Inside Opinion

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Tag: kim wyman


Political recruiters are looking for a few good women

Last year as election filing time neared, I bemoaned in a blog posting the scarcity of women candidates who had announced that they would be seeking statewide office. “Where are the female candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, public lands commissioner, insurance commissioner and superintendent of public instruction?” I asked.

One notable exception: two women were running for secretary of state (Kim Wyman won).

This time of year is candidate-recruitment season, and a new article in The Atlantic might persuade more women to run. Writer Molly Ball says, “These days, political consultants take for granted that, all else being equal, women make more desirable candidates.”

Why? Women candidates are seen to embody the kind of change frustrated voters seek. And, consultants say, voters “tend to assume women are more trustworthy, less corruptible and more in touch with everyday concerns. In a white-male-dominated political system, women are seen as outsiders.”

So why don’t more women run? Citing Gallup researcher Deborah Jordan Brook, Ball writes: Read more »


Sam Reed set the standard for state election officials

Secretary of State Sam Reed

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Not many Republicans get elected statewide in Washington, but Sam Reed probably could have the secretary of state job for life if he wanted it. He’s been that popular.

Instead, Reed is retiring after three terms. But he has the satisfaction of knowing that the position will be in the capable hands of Kim Wyman, currently the Thurston County auditor and the candidate he strongly endorsed to succeed him.

It’s very likely that Reed’s endorsement – and the example he set in office – gave Wyman the extra nudge she needed to become the only Republican elected statewide in an overwhelmingly Democratic year. Sure, she was better qualified than her opponent and had bipartisan support from most of the state’s county auditors, but getting Reed’s blessing undoubtedly was a factor in the close race.

A majority of voters saw in Wyman what they have appreciated most about Reed during his tenure: moderation, integrity, a sense of fairness that is not swayed by partisan zeal and a wealth of experience in running elections.
Read more »


State Republicans have a way back, if they want it

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

As of this writing, Rob McKenna appears to have lost his bid for governor, and Kim Wyman is clinging to a minuscule lead for secretary of state.

That’s a shame – for the state, not just them. Despite the strengths of their Democratic opponents, Jay Inslee and Kathleen Drew, McKenna and Wyman were far better prepared for those offices. Tuesday should have brought them both decisive victories.

The chief reason that didn’t happen is the scarlet letter behind their names: R. The Washington electorate has turned from purple to blue to indigo over the last 15 years or so. If Republicans as qualified and moderate as McKenna and Wyman can’t get statewide mandates here, it’s hard to think of any Republicans who could.

The toxicity of the GOP brand in statewide races may make partisan Democrats giddy, but it’s a big problem for the rest of us.

Any party that knows it will stay in power from one election to the next becomes arrogant, complacent and beholden. A state without competitive politics is only a step away from misgovernment.

The GOP could be competitive in Washington. The continuing success of anti-tax initiatives reflects public alignment with Republican fiscal policy. Education reform is a golden issue that much of the union-dominated Democratic Party has all but ceded to the GOP.

Ethnic groups now welded to the Democratic coalition – blacks, Latinos and Asian-Americans – could be pried loose. Most are hungry for accountable public schools. Many are cultural conservatives whose religious beliefs get ridiculed by secular liberals.

These might be low-hanging fruit if only the Republican Party didn’t come across as angry about change, indifferent about the safety net and insensitive to the concerns of minorities.

The state GOP must put the so-called “social issues” – which come down to abortion and gay marriage – on the back burner and keep them there. Legal abortion is simply not in play in this state. Gay marriage is a done deal. Don’t waste time and capital on these arguments. Move on.
Read more »


A secretary of state named Belle

Belle Reeves, Washington secretary of state from 1938 to 1948. (Washington secretary of state's office)

While writing today’s editorial, in which we endorse Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman for secretary of state, I almost made a big mistake.

I was going to write that one way or another, Washington would be electing its first female secretary of state Nov. 6. Republican Wyman’s Democratic opponent is former state senator Kathleen Drew.

The only thing wrong with that statement is the fact that Washington already has had a woman secretary of state: Belle Reeves, from 1938 to 1948. Luckily a Google search turned up her name, and I was able to find this information on the secretary of state’s website, as well as a photo (I love her old-timey spit curls).

Belle Reeves, a Democrat, is the only female in history elected Washington Secretary of State. She was appointed Washington’s eighth Secretary of State in February, 1938 by Governor Clarence Martin and served two and-a-half terms. Secretary Reeves was born in 1871 in Quincy, Ohio, where she spent her childhood. Her family moved to Washington in 1889. She lived in Wenatchee where she and her husband ran the town’s first newspaper, The Wenatchee Advance. Her political career began in 1922 when she was elected to the House of Representatives. She represented the 56th Legislative District for eight terms from 1922-1938 before being appointed Secretary of State. Belle Reeves died in Olympia during her second full term on January 2, 1948. Read more »


Wyman, for a secretary of state all voters can trust

Kim Wyman

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

In a perfect world, the position of Washington’s secretary of state would be nonpartisan. That way, it would be harder to accuse the office holder – the state’s highest elections official – of playing party favorites.

But it is a partisan position. So the next best thing would be to elect someone who is not highly partisan and has a record of inspiring confidence in both Republicans and Democrats. Say, someone like Sam Reed – a Republican who has been elected three times in a state that doesn’t elect very many Republicans to statewide office.

But Reed is retiring. If voters want to replace him with someone who embraces his brand of nonpartisan professionalism, they should elect the candidate he is endorsing and who is following in his footsteps by first serving as Thurston County auditor: Kim Wyman. Read more »


Wyman and Kastama in secretary of state primary

Kim Wyman

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Democrats will remember a sinking feeling in 2000 when they discovered that the woman overseeing Florida’s presidential vote count – Secretary of State Katherine Harris – was a highly partisan Republican working for George W. Bush’s election.

Washington Republicans will remember their own suspicions after the 2004 governor’s race when they saw King County’s elections office – supervised by the Democratic county executive, Ron Sims – coming up with satchel after satchel of uncounted ballots that tilted toward Democrat Chris Gregoire.

The lesson: Hard-core partisanship and vote-counting are a dangerous mix. The legitimacy of close elections depends on public confidence that the people handling the ballots are honest brokers.

Jim Kastama

Example: The 2004 contest between Gregoire and Dino Rossi ended in a statistical tie. Her infinitesimal margin – 129 votes out of 2.9 million – was accepted in part because the statewide election was overseen by a soft-edged, even-handed Republican, Secretary of State Sam Reed, who had the trust of just about everybody.

This is why we favor Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman and state Sen. Jim Kastama of Puyallup in the Aug. 7 primary for secretary of state.
Read more »


Where are the women candidates?

Today’s centerpiece article on the opinion page about women candidates, “Don’t get mad, get elected,” got me wondering about the future of this state’s female leadership.

Washington has a woman governor and two women senators. The state Senate has a woman majority leader (Lisa Brown), and the state Legislature is full of women.

But now Brown has announced she’s not seeking re-election, and Gov. Chris Gregoire is stepping down, likely to be replaced by either Rob McKenna or Jay Inslee. If Sen. Marie Cantwell is defeated in November, the state will only have one woman elected statewide (Sen. Patty Murray). Read more »