Topic: Rob McKenna
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November 21, 2013 at 4:25 PM
Former Attorney General Rob McKenna has written a letter to Washington state on behalf of Montana and North Dakota that questions the constitutionality of Washington’s Department of Ecology review of a proposed coal-export terminal.
“Some of the issues to be evaluated by Ecology transgress the boundaries of the States, infringing on (Montana and North Dakota’s) sovereignty,” McKenna wrote in a letter sent Monday, adding the review “ranges far beyond the boundaries of legitimate state interest.”
He also wrote that the review of the proposed Gateway Terminal at Cherry Point, in Whatcom County, “is unrealistically broad, includes speculative impacts, requires impossible assessments of foreign environmental impacts, and appears to have been designed to hinder the development of that terminal.”
The nine-page letter marks a surprising entrance by McKenna into the fight over coal exports, which was a major issue in his unsuccessful 2012 bid for governor against Jay Inslee.
During the campaign, McKenna voiced support for coal-export terminals, but said any proposals would have to undergo a thorough environmental review.
Washington state’s review is one of three under way for the proposed Cherry Point facility, which would create the largest coal-export terminal on the West Coast, shipping as much as 48 million tons of Montana and Wyoming coal to Asia. The other reviews are being done by the federal government and Whatcom County.
Washington state has said its review will be much broader than the other two.
All three entities will get a say in whether the terminal is built, and each is to base its decision on its own review.
The letter was sent because Washington state is now deciding the breadth of a review of a second proposed coal terminal, in Longview.
Montana and North Dakota, McKenna wrote, would like Washington state to take a more limited approach to reviewing the proposed Longview terminal.
In a post on his website, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said he is interested in the issue because “access to overseas markets is vital to Montana’s economy.”
McKenna’s letter was topped by letterhead from the international law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. McKenna became a partner there in February, a few months after losing the governor’s race.
On Thursday, environmentalists criticized McKenna for getting involved on behalf of entities supporting coal.
“It’s hard to believe that Rob McKenna is opposing Washington’s efforts to keep dirty coal out of our communities,” said Collin Jergens, spokesman for the liberal group Fuse Washington. “Why is Rob McKenna fighting for North Dakota instead of Washington?”
McKenna did not immediately respond to telephone messages seeking comment.
June 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM
Veteran Bellevue City Councilmember Don Davidson, sidelined for two months because of health issues, has ramped up his re-election campaign with support from former Attorney General Rob McKenna.
In an email to likely Davidson supporters, McKenna asked for contributions, warning, “This year our ‘Dr. Don’ is being targeted for defeat by some of the same Seattle leftist groups which attacked me last year. Now, you may ask yourself why people who insult Bellevue at every opportunity would want to help us pick our next city council – what is their agenda for the city?”
McKenna, a Bellevue resident and Republican gubernatorial candidate who lost last fall to Democrat Jay Inslee, didn’t identify which outside forces are making “negative attacks” on Davidson, who has served on the council since 1984 with only a two-year break.
Lynne Robinson, a member of the city Parks Board and Network on Aging, and Vandana Slatter, a member of the state Pharmacy Board, are running against Davidson. The challengers have raised $34,100 and $61,552, respectively.
Davidson, who has been excused from attending council meetings for the past two months while undergoing and then recovering from open-heart surgery, reported his first $3,498 in contributions to the state Public Disclosure Commission Monday.
His political adviser, Randy Pepple, said he expects Davidson to return to the council and campaigning at the end of June or early July. “He will indeed be able to aggressively run and to serve if re-elected,” Pepple said Tuesday.
Pepple was McKenna’s campaign manager last fall.
May 31, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna has repeatedly said he’s not planning another run for governor in 2016.
But McKenna, now a partner in a private law firm, is working to maintain his profile in state politics and public policy — a presence that could come in handy just in case he changes his mind.
In the latest example, McKenna is promoting the launch of a new web site that will go live Monday: smartergovernmentwa.org.
McKenna and his 2012 campaign manager, Randy Pepple, are keeping details of that web site under wraps for now. Pepple described it as “a relaunching of Rob’s campaign web site, changing it around and providing him a forum going forward.”
Meanwhile, McKenna and Pepple also have moved to create a new 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, called Reform Alliance (or REAL). In a registration with the state, the nonprofit listed McKenna as its chairman and several gubernatorial campaign workers, including Pepple and consultant Mariana Parks, as directors. The group’s mailing address is the same Bellevue P.O. Box as McKenna’s gubernatorial campaign.
Pepple declined to discuss the purpose of REAL, saying “it would be unfair to characterize it as anything yet.” But he and McKenna have previously talked about creating a new organization that could act as a business-friendly counterweight to Democratic-allied groups like FUSE and the Progress Alliance of Washington.
REAL was seeded with a $5,000 donation from McKenna’s surplus gubernatorial campaign funds in March. But the money had to be returned because REAL was not properly registered as a charitable organization with the state at the time of the donation. (State law restricts use of surplus campaign funds to several specific options, including refunds to donors, a gift to the state general fund, or a gift to a charity.)
Assuming REAL can get its paperwork in order, the money could be re-donated legally.
Pepple insisted the latest moves do not indicate a replay of Dino Rossi’s gambit following the 2004 governor’s race. After losing that disputed contest to Democrat Chris Gregoire, Rossi formed a nonprofit called Forward Washington and toured the state giving speeches that echoed his campaign themes, before running against Gregoire a second time in 2008.
That’s simply not McKenna’s plan, Pepple said: “He’s not running again.”
March 29, 2013 at 3:54 PM
Ever since he lost the gubernatorial race last year, former state Attorney General Rob McKenna has downplayed the likelihood that he’ll run again in four years.
But the state Democratic Party is taking no chances.
The party’s designated “tracker,” Zach Wurtz, is still shadowing McKenna at public appearances, looking to record him in hopes of capturing some damaging video that can be trotted out if the Republican decides to run for office again.
That may seem a little early — maybe even hyper-aggressive — but it’s a reality of modern politics.
Trackers point their cameras at opposition candidates as often as possible, trying to record their statements and slip-ups — or, even better, rattle them into saying something stupid. The most famous example of that tactic’s success may still be Republican George Allen’s infamous “macaca” outburst in 2006, which helped him lose his Senate seat.
Though he never imploded like Allen, McKenna made at least one tracker-related mistake in the 2012 campaign, when he snapped at a young Democratic Party volunteer to “get a job” after she approached him on a Seattle sidewalk to ask his position on legislation requiring insurance companies to cover abortions. It was Wurtz who caught the moment on camera.
Jaxon Ravens, executive director for the state Democratic Party, said McKenna has continued to keep his name “in the mix” by giving speeches at GOP conferences and dinners.
“I definitely think he’s a potential candidate in four years,” he said. “If he wasn’t speaking at all these events, we wouldn’t be tracking him.”
Randy Pepple, who was McKenna’s campaign manager last year, scoffed at the continued surveillance.
“It’s all about personal destruction. Of course that’s what they’re going to do,” he said, slamming “unlimited union money” that funds such efforts.
But the Republican National Committee has acknowledged begrudging admiration for the Democratic Party’s tracking efforts and is calling for the GOP to catch up.
The RNC’s recent post-election autopsy report recommended that “well-funded conservative groups should seek to hire activists to track Democratic incumbents and candidates with video cameras constantly recording their every movement, utterance and action.”
February 28, 2013 at 1:13 PM
The chairman of the Republican National Committee said today that a red state/blue state analysis of national politics is a “road to nowhere” for the party’s future.
Reince Priebus, in Seattle to listen to party activists and spread his message of growth and renewal, said that no state is permanently blue and the Republicans should not cede any to the Democrats, as they did in the 2012 election by concentrating just on eight swing states.
Had GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney not written off Washington state, Priebus said, Rob McKenna would be governor today.
“Local candidates suffer when the national camp doesn’t come into a state to compete,” Priebus said. “Rob was rowing alone.” McKenna, a moderate, lost to Jay Inslee by about three percentage points in November.
McKenna stood with Priebus for a brief news conference following what the chairman described as a spirited conversation with state GOP leaders about how the party could improve. Priebus, 40, has been touring the country over the past few weeks, including meetings with black leaders in Atlanta and Hispanic and Asian-American leaders in Los Angeles.
President Obama beat Romney in just about every demographic except white males. Priebus said the GOP has to become more open and inclusive of new members. It also has to build permanent outreach and get-out-the-vote operations and not just mount campaigns in the six months before an election.
“We are in a world of permanent politics,” Priebus said.
January 25, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Good Morning. Happy Friday.
Rob McKenna getting out more. I had a long chat with Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna the other day. You may have heard some of this already. McKenna plans to work for a law firm here or in Silicon Valley. He is talking to a half dozen law firms and he is very interested in regulatory law, particularly digital privacy and other such issues. McKenna waxed philosophical about the future of the Republican Party, national and local. Obviously, Republicans here have to appeal, he said, “to an increasingly diverse state.” He thinks voters in blue states like Washington favor a libertarian approach to topics like a woman’s right to choose. One of the questions for candidates like McKenna, however, is how does one take a more libertarian approach on social issues and not lose the GOP base?
I asked McKenna about his wife, Marilyn, who turned into a prolific tweeter during and after the 2012 election, tweeting messages not always in sync with her husband’s positions on the issues. For example, she tweeted after the election about her support for gay marriage. McKenna explained that his wife felt differently about that topic. McKenna wouldn’t say if he would run again in 2016. He only mentioned the things candidates have to give up, how long they have to run (almost two years for such a post) and then never said never.
Poll breaks reveals troubles with the Republican brand: Republicans in Washington state are wondering, as any party would, what is wrong with the image or brand of the state GOP. Republicans have not won the Washington’s governor’s race for three decades. Frequent pollster for Republicans Bob Moore released a new survey that shows voters are more troubled by a sense that Republican policies favor big business and the rich more than concern about a social agenda.
Fun tweet about Gov. Jay Inslee from Peter Callahan. The point, of course, is that Inslee has lived in Eastern Washington. He was a lawyer in Selah, Yakima County, a state legislator and a congressman from the 4th Congressional District.
How much do you like waiting days or weeks for elections officials to count ballots? Ummmmm. Every election year begs the same question. Does Washington state, high-tech center of the known universe, count ballots on Election Days slowly, too slowly or just right? One lawmaker told The News Tribune that he has plans to speed things up. Read this.
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January 15, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Note: This post has been updated with a response from Dan Sytman, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.
Outgoing Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, who joined a lawsuit against President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, appeared to show support for the law during Gov. Chris Gregoire’s farewell speech Tuesday.
McKenna’s gesture was small — he stood up, along with a group of mostly Democrats, to applaud a reference to the law, while most GOP members stayed seated.
Dan Sytman, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said later that McKenna’s applause “was not a statement of one kind or another.”
But the move did not go unnoticed by reporters and others eager for intrigue in a mostly uneventful State of the State address.
The gesture came after Gregoire noted that Washington was “among the first in the nation to implement the Affordable Care Act” and then asked lawmakers to “embrace this historic opportunity to give every Washingtonian the health-care coverage they deserve” — a reference to the optional Medicaid expansion included in Obamacare — because “every Washingtonian deserves an open door to the doctor when they need one.”
The Legislature is currently deciding whether to accept the Medicaid expansion, which the federal government has promised to pay for in its first years but may cost the state in the future. Democrats generally support the idea while many Republicans say it may be too costly.
During an unsuccessful run for governor last year, McKenna did not say whether or not he supports the expansion.
He framed his decision to join the lawsuit brought by other attorneys general as related to a provision of the law that requires all citizens to buy health insurance. But the suit would have overturned the entire law.
At another notable moment Tuesday, McKenna sat silently with other Republicans as Democrats stood to cheer a reference from Gregoire about the state’s recent legalization of same-sex marriage.
Before Gregoire spoke, McKenna was one of three departing state officials to give farewell talks of their own.
“It has been an extraordinary journey,” McKenna said in the short speech. “Thank you all very much.”
January 15, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Gov. Chris Gregoire reflected on a tumultuous eight years in office during a Tuesday farewell speech before a joint session of the Legislature.
Delivering her final State of the State address as part of an emotional and ceremonial day, Gregoire recapped accomplishments and challenges before concluding that Washington is “the greatest state in the nation.”
The Democrat made just two requests of the lawmakers crammed into the state House chambers: increase funding for education and transportation, in part, through raising taxes.
“Today is the day,” Gregoire said. “Now is the time. We must invest in our children and their future.”
But the governor spent most of her speech running through a laundry list of achievements, from investing in broadband Internet and combining several programs to create a state Department of Early Learning, to investing in clean energy and legalizing same-sex marriage.
She emphasized transportation, noting that $16 billion in construction projects were approved in her tenure — the most in state history.
“We — not the next big earthquake or windstorm — are knocking down the old (Alaskan Way) Viaduct, the 520 bridge and the Columbia River Crossing Bridge and we are building the future of the great state of Washington.”
But the governor also focused on budget cuts and what caused them — “the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.”
“You were tested,” Gregoire said. “I was tested. This was not what I expected. It wasn’t what anybody expected. But we stepped up.”
Gov.-elect Jay Inslee, a fellow Democrat, will be sworn in Wednesday.
Before Gregoire’s speech, the Legislature recognized three other state officials leaving office: eight-year Attorney General Rob McKenna, 12-year Secretary of State Sam Reed and 20-year State Auditor Brian Sonntag.
Others attending the address included former Gov. Mike Lowry, King County Executive Dow Constantine and the fiancee of Washington state trooper Tony Radulescu, who was fatally shot in February during a traffic stop.
December 21, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Good Morning. Happy Friday and Happy Holidays:
UPDATED: includes link to NRA Press Conference.
Rob McKenna and the GOP: Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna has been out and about talking about the 2012 election. He had some very interesting things to say about re-branding the national Republican Party and how the party must change, as in, find new ways to appeal to younger voters, minorities and women. As for his own plans, McKenna plans to join a private law firm, and you never know, he might make another run for governor. But, obviously, it’s too early to get into all of that.
The national conversation about gun control: There is no doubt that a nationwide discussion has begun on gun control. The NRA held a press conference Friday on its own “meaningful contribution” to the dialogue. Here’s a link to the call for an armed officer in every school.
Several observers say it matters not that the usual gun control advocates have come forward, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein or New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg. These pols have been working on gun control for many years. The new thinking, if there is such a thing, is that some people who earlier opposed gun control are having a conversion of some sort. Think Outgoing Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, the first GOP senator to support a renewed assault weapons ban. Or West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a longtime gun rights supporter, had a new approach the other day, and then retreated a bit.
Former Seattle City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck: Steinbrueck announced plans this week to run for Seattle mayor in 2013. That was expected by anyone who has spoken with him in recent months. But few thought he would land such a fast endorsement from his former colleague, Councilmember Nick Licata. The two were big pals when they served on the council at the same time. Also, Steinbrueck had to can some of his activities now that he is officially a candidate.
Everything you want to know about state Sen. Ed Murray. Josh Feit has a long profile on Murray, who has had the busiest political year. The story went to press before the announcement of a new coalition government in Olympia, which, if it succeeds, will mean Murray, the Democrats’ choice for Senate majority leader, will be a little less busy. The coalition plan installs state Sen. Rodney Tom as the majority leader. Murray still cannot raise money for the mayor’s race while the Legislature is in session. Murray seemed to know a potential change was coming. (Read deep in the piece).
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December 6, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna opposed same-sex marriage on religious grounds during his unsuccessful bid for governor this year, but his wife, Marilyn, has a different view.
As hundreds of same-sex couples lined up to legally obtain marriage licenses for the first time Wednesday, Marilyn McKenna took to Twitter to broadcast her support for gay marriage. “Marriage is a blessing, not a political issue. We do well to remember that everyone benefits when couples commit,” she wrote.
Though he supports rights for same-sex domestic partners, Rob McKenna opposed Referendum 74, the gay marriage measure, during his campaign for governor — one point of clear contrast with his opponent, Democratic Gov.-elect Jay Inslee.
In an email to The Seattle Times, Marilyn McKenna added that while she and her husband disagree on the subject, they respect each other’s opinions. “I believe that being pro-gay marriage is completely consistent with being a Republican too. It’s a matter of personal choice that the government has no right to interfere in,” she wrote.
She added in a second email: “Both the government and the Republican Party need to get the hell out of people’s bedrooms and get a life!”
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