Artist Michele Rushworth paints Gov. Chris Gregoire’s official portrait

February 5, 2013

Michele Rushworth (right) holds then-Gov. Chris Gregoire’s shoulder as a workman hangs the governor’s official portrait Jan. 11 at the state Capitol. By Weldon Wilson/Washington State Patrol

Michele Rushworth (right) holds then-Gov. Chris Gregoire’s shoulder as a workman hangs the governor’s official portrait Jan. 11 at the state Capitol. By Weldon Wilson/Washington State Patrol

The scene as a workman climbed atop a desk to hang the official portrait of Gov. Chris Gregoire in the Capitol seemed surreal to the outgoing executive.

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Legislators’ priorities reflect education, transportation needs

January 15, 2013

Lawmakers confronted a familiar scenario as the Legislature convened Jan. 14 — a budget shortfall, opposing pressures to preserve essential services and rein in government spending, and a court mandate to spend more money on education.

Mark Mullet

Mark Mullet

Chad Magendanz

Chad Magendanz

Observers expect education and transportation to rank as the dominant issues in the 105-day session. The state faces a $900 million budget shortfall for 2013-15 and, in the meantime, faces a court order to increase education funding by 2018.

In addition to the statewide issues on legislators’ docket, a lobbyist hired by city leaders to represent Issaquah is in search of support for local projects, including dollars to upgrade transportation infrastructure and Lake Sammamish State Park.

Issaquah is also focused on securing state dollars for a transportation improvement district in North Issaquah near Costco headquarters and high-traffic retail centers.

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Gov. Chris Gregoire unveils official portrait by local artist

January 15, 2013

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 15, 2013

Outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire unveiled her official portrait — a 44-inch by 30-inch piece by a local artist — Jan. 11, days before she hands the reigns to Gov.-elect Jay Inslee.

Joined by family and friends at the state Capitol in Olympia, Gregoire unveiled the portrait by Michele Rushworth, a Sammamish artist known for creating portraits of leaders in government, academia, business and sports.

“To have my portrait displayed among our state’s past governors is a tremendous honor,” Gregoire said in a statement. “If only my Mom could have been here to see this today. Here I am, the daughter of a short order cook from Auburn, and the first in my family to go to college. And now my portrait will be hanging in the office of the governor of Washington, alongside those who came before. I am truly humbled.”

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Who’s News

January 8, 2013

Skyline twins to dance at inaugural ball

Skyline High School sophomore twins Karishma and Aishwarya Mandyam will be performing the Bharatanatyam dance, an ancient classical dance art form of South India, in the rotunda during the Governor’s Inaugural Ball at 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Capitol campus.

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Democrats dominate Issaquah voters’ choices

January 1, 2013

Strong get-out-the vote operation boosts candidates

Democrats dominated Issaquah in the November election.

City voters chose Democrats for every federal and statewide office on the ballot — sometimes by a broad margin and others by a handful of votes.

Issaquah overwhelmingly supported Democrats in the races for president and vice president, U.S. senator and U.S. representative, and every statewide office. Only incumbent Republican Steve Litzow, a 41st Legislative District state senator representing about half of Issaquah, earned support from a majority of voters inside city limits.

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How did Issaquah vote?

January 1, 2013

City-level results from the November election show Issaquah voters followed statewide trends on some issues, or occasionally chose another direction.

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Leaders call for 8-cent gas tax hike to fund ailing roads

January 1, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 1, 2013

King County leaders asked state legislators for a gas tax increase and for the ability for counties to collect a vehicle tab fee for road maintenance.

In a letter to lawmakers last month, Eastside elected leaders joined King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn asked legislators to raise the gas tax by 8 cents to fund ailing roads.

The proposal offered from Constantine, McGinn and the Sound Cities Association calls for 65 percent of gas tax revenue to go to the state and 35 percent to go to local transportation projects.

(Issaquah a member city in the Sound Cities Association, a regional advocacy group once called the Suburban Cities Association.)

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Students choose Barack Obama, Jay Inslee in mock election

November 27, 2012

Students statewide and in the Issaquah School District chose the same candidates as grown-up voters — Barack Obama for president and Jay Inslee for governor.

The exercise included 38,848 students statewide, including classes at Cascade Ridge Elementary, Endeavour Elementary, Sunset Elementary, Pine Lake Middle and Issaquah High schools in the Issaquah School District.

The number of students participating statewide shattered the record for participation — about 18,000 students — set in 2008.

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Maria Cantwell discusses jobs, stumps for votes in Gilman Village

November 13, 2012

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell focused on the economy and education during a campaign stop at Issaquah’s Gilman Village early Nov. 2, and urged voters to return ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Maria Cantwell

Cantwell’s 26-city “Jobs for Washington” bus tour across the state stopped at the Issaquah Coffee Co. In remarks to a group of sign-toting Democrats and local dignitaries, she emphasized efforts to aid small businesses since the economy collapsed in 2008.

“In my opinion, a lot of money went to Wall Street and the five big banks, and Main Street got the short end of the stick,” she said. “Well, we worked hard to try to correct that by passing a new bill to help support community banks who would lend to small business. In fact, that program helped banks from Issaquah to Bellingham increase their lending to small businesses by as much as 24 percent.”

Cantwell said Eastside residents — and a workforce defined by Boeing engineers and Microsoft programmers — value quality education.

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Students choose Barack Obama, Jay Inslee in mock election

November 13, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 13, 2012

Students statewide and in the Issaquah School District chose the same candidates as grown-up voters — Barack Obama for president and Jay Inslee for governor.

The exercise included 38,848 students statewide, including classes at Cascade Ridge Elementary, Endeavour Elementary, Sunset Elementary, Pine Lake Middle and Issaquah High schools in the Issaquah School District. The number of students participating statewide shattered the record for participation — about 18,000 students — set in 2008.

Students cast ballots online from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, and then Secretary of State Sam Reed’s office posted the results online. The results in the statewide Student Mock Election reflected the outcome in the real election, albeit with different margins.

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