Ehl was nailed the other day by the Seattle alternative weekly, The Stranger, for sending out tweets months ago of the sort you can only get away with in college, and maybe not even there.
One tweet, sent in January, back when she was a student at the University of Washington, said “Shut up and speak English #asians.” Another, from November, said, “If it takes you an entire green light to walk in front of my car GET A WHEELCHAIR #toooldtowalk.”
Naturally it’s all caused a bit of a hubbub, and we repost the resignation announcement below. But Washington State Wire was noticing something this morning as it perused the latest C-4 reports filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission. The name of every paid staffer for the McKenna campaign is listed on the form. The same is true for every staffer working for the campaign of Democrat Jay Inslee. Ehl, by the way, was making $1,696.82 a month.
You never know how a story like this one comes to light. Certainly it didn’t come out precisely this way – the story broke on the 16th and the first time Ehl’s name showed up in a PDC report was the 17th. But it wouldn’t be hard for someone to compile a list of everyone on an opposing campaign staff, then Google like mad and hope for paydirt. Maybe it didn’t happen here. But you have to figure it’s happening now. Oh, yes, indeed. Probably the Internet search is going on at lightspeed at this very moment. Probably there are dozens of them going on. And every paid staffer for every campaign, not just those for governor but for everything else, might be wise to go back and take another look at those old tweets and drunken Facebook photos from college beer bashes. Somebody else is looking at them, too.
The press release follows.
McKenna Campaign Accepts Ehl Resignation
On Monday, the Rob McKenna for Governor campaign learned of two offensive tweets sent by a staff person, Kathlyn Ehl. Ms. Ehl started work as a campaign volunteer in April and, following her graduation from the University of Washington, became a paid policy assistant last month. Pending an investigation into these actions, which took place before she began volunteering on the campaign, Ms. Ehl was suspended without pay. Today, after facilitating an exchange between Ms. Ehl and the leaders of the campaign’s Asian American Coalition, her resignation was accepted.
“I felt it was important to provide an opportunity for our Asian American Coalition leaders, who have spent countless hours over the last year working to advance our campaign in their community, to let Kathlyn know how hurtful her comments were to them,” said Randy Pepple, McKenna’s campaign manager. “It was important for her to thoroughly understand their feelings and to apologize to them for her comments.
“After consulting with the leaders of our Asian American Coalition, members of our Seattle Steering Committee, and several others I reached out to, I accepted Kathlyn Ehl’s resignation from our campaign this morning,” Pepple added.
“As the father of two young women, it pains me to accept the resignation of a young woman for a mistake which occurred before she had even begun her career. However, as we have said, and Kathlyn readily acknowledges, her tweets were offensive and insensitive. Kathlyn suggested, and I agreed after consultation with some of our campaign’s grassroots leaders, that her ongoing involvement on the campaign would be a constant reminder of her lapse in judgment.
“Life teaches us difficult lessons, and sometimes at a very young age. My hope is that she will find some benefit from having learned this lesson now, as it will undoubtedly be a long-lasting one,” Pepple concluded.
Pepple’s decision came after a meeting had been arranged to encourage direct dialogue between Ms. Ehl and McKenna’s Asian American Coalition and Seattle Steering Committee leaders.
“My fellow volunteers appreciated hearing from Ms. Ehl and the campaign’s willingness to seek input from us,” said W. Walter Liang, McKenna’s Seattle-North King County Steering Committee chairman and Asian American Coalition co-chair. “My colleagues and I are confident Ms. Ehl’s apology is sincere, but we also feel it is important to show the community that even an immature error cannot be overlooked when it has such a profound impact.”