Case in Point

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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

“A CASE for leadership” (speech: campaign for state representative, 1990)

Standard campaign speech for state legislature
1989

There was a painted map of Washington State that, until just recently, hung in the lobby of the John Cherberg Building on the State Capitol campus in Olympia. Now that map is colorful, it is detailed, it is accurate — and it is only half right! It is a map of only the western half of the state! The eastern half of the map was lost a while back, but apparently no one in Olympia thought the depiction of Washington was severely diminished by the loss of our region!

It is our contention that the graphic representation of Washington State, absent the eastern half, illustrates the major political and economic problem confronting the 13th Legislative District today: That of the studied neglect of our district’s significance and contribution in helping set the public policy agenda for our State.
Despite all the soothing and assuring words we might hear from various Westside powers, be those voices economic or political, the fact continues to be evident that the “Cascade Curtain” exists and our contribution to the vision and direction of our state tends to be slighted, and thought to be less worthy than that of our cousins to the west.

This perceived bias affects several features of our district’s lifestyle:
1. The way food and fiber producers are treated.
2. The way economic development in Central Washington is treated.
3. The way Central Washington University is treated.
4. The way our special crime problem, i.e., drugs, is treated.

Our campaign theme is a play on my name, “A CASE FOR LEADERSHIP.” But, I would suggest to you that even if my name were Rhoda (which is my wife’s maiden name), a case for my leadership for the 13th District could be argued in order to articulate not only our District’s unique and special needs and contributions, but also and perhaps more importantly, the truth that we in the 13th have a legitimate and justly-earned place at the table of vision to help determine where we as a state will be as we end the 20th and begin the 21st century. If I am to be successful in advocating our concerns I will need the help, advice and encouragement of my fellow citizens from White Pass to Wilson Creek and Othello to Thorp.

First, we want the rest of the state to know that we are not economic Luddites in the 13th District. We want to tell the state that we welcome and embrace progress and economic growth, with all its challenges, because we want the benefits of a strong, healthy, diversified economy which will support our schools, our arts, our families, our parks and museums, our recreational activities, etc.

Second, we want the rest of the state to know that we believe in the commonwealth of the counties, and that we are prepared to share what we have with the other parts of the state for our mutual benefit and commonwealth. We are going to be responsible citizens and stewards, and we expect the rest of the state to be equally responsible.

Third, we want the rest of the state to know that we in the 13th District, in some respects, may be our own enemy in that we haven’t effectively shown-off our intelligence, our entrepreneurialism, our risk-taking attitudes, our work ethic — in short, our praiseworthy characteristics. We believe our scholars, our business people (including our agriculturalists), our artists and poets and musicians, our military people, our naturalists are as accomplished as any in the state.

Fourth, it will be a supporting theme of our campaign that the food and fiber providers in our District are simply the best in the state and therefore have earned the encouragement and gratitude from all Washingtonians. We are, without doubt, the fruit basket, the bread basket, in fact the entire pantry of Washington State. The message needs to be carried forth from here that food to feed the urbanite does not come from the local grocery store — it comes, in large measure, from the 13th District Legislative District!

Fifth, we want the rest of the state to know that the 13th District not only provides the food for the state’s tables and the fiber for the state’s comfort, we also provide the teachers for the state’s children. Central Washington University trains more teachers and school administrators than any university in the Northwest. If educational reform of K through 12 is going to happen in this state, and it must happen, it is going to be energized out of this district from the leadership of Central Washington University!

The fact is, the 13th District is the luckiest political number this state has!

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