David Frockt | School district funding | Cathy McMorris Rodgers

We’ve got a few things for your review this week, including launching our podcast series. We’ll be at the WAC tomorrow morning with folks chatting through the regular session.  Drop by if you can make it – otherwise we’ll have the video up on our site in a few days.  TVW will be carrying the conversation as well.

1. Podcast: Sen. David Frockt

We launch our Wire Podcast with a sit down conversation with Sen. David Frockt, a Democrat representing north Seattle.  We cover some of his personal background, like how he got into politics in the first place (with names like Ken Jacobsen and Scott White) and what he thinks of the 2017 session.

This is our first podcast to help build out our content at the Wire. We think media today should be multi-channel, agile, and to the point. This podcast helps us build out a second channel of content to support broader, deeper policy dialog in Washington State.

2. Seattle mayor’s race starting to loosen up

Speaking of Sen. Frockt, his name is on the list of legislators most likely to enter the Seattle mayoral race this week if Ed Murray decides not to run. Natalie Brand reports Murray is considering withdrawing from his re-election campaign, but will finish his term as mayor.  Lorena Gonzalez from the City Council is another potential candidate.

Like Jenny Durkan, a possible candidate we mentioned last week, Frockt would be a compelling candidate from outside Seattle city politics.  Frockt joins our breakfast tomorrow where we might get a chance to ask him if he is running.  Next week is filing week.  We’ll be polling in the race once the field is set, and share those results with you.

3. Education meetings moving in Olympia

We hear that bi-partisan negotiations on education funding have been regular, consistent and relatively productive. On the biggest issue facing Olympia policy makers, progress is apparently being made in spite of statements that appear more like electioneering than negotiating.  Republicans are comparing school administrators to Nazis.  Democrats complain Republicans are acting like Trump using “alternative facts.”

The sticking points likely still revolve around what the property tax levels look like for districts around the state. Some Democrats tell me they are fine giving property tax relief to eastern Washington, but that it can’t come in the form of higher property taxes for central Puget Sound. Senate Dems put out this breakdown of proposed tax increases by school district in the Republican plan to make their point.

4. McMorris Rodgers only WA vote for AHCA

One of the biggest races in 2018 could be in the 5th Congressional, and last week’s health care vote could be a central element in it. Of the nine members voting, McMorris Rodgers was the only member of Washington state’s delegation to vote yes. (Rep. Newhouse was absent for personal reasons but would have been a yes vote.)  Since the vote, she’s been among the most active defenders nationwide of the AHCA, in both written and spoken comments.

McMorris Rodgers won 60% of the vote in 2016 for her 6th term. She has risen to the 4th highest position among House Republicans, the Conference Chair.

In 1992, Tom Foley won 55% of the 5th Congressional.  Foley became Speaker, and in his next election (an off year election with a president from his party) following a national conversation on health reform that mobilized voters, Foley lost his seat to George Nethercutt.

5.  1 fun thing: Don Benton runs Selective Service

Former Sen. Don Benton has a colorful history, from chasing colleagues on the floor to spending campaign dollars on a building rather than re-electing Slade Gorton. His expertise is now at work on behalf of Americans as the Director of the US Selective Service where he leads 15,000 employees – an agency about the size of DSHS. Benton is the first American to lead the agency that doesn’t have a military background.

This news is now a few weeks old, but if you haven’t seen the response from the national and local media, it’s worth a few minutes as a diversion.  Watch Rachael Maddow’s summary of Benton’s appointment.  Read Danny Westneat’s column on the subject. Joy Reid has a take here, too.

The Morning Wire: Keeping you informed on Washington politics, policy, and political economy