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Morning Wire: Intra-party conflict, Rep. Matt Boehnke, Joshua Collins

We publish this newsletter once a week during the session, featuring some of our reporting and additional links to political conversations and policy discussions taking place across the state. We see our job as working to support a smarter, more well informed policy community. So, if you like our weekly version, you can sign up for our daily newsletter, too, which sends you the daily stories published to the Wire. 

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With help from Michael Goldberg and Madeline Shannon

1. The conflicts taking place in both parties

In Washington State, a long standing conflict between Traditional Republicans and Trump Republicans broke out into the open over the last few weeks with Matt Shea as the flash point. These are two factions of the party that haven’t been reconciled perhaps since the 2004 Rossi campaign for governor, well before the name Trump was political.

On the left, Consenus Democrats are in conflict with Activist Democrats. There, with the flashpoint of the presidential primary, as well as the 2019 Seattle Elections, Washington State Democrats are divided, too.  I talk through these divisions in a column this week. How these divides play out is anyone’s guess. It’s like the hours before an earthquake hits of unknown significance.

2. The candidate in the 10th CD who may pull an upset

Before incumbent Rep. Denny Heck announced that he would not seek reelection in 2020, he already had a primary opponent. Joshua Collins is a 26-year old truck driver and socialist who has now raised raised $123k for the race. The race now also includes State Rep. Kristine Reeves and former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. Rep. Beth Doglio filed paperwork two weeks ago to run but hasn’t yet announced.

Reporter Michael Goldberg spoke with Collins about his campaign and what he would hope to achieve in Congress as one of the youngest members in American history. It’s an early look at a dark horse candidate that is all of the sudden leading the pack in early fundraising numbers.

3.  Hobb’s 2020 transportation plan gets public hearing

Senator Steve Hobbs will hold a public hearing this Wednesday on his transportation plan, Forward Washington. Under the plan, a $15 per ton carbon tax would be imposed on the sale or use of fossil fuels to fund a new package of transportation projects in Washington. 

The plan from last year includes billions in general obligation bonds for transportation projects as well as specific sources of revenue to fund them. A person familiar with the legislation told the Wire that these types of bills usually take three or four years to pass, getting more and more refined with time. With the passage of I-976 looming over session, this insider thinks an added sense of urgency could get the package of bills across the finish line. 

4. Q&A: Rep. Matt Boehnke on opening a Space Academy in Washington

One of the interesting bills moving this year belongs to Rep. Matt Boehnke. HJM 4015 would ask the federal government to establish a U.S. Space Academy here to train the next generation of military leaders in the newly-established U.S. Space Force. Madeline Shannon spoke with Rep. Boehnke to talk through the bill, which has moved from committee to Rules.

The Space Force was established as its own military branch under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020. Rep. Boehnke, a former helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army, thinks Washington can be the place to train tomorrow’s aeronautic leaders to take to the skies. 

5. UIHI issues report on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls

The Urban Indian Health Institute issued a report on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls reflecting that Native American women and girls are murdered or go missing at much higher rates than women of any other race. By contrast, a recent WSP report only presented straight-forward numbers of women in different ethnicities who go missing or are murdered each year. The WSP report suggested white women experience such violence more often than indigenous women. 

The issue of indigenous and native women going missing has gained national bi-partisan prominence. Sen. Patty Murray spoke to the issue from the well of the Senate last year. She then worked with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski to secure funding to re-open cold cases to bring justice and support to the families.

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