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Morning Wire: #MeToo in Olympia, Climate on ballot, Most interesting race

Good morning.

Since my last email to you about two weeks ago, we’ve posted 18 new stories at on state policy, politics and economics.

So, in addition to our emails, we now have a re-built web presence with two full-time reporters covering policy, too. Emily Boerger and Kylie Walsh are both creating great stories about policy, politics, and economics in Washington State.

Along with our podcasts, and our 2017 Re-Wire Policy Conference on Dec. 12th, this makes four discreet, substantive information channels for you depending on how you like to consume your state policy and political news.

So, thanks for reading our stuff. Because of your engagement, we’re growing something special at the Wire.  Now on to the Morning Wire.

1. Climate change to be on the ballot again in 2018

The failure of I-732 in 2016 to coalesce interests hoping for action on climate change and carbon emissions has not derailed the conversation about moving policy forward. An initiative is likely to hit the 2018 ballot, according to Kyle Murphy of Carbon Washington. He thinks the prospects of legislative action are worse in 2018 than this year, even if Democrats retake the Senate.

The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy is a diverse group of progressive voices that has proposed what sounds like a “cap and trade” model of carbon pricing that would generate about $1 billion in new revenue. Not everyone in the green community is on board. The Quinault Indian Nation has said they would run their own initiative in 2018 to counter what they see as a “woefully ineffective proposal.

Our reporter, Emily Boerger, reported on a recent town hall on climate science hosted by Gov. Inslee. Emily told me there was lots of talk about coal, but no comment from Inslee about whether he would provide support for an initiative on climate next year.

2. #MeToo in Washington State

The viral #MeToo campaign has empowered women to come forward with their stories of sexual assault and harassment. In Washington, rates of rape and sexual assault are no better than the average of many states, according to the FBI. At 42.2 reported crimes of rape per 100,000, that is less than 1/3 of Alaska’s 141 per 100k, but about equal with Minnesota and Mississippi.

Reid Wilson grew up in Washington State and now writes for The Hill. In an important piece on harassment among women in state capitols, Reid reports “For women in state legislatures across the country who routinely experience what they call a pervasive culture of sexual harassment, assault and retaliation, there is often little or no recourse.”

Austin Jenkins and Walker Orenstein report that the problem is real in Olympia, too. “The former House GOP legislative staffer said when she was an intern in recent years, nonpartisan staff would warn women to avoid certain receptions held by lobby groups out of fear the men attending would try to get them drunk and sleep with them.” No word on which groups had this reputation.

One of the most powerful first person accounts on sexual assault was just penned by the Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart. If you only read one narrative on what fear of assault feels like, this is it.

3. ICYMI: 2017 Re-Wire Policy Conference on Dec 12th

We are finalizing our list of speakers at our upcoming 2017 Re-Wire Policy Conference on December 12th. I think it’s likely our conference will have more legislators in one place than any other convening outside of the legislative session.

For those interested in looking ahead to the topics, discussions and negotiations coming in the 2018 legislative session, I think you’ll find this conference to be well worth your time.

Early bird registration ended yesterday.  However, I’m happy to extend that rate for another 10 folks to register this week.  If you’ve read this far in our email newsletter, then you can use the discount code “ICYMI” when you sign up to save a few bucks.  It’s our way of saying thanks for reading our stuff.

4. Gig Harbor still not in King County…

The group called “Working Families of King County PAC” is a conservative group that targets candidates and races at the local level. This year, they’ve taken on Mayor Jill Guernsey as being “Anti Holiday.” On their mail piece, these “Working Families” said Guernsey “Supported ban on all Christmas Holiday decorations and Nativity scene from Park in downtown Gig Harbor.”

Gig Harbor is, of course, not in King County. It’s in Pierce County. No word on who is doing the targeting work at the PAC.

5. Mosqueda v. Grant: the most interesting race of November

We’ll be doing a full debrief after the election of how things played out in the 45th LD and the Seattle Mayoral race. But, the most interesting race this year is between Teresa Mosqueda and Jon Grant. Similar to the mayoral race, it is a good sign that Seattle has two strong, thoughtful, engaging young people running for office.

But this feels like open warfare between the left and the far left. Like Durkan, Mosqueda is deeply of the left, but has somehow gotten positioned to the right of her opponent. It’s hard to consider Mosqueda a “corporate” voice, particularly if you know her work in Olympia.

Generally speaking, a woman of color is going to have an edge over a white man among generally-progressive Seattle voters. I would think Mosqueda wins this race by between 5-8 points.  But, no one I know would bet on that. And, I thought Hillary was going to win, too.

So, while I think Durkan wins handily, and Dhingra wins easily, I’m less sure about how this race plays out – or what it will say about Seattle voters in 2017.

6.  Gang activity in Washington State increasing

The City of Spokane has around 200 known, active gangs, according to the Kingdom Fellowship Church Alliance. The organization is composed of about 20 churches in the Spokane area.  A different report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy estimated that Washington has approximately 300 active street gangs and 15,000 active gang members. Overwhelmingly, in cities struggling with gang activity, community leaders say additional money and resources are needed to suppress gang crime and support prevention efforts.

The Joint Summit on Gang Prevention and Intervention will take place today at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. The event, hosted by the Office of Jay Inslee, the Office of the Attorney General, and several other state associations, will bring together national and state experts, government officials, law enforcement, and community members to discuss Washington’s rising gang problem.

7.  Herrera Beutler heralded by group close to Sen. Cruz

I missed this from the summer, but Congresswoman Herrera Beutler was named one of the #Future40 by Maverick PAC.  Maverick PAC says its purpose is to find the next generation of conservative political leaders, and put some money behind them. In 2016, they raised $150k through the PAC. Jinyoung Englund was a 2015 honoree as well.

From the site:  “Maverick PAC was founded by a group of young bundlers in Texas in 2004. Our founders, including United States Sen. Ted Cruz, expanded across the state and recruited the top young professionals in each industry.  Maverick PAC went national when George P. Bush became Chairman in 2009 and until his election as Texas Land Commissioner.  The organization has grown to 35 chapters across the country.”

If you’re in Congress and want to have the option of moving up, building a national fundraising network is a good strategy that can leverage the position in DC.  I’m not saying Rep. Beutler is looking to move up,  but creating the platform to be able to do so would give her options in the future.

8. ICYMI: Best (oddest?) candidate statement of 2018

“Frankly, I’m not really sure I want this job. The pay is crummy, it takes time away from my family, and it’s pretty thankless a lot of the time.”

This is from the Voters’ Guide statement from candidate Russ Hanscom, running for Kent City Council. It wins this year’s award for oddest statement. It’s an odd effort at voter persuasion, but this is an odd time in politics. We’ll see if his strategy works on Tuesday.