News Opening Day: Animated and Paranoid
posted by January 8 at 13:48 PMon
I’m at the opening session of the new legislature in Olympia.
It’s all boring formalities, but there were some loaded moments. On the Senate side they swore in former GOP Rep. Rodney Tom as a Democratic State Senator (D-48, Eastside Seattle Suburbs). The Democrats now have a 32-17 advantage in the Senate after picking up six seats. I also saw former Rep. Ed Murray (D-43, gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage), get sworn in as a State Senator—sworn in by anti-gay marriage anti-gay marriage anti-gay marriage WA. Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander.
On the House side I watched them swear in all the new members—mostly Democrats (6 picks up there too), giving the Democrats a supermajority, 62-36. They also re-elected Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford) as speaker of the house, and he gave an “animated” speech, as Republican leader Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-20, Chehalis) called it. Indeed, Chopp sounded like a football coach in the locker room cheering on “the Husky and Cougar members” of the House to work for “One Washington.”
Before the ceremony, (which was lots of formal stuff from the Washington Guard Honor Guard and angelic singing from a Kirkland church choir), I ran into newly-elected Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45, Eastside Seattle suburbs) in the wings outside the chamber.
Our paper enthusiastically endorsed Goodman—it’s no understatement to say Goodman is a radical drug reform advocate. He headed up the King County Bar Association drug reform task force, which issued a report in early 2005 calling for the legalization of drugs.
Goodman was a bit startled that I recognized him (we’ve only talked on the phone, but I’ve seen his picture in our paper).
“How do you know me?” Goodman asked, surprised. “I’m paranoid.”
Oh, really? Paranoid are you?
This is going to be an interesting session.
Seriously though, Goodman—vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told me his “mantra” is “No new… prisons,” offerfing up this tidbit: “95 percent of the justice system goes to prisons.”
I also met with Rep. Zach Hudgins (D-11, South Seattle), who said he’s going to push legislation—like allowing gas stations to amend their contracts with oil companies—to create more market opportunities for biodiesel.