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Morning Wire: Steve Hobbs, Ann Davison Sattler, COVID-19

It is good to see Washington State move down the list of states with the highest number of COVID infections. We were first; now we’re seventh. It’s a signal that our collective action is generating tangible results for our community. 

The world will have changed when we’re through this. Hopefully our politics will reflect that, though I’m not convinced. Even this epidemic is seen through a partisan lens

For our part, thanks to sponsors like the Realtors, WPUDA, NWCUA, and others, we will continue to try to bring you thoughtful content and analysis that helps support solutions-oriented conversations in our state. Thanks for letting us play this role with you.

With help from Michael Goldberg

1. Perspective on COVID-19 and when this will end

One of the most hopeful data analyses I’ve seen on COVID for the last few months is this: we may see no new deaths from this disease by July. The study comes from UW, uses actual epidemiological data from the US experience, and was cited in new guidance from the Trump administration. Unfortunately, they both suggest 82,000 dead by August. This analysis leaves out a potential spike in the fall as the cooler weather returns, kids go back to school, and we forget the lessons of social distancing. 

Looking at the numbers, the reproductive factor in Washington State is estimated to have moved from 2.5 to 1.4. This means that a doubling of cases happens every 8 days rather than every 5, give or take. While we’re still among the leading regions for cases, Washington State is starting to get surpassed by other states which responded much more slowly. However, while the trend is slowing in Puget Sound, other counties are showing upward trends in counts, starting to make up the difference.

2. A conversation about faith with Lt. Governor Habib

What are the interconnections between faith, public policy, and personal fulfillment? Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib has some ideas. Forgoing re-election in favor of entering the Society of Jesus at the conclusion of his term, Lt. Governor Habib spoke with Reporter Michael Goldberg candidly about the factors, both personal and philosophical, that led to him making this decision. 

“The experience of the mass which is beautiful – the music, the liturgy, the atmospheric transcendence of it – created an opening in me where I could delve deeper. It created a slowing down and a silence in me where I could hear God’s voice.”

3. Ann Davison Sattler wants to bring political balance to the Lt. Governor’s office

Attorney Ann Davison Sattler is running for Lt. Governor to bring political balance to Olympia, which she believes is lacking. In an interview with us, she talked about the importance of compromise, of efficient government, and how the issues at the state level are often the issues local governments are facing, too.

With no prior political experience, Sattler ran a spirited race for Seattle City Council last year advancing to the runoff before finishing second. After running for city council, Sattler realized she no longer felt aligned with the Democratic Party, of which she had long been a member. She now identifies as a Republican and is hoping to challenge the majority party as Lt. Governor. Reporter Michael Goldberg caught up with Sattler recently to hear more about her run.

4.  Steve Hobbs talks about his candidacy for Lt. Governor

So, here’s something important I overlooked: Sen. Hobbs has $215,377 in surplus funds ready to move over to his campaign for Lt. Governor. With the primary on August 4th, and the COVID experience dampening traditional campaigning and fundraising, this likely makes Hobbs the presumptive Democratic nominee for the fall. Other serious potential candidates have declined to run. Sen. Marko Liias has announced as a “Non-Partisan” candidate. (Update: The Liias campaign tells us this was a filing error that has been corrected. He’s running as a Democrat.) It appears Hobbs is clearing the field of meaningful opposition among Democratic candidates.

Hobbs talked with the Wire about his vision for the Lt. Governor’s office, believing that he has the policy gravitas and bi-partisan relationships to guide the office. The role is primarily one of overseeing the Senate, where having the trust of both sides of the chamber is important. But, what one makes of it beyond that ministerial role is where Lt. Governors can put their personal stamp on the office.

5. Wire Insider: J. Norwell Coquillard

J. Norwell Coquillard is the Executive Director of the Washington State China Relations Council. He joins us a Wire Insider to discuss Washington State’s trade relationship with China. While this interview was filmed before the COVID-19 outbreak, the conditions outlined by Coquillard will be key considerations for policymakers as they attempt to rebuild the economy in Washington State.

Washington is the most trade dependent state in the U.S. It’s not just selling airplanes, cherries, or apples to China and other countries, it’s also our ports. We have a tremendous amount of people employed at airports, seaports, loading trains, ships, etc. A huge amount of our economic activity is tied to those ports.”

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