OLYMPIA -- State senators enterred the House of Representatives to cheers from the assembled reps, plus handshakes and hugs as they made their way to the temporary chairs set up near the desks on the floor.
It raises the question: Is this the most congenial the two chambers will be all session?
After calling both rolls, they got down to some routine but constitutional business, like declaring the winners of the statewide elections in November.
Then they sent special delegations to escort Gov. Chris Gregoire and other statewide elected officials to the House chamber. As each group arrives, the chamber stands and applauds, sits down, then stands and applauds again as they are introduced individually.
These are the outgoing statewide electeds, so outgoing Attorney General Rob McKenna may have received the biggest hand at his introduction, but that may also be because Spin Control is ensconced on the GOP side of the House chamber.
Consuls general from other countries are in the gallery and introduced by Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, prompting more standing ovations. When the consul from Croatia is introduced, House Speaker Frank Chopp, a proud Croatian American, let's out a more raucous than normal cheer, prompting a friendly admonsiment from Owen.
Gregoire arrived in the chamber with her husband, two daughters and new granddaughter Audrey Christine, aged slightly over two months, in tow. Morestanding ovations. It may be the legislators aerobic exercise for the day.
McKenna, Auditor Brian Sonntag and Secretary of State Sam Reed, who also are closing out years of service, also get a few minutes at the microphone. All the pomp and circumstance means the governor isn't likely to get down to actually speaking until 11:20 a.m. or later.
Spin Control will have a report on the speech later.