About a year ago I trudged into yet another of the countless meetings it seems I attend. This one, the Public Policy Committee for the Tacoma-Pierce YWCA, promised a speaker whose reputation as a champion for victims of domestic violence was well known at every level of the YWCA.
The speaker was polished and passionate. He spoke without notes and with a depth of knowledge that was surprising given the broad spectrum of his job description. He answered questions in a personable and articulate fashion, and in short, he impressed the heck out of everyone in the room.
All of this was accomplished despite the fact that the speaker, Attorney General Rob McKenna, was a Republican addressing a group comprised mostly of females (and a stray cop or two) in an organization most would consider to have a slight tilt to the left. This would also be that same Attorney General McKenna who just yesterday announced his intention to run (article) for Governor of our state.
Now I have a new definition for “good meeting.”
I have run across Mr. McKenna a few times since that meeting a year ago. He accepted my request to speak at a law enforcement event commemorating DV Awareness Month where he managed to impress all of the victims, advocates, prosecutors and cops who attended.
When he sponsored a gang injunction bill in the state legislature, I wrote a piece for The Tribune on the topic. As a result I was present in Olympia when he spoke at length in a TVW interview—again without referring to notes—regarding his pending anti-gang legislation. He also commented on our state’s increasing gang violence to a degree that made me envy his information source.
Note: because I had written on this topic for The Trib I was invited to follow McKenna’s appearance on the show–follow this link to see a hack writer become a hack speaker.
I remain mostly unimpressed with a large percentage of our elected officials. So I was surprised to see such a talented and bright individual as our AG make the decision to serve as an elected official. McKenna appears sincerely interested in the administration of justice and in providing safe havens for victims of domestic violence. Also importantly, his conservative fiscal outlook suggests he would be a good leader for these lean times we’re currently enduring.
Regardless of your party, I recommend that any Washingtonian take a few minutes over the next year to familiarize him or herself with this candidate.