I’m at an auditorium in Bellevue Community College. We’re already behind schedule and people are still trickling into the room. There’s a slideshow with Governor Gregoire: There’s her and Obama; there she is with an unidentified family in farm country. There’s a banner “Fighting for Working Families.” Gregoire with children.
I’m at a rally for Governor Gregoire and Darcy Burner. I was hoping to liveblog it but there’s no signal here, so I‘ll just write it up: It’s a rally for Chris and Darcy with our senators and the governors of Kansas and Arizona. All women.
As a feminist, I’m proud that we’ve got such great women in the state, but I’m worried that if Gregoire loses we could have no women in elected executive positions (I know the races for Superintendent of Public Instruction and Lt. Gov have women running, but one is also in a tight race, and the other is an underdog). Of course a candidate’s gender isn’t reason enough to vote for them (and I’m leaning toward the men in those other races).
I’m going to try to capture what’s going on here, but my notes are what I can type and that’s slower than the speakers talk. Any quotes are from my notes, and as good as possible, but not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, I apologize for that.
Judy Clibborn started us off, and after welcoming us to her district let us know that this is the “Chris Gregoire tour for working families. 26 stops over 11 days. She is a tireless worker for us all.” Then after some mention of how close the race is, and how important it is to volunteer, she introduced Matthew Arnold, Darcy Burner’s volunteer coordinator.
As someone who’s volunteered for Darcy’s campaign, he was a familiar face. He’s been great when I’ve been volunteering. The points he made were that “over the last couple of weeks there has been a non-ending stream of press” and that an “alphabet soup of acronyms of people who are going to spend money” on the race. But that it’s ultimately not “people in Washington DC can decide how people in Washington state vote.” That the volunteers, and the voters, will ultimately make the difference.
“This has been a long election cycle. There have been people volunteering for over a year.” Then he made a metaphor about piggy banks: “You put in your knocks, calls, all the effort and the heart and sweat of putting the people in office you believe in. And on election night you cash your piggy bank.” Because of all the work that has been done and will continue to be done, “I know that we’ve got a big piggy bank and in the next 9 days we’re cashing it in!”
Cantwell got up and made the case for Gregoire: that she’s been creating jobs; that what she’s focused her attention, she has got results: jobs and keeping the economy going in the face of the national problems. She kept Hanford cleanup on track and has created clean up jobs and is meeting the Tri-Party Agreement. That Gregoire has invested money into biotech and allowed for stem cell research. And that we’re investing in green collar jobs, she pointed to Al Gore saying that Gregoire is, “showing the rest of the nation we can get off our dependence of foreign oil and reduce CO2 emissions.”
Patty Murray was next, she wants “a big enough majority that Maria Cantwell can write the next energy policy.” That sounds like a good enough reason to me to work for 60 in the Senate.
Then some praise for Obama, “are you ready for a President who’ll respect you instead of people on Wall Street? A president who’ll respect the Constitution? Who’ll work to bring our troops home? Who understands your values and make sure the middle class is back to work and strong again?”
When Obama and Biden are in the White House, they’ll support us. And, “we need a Governor who will work with them to make sure our state is strong.” They’ll be able to work together to implement children’s health, work on choice issues, and make the proper investments in infrastructure. We’ll need a governor who’ll work with them.
She mentioned the “don’t let Seattle steal the election” and talked about how important it is to elect people who “respect the whole state” instead of trying to divide us like Rossi.
Then it was on to an introduction of Darcy Burner. “Here in the 8th district we have a tremendous chance to elect a great woman.” She said that while Reichert acts like a moderate when it’s close to election time, “you deserve a Congresswoman who has the value of the voters.” This year, you can “elect a great team to fight for you.”
Darcy spoke, and I realized that it was the first time I’ve seen her live this election cycle. “We are poised on the edge of a tremendous opportunity. All of us have watched as the country go in the wrong direction.” Our economy is going south. “We’ve watched our neighbors and friends sent to war. The Constitution disrespected by the people sworn to uphold it. In 9 days we have an opportunity to change all of that. But I need your help.”
She told a story about leaving for the campaign trail today, and her son said, “‘don’t forget to save the polar bears,’ and I want to be able to look him in the eye, and tell him honestly that we have done everything we could and we are in fact going to save the polar bears.
“But it isn’t enough to have the leaders at the federal level. Washington is doing better than anywhere else. That isn’t a coincidence. We have an unbelievable, fantastic governor.” She has been creating jobs, and bringing people together to solve problems. “We need to do everything we can do to keep her in Olympia for the next 4 years. Give your warmest welcome to Gregoire.”
Gregoire: “Thank you all for coming out. This is our tour for working families. That’s what this election is all about.”
I was most impressed about the way she went after “those negative fear mongering ads.” She talked about the sex predator ads and how they’re “shameless.” She told a story about how she was doing an event and a 3rd grader came up to her and, “asked if it’s safe to go outside.” She concluded, telling the people making those ads, “see what you’ve done.” And that even though they’re spending $7½ million from out of state, “we ought to tell them that Washington State is not for sale.”
She talked about her accomplishments. When she was elected 4 years ago, we had the highest unemployment. But Washington has created 250,000 new jobs when other states have lost jobs. How the Pew institute has ranked Washington as one of the top three best managed states in America. And how we’ve done better than most states avoiding the worst of the economic downturn: We’re “one of the few states with a surplus” she reminded us.
Then some swipes at Rossi. “We stand proudly for the families that are living on the minimum wage.” How Rossi would try to get rid of the estate tax on less than half of the top 1 percent of Washingtonians. How at yacht club (of all places!), he said he would lower unemployment benefits. “He does not share our values. We are working men and women in this state, and we need a governor who shares our values.”
She also talked about what she’s done in education and health care. Rossi wants to deregulate health care “how well did it work on Wall Street?” She talked about our “14 year low in the crime rate. Washington State Patrol has been named the best law enforcement in America.” Yet Rossi is going after her on crime?
We’re going to be a leader on Global Warming. We’re going to create a green economy. Washington is leading the way. “Puget Sound is going to be swimable fishable, and digable.”
“We may not have 7½ million dollars, but we have you. That’s what this election is about. No governor knows more than me that every vote counts.”
She concluded that she’s been serious and tough, and that she has been a fighter who, “fought breast cancer, fought the federal government when they wouldn’t support health care for children, when they wouldn’t clean up Hanford, I have fought big tobacco, and Enron. I’m going to fight for you and your children and for health care and quality education.” This got the crowd riled up.
She then said how much she’s liked working with Janet Napolitano and Kathleen Sebelius.
Napolitano spoke first of the visiting governors, and after some jabs at McCain (my favorite “I am from Arizona, so I want to clear up some things: Most of us own 1 house.”) she got to why she’s here:
“I’ve been all over the country, and this economic downturn is real and it’s in every state.” Governor Gregoire has put this state on as firm a footing as you can have in the national meltdown, and she’ll continue to do this. But we also have to think long term and to educate the next generations: “education creates the jobs, that’s an economic program.”
She told us to take advantage of this “rare opportunity to re-elect someone like Gregoire, elect Darcy to House of Representatives, and elect Barrack Obama.”
Kathleen Sebelius made a point that we will get change from electing Obama, and having people like Gregoire ready to enact the change at the state level. “The only way Obama can truly be a good president is if he has a ground team.”
All in all, a good event. A full audience, and great energy from our candidates. One of the goals was to get people to help canvas and make phone calls (the last deposits in that piggy bank, to use Matthew’s metaphor). So I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that you can still volunteer with Darcy Burner or Governor Gregoire.