The Vote…Environmental Disaster Nationally, Multiple Wins Locally

The results for the environment. We have had a string of great wins locally and state wide, but at the national level, things are looking horrible. It means that anyone wanting to support the environment, will need to knuckle down, build greater coalitions than they currently do, and reach out to educate Washington D.C. about the needs of this coast. In short, don’t look to the Federal government for help anymore. That chapter of our history is closed. No one can predict what happens now. Perhaps what can be predicted is that climate change will continue and probably accelerate, since this country has just decided to ignore it. The positive take on this? It’s that the business community has a way of working on environmental issues because it has to, a luxury that Congress and the President doesn’t. If you look at what is happening with insurance companies refusing to offer insurance or hiking insurance to shoreline owners, especially in Florida, New Jersey, and in flood plains, you can see what I mean.

November Elections

Here are the other candidates that I believed would do the most to benefit the environment in Jefferson County and the Olympic Peninsula. In general, the local environmental movement won handily.

  • Senator, State of Washington – Patty MurrayMurray Wins. 
    • Senator Murray continues to do a superb job of being the senior Senator in the state. Her work on VA funding in the face of Republican obstruction, along with numerous environmental bill support allows her to easily gain our vote.
  • Governor – Jay Inslee. Inslee wins. 
    • Jay is the most devoted environmental governor we have ever had. He is leading the state forward in many key areas, such as Ocean Acidification, Global Warming issues, coal and oil train issues, and many others.  He’s on the correct side of almost all environmental issues. Maybe not always as far as we’d like, but he does have to work with the State House and Senate to get things done, along with convincing the public of the correct course.
  • 6th Congressional District – Derek Kilmer. Kilmer wins. 
    • Representative Kilmer has done a solid job of promoting environmental issues in his first term. He has proven his ability to fight for climate change and other important issues, though on thorny issues  closer to home  such as the Whidbey Island Naval Base jet expansion, and the Electronic Warfare Range on the west end of the Peninsula,  he has been too lukewarm about digging in and representing citizen concern over the military. There are serious environment issues that the expansion of the base and it’s operations raises, including whether it is even appropriate to continue to use this base as a staging location given the growth of the population around it since it was originally put in place. Remember that over tens of thousands of signatures were collected protesting this issue, yet Derek has not responded other than a small token effort. Derek’s middle of the road position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a difficult policy decision for him. We live in the State of Boeing and Microsoft, two companies that benefit from more free trade, creating tens of thousands of jobs, and much wealth for our State. Since the TPP is not yet complete, (though leaked copies have enflamed Democrats and Republicans like Trump alike) it’s understandable that Kilmer would want to wait and see how the final wording lands.  However, given other issues that he has worked on, and the lack of background in environmental issues from his opponents, we suggest to re-elect him.  We’re hoping that he will become more focused on correcting TPP (it’s unlikely he would work to defeat it), seriously questioning the Navy’s expansion plans, and listening to his constituents to a greater degree.  Any Republican elected will likely support TPP and the military wholeheartedly.
  • State Senator  District 24 – Kevin Van De Wege Kevin wins.
    • Kevin’s long time support of environmental protection is quite impressive. He came around on eliminating fire retardants in products in the State, being willing to listen to facts and change his opinion by thinking through the issues. Very rare in a politician these days. He now is the champion in the State House for banning fire retardants. Vote him into the Senate!
  • State Representative District 24 – Mike Chapman – Chapman Wins.
    • Mike Chapman has been doing heavy lifting in the highly contentious world of Clallam County politics. He has sided with environmental protection and convinced his constituents that he has their backs. Endorsed by the North Olympic Sierra Club. 
  • Jefferson County District 1 – Kate Dean. Kate Dean wins.
    • Kate has been a seriously committed community activist, both in our leading edge small farm community and in environmental issues. We highly recommended  Kate to join our county commissioners. She was vying to replace long time commissioner and environmental supporter, Phil Johnson, who is retiring. We will miss Phil’s great intense devotion to wild salmon and fighting net pens in our county. I think that Tim Thomas is a decent person, but not of the same depth of experience that Kate brings to the job.
  • Jefferson County District 2 – David Sullivan. David wins. 
    • He has done a good job of supporting citizen needs in health care, and supports environmental efforts when they arise.  He comes from a health care background, so he knows those issues well.
  • State Commissioner of Public Lands – Hilary Franz Wins.
    •  Hilary has been an environmental lawyer working at Futurewise, an NGO.  She also has an impressive list of endorsements, including State Senator Kevin Ranker,  Denis Hayes (of Earth Day fame). Ron Sims, along with local long time environmental activist Jerry Gorsline, who has worked with her and highly respects her ability.  
  • State Supreme Court
    • This is a key position in protecting challenges to our environmental laws. Over and over again the Supreme Court has taken a  role in deciding whether or nor our laws have been written appropriately. There was a campaign by right wing business interests, including Steve Ballmer from Microsoft, to spend huge sums to oust Charlie Wiggens. Now the issue is whether the next Supreme Court will uphold any of their rulings that get challenged.
      • Mary Yu – WINS
      • Barbara Madsen – WINS
      • and Charlie Wiggens.- WINS
  • Washington State Lt. Governor – Cyrus Habib – Habib wins. 
    • A dynamic speaker, and a person committed to supporting people of color in getting access to the vote.
  • Washington Secretary of State – Tina PodlodowskiAppears Podlodowski loses. 
    • Tina has worked a lot on key issues in this state. Since she retired from high tech she has fought for a lot of great causes, from Seattle City Council positions to many other causes.
  • Jefferson County PUD – Barney Burke. Loses.
    • I liked Mr Randall in the race, but endorsed Barney.  Mr. Burke had been a good voice on the PUD, he was the only one that had the foresight to call for changing the accounting system before conversion. The other commissioners did not listen and the PUD paid a high price in customer satisfaction and audit issues. Barney has also represented the PUD on the Energy Northwest board. For more on E.NW click this link. Barney’s campaign manager is Cindy Jayne, a very well respected environmental activist in the area, who has worked with Local 2020 on significant documentation of the issues of global warming on the North Olympic Peninsula. It said a lot  for Barney that she feels strongly enough about his abilities that she supports him.
  • Clallam County Commissioner District 2- Ron Richards. Appears to have lost. 
    • Initiative 1464 – Reforming Campaign Finance Laws – Vote YES. It seems to be  losing. 
      • This would: create greater transparency and accountability, limit big money influence and empower voters. It is an achievable reform.
      • A bizarre coalition of supporters, from the League of Women Voters, Spokane City Council, a founder of the Seattle Tea Party, Democratic legislators, and the former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, all support this initiative. It is opposed by mainly a group of Republicans such as Slade Gorton and Rob McKenna, two people I have never trusted to do the right thing for individuals over industry.
    • Initiative 732 – Impose a carbon tax – Vote no/ Appears to have lost. 
      • A very hard thing to vote no on. Perhaps the most difficult decision I’ve faced since starting this web site in 2007.
        • I am basing my rejection of this very well intentioned initiative because it will significantly impact state tax revenues, by almost $800 Million over six years. A senior Democratic environmental leader in the State Senate clearly outlined to me and others that this initiative did not get backing from the majority of environmental organizations in the State. This is just at the point where we are attempting to find more money for education, and watching many environmental budgets shrink because of it. It does not actually change any of the huge pollution problems. It does not invest where we need to invest. This initiative is not supported by the Sierra Club, nor many unions for a good reason. We need to do this the right way, and get buy in from all the various groups, not just one or two. We need to pass an initiative that will support low income families, actually create clean energy jobs and not lower pollution. I do not see how this initiative does that, and am unwilling to support something just because we “need to get something done.”
    • Initiative 735 – Federal Constitutional Amendment – Rights belong to people, not corporations. – VOTE YES. Yes vote wins. 
      • It wins but it’s dead in the water with the new administration. It was supposed to support the national efforts to overturn Citizens United.  A no brainer. But won’t change anything until later, when the Federal Congress takes it up. It’s a resolution to *urge* our Congresspeople to pass this .
    • Senate Joint Resolution 8210 – Vote Yes. APPROVED.
      • By-partisan support for shortening the redistricting process.