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Jim Kastama plans to run for secretary of state, leaving Senate

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on June 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm with 12 Comments »
June 20, 2011 12:59 pm

Sen. Jim Kastama, the Puyallup Democrat who was part of a centrist-Republican coalition that led to a bipartisan state budget this year, expects to leave his seat to run for the top job overseeing state elections.

I say “expects” because Kastama made his announcement today contingent on the retirement of Secretary of State Sam Reed, a moderate Republican. Kastama, who praised Reed’s work in the job, said he expects Reed to retire.

Reed told Brad Shannon he would announce his plans by the end of the month, but said Republican Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman would be an excellent candidate in 2012 if he leaves.

Another political domino: Kastama’s seat in one of the swingingest of swing districts now opens up. The 25th District elected its last new lawmaker by 30 votes. Kastama will stay in his Senate seat during the campaign but won’t run for re-election in 2012.

“For me it’s an up-or-out,” he said in an interview. “That’s why it was a very serious decision to make.”

Kastama, 51, who has served two terms in the House and three in the Senate, highlighted his work on elections issues in a news release. He chaired the Senate’s elections and government-operations committee as the Legislature dealt with fallout from the 2004 governor’s-race recounts.

This year, he tried unsuccessfully to deny a Senate seat to fellow Democrat Nick Harper, who had been elected after a bruising campaign that included deceptive mailers sent not by Harper, but by his supporters — liberal groups that posed in the mailers as tax-hating conservatives.

He also joined this year with fellow “Roadkill Caucus” Democrats — including a core in the Senate of Kastama, Rodney Tom, Brian Hatfield and Steve Hobbs — to pressure their party to negotiate with Republicans on a state budget. The pro-business coalition also helped force two major changes, settlements for injured workers and unemployment-insurance tax relief for employers.

“I think actually my willingness to look at both parties and not be as partisan hopefully will be a benefit in this job,” he told me.

Here’s his news release:

For Immediate Release: Senator Jim Kastama Announces Bid for Secretary of State

June 20, 2011

State Senator Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup) announced today that he intends to run for the position of Washington’s Secretary of State if the current Secretary Sam Reed declines to run again, as is speculated.

Kastama, known for his fierce independence, stood against his own party to unseat Nick Harper in the Moxie Media election scandal earlier this year; a scandal which was so egregious that the Public Disclosure Commission recommended criminal prosecution. “The fair and efficient administration of elections is a vital function of the office of Secretary of State. Voters can rest assured that I will fight for their interests,” said Kastama.

Kastama, who has been re-elected five times, has extensive experience in statewide election law, having chaired the Government Operations and Elections Committee following the Gregoire/Rossi election in 2004. He is responsible for many of the election law reforms put in place in the aftermath of this controversial election including: routine audits of county elections, the purging of ineligible voters from the voters rolls, and moving the primary forward to allow overseas military personnel more time to return their ballots.

Kastama is also known for the role he played in the last legislative session, helping to forge a bipartisan budget in the State Senate—the first budget to receive 34 votes (out of 49) in recent memory.

Senator Kastama believes the position of Secretary of State can also play a key role in turning the state’s economy around, being responsible for the licensing and incorporations of Washington’s businesses. For the past five years he has been Chairman of the Senate Economic Development, Trade and Innovation Committee. Most notably, he has been responsible for the creation of the state’s Economic Development Commission and the STAR research program, which has been instrumental to Washington’s development of aerospace bio-fuels and more efficient and faster microchips. He has also participated in trade and cultural missions to China, Taiwan, Japan and Turkey to promote our state.

“The Secretary of State’s office can be a tremendous advocate for Washington’s businesses. “ Kastama said, “After all, every business has contact with the office at least once a year. This point of contact should be used to maximize foreign trade opportunities and make sure our businesses are connected with services that can help them grow and prosper.”

In 2011, Kastama spearheaded the effort to establish the state’s first public on-line university, WGU Washington. “A highly skilled workforce is at the heart of being competitive globally,” Kastama added. “WGU Washington makes the dream of a college education possible for thousands of people who are shut out of the traditional higher education model. It’s a top-notch education at a reasonable price.”

Senator Kastama plans to continue his current Senate position, while crisscrossing the state, articulating his vision for the office of Secretary of State. “I have worked side-by-side with Sam Reed, and I respect him”, Kastama said, “I hope to continue his steadfast advocacy for our citizens, and at the same time bring a new dimension to the position.”

20, 2011

Senator Jim Kastama,

253-820-0861

Jim.Kastama@gmail.com

State Senator Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup) announced today that he intends to run for the position of Washington’s Secretary of State if the current Secretary Sam Reed declines to run again, as is speculated.

Kastama, known for his fierce independence, stood against his own party to unseat Nick Harper in the Moxie Media election scandal earlier this year; a scandal which was so egregious that the Public Disclosure Commission recommended criminal prosecution. “The fair and efficient administration of elections is a vital function of the office of Secretary of State. Voters can rest assured that I will fight for their interests,” said Kastama.

Kastama, who has been re-elected five times, has extensive experience in statewide election law, having chaired the Government Operations and Elections Committee following the Gregoire/Rossi election in 2004. He is responsible for many of the election law reforms put in place in the aftermath of this controversial election including: routine audits of county elections, the purging of ineligible voters from the voters rolls, and moving the primary forward to allow overseas military personnel more time to return their ballots.

Kastama is also known for the role he played in the last legislative session, helping to forge a bipartisan budget in the State Senate—the first budget to receive 34 votes (out of 49) in recent memory.

Senator Kastama believes the position of Secretary of State can also play a key role in turning the state’s economy around, being responsible for the licensing and incorporations of Washington’s businesses. For the past five years he has been Chairman of the Senate Economic Development, Trade and Innovation Committee. Most notably, he has been responsible for the creation of the state’s Economic Development Commission and the STAR research program, which has been instrumental to Washington’s development of aerospace bio-fuels and more efficient and faster microchips. He has also participated in trade and cultural missions to China, Taiwan, Japan and Turkey to promote our state.

“The Secretary of State’s office can be a tremendous advocate for Washington’s businesses. “ Kastama said, “After all, every business has contact with the office at least once a year. This point of contact should be used to maximize foreign trade opportunities and make sure our businesses are connected with services that can help them grow and prosper.”

In 2011, Kastama spearheaded the effort to establish the state’s first public on-line university, WGU Washington. “A highly skilled workforce is at the heart of being competitive globally,” Kastama added. “WGU Washington makes the dream of a college education possible for thousands of people who are shut out of the traditional higher education model. It’s a top-notch education at a reasonable price.”

Senator Kastama plans to continue his current Senate position, while crisscrossing the state, articulating his vision for the office of Secretary of State. “I have worked side-by-side with Sam Reed, and I respect him”, Kastama said, “I hope to continue his steadfast advocacy for our citizens, and at the same time bring a new dimension to the position. “

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. Pumaintacoma says:

    Sen. Kastama is the most egotistical senator out there. He seems to think HE DETERMINES who gets elected as a Senator and what decisions are made by the courts. He is the classic schoolyard bully in the Senate.

  2. dirtydan54 says:

    Too bad politicians are so focused on whats best for the financial interests of the state instead of what their elected to do, represent the best interests and voice of the people who they are paid by and elected to represent.

    Attempting to say we are all served and benefitted in some way by economic development schemes by these self serving to state interests politicians is a joke.

    This state wouldn’t be near broke if it wasn’t for other interests than those of the people that are cooked up by politicians, special interest groups, lobbists and corporate entities.

  3. Great news. Now we might be able to have a Democrat representing our district, instead of a DINO.

  4. Brad in Puyallup says:

    Beautiful thing about Jim is he may be part of the Democrat party, but he “IS” a man who thinks for himself, does what “HE” feels will be best fo everyone, NOT what some party leader says is the parties stance and policy…I have known Jim since he was a very young boy. I lived right around tge corner from his parents and had the pleasure of supporting him for years now….That Will Not Change!!! Jim – You have my support and as always, my vote!

  5. at least he is not a stinkin tea baggie

  6. Independent Guy says:

    Jim Kastama is perhaps the most honorable and independent person in the Legislature. He has represented his district well and has never been a tool of special interests. He has a strong back ground in election reform and policy in addition to being arguably the most innovative elected official we have in terms of creating jobs, recruiting new business, and improving the climate for existing business. Finally, he is a decent guy who is grounded in his community and in politics for all the right reasons. If you’re not an extremist on either side, then he deserves your consideration and support.

  7. Fish Girl says:

    Kastama is the perfect person for the job. I really am thrilled to hear he is stepping up to another level. Honestly, there couldn’t be a more qualified, thoughtful, and fair-minded person. This man is the best of the best when in comes to elected officials — regardless of party. He will fight for the people, not special interests. He will be a like Ralph Munro and Sam Reed, but even better!

  8. elderjustice2010 says:

    A non partisan response
    Reasons not to vote for Kastama. Six Voting No.

    Sen Kastama fines skiers who are recreactional skiers. Then he finds he is above the law and doesn’t believe a fellow Senator should be sworn in ( arrogant?) Then he has the audacity to prance around and sticks his nose into private court actions when he should be doing his own job.

    He is the worse politician. And Sen Kastama is not above the law, we suggest he abide by and respect private court actions and stop taking money from those who profit from elder exploitation and give back the money he received.

    If his opponents need more examples he can just ask Democrats and Republicans as I’m sure they have plenty of examples to share.

  9. Fish Girl says:

    Hmmm Elderjustice… You are obviously a special interest insider… Perhaps you are upset that Kastama dared to stand up to the tactics (that you clearly condone) which attempted to deceive voters and steal an election and now being criminally prosecuted? You sir are the arrogant one and what’s wrong with politics (special interests who think they own the political process). Folks, the above comment is the exact reason why Kastama should be elected. Just Google Moxie Media and Burkey — that says it all.

  10. pumaintacoma says:

    Sound like Fish Girl is thin skin. FishGirl seems upset that any private citizen dare (god forbid) say anything negative they have PERSONALLY experienced with the senator. I read a taxpayer’s experience. Maybe FishGirl should listen to citizens and read first before spouting what she does not know.

    Interesting ElderJ writes “And Sen Kastama is not above the law, we suggest he abide by and respect private court actions and stop taking money from those who profit from elder exploitation and give back the money he received

    Are you protecting him from this or do you need a job with him, eh?

    As I see it, he put himself out there in this article for people to say whether they like him or not.

  11. Sarajane Siegfriedt says:

    Jim Kastema has the potential to be a very good Secretary of State. But first he has the 2012 session to prove he is a good Democrat by enacting reform of the system of tax breaks that awards $3B every two years to corporations with no accountability, and no end dates.

    Either we treat corporate tax breaks the same budgetarily as other tax expenditures, or Kastema proves himself to be a corporate sellout not deserving the votes of Democrats.

    Reform of tax breaks would involve quantifiable outcomes and annual reports (2-pp.), expiration date every 5 years, fiscal notes on every tax break and accounting for all tax breaks in the Governor’s budget. These giveaways at the expense of the middle class have got to stop.

  12. Patty Van Den Broek says:

    Senator Kastama has a long history of public service and the State of WAshington would be well served by his serving as Secretary of State.
    I wish him success.

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