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Dear Paul Ryan

Paul – can I call you Paul? – it’s a good thing you’re such a likeable guy; otherwise, I could really get to loathe you. For the past several years, you’ve been talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act. Silly me, I thought you had a plan. Instead, you introduced ACA-Lite and what a disappointment that turned out to be.

I feel like you were just stringing me along and then jilted me at the altar.

Being in denial, and what jilted bride isn’t, I watched your infomercial. You know, the one with the whiteboard? I like the way you rolled up your sleeves, to show how you were really getting down to work.

Let’s just say I remain unconvinced. Maybe the Continuous Health Insurance Coverage Incentive sounds good to you, but it sure sounds an awful lot like the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment. Maybe tax credits really are better than subsidized premiums, but not being all policy-wonkish, I’m not seeing it. It all sounds like spreading the wealth around to me.

And what was that all about when you said, “This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare?” I’ve heard something like that before…let me think…Right, I’ve got it. It was at the used car dealership, when the smarmy sales guy told me that if I went to pee, the deal was off the table.

Here’s the thing, Paul. I want to believe that AHCA is an improvement over ACA, but I haven’t found anyone yet who can explain to me why it’s better. And, let me tell you, the CBO report didn’t help you out any, despite their dubious credibility.

Your “Three Phase Plan” isn’t fooling anyone, either. “We have to pass the plan in order to find out…” Oh, wait. That was a different plan. It kind of has the same feel, though. “We have to pass this steaming pile of crap in order to get to the good stuff.” Okay, sure. I suppose Tom Price can be trusted to hold up his end of the deal, but tell me this: If you have to pass Phase 1 through reconciliation because you don’t have the votes, how do you propose to pass the legislation of Phase 3? I don’t see how that works.

So, Paul, to sell me – and probably millions of other conservatives like me – you either need to be able to explain the “benefits” of your plan in language that I can understand or you need to toss the whole thing in the trash and start over. At this point, I prefer the latter.

Love,
Me

[This post first appeared here on the author's personal blog.]
[Featured image credit: DonkeyHotey, used under Creative Commons license.]

The Perplexing Push for Affordable Housing

Back in 2003, Mr. Words and I decided that we needed more open space than our tiny postage stamp yard afforded, so we started looking for a new home with a bigger yard. At the time, we lived in a virtual hovel in what was probably the worst neighborhood in a very expensive area and we knew we’d have to move farther “out” to find a house on more land within our price range.

Before that, many years ago, I lived in Sumner (now Bonney Lake), Washington, and worked in what is now called the SoDo District of Seattle. At the time, it was a 45 minute drive on good days, but could be much longer depending on traffic. In a car with no air conditioning. On bad traffic days in the summer, it could be brutal. But I did it because Sumner was the place we could afford a cute little house with a nice, big yard and friendly neighbors.

That’s what fiscally responsible people do, right? You live where you can afford the rent or the mortgage payment.

So you  might wonder why people like Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are constantly going on about the need for affordable housing and cutting deals by upzoning, or rezoning, various Seattle neighborhoods for more intensive use. This allows developers to build taller buildings, yielding more units with smaller footprints. The upzoning triggers a Seattle ordinance that requires developers include a minimum number of rent-controlled units in their buildings or pay a fee to help develop them elsewhere.

That might also lead you to wonder why Seattle effectively killed the micro housing industry, which naturally provided affordable housing units without the need for government intervention.

To get back to my question, why doesn’t Ed Murray (or other mayors in large metropolitan areas, for that matter) just let market forces work? Why do he and the city council prefer to force developers to include rent-controlled (i.e., government controlled) units in their buildings?

Let me propose this: Affordable housing is only an issue of government concern when that same government wants or needs “everyone” to live in densely populated urban centers, and rent control only when government pursues perverse policies that unnaturally limit the affordable units that would otherwise be provided through the free market.

If you’re wondering why the government cares where you live, let me direct your attention to ESS HB 2815. This was passed into law in 2008 in response to then-Governor Christine Gregoire’s executive order 07-02. The executive order set some fairly aggressive goals for CO2 reductions which, to an ordinary person, seem rather arbitrary and unattainable given the current state of technology. At least one provision of the law, participation in the Western Climate Initiative, was abandoned when it became clear that the State Legislature was not likely to to enact cap and trade.

One thing that did come to pass was the implementation of a work group to study various policies that could be utilized in pursuit of those carbon reduction goals. In November of 2008, the work group presented a report with their recommendations. Among other things, the report concludes, “However, to significantly reduce VMT and GHG emissions in Washington State, the majority of people in Washington State will need to live and work in places that both support bicycling and walking for shorter trips and provide reliable and convenient public transportation that meets mobility needs for longer trips.”

Right now, just under half the population of Washington State, roughly 48%, live in the three most populous counties, King, Pierce and Snohomish. But not everyone in those counties lives in an urban area with access to public transportation. Consider this system map from King County’s Metro division. Do you see all those areas that have no bus routes? Those are areas where leftists would prefer that people not live.

Below this paragraph is an aerial view of Covington, Washington, an area included on the linked system map. Does this look like an area that can ever “support bicycling and walking for shorter trips and provide reliable and convenient public transportation that meets mobility needs for longer trips?”  No, it doesn’t, because going almost anywhere is going to be more than a short trip. Is it ever going to be close to where the majority of the people living there work? No again.

Remember, the study group concluded that the majority of people in Washington need to live and work in urban areas. That means that to meet their goals, people who currently live in exurban and rural areas are going to have to accept that their lifestyles will change. This, in a nutshell, is why it’s vitally important to Ed Murray that the city include affordable housing.

If our leftist overlords are going to herd us into the cities so that we can live and work there like rats, there needs to be housing available. And too bad for you if you’d rather not live that way. Do you think it’s beyond the reach of government to make car ownership prohibitively expensive for middle class workers? Or tax you out of homes outside the reach of economically feasible public transportation?

Leftists embrace an ideology that’s diametrically opposed to liberty. They want to control where you live, where you work, what kind of vehicle, if any, you can drive, and where you can go. That doesn’t leave much to your discretion, does it, but, I mean, really…is anyplace you can’t reach via public transportation a place that’s worth going? So no big deal, right?

You have to admire leftists; they never do anything that doesn’t move their agenda forward. So the next time you see a leftist say or do something that doesn’t make any logical sense at all, look for the hidden agenda.

[This post first appeared here on the author's personal blog.]

Who Schooled the U.S. Senate?

I’m sure you all remember the fuss Senate Democrats made over the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. Some of the most commonly voiced criticisms stemmed from DeVos’ lack of personal experience with public schools, either as a student or professional educator and her personal advocacy for charter schools and school vouchers.

You’d think that Democrats and other leftists would be champions of charter schools and school vouchers. Instead, one of the first things Barack Obama did as president was to end the voucher program for Washington, D.C., students, despite evidence that the program was improving performance. The Democrat-controlled Congress was silent.

It’s not that Senators don’t love private schools. In the 114th Congress, 26 of 100 Senators attended private high schools, compared to about 8% of the general population. Six of ten Democrats who questioned DeVos in committee prior to her confirmation vote were, themselves, the beneficiaries of public school educations, chose private schools for their own children, or have grandchildren attending private schools. In 2009, 45% of Senators elected to send at least one of their own children to private school.

Why is it, then, that Democrats and leftists are so opposed to charter schools and school vouchers? It could be that they’re just that beholden to the National Education Association.

Or it could be this:

Wealth has it’s privileges and those privileges are not for you and especially not for your children. If allowed a superior education*, the next generation of riffraff might presume to compete with the children of the upper crust to become the power brokers of tomorrow and that cannot be tolerated.

The Democrats and their leftist masters rely on a permanent underclass to maintain their power base. Anything that challenges that must be stopped by any means possible and than includes sacrificing future generations on the altar of public schools.

* Another advantage of the most elite private school education is the opportunity to build networks among the already-advantaged.

[This post first appeared here on the author's personal blog.]

Are You as Conservative as You Think You Are?

If you’re okay with a 30% premium penalty for not maintaining continuous health care insurance coverage, you may not be as conservative as you think you are.

If you think it’s a-okay to have to report your health insurance information to the IRS, you may not be as conservative as you think you are.

If you agree that money isn’t fungible after all, as long as the House GOP says it’s not, you may not be as conservative as you think you are.

If you’re down with the government deciding which insurance plans can be offered, you may not be as conservative as you think you are.

If you think Health Savings Accounts are the perfect one-size-fits-all solution to all our health care insurance needs, you may not be as conservative as you think you are.

If you’re cool with having the government boot on your health care, you may not be as conservative as you think you are.

So overall, if you think the House GOP “repeal and replace”plan is better than Obamacare, you may not be as conservative as you think you are.

Thanks to my friend, Brandon, for his contributions to this post.

[This post first appeared here on the author's personal blog.]

 

For Democrats, the Worst is Yet to Come

After all the no good, very bad things that happened to the Democrats during the Obama years – nine Senate seats lost, 62 House seats lost, 12 governorships lost, 958 state legislative seats lost, 32 state legislatures under total GOP control including 17 with veto-proof majorities* – there’s something even worse that could happen to them, and that’s what drives them and their allies, the hard left and the press, in their hysterical opposition to Donald J. Trump.

If you’re unconvinced their opposition is irrational, you need only to look to their behavior surrounding President Trump’s first State of the Union Address. Even before the address, they were making their feelings known. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer oppose Trump so completely they gave a “prebuttal.” I mean, that’s not knee-jerk opposition or anything. “We have no idea what he’s going to say, but we disagree with it.”

During the speech, Democrats refused to applaud the idea of America putting Americans first or for keeping America safe from radical Islamic terrorism. Then, after Trump made a moving statement about slain Navy Seal, Ryan Owens, and most of those attending were giving a two minute standing ovation to Owens’ widow, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Keith Ellison remained in their seats, stone-faced. If you’d ever wondered how partisan you have to be to disrespect the widow of a fallen warrior, now you know.

Of course the opposition didn’t start today and it won’t end tomorrow. Nearly all of President Trump’s appointments have met with stiff and sometimes outrageous opposition, such as requiring Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, to answer 837 questions…in writing. Does that sound onerous? It’s even worse, because some of the questions contained other questions, bringing the total to 1,397.

The treatment the Democrats handed Betsy DeVos was especially egregious and you might wonder why. For starters, DeVos isn’t part of the educational elite and isn’t beholden to the National Education Association. Furthermore, she’s a proponent of school choice and even though public education is an abysmal failure for African American students, for that the Democrats rejected her.

You’d think that the party that claims to be “for the children” would welcome someone with new ideas, but the truth is that Democrats fear new ideas and not just in education. New ideas could bring better outcomes and the thought of that terrifies them.

…the truth is that Democrats fear new ideas and not just in education.

Democrats have spent decades convincing the poor and minorities that the system is rigged against them and their only option in life is dependence on the federal government. Their policies make it a self-fulfilling prophecy; the coal industry is a case in point. I think of it as the audacity of hopelessness. “Maybe some people are good or smart enough to rise above their circumstances, but that’s not you,” is the message. “Here, take this moldy crust from the loaf of the American Dream; it’s the best you can do. You can thank me with your vote.”

So for Democrats, et al., the worst thing – worse than losing over 1,000 seats nationwide, worse than losing the White House – would be for things to improve under Republican leadership. And that, my friend, is the reason that Donald Trump and his entire administration must be resisted, obstructed, and vilified. In their world, it would be better to burn this Administration to the ground than for the “beneficiaries” of Democrat “largesse” to realize that they could have more than a crust.

 

[This post first appeared here on the author's personal blog.]

 

Chris Vance: Republicans’ Public Frenemy Number One

If you were following Washington State politics during the last election cycle, you may remember Chris Vance. He’s the former Washington State Republican Party Chairman who ran against Patty Murray for U.S. Senate. Despite a condescending video he recorded to open his campaign (which seems to have been scrubbed from the internet) in which he insulted the traditional GOP base, I voted for him anyway based on the assumption that no one could be worse than Patty Murray.

I may have been wrong. Okay, maybe not, but I have questioned my vote in recent weeks.

While I share many positions with Vance on a variety of issues, mostly concerning national defense and the national debt, I’ve come to believe that he’s among the worst of politicians…the moderate Republican who’s still trying oh, so hard to be accepted by the cool kids where all the cool kids in the cafeteria are liberals. To put it another way, I once read that the difference between a pop star and a rock star is that the pop star wants to be beloved by fans and a rock star doesn’t give a damn. Vance is a pop star and the fans he’s courting aren’t conservative Republicans.

Vance’s post-election twitter feed is all Republican bashing all the time. I’m not exaggerating! Even when he offered a weak admonishment to the Democrats to confirm the Neil Gorsuch appointment to the Supreme Court, he included Republicans to soften the blow. As if there were anything the GOP could do to cause Democrats to be less obstructionist.

And if he’s not bashing Republicans, he’s attacking one of the foundations of the republic, the electoral college. He’d like to be able to vote to abolish it and he’s so passionate about it that he mentioned it twice on public radio in the space of a month.

Vance has also, predictably and very publicly, come out in opposition to President Trump’s immigration executive order. He’s so opposed, in fact, that he joined the protest in Seattle.

Which is fine, of course. It’s his prerogative to spend his time and exercise his right to free speech in any way he wants. Which includes, I guess, joining the ACLU, also in response to the immigration order.

Also his prerogative. I guess he doesn’t mind if they’ll use his membership fees to advance their leftist anti-voter ID, pro-affirmative action, anti-law enforcement agenda if it makes him feel good about his position on Trump’s executive order.

It doesn’t end with his Twitter account, either. He’s started a blog, “Wide Awake.” In his second post, he makes the assertion that the major threat to freedom today comes from the right. He cites the rise of Putin in Russia. I agree; Putin is a threat. Putin is a fascist, he says. Okay, sure, maybe he is. (I don’t agree that fascism is a right wing ideology, but that’s an argument for another day.)

But then he goes on to tie this back to U.S. politics. He implies that Trump and those who voted for him have fascist tendencies. (I disagree again; I believe that Trump, at least, is a populist, not a fascist.)

He brings up racism and Islamophobia and the demonization of immigrants. These are predictable straw men use against conservatives, but commonly by Democrat politicians and progressive activists (but I repeat myself), not by Republicans.

By now it’s probably obvious that Chris Vance isn’t my favorite Republican and you may be wondering why I’ve gone on this extended rant rather than just ignoring him. Let me ask you this. Would you choose to let cancer eat away at you from within if there were anything you could do to stop it?

Chris Vance is a cancer eating away at the Washington State Republican Party. His favorite pastime is bashing other Republicans, and he does so at a variety of places who keep him around like a pet they can bring out to parade when it suits their agenda. He undermines and weakens the GOP at a time when we should be working to unite the party in Washington. He may think his anti-republican position will curry favor with local voters, but I have to point out that Patty Murray posted the largest margin of victory of her political career over Vance.

Like his successor at the WSRP, Luke Esser, who now lobbies for the SEIU and makes contributions to Democrat politicians, Vance seems to be leaning ever closer to the dark side.

Which brings me to my final point.

So, Chris, if this is the only thing holding you back, get over it and go. Please. You’re not helping the WSRP and your disdain of the conservative Republican base is palpable. Frankly, I’d be embarrassed if you claimed to be speaking for all Republicans and I cringe over your willingness to chastise. So just go already. The last thing we need is a frenemy like you.

[This post first appeared here on the author's personal blog.]

Column | Vote NO on I-1491

Washington State readers, if you take your constitutional rights seriously; if you believe that no one should be deprived of their rights without due process; if you consider yourself to be an advocate for civil liberties, please vote NO on Initiative 1491.

Under I-1491, a judge can, at the request of “family and household members” (ironically, household members need not actually live with you…more about this later), issue an order depriving you of your constitutional right to bear arms. Indeed, the individual to be deprived of their right to bear arms need not even be notified in advance that any action is being taken.

Consider this from Washington Arms Collectors:

“A woman, stalked by a violent ex-husband, attends a handgun class, obtains a Concealed Pistol License, and purchases a handgun – all to defend her and their children. The stalker realizes that he is now in danger if he follows, confronts, assaults her or invades her home. He sends a petition to the court, stating that his ex-wife has threatened him, that during a recent argument she brandished a firearm, and that she owns a gun and has taken training in its use. The stalker provides proof to the court of the acquisition of a firearm. He also knows of his wife’s visits to a psychologist during their divorce proceedings and in his petition discloses the medications she is on and alleges that she is mentally unstable and a danger to her, their children and him. The allegations are serious enough that the court, without a hearing, issues an ‘ex parte* extreme risk protection order’ that orders the woman to surrender her firearms. The first time that the stalking victim knows of the process that is being used to disarm her is when is when the local police show up at her door to deliver notice, search her home and seize her firearms.

With the help of the courts, this victim has been made helpless.”

Forget due process. Forget your constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Forget any quaint notions you may have about being innocent until proven guilty. Forget the old saying about having nothing to fear from the courts if you’ve done nothing wrong.

The progressive group, Alliance for Gun Responsibility is, predictably, supporting this initiative by distributing questionable “facts” and statistics. For example, they cite a study by the equally progressive Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, that claims dozens of lives have been saved by “similar” legislation in Connecticut. That’s super, but unless you live in a Minority Report world, where it can be known in advance that a particular act is certain to happen (and we know how that turned out in the movie), any claims of lives saved has to be pure speculation.

Furthermore, while some may say that the Connecticut legislation is similar to I-1491, it differs in at least one significant way. The Connecticut law requires an independent investigation on the part of local law enforcement before a person can be stripped of their 2nd Amendment rights; I-1491 requires only the say-so of the aforementioned family or household member.

Just exactly who are these family and household members? Aside from the people you would normally expect, I-1491 also includes a “person who resides or has resided with the respondent within the past year.”

Say, for example, you need a roommate, so a friend of a friend moves into your spare room. Your new roommate quickly falls behind on his share of the rent and utilities and, eventually, you ask him to move out. Several months later, the deadbeat roommate still owes you money. Angry over your efforts to collect, the ex-roommate files a petition with the court for an extreme risk protection order, stating that you own at least two handguns, drink heavily on the weekends, that you’ve been harassing him over a bogus claim for money and recently threatened him. The judge agrees that you’re a threat and issues an ex parte order to deprive your of your firearms. And just like the helpless woman in the hypothetical situation above, you’re none the wiser until the police show up to confiscate your firearms.

When this legislation was introduced to the State Legislature in 2015, it never passed out of committee. Why, you ask? Because even the liberal gun grabbers in Olympia could see that it was deeply flawed. First, as already mentioned (yes, I’m beating a drum, here), an extreme risk protection order can be issued before the respondent is even aware that any complaint has been filed.

Second, there is very little downside for a person who maliciously files a petition. There’s no filing fee and the penalty clause  is weak; in the event of a malicious petition, the respondent bears the cost and burden of seeking redress.

Next, the legislation requires only a preponderance of evidence in order for an ERPA to be issued, meaning that the judge need be only 51% sure that the facts alleged in the petition true. This is a laughably low standard to use in order to strip a person of his constitutional rights.

To be clear, I can understand the motivation behind this piece of legislation. Take the story about the woman above, and turn it around to have her seeking protection from her violent, gun toting ex-husband. It seems like the legislation proposed in I-1491 would be tailor made to protect her. Not so, according to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

If a person is truly dangerous, existing law already provides a variety of mechanisms to deal with the individual, all of which can lead to firearm prohibitions in appropriate cases.  Depending on the circumstances, these can include arrest, followed by pretrial detention or release on bond with conditions and monitoring; restraining or no-contact orders; or emergency mental health evaluations and commitments.

The issuance of an ERPO does not do anything to deal with the underlying cause of dangerousness, nor does it subject the person to any actual physical restraint, ongoing reporting or monitoring requirements, or treatment for any underlying mental health condition.  Initiative 1491 will be ineffective as it targets the tools but not the problem.

If a dangerous person is committed, he gets treatment. If he is arrested, he might be detained pretrial or at least monitored and subject to reporting requirements while on pretrial release. Nothing happens, however, to a person with an ERPO except the seizure of the person’s firearms (if he is known to have any) and listing in a prohibited person database.  Under I-1491, the person is left free to carry out any harmful designs by any means at his or her disposal, including the illegal acquisition of additional firearms.

I have not provided an exhaustive list of reasons here why I-1491 deserves to be voted down in November. I strongly encourage you to read both linked articles and ask yourself why progressives are pushing such a deeply flawed and anti-civil rights piece of legislation. While I’m sure they do want to save lives, it seems ironic that many of the same people who support this shameful assault on the 2nd and 5th Amendments also support abortion on demand and assisted suicide. This leaves me to draw the conclusion that they may be just as interested in depriving as many citizens as possible of their firearms as they are in improving gun safety.


As a side note, what is it with liberals anyway? They accuse conservatives of waging a war on women; they mock us by saying we want women to be barefoot and pregnant, but the truth is that liberals want women to be helpless and they want that helplessness codified into law.

*An ex parte judicial proceedings are conducted for the benefit of only one party; the other party is specifically excluded from the proceedings.

 

About the Author
It’s Only Words used to spend her days like other grandmothers, baking pies and crocheting doilies. Then one day she noticed the Constitution was taking  a beating and going down fast. Now she uses the only weapon at her disposal to preserve, defend and protect. “Words are loaded pistols.” Follow her on Twitter; like her on Facebook; or her own blog at itsonlywords55.wordpress.com.

[image credit: Andy Dean]

Column | Medicare Part D Keeps Doctor-Patient Control Alive and Should be Allowed to Continue

Suppose the Federal government has created a program that saves taxpayers money, promotes individual freedom, and gets a 90% satisfaction rating from the people who use it.  Should it:

(a) Bury the evidence and let nobody speak of it again;

(b) Effectively dismantle the program by adding lots of new bureaucracy and interfering with what made it work; or

(c) Learn from the success and try to duplicate it in other places?

If you chose answer (c), you’re probably a reasonable tax-paying citizen. But that won’t get you very far in Washington. All too often, what matters there isn’t results — it’s grabbing power wherever you can. You and I can see a clear case of this misdirected bureaucratic energy in the push to have the government micro-manage the lives of people who use Medicare Part D.

Part D is an endangered species: A government-sponsored program that works really well. Since it went into effect in 2006, Part D has done some remarkable things.

First, it has given patients a great deal of choice. Most states have between 20 and 30 different program plans available. Those choices give patients the wide-ranging benefits of competition for their business. It’s hard to think of any business where the quality of customer service doesn’t rise when there is more competition to serve the same customers.

The competitive forces driving private providers to serve these patients also means that Part D has consistently delivered budget savings, costing the government much less than initial expectations and keeping costs to patients well in line, too.

But the most important feature of all is that Part D puts individuals and their doctors in the lead to determine what will lead to the best health and quality-of-life outcomes for patients. It’s easy to overlook the fact that many prescription drugs are used to prevent pain, suffering, and discomfort down the road.

Whether it’s a therapeutic prescription for a condition like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, an anti-anxiety medication being used to enhance a patient’s mental health, or an antibiotic or anti-rejection drug used to help someone recover quickly and successfully from surgery, most prescriptions are used to keep bad things from happening. That saves money, which is good — but it also prevents a great deal of suffering.

For this to work, however, patients and their doctors need to be in control — not bureaucrats. The threat of growing interference by office-holders and power-seekers in Washington could topple all of the benefits that come from today’s well-functioning Medicare Part D. We have heard politicians call for government to set price controls and establish firm ceilings on how much can be spent on patient care. But the big picture is that bureaucratic manipulation of prescription prices is nothing but window dressing. Proposals to force Pharmaceutical companies to pay a ‘rebate’ of up to 40% of their drug sales to Medicare is nothing more than a tax that will drive up the cost of prescriptions and insurance for seniors.

Part D works because of competition, not Washington pencil-pushing. The more government seeks to manipulate and take command over the program, the less patients will benefit from the power of competition. The cure to health-care costs isn’t to drive more decision-making to government, but to stay out of the way of patients and their doctors so they can use whatever therapies make the most sense to prevent illness and disease. Today’s Medicare Part D does that. It should continue to do so tomorrow.

 

Nansen Malin is a political activist living in SW Washington State. She is the former Americans for Prosperity WA State Director and is active in social media.

 

[photo credit: alexraths, depositphotos.com]

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

 

 

Guest Contributor | Open Letter to Washington State Republican Party Leadership: There’s Still Time to Rescue Our Party

Dear Washington State Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison, National Committeeman Jeff Kent, National Committeewoman Fredi Simpson, and Washington delegates (and by extension all delegates to the Republican National Convention),

I am writing in advance of the Convention to implore you to do your duty to the Party and to do everything within your power to preserve it. Donald Trump must not be the nominee!

For over the past decade I have volunteered my time and money supporting the Republican Party and its candidates on a local, state and national level, because I understood that the Republican Party is the only way to promote conservativism in American governance. But now I am alarmed that nominating Donald Trump risks closing this last avenue for conservatives.

I am not asking that Trump be blocked from getting the nomination just because I consider him to be a despicable person. Or his long history of misogyny, shady business deals, racist statements and questionable behavior. Or because the media that gave him an overwhelming share of fawning coverage in the primary is poised to do its best to destroy him from now until November. Or because he polled the weakest of all our primary candidates, has no proficiency in campaign fundraising or establishing a ground operation or running a campaign, has the highest unfavorable ratings in history, and will almost surely lose in a landslide. Or because that landslide loss will cost us control of the Senate, perhaps the House and many other offices down ballot. Or because he is not a conservative, having shown during the debates that he literally does not know the meaning of the word! Or because he has had so little involvement with the Republican Party (and much more so with the Democrat Party) before asking for its highest nomination.

The main reason why a Trump nomination would be so disastrous and so poisonous to the continued existence of the Republican Party is this: The core message of his campaign is that our Republicans in Congress have all been bought out by the “special interests”, and are not capable of making “good” deals with the Democrats. How exactly do we campaign for other Republicans when the top of the tickets maintains that Republicans are corrupt and incompetent and is actively running against the Republican brand?

It’s not news to anyone that a sizable portion of America is deeply unhappy with the state of affairs in Washington DC. They are angry and blame Republican majorities in Congress as unwilling and unable to stop President Obama’s liberal agenda and unconstitutional executive orders (even more so than they blame Democrats for supporting them). They are not interested in hearing explanations about the separation of power and the messy business of compromise legislation in a divided government. Educating them on how American democracy works and the Republican Party’s role in it is a difficult task, one we need to improve at. But the solution is not to give up all efforts to inform them and instead agree with them that the Republican Party is the problem!

As the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump has already made statements indicating his willingness to “negotiate” away from Republican positions on taxes and minimum wage. Once the Republican Party has irreversibly committed to make him our nominee, he will be free to moderate his positions in a rush to the center for the general election. Can you name a single plank in our party platform that you are sure Trump won’t suggest breaking in the name of being “flexible”? And what if our nominee insists on selecting a Democrat as his Vice President in the name of bipartisanship? Once nominated, we are chained to a man who has exhibited no particular loyalty or affection to the Republican Party or its principles, and are bound to support whatever he says or does.

Yes, the Presidency is just one office. But we have seen in the past five years how a non-conservative President can not only block all reforms from a conservative Congress, but advance liberalism and the power of the state through the use of executive orders and the Federal bureaucracy. A President Clinton would be no different than Obama. But if by some miracle Donald Trump actually wins in November, how can we have any confidence that he will be any less of a liberal than Hillary Clinton? When Democrats oppose his judicial nominee, or building the border wall, or repealing Obamacare, what makes you believe he won’t simply cave in to them, twist a minority of Republican arms for support, and declare it “the best deal ever”? Trump is not a conservative, he is a populist, and a President Trump would do whatever he thought would make him popular. I have no faith that he would undertake the difficult conservative reforms so needed by this country, and every reason to believe he would continue the liberal practice of buying popularity with public funds.

And yes, Donald Trump is just one man, and he will be gone and forgotten in a cycle or two. But the image of the Republican Party casting aside its core values and endorsing a media-created populist will haunt us for decades. Trump is the embodiment and confirmation of all the standard liberal libels against the Republican Party. He is a rich, old white guy whose sole motivation is to make himself lots of money and pay less taxes. He’s a corporate CEO that will sell out American workers by using cheap legal and illegal alien labor, and by outsourcing jobs to Mexico and China. He’s a chauvinist who views women as little more than sexual objects. His statements on keeping Latinos and Muslims out of the country reveals his bigotry. And, as Trump himself has claimed, Republican politicians are bought and paid for by the moneyed “Establishment” with campaign contributions – which includes himself now that he has dropped the pretense of “self-funding”.

And what will we have achieved by catering to the whims of primary voters who have lost faith in both the Republican Party and American democracy? After four disappointing years of Trump or Clinton, will they be any more likely to vote for Republican Party candidates in 2020? Will they vote again at all? Will we be left with selecting another rich liberal celebrity know-it-all saying populist and vaguely conservative things long enough to win the primary (Maybe Mark Cuban or Kanye West)?

The first and only obligation of delegates to the National Convention is to select a nominee that can be supported by a majority of Republicans. While Donald Trump has won a small majority of bound delegates in the primary, he has only received about 40% of the vote, even less if you exclude the vote of those who do not have the best interests of  the Republican Party in mind. His support among delegates like you, made up of those with a history and a loyalty to the Party, is even lower. While it is possible to get a majority of the Republican Party to coalesce around Donald Trump in the name of unity, the same is true of any of the other 16 primary candidates. The difference is that, while conservative Republicans were able to fully support less conservative candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney, we cannot support a nominee that is not a conservative at all.

Pressuring Republicans to support a candidate opposed by a majority of the Party in order to “stop Hillary” will only fracture the Party. A sizable number of good Republicans like myself will conclude that a Republican Party that has given up on advancing conservative principles and instead stands only for being “Not a Democrat”, is no longer worth supporting. Whether that number ends up being 1 million, or 5 million or 10 million I can’t say – and I don’t know if those millions of missing votes will make a difference in the likely Trump defeat. The real damage will be the long term loss of untold hundreds of millions of dollars and hours volunteered by those formerly reliable Republicans, and it is foolish to believe that they will be replaced by Trump supporters who are largely apathetic to the political process.

The current path we are on is clear: nominate Trump, and Republicans will be humiliated by his actions in the campaign, and crushed by his loss in the election. The Party will lose millions of its most faithful supporters, and gain nothing from the Trump supporters, who by and large already dislike the Party. The Party will have missed an opportunity against a historically weak Democrat opponent, and four more years of liberal policies may forever close the window on winning the Presidency.

There exists a different path, though. Convention delegates are not bound to the candidate picked by the MSM, nor are they bound by the rules written four years ago at the last convention; they are obligated to select a nominee that a majority feels would be best for the Party. When they adopt the rules for the 2016 Convention, a simple majority can vote for a rule (such as requiring a super-majority on the first ballot) to prevent Trump from winning on the first ballot. Then we will find out which candidate is truly acceptable to a majority of Republicans. It might be Ted Cruz, or John Kasich, or Marco Rubio, or one of the other candidates that dropped out earlier, or even a non-candidate. It may be long, it may be messy, but in the end we will have a nominee that the Party can in good conscious support and who has a chance of victory in November. Even in the best of election years, a Republican faces a narrow path to a White House victory, but we simply could not do worse than the current “presumptive nominee”: an unprincipled, unethical, unreliable, uncouth, un-conservative, un-Republican, unpopular populist.

-Brett Malin

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