4th District congressional rush
The rush is on to replace Republican Congressman Doc Hastings in central Washington's 4th Congressional District. Former pro football player and U.S. Senate candidate Clint Didier scheduled Monday press conferences to make a statement related to the race in what is sure to be a crowded Republican field. In addition, Kennewick attorney George Cicotte announced a run on Monday, according to the Tri-City Herald.
The paper also counts five other Republicans running: state Sens. Sharon Brown (Kennewick) and Janéa Holmquist Newbry (Moses Lake); former state Agriculture Director Dan Newhouse; Brad Peck, a Franklin County commissioner; and Gavin Seim of Ephrata, an artist and filmmaker. Josh Ramirez, who works for a company that deals with Hanford waste issues, has announced as an independent. Democrats have said they also want to field a strong candidate. — J.C.
Mountains: Disruptive advance
The weekend's winter storms closed both Stevens and Snoqualmie for parts of Monday morning, and snow and ice continued to slow traffic on U.S. 2 and I-90 well into the afternoon. Traffic disruptions aside, the snow was good for ski resorts and those looking for outdoor sports (as long as avalanche dangers were heeded). Even better, the outlook for salmon, farmers' irrigation water and electrical-power supplies took a sudden turn from gloomy to fine. Meteorologist Cliff Mass ended a blog post by saying, "We are on track to have a normal mountain snow pack by the end of the week!" — J.C.
Boeing wings assembly
Boeing is ready to make an announcement that it will build the wings for its new 777X in Everett, The Seattle Times reports. The announcement of construction of the new plant could be made as early as Tuesday. The decision could have longer-range implications for Everett, as well. The paper says that developing skills with composite materials could give Everett an advantage when it comes to future decisions about where to build other Boeing airliners. — J.C.
Lockers for homeless
Seattle City Council members Bruce Harrell and Sally Bagshaw are exploring how to provide storage lockers to homeless people. The goal: to give them someplace to keep their things AND make downtown streets a little less unsightly. Bagshaw told KIRO Radio that she believes having a storage spot could let the homeless make a better impression on potential landlords and employers.
In a recent guest post on The Slog, Harrell and Bagshaw (Disclosure: Bradley Bagshaw, Sally's husband, is chair of Crosscut's board) wrote that the idea is already used in cities, from Portland to Lisbon. For security reasons, people would likely be required to have a caseworker helping them address their problems. They said they hope to work with Mayor Ed Murray to set up 100 lockers this year. — J.C.
Today in Olympia
- Washington's Senate voted 27-20, mostly along caucus lines, Monday to tighten the eligibility of criminal defendants for free legal aid. The bill, by Sen. Tim Sheldon, D- Potlatch, would require a defendant to pay for part of the attorney's costs if the individual's income goes above the eligibility level for free assistance at any point during the case. The bill faces uncertain prospects in the House of Representatives. — J.S.
Washington's House unanimously sent three marijuana- or hemp-related bills to the Senate on Monday. One was a bill by Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace, to set up fines for youth under 21 illegally entering marijuana establishments, possessing marijuana or using fake identification. Rep. Matt Shea, R- Spokane Valley, introduced a bill to allow Washington farmers to legally grow hemp, a type of cannabis that does not pack the THC oomph of marijuana. Hemp is used for textiles, paper and other industrial purposes. The third bill, introduced by Rep Vincent Buys, R-Lynden, would have the state to study whether hemp can be used as feed for farm animals. "A vote for this is a vote for happy chickens, happy cows and ultimately a happy farm family," Buys said.
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