Democratic Senator Adam Kline of the 37th LD has announced that he will not re-run this year for the Washington State legislative seat he has held for many years. He has been a staunch advocate on many progressive issues and will be missed. In particular, unlike many other Legislators, he was willing to publicly oppose Tim Eyman’s many attempts to be Grover Norquist’s surrogate in Washington State. Eyman would repeatedly say government was wasting money and pushed initiatives to gut government funding by opposing taxes of any kind. Kline demanded Eyman publicly say what programs he thought should be cut and Eyman never responded, choosing instead to hide behind empty libertarian anti-tax rhetoric.
Senator Kline sent out this week a detailed newsletter to his constituents which is very informative on what happened in the last Legislative session in 2013 and what the public can expect in this shortened 2 month session this year. He is correct in noting don’t expect much to happen because Republicans control the State Senate. Much like their role in the US Congress, Republicans joined by so called Democratic Senators Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon, have chosen to adopt a position of “my way or no way” rather than work collaboratively to address serious problems that need action in this state. And he correctly notes the Republican support for continuing tax expenditures without critical consideration as to whether or not they are benefiting the state or meeting state priorities.
Printed below is the e-mail Senator Adam Kline sent out and the link to his full newsletter:
It’s that time again. The legislative session—my eighteenth—starts on January 13, and I’m ready for action. In this newsletter (which you can read in its entirety on my blog ), I’ll review some of last session’s exciting events and explain my lowered expectations for this year.
But first an announcement: I won’t be a candidate for re-election next year when my term’s up. I’ll turn 70 the week before Election Day 2014, and I have some living to do. I don’t mind saying that I’d like to spend more time with my wife, Genie, and with my daughter Genevieve, son-in-law Matt, and two delicious granddaughters Sophie and Penelope. Not to mention more time hiking. I’ll miss the action here, the engagement on issues important to the extraordinary people of Southeast Seattle, and I’ll really miss your personal visits to my office, and the letters and e-mails you send me, telling me of the way in which state policy affects your lives.
I will not miss the name-calling, pettiness, and gamesmanship that have come to characterize politics—and I’ve witnessed an increasing tide of that in my 18 years. I will continue to urge Democrats to be Democrats, and urge Republicans to be the kind of conscientious and thoughtful Republicans that a 70-year-old might remember. Most importantly, I want to thank you, every voter in the District, on my side or not, for the opportunity to work on your behalf in the Senate. There’s an old Jewish saying: it is not required of us that we heal all the wounds of the world, but it is not ours to desist from the task. I’m confident that whomever you elect to replace me, it will be someone willing to engage. Tom Jefferson and Leon Trotsky agree: long after the revolution, the struggle continues.
Last session will go down in history as the Season in Hell, an entire spring, sunny and warm, spent waiting for our Senate Republican majority to come to terms with the responsibilities that come with majority status: actually governing. That includes passing a budget that works, rather than simply excoriating “government spending.” After three biennia of No New Taxes, during which revenues shrank and expenditures were cut to the bone, a few of the more responsible Republicans finally conceded the need for new revenues, at least via the closure of five of the most egregious of our 400-plus tax loopholes. But responsible Republicans are a tiny minority of their Senate caucus, and do not include the agenda-setting leadership, hence the need for two extra 30-day sessions to break the budget impasse. It was almost the Fourth of July before the Legislature closed shop—and even then without a Transportation Funding package, which continues to founder over tax policy. (More on that below.) I enjoy the company of my colleagues immensely, but I can think of better ways to spend sunny days in May and June than to wait in my seat in the stuffy confines of the Democrats’ caucus room, when the only real action is behind the closed doors of the Republicans’ caucus room.
Due to the loss of an additional Senate seat in the 2013 off-year election, the Senate now has 26 Republicans to 23 Democrats. I am greatly concerned that now and perhaps in the near future, this majority will effectively bar the House and Governor from taking the actions needed to more fairly distribute tax burdens, to increase revenues from those most able to pay, and to more adequately fund the functions of state government—especially K-12 and higher education that provide the basis for the social mobility on which the American dream is built. In the past, I confess, I used to think that the Senate, with its mostly older members and with four years between elections, was the greater source of wisdom and good sense, and that the House was more driven by its extreme members. Yeah, well.
This newsletter will go on long rambles about our struggle over funding urban transit systems, including Metro, and bus/pedestrian projects; and how we’re doing okay in implementing Obamacare, but not so good in implementing the Supreme Court decision on funding Basic K-12 Education. Then a couple of shorter excursions: the questions left after our vote on the Boeing tax-breaks; and our ongoing campaign to lower the death-toll from drunk drivers.
You can read the rest of this newsletter here. Keep in touch!
Senator Adam Kline