OLYMPIA – For the second year in a row, Gov. Jay Inslee won’t be able to make good on a post-election promise to come to Spokane to play in Hoopfest.
Inslee, an admitted hoop-aholic, played in the 2012 tournament during the gubernatorial campaign and made what seemed like an easy-to-keep promise on Inauguration Day to return with a team as governor. He repeated the promise a few weeks later to the Greater Spokane Incorporated lobbying contingent, saying he planned to double the number of victories from the previous year. (Not a high goal, considering they won just once.)
But the Legislature went into double overtime in 2013 and didn’t have a budget by the last weekend of June, which meant state government faced a partial shutdown on July 1. So Inslee had to stick close to the Capitol for budget talks rather than play basketball.
This year the Legislature finished on time, and the living is easy in Olympia. During the mile walk for his annual pre-fire-season test, he talked of plans to participate in the 100-mile Wenatchee Apple Century Bike Ride.
Got a team ready for Hoopfest this year? he was asked.
“I have to work that weekend,” he said, shaking his head. He’s out of state at a Democratic Governors Association meeting that weekend, his staff said.
Maybe next year.
Beyond the bounds
Central Washington’s 4th Congressional District race may be so crowded it can’t hold all the candidate events for the campaign.
Republican Janèa Holmquist had a fundraiser this weekend in Ellensburg, which is in Kittitas County. The flier for the event says she “worked hard for Kittitas County and it won’t stop when she is in Congress.”
That’s pretty much standard campaign rhetoric until one realizes, as a critic emailed, that Kittitas County isn’t in the 4th District. Used to be, but that changed in 2012 when the redistricting commission redrew the lines.
Kittitas is in Holmquist’s legislative district and campaign manager Joyce Mathews said some longtime constituents from her time in the Senate wanted to throw a fundraiser to show their support. As for the suggestion that she’d be a “strong voice for Kittitas County,” as the flier also promises, Mathews said Holmquist is familiar with Central Washington issues, which are the same in Kittitas as in neighboring counties in the 4th District.
“She knows the votes aren’t coming out of Kittitas,” Mathews said. “We clearly know where the boundaries are.”
Holmquist is one of 12 candidates vying for Rep. Doc Hastings’ old seat – eight Republicans, two Democrats and two independents.
Venue near you
The Senate Energy and Environment Committee goes east for a June 17 hearing on possible legislation to control oil trains. Leaders of the House and Senate Joint Transportation Committee will talk about freight and regional transportation priorities the same day, then take a two-day bus tour through Eastern Washington to talk about rail projects.
The oil train hearing starts at 10:30 a.m. at Spokane City Hall and the transportation hearing at 1 p.m. at the Convention Center. The bus tour’s tentative schedule starts bright and early June 18, and includes Spokane and Spokane Valley, the international airport, Airway Heights, Rosalia, Pullman, Colfax and Ritzville.
Legislators are fond of saying they like to get out, meet with the people and hear what they have to say. It’s possible that after the bus tour, members of the Transportation Committee will be looking more kindly on proposals to allow remote testimony for hearings via teleconferencing, videoconferencing or the Internet.
Not only would it save Eastern Washington constituents from having to make that long trip through a mountain pass during the winter to give them a piece of their minds during the session, it could cut down on some odysseys between sessions.
Of course they would miss some of the perks of being out and about in person, like the tours of grain elevators planned for the Transportation Committee bus tours.