Acrimonious 5th Legislative District contest could reshape state Senate

October 16, 2012

Mark Mullet

Brad Toft

The candidate no longer in the race looms over the contest for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat.

Cheryl Pflug, a Republican former senator and erstwhile candidate, is a constant presence in the race — in television spots supporting the Democrat in the contest and in diatribes from Republicans.

The acrimonious race to succeed Pflug pits the Democrat, Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet, against Republican Brad Toft, a manager for a national financial services firm and a Snoqualmie resident.

In a race focused on the economy and education, distractions abound — including Toft’s past legal troubles and accusations of dirty campaign tactics from both sides.

Toft entered the race late last year, before Mullet announced plans to run and Pflug filed for re-election.

Read more

Press Editorial

October 16, 2012

Vote to approve same-sex marriage

Referendum 74 offers Washington voters a historic chance to expand civil rights to same-sex couples.

In February, after receiving crucial support from local lawmakers in the state House of Representatives and state Senate, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed landmark legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Opponents petitioned to put the measure before voters on the November ballot.

Washington already affords rights to same-sex couples, but the existing law is incomplete. Marriage is a basic civil right.

In 2009, voters approved Referendum 71, or the state’s “everything-but-marriage” law, to expand domestic partnership rights. Both sides in the R-74 campaign realize marriage — both the institution and the word — is the key piece missing from existing state law.

Read more

October, Disaster Preparedness Month, includes earthquake drill

October 4, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 4, 2012

October is Disaster Preparedness Month in Washington.

In a Disaster Preparedness Month proclamation, Gov. Chris Gregoire urged residents to take appropriate actions to prepare for future emergencies. The observance also includes a statewide drop, cover and hold earthquake drill.

The drill, dubbed the Great Washington ShakeOut, is scheduled for 10:18 a.m. Oct. 18. The regional earthquake exercise includes participants in California, Idaho, Oregon and across the border in British Columbia.

The effort is designed to emphasize the importance of emergency preparedness at home, school and the workplace.

Read more

Leaders celebrate 75th anniversary of wildlife law

October 2, 2012

State leaders recently celebrated a federal law passed 75 years ago to help Washington and other states manage wildlife, purchase habitat and educate hunters.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson said the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, has provided Washington with about $7 million in recent years to support wildlife conservation and hunter education initiatives.

Sept. 2 marked 75 years since Roosevelt signed the legislation into law.

Congress and the president enacted the measure at the urging of organized outdoor groups, state wildlife agencies, and the firearms and ammunition industries. The legislation extended the existing 11-percent excise tax on sport hunting ammunition and firearms and earmarked the proceeds for state investments in wildlife conservation.

Personal stories define Referendum 74 discussion

September 25, 2012

Dana Alixander (left) and partner Sage Alixander stand on the staircase of their Sammamish home with their California-issued marriage license and photographs chronicling their life together. By Greg Farrar

In the moments before the state Senate voted on a landmark same-sex marriage bill Feb. 1, Dana Alixander joined other supporters in the gallery overlooking the chamber.

“I was there, waiting for history to happen — and terrified that it wouldn’t,” she said in a recent interview.

Legislators, after impassioned debate, passed the bill and sent the measure to the state House of Representatives for consideration. In February, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the legislation as supporters looked on from the packed State Reception Room at the Capitol.

The measure, Referendum 74, goes before voters on the November ballot. Opponents to the same-sex marriage law gathered enough voter signatures to put the measure before the electorate.

R-74 is the centerpiece in a high-dollar, high-profile contest in the national battle between same-sex proponents and foes.

Alixander headed to Olympia to support marriage rights — a long-running fight for the Sammamish resident and partner of 22 years, Sage. (In 2008, Sage and Dana got married in California before Proposition 8 outlawed same-sex marriages there.)

Read more

Gov. Chris Gregoire to visit Costco on Korea trade mission

September 25, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Sept. 25, 2012

Gov. Chris Gregoire plans to a visit a Costco in South Korea on a trade mission to tout Washington companies and products.

Issaquah-based Costco operates eight warehouses in South Korea. Gregoire’s visit to the warehouse is meant to promote Washington foods.

The governor is due to depart Sept. 30 on a 10-day trade mission to India and South Korea. The governor, alongside almost 50 Washington business, education and government leaders, plan to promote Evergreen State agriculture, commerce and technology on the trip.

Gregoire is visiting South Korea at the request of President Lee Myung-bak. Lee extended the invitation during a visit to Washington last year.

Read more

Issaquah election results offer clues to November

September 18, 2012

King County is a hard-fought battleground in the race for governor, and the August primary election results for Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna confirm Issaquah is closely divided, too.

Only 150 votes separated McKenna from Inslee among Issaquah voters last month. In 2004, for comparison, 133 votes statewide decided the contest between Chris Gregoire and Dino Rossi.

The information comes from a detailed analysis of precinct results in the Aug. 7 election. Elsewhere on the ballot, Issaquah voters endorsed incumbents, and rejected past and present state legislators’ bids for higher office.

Read more

State receives $22 million for salmon recovery projects

September 11, 2012

State salmon recovery managers received $22 million to support restoration projects statewide, officials announced Sept. 6.

The total includes $15 million for the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to award as competitive grants for projects statewide. In addition, $3.3 million from the federal grant goes to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for hatchery and harvest reform projects.

“A healthy Washington state economy is reliant on healthy salmon populations,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement. “Salmon support jobs and small businesses — especially our mom-and-pop tackle shops, restaurants, fishing guides and hotels.”

Recreational salmon fishing creates almost $130 million in economic activity annually, according to a 2006 Department of Fish and Wildlife study.

Washington receives $22 million for salmon recovery projects

September 8, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 8, 2012

State salmon recovery managers received $22 million to support restoration projects statewide.

The total includes $15 million for the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to award as competitive grants for projects statewide. Officials announced the $22 million federal grant Sept. 6.

In addition, $3.3 million from the federal grant goes to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for hatchery and harvest reform projects. Projects to monitor the effectiveness of state efforts receive $2.9 million.

“A healthy Washington state economy is reliant on healthy salmon populations,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a statement. “Salmon support jobs and small businesses — especially our mom-and-pop tackle shops, restaurants, fishing guides and hotels.”

Read more

Leaders mark 75th anniversary of wildlife restoration law

September 4, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 4, 2012

State leaders recently celebrated a federal law passed 75 years ago to help Washington and other states manage wildlife, purchase habitat and educate hunters.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson said the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, provided Washington with millions of dollars to support wildlife conservation and hunter education initiatives.

Sept. 2 marked 75 years since Roosevelt signed the legislation into law.

The law is better known as the Pittman-Robertson Act after the prime sponsors, U.S. Sen. Key Pittman, D-Nev., and U.S. Rep. A. Willis Robertson, D-Va.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »