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By and large, I’m happy with Washington State

Update by Lurleen: Dino Rossi conceded, so Patty Murray keeps her seat in the U.S. Senator.  To those finding her deficient on certain issues, now is the time to call her office and let her know why you voted for her and what specific legislation you would like her to co-sponsor and/or champion.  Her contact information is here.

I live in one of the most securely Democratic Congressional districts in the country, District 7 represented by Jim McDermott.

My state legislative district, 43, is represented by two openly gay men, Ed Murray in the Senate and Jamie Pedersen in the House (our other representative, Frank Chopp, is Speaker of the House.) Only Chopp drew any kind of opposition; Murray and Pedersen sailed through both the primary and the general election unopposed.

In 2008, the Washington Legislature had six openly gay members including Rep. Marko Liias (D-21), Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33), Rep. Jim Moeller (D-49) and Sen. Joe McDermott (D-34); the five who stood for re-election (all but McDermott, whose term ends in 2012) will be returning to office along with a new member of the caucus: Laurie Jinkins (D-27) (mentioned here at PHB. Congradulations, Laurie!)

(Correction: Joe McDermott withdrew from the state Senate to run for the King County Council, District 8. He won that seat by a comfortable margin, so the gay caucus in the Legislature remains at six with the addition of Jinkins.)

Our Senate race for the other Washington is a bit of a squeaker, with Democrat Patty Murray currently leading Republican and perennial loser Dino Rossi by only a few votes: both are now listed as 50% with Murray holding a 4,000 vote lead. For all my griping, I did vote for her rather than writing someone else in. Wow, my vote might actually mean something.Most of our incumbent Congresscritters are on their way to re-election. The only exception is District 2, between incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen and Republican challenger John Koster. Right now both are listed with 50%, with Koster holding a lead of about 400 votes.

The state initiatives are what I would have expected. We foolishly passed I-1053, which will require a 2/3 supermajority in both houses to pass any tax increases. We tried this before, and it was struck down by the state Supreme Court: our constitution allows the Legislature to pass all bills by a simple majority, and the constitution cannot be amended by initiative. Still, it will take time and money for this to get overturned, and it will end up further polarizing our conservative extremists.

The only other initiative result that I find disappointing is I-1098, which would have cut state property taxes, increased a credit that allows businesses to deduct federal taxes from their state Business and Occupation tax, and impose a small income tax on persons with an adjusted gross income of $200,000 individual or $400,000 joint. Meaning that Washington retains one of the most regressive taxing systems in the country.

Gregory Gadow

Gregory Gadow