Mainstream Republicans of Washington: 5/20/2006
REICHERT: ŅGood Morning! (Crowd: Good Morning!) Now thatÕs not too bad. I want to know first of all whose idea it was to have this thing at 7 in the morning? Typical politicians always point the other way.
ItÕs just a pleasure to be here this morning. Kathy and I flew in yesterday after a late vote last night. We were on the same flight. I want to say first of all that there are some special friends in the room; Doug is so gracious in his introduction. I always get a little nervous about introductions because they describe your life in a way but they talk about you and really uh, and I know all of you in this room recognize that people have to come together and like Kathy said and it takes a group of people, a team of people to make each and every one of us what we are today and make each and every one of us successful in whatever endeavors happen to be. The first person in the room that IÕd like to really thank is my wife July who is standing in the back of the room. WeÕll be married for 36 years in June. And uh I have a special friend too whoÕd IÕd like to talk a little about and thatÕs Norm Mailing. I uh. Now Doug described the ride to the sheriffs office but I remember when I first went to Norm and said Ņnorm, IÕve been chosen to be the appointed sheriff which was a huge surprise since IÕd only been a precinct commander for 10 months so IÕd skip the rank of chief and go right to sheriff in one of the largest offices in the nation and IÕd asked for normÕs support. And Norm has been a true friend and supporter of mine since that very day IÕd came to his office in early 1997. And I remember his leaning forward and saying IÕve supported you in your early career and IÕll support you in your bid for congress. So norm, thank you so much. Thank you Jen for your early help in 2004. I donÕt know how many of you know this but norm grew up on a farm, a dairy farm in Hackney, WA. Kathy grew up in a farm in Kettle Falls, WA. I worked in the strawberry fields in auburn, WA.
I want to talk a little bit, yÕknow you talk about friendship and teamwork and you talk about partnership and thatÕs really what is happening in Washington D.C. Norm and Kathy and Doc and I are a team of three people and we need help. We have Mike McGavick, a great candidate for senate. We have Doug Rollstone up running in Snohomish County who is running and doing a great job and we have many candidates who have a chance to win. ItÕs lonely on the west side of the mountains. IÕm the only republican representative in the west side of Washington and Oregon and whenever there is a protest guess where they go? Mercer Island Parking lot of my office and uh it gets a little bit nerve-racking always being attacked and I was surprised, I havenÕt seen the article in the Seattle Weekly but thatÕs interesting to note. YÕknow in my career I have been very fortunate and very very blessed to have risen to this office and there are three things that have happened in the last year that are quite amazing. One, just recently I was named the second most powerful member of congress in the state of Washington behind norm dicks. Sorry Kathy. Two, and I donÕt know how that happened but I think part of it is due to the partnership and the teamwork and the quiet leadership. And Kathy and doc know how that is. The quiet leadership of coming into an organization and just moving about. You donÕt need to be loud and boisterous and angry but just a quiet strong voice always placed in the right moment and the right time changes minds. And I want to point out one instance of reaching out because IÕll tell ya, you canÕt win this battle to promote the beliefs that all of us in this room believe and strongly hold on to without reaching out and convincing others about what we believe. And thatÕs what our job is to do. So I think about when I had my kickoff event a few weeks ago, I donÕt know how many of you were there I suppose and would like to imagine that everybody in this room were there. I had my wife drop me off on the sidewalk and I jumped out of the car and I had oh 10-15 protesters out there and they had signs up, ŅDave is BadÓ, ŅDave is bad for AmericaÓ, ŅHeÕs dangerous for AmericaÓ and so I jumped out and I shook their hands and I said Ņgood morning, how are you! And isnÕt it great to be in America on the streets of Bellevue with your signs and you can voice your opinion.Ó That is what America is about so good to see you and welcome to Bellevue and I did that to every one of them and I get to the back and this guy and I shook his hand and I said, Ņhi, how are you?Ó and he said, ŅWho are you?Ó I said, ŅIÕm Dave, the guy you hate! Go back home and have a cup of coffee.Ó
YÕknow IÕve had a pretty tough career and on some days and some times very good. The day we arrested Gary Ridgeway. The day that norm and I announced he plead guilty and that he was going to prison for the rest of his life, 48 times. What a wonderful day that was for all of us. But there have been some other days where weÕve been real tough. I remember a day when I had a friend of mine shot and killed. A partner, a good friend, a neighbor and he was ambushed and shot with his five kids and wife gone. I was the only one there from the homicide unit and they put me in the back seat of the police car with this man to advise him of his rights. In America. Even this man had rights. To advice him of his rights and to take a statement from him. I put my arm around him. I put my arm around Gary Ridgeway. And we got a statement from the man in the backseat. Put him away for life too. And we got a statement from Gary Ridgeway that helped solve 48 cases. Hardest thing in the world to do is be nice to a crook. Let alone someone who took your best friends life. ThatÕs my job. And in America how hard is it to put my arm around a democrat if I can put my arm around Gary Ridgeway. Right norm?
IÕll tell you that back in Washington there are lots of games played and I just want to give you, we talk about freedom and we talk about America and we talk about the dream. The dream has to include everybody and there has to be compromise and we canÕt have, IÕve been to district meetings in my district where people have said, Ņwhy in the world should I vote for you. ItÕs just like voting for a democrat for crying out loud.Ó I am going to vote libertarian and I said, Ņyou know what sir, that would be a huge mistake and hereÕs why.Ó IÕve tried to explain to this person how things work a little bit back in Washington D.C. and why certain votes have to be taken. Sometimes the leadership comes to me and says ŅDave we want you to vote a certain wayÓ and they know I can do that over here. Another district isnÕt a problem but over here I have to be very flexible of where I placed my votes. The big picture here is to keep the seat, keep the majority, and keep the country moving forward with republican ideals. Especially on the budget and protecting our troops whoÕre protecting this country and how that will be responsible with taxpayer dollars. ThatÕs the big picture. Not the vote I place on ANWAR that you may not agree with or the vote that I placed on protecting salmon. You have to be flexible. So when the leadership comes to me and says , Dave you have to vote over here because we want to protect you and keep this majority, I do it. There are sometimes when I say no I wonÕt. There are sometimes when things come to the floor like Schiavo. I was one of five republicans that voted with the Democrats on Schiavo because that was the right thing to do. Government should not have been involved in that decision, period.
I voted three times to keep ANWR out of three different bills, the Department of Defense budget and the Department of Energy. We are going to have an ANWR vote again. Last year there were 700 votes and I missed four. I think it seems weÕre at 700 votes already this year. HereÕs what happens, you come to the floor and you may have a vote on cops. ItÕs come up from the subcommittees and the committees and now its on the floor and itÕs COPS money. ItÕs half a billion dollars for cops and we are about to vote yes because we all support police officers. We all want a strong public safety program. Then what happens is the Democrats offer a motion to recommit, which means they want to bring the entire bill back to the subcommittee. And it goes through the entire process again and it takes months and the cops never get their money. So their motion to recommit has nothing to do with anything with cops. It could be anything. So the motion to recommit was not about the half a billion dollars for increases in teachers pay. So here's the deal if you are going to vote on the motion to recommit, send the whole bill back. Cops donÕt have their money. And if I vote ŌnoÕ, the Democrats already have a press release ready that says ŅDave doesnÕt support copsÓ and if I vote yes they already have a press release that says ŅDave Reichert doesnÕt like teachersÓ. So that is the trap that they put you in but I already know that I wonÕt vote with the Democrats and I will pass this bill because its more important that the cops get their money and I know the leadership is already planning to protect me, right. They will develop a bill that increases money for education that I can vote on and say I do support teachers. Now that is the everyday strategic battle that you play in Washington D.C and I know that this group understands that and I appreciate your support and I appreciate you taking the time to figure out and watch these votes. I was the only person in Washington State that was identified as a centrist and that was in the nation journal and/uh national magazine. And thatÕs what I think the Seattle weekly was referring to and thatÕs where I need to be in a 50/50 district. You need to know that I will continue to evaluate each one of these issues on their facts. ThatÕs my job. I investigate and as the chairman of the subcommittee on emergency preparedness, science and technology under homeland security, we have gone through all of our hearings in a way thatÕs very very judicial (sic). Examining every fact and every statement to see where FEMA should be. So watch how that plays out over the next few weeks. Its going to be a huge bill that comes up in June and IÕd like to thank you for allowing me to speak today and I thank you for your support. Have a great day today. Thank you so much.
How are you countering the concern that republicans are deficit spending because typically we are knows, nowadays, as only fiscally responsible?
Last year we voted for the budget deficit reduction act, Cathy and I both did, it was a forty billion dollar cut and that was the first time since 1997 that that large amount had been cut from the budget. What people donÕt talk a lot about is the growing economy and the strength of the economy. We are on track to cut the deficit and we are focused on cutting the deficit as the President said by 2009 and thatÕs going to continue over the next few years, our efforts to cut and reduce the deficit. This year I was one of five or six that signed onto the Castle Amendment which helped, created the budget that we have today and we voted on this past week, that we were up to 1:30AM in the morning on negotiating, but its pretty much a leveled budget. This year, being an election year, you can understand why that was another strategic move on the part of leadership and my part also so I think in the next year, non-campaign non-election year, youÕll see another cut, hopefully another larger cut, another deficit reduction act and what I would really like to see, what IÕve been pushing for is a closer look at government waste. What in the world are we spending our money on? You can go to MediCARE and MedicAID and look at those big programs because those are easier to cut and those are the big money ticket items and you get the biggest bang for your buck when you cut those programs (MediCARE + MedicAID). But many many people have talked to me about that if you can focus on those things that are government waste, even small programs Š yÕknow like we are doing a study about why water runs off a ducks back, that costs us 50 million dollars a year. Lets cut that. ItÕs silly. Those are things that we have a group working on. I have a caucus identifying government waste. The economy last year grew at 3.5 percent and this year its projected to grow 3.6 percent. The unemployment in Washington State is at 4.7 percent, and itÕs the same across the nation. The unemployment rate in Florida is 3.1 percent. Last year corporate revenue grew by almost 15 percent and it reduced the deficit by nearly 100 billion dollars by itself. Just corporate revenue. The revenue is continuing to grow and reducing the deficit on its own but we need to reduce spending and keep the tax cuts. We just voted on keeping the tax cuts, the capital gains and dividends at 15 percent over the next 2 years and those bush tax cuts were put in place will extend for the next two years. So the economy will continue to grow and jobs will continue to develop. Almost five million jobs in the last two and half years. Five million jobs. ThatÕs more than Germany and Japan together. So there is great news in the economy and we need to do a lot more work in cutting spending. So you will see also a lot of discussion and debate about whatÕs the definition of appropriation. Some define it as the transportation money. The 38 million dollars we were able to acquire in the 8th district, the 220 million dollars that went to the viaduct program, if that is a viable project.