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Eye On Olympia

A candidate I-1000 backers would rather not see…

It’s not often that we Washingtonians pay much attention to congressional races in Michigan, but you can rest assured that there are some folks very unhappy with a certain independent’s recently-announced long-shot campaign.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, 79, says he’ll run for a seat representing the Detroit suburbs. The assisted-suicide proponent known as “Dr. Death,” Kevorkian, allegedly helped more than 100 people die before being sent to prison for eight years for second-degree murder. He was recently released.

His candidacy comes at the very time that former Washington Gov. Booth Gardner is spearheading a Death-With-Dignity measure patterned after Oregon’s decade-old assisted-suicide law. Oregon is the only state with such a law.

Kevorkian’s name came up frequently in a recent court hearing at which I-1000 critics and proponents clashed over the ballot language. Foes of the measure wanted it to say “physician-assisted suicide”; backers argue that it’s not suicide because the terminally ill people affected by the law cannot choose life. Plus, they say, the physician would only prescribe, not administer, lethal medication.

The term, I-1000 attorney Jessica Skelton told a Thurston County judge recently, suggests that a doctor “would administer the medication in the style of Mr. Kevorkian.”

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

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