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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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George Nethercutt Jr.: Why Washington needs research in the 2018 Farm Bill

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is visiting Washington state on his “Back to Our Roots” tour around the country. His visit coincides with the reauthorization of the 2014 Farm Bill, legislation that covers everything from research supporting our state’s agriculture industry and conservation to programs like crop insurance and the supplemental nutrition assistance program also known as SNAP. Funding for agricultural research and development under the farm bill is one of Washington state’s top priorities as it supports more than 300 types of crops grown and harvested across our state. However, in the 2014 bill, funding for agriculture R&D made up only 0.2 percent of total funds. While this fraction of a percentage may seem inconsequential, it’s crucial to the food security, health and global competitiveness of our state’s diverse agricultural and global trade sectors. Since Washington state farmers do not often conduct research individually, university agriculture research funding is vital.

Shawn Vestal: Nethercutt looks back on his time as a ‘giant killer’

George Nethercutt’s victory over Tom Foley in 1994 was a stunner, and presaged a wave of Republican victories across the country. Now, his successor, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, faces the biggest challenge of her political career so far from Democrat Lisa Brown, and a lot of people are looking for parallels in the two races.

McMorris Rodgers’ lower primary numbers may reflect voter frustration

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Tuesday had her lowest showing in a primary since 2004, her first Congressional contest. Republicans remain confident she can keep her seat against Joe Pakootas, but her tepid support of Donald Trump and connections to Washington D.C. leadership could hurt her.

Idaho to auction state-owned lots at Priest Lake

In another step toward exiting the lakefront landlord business, Idaho will auction 38 state-owned lots at Priest Lake this week. Last year, the state auctioned 59 lots with lake homes on them.

Center of attention

Bingo is no longer cutting it as the Southside Senior and Community Center figures out how to serve the surge of baby boomers while attracting people of all ages and continuing to engage the oldest generations. The center has new board members and is searching for a new executive director who is eager to embrace the nonprofit’s idea to focus on being a community center, not just a place for seniors. 

Shawn Vestal: Congress could try some pork in its diet

Pork fat is delicious. But might it also be the grease that is needed to unlock dysfunctional Washington, D.C.? Former Rep. George Nethercutt is making that case, sort of. Nethercutt, the man who unseated Tom Foley in 1994, has written a defense of something that few support: congressional earmarks. Writing in last week’s Inlander, Nethercutt argued that earmarks – the supposed tool of cronyism and spendthrift government – are needed, within reason, to improve the toxic and broken political system.