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Speaker “Frankie” Chopp pays respects to the late Bill Grant

Post by News Tribune Staff on Jan. 12, 2009 at 12:48 pm with No Comments »
January 12, 2009 12:48 pm

As you’ll see below in the full text of House Speaker Frank Chopp‘s speech, the late Rep. Bill Grant of Walla Walla was one of the few people who could get away with calling the Speaker “Frankie.”

Chopp’s remarks on the first day of this legislative session repeat a familiar theme: One Washington. And his new refrain, “We can see our future in ….”

One of them acknowledges an effort in Tacoma.

We can see our future in the faces of the 5th graders in Tacoma who are being taught about civic involvement through their efforts to create the Zina Linnik Park, next to their school.

Zina was the Tacoma girl whose Fourth of July abduction and murder led to an overhaul of sex offender laws.

Speaker Chopp’s Acceptance Speech

January 12, 2009

Welcome to the People’s House.

Thank you Eileen, for your nomination.

And thank all of you for the opportunity to serve as your Speaker.

Doing the people’s business requires a constructive dialogue between representatives of both parties, as well as with the Senate and the Governor.

We need the creativity and perspective of all House members.

So please join me in recognizing our Republican Leader, Richard DeBolt.

I also want to thank our Majority Leader, Lynn Kessler, for her leadership.

All of us come here — ready to serve — thanks to the support and sacrifices of our families. I would like to recognize my wife, Nancy Long.

Nancy helps me keep the long view when daily pressures start to crowd out that perspective.

You have many family members here today, and more watching at home.

Please rise to honor them and thank them for their support.

With the recent passing of two members of our legislative family, Representatives Steve Hailey and Bill Grant, these are sad days for us.

Please join me in a moment of silence to remember Representative Steve Hailey,

who served his country, his community, and our state with honor.

Thank you.

I want to take a few minutes to talk about our Democratic Caucus Chair, Bill Grant.

As he was for many of you, Bill was my friend, and my mentor.

He was the only person outside of my immediate family who could call me Frankie.

I am sure he called me some other things too, but I won’t repeat them here.

I was Frankie to him and he was Uncle Bill to so many of us.

He was wise and generous.

He was fun and he was funny.

He loved the legislature.

Bill Grant never forgot what the word, Representative, really means.

He worked tirelessly for his district.

As a wheat farmer, he made sure that we understood the importance of agriculture to everyone in Washington State.

To Bill, agriculture meant

the food on our table,

tough but good jobs, and


His love of the land and the Walla Walla community brought him to Olympia,

where his knowledge and straight-forward style built understanding about the importance of agriculture to our state.

Ten years ago, we were considering suggestions that would summarize our philosophy and agenda.

When we went down the list and came to the words, "One Washington," Bill said, "that’s it!"

And that was that.

Since then, we have been working to give life to that philosophy: to look at the needs all across the state, work to unify our people, and to move everyone in Washington forward!

With Bill gone, we will all need to work harder to truly see the needs of our communities, and to move everyone forward together!

Please take a moment of silence to remember Bill Grant.

As we begin our work this session, I am heartened to see a new approach emerging in our nation’s capital.

During the campaign, President-elect Obama spoke of "One Nation".

We have great hope for a partnership with the other Washington!

We are One Washington! And we are One Nation!

We have to be very careful this year not to let a budget problem rob us of our vision and values.

Thoreau said: "In the long run, men hit only what they aim at."

We can choose to react to this economic downturn by shrinking our hopes for our state, or we can keep our eyes on the horizon and direct our attention and resources to what is truly important.

There is no doubt that these are difficult times for many families.

To get through these troubled times, it is best to have a clear vision of the future.

This last year, I have seen glimpses of that future as I have travelled all across our state:

We can see the future in the investments we have already made:

In the classrooms of the community college in Walla Walla

In the improving test scores of our students

In affordable nonprofit housing for working families in Spokane

in the revitalized downtown and new transit station in Burien.

We can continue to make these investments

— creating jobs today and better communities for tomorrow.

We can see our future in the processing plant that I visited in Wenatchee, where highly sophisticated technology helps to sort and crate the best apples in the world.

At that plant, the manager told me that one of his priorities is housing for farm-workers.

We can respond to this and other needs of our agricultural communities.

We see a promising future for our state in the U.S. News and World Report naming Washington as the best state to start a business and the state with the most productive workers in the nation.

That is why we will act on an economic stimulus program, creating jobs now that have lasting benefits for years to come.

We can see the future in the workers in Ephrata, building the tall towers for new wind turbines — part of the first wave of green jobs.

We learn this lesson many times over: good stewardship of our environment is good for communities and for business.

That is why we will continue our Evergreen Agenda to enhance our environment and our economy.

We see a better future in the commitment of citizen activists across the state, advocating populist and progressive reforms.

By taking action on these reforms, and by utilizing our new Audit Review and Oversight Committee, we will encourage the contributions of other citizens, for ideas that will help us use state resources more efficiently.

We can see our future in the faces of the 5th graders in Tacoma who are being taught about civic involvement through their efforts to create the Zina Linnick Park, next to their school.

Despite our budget limitations, we must remember: the most effective investment in our economy is the education of our people,

beginning with Head Start and extending to Opportunity Grants.

Basic education is both a constitutional imperative and a popular mandate.

Let us re-dedicate ourselves to funding the fundamentals of education, and supporting quality teaching, inspiring students, and involving parents and communities.

I have seen our future in the eyes of the children in Yakima, who are among the hundreds of thousands of children enrolled in our Apple Health program.

Values are what guide us when we have to make difficult decisions

and we will keep our promise that all our children will have health care.

In the next 105 days we will pour over thousands of line items in the state budget.

But the budget is not just a financial book of numbers. It is a moral document of our values.

Behind the acronyms in the budget, there are real people, facing a real struggle for survival.

So, we must ensure the survival of our state’s safety net.

As we build our future, we also remember our past.

This past week, I’ve asked myself: if Bill Grant were with us today,

what would he say?

He would probably say:

-Listen to people all across the state

-Remember: One Washington…

…and then he would say…

Ah,… enough words. Let’s go run some bills!

So, let’s get to work!

Thank you very much!

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