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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Minorities’ political power rising in statewide elections

SEATTLE – If pollster Matt Barreto is right, then Latino voters in Washington were one of the key factors in Gov.-elect Jay Inslee’s win over Republican candidate Rob McKenna. Barreto estimates that about 140,000 Latinos voted in these past elections. While there were no wide-ranging exit polls conducted here, by pooling polls Barreto roughly projects that Latinos in Washington broke similarly – about 3 to 1 – for the Democrat Inslee as they did for President Barack Obama.

Charter schools still face hurdles

SEATTLE – Now that voters have spoken about charter schools, will the new, independent public schools be an option at the beginning of the next academic year? It seems unlikely.

WSU, UW could expand investments if bill passes

A constitutional amendment on this year’s ballot could help Washington State University earn a little more investment income in the future. If approved, Senate Joint Resolution 8223 would allow WSU and the University of Washington to invest certain operating funds in stocks and bonds.

Heated issues carry ballot

Charter schools Supporters of Initiative 1240 think charter schools, which would be free of some of the rules governing standard public schools, will help the state meet its “paramount” duty of educating children. Opponents think they will make it harder to raise quality for all students, adding that voters have rejected them three times already.

Final faceoff

WASHINGTON – They are two of the largest parts of the federal government. They’re growing. And they’re heading toward financial problems that will touch tens of millions of Americans unless something changes. Medicare is the nation’s biggest buyer of health care, spending $550 billion last year to provide care for 48.7 million Americans. The problem is that the taxes paid by workers and employers to finance the program aren’t covering the full cost, and the government since 2008 has been drawing off its trust fund to make up the difference. Barring changes, the trust fund runs out in 12 years – 2024 – and the government would have to raise taxes or cut services.

State awaits new governor

U.S. Senate Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell coasted to the pole position in Washington’s top-two primary, but Republican challenger Michael Baumgartner, a state legislator from Spokane who captured the second-most votes and the final spot on the general election ballot, hasn’t let that deter him. The candidates are divided along fairly standard partisan lines.

Election resources

Brochures, advertising and campaign appearances can give voters a broad overview of candidate positions on the issues of the day. But politicians increasingly are relying on the Internet to lay out the nuts and bolts of their campaign platforms, and to dissect the initiatives being proposed by their opponents.

Washington voters will decide fate of same-sex marriages

OLYMPIA – Three years ago, Washington voters approved an “everything but marriage” law, giving same-sex couples all the state-granted rights and benefits that married couples have. Now voters will decide whether to take the next step and allow marriage for all couples in the state, regardless of sexual orientation – something that has not yet been achieved by a public vote. Referendum 74 asks people to either approve or reject the state’s new law legalizing same-sex marriage. That law, passed earlier this year, is on hold pending next month’s vote.

Spin Control: McKenna’s dance moves could wrap up the nerd vote

The first rule of campaigning in 2012 should be: Think twice before you do something. There’s always a video camera around. This might be something the staff of gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna should write down, have enlarged to second-coming type, and posted around the headquarters after last weekend.