December 9, 2013 at 5:40 PM
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will raise campaign cash next year for Democratic gubernatorial candidates across the country as the new finance chair for the Democratic Governors Association.
Inslee was named to the leadership post Monday at a DGA meeting in Washington, D.C., according to his campaign’s political director, Tracy Newman.
The appointment puts Inslee in a position to repay his fellow Democrats for their aid in his election last year. The DGA poured nearly $5 million into negative TV ads against Inslee’s Republican rival, Rob McKenna, during Washington’s 2012 gubernatorial race.
The perch also should give Inslee deeper ties to national Democratic donors should he seek a second term in 2016. The group raised more than $50 million during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Inslee was one of three rookie governors named to leadership posts, according to POLITICO. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin was re-elected to a second term as DGA chair.
“The governor is excited about this opportunity to help his colleagues across the country,” said Newman, who was with Inslee in D.C. on Monday. Inslee’s air fare and other expenses were being covered by the DGA or his campaign funds, not taxpayer dollars, she said.
Inslee’s predecessors, former Govs. Gary Locke and Chris Gregoire, each served as DGA chairs.
While in D.C. Inslee also is expected to attend the first White House meeting of a climate change task force of state and local leaders established last month by President Obama. He is expected to return to Washington state Tuesday.
December 6, 2013 at 5:11 PM
Democrats and Republicans clashed Friday during a meeting of the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup, created by the Legislature to recommend ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
The Legislature in 2008 passed a law calling for the state to reduce total greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035, and to 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
The climate panel, created at the request of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, has been meeting since May to try to hash out recommendations to the governor and the Legislature. There are two Republicans and two Democrats on the panel. Inslee is a nonvoting member.
At Friday’s meeting Inslee tested the waters on whether to recommend that the Legislature adopt a cap on carbon pollution “with binding limits and market mechanisms,” a topic he’s broached before.
“My view is the committee ought to recommend that we do take action … that inaction is not an option,” Inslee told the panel, adding later ,“In order to achieve a binding, successful program of carbon-pollution reduction, our state needs a cap … We cannot allow unlimited spewing of carbon dioxide into our air and eventually into our water. That may be the single most important thing that we can achieve for the state of Washington.”
When Inslee asked other members of the panel how they felt about his ideas, Republicans weren’t happy.
Both Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, and Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, said the state needed to look at the potential economic impacts of such proposals before moving ahead.
“I will not support a policy that I don’t know what the economic impacts on Washington state are going to be,” Short said.
Inslee pressed the matter, saying at one point, “I’m wondering about our ability … to reach consensus if we have several members who want to make recommendations and several who do not.”
Short snapped back that “What I really resent, governor, is you intimating that we don’t care … I just really resent being put into a corner today, governor.”
The debate devolved from there. Ericksen eventually asked for a short recess for everyone to cool off. They later agreed to adjourn, and come back for more discussions on a broad spectrum of ideas at the next meeting.
The panel has two more meetings scheduled, including a public hearing on Dec. 13.
November 14, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Gov. Jay Inslee is headed to China Thursday morning for a delayed trade mission — a day after the Boeing Machinists’ vote that threw the future of the state’s aerospace sector into doubt.
Inslee had postponed the scheduled start of the trip to wrap up the Boeing tax-break legislation he signed into law this week. He had originally planned to begin the trade mission Saturday with a stop in Tokyo.
This morning, Inslee was scheduled to fly to Shanghai to join a delegation of more than 100 business and educations leaders, according to the governor’s office. His itinerary includes events promoting Washington pears, Almond Roca candy, the wine industry and a roundtable discussion with Chinese clean-tech investment companies.
David Postman, Inslee’s communications director, said the governor will remain in discussions via phone and email with legislators, aerospace representatives and others in the wake of Wednesday night’s Machinists’ vote. During a news conference Wednesday night, Inslee vowed the state would compete strongly for Boeing’s new 777x line despite the contract rejection.
“He was torn about going, but feels he had an obligation to the people who planned their life for some time around this trip,” Postman said. “This is not a break. This is work and I think anybody who understands business in Washington state and the importance of trade in Washington understands the role the governor can play here.”
Delegates on the trade mission include several staffers from the state Department of Commerce and Department of Agriculture, representatives of state fruit and grain growers, Port of Seattle officials and others seeking to expand Washington’s export business in Asia.
Inslee is set to return to Washington state Monday evening.
November 7, 2013 at 1:19 PM
House Finance Chairman Reuven Carlyle say there’s “rock-solid” language in legislation extending tax breaks for Boeing, and other aerospace companies, to prevent the company from moving the 777X out of Washington in the future.
“They are committing in black and white, not only to the 777X but its descendant planes,” Carlyle said Thursday, the first day of a special session to deal with Boeing. “If there is an assessment and view that assembly has moved or an element of that has moved, then the preferential rates for the 777X goes away. It’s pretty cut and dry.”
A legislative report for House Bill 2089 states the measure “is contingent upon the Department of Revenue making a determination that a final decision to locate a significant commercial airplane manufacturing program in the state of Washington has occurred. If a decision to locate a significant commercial airplane manufacturing program is not made by June 30, 2017, the bill is null and void.”
It goes on to say “a significant commercial airplane manufacturing program is the commencement of manufacturing of a new model of a commercial airplane or a new version of an existing model and the manufacturing of the fuselage and wings of the new model or new version. The ongoing availability of the preferential B&O tax rate for the production of a new or remodeled commercial airplane is contingent upon maintaining all final assembly of the aircraft, wing assembly, and wing fabrication within the state.”
Carlyle said, that given the safeguards, he feels it’s a good move for the state.
“I don’t feel like we’re being blackmailed at all. There’s no question that extending the (tax breaks) … in exchange for an absolute rock solid, black and white written commitment for the 777X and its descendant planes is a responsible marriage and partnership,” he said.
November 7, 2013 at 12:10 PM
During the first day of a special session — called for the purposes of passing legislation to secure the Boeing 777X in Washington state — the aerospace giant sent the governor a letter reaffirming the need for action.
“The Boeing Company faces an unprecedented level of competitiveness in the global dynamics within the aerospace industry. Our future success demands that we respond to those dynamics to remain competitive,” wrote Tim Keating, Boeing’s senior vice president of government operations.
“I want to confirm that in proposing your package of incentives for legislative consideration, you have correctly interpreted our previous conversations about the elements needed for us to be competitive long into the future in Washington State, and the need for timely action to show partnership with out workforce.”
Questions have surfaced about whether a special session is needed to secure the 777X. Gov. Jay Inslee’s office has responded with letters from both Boeing and the Machinists union discussing the need for the Legislature to act.
Inslee earlier this week called for the special session to pass a $10 billion transportation package. In addition, the governor wants the Legislature to extend existing commercial-airplane tax incentives — due to expire in 2024 — until 2040; to expand a sales-and-use tax exemption for construction of buildings used to manufacture airplanes; and to boost enrollment in aerospace fields at colleges, among other actions.
The House Finance Committee will hear a bill today at 1:30 p.m. that would extend aerospace tax incentives. Floor action could come as soon as Saturday.
In addition to legislative action, Boeing wants the Machinists union to accept a new eight-year contract with big cuts in future pension and health-care benefits in exchange for securing the 777X work.
November 6, 2013 at 1:30 PM
Mary Alice Heuschel is leaving as Gov. Jay Inslee’s chief of staff after roughly a year in the job.
Heuschel, who previously worked as superintendent of the Renton School District, will “lead state efforts on an interim basis to implement Results Washington,” the governor’s performance-measurement effort, according to a statement from Inslee’s office.
The governor’s senior advisor, Joby Shimomura, will take over as his new chief of staff. Shimomura, 41, was Inslee’s congressional chief of staff for six years and managed several of his campaigns, including his first run for governor in 1996.
“Joby has been an important part of my team for years and I know Washingtonians will be well served with her as chief of staff,” Inslee said in a statement. “I’m thankful that at the same time, Mary Alice has agreed to stay on to focus on the critical second phase of Results Washington as she also explores other leadership opportunities outside state government.”
It wasn’t immediately clear why Heuschel is leaving the post, although it’s not uncommon for a governor to go through several chiefs of staff.
Heuschel in the statement said, “It has been an honor to serve as chief of staff during Gov. Inslee’s first year. We are in agreement that my best contribution to his team in the months ahead will be leading the strategic implementation of Results Washington and continue to plan and initiate delivery of exemplary state services to the people of Washington.”
October 6, 2013 at 4:24 PM
By Phuong Le
The Associated Press
Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday that the impacts from a partial federal government shutdown are already being felt across the state.
Inslee, a Democrat, squarely blamed House Republicans and told reporters at a news conference Sunday that the problems could be easily fixed if House Speaker John Boehner would bring a clean temporary spending bill up for a vote without conditions.
“We cannot allow this inexplicable hatred of giving people health insurance to lead us into economic crisis,” Inslee said. “That’s where we’re headed.”
Boehner has insisted that President Barack Obama must negotiate if the president wants to end the shutdown and avert the first-ever default on the government’s debt, which could trigger a financial crisis and recession.
The government shutdown entered its sixth day Sunday with hundreds of thousands of federal employees furloughed, national parks closed and an array of government services on hold.
Inslee said he is worried that the continued shutdown is slowing the state’s aerospace industry, hurting veterans’ programs and affecting services such as unemployment payments that depend on federal money.
Washington is using state money to continue services in the near term, but Inslee worried about how long the state could do that.
“There’s significant potential for this to get much worse very soon,” he said.
The governor was joined in Seattle by a business owner and several people who work with veterans who described the consequences that the shutdown was having for veterans and others.
Casey Ingels of Lakewood-based Tactical Tailor, which makes gear for military and law enforcement, said he has had to lay off 75 employees because of the shutdown.
“We owe our federal employees and contracting employers some predictability,” he said, adding that it was having a devastating impact on the company.
October 2, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Gov. Jay Inslee plans to go on an overseas trade mission to China next month.
Current plans call for him to leave for Tokyo on Nov. 9 for a short stop. He plans a longer stay in China with visits to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. He’s slated to be the keynote speaker at a biotechnology convention in Beijing on Nov. 12.
A trade delegation of about 40 people will also be on the trip. Inslee’s travel costs will be covered by the Host Fund of Washington, a non profit.. The Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle handles the fund’s administrative and support functions, said David Postman, a spokesman for the governor.
The China Daily interviewed Inslee about the upcoming trip.
October 1, 2013 at 11:09 AM
House Finance Committee Chairman Reuven Carlyle is calling on the governor to spell out how the state will pay for a proposed $4.2 billion plan to bring more water to the Yakima River Valley.
As explained in a Seattle Times story on Sunday, the proposal would be the biggest thing to hit the region since the Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1942. It was tentatively endorsed by the Legislature earlier this year. Among other things, the plan calls for fish passages on dams, new and bigger reservoirs, and a 5-mile-long tunnel to move water between lakes.
“It is fiscally irresponsible to take another step until there is a financing plan,” Carlyle, D-Seattle, said in an interview this morning.
He sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday asking his office to develop one, pointing out that, although backers say farmers and other water users will pay for their share of the project, there’s nothing in writing that spells that out.
Carlyle in an interview also said he’s worried that the federal government won’t come through with funding and that the state will be made responsible for the entire cost.
“This is one of the largest of the largest public works projects in state history with nothing beyond a back-of-the-envelope scribble of how to pay for it. We’re not going to empty out the capital budget account for the next 30 years because the federal government can’t rub two sticks together,” he said.
The governor’s office had no immediate response.
September 9, 2013 at 4:34 PM
Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked a U.S. Senate committee for a key bit of help in creating a tightly regulated legal pot market.
In written testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a Tuesday hearing, Inslee and Ferguson stressed that without changes at the federal level, Washington state’s legal pot merchants will operate on a cash-only basis.
That will make it more difficult for the state to audit their books and track their income, the duo said, and make legal businesses a target for theft and burglary, “thereby creating additional public safety challenges.”
As it now stands, federally regulated banks are wary of providing financial services to legal pot merchants, Inslee and Ferguson said, because federal law can impose penalties on banks that accept money they know to come from drug sales – even if those sales are legal under state law.
Inslee and Ferguson suggested two fixes: the federal Department of Justice could advise banking regulators that it isn’t going to prosecute banks for handling legal pot money; or, Congress could also pass a law allowing banks to accepts deposits from a legal pot business.
The rest of their four-page testimony details the many ways in which Washington state’s legal pot rules are consistent with the DOJ’s eight priorities for legal pot in Washington and Colorado — from preventing youth access to legal pot, to preventing Washington pot from leaking into other states.
Tuesday’s hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Pacific time. The committee chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT., will begin by questioning U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole. It would be no surprise for the banking issue to come up in that portion of the hearing. Then, the hearing on “Conflicts in State and Federal Marijuana Laws” will address a panel of three: King County Sheriff John Urquhart; Jack Finlaw, the top lawyer for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; and Kevin Sabet, the director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an organization that’s opposed to legalization.
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