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Morning Wire: Reopening the economy, Divide among Republicans, Cliff Mass

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With help from Michael Goldberg

1. The legal challenges of moving money in the LG race

The reason to care about the Lieutenant Governor race this fall is because of the possiblity Jay Inslee, if re-elected as Governor, may be called up to a Democratic cabinet position. He continues to be a stand out on the national stage, first promoting climate science, and now as an able leader on COVID. So, it’s possible that, this time next year, Steve HobbsDenny HeckAnn Davison Sattler or another candidate could be newly installed as the state’s executive. 

Both Hobbs and Heck have significant funds already in hand. The question is whether they can be moved to the LG campaign easily. In this exhaustive piece by Jim Boldt, the answer is not entirely clear. Hobbs can move about $250k with some administrative ease. He’s already raised close to an additional $100k for the race. Heck’s ability to move $1.1 million is more of a question mark. It’s possible to expect some legal challenges given the range and importance of amounts, the likes of which Inslee faced in 2012.

2. Q&A: Sen. John McCoy reflects on 17 years in the Legislature

After 17 years of service in the Legislature, Sen. John McCoy announced his immediate retirement last week. One of the longest serving Native American legislators in the state’s history, McCoy is lauded by his caucus for his dogged advocacy for Native American and rural communities. On this issue, he is credited with helping to bring better telecommunication infrastructure to the Tulalip Tribe, of which he is a member.

The empowerment of rural communities loomed large for McCoy in his career, and it’s still something he thinks about today – less than a week into his retirement. He told reporter Michael Goldberg that despite his many achievements, he wishes he was able to bring the internet to more rural pockets of the state. If Washington is to grow, said McCoy, the internet must be accessible to everyone.

3. Context for reopening the economy, post-COVID

Legislative Republicans offered a careful, incremental approach to re-opening the economy. It creates tools for collaboration and communication, as well as tax and regulatory relief for small businesses. Gov. Inslee could probably adopt 50% of these without much concern. Unfortunately, Washington’s effective reproductive rate of the disease is spiking back up.

Anything over an RT of 1 means the disease is spreading. WA went from a low of 0.040 to a recent high of 1.3. WA is now seventh highest in the country, though this RT changes rapidly. This highlights the central importance of a unified voice among elected leaders. Meanwhile, both House caucuses are working together to issue joint recommendations to the Governor, a signal perhaps that both parties don’t feel as “at the table” on decision making as they’d like.

4. Wire Insider: Cliff Mass

Cliff Mass is a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. His research focuses on numerical weather modeling and prediction, the role of topography in the evolution of weather systems, regional climate modeling, and the weather of the Pacific Northwest. He joins as a “Wire Insider” to discuss what his idea for an “environmental resilience bill” in Washington State.

“If I was suggesting a bill, I would have a resilience bill for Washington State. That would include thinning the forests and aggressively. That would include more reservoir storage so we have plenty of water in the future as our snowpack decreases. It would also include getting people away from rivers that tend to flood more and getting them away from slopes that are failing because of heavy rain.”

5.  The divide in the Republican Party 

If Republican candidates for governor are serious about winning a statewide majority, attending protest rallies where legislators say they have a “moral obligation” to foment “revolution” is absolutely not the way to do it. Moreover, if you win, it is absolutely not the way to govern.

This divide in the Republican Party – between Traditional NW Republicans and reactionary Trump Republicans – is going to undermine the party’s already narrow pathway to statewide victory. The press generated around this small group of protestors is like kerosene to an act of self-immolation.

A functioning democracy needs at least two healthy parties to work. All Americans benefit from two healthy, viable parties to wrestle our problems to the ground, together. When members of either party are calling for a qualified “revolution,” it’s not in anyone’s interest: candidates, partisans or citizens. It puts everything we’ve worked together for over almost 250 years at further risk.

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