Virtual Conversation | 2021 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 15, 2021 Register

Morning Wire: Sen. Patty Kuderer, Rep. Frank Chopp, Duwamish

It’s an odd time in COVID. Public opinion has turned gloomy, with Gallup reporting that more people are pessimistic about the future of COVID and getting the disease than are optimistic. That’s the first time since January that more folks are worried than hopeful. 

Moreover, 1 in 3 vaccinated individuals are now “somewhat” or “very worried” about getting COVID. Thanks for hyping that 0.1% chance, media. Hope it was worth it.

Meanwhile, 20% of unvaccinated individuals are “somewhat” or “very worried” about getting COVID. Maybe 80% of unvaccinated folks are a bit overconfident here. But, for those 20% that are worried, there is a vaccine. It will keep you from getting sick, and almost absolutely keep you out of the hospital. You’ll have less worry by getting it — trust me on this.

1. Chopp memo on politics of the capital gains tax 

The Washington Policy Center got ahold of a memo Rep. Frank Chopp had prepared March 26th titled “Capital gains options.” It’s classic Chopp in that it’s a clear eyed, simple framing for his House Democratic colleagues of one of the most politically complicated issues of recent years. 

Notably, he says the caucus faces “a, likely, difficult 2022 election in new districts,” a point I’ve made herehere and here. He also notes that “Allies won’t like it and don’t want to fund a referendum ballot fight in 2021.” He’s referring to the labor, tribal, and lawyer communities that are so integral to Democratic campaign support. 

It’s a useful window into the House Democratic caucus. It shows how much more complex the politics of the capital gains approach were inside the caucus. It’s also a validation that next year could be very, very difficult for Democrats. 

2. Q&A: Sen. Patty Kuderer on bills for 2022

Sen. Patty Kuderer is the Chair of the Senate Housing Stability and Affordability Committee. She hails from the 48th LD in Bellevue and Redmond. In this Q&A, Kuderer talks through some of the bills she is working to get ready for the 2022 legislative session. They include creating a statewide housing inventory bill and the idea of a “housing court,” and condo liability reforms informed by the collapse in Florida. 

“We’re taking a look at some condominium issues in light of the collapse in Florida, and that might go through Law and Justice, as opposed to my Housing Committee. There are discussions underway in terms of making the inspection schedule uniform. Right now, that is done on a city-by-city basis.”

3. Lessons from the primary election 

Yet again, Seattle politics features an institutional candidate in the general election for mayor facing off against an anti-institutionalist. That is the case in the mayoral election and the city wide council seat, too. This story from reporter Aaron Kunkler highlights both progressive and conservative views on the question of what to make of it all.

The bottom line from both views is essentially this: voters want some change, but not too much and not too little. It’s like the Goldilocks effect of local elections: can a candidate offer some change to Seattle without rocking the boat too much. It looks like Sara Nelson is likely that candidate in the city wide Council seat. In the mayoral race, it’s less clear who the voters will find “just right.” But, I have a feeling the story line that wins this race has not yet been told. There is a long time till November.

4. Breakthrough cases, ICU beds, and the data

Of the 7.7m residents of our state, 53% are fully vaccinated. Of those, 4,241 have had a “breakthrough” COVID infection over the last six months. That is a .103% infection rate over a six month period. That means in a room of 10,000 vaccinated individuals, over the course of 6 months, 10 would somehow contract COVID. Of those 10, none would require hospitalization, statistically speaking.

Meanwhile, Washington’s ICU beds have had a slight uptick of COVID patients, the highest it’s been since the winter surge. About 18% of all ICU beds have a COVID patient, though in the aggregate, Washington’s hospitals have a steady amount of ICU capacity.

5. Counter-campaign on the rights of the Duwamish

It has become something of an accepted narrative in Puget Sound that of the 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington State, the Duwamish people are not one of them. There is a group making this case directly for years. Among some, this was evidence that the Duwamish have somehow been wronged by the federal government, a story I have re-told myself, candidly. That isn’t the case, however, according to a new campaign from the Muckleshoot Tribe, who cite history, ancestry, and court decisions to point to their legacy as the descendants of the Duwamish people. 

“Now is the time for an honest accounting of the history of our people and the real harm that would result from reversing half a century of legal rulings that unambiguously reject the claims of a small group seeking recognition as the Duwamish Tribe. The press, well-meaning individuals, and some politicians seem to ignore the facts and our objections to the legal and cultural appropriation inherent in granting recognition to this group. Their uninformed support overlooks our rights, the criteria for federal recognition, and the true history of the Native people of this region.”

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