The last time Republicans were this close to controlling the Washington state House was in 2002. In the 30th Legislative District election, Republican Teri Hickel ousted appointed Democratic Rep. Carol Gregory.
The Federal Way-area has been shifting toward the GOP, but Republicans are finding better candidates to match districts.
Hickel’s win reduces the Democrats’ House advantage to 50-48, down from the high of 63-35, which Democrats reached briefly in 2008 when Fred Jarrett jumped switched to the Democrats. The GOP controls the Senate.
If any Democrats defect to the House GOP side, as state Republican chair Susan Hutchison has suggested is possible, they could move into a tie or even control both houses of the Legislature in January for the first time since 1998. That means more leverage in dealings with Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee.
Whatever happens, the Legislature faces a fresh budget challenge in a supplemental budget year. A Supreme Court contempt order on K-12 school funding still looms at a time legislators must meet demands at mental health institutions, at the sexual offender facility on McNeil Island, and in many programs.
If lawmakers step up K-12 funding they’ll need to find new revenue in an election year. Initiative 1366, which many think is unconstitutional, slashes $1.4 billion in revenue if the court doesn’t strike it down or lawmakers fail to get a supermajority vote to place a tax-capping constitutional amendment on the ballot.
The situation calls for compromise. An option used in 2015 was to suspend an unwieldy initiative. Stay tuned.
ALLEN MILLER RETIRES
Allen Miller is closing a chapter in his civic service. The Olympia lawyer is retiring from the Olympia school board after nearly two terms.
A short public program to honor his work since May 2008 is planned at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Nov. 16) at Reeves Middle School during the board’s regular meeting.
Joellen Wilhelm won election to the open seat this month. The meeting is the last for Miller. He had joined the board at a time it had impasses on issues.
In an email Friday, Olympia district Superintendent Dick Cvitanich said Miller “ushered in an era of respectful dialogue and thoughtful response to challenging questions” and being “a master of finding compromise.”
He said Miller brought a calm voice to budget decisions even during cuts. Miller also co-chaired the recent, winning Olympia parks tax campaign. Well done.
THE LONELIEST GENERATION
China has finally ended its one child policy, but there is a long way to go before the government fully compensates for the damage it has done.
There are several million second children who were denied birth certificates, access to education, and even library cards because their parents violated the policy. These children – many now adults – live in the shadows.
At the same time, the 150 million only-children deal with “isolation and regret,” according to a New York Times investigation. Their children will have no aunts or uncles. And as their parents age, they will have no siblings to share responsibility for their care, or to share grief when they pass.
It is no wonder that the Chinese are now calling them “the loneliest generation.”