Category: Western WA (Page 1 of 3)

Sen. Andy Hill announces recurrence of lung cancer

Washington state Sen. Andy Hill, (R-Redmond)

Washington state Sen. Andy Hill, (R-Redmond)

In a message posted to his campaign website Monday afternoon, state Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) announced that he is battling lung cancer for the second time.

Hill had been cancer-free since 2010 when he overcame a serious bout with the disease including participating in clinical trials of experimental treatments.  His doctors found new evidence of cancer during a recent screening.

Hill, now serving the second year of his second term as a state senator, has been a driving force within the Olympia Senate Republican caucus leadership, most notably being the lead budget writer during several concurrent sessions of tense budget negotiations.

Although Monday’s message to supporters didn’t specifically address how the news would impact his term in office, he may have alluded to it when saying, “…[T]here are tens of thousands of Washingtonians and millions of Americans who are fighting and living their lives with some form of this illness right now as well. They don’t let it slow them down and I don’t intend to let it either.”

The entire text of Hill’s message to supporters is as follows:

 

Dear Friends,

During my time as both a candidate and as a state senator I have worked to maintain close communication with all of you as a part of my commitment to honest and accountable representation.

And while I thrive on the input I receive from across this district and the region, I consider honesty and accountability a two-way street. And that’s why I wanted to give you a personal update.

As most of you know, seven years ago I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thanks to our great health care system and terrific doctors, I was able to be part of an experimental trial drug and quickly became cancer free. That drug soon became available to all and it and its successors have protected me for many years.

But the body can build up an immunity to specific treatments and last week my doctors discovered a small recurrence.

Those of you familiar with my story know I take a tough approach to this chronic condition and, as a result, I will be undergoing aggressive treatment including traditional chemotherapy followed by new cutting-edge medications.

I appreciate the concern so many of you show regularly for my well-being and I want to remind you that there are tens of thousands of Washingtonians and millions of Americans who are fighting and living their lives with some form of this illness right now as well. They don’t let it slow them down and I don’t intend to let it either.

We live in a tremendous community with great advances in the medical field and outstanding doctors. I am confident that, working with them, I’ll have a clean bill of health again soon.

I draw strength from the support and the prayers on my behalf from so many of you and I am asking you to keep those coming—particularly on behalf of Molly and the kids.

Thanks for everything and warmest regards,

Andy

 

 

WA-03: Congressional Candidate Believes Teaching Kids About Union Leaders as Important as Pres. Lincoln, MLK

Bob Dingethal is running as a Democrat in the race for the 3rd Congressional District seat.

Bob Dingethal is running as a Democrat in the race for the 3rd Congressional District seat. [Image: Bob Digenthal for Congress Facebook page.]

While the left-wing media feeds and prunes the divide among Republicans on the subject of Common Core curriculum in public schools – like a bonsai artist, they diligently manage development of controversy to produce small and distinct political coalitions – one Democrat running for Congress in Washington State has voiced his own bad idea for education that most Republicans can find common ground opposing.

Bob Dingethal, who is running as a Democrat for U.S. House in Southwest Washington’s third congressional district, believes that a doctrinal education in the history of American unions can’t begin early enough.

Speaking Saturday at the Washington State Labor Council/AFL-CIO candidate endorsement conference in Seattle, Dingethal said that teaching our children about union leaders was as important as educating them about our great presidents and civil rights leaders.

Digenthal voiced his strong belief that “the [educational system] must change to represent unions from the beginning of a child’s education. Every child should know who Samuel Gompers, the Reuther Brothers, people like Phil Parker are as well as they know who Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. are.”

Dinge went on, singing loud and proud from the hymnal of big labor.

“[W]e need to stand steadfastly together, and we need to rebuild America’s economy by doubling, tripling – hopefully even quadrupling – the number of union members in America.”

But not all union jobs are created equal, at least according to Dingethal’s position on the expansion of coal exports from terminals in Washington state. A good portion of the economic activity and jobs created (a large number of them union) would be associated with the proposed terminal near Longview, Wash. Longview is in the third congressional district, but Dingethal has publicly opposed the project. In a statement dated March 26 and posted to his campaign website, Dingethal makes his opposition clear.

Watch the video and judge for yourself whether it was pandering or audience appreciation that compelled Dingethal.

Dingethal is running to unseat Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and currently appears to be the only Democrat in the race. Michael Delavar is also running in the primary as a Republican.

 

 

Mill Creek Councilman Mark Harmsworth Will Run to Replace Retiring State Rep. Mike Hope in 44th Leg District

mark_harmsworthState Rep. Mike Hope (R-Lake Stevens) will retire at the end of his third term, a decision made Thursday that was quickly followed with an announcement that Mill Creek Councilman Mark Harmsworth will run in next year’s election to replace him and keep a Republican in the seat.

Harmsworth will seek to apply his experience working in the tech sector to reducing government waste and freeing up funding for education and other needed services.

“The annual cuts to education, increased class sizes and the waste we see in government have to stop,” said Harmsworth in his official announcement. “We can fully fund our schools. We can expand health care to those who do not have it without breaking what we already have.”

“Here in Washington, we have always led the world in innovation and ideas,” said Harmsworth. “Unfortunately, that spirit of innovation has not found its way into state government.”

Harmsworth and his wife moved to the US from England two decades ago to ride the technology wave that resulted in a lengthy career with Microsoft and a recent move to Amazon. Since coming to the US, they have become citizens and raised a family of three in Washington.

Their journey has afforded Harmsworth a unique perspective that is enhanced by an impressive record of civil service. In addition to his two terms on the Mill Creek City Council, Harmsworth serves as Vice President of Snohomish Cities and Towns and is on the Board of Directors of the Everett Community College Foundation Board.

“If Olympia doesn’t change priorities,” said Harmsworth, “then we will go the way of Europe. I didn’t leave there 20 years ago just to go back to that.”

In addition to his experience on the Mill Creek Council, Harmsworth “knows the dirt” in the 44th, as they say, having run to represent the district in 2012. In that year, Harmsworth gave entrenched Democratic state Rep. Hans Dunshee a run for his money. Dunshee went back to Olympia to be appointed Chair of the House Capital Budget Committee, but only after achieving his smallest margin of victory in recent years.

Harmsworth’s campaign experience should be a positive factor as well as his endorsement by Hope considering the outgoing legislator’s popularity among voters.

Hope – a Seattle police officer, former Marine and aspiring actor – began serving in the state House in 2008 in a close race but since has been a difficult Republican to beat in Snohomish County’s tricky political landscape. Hope, however, confided to The Everett Herald’s Jerry Cornfield in June his uncertainty about a making future bid after a grueling 2013 legislative calendar that included one regular and three special sessions.

Read Harmsworth’s entire official release here:

Mill Creek Councilman Mark Harmsworth announced today he will run for the State House to replace the retiring Rep. Mike Hope.

Hope announced he will not seek re-election in 2014 and has endorsed Harmsworth.

“My wife and I moved here from England nearly 20 years ago as part of the tech industry boom,” said Harmsworth. “We became U.S. citizens, had three kids and fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.”

Harmsworth said state leaders should stop thinking in terms of which tough choices to make in terms of government priorities and focus on building the economy.

“The annual cuts to education, increased class sizes and the waste we see in government have to stop,” said Harmsworth. “We can fully fund our schools. We can expand health care to those who do not have it without breaking what we already have.”

Harmsworth said he will bring fresh ideas to Olympia from his experiences at Microsoft and Amazon.

“Why do we keep hearing that we must either cut school funding or increase taxes?” said Harmsworth. “Legislators should focus on improving the economy which will increase state revenues and solve the funding problem.

“Here in Washington, we have always led the world in innovation and ideas,“ said Harmsworth. “Unfortunately, that spirit of innovation has not found its way into state government.”

Harmsworth, his wife Sarah, and their three children live in Mill Creek.  He is a two term City Councilmember, Vice-president of Snohomish Cities and Towns and is on the Board of Directors of the Everett Community College Foundation Board. Harmsworth has recently joined Amazon after a long career with Microsoft.

“If Olympia doesn’t change priorities,” said Harmsworth, “then we will go the way of Europe. I didn’t leave there 20 years ago just to go back to that.”

Obama, DNC Still Holding $96K in Donations from J.Z. Knight Amid Scandal Over Anti-Mexican, Anti-Catholic Tirade

Slowly, one by one, Democrats in Washington state have decided to jettison political campaign contributions given by J.Z. Knight, a self-proclaimed channeler of “Ramtha,” who Knight tells followers is the spirit of a 35,000-year-old warrior.

In Washington state Democrats’ curiously slow march away from Knight’s foul and bigoted statements – video-recorded public remarks in which Knight shouts slurs and obscenities directed at Catholics and Mexicans, suggesting that Mexicans are “poison” to America, that “every G—damn Mexican family is a Catholic,” and that they are “not worthy of conscious thought” – local politicians have slinked away to leave Obama and the DNC holding the bag.

Knight is also seen and heard telling students that “all gay men were once Catholic women” and making an ominous threat to the Catholic Church that “we will come on you in a terror.”

Pres. Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee now have the dishonorable distinction of being the only parties still holding onto tainted cash taken from Knight, who is now a pariah among Democrats.

In the current election cycle, Knight has given nearly $100,000 to Democratic organizations at the federal level — $5,000 to Obama’s general re-election campaign fund, $40,800 to the Obama Victory Fund and $50,800 to the Democratic National Committee. Knight also sits on Obama’s re-election steering committee.

The only public statements made by the Obama campaign to date are that they have no plans to return any of Knight’s donations. No comment has been offered by DNC officials on the matter.

Meanwhile, back in Washington state, Republicans took a closer look at the moves made by local Democrats to distance themselves from Knight and are seeing cause for more outrage.

Last Friday, the first politico relenting to public pressure in the wake of the Ramtha scandal was State Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz. Pelz chose not to return Knight’s donations, but to redistribute $70,000 equally between the Anti-Defamation League and the Approve R-74 referendum campaign to ratify the state’s same-sex marriage law.

Unfortunately, it now appears that Pelz’s epiphany was less genuine than media reports should have given him credit for. According to a release Tuesday by the Washington State Republican Party. Republicans charge that Pelz is still pulling one over on voters by paying penance out of the State Democratic Party’s soft money PAC, not the hard money PAC that originally received Knight’s tainted money. It’s more than a semantic distinction, in the opinion of Republicans.

“Dwight knows as well as I do that giving up the $35,000 from the soft dollar account is nothing more than a ceremonial gesture,” said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur in the released statement. “That account is filled with big donations from unions, corporate entities, and PAC’s and can easily be replenished by any of those groups. The tainted money he took from Knight is still being used to directly help his candidates and his party, and it’s wrong.”

“Dwight [Pelz] is dancing with the devil, and in turn, so are his candidates,” Wilbur said.

Several other Democratic candidates in local races have slowly come to their own decisions to ditch their Ramtha dollars. After Pelz, state representative candidate Bruce Lachney told the media Monday he would channel the $3,600 his campaign had received from Knight and the Ramtha School of Enlighment into college scholarships.

On Tuesday, Denny Heck, candidate for U.S. Congress in the newly created 10th Congressional District, announced he would give his $3,500 to a charitable organization.

Photo taken of Pres. Obama, J.Z. Knight at Sept. 2011 fundraising event in Seattle, Wash. (courtesy Freedom Foundation)

The final holdout among local Democrats had been Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero. Romero’s defense of Knight’s statements was strong as late as Monday when she still pleaded to The Olympian that the entire matter was a case of mistaken context:

Romero said a member of the Ramtha School warned her about the video circulating online before Tuesday’s commissioner meeting.

“They wanted to tell me that the rail against the Catholic Church had to do with … the pedophile priests … and the cover-up by some of the archdioceses,” Romero said. “That’s what they told me.”

Late Tuesday evening, Romero issued a statement that she, too, would give away the $3,600 she had received from Knight and her organization.

With so many Democrats dumping their campaign’s cash, who are the candidates Wilbur suggests are still doing the jitterbug with Beelzebub? It’s not hard to deduce that Wilbur may be suggesting that Democratic candidate for Washington state governor Jay Inslee features prominently on the Ramtha’s dance card. Inslee has been the prime beneficiary of his party’s hard money spending – 85 percent of all money spent totaling $1.68 million.

Still, if words can be used as a guide, Knight’s Ramtha does not have the same affinity for Inslee as he does for Obama. In fact, Ramtha is a very big Obama supporter, a fact evidenced by more than his ability to influence Knight to write big checks.

Shortly after Obama’s 2009 inauguration, Knight/Ramtha referred to Obama as the “black pope” in a channeled address published in the Ramtha School of Enlightenment newsletter:

“You have elected the last black pope, the last black pope of history. The seers of antiquity never knew what a president was. There was no such thing as a president. A superior, inspiring, spiritual leader was called a pope, so the seers saw in the lens of their future a black pope. He would be the runner to the end. He is called the last black pope.”

Knight/Ramtha also predict the apocalyptic destruction of the Earth and concurrent social chaos in the ashes:

“The social consciousness of this democracy will go into rebellion beginning this year, but its worst rebellion is happening the year that follows in the final collapse and destruction of the Earth coming in the beginning of 2012. The falling apart of the American society, as you know it, will be a falling apart because its citizenry is insecure, as there is no respect for the law. Not even the lawmakers who made the law respect the law. They will be held on the gallows as targets to say you should never do this again.

We can, of course, conclude that Ramtha is not the sharpest crayon in the box if only on the basis that giving tens of thousands of dollars to elect candidates whose swearing in will come after the destruction of the Earth seems slightly less than logical.

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State Auditor Confirms Sound Transit Light Rail Ridership Forecasts Are Unrealistic

In January, the State Auditor’s Office agreed to conduct a performance on a number of items related to Sound Transit. Part of the audit was based on a WPC request to reconcile some of the agency’s ridership and financial forecasting issues.

The SAO just released the results of that audit. Here are the key findings:

  1. The Sound Transit Board has not always taken action to fully address [the Citizen Oversight Panel’s] concerns. We question some practices related to COP selection and whether COP members fully understand their watchdog role. We found transparency to the public regarding the COP’s work can be improved.
  2. Sound Transit’s initial adjustments to its original [Sound Transit Phase 2] plan were sufficient and appropriate. However, it now has a smaller than recommended contingency to cover possible cost overruns.
  3. Except for its need to increase its ST2 project contingency, Sound Transit has an organizational structure, policies and procedures, expertise, and other resources in place to successfully accomplish most of the adjusted ST2 plan within budget. It has positively responded to previous audit recommendations.
  4. Sound Transit’s ST2 forecast requires a growth rate for Link light rail ridership through 2030 that appears to be challenging. Economic and employment forecasts indicate questions about its reliability. Sound Transit should adjust ridership assumptions that no longer are valid.

The full report can be found here: http://www.sao.wa.gov/AuditReports/AuditReportFiles/ar1008277.pdf

On the ridership issue, we found that PSRC officials estimate in their Transportation 2040 Plan that light rail ridership will be half of what Sound Transit officials told voters in 2008.

The audit found, “Sound Transit’s ST2 2030 Link light rail ridership forecast requires a growth rate that exceeds the growth rates achieved by most transit investments in other areas of the United States.” “For Sound Transit to meet its ST2 forecast of 86.5 million annual boardings in 2030, 2011 boardings for Link light rail (7.8 million) must grow at an annual rate of 13.5 percent for the next 19 years.”

Such a growth rate is unrealistic in good times and especially so during the current economic recession. This basically shows that PSRC’s estimate is more accurate and the SAO recommends that Sound Transit officials revise their ridership projections based on more realistic assumptions like those found in the PSRC plan.

This is little consolation to voters who have approved Sound Transit’s tax increases based on the agency’s inflated projections. This has been a troubling pattern for Sound Transit. Sound Transit officials continue to overestimate benefits and underestimate costs and once they receive approval from voters to increase taxes, their promises fall apart.

Combined with the other SAO finding that the Sound Transit Board has not always taken action to fully address concerns from its own Citizen’s Oversight Panel, WPC continues to recommend that the state legislature make Sound Transit’s board of directors an elected body, so voters can hold the agency accountable.

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[Reprinted from the Washington Policy Center blog]

Cambridge Study: I-405 Toll Lanes Produce Less Revenue and Create More Traffic Congestion

In a new state study, the proposed express toll lanes on I-405 will produce less revenue and lead to more traffic congestion than first thought by WSDOT officials.

Earlier this year, the legislature authorized WSDOT officials to deviate from the original I-405 Master Plan and create an express toll corridor between Bellevue and Lynnwood. However, opponents were able to convince lawmakers to include a third-party feasibility study before construction.

Cambridge Systematics, INC. was chosen to conduct the study and present the findings to the Washington State Transportation Commission (WTC). WTC officials have not published the study yet but it is complete and it is available here: Eastside Corridor Independent Traffic and Revenue Study

Among the results are perhaps these most significant key findings:

  • “Narrower Range of Revenue Outcomes than Prior WSDOT Forecast.”
  • “Traffic growth drives revenue growth.”
  • “Demand will exceed capacity.”

These findings have to be considered a blow to WSDOT officials and lawmakers who support the tolled concept over the original I-405 Master Plan.

The Cambridge study recognizes the simple truth that traffic congestion in the non-tolled lanes must exist (and get worse) in order for the tolled lanes to work.

This means only those who choose to pay the toll will experience free flow travel while the vast majority of everyone else is stuck in traffic.

Worse, the proposed toll lanes would be paid for with existing gas tax revenue originally promised to be used for the anticipated general purpose lane expansion found in the I-405 Master Plan. This means that drivers, who paid the higher gas taxes, would not receive any benefit unless they fork over even more money and pay the toll.

With less revenue and higher traffic congestion, it will be interesting to see how lawmakers respond and if they pull the plug on an express toll corridor and instead implement the original I-405 Master Plan that was approved in 2002.

The I-405 Master Plan  calls for up to two general purpose lanes in each direction and according to the WSDOT includes the following benefits:

  • Accommodating an additional 110,000 trips per day.
  • Reducing time stuck in traffic by more than 13 million hours per year – an average of more than 40 hours a year for each regular user of I-405.
  • Producing travel time savings valued at $569 million a year.
  • Removing chokepoints and weaving traffic movements will improve safety by reducing side and rear collisions.
  • Enhancing freight mobility with better interchanges, travel time savings and updated technologies.
  • Providing economic benefits through construction. Each $1 billion spent on transportation construction generates 47,500 jobs, according to the USDOT.
  • $5.40 returned to the economy in congestion savings for each $1.00 invested in highways , also according to the USDOT.

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[Reprinted with permission from the Washington Policy Center blog; featured photo credit: short term effect]

John Carlson Moving to KVI-AM As Station Returns to Conservative Talk Roots

Seattle radio station KVI 570 AM will switch back to conservative talk radio beginning Sept. 4, according to chatter observed among Seattle’s media community.

Fans of past Republican candidate for governor and current KOMO Newsradio AM host John Carlson will be excited to know that his homegrown conservative insights will anchor KVI’s morning drive from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. beginning Sept. 4. Carlson will leave his KOMO spot to join the KVI on-air team.

Fisher Communications owns both KOMO and KVI.

Carlson previously hosted on KVI in the 1990s when the station was nationally recognized in the 1990s as a leader in the conservative talk format.

According to Kathy Neukirchen, president of media communications firm MediaPlus+, the decision to go back to the station’s conservative roots was made easier by the fact that has a lot to do with KVI’s listeners never quite losing that lovin’ feeling:

Results from a recent research study show that although KVI has been away from conservative talk for nearly 2 years, that people still identify with the station as being that and maintains a very loyal following.

Neukirchen confirmed with us by email that by the end of September, KVI’s weekday programming line-up will include the following:

5a-9a:  John Carlson
9a-12n:  Laura Ingraham
12n-3p:  The Schnitt Show
3p-6p:  Mark Levin
6p-9p:  Lars Larson
9p-11p:  Michael Savage
11p-3a:  Red Eye Radio
3a-5a:  Imus

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Republican Joel Hussey Endorsed by Democratic Primary Opponent in Key Eastside Race to Unseat Goodman

Republican candidate for State Rep. 45th District, Joel Hussey. [Official campaign photo.]

Incumbent State Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) may have felt tempted to light up a victory candle after two days of returns show him in an almost five-point lead over Republican challenger and businessman Joel Hussey, but an aisle-crossing endorsement Thursday of Hussey from Goodman’s own party could be enough to blunt any early enthusiasm.

Jacob Bond, who ran as the second Democrat in the 45th Legislative District race, has earned almost 7 percent of the vote as of the latest count and though he will not proceed to the November election, he is asking his supporters to back Hussey, not Goodman.

With Goodman’s total votes standing at 48.97 percent and Hussey earning an impressive 44.05 percent, considering the absymal voter turnout for the primary election and the relatively light touch Republicans made to voters in a primary most people were barely paying attention to, Bond’s embrace of Hussey’s candidacy –though less than euphoric – could be a sign that change is in the pipeline for the 45th.

“I feel compelled to cross party lines and endorse Joel Hussey for State Representative”, Bond said in a release made Thursday by the Hussey campaign.

“Joel has the independence, the knowledge and the real world experience we need in Olympia. He’ll put citizens of our state, including veterans, ahead of the special interests and that’s a change for the better.”

Here is the entire release regarding Bond’s endorsement from the Hussey campaign:

Democrat Jacob Bond Endorses Joel Hussey for State House

Democrat Jacob Bond, the third candidate in the recent primary for state representative from the 45th District, has announced his support for Joel Hussey in the upcoming general election and said he plans to be very active in Hussey’s campaign.

“I feel compelled to cross party lines and endorse Joel Hussey for State Representative”, Bond said.  “Joel has the independence, the knowledge and the real world experience we need in Olympia. He’ll put citizens of our state, including veterans, ahead of the special interests and that’s a change for the better.”

Hussey thanked Bond for his endorsement. “I am truly grateful for Jacob Bond’s support. It means a great deal to me. His service to our country is exemplary and I thank him for that as well. Jacob and I also share a great concern for veterans and the challenges they face. I have told him that I plan to follow his example and that I will be a strong advocate for those vital services that can help our veterans make the transition back to a productive civilian life.”

Joel Hussey will face off against Roger Goodman in November. Hussey was also recently endorsed by the King County Police Officers Guild and the NFIB, which represents 8,000 small businesses in the state.

Goodman, who abandoned his race for congress in April and who recently received the lowest NFIB rating of any state representative on small business and jobs issues, was narrowly reelected in 2010 despite dramatically outspending his opponent.

Joel Hussey (pronounced: HEW-SEE) grew up in Everett, WA where his parents still reside. His mother was a nurse and his father worked in the Mukilteo School District for over 30 years as a teacher, librarian and principal. They taught Joel the importance of education and community service. Joel is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University where he received a degree in accounting and followed that with an MBA from the University of Washington. He owns and operates Tailwind Capital, a specialized aircraft leasing and finance company in Redmond. Hussey served as Board President of Bellevue Christian School and is the former President of the Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association, where he was a leader in the reorganization of the association that serves more than 6,000 local youth soccer players.

Joel and his wife Christi have been married for 27 years and have four children. They have lived in Redmond for the past 17 years.

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Romney Schedules Free Public Appearance in Bellevue for Friday

Former Massachusetts governor and Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney has scheduled a free public appearance in Bellevue, Wash. this Friday morning, one day before Washington Republicans will hold caucuses statewide.

Romney will meet with the public at 8:00 a.m. in the Highland Community Center (14424 Bel-Red Road, Bellevue, WA), a visit that comes days after Romney achieved critical victories in the Arizona and Michigan primaries.

More information and updates regarding the event are available on the Washington State for Mitt Romney Facebook page or on the campaign’s official website.

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[photo credit: davelawrence8]

Tweets from Congressional Staffers Describe On-Job Drinking in Office of Congressman Larsen

For young men and women with ambitions toward a career in politics, working in a Congressional office can be a heady, almost dreamlike experience. Left unsupervised, the combination of youthful indiscretion and close proximity to the nation’s levers of power produces results that can be ugly, messy and embarrassing for senior staff and even the representatives voters send to the Capitol to do the people’s work.

Over several months, according to online messages allegedly made by staffers with Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen, the D.C. office of Washington State’s 2nd District has been the setting of a staffers-gone-wild bash, a binge of embarrassing behavior including insults lobbed by legislative aides at the Congressman himself and accounts of on-the-job drinking, all broadcast for the world to see on via Twitter.

To be fair, the office of a Congressman in the minority party is not typically the scene of frantic legislative action. Sure, there’s still work to be done servicing constituent requests, or stitching together the details of a minor piece of legislation to help the folks back in the district may be work. But unlike a couple of years ago when the Democrats were in charge, and aides would have been busy preparing a $3.5 trillion budget, or reading, analyzing, and fine-tuning 2,000-page bills to upend the world’s finest healthcare and financial services industries, apparently the current workload isn’t substantial enough to keep junior staffers attentions focused on professional matters.

NW Daily Marker learned of the succession of tweets made by three members of Larsen’s legislative staff – Seth Burroughs, legislative assistant (@therocketship1); Elizabeth Robblee, legislative assistant (@betsysbites); and Ben Byers, legislative correspondent (@byers_remorse) – messages dating from between August and early December of this year.

Though the tweets were made (and are continuing to be made) from personal – not official congressional – accounts, the messages describe on-the-job drinking, frivolous misuse of office time and resources, and contain public insults aimed at the boss himself – Congressman Larsen. If accurate, the tweets – made during and after working hours – raises questions about whether Larsen and his senior staff are paying close enough attention to the workplace behavior of personnel on the public payroll.

Note: Some of the messages are not safe for work. Please scroll down only if you are in appropriate setting to view them.   

One of the more notable tweets was made on December 3rd by Burroughs in which he confides in Byers that he has “destroyed” his official Blackberry smartphone device and remarks that “D2R is making its mark.”

‘D2R’ is an acronym meaning ‘December to Remember,’ a phrase coined by the trio of staffers to define their attempt to spend the final month of the year in a state of perpetual debauchery. According to tweets made two days earlier, the D2R was initiated with a morning round of shots on the steps of the Cannon House Office Building before proceeding to drink all day in the office.

Of course, it isn’t necessary to drink in the office when you just plain show up drunk, as Burroughs appears to brag of doing:

In addition to providing details and a play-by-play account of on-the-job drinking, during a summer recess, Burroughs described whiling away the hours in pursuits of dubious value to the constituents of Washington’s 2nd District.

Burroughs also spent a great deal of time publicly insulting Larsen, and making statements that imply his colleagues were casting their own fair share of insults toward the Congressman:

Funny enough, Burroughs had been warned about his Twitter exhibitionism by his mother:

I suppose at least Mom was making an effort to rein in her little staffer, even if Congressman Larsen wasn’t.

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[Note: The original article misspelled the name of one of the former Larsen staffers. The correct spelling is reflected in the story as it now appears.]

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