Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, lawmakers cancel events

January 18, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 18, 2012

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders and local lawmakers canceled planned Wednesday events amid a major snowstorm.

The chamber’s membership luncheon scheduled for noon had to be called off due to the weather. If attends prepaid for the event online, the chamber intends to issue a credit for another membership luncheon.

The chamber still plans to hold the I-90 Networking Breakfast on Friday, but chamber representatives said the schedule could change, depending on conditions.

State Reps. Judy Clibborn and Marcie Maxwell — 41st Legislative District Democrats representing West Issaquah — canceled a telephone “town hall” meeting scheduled for Wednesday due to concerns about transportation and weather.

The representatives plan to conduct a town hall-style meeting in person next month, and to reschedule a telephone “town hall” meeting for later in the legislative session or after the session concludes.

Issaquah lawmakers rank high on missed votes tally

June 14, 2011

The lawmakers representing Issaquah and the 5th Legislative District in Olympia ranked near the top for the number of missed votes during the 2011 regular and special sessions.
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State encourages hiring preferences for veterans

May 24, 2011

Issaquah attorney, lawmaker team up for groundbreaking legislation

Ted Wicorek (from right), J.W. Johnson, Booker Stallworth, Mike Gregoire, Gov. Chris Gregoire, Jim Robinson, Marjorie James, Rep. Jay Rodne, Sen. Jeff Baxter, David Black Jr. and Tom Hinman at the Wednesday signing ceremony. Contributed

David Black, a respected employment attorney and Issaquah resident, remembers the challenges his father, a Vietnam War veteran, faced after returning to the civilian workforce.

“He had a really hard time getting employment when I was growing up,” he said. “I remember him having three or four part-time jobs trying to piece something together, trying to make things work.”

Black stood alongside Gov. Chris Gregoire, state legislators and advocates late last month as the governor signed a first-in-the-nation measure to encourage private employers in Washington to hire veterans.

The legislation Black crafted and helped to pass enables private employers to voluntarily give preference to hiring veterans, or veterans’ widows and widowers.

Because the measure encourages, rather than requires, private employers to give preference to hiring veterans, the legislation does not run afoul of state or federal antidiscrimination laws. State law also prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants due to military status.

“The way to encourage positive employment regulation that has a social origin or a social benefit as well is to make it permissive and to encourage it,” Black said.

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Press Editorial

March 8, 2011

Legislators need your input more than ever

State representatives will be more approachable than ever this Saturday, March 12. Constituents from both the 5th and 41st legislative districts might want to save the date for a face-to-face opportunity to share views about reduced services and possible fees now before the Legislature.

Your representatives are prepared to hear from you about increased classroom sizes in public schools, benefit changes for state employees, reduced road maintenance, tolling of the two Lake Washington bridges, user fees/permits for state parks, increases in college tuition, a proposed new tax district to pay for ferries, closure of mental health facilities, loss of state sponsored health insurance for children and myriad other issues heavy on your mind.

Hearing from the voters is what will help drive the tough decisions legislators are contemplating now to address a $4.6 billion deficit in the 2011-13 state budget.

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Meet legislators at town hall meetings Saturday

March 7, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. March 7, 2011

The bipartisan delegation representing the 41st Legislative District is hosting town hall meetings Saturday.

State Sen. Steve Litzow, a Republican, and state Reps. Judy Clibborn and Marcie Maxwell, both Democrats, represent western Issaquah, including Talus and other Cougar Mountain communities.

Meet the delegation at meetings scheduled for 10 a.m. at Hazelwood Elementary School, 116th Ave. S.E., Newcastle, and for 1:30 p.m. at Mercer Island High School, 9100 S.E. 42nd St.

Citizens can receive updates about the ongoing legislative session, and share questions, comments and concerns about legislation, state government and issues affecting the district.

The state faces a $4.6 billion hole in the budget for 2011-13. Residents could face increased fees and reduced services from state agencies, and larger class sizes in schools as a result of widespread cuts.

5th Legislative District lawmakers also plan a town hall meeting at Issaquah City Hall on the same day.

Issaquah legislators receive assignments to influential committees

December 29, 2010

NEW — 4 p.m. Dec. 29, 2010

Issaquah legislators continue to pick up key committees assignments, lending area residents a stronger stake in education and fiscal matters.

Legislators return to Olympia on Jan. 5 for the regular session — and to confront a $4.6 billion budget gap.

Issaquah is spread across the 5th, 4lst and 48th legislative districts. The local delegation includes a half-dozen representatives and three senators.

State Sen. Steve Litzow, a Republican freshman from Mercer Island, has been named the ranking member on the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. GOP senators also selected Litzow for the Transportation and the Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance committees.

“Education is my No. 1 priority as a legislator,” he said in a statement. “During my campaign, I promised to put our schools first. I am honored that my colleagues have chosen me for this leadership role. I look forward to working with 41st District parents and teachers, and with stakeholders across the state on issues that affect our schools and our children.”

Litzow represents Cougar Mountain neighborhoods in Issaquah and other 41st Legislative District communities.

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Issaquah residents defied trends in November election

December 14, 2010

The ballot measure to create a state income tax failed just about everywhere outside of left-leaning Seattle and Vashon Island — except for a precinct nestled along Lake Sammamish.

Initiative 1098 received ironclad support — 80 percent — in the precinct. The catch: King County records indicate the precinct has 11 registered voters; 10 participated in the Nov. 2 election.

The information about the Lake Sammamish precinct comes from a detailed analysis of the precinct results in the recent election. (Issaquah is carved into 30 precincts.)

The neighborhood-level data — released a month after the election — illustrates how the Issaquah electorate bucked state trends on some issues and rejected incumbents even as the candidates cruised to re-election.

The dueling liquor initiatives on the ballot, 1100 and 1105, received uneven support from Issaquah voters.

Initiative 1100, a liquor privatization measure backed by Issaquah-based Costco — the largest employer in the city — received broad backing in the city even as the measure came up short statewide.

Initiative 1105 failed in every Issaquah precinct and only managed to garner 35 percent of the vote statewide.

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Steve Litzow elected to represent Issaquah in state Senate

December 7, 2010

Republican defeated incumbent Randy Gordon for seat

The last undecided race to represent Issaquah in Olympia came to a close Dec. 3, more than a month after Election Day.

Republican Steve Litzow defeated appointed incumbent Randy Gordon to represent the 41st Legislative District in the state Senate. The district includes Talus and other Cougar Mountain communities in Issaquah, plus Mercer Island, Newcastle and rural King County.

State Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson (right) administers the oath of office to new state Sen. Steve Litzow at the Capitol in Olympia on Dec. 6. Contributed

Democrat Gordon trailed Litzow by more than 1,000 votes in the days after the Nov. 2 election. The gap between the candidates slimmed to 194 votes — or 0.32 percent — as the county tallied ballots. Litzow clinched the seat by 192 votes after the recount.

Under state law, a machine recount is required if the difference between the candidates is less than 2,000 votes and also less than one-half of 1 percent of the total number of votes cast for both candidates. King County Elections tallied 63,361 ballots in the race.

The elections office completed the mandatory recount for the contest Dec. 1 and King County Canvassing Board members certified the recount results Dec. 3.

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Republican tide ebbs in Issaquah-area races

November 9, 2010

Both parties highlight successes in local contests

The national GOP tsunami carried Republicans into statehouses across the nation on Election Day, but in Washington, the wave amounted to little more than a gentle crest.

Republicans did not dislodge Democrats from majorities in the state Senate or state House of Representatives, but candidates faced a testier electorate, and Democrats face shrunken majorities in both chambers.

Despite strong candidates and a favorable political environment, Republicans did not reclaim a majority in Issaquah-area statehouse seats.

Democrats and Republicans trumpeted successes in the days after Election Day, as elections offices tallied the remaining ballots for statehouse contests.

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Local races remain unresolved as ballot count resumes for another week

November 7, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 7, 2010

King County Elections concluded four days of ballot counts Friday, but the latest batch of results did little to clarify the outcome in still-unresolved Issaquah-area races.

The elections office added 74,265 ballots to the tally Friday to bring the total number of ballots counted to 569,743. The office reports the next results at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Since Election Day, the tight state Senate race in the 48th Legislative District seesawed to favor Democrat Rodney Tom.

The incumbent lagged behind Republican challenger Gregg Bennett on election night, but Tom has built a 1,010-vote lead in days since.

Democrat Ross Hunter, a 48th District representative, solidified a lead against Republican Diane Tebelius. The margin between the candidates increased to 1,824 votes by Friday.

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