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Eye On Olympia

Archive for July 2003

And then they commenced to fightin’…

U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, a Republican, said Wednesday that he’s going to try to unseat Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.
The state Democratic Party promptly blasted Nethercutt with both barrels, unleashing a four-page press release that described Nethercutt as opposing everything from homeland security to school lunches to medical care for veterans.
Party chair Paul Berendt called Nethercutt a liar and a “poodle for the national Republicans.”
“Nethercutt has bigger problems than being from Eastern Washington,” said Berendt, who, we can’t help but note, grew up in Pend Oreille County.
Republicans, late in the day, responded.
“I want to briefly give you some information on George’s background for those of you who aren’t familiar with him or who have only read the state Democrats’ humdinger of a news release this afternoon that portrayed George as a horrible person who is basically responsible for all the world’s ills,” wrote state GOP chair Chris Vance. He went on to describe Nethercutt, basically, as a hard-working, nice guy with a heart — and a candidate who can beat Murray.
“The state Democrats’ early mudslinging and name-calling is a clear indicator that they also see Patty’s vulnerability,” Vance wrote.
Stay tuned. Only 17 months to the election…

Ron Sims running for governor…

Spokane-raised Ron Sims, who has been King County Executive for the past seven years, announced Tuesday that he’s running for governor.
Announcing his candidacy on a Seattle pier, Sims touted his Eastern Washington roots, and promised to work hard to improve the economy throughout the entire state.
“For too long, Eastern Washington has been relegated to the kids’ table in Olympia,” he said. “No more.”
Sims’ announcement brings to three the number of Democratic contenders for Gov. Gary Locke’s seat. Locke is stepping down to spend more time with his family.
Also running: Attorney General Christine Gregoire, who plans a five-city tour tomorrow to promote her recently announced candidacy, and former state Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge, who announced he was running months before Locke decided not to run for re-election.

Locke won’t seek third term…

Saying that being a good husband and father is more important to him than being governor, Gary Locke said Monday morning that he will not run for re-election next year.
“After much thought and careful deliberation with my family, I have decided not to seek a third term as governor of Washington state,” Locke said.
In his remaining year, the governor said he will work hard on education, jobs, health care, economic competitiveness and the environment.
Locke’s decision will leave a wide-open race. Among the possible Democratic contenders: Former Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge — who’s already running — as well as Attorney General Christine Gregoire and King County Executive Ron Sims. On the Republican side, former Microsoft executive Bob Herbold is reportedly considering throwing his hat into the ring.

Ergo, an initiative…

Foes of new state rules about workplace repetitive-motion injuries on Tuesday took a big step toward overturning those rules. They delivered roughly 260,000 signatures to the state Secretary of State’s office. That’s more than enough, if validated by spot checks, to give voters a chance to repeal the controversial ergonomics rules at the ballot box in November.
Business groups, particularly those representing small-businesses, say the rules are complex and arbitrary, and would cost businesses hundreds of millions of dollars.
Labor groups say the rules, the strictest in the country, will help prevent unnecessary workplace injuries.
Trying to steer a course between the two sides, Gov. Gary Locke last year ordered a two-year delay in enforcement of the rules.
Clerks at the Secretary of State’s office will now compare a sampling of the signatures — which have to be from Washington voters — against voter registration forms. If things check out OK, look for the word “ergonomics” to appear on the fall ballot — and in a lot of political ads in the coming months.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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