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Election night podcast, Elway poll, my thanks

It’s a busy time this week with the primary and the aftermath of health care reform.  We’ve got a couple of insights for you from chats with insiders, including a look ahead to our annual conference.

In total, 6 things in Washington State policy, politics and economics for your review this morning.

1. Podcast: mayoral election night parties

Cary Moon increased her second place position in the Wednesday ballot count for the Seattle mayor by 521 votes. She now has about a 2,000 vote lead over third place finisher, Nikkita Oliver.  Estimates suggest about 70,000 ballots left to be counted in the race, however, with ballots dropped off at collection sites to be counted later today.

We visited the election night parties of the four top vote getters to try to capture the sounds and energy of election night in Seattle.  We’ve put this podcast together on quick turnaround for our occasional series.  It’ll give you some sense of being there Tuesday night.

2. Implications of 45th results: 4th special session?

Democrat Manka Dhingra opened a 9-point lead over Republican Jinyoung Englund in the primary results. Now, the primary electorate isn’t the general electorate, so things could change, but that’s a deep hole to come back from.

Because the implication is that Republicans could lose control of the Senate, does it now make more sense for Republicans to trade the capital budget for a temporary fix on the Hirst issue?  They have less leverage today than they did a week ago – and potentially even less than a few months from now.

Dems badly want a capital budget. Governor Inslee is traveling the state trying to build support for it, as well as repealing part of the education funding package that was generally good for rural parts of the state.

Is now the time to call a 4th special session to get a quick deal done before we get too close to the general election?

3. Sen. John McCain, Sen. Maizie Hirono speeches on health care reform

John McCain gave one of the most impressive speeches from the floor of the Senate in a long, long time, calling the Senate to return to its role as “the more deliberative, careful body.”  You can watch it here, or read the full transcript. If you’re a student of political oratory, it’s worth your time.

“I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us. Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.”

The other US senator with stage 4 cancer also spoke, and her comments were equally compelling. Maizie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, explained how important health insurance coverage is based on her personal experience.  Her comments got far less coverage, but were perhaps the most dramatic of the debate.

To her Senate colleagues: “Where is your compassion, where is the care that you showed me when I was diagnosed with my illness? I find it hard to believe that we can sit here and vote on a bill that is going to hurt millions and millions of people in our country. We are better than that.”

4. Convening Panel meets ahead of 2017 Re-Wire Policy Conference

Planning for our 2017 Re-Wire Policy Conference is well underway!  The conference is coming up on December 12th, and I can tell you that the agenda is looking very strong. We’ll release our Topical Agenda in September for your review.

The agenda setting process is a deliberate one, heavy on stakeholder input.  We met with our Convening Panel a few weeks ago – a group that is among the best, most politically diverse and most thoughtful group of leaders I’ve had the honor of working with.  You can check out the list of Convening Panel members here.

And, if you have ideas for topics or speakers on key political, economic and policy issues of the day, email me here and let me know.

5. Elway poll: Inslee sags, lobbyists give D+ on leg

Stu Elway is out with his quarterly poll that, as always, has some interesting tracking data.  First, he asked the 646 registered lobbyists to grade the session. Overall, they gave the legislature a D+. Of the four caucuses, the House Republicans graded highest, followed by the Senate Democrats. Respondents said their greatest disappointment this session was the capital budget (55%) with K-12 funding as the most significant outcome (59%).

Voters give Gov. Inslee steady marks, based on past performance, but lower than the administration would probably like.  Statewide, 40% of respondents gave Inslee “good” or “excellent” marks.

Notably, voter outlook “has darkened considerably in the last six months due to growing pessimism about the state and national scenes.” Only 44% saw Washington State getting “better” in the coming year, part of a 6-year low in voter opinion, according to Elway.

6. Thank you, NAS Whidbey Search and Rescue

Look closely.  I’m in the photo standing 40-ft above the water line with my two kids and my nephew, ages 10, 9 and 8.  We got caught on a hike this weekend by a tide that came in more quickly than we thought.

Yes, I knew the territory. I’ve been hiking there since 2000.  Yes, I consulted the tide tables. And, I’d made this specific bend before.  But this time, I got caught by tides rougher than I had anticipated. Luckily, a friend we hiked with made it the remaining 100 yds to shore and got us help.

I spent six hours on an 18″ x 4′ ledge, holding my children the entire time. We baked in the sun. I told stories of their birth. I prepared to lose one of them to the cliff.

We were plucked from the ledge by a Search and Rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. Ours was the 26th rescue they made this year. We are very lucky to have you in Western Washington, NAS Whidbey SAR.  You saved my and my kids’ lives. Thank you.