The Washington State Gubernatorial race has become the most contested race in the nation.
By C.A. Bamford
During the long, hot summer of 1787 our founders met in Philadelphia to write our constitution. It was a contentious process, but they knew they were deciding the future of their new country so they persevered, and through much wrangling and compromise they created the document that has guided our country for well over two centuries.
Today, however, our country is in crisis because our government is ignoring our constitutional process. In Washington State, 30 years of Democrat control has grown government and left them with mounting debt and the 17th highest unemployment numbers in the nation. Sorely needed education funding has been funneled into other programs, highways are clogged, state pension plans are unfunded, taxes continue to rise, and waste, inefficiency and partisan bickering has become the rule rather than the exception in state government.
But the people of Washington have a unique opportunity to turn this around and head in a new direction that will end the gridlock and cut through red tape and politics as usual. In November they will choose between two candidates for governor; one exceptionally qualified, and the other…an ordinary career politician. Let’s take a look at the background and accomplishments of each.
The Politician and the Policy Wonk
Jay Inslee attended Stanford for one year, then returned home and graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Economics. He earned a JD in Law from Willamette University and worked as a private attorney and city prosecutor in Selah, WA.
In 1988 Inslee won a term in Washington State House, and then served for two years the US Congress. In 1995 he was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress. In 1996 he ran unsuccessfully for the governor nomination. He was appointed Regulation Director for the US Dept of Health & Human Services from 1997-98. In 1999 he was elected to Congress and served until March 20, 2012 when he resigned to run for governor. His resignation cost the state over $1 million to hold a special election to fill his vacant seat.
Inslee promises to work hard and keep on trying to solve problems by creating new government departments and programs funded by “necessary” increases in taxes. We have to “tighten our belts” he says. We must fund light rail and green energy programs so we can get more federal money. This candidate has spent a decade and a half in Washington DC, where he claimed to be “an independent leader, even when it meant bucking his own party”. Yet Inslee voted with Pelosi, Reid and Obama 92% of the time.
His ads call him a national leader in clean energy working to create jobs. In this effort, he backed Solyndra (bankrupt), Sunpower and Gamesa (failing) and Grays Harbor Paper (closed). In his 15 years in congress only 5.8% of his sponsored measures passed.
Rob McKenna graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Washington with a BA in Economics and a BA in International Studies, both with honors. He also served as student body president. McKenna earned a JD in Law from the University of Chicago where he was also a member of the Law Review. McKenna worked for one of the largest law firms in the country, working mainly business and regulatory law.
In 1995 McKenna won a seat on the King County Council, was re-elected twice, and rated “Outstanding” by the Municipal League. He became Attorney General of Washington State in 2004 and won a second term in 2008 with 59.5% of the vote. In 2011 McKenna was elected President of the National Association of Attorney Generals and awarded the NAAG Kelley Wyman Award for Outstanding Attorney General
McKenna is a member of WA State Bar Association and is admitted to practice before the Washington Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court. He won all three of the cases he has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, defending voter-adopted laws on campaign finance reform, the top-two primary election system and the state public records law. Rob McKenna’s accomplishments in community and national leadership can be seen here.
McKenna believes that reducing the burden of government regulations on jobs creators will help the economy grow. He is committed to stopping the cycle of debt by creating an environment that will encourage business and increase revenues so we can fund education and protect crucial programs for veterans, elderly, children and the disabled without increasing taxes. He says he can do this by streamlining government and by cutting waste and inefficiency. In fact, as Attorney General, he has already done this for the past 8 years in his own department.
A recent debate highlighted the differences between the candidates even more with Rob McKenna providing detailed, specific proposals and Jay Inslee responding with generalities, platitudes, and some downright strange answers.
Two hundred and twenty-five years ago, with just 4 handwritten pages, our founding fathers gave us a guide to the greatest form of government our world has ever known. In November, we need to set aside partisanship and return to those principles if we are to survive and thrive. Which candidate for governor has the knowledge, experience, and leadership skills to take Washington State in the right direction?
The choice is clear.