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Archives: June 2011

June
10th

258 candidates step forward to run in county

Today marks the end of filing week for candidates wishing to run for political office. In Pierce County, 258 candidates signed up by this afternoon’s deadline.

That’s a lot of people, but considering that there are almost 200 open slots, it means that most candidates will run unopposed.

Some quick hits:
• Out of 84 city and town races, 24 are contested and 10 have more than two candidates, requiring a primary.

• Out of the 46 school board races, 18 are contested and six will have a primary.

• Incumbents in the Pierce County Superior Court judgeship and two Port of Tacoma seats will have no opposition.

A handful of offices drew no candidates – including school board positions in Eatonville and Orting and board positions in several water, sewer and fire districts. The county auditor’s office will set a special filing period for those offices.

The full list is below, with candidates who filed since 5 p.m. yesterday in bold.

Read more »

June
10th

House Speaker Frank Chopp reflects on session

Chopp was often a hard man for reporters to find during session, so I sat down with him this week to get his take on lawmakers’ 135 days of work. Highlights from our interview:

ON BIPARTISANSHIP: Chopp’s House Democrats wrote a two-year spending plan without Republican votes of support before negotiating with both parties in the Senate to reach a final product. House Republicans wouldn’t support the final budget cuts. I asked Chopp why the House didn’t go through a bipartisan budget process, as the Senate did.

“You might want to ask them. Ask the House Republicans,” Chopp said. He said the GOP wasn’t willing to make the choices necessary to put together a budget, even voting against one of the big money-saving moves that was included in the House Republican budget proposal – ending cost-of-living increases for retired public employees.

GOP Rep. Gary Alexander, who wrote the alternative budget plan, voted with Democrats to approve the cut to retirees. But nearly all the rest of the Republicans parted ways with him. They said the cut breaks promises to state employees. 

“That gave us a clear signal they weren’t serious about the budget,” Chopp said.

ON SUING TO KILL THE TWO THIRDS RULE: Chopp and fellow Democrats participated in a scripted question-and-answer session on the floor over whether tax-limiting Initiative 1053 is constitutional. His answer: that’s up to the courts to decide. The colloquy was intended to clear some of the hurdles that in the past have stood in the way of lawmakers suing to overturn the voter-imposed law.

Some House Democrats are mulling the possibility of a lawsuit. Chopp said he wouldn’t be part of making that decision.

“Our members will decide for themselves,” he said. But he’s in favor of the courts weighing in. “I think they need to clarify what’s constitutional.”

ON THE BIG COMPROMISE: Read more »

June
10th

Sarah Palin e-mail unveiling live-blogged on Alaska Politics

Our sister paper up in Alaska, The Anchorage Daily News, is live blogging the release of 24,000 Sarah Palin e-mails released as part of a massive public records request. Politics reporter Sean Cockerham (formerly of the TNT) is poring over the boxes of documents and posting as he goes along. (Click here for the story so far.)

A recent post from Sean:

The emails show Palin and her team obsessive about countering criticism of the governor. One example, from April 24, 2008, is an email from Palin communications director Roseanne Hughes to the top members of the governor’s staff.

Read more »