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October 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM
WASHINGTON – Pausing for a rare detente, President Obama and members of Congress gathered Tuesday for a memorial service for former House Speaker Tom Foley, praising the Spokane Democrat as an ideal embodiment of a public servant whose type of bipartisanship many said was lamentably lacking today.
The invitation-only event at Statuary Hall inside the Capitol was attended by 300 family, friends and former colleagues.
Newt Gingrich, the man who took Foley’s job as speaker after the Democrat’s ignominious defeat in the 1994 elections, sat in the front row. Former President Clinton lauded Foley as a tough-minded politico who understood difficult votes came with heavy price, and paid them anyway.
And Robert H. Michel, who served as Foley’s Republican foil for 14 years as House minority leader, said the two men shared a trust and the belief that their beloved House of Representatives was “one of the great creations of a free people.”
Foley died at 84 on Oct. 18 from complications from strokes. He had been in home hospice for months in Washington, D.C.
The service was organized by the office of Speaker John Boehner. Foley’s widow, Heather, was escorted into the room by Obama and Boehner.
October 29, 2013 at 9:22 AM
WASHINGTON — All U.S. flags are flying at half-staff Tuesday as the Capitol prepares for a memorial service for former House Speaker Tom Foley.
President Obama ordered the flags lowered Monday in honor of the Spokane Democrat, who died Oct. 18 at 84 from complications from strokes.
Obama is scheduled to headline a list of dignitaries who will attend the 3 p.m. service at the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. Former President Clinton will speak.
Others expected to speak include Foley’s close friends, former U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks of Bremerton and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell plan to attend as well.
Also on the program for the invitation-only service are Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
March 25, 2013 at 11:07 AM
President Obama today designated a national monument in the San Juan Islands, proclaiming the archipelago “a refuge of scientific and historic treasures and a classroom for generations of Americans.”
As we reported last week, the designation will offer additional protections for some 1,000 acres of undeveloped federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It does not move any new lands under federal control. The San Juan Islands was one of five new national monuments designated by Obama today, under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906.
Read the entire proclamation:
February 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Wednesday politics: State of the Union, Pelz told to put on big boy panties, longer wait for divorce
State of the Union and the responses. So, what did you think? How did President Obama do? Is he noticeably more relaxed and more in command at the beginning of his second term, as some people say? What did you think of the substance of the speech? Some observers said he was strongest when he spoke on gun control.
On another matter, he proposed an increase in the federal minimum wage, to $9 an hour.
Our state’s minimum wage is higher.
The U. S. Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act. This was hard fought. Our senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, were both active in securing passage.
Dwight Pelz and the rogue Democrats. This might be a frustrating time for Dwight Pelz, state Democratic Party chairman, who has been a little miffed at state Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon. Tom and Sheldon, both Democrats, joined with Republicans in the Senate to form what they call the Majority Coalition Caucus. That left the Democrats who thought they were in control in the Senate – not. The party has said the senators were guilty of disloyalty and they were uninvited from party funds and mailing lists. Now Tim Sheldon’s wife, Linda, has joined the, um, proceedings. She told Pelz to “put on his big boy panties” and learn to compromise.
Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry? State Sen. Don Benton is filing a lot of bills this legislative session. One of the latest by the Vancouver Republican would extend the waiting period for a divorce, from three months to a year. What do you think of that idea?
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January 29, 2013 at 6:00 AM
President Obama easily carried Washington state last year with 56 percent of the vote to Mitt Romney’s 41 percent. That granted Obama all of the state’s 12 Electoral College votes.
But some Republican state lawmakers want to change the rules in a way that would have peeled off some electoral votes for Romney.
The proposal, House Bill 1091, would divvy up Washington’s electoral votes by results in each of the state’s 10 congressional districts, with the remaining two votes going to the statewide winner.
In 2012, that would have given Obama nine electoral votes from Washington while Romney would have taken three.
Supporters say that would be a fairer result for more conservative parts of the state that are constantly outvoted in statewide elections by the Seattle area.
“A lot of voters today feel disenfranchised and feel like their vote doesn’t count,” said Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, the prime sponsor of the bill.
Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee, a cosponsor, said the proposal was about “trying to balance the interests of state that is very diverse, politically.”
The bill is unlikely to go anywhere in Olympia given Democratic Party control of the state House and governor’s office.
But similar proposals are being pushed by Republicans in many states, including battlegrounds like Ohio and Virginia, as part of a national GOP strategy to gain a potential advantage in future elections. Only two states, Maine and Nebraska, currently apportion their electoral votes by congressional district.
Democrats have cried foul, accusing Republicans of trying to rig a game they can’t win under the current rules.
Washington State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz pointed to an analysis showing Romney, despite losing the national popular vote, would have defeated Obama if the apportionment by congressional district had been in place nationwide in 2012.
“The Republican Party has a choice. Are they going to listen to the changing demographics of America and pay more attention to people of color or women? Or are they just going to steal the election?” Pelz said.
Not all Republicans are enthusiastic about the idea either. Asked about the proposal last week, Rob McKenna, the former attorney general and GOP gubernatorial candidate, said, “I think it would be wiser to focus on what we [Republicans] need to do to be more competitive across the country.”
House Bill 1091 is scheduled for a public hearing at 8 a.m. Tuesday in the House Government Operations and Elections Committee.
January 28, 2013 at 6:00 AM
New Obama in office: Many political observers are talking about President Obama’s inaugural address and how, in the second term, he may just let his views hang out there. He does seem to be developing new ways to maneuver around partisan gridlock. The latest example is gun control. Instead of calling up a bunch of moderate Democratic senators and twisting their jittery arms to support his policies, he is taking his case to the public. Their public. Interesting strategy.
Sarah Palin out; her fans’ worst nightmare: Palin has run her course on FOX. She is out as a Fox news contributor.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray is the new Senate budget chairwoman. Slate has a fascinating piece about Murray’s potential impact on budget negotiations.
Closer to home, Don Benton is the star of the local blogs. State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, barely won re-election. You will recall his race went into recount. But none of that is worrying the state senator these days. He’s a busy guy, introducing a lot of legislation, including a parental notification bill now gaining a lot of attention.
Avoid the crowd in the Seattle mayor’s race. How would you like to be a Seattle Port commissioner? The ad (below) has been appearing in a couple of media locales of late. It’s an ad aimed at filling the port commission seat vacated by Gael Tarleton who has gone to the Legislature. To the uninitiated, it looks like an ad for the four port seats that will be up this fall.
But Port Commissioner Tom Albro says the ad is designed to find good people to fill Tarleton’s spot and serve an important community institution. It doesn’t hurt if it raises the profile and awareness of the work the port does.
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January 21, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Good Morning. Happy MLK and second inaugural day.
President Obama will be sworn in (again) to his second term today. Here is a link to the schedule, the ceremonial swearing in, the festivities, all of it. Question: Is there an excitement/enthusiasm gap between this inauguration and Obama’s first one in 2008? You make the call. Update: Swearing-in just concluded. What did you think?
Chris Christie, bad boy of the Republican Party. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seems to be enjoying the heck out of his penchant for going rogue on his own party. Last week, he did it again, telling the National Rifle Association it was way out of line running an ad about Obama’s kids and public safety measures provided at their school.
Gender gap and conservatives: It’s no secret that the Republican Party has a gender gap problem. Women favored President Obama pretty significantly in the recent election. In fact, the gender gap was described as historic. U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is featured in a Talking Points Memo piece about conservative women tackling the GOP’s problem with women voters.
State Sen. Steve Litzow: State Sen. Steve Litzow made noise in the Legislature when he put his name on a bill requiring reproductive parity. He is co-sponsoring the legislation along with state Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens. Litzow is clearly a moderate Republican, rising in his party. The Reproductive Parity Act was an issue in his recent re-election campaign. Even though Litzow is pro-choice, he voted against the bill amid the budget coup last year. Some Democrats tried to make that into a big issue. Litzow is featured as PubliCola’s lawmaker at the center of the action.
Other lawmakers in the news: State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, does not want light rail on the new bridge crossing the Columbia River to Oregon. He is quite serious about this, having proposed legislation last week to make sure it doesn’t happen. His co-sponsor is Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center.
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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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November 6, 2012 at 6:00 AM
At long last, ’tis Election Day/Week You have probably heard by now that some Washington state races might be close, so close it could be days before we know some winners in some contests. But you can track your own ballot and make sure your vote got where it was going — and was counted.
Hustling student votes. From Brian M. Rosenthal: Gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna, both University of Washington graduates, each spent part of their last full day of campaigning at their alma mater. And, as the scheduling gods would have it, their events took place at roughly the same time, mere yards apart. Inslee arrived first for a rally outside the HUB student union building at 11 a.m., where he spoke briefly, answered questions from reporters and shook hands with students. McKenna’s campaign, which had scheduled an 11:30 a.m. event at the same spot, decided to move inside the building at the last minute. There, McKenna did the same routine. The two did not cross paths or even lay eyes on each other, despite their proximity.
After his event outside the HUB, Inslee went to a rally with pro-gay marriage supporters in Red Square before heading north for sign-waving in Marysville. McKenna, on the other hand, went to frat row to speak to fraternity brothers before heading south to talk to students at the UW’s Tacoma campus. Chances are it’s the closest the candidates will be in a while. Tuesday evening, Inslee is planning to watch election returns at The Westin in Seattle, while McKenna will be at The Hyatt in Bellevue.
Ballot collection by political parties, also from Brian M. Rosenthal. State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said Monday he plans to introduce legislation to prohibit political party staffers from collecting ballots from voters. The Democrats have been trying to make hay out of the fact that Republicans are doing just that, even though Dems have had similar efforts in the past. Murray, chair of the Ways and Means Committee and a likely bet for majority leader if the Democrats maintain control of the state Senate, said the practice “threatens to undermine public confidence in the integrity of our election process.”
Vote by affidavit: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to be accommodating about the storm voting situation. He has told voters to vote where they can by affidavit.
What is the Obama campaign really trying to say? President Obama’s campaign held a conference call Monday and urged supporters not to over-react to early exit polls. What does he know that we don’t? Perhaps he wants Westerners to keep voting, no matter what.
All about “The Boss:” Politico has a great piece about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. His new BFF Barack Obama helped him meet fellow New Jerseyan Bruce Springsteen and Christie, well, swooned.
Pot vote: While waiting for votes to be tallied, some astute election observers will be watching certain counties for high turnout – and I mean that two ways. Keep your eye on Jefferson and San Juan counties for, shall we say, vigorous turnout, possibly, just possibly, inspired by Initiative 502, the pot legalization, regulation and taxation measure.
October 25, 2012 at 12:10 PM
President Obama is weighing in with support for Referendum 74, which would legalize gay marriage in Washington state.
Through a spokesman, the president urged voters to vote yes on the measure.
“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the President supports a vote approving Referendum 74,” said Paul Bell, the Washington and Oregon press secretary for Obama For America.
The president earlier this year made clear his support for legalized gay marriage, but this is his first explicit endorsement of Ref. 74.
Washington is one of four states voting on gay marriage this November. In Maine and Maryland, like Washington, voters will be asked to approve or reject gay marriage, while in Minnesota they’ll decide whether to amend the state constitution to ban it.
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