would want to stand. Gregoire actually would have been fine where she was, but Yaschur said the governor saw the campaign photographer step back and cover her lens, prompting the governor to seek her own cover.

guv fountain.png

I’m supposed to go on the governor’s campaign bus Thursday morning as she travels to Port Townsend. After posting this photo and the map earlier, I hope they’ll still let me come along. Hey, I’d like to see Republican Dino Rossi look any more dignified under the circumstances.

Gregoire’s campaign stop included a meeting with officials from other local entities and the speech to supporters. She appeared just as confident in her chances to win as Rossi did when he stopped by.

Gregoire Loses the Spelling Bee

The two most annoying people on the Internet are the people WHO TYPE IN ALL CAPS and the grammar/spelling cop. The cop is the one who decides to argue the grammar and spelling rather than the issue. Nonetheless, since I’ve made fun of Popeyes for offering a cobmo, it’s only fair that I point out the governor’s boo-boo on her map announcing her campaign kickoff. Here’s the map.


The governor will be in BremerTon Wednesday. Here’s the word from her Web site. They begin the day in Spokane.

Then we fly across the state for a tour of the amazing changes in downtown Bremerton, a meeting with local supporters and a fundraising event.
Harborside Fountain Park Building, Fountain Room
251 First Street, Bremerton
Reception begins at 7 pm
Suggested minimum contribution is $100
Please RSVP to if you would like to attend

Final question: What is Bremeron?

UPDATE: For the record, the governor’s staff fixed the map since this item was published.

Economic Stimulus Round Two

Gov. Chris Gregoire is calling on the federal government to offer a second economic stimulus program, one that would result in the rapid repair and building of sewers, bridges and roads. She issued a press release that argues:

In Washington alone there are 156 water and sewer projects worth more than $350 million, and 29 statewide transportation projects that would cost $75 million. All of these projects have gone through the design and environmental review process and could begin construction within weeks.

Surely there are those who would argue that those projects wouldn’t be waiting so much for money if the Legislature and the governor had their priorities in proper place.

Nonetheless, this isn’t a proposal the governor is inventing on her own. The governor may be answering a call put out by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

George Behan, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, said some members of Congress tried to get infrastructure funding as part of the first economic stimulus package, the one you’re going to use to beef up that stereo system in your car. The idea is that repairing the bridges and roads and building sewers and the like, things that create a stream of paychecks, is better than sending a single check.

It’s something Dicks favors. “Norm has always supported infrastructure programs because of the enormous impact on job creation,” Behan said.

Behan said the transpo committee authorized an advisory letter asking states to come up with a list of projects in which construction could begin right away.

I’ve asked the governor for a list of local projects. A spokesman from the office said they are in the process of compiling a statewide list. I have a transportation list and none of them are in our area. The closest is cable replacement of the Murray Morgan Bridge in Tacoma.

UPDATE: I just received the list of sewer and water projects and there are several in Kitsap County. I’ll see if I can find a way to post the lists. No promises, though.

The governor’s press release follows:

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In Case You Missed Rossi’s Speech

“129 votes.” (Audience applauds.) “Roads are floating” (Audience laughs) (Hands up)”Top-down

management style.” (Audience nods) “Dinocrats” (Audience laughs and applauds.)

According to political reporter Adam Wilson at the Olympian, if you didn’t make it to Rossi’s March 14 Lincoln Day dinner, you can hear pretty much the same speech at one of the other 32 Lincoln Day dinners he’s attending. The lines at each are the same.

When he spoke in Kitsap, he touched on the basics:

“Because of their inaction, our ferries are sinking and our roads are floating.” — Check.

“Dinocrat” — Check. (Wilson links to our mention.)

“129 votes” — Check.

Wilson provides a more expansive list and makes the point that the lines are fresh for each audience, because those people are not reading the stories from other papers. Some of you can confirm all the lines Wilson mentions were indeed part of the speech here. I would also add that the speech he gave last week had much the same flavor as the one he gaveabout a year ago when he wasn’t a candidate.

Does he also everywhere tell the story of his daughter’s stay at the Vatican? He did in Bellingham, in front of the Seattle P-I’s Joel Connelly.

“An avuncular, folksy speaker — who begins his stump speech by talking of his daughter Juliauna’s Catholic mission to Rome — Rossi offers few specifics,” Connelly wrote.

When Gregoire starts her chicken-dinner circuit, we’ll update you on the common lines.

Higher Ed in Kitsap in Governor’s Good Graces

In Olympia Kitsap-based legislators reacted quickly to Andrew Binion’s story about Gov. Chris Gregoire’s response on higher ed to a Bremerton city councilman.

In the letter, dated Feb. 27, Gregoire said her budget request did not include the money partly because of a plan to build a branch campus of the University of Washington in Snohomish County.

“Significantly expanding higher education into other areas of the state at the same time would unwisely stretch the resources of both operating and capital budgets,” Gregoire said in the letter, which was signed in ink and included the handwritten note: “Let’s visit this issue in 2009!”

Several legislators penned a letter to Gregoire trying to clear up any connection between the $212,000 Kitsap effort and the billion-dollar effort to get a UW branch campus in Snohomish county.

“We fear that there was an assumption that we were setting a course for a branch campus for our area and that is not the case.”

The letter clarified that the Kitsap effort is designed meet employers and students’ needs, establishing a “university center” concept. This year’s money would continue a study already begun locally.

The governor responded that she was willing to support the concept.

Legislators were thrilled when they got the letter. Now it’s a question of whether House leaders will acquiesce to the request, since it didn’t make that chamber’s budget.

Electoral Recession

Some worry that much of the isolationist rhetoric coming from the presidential candidates will spark a global recession. From the International Herald Tribune:

Souring public sentiment could mean a reduced U.S. role in the global marketplace if voters start to demand a change in economic course, analysts say.

Eurasia Group, a New York consulting firm, on Monday called U.S. resistance to globalization as the greatest political risk for global markets in 2008 – topping Iran, Iraq and terrorism.

Others might say don’t worry about a future recession, worry about the one we might already be in. From

The tipping point for both economists was the report released last Friday that showed a sharp jump in the unemployment rate in December, coupled with little growth.

“Friday’s employment report strongly suggests that an official recession has arrived,” wrote David Rosenberg, North American economist for Merrill, in a note this week entitled “Recession a reality.”

The first Clinton won largely blaming a recession on the first Bush. When the second Bush took office I do remember Sean Hannity calling the recession that lasted from March to November of 2001 the “Clinton recession.” Democrats were calling it something else.

What I thought I cynically learned from the 1992 economy discussion is someone with any kind of plan (Bill Clinton had ideas.) can get a lot of political mileage, especially if he or she is in no position to implement them. It also helps if the opponent appears helpless on the matter, looks at his watch in debates and if there’s a third candidate in there helping you gang up on the first one. Candidates from both sides will have the luxury of talking big ideas without testing them this year.

all this leads to the question: If the economy dips low enough for Americans to notice it this year, who’s your winner in November?

Governor Appoints a Local

Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced several appointments to boards and commissions and included was Arthur Locken’s selection to the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board.

Locken lives in Port Orchard and his term began Jan. 3 and will run through the end of the year. He’s a 29-year employee of Seattle City Light and is a member of IBEW Local 77.
He’s also chairman of the Program Planning Committee of the Labor Division for the National Safety Council.

The board attempts to help prevent industrial injuries and occupational diseases among employees in the state, It also promotes industrial safety and advises the governor.

Rossi in Bremerton

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi stopped by our office Thursday evening for a discussion of his race with incumbent Gov. Chris Gregoire. (Note: Those of you who hate the word “gubernatorial” have a friend in Kitsap Sun News Editor Jim Thomsen.) Rossi said he feels like this campaign is beginning where the last one left off, only not in a courtroom.

He was short on specifics, but it is early in the campaign and the governor hasn’t officially announced her candidacy yet, though her decision is at least as foregone as Rossi’s ever was, if not more.

Rossi talked at length about problems for Washington small business owners. He referred specifically to the state’s B&O tax, which charges business owners on their revenues, not their profits. Again, not much specific, but he did talk about possibly raising the exemption level.

One piece that didn’t make the story was reporter Andrew Binion’s question on how Rossi would fare working with Democrats. He said he did it well for seven years, working with the moderates on the other side of the aisle.

In three of the seven years he was in the Legislature, however, his party had the majority in the Senate three years, was one vote behind two years and five votes back in two more. Democrats this session own a 32-17 advantage. Even though he was dead even with Gregoire in the 2004 race, Republicans lost two Senate seats and three House seats in the same election. That’s not exactly evidence of long coattails.

Rossi said he’s heard from lots of people who were affected by how close the race was and how they could have found friends to vote for him. It’s much the same message he gave when he was in Bremerton in May, you know, when he wasn’t a candidate.

Editor Scott Ware’s questions are on the video and focus on Rossi differentiating himself from Gregoire. The candidate believes his record with the budget in 2003 and the governor’s record in 2005-08 show contrasts. If that doesn’t convince voters to switch from Gregoire to Rossi, there’s a transportation plan coming and Rossi used the word one reporter at Tuesday’s legislative preview labeled the new buzzword for adding freeway lanes — “congestion.” Yeah, that word’s getting thrown around a lot.

I asked about the long-term outlook for ferries, wanted details about what he’d do about B&O taxes and and asked if tolls might be part of his transportation plan, but he wouldn’t go deep. I couldn’t even get him to begin a philosophical discussion about tolls. Meh, it’s early.

Rossi is not endorsing a presidential candidate yet, saying he told them the best thing he could do for them in 2008 was be on the state ticket.

No Endorsements from Dicks, Gregoire

With two states down and ongoing silence from former vice-president and presidential candidate and current Nobel laureate Al Gore, I thought I’d ask if Norm Dicks, the Belfair Democratic congressman, had a preference among the remaining candidates.

If he does, he’s not saying.

Earlier Dicks had said he withhold an endorsement until he knew whether Gore would run. “Gore has not officially closed that door,” said Dicks’ chief of staff George Behan, so Dicks remains unattached.

The Draft Gore group has stopped active campaigning and at this point it would take monumental shifts for Gore to be the guy. I’ve heard the conspiracies and/or hopes that the Democratic frontrunners would be in an unbreakable deadlock. In would walk Gore to unite the party behind him.

It’s not something I hear much about anymore. Despite the uncertainty now, the most people here are hoping for is that the Feb. 9 Democratic caucuses and the Feb. 19 Republican primary will still matter.

Despite the long odds against Gore entering the race, Dicks remains loyal. Behan said, “In politics an inch ahead is darkness.” Given the faulty Democratic polling projections in New Hampshire and the whispers that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg could enter the race, it’s hard to assume the inevitability of anything.

Dicks will back the eventual Democratic nominee, Behan said.

Which brings us to Washington’s governor, because at Tuesday’s legislative preview she told assembled press she wouldn’t endorse a candidate either, out of loyalty to her friend New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. The News Tribune reports that despite Richardson’s apparent exit from the presidential race, Gregoire still isn’t endorsing anyone else yet. She wants more time.

This may not be the last we hear from Richardson. “We do expect Bill Richardson to be on the short list for any of the nominees,” Behan said.

1 Percent and Make it Special

The governor got specific today, calling for the 1 percent cap. From her Web site.

“I plan to push for legislation that establishes a one percent cap on annual property tax increases. I am already in discussions with legislative leaders on the best next steps to make sure we can implement this correctly.

“I am urging local leaders and taxing districts to not increase their tax levies, based on the court decision, to give the legislature time to act.

“The voters approved Initiative 747, it has been in place for five years and I think we need to leave it in place.”

Dino Rossi responds calls for a special session on his site:

Seattle, WA – Dino Rossi today called on Governor Christine Gregoire to hold a one-day special legislative session before the end of November to reinstate the one-percent limit on property tax increases.

“If Christine Gregoire is serious about providing property tax relief and reinstating the will of the people, then she will act now to cap property tax increases at one-percent,” said Rossi. “This cannot wait until January. Homeowners are threatened with a huge tax hike and local governments and tax districts now have the ability to retroactively tax up to the 6 percent limit. This would be devastating to many senior citizens and low-income people who are being taxed out their homes. Simply asking local governments to not raise taxes is not enough. It is time for Gregoire to turn her words into action and call a one-day session to protect the will of the taxpayers.”

747, Gregoire and Rossi

One of the questions I asked legislators was,

“If the Legislature does anything other than reinstate 747’s limits, doesn’t Dino Rossi become governor?”

None said, “Yes” for certain, but Eyman said, “Republicans are salivating the prospect of Democrats not enacting the 1 percent cap as is. When your opponents are begging you to ignore the voters, that’s a good sign.”

What do you think?

Rossi Runs

I didn’t go to the Dino Rossi announcement. I didn’t ask for the text of the speech.

In fact, I took off in the middle of the day to take my kids to their piano lessons, which gave me an “intimate, slow-moving look at our state’s transportation problems.”

I talked to my daughter about her math, which gave me a close “look at the challenges our students face.”

I didn’t write a book, sell real estate or buy a baseball team.

I bring this up because Rossi did. Maybe he didn’t do all that yesterday, but apparently that’s what he’s been up to. He also headed a foundation, but that we’ve discussed.

Thanks to Sound Politics I can tell you exactly what he said yesterday when he announced he was running again for governor. (Who knew?)

I’ve remained active in the commercial real estate business.

I drive our children to school every day – my wife Terry says I’ve earned my car pool merit badge.

This has given me an intimate, slow-moving look at our state’s transportation problems.

I’ve helped my children with their homework – giving me a close look at the challenges our students face.

I also wrote a book about the lessons I’ve learned about business and leadership.

Oh, and Jay Buhner and I joined as part owners of the Everett Aqua Sox baseball team to ensure that the team ownership stays local.

If you prefer video, go to

Our editors, by the way, had planned to have the Rossi story where we run state stories, but the obits were bigger than expected and an ad came in late. Rossi got bumped. That was a mistake.

Don Ward at Sound Politics went to the speech, complained about David Postman’s quibble about not getting the speech text and complained about reporters’ questions at the event.

I don’t know who Don Ward is, but he also posted the text of the speech and invited us to steal it. So I did. I put it in Word, ran it through spell checker and then put it in a tag cloud. The tag cloud generator eliminates common words. After running it through once, I eliminated “being,” “bring,” “going,” “start” and “years.” Then you get the 50 most-used words in the speech. I thought would show up.

Below you can find the text from Rossi’s speech, lifted from Sound Politics.

created at

I mentioned I ran spell check, but I haven’t edited the speech closely. Since I don’t know how Ward entered the text over at Sound Politics, if you do find mistakes I don’t know if they are his or Rossi’s.

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One In

On Sunday the (Yakima) Herald-Republic urged Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Gov. Chris Gregoire to stop being coy and announce that they’re running for governor.

Sound Politics says Rossi plans to announce Thursday. That’s the only place we’ve seen it, so far.

UPDATE: There is no “official” confirmation, but people who don’t want their names in the paper over this say Rossi is running.

Rossi Resigns Foundation

In May Dino Rossi came to Bremerton as a guest of the county’s Republican party, but officially in his title as president of the Forward Washington Foundation.

Because the Caucus blog hadn’t yet launched, I planted my impressions at the Bremerton Beat.

Dino Rossi, who came 129 votes short of becoming governor in 2004, swears he hasn’t decided whether he’ll run again in 2008. It’s a good thing he says it, because if he didn’t you’d swear he already is.

Any politically interested person would have come to the same conclusion. The event was not all that different from one I attended in 2004 on Bainbridge Island, a meeting that was unapologetically a campaign stop. Nonetheless, Rossi’s position was that he was not yet decided on whether he’d run in 2008, saying he and his family would wait until the end of this year to commit.

State Democrats decided the Forward Washington effort was a Rossi campaign in disguise, so they filed a complaint with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.

The ongoing question influenced Rossi to resign as president of Forward Washington, the organization announced today. He’s being replaced by Ted Dahlstrom, a former state senator.

“The Governor’s political agents filed a baseless complaint with the Public Disclosure Foundation (PDC) against our non-partisan Foundation. It is baseless because we were informed, in writing, by the PDC that as long as the Foundation did not expend funds to lobby or influence elections we would not be subject to PDC regulation – and we have never engaged in those activities,” said Dahlstrom.

I think I can say without risking much that I would be shocked if Rossi decided to not run and that fellow Republicans would be angry. It’s still early, but are there any other Republicans who could mount a sufficient campaign against Gov. Chris Gregoire?

Speaking of Gregoire, she says she won’t announce her intentions until after the 2008 legislative session, despite the fact she’s collecting a lot of cash in case she does. Postman’s got an entertaining bit on that.

You can read the rest of the organization’s press release below.

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The Guv Relents

Earlier we showcased the bit of irony that Gov. Chris Gregoire wouldn’t release the names of people who had applied to be part of the state’s Sunshine Committee, but weren’t selected.

She changed her answer. The Associated Press got the names and is still waiting from the state attorney general. I can’t tell in this story whether the auditor’s names have been released, but both the AG and the auditor raised no objections other than redacting information such as Social Security numbers.

The 20 pages of resumes, letters and e-mails regarding seven unsuccessful committee applicants were released to the AP Thursday and Friday, after Gregoire asked each person whether they objected to the information being made public.

If there’s one thing we reporters can get opinionated about is the government’s willingness to operate in the open. Apparently, a couple of the applicants did, too.

None of the applicants objected, and two criticized the Democratic governor’s decision not to release the documents.

Listen Up Alanis

Define irony.

From the Associated Press:

Gov. Chris Gregoire has refused to reveal the identities of some people who weren’t picked for seats on the state’s new “Sunshine Committee.”

. . .

In her reply, the Democratic governor cited an exemption to public records law that says applications for public employment can be kept secret.

This is far more ironic than any of the examples Alanis Morissette gave us.

If Rossi Runs and Wins

Steven Gardner writes:

Former state GOP party chairman Chris Vance writes on Crosscut about what a difference it would make for the party if Dino Rossi were to win the governor’s race in 2008.

It suffices to say that if Rossi becomes Governor, if Republicans win that one election, the GOP is instantly back in the game.

A popular, suburban-friendly figure will lead and define the Party. Hundreds of Republicans will move into leadership positions within the administration. Republican legislators, whatever their numbers, will be relevant, backed by the power of the governor. The campaign funding disparity will improve as donors will have to recognize the changed political situation. Rarely has one race been so critical.

“Whatever their numbers” is particularly important here, because the number is zero. All nine legislators representing Kitsap are Democrats.

Phil Rockefeller
Tim Sheldon
Derek Kilmer
Sherry Appleton
Christine Rolfes
Bill Eickmeyer
Kathy Haigh
Pat Lantz
Larry Seaquist

So, among those on the list above, who’s vulnerable? Who’s untouchable? And who’s a Republican who can win?

If all nine Democrats run again and win, then you go to Vance’s comment that “The campaign funding disparity will improve.” I’m extending Vance’s statement to mean that if Rossi wins in 2008, but doesn’t have the coattails to unseat any Kitsap Democrats in the same election, his win drastically improves GOP chances locally in 2010.

Local GOP candidates will undoubtedly campaign hard against the Democratic incumbents in 2008, but even for locals there may be no more important race than the one for governor.

Rossi “Not” Running

Steven Gardner writes:

You’ve probably read the story, or this, or this, or this.

Democrats are saying Rossi really is campaigning for governor, even if he isn’t officially a candidate. In May I wrote about his visit to local Republicans in a news story and on the Bremerton Beat blog.

Dino Rossi, who came 129 votes short of becoming governor in 2004, swears he hasn’t decided whether he’ll run again in 2008. It’s a good thing he says it, because if he didn’t you’d swear he already is.

During the May event Rossi acted almost every bit like a candidate. I say “almost” because full-blown candidates are usually a bit more forceful in style than he was. Then again, I saw him speak in 2004 and the appearance this year wasn’t much different.

He says he is still undecided. Let’s assume that’s true. For me it raises the question of whether Rossi will be resented by the state GOP if he decides to not run. He has clearly established himself as Plan A, with no Plan B coming forward. Had he not been so much on the “foundation” trail, might someone else have launched and begun to establish credibility?

Rossi said he’ll make a decision close to the end of the year. If he decides he’s not running, is there a Republican who can present a significant challenge to Chris Gregoire?