This week we are looking ahead at some of the future elections, commissions, and projects taking place in the state of Washington. Our predictions for the 2020 gubernatorial election, an update on the upcoming Seattle Center arena renovation, and news on the newly-established Washington State Women’s Commission are all teed up for you in this week’s edition of the Morning Wire.
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With help from DJ Wilson and Kylie Walsh
1. How Inslee might run for re-election and the Democratic nomination for president
With the early shape of a potential gubernatorial election in 2020 coalescing, it’s worth revisiting the question about Jay Inslee’s future. While many believe a third term as governor is not in the cards, don’t be so sure. If you talk with folks in Inslee’s political shop, the message is clear: Jay Inslee’s not done. I outline what I think that might look like in this column.
Here’s the punch line, though: Inslee can run for the Democratic nomination for president, compete in Iowa in February 2020, and if things don’t work out, he can be back in Olympia by March. There, he can help finalize the legislative session when the governor’s role is most important. And, he’ll still have time to file for re-election in May for a third term. While candidates might be ready to file for 2020, if Democratic donors perceive Inslee’s run for president as good for the state, they may afford Inslee the time he needs to test the presidential waters.
2. Speaking of 2020’s race for governor…
King County Executive Dow Constantine is considered to be one of the leading candidates for governor in 2020, should he decide to run. This past weekend, he supported the case by making comments at the Tom Foley Legacy Dinner hosted by the Spokane Democratic Party. Spokane is a little far afield for traditional duties of King County’s Executive.
Constantine recently penned an op-ed related to tribal fishing rights, an issue of importance to prominent Democratic funders on both sides of the issue. He joined our recent Re-Wire Policy Conference to speak to his vision of progressive leadership in Washington State.
Taken together, this looks like building the groundwork to be able to announce a campaign in 2019.
3. An update on the Seattle Center Arena
On Monday, the Seattle City Council held a meeting to discuss recent progress on the $600 million Seattle Center arena project. It was the first meeting by the council’s Select Committee on Civic Arenas since the city council approved Oak View Group’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) to redevelop the KeyArena back in December.
Robert Nellams, Director of Seattle Center, along with Marshall Foster, Director of the Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects, led the conversation where they discussed relocation efforts, parking innovation, community engagement, and the project’s recently released environmental impact statement. Monday’s meeting on the arena is the first of five scheduled for 2018, with the goal of finalizing a financial briefing and scheduling a vote for mid-September.
4. Women’s Commission now accepting applications
The newly-created Washington State Women’s Commission, established via HB 2759, is now accepting applications. The commission will be composed of four legislators (one from each caucus) as well as nine others selected by the governor. Representative Beth Doglio, HB 2759’s prime sponsor, was appointed to serve on the commission last week.
Among many duties, the 13 members of the Women’s Commission will be responsible for reviewing best practices for sexual harassment policies, identifying specific needs of women of color, preparing for a 2020 commemoration of women’s suffrage, and advocating for the removal of legal and social barriers for women. The commission is also charged with making regular policy recommendations to the legislature and governor.
5. Sen. Steve Hobbs called up in National Guard
“I have recently been ordered to deploy to Estonia as part of my military obligation of service in the National Guard.” This note comes from Sen. Steve Hobbs, the only Democratic legislator to actively serve in the National Guard. Sen. Hobbs is running for re-election this year.
His service is laudable, but also notable: few elected officials serve in active military duty. Even fewer of those are Democrats, where the cultural gulf between active duty personnel and the party remains wide. The distance between Americans and those who serve has roots at Valley Forge under Washington, hit a wide point in Vietnam, and shifted in its nature considerably during the 90’s and 2000’s.
Best wishes to Sen. Hobbs on what we hope is a speedy and safe deployment.
6. For your reading list
If you didn’t watch Michelle Wolf’s controversial comedy routine at the White House correspondents’ dinner over the weekend, you can read her remarks here. Her comments on the symbiotic relationship between the national media and the current circus in Washington DC are biting, and appropriate.
If you’re interested in music and culture, Macklemore wrote this interesting piece for City Arts Magazine about his producer Tyler Dopps. It’s a look behind the curtain of the challenge of producing music, of touring, and of cultivating great talent.
If you haven’t seen the news about Shaquem Griffin being drafted by the Seahawks to join his twin brother Shaquill, it’s a great read. Shaquem will be the first one-handed player to play in the NFL, which starts in 129 days.
If you think “fake news” and media literacy is a challenge, check out The Atlantic’s articleon the rise of “fake video” and the end of reality as we know it.
John McCain is set to release a new memoir, with excerpts out yesterday: “I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different. We are citizens of a republic made of shared ideals forged in a new world to replace the tribal enmities that tormented the old one. Even in times of political turmoil such as these, we share that awesome heritage and the responsibility to embrace it.