Eastern Washington voters will have only Western Washington candidates to choose from next year when one of the state’s two U.S. Senate seats is up for election.
So it appears, after Rep. Nethercutt announced he will forgo a run for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Patty Murray in 1998.
It’s been a long time since someone from the dry side of the Cascades represented Washington in the U.S. Senate (or the governor’s office). That concern frequently figures into discussions about Washington state politics.
But how big an issue is it, really? Are Eastern Washington’s ideological interests so different from Western Washington’s that effective representation in government is impossible?
(And if the answer is yes, what does that mean for constituents from less populous parts of Nethercutt’s sprawling 5th Congressional District, where someone from Spokane has held the House seat for more than three decades?)
Time and money
Nethercutt explained his decision in part by saying he didn’t want to take the time away from his family that would be required not only to campaign for the statewide office but also to raise the $6 million he estimates it would take to mount an effective race.
That raises the question of campaign finance reform, a challenge that seems never to go away but never to be resolved, either.
Is there any effective way to control campaign spending that doesn’t infringe on the ability of individuals to participate assertively in the political process?
Are so-called special interests inherently bad? Should people who have money to spend in support of their beliefs be prevented from doing so - silenced - simply because others don’t?
A matter of forgiveness
Why isn’t everyone as able to get past old grudges as is Robert Goldsworthy, the World War II POW who recently returned to Japan for a peace ceremony and a personal meeting with the widow of the Japanese pilot who shot him down?
Here’s the explanation suggested by Wells Longshore of Spokane: “Perhaps some people are not aware of the implication of the scriptural prayer of, ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”’
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