May 7, 2013 at 3:14 PM
When Norm Dicks announced his surprise retirement after 36 years in Congress last year, the Bremerton Democrat said he was ready to “change gears and enjoy life at a different pace.”
But that doesn’t mean Dicks is done with Washington, D.C. He’s taking a job as senior policy counsel with Van Ness Feldman, a law firm and lobbying shop specializing in energy and environmental issues. As a former chairman of the House Appropriations panel overseeing the Department of Interior, Dicks has decades of expertise on those subjects.
The firm’s founders include former senior staffers of the late Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson.”
“It’s a firm that I’ve had a lot of experience with over the years. They’re great people,” Dicks said in a phone interview from D.C. “I’m excited and I look forward to continuing to work with our congressional delegation.”
Under ethics rules, Dicks is barred for one year from lobbying his former colleagues in the House of Representatives. Dicks said he’ll carefully follow that rule, but he’s allowed to gather information, advise clients and lobby the executive branch even during that “cooling off” period.
Dicks is recovering from a total knee replacement surgery, and said while his new job will allow him to continue to work on public policy it won’t require the hectic schedule of a member of Congress. “There is no pace like the Congressional pace. It’s seven days a week,” he said.
Dicks will split his time between the firm’s Washington, D.C., and Seattle offices.
He said he particularly hopes to work on environmental issues including ocean acidification, and on improving cybersecurity, which he called “even more dangerous than terrorism.”
Van Ness Feldman took in nearly $3 million in lobbying income last year from clients including oil and gas companies, electric utilities, cities, mining and railroad interests, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
February 1, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Good Morning, Happy Friday.
This definitely puts a damper on flash mobs:. A Lakewood state senator is trying to get ahead of a weird twist on flash mobs. Flash mobs, as you probably know, are groups of people who gather at a set time and place and begin, say, dancing in a well choreographed manner. Flash robs are altogether different. These are groups of people who gather and rob places. This has happened from Portland to Chicago. Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, has offered a bill in Olympia — SB 5178 — that would toughen up on those who use email or text to organize themselves and steal $250 or more of merchandise from a store.
Below is one of the better uses of this organizational and technological phenomenon, the famous flash mob in Belgium.
U.S. Rep Denny Heck’s observations from D.C. (Shout out to The Olympian for excellent. blog fodder, by the by). The Olympian interviewed new U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, the representative from Washington’s brand new 10th Congressional District. He has been in office less than a month and is surprised to find the partisanship in the nation’s capital even more pronounced than he expected. And Heck knows stuff.
Valentine’s Day with Al Gore. Darn, the Seattle Arts & Lectures event featuring Al Gore is sold out. The former vice president is coming to Seattle for a conversation with Professor David Domke, chairman of the University of Washington Department of Communications. The event is billed as a clear-eyed discussion of the emerging forces shaping our world. Gore has had a rough week following the sale of his network, Current TV, to Al Jazeera. Comedian Jon Stewart interviewed, I mean, grilled, Gore this week on his show.
Is she or isn’t she? PubliCola asks a good question. Is Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond, who occupies a very important profile position with so much happening in transportation around the state, staying or going in the new Gov, Jay Inslee administration? Worth watching.
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January 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM
WASHINGTON — One ugly painting. Three recipients.
A congressional tradition observed by members of Washington’s delegation took an unusual turn this year when a painting of a just-hatched chick was passed to the state’s newest member of Congress — and rotated among the state’s three House freshmen.
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas, who took possession of the artwork when she arrived in Congress in 2011, bestowed it Wednesday — briefly — to U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene of Medina.
DelBene was elected to fill the 1st District seat vacated by the new Gov. Jay Inslee. But because Inslee resigned before his term was up, DelBene was seated shortly after the November elections — a month before the rest of the freshmen class.
DelBene immediately handed the painting off to U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor. Kilmer was elected to the 6th District seat vacated by Rep. Norm Dicks, who retired this year.
Kilmer got dibs on the painting before fellow freshman Democrat Denny Heck of Olympia; he represents the newly-created 10th District. That’s because Kilmer’s victory margin of 59 percent just edged out Heck’s 58.6 percent. Heck will get the painting next year.
Kilmer, according to a spokesman, said: “The painting has been in Congress longer than I’ve been alive. … I intend to hang it next to my life-sized poster of Russell Wilson as both have been described as too young and too short to succeed.”
Former U.S. Rep. Joel Pritchard bought the picture in 1972 for either 50 bucks or 50 cents. Dicks received in when he got to Congress in 1977, and all the subsequent House freshmen have hung — or hid — the artwork in their office.
January 15, 2013 at 9:55 AM
Reichert, a fifth-term member from Auburn, will be the top Republican on the Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee. This will be his second stint as a subcommittee chair; as a freshman, the former King County sheriff chaired the Homeland Security committee’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science and Technology.
In a statement, Reichert said serving on the human resources subcommittee will give him a chance to help Americans “who have fallen on difficult times” — something he knows firsthand.
“As the oldest of seven kids growing up in a home of scarce means, I ran away on several occasions. There were times I attended high school out of my car in order to escape difficult family circumstances. Yet, there were those along the way who prevented me from falling through the cracks. I know what it’s like to struggle, and I know the vital role that hope plays when trying to find a pathway to a better tomorrow,” he said.
In October, Reichert was one of 50 members of Congress and one of only three Republicans to be named as top advocates for children by First Focus Campaign for Children. The group also cited Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, and Sen. Patty Murray.
January 9, 2013 at 6:19 AM
Good morning. Happy New Year, all.
Guns, guns, guns: The voices are growing louder. Tuesday, a group of Seattle mayors — one present and a few former — the King County executive and some local businesses joined forces to announce a gun buyback program aimed at offering a small reward for guns people no longer want. Is this the answer to gun control? Few say that it is, but the program is touted as an effort to do something. From former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Vice President Joe Biden, people are talking about some sort of gun control. How much? What steps specifically? That’s all much more complicated.
But today — Wednesday at noon — readers have a chance to join the discussion about gun laws and gun control. Join our live chat with state Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, Phil Watson of the Second Amendment Foundation and Times reporter Brian M. Rosenthal. Please feel free to submit questions in advance to email@example.com. It should be a lively discussion.
Jostling for position. Newly minted U.S. Rep. Denny Heck — he of Washington’s new 10th Congressional District — has been named to the House Financial Services Committee, which handles all kinds of stuff like banking matters, Wall Street reform and consumer protection. Anyhow, Heck first was tapped for the House Budget Committee, but because financial services is such a broad task, members cannot serve on other committees. Goodbye budget, hello, financial services.
Congress’ less popular than cockroaches: OMG, as the kids say. A new poll shows Congress is really unpopular. You pretty much knew that. But maybe you didn’t know that the public likes a lot of icky things, such as cockroaches and traffic jams, more than Congress.
The Times’ politics team has a new politics Facebook page, and we would like you to like or friend us, if you have a moment.
December 26, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Romney’s enthusiasm for the job: There was a moment during the presidential campaign that offered an unusual clue to the inner thoughts of Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann. Late in the presidential campaign, Ann Romney told reporters one day that this would be her husband’s last attempt to become president. On Oct. 18, in the heat of the campaign, Ann Romney said, in essence, if Romney doesn’t win this time, he won’t run again. Her comments were noticed, but not that much. This week, Romney son, Tagg, went a step further regarding the fire in the belly. He says his dad wanted to be president less than anyone he had met. Hadn’t heard that before.
Armed guards in schools: Reaction continues to the NRA’s proposal for armed officers in the nation’s schools. Presidential candidate and retiring Rep. Ron Paul says, How about no? But, did you also know that a school system in New Jersey was already planning to hire armed guards for its schools. Piers Morgan had some strong comments on gun control, which led to a petition for his deportation.
The Huffington Post presidential vacation slide show: President Obama and his family are vacationing this week in Hawaii. He stands at the ready to return to Washington, D.C., to meet with whomever is willing to help settle the whole fiscal cliff problem. But, while he is golfing or body surfing or whatever he is doing, The Huffington Post offers a great slide show of presidents on vacation. Good, clean fun. Such trips are expensive, too. Update: Obama is heading back tonight.
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December 24, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Good Morning. Merry Almost-Christmas.
Denny Heck lands on a hot committee: Rep.-elect Denny Heck, he of the new 10th Congressional District, doesn’t fully settle in Washington, D.C., until January, but he has landed a spot on the House budget committee and he’s pleased as Christmas punch about it. Read his press release. Apparently, he is the only one of the incoming freshman to land such a spot.
McAuliffe bristles at coalition governance in state Senate: State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, has been in charge of the Senate education committee for a while. So, it’s no surprise that she is less-than-thrilled by the coalition government takeover of the Senate, if that is what happens in January when the Legislature convenes. She says, in this The Herald post, that it’s all about education. She fears that the Republican-plus-two-Democrats rule of the Senate, which displaces her as education chairwoman, will hurt ed reform and result in insufficient funds to pay for education.
NRA press conference: The National Rifle Association’s Friday press conference landed not so well on Capitol Hill and was picked apart much of the weekend. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, known for going off reservation after Hurricane Sandy, seems to have done it again. He is no fan of armed guards as a safety solution for public schools, as recommended by the NRA. While we are on the topic, there is a new website plan burning up the Internet, Demand a Plan, related to new efforts to reduce gun violence.
Pols in Hawaii: Hey, what are we doing in the cold and rain? Not only did our incoming Gov. Jay Inslee take his family to Hawaii for some rest and relaxation, President Obama and his family left Friday for their annual vacation to Hawaii.
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November 30, 2012 at 9:20 AM
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler will trade up her committee assignment in the next Congress, joining the powerful appropriations panel in January.
Herrera Beutler, a freshman Republican who represents Southwest Washington’s 3rd District, is one of six new GOP members added to the House Appropriations Committee. The group includes U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, who like Herrera Beutler is finishing his first term in Congress, as well as two others who were elected to the House in November.
Herrera Beutler’s move comes as Rep. Norm Dicks, the Bremerton Democrat, is preparing to vacate his seat on the appropriations panel, which writes spending bills. Dicks, who has served in Congress since 1977, is retiring in January.
Herrera Beutler will give up her seats on the Small Business and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.
November 30, 2012 at 7:26 AM
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott apparently set a record for congressional travel with his roughly $21,000 privately-funded trip to Bali earlier this month.
According to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, the Seattle liberal’s visit to Indonesia appears to be the costliest trip taken by a member of Congress since rules on privately-sponsored trips were tightened in 2007.
Costs for McDermott’s aide, Jessica Lee, for the weeklong trip totaled nearly $24,000. All expenses were covered by Chemonics International, which contracts with the federal government on global development projects.
McDermott is known for his congressional wanderlust. He has taken 26 trips in the past six years, 12 of them to Belgium, Rwanda, Japan and other international destinations. Rep. Norm Dicks of Bremerton, by contrast, reported taking two trips during the same period — to Hawaii and to Spain.
McDermott, co-chair of the congressional Indonesia Caucus, was attending the Bali Democracy Forum as well as lobbying Indonesian officials to drop new regulations that have effectively halted exports of Washington apples to that country.
McDermott’s trip costs, submitted by Chemonics, included $9,600 in apparent business-class airfare from Seattle to Bali to Washington, D.C. It also included related expenses, including $2,500 for interpreters and $400 for hotel rooms for security escorts.
Most of McDermott’s trips have been paid for by nonprofits and private foundations. By contrast, official congressional delegation trips, called CODELs, are paid for by the federal government.
November 30, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Good Morning. Happy Friday.
Who’s running for Seattle mayor in 2013? Lots of people. And some are just toying with the idea before, well, likely running. Former Seattle City Council member — or should I say, friends of Steinbrueck — have launched a beg-Peter-to-run Facebook page. Publicola has more details. Scroll down a bit. The other candidate who may not be able to resist the mayoral temptation is former King County Executive Ron Sims. Don’t miss the inside-baseball fight over where and how City Councilmember Tim Burgess made his announcement for mayor this week.
Running Olympia: As Olympia watchers have probably heard, state Sen. Ed Murray was elected by fellow Dems to be Senate majority leader. That sounds so simple, until you consider two other events, the squeaky close, gotta-do-a-recount race in the 17th Legislative District in Vancouver. State Sen. Don Benton, a Republican, is currently ahead of Democrat Tim Probst, by 78 votes. The recount is next week. So, I know, who is staying awake at night wondering if Benton wins or loses? Murray, probably. A couple of moderate Dems are threatening to join Republicans in the Senate and install one of the Dems, Sen. Rodney Tom of Medina, as the majority leader of some sort of coalition group in the Senate.
Sen. Murray is obviously trying to work around that while keeping himself as majority leader. So he offers committee assignments to folks he wants to keep, win over, whatever.
The world according to Grover Norquist: A bunch of Republican members of Congress are having second thoughts about their never-raise-taxes pledge with anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. Seattle Weekly has an interesting piece tying that development to an alleged weariness of anti-tax crusaders in general, i.e., Washington’s own Tim Eyman. But, but, but. Didn’t voters just say yes in big numbers to Eyman’s latest offering, Initiative 1185, the measure that re-instates the two-thirds requirement to raise taxes in our Legislature? Yes, they did.
Politico has a piece arguing that Grover’s not over.
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