Upcoming Conference | 2019 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 10, 2019 Register

Morning Wire: The 32nd LD race, Rep. Nicole Macri, Congressional debates

We have lots for you this morning, including a White House event on Washington State, election observations, and a podcast with one of the legislature’s most thoughtful first-term members.  If you have suggestions for content you’d like to see us cover, drop us a note.  We’d love to hear about the stories you think are worth elevating to the policy makers reading The Wire.
With help from Emily Boerger and Marjie High

1. Writing the book on an intra-party challenge

The 2018 race for the Senate in the 32nd LD may be the most interesting intra-party challenge for a legislative race since the 1998 race in the 32nd LD between Carolyn Edmonds and Patty Butler (though the 2010 Frockt-Jacobsen and the 2004 Sommers-Woldt races were also truly unique).

Challenger Jesse Salomon appears to be putting on a clinic to show how to beat an incumbent in an intra-party race, particularly in a top two primary election model.  He’s lined up the support of both incumbent Democratic House members, King County Exec Dow Constantine, and a range of other institutional players against incumbent Senator Maralyn Chase. He’s out raised her almost 2 to 1, generating success that has – so far – given the Senate Democratic caucus reason to only contribute a modest $2,000 to her re-election campaign.  This strikes me as among the most interesting races to watch in November.

2. Podcast: A conversation with Rep. Nicole Macri

Representative Nicole Macri represents the 43rd Legislative District, covering parts of Seattle including Downtown, the University District, and Green Lake. Macri serves as the Vice Chair of the Washington State House Health care & Wellness Committee as well as Vice Chair of the Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee.

I sat down with Rep. Macri for this podcast to discuss House healthcare leadership, the dynamics in the House Democratic Caucus, as well as some of her priorities for the 2019 legislative session which include improving Washington’s behavioral health system and addressing the state’s homelessness crisis. Take a listen here, and be sure to subscribe!

3. Topical Agenda to be released this week!

This week, be on the lookout for the release of the 2018 Re-Wire Policy Conference Topical Agenda! The release of our topical agenda is a major step in the shaping of our second-annual conference coming up on December 13th at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center.

A special thanks to our Convening Panel and sponsors who have helped us identify the topics, sessions, and speakers that best reflect what you’ll hear and see during the 2019 legislative session. Once our Topical Agenda is released, we’d appreciate any feedback or speaker recommendations that you may have!

4.  Rep. Shea participates in “New Code of the West” conference

Over the weekend, Washington State Representative Matt Shea participated in the controversial “New Code of the West” conference in Whitefish, Montana. The conference was hosted by “This West is OUR West,” a group focused on limiting federal land management and, according to the group’s website, preventing “Greenies, Globalists and bureaucratic agencies” from coming after “our land and water in the Western States.”

Shea, who represents the 4th LD covering the greater Spokane Valley, is the Caucus Chair of the House Republican Caucus. The Guardian reports that Shea delivered a presentation at the conference where he claimed a mosque in Spokane was owned by the Muslim Brotherhood, connected the Council of American-Islamic Relations to Hamas, and associated the grassroots organization “Indivisible” with communism.

5.  Rossi/Schrier gear up for debate with health policy figuring prominently

Until recently Washington’s 8th CD race was polling at a dead heat, but a new Crosscut/Elway poll released this week suggests that Schrier’s postition is slipping, showing a 49 percent to 39 percent advantage in favor of Rossi.  The new numbers come as the candidates prepare for their only scheduled debate this Wednesday, October 17th at CWU.

Health care has been a central conversation in the race, which reflects the results of an AARP poll released last week showing lowering health care costs as the greatest concern to older voters in the district. Yet with three weeks, another debate, and plenty of rhetoric still to come, the ultimate result may still be hard foresee.

6. Sen. Padden visits White House for Pacific Northwest states conference

Last week, Senator Mike Padden traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a White House conference focused on issues affecting Washington and Oregon. The conference included state and local policy makers from the Pacific Northwest, with Sen. Padden representing the Washington State Senate.

Presenters during the conference included US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke who discussed wildfire management and earthquake preparedness, Vice President Pence who discussed state responsibilities and the 10th Amendment, and Kellyanne Conway who gave an update on the opioid crisis.“Overall, the trip was not only informative, but it was also a great opportunity to make contacts within the administration who may be helpful in the future,” said Padden.

7. The state of LGBTQ equality in WA

The Human Right’s Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s latest Municipal Equality Index (MEI) shows Washington cities performing above the national average in LGBTQ Equality measurements. The index evaluated ten Washington cities of various sizes and gave them an average score of 82 out 100 points, far above the national average of 58 points.

Bellevue and Seattle scored perfect 100-point scores. With a score of 56, Pullman was the only Washington city evaluated to score below the national average. Contributing to Washington’s overall high scores are the state’s non-discrimination laws such as the state’s move to ban conversion therapy during the 2018 session. You can view the detailed score cards of each city in the equality index here.

8.  Hutchison and Cantwell trade barbs in first debate

Sen. Maria Cantwell and challenger Susan Hutchison’s first debate balanced elements of federal policy with views on issues that will likely have continuing effects on Washington State.  Hutchison largely backed Republican party-line policies like tax cuts, tarriffs, and free market health care solutions, while Cantwell defended universal coverage, stricter gun laws, and free trade.

Despite Hutchison’s name and healthy funding, Cantwell is favored to retain the Democratic seat in November. The candidates will meet for their second and last debate on Oct. 20th in Spokane. Read our full run-down of the first debate here.