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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: education

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April 17, 2012 at 8:15 AM

At Virginia Tech, a chant of hope springs anew on five-year anniversary of tragedy

VA Tech students hold candles during campus memorial on April 16, 2012. Virginia Tech students lighted candles in a breathtaking tribute near the end of a moving memorial Monday night in Blacksburg, VA. (Photo by Thor Tolo / UW Election Eye)

Virginia Tech students hold candles during campus memorial on April 16, 2012. Students lighted candles in a  tribute near the end of a memorial in Blacksburg, Va. (Photo by Thor Tolo/UW Election Eye)

Five years ago yesterday, Virginia Polytechnic Institute senior Seung Hui Cho shot and killed 32 students and wounded 25 more on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg. It remains the deadliest massacre by a single person in the history of our country.

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The warm night air of this college town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains came alive Monday with a joyful noise — the aching sounds of sadness pierced on Virginia Tech’s campus just past 8:40.

“Let’s go!” the chant began. “Ho-kies!” it ended.

No one here will forget the 32 deadly gunshots delivered five years ago on this campus in the worst mass school shooting in U.S. history. But the mountains, the students, and the locals are thirsty for more of that century-old chant.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Blacksburg, Blue Ridge Mountains, Bob McDonnell

April 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Young candidate hopes to inspire Latino voters in Yakima

Central Washington University student Pablo Gonzalez is currently the only Democrat in the race in the 15th LD.(Photo courtesy Pablo Gonzalez)

Pablo Gonzalez, a senior at Central Washington University, has entered the race for representative in the 15th Legislative District. He’s a moderate Democrat from a Latino background, and is running in the state’s only district with a Hispanic majority.

Pablo Gonzalez is no stranger to beginning the day in a race against the clock.

Like any college student, most days he leaves the house before he even has time to eat breakfast.

But unlike most college students who leave home without a second to spare, Gonzalez is not trying to catch a bus or make it to class on time. He is trying to win an election.

Hailing from a small town in the Yakima Valley and now finishing up his final quarters at Central Washington University, Gonzalez is gearing up to run for representative in the 15th Legislative District, position 2. He is the only Democrat in the race at this time, and the current representative, David Taylor (R), has not yet officially declared.


Comments | More in State | Topics: 15th Legislative District, Central Washington University, David Taylor

April 12, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Redistricting makes massive 9th LD even more rural, conservative

Rep. Joe Schmick (R) of the 9th LD poses on his family farm. When he's not in Olympia, he spends his days harvesting and managing a small business.

Rep. Joe Schmick (R) of the 9th LD poses on his family farm. When he's not in Olympia, he spends his days harvesting and managing a small business. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Joe Schmick)

It’s a long haul from Southeastern Washington to Olympia, but the same issues of education and changing demographics hit home out on the farm.

This time of year Rep. Joe Schmick (R) of the 9th LD, can’t help but miss the routine of daily life back home. A second-generation farmer, Schmick lives in Colfax in the southeastern corner of Washington state, where he grows garbanzo beans and a handful of other crops. While his neighbors and constituents ready their fields, Schmick uproots to Olympia, where he lives in a trailer in a campground just outside the Capitol.

“We’re either going 100 miles an hour, or doing zero,” he said of the pace of legislative life.

But in that regard, Schmick’s family history of farming has helped him in Olympia. It’s his familiarity with the working man that he says distinguishes him from other figures in the political arena.

“There are too few people [in Olympia] that sign the front side of a paycheck or have to balance not just a household budget but a business budget,” says his colleague Sen. Mark Schoesler (R), also of the 9th district.


Comments | More in State | Topics: 9th legislative district, Demographics, education

April 12, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Storify: State GOP and Dem officials throw down in Twitter battle

In a Twitter fight Tuesday, Benton Strong of the Wash. Democrats and Josh Amato of the Wash. Republicans slung tweets about the costs of a special election to replace Inslee. The fight reflects the partisan brawl about these costs, as well as how communications directors spend their free time.

Continue after the jump to view the full story — tweets and all.


Comments | Topics: Benton Strong, Campaign Finance, campaign oddities

February 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM

In search of Sheldon Adelson, finding a UW alum and a community treasure

The entrance to the Adelson Educational Campus in Summerlin, NV is a shining glass dome. We visited the private Jewish community school the Friday before the state's caucus. (Photo courtesy of

LAS VEGAS — Media and punditry buzz over Sheldon Adelson hit a crescendo this week. Time, then, for us to get an insider’s view of the impact of this multi-billionaire casino mogul and entrepreneur — literally.

We did, thanks to a UW alum in the desert.

Adelson is the multi-billionaire casino mogul who has bankrolled the Newt Gingrich campaign with millions of dollars in super PAC donations. He has a reach that is far and wide in Las Vegas.

We decided to go to a place that has received a great deal of attention: the Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus (AEC), where the highest-profile Republican caucus in the state was held last night, after other caucus sites were closed, for citizens whose religious faith precluded them from caucusing during Saturday daytime.

What we found was not Adelson, but a Jewish community centerpiece.

UW Election Eye colleagues David Domke, A. V. Crofts and I drove north from downtown, to an area of gated communities and tan, Spanish-style buildings. This had manicured written all over it, and I questioned if we would be able to enter the campus. Recollections of my own time at a Jewish Day School in Bellevue told me to expect a protective fence.

And we found one, a tall, strong fence, with a security guard in front of it. With a school logo on his jacket, the guard asked to see our credentials. He crosschecked the schedule of visits — the three of us knew we weren’t on it, and we braced ourselves to be summarily dismissed. Not finding our name, the guard called into the school to check if someone there was expecting us. That was going to be another no-go, we knew.

“We have about a 30 percent chance of getting into this place,” Domke said. I thought this was wildly optimistic.

Soon an employee emerged from behind the fence and curtly told us that we did not have an appointment, and informed us in no uncertain terms that we would not be entering — unless we wanted to return for the public caucus.

Domke asked if there was any possible way to talk to someone else. The guard mentioned a name and said we could call her. He did not offer a phone number, but I had it. Domke dialed, and while he did, I snuck away to snap whatever photos I could of the elusive school. We would be leaving in about 60 seconds, I figured, so I’d get what I could.

Moving along the tall shrubbery, I caught glimpses of the buildings inside. A glass dome, artfully flanked by palm trees, marked the school’s entrance. In front of the doors, twin metal doves arched their wings skyward atop an outdoor statue. As I contorted to try to get the best photo angle of the flying Israeli flag, Domke called me over.

We were going in.

It turns out that the school’s Director of Development is a 1997 University of Washington graduate. When we agreed to focus on the school and not the caucus, she agreed to give us 10 minutes, but with no quotes on the record.

She ended up giving us 45 minutes, a tour, and a recorded interview.


Comments | Topics: Caucuses, Cultural sights, education