Washington State Wire is an independent nonpartisan news gathering organization focusing on Washington state government and the policies that affect Washington residents’ daily lives. We’re a hybrid of original content and news links aggregated from other sources — sort of a sifting of the most important stories we see here in the state’s capital city. We’re not just a blog — we like to think of ourselves as part of the next wave of journalism, sort of an evolutionary step in the news business. We invite you to read what you see on our “front page,” and follow some of the links we’ve posted — and judge for yourself. We are supported by web advertising and volunteers. We will soon launch a subscription service.

Erik Smith, News Editor and Staff Writer
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Erik Smith, Washington State Wire’s lead writer and editor, is a reporter with a longtime background in Washington state politics. The 2014 legislative session will be his 15th.

Erik is a graduate of the University of Washington, where he was editor of his campus newspaper, the Daily. Shortly after graduation he came to Olympia to cover the 1987 legislative session, where he developed a fascination with state politics that has become a lifetime career. For 10 sessions he covered the Legislature and state politics for the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., while also writing a well-read and award-winning weekly political column. He left the state in 1997 for a job at the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., and as a freelancer landed stories in such publications as the Los Angeles Times. Today he continues to freelance on a regular basis for the magazine Seattle Business. In 2005 he returned to his hometown of Spokane to manage a pair of family-owned small businesses – an experience that gave him an intimate familiarity with the issues that small-business owners face.

Erik returned to Olympia in 2009 for the venture that eventually became WSW. He has brought a seasoned newsman’s judgment to the WSW that has elevated it beyond the ordinary opinion-blog in writing quality, insight and influence. Erik’s interest in policy and politics has allowed him to regularly “scoop” the dwindling press corps in Olympia with stories that not only explain what happens but why.

Erik’s focus on issues of interest to the business community has allowed him to set the pace for coverage by other media on such topics as workers’ compensation, environmental regulation, tax policy and government reform. His coverage of 2010′s Moxie Media campaign scandal was credited by many for the Public Disclosure Commission’s decision to refer the case for prosecution. In 2013, he broke a story about the Affordable Care Act that earned national attention and an apology from the White House — a Federal Way woman who got a shout-out from President Obama during a Rose Garden speech after she sent a fan letter for health care reform learned she didn’t qualify for subsidies, and thus couldn’t afford insurance after all. And so on.

Erik is one of those who believes state politics is more interesting and relevant to people’s daily lives than anything that happens in the “other Washington.” And as the ranks of daily newspaper reporters in Olympia continue to decline, his voice has become all the more influential.

Jim Boldt, Senior News Editor


Washington State Wire’s Senior Editor, Jim Boldt’s career in state politics spans, four decades, eight governors and twenty legislative sessions. He claims if it has happened he’s seen it, if you can do it, he’s done it. A WSU graduate, where he lobbied for the students as Student Body Vice-President, Boldt has served as a Congressional aide, Federal level lobbyist, two-term State Legislator (D-8th, Kennewick), state-wide association director, twice-elected public school board member, elected fire district commissioner, and forming and managing partner of a long-time prominent Olympia contract lobbying firm. In 2003, Jim “retired” from lobbying and shortly after worked with others to form WSW.

Boldt also contributes to WSW’s CapitolStuff.com blog and writes and is editor of Cannabiswrie.com column. In addition to a poetry anthology, he has written two novels with state capital themes, is working on his third, and is Editor of KitsapConnection.com, a community news survey in Kitsap County. In addition to his work with WSW, Jim is President of Duckabush Communications Inc. a public affairs and political strategy consulting firm that allows him to claim he is semi-retired.

If asked Jim Boldt will admit he is “addicted to politics and has no interest in a twelve-step program.”

Favorite political quote? He has two: “The STAND a person takes on an issue is often determined by where they SIT for dinner.” And of course, “…I don’t belong to an organized political party, I’m a Democrat.”