Posts tagged: Chris Gregoire
Gregoire's last press conference, an impromptu one, as she stopped at one of the Capitol press houses to say goodbye to reporters.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire pointedly refused to rule out the job of U.S. Interior Secretary, or any other spot in the Obama Administration, as she prepared to turn over the keys to the governor's office to Jay Inslee this morning.
She said she's been too focused on a deal struck with the federal government over continuing cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to entertain thoughts about her next job. When asked if she'd be interested in taking over at Interior for Ken Salazar, who announced he's retiring, she replied:
“When you're called to serve, you respond to the call,” she said, but wouldn't sSkay if she'd been asked to consider that or any other post. “I'll wait. I'll see… I've had offers heare and around the country.”
Her immediate plans? Skiiing in Idaho with college friends who have an annual trip she's had to skip for the last eight years, because it always comes when the Legislature is in session.
She turns over the keys to the office to Inslee at noon. Her flight to Boise leaves at 2:20 p.m.
Don’t rest on your laurels, she said on her last full day in office, give the state better schools and roads. And, in a message that may have little traction with her replacement or the Republican-dominated coalition that runs the Senate, she suggested they may have to raise taxes to get the important things done.
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OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire gives her final state of the state address this morning to a joint session of Congress in what might be regarded as “speech week.”
There were speeches yesterday for the opening day of the Legislative session, and there will be an inaugural address tomorrow after Jay Inslee is sworn in as the new governor.
Today's speech will have all the usually trappings of a state-of-the-state, with a ceremonial entrance of senators into the House chamber and dignitaries in the gallery.
Later today, the House Government Accountability and Operations Committee gets an update on liquor privatization and, as Dr. Phil would say “how's that working for you?”
OLYMPIA — The walls of the lobby of the governor's office are decorated with portraits the former occupants of that position. So with Chris Gregoire about to assume the title of “former Gov.” her portrait was unveiled Friday afternoon in the Capitol.
Seattle artist Michele Rushworth, who also did Gary Locke's portrati produced the 44-inch by 30-inch oil on canvas portrait, andput the Temple of Justice in the background to remind folks that Gregoire was attorney general before she was governor.
Gregoire is the 22nd governor, and there's not room for 22 portraits on the walls of the main lobby. So what happens to the overflow? Turns out that the portraits are moved to make room for the most recent ex-governor, and everyone else moves clockwise around the room and down the hall. Except for the first territorial governor and the first state governor, who stay in their places of honor.
Honor is a relative thing, as anyone who has ever been in the lobby when grade school class tours come through and listen to youngsters talk about the funny looking folks with their strange clothes hanging on the wall.
She called the former “simply unacceptable” because it cuts money for public schools, colleges, local governments and social programs.
The latter, she said, was a “balanced solution” that accounts for savings the state has made through consolidations and better management practices, and again cancels raises for public school teachers that were approved by voters in 2000 but rarely funded since. But that budget spends more . . .
OLYMPIA — As state leaders weigh in with shock, sadness and support for the families of the Connecticut shooting victims, Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered state flags lowered to half-staff through Tuesday.
Gregoire called the shootings in Newtown, Conn., “incomprehensible” adding “all Washingtonians stand with me in expressing our profound sorrow and grief.”
Governor-elect Jay Inslee called it “an incredibly dark day for our nation” and a day of mourning. “But in the days to come I will be listening to all in our community with ideas for how we can prevent such violence.”
Spokane Mayor David Condon described the community as “heartbroken” but said the city and school district have a commitment to student safety. “The City of Spokane and Spokane Public Schools work closely together in many ways to help ensure that our kids are safe at school and within our community.”
Sen. Ed Murray of Seattle, the Senate Democratic leader, called it a “horrendous, senseless shooting” but the kind of violent action that is becoming too frequent. “I believe we are long overdue to have the politically difficult discussion of how we prevent them.”
OLYMPIA – Washington will be “following the will of the voters and moving ahead” with setting up ways that adults can legally obtain marijuana for recreational use, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday after meeting with federal law enforcement officials.
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Gov.Chris Gregoire as Alice, and husband Mike greet trick or treater Jack Kesler, age 2 1/2 at the Governor's Mansion.
OLYMPIA — One thing Gov. Chris Gregoire is likely to miss when she leaves office at the end of this year is Halloween trick or treat at the Governor's Mansion.
This year, Gregoire dressed up as Alice of Wonderland fame, husband Mike was the White Rabbit and various staff were characters from Lewis Carroll's books like Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee or the Queen of Hearts.
Kids in Olympia might miss it too. She gives out the big, full-sized candy bars.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire and her husband Mike have picked out their costumes to greet trick-or-treaters next week.
The governor will be appearing as Alice, of Wonderland fame. Mike Gregoire will be dressed as the White Rabbit.
During Gregoire's tenure, the mansion has been open to trick-or-treaters for a couple hours on Halloween, with the first couple basing costumes on everything from Sesame Street to the Addams Family. This year, they'll be answering the door from 6 to 8 p.m.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire served warning today to her two would-be successors that the budget plans they push on the campaign trail won't work, and they'll need to find some sort of new revenue — usually translated as a tax increase — to balance the budget and meet the demand for better public schools.
At a press conference to announce a new federal waiver that will help the state save money by developing a new program for residents eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, Gregoire said she was looking at a revenue increase for the 2013-15 budget she will propose next month.
Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, a fellow Democrat, and Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, both have said they will not raise taxes if they are elected. Gregoire essentially dismissed that talk as standard campaign rhetoric.
“I'm not running for office,” she said. They're candidates and “I'm a realist.”
“I'm telling both candidates I don't know how you can meet your obligations for McLeary without new revenue,” she said, referring to a state Supreme Court ruling that says the state needs to spend more to meet its constitutional requirements to fund basic education.
Inslee has said he can avoid a tax increase, in part, by finding savings in the state budget through the use of better management, known as “Lean” management. But Gregoire has already institute Lean management, and attended a conference earlier this week to discuss the progress made so far. It won't provide enough savings to free up the $1.1 billion needed to meet the needed improvements to public schools in 2013-15, she said, adding that she still supports Inslee, even though she disagrees with him on this.
McKenna is also wrong when he says he can find the money for better schools by capping the growth of other state programs, she said. Many programs aren't scheduled to grow as much as his proposed cap, and when costs go up in some programs, driven by a growing number of children in schools, families on social services or felons in prisons, the state doesn't have the flexibility not to pay.
“When your case load goes up, you have to match it,” she said.
Both candidates have mentioned closing tax loopholes — credits or exemptions offered to certain businesses or industries to stimulate the economy and increase jobs. Gregoire said she said the same thing in 2004, when she was a first-time candidate for governor. But each exemption has a constituency that lobbied the Legislature to approve it, and will fight to keep it.
“You better be ready with a two-thirds vote” in both houses, which is what is currently required for removing any exemptions, she said.
Gregoire does have her budget staff reviewing ways to increase state revenues to include in the 2013-15 budget that she will propose later this year. “I have to, as part of my budget, put forth a solution.”
They're looking for something that has the capacity to grow, would be considered fair, and survive a vote of the public, she said.
“I don't know what that is,” she said. “Nothing is off the table.”
The National Organization for Marriage, which is opposing the ballot measure which would let Washington recognize same-sex marriage, posted a video on its blog that suggests President Obama was hiding his support for such unions for several months.
It's a clip of Gov. Chris Gregoire telling a group that when Obama visited Washington state in February right after she'd signed the bill that's behind Referendum 74, the president whispered in her ear to thank her for that and said “history will be on our side.”
Note the use of the first person plural.
It wasn't until May that Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, saying up until then only that his position was “evolving.” Gregoire's remarks suggest the evolution was complete months before, NOM contends, wondering if other politicians also were receiving “secret support” from the president to change marriage laws.
So where does this video come from?
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OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire is extending the fire emergency for all counties east of the Cascade Crest, which means the Washington National Guard will continue to help fighting wildfires and the burn ban stays in effect until at least next Monday at midnight.
Gregoire announced the extension while touring the town of Liberty and visiting with evacuees from fires in Kittitas County. The First Creek Fire was burning about four miles outside of town.
The burn ban means no outdoor burning in those East Side counties. That includes camp fires, bonfires, residential trash or brush cleanup fires, as well as no fireworks of any kind.
Gas stoves are permitted, as are charcoal grills at homes provided the stoves or barbecues are set up on nonflammabe surfaces and kept at least five feet away from flammable materials like dried vegetation.
Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark said with no rain in sight, the state is “in for a long haul.”
OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire is activating some National Guard units to help fight fires in Eastern Washington in what she labeled “one of the worst fire situations I can recall” during her tenure.
The activation order is part of an emergency proclamation Gregoire signed Thursday. It calls for air support from the Guard to help fight fires;, directs state agencies to do “everything reasonably possible” to help cities, towns and counties respond to fires and recover from them; and calls on the state Emergency Operations Center to coordinate all efforts.
As of late Thursday, fires were threatening more than 500 homes and prompted numerous evacuations, Gregoire said in the emergency proclamation, and resources throughout the state are limited because of firefighting efforts throughout the region.
In defending her budget votes to a group of activists this week, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Gov. Chris Gregoire and legislators are in a better position to know what’s best for Medicaid, the program that provides medical care for low-income residents.
“I voted to save these programs,” McMorris Rodgers said of her vote for a House GOP budget plan crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
But the budget plan she supported makes a significant change to Medicaid that Gregoire strenuously opposes. It would turn the federal share of that program into a “block grant”, a lump sum payment.
“I remain strongly opposed to any congressional effort to impose Medicaid as a block grant program in Washington,” Gregoire wrote in a recent letter to the Wall Street Journal. . .
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire will make a two-day swing through Central and Eastern Washington this week, with visits scheduled to highlight irrigation projects, flood damage victims and wine research.
Gregoire is scheduled to stop in Yakima Thursday morning to discuss an irrigation project on the Yakima River, and in Sunnyside to tour crop damage sustained by local farmers from recent storms. In the afternoon she has a tour of the Washington State University Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser and a meeting with the Potato Commission in Richland.
Friday she'll attend a groundbreaking for a pump station near Benton City, visit the Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser and stop at another groundbreaking ceremony for a new shipping warehouse, in Burbank.
OLYMPIA – In a world of e-mails and Twitter tweets, it’s usually nice to get a real letter. Except, maybe, if it’s a letter telling you to do something that you’ve already said you aren’t gonna do, or not do something you’ve said you will.
This is the case with the letter that U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, and a cohort of other Republican senators and congresspersons, sent to Gov. Chris Gregoire, urging her and her 49 fellow governors to “join us in resisting a centralized government approach to health care reform.” . . .
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The Spokesman-Review updated its searchable list of annual salaries for state employees last week, and as usual, the top salaries went to coaches for the major sports at the two biggest universities. And as usual, the state’s chief executive is pretty far down the list.
We always include the caveat that salaries for the athletics departments in those schools don’t come from taxpayers, but from other revenue. But the list always reminds us of a quote attributed to George Herman Ruth in 1930, when the Babe was asked to justify his salary being higher than President Hoover’s: “I had a better year than he did.”
Ruth was hitting homers and the country was in a recession, so there was no arguing there.
It may be possible for Steve Sarkisian, Lorenzo Romar and Ken Bone to make that case in comparison to Gov. Chris Gregoire, who had to deal with a protracted budget fight in a recalcitrant Legislature. But WSU football coach Paul Wulff and UW football defensive coach Nick Holt? Don’t think so.
A link to the searchable list can be found here.
OLYMPIA – When a divided Supreme Court settled the question of whether federal health care reform is constitutional Thursday, it turned up the spotlight on the issue for Washington’s hotly contested governor’s race.
Now the question is, how long before that light dims?
Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, one of the original plaintiffs in the failed multi-state challenge, said he was surprised at the ruling but insisted he was relieved, not disappointed.
Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, Inslee’s likely Democratic opponent for governor this November, was happy: “I always believed this was constitutional. I had no qualms in voting for this bill.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire, who disagreed so strongly with McKenna’s decision to draw Washington into the court battle that she filed as a “friend of the court” on the other side, was both celebratory and caustic.
Gov. Gregoire discusses health care ruling.
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire “couldn't be more happy and relieved” by the Supreme Court's majority decision that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.
The decision is good for state residents with pre-existing medical conditions, for young adults who remain on their parent's insurance until they reach 26 and for people who will eventually have coverage through an expansion of Medicaid.
“The real winners are the people of our state,” she said.
She also had harsh words for Attorney General Rob McKenna, her wouldbe replacement, for joining the suit. He was wrong on his insistence that the court could overturn the individual mandate and keep other parts of the law that Washington needs, Gregoire said.
“He was dead wrong on that. You can't have your cake and it it too,” she said.
Health care reform is sure to come up in McKenna's run against former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, she added.
“Inslee went back (to Congress) and fought for health care reform and the attorney general was just wrong.”
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire said she believed the Affordable Care Act would withstand the legal challenge but was “extremely pleased” the Supreme Court agreed with some of the points highlighted in a brief she and others in the state submitted in support of the law.
Attorney General Rob McKenna, it may be recalled, signed on on the other side of the argument, as one of the officials from 26 states challenging the law.
With the decision, the state will continue efforts to expand health care, Gregoire said.
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