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Eye On Olympia

Archive for April 2006

Senate Republican to step down…

State Sen. Bill Finkbeiner, R-Kirkland, said Thursday that he won’t run for re-election this fall.

“At this time, my family and I have agreed that the time is right to step aside and give someone else an opportunity to represent the district as senator while I turn my attention to a career outside of politics,” Finkbeiner said in a written statement Thursday morning.

The decision leaves an open seat in a swing district — the 45th. Democrats are looking to increase their 26-vote to 23-vote control of the Senate.

Finkbeiner, a former Democrat elected to the House in 1992, later switched parties and rose to Senate Majority Leader in 2005. He stepped down this year, shortly before taking a vote that angered many of the GOP colleagues: voting yes on a bill to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The bill became law.

Finkbeiner’s working on a master’s degree.

Mexican president may visit next month…

Less than a week after Chinese President Hu Jintao’s two-day stopover, Gov. Christine Gregoire said Monday that Mexican President Vicente Fox may visit the state soon.

“Right now, every indication is he’ll be here towards the end of May,” Gregoire said, adding that she will know for sure on Tuesday.

Fox was slated to visit Washington in 2002, but in an unprecedented vote, the Mexican Senate vetoed his trip. Senators in the main opposition party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, said at the time that Fox was taking too many foreign trips and needed to deal with problems at home.

The hotel was OK, but the room service was remarkable…

Chinese President Hu Jintao got a surprise this week when he woke up on Day 2 of his swing through Seattle, en route to Washington, D.C.

Howard Schultz, chairman of Seattle-based Starbucks, and Gov. Chris Gregoire greeted Hu with, yes, a cup of Starbucks coffee.

(Photo taken by Weldon Wilson, with the Washington State Patrol.)

Photos from VP Dick Cheney visit to Everett Monday…

Photos by Richard Roesler, copyright The Spokesman-Review 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney showed up in Everett Monday to stump for a Republican congressional candidate.


Much of his 16-minute speech, however, was devoted to defending administration policy on the Iraq conflict and government surveillance.

Outside the Holiday Inn hotel where Cheney spoke, dozens of demonstrators pro and con lined a street.


After the speech, Cheney flew to Spokane for a rally-the-troops speech at Fairchild Air Force Base and a political fundraiser for GOP Senate candidate Mike McGavick, who’s challenging Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Oh, that Reed…

More than half a century ago, after floods inundated their home, William and Myrta Reed fled their island home near Washougal.

It must have been a heartbreaking decision. The couple had moved there after migrating west from their family home in Parkerbury, Iowa. They’d raised four boys on the island. The boys went to school by boat and hiking.

In 1954, the family donated Reed Island to the state of Washington, which turned it into a park. You can camp, fish, hike, swim, boat or bird-watch there. The only access is by boat.

On Friday, more than 30 Reed family members will gather on the island to dedicate a monument detailing the family history on the island. Among them: Secretary of State Sam Reed.

New(ish) poll…

Numbers from latest Strategic Vision Poll: 800 likely voters, surveyed March 24-26, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points:

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s job performance:
-Approve: 39 percent.
-Disapprove: 52 percent.

State Legislature’s job performance:
-Approve: 42 percent.
-Disapprove: 47 percent.

President George Bush’s job performance:
-Approve: 32 percent.
-Disapprove: 58 percent.

President’s handling of the conflict in Iraq:
-Approve: 26 percent.
-Disapprove: 63 percent.

Hypothetical 2008 gubernatorial faceoff between Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi:
-Rossi: 51 percent.
-Gregoire: 38 percent.

Favor the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade?
-Yes: 23 percent.
-No: 65 percent.

Favor withdrawal of U.S troops from Iraq within 6 months?
-Yes: 56 percent.
-No: 28 percent.

Sen. Maria Cantwell job performance:
-Approve: 49 percent.
-Disapprove: 32 percent.

Cantwell vs. GOP contender Mike McGavick?
-Cantwell: 49 percent.
-McGavick: 39 percent.

Bellevue lawyer files for Chief Justice’s supreme court seat…

John M. Groen, 46, an Eastern Washington native who is now a Bellevue attorney, is challenging state Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, who announced two months ago that he’s running for re-election.

“I, like most Washington citizens, feel that too many justices on this court have legislated from the bench, imposing laws rather than interpreting them,” Groen said in a written statement announcing his run.

A Kennewick High School graduate (1977), Groen lives in Redmond.

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

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