Today's Winner: Political hopefuls in Southeast Seattle.
Longtime liberal state Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, Southeast Seattle) announced that he will not seek reelection this November. Kline, nearing 70, a longtime senator who chaired the judiciary committee (and is now the ranking member under Republican senate control), said in a statement that it's time to travel and spend time with his family.
Author and former Bill Clinton speechwriter Eric Liu, also once a top exec at RealNetworks, flirted with running against Kline in 2010, but decided against it. Chatter in Olympia has Liu running this time. Liu is tight with wealthy lefty donor Nick Hanauer; they've written two books together and have partnered on pushing issues such us increasing the minimum wage and education reform.
Liu would likely have a fundraising advantage over the two sate reps in Kline's district, Reps. Sharon Tomiko-Santos and Eric Pettigrew.
Tomiko-Santos is seen as a marginalized character in Olympia, while Pettigrew is widely respected in Olympia as a moderate Democrat whose support can help move controversial bills through the process.
Here's the full statement from Kline, who, though the house Democrats got all the attention for botching a gun control bill last year, also tried to move gun control legislation on the senate side in 2013 in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, but could not get moderate Republicans to join him.
Sen. Adam Kline decides not to seek re-election in 2014
State Senator Adam Kline announced in his constituent newsletter today his decision not to run for re-election in November 2014, after completing his 18th session representing the 37th District in Southeast Seattle.
“I’ll miss the action here, the engagement on issues important to the extraordinary people of Southeast Seattle,” he said. But approaching his 70th birthday, he said, it’s time to quit and spend time with his family and to travel.
Kline, formerly a lawyer working in Pioneer Square, and as a cooperating lawyer with the ACLU, is best known for his work in the field of civil liberties, notably in the aftermath of September 11, when he successfully opposed a bill that would have broadened the wiretap authority of police and criminalized activity that some felt included lawful political advocacy. Later that same year, the ACLU awarded Kline its Civil Libertarian Award for “courage and determination in withstanding intense pressure in order to uphold freedom in the wake of September 11”
More recently, he has worked to bring drug and alcohol treatment into state criminal sentences, and to shorten prison time for nonviolent offenders. During the past two sessions he has cooperated with prosecutors and defense lawyers to strengthen our DUI laws, a subject that first brought him to Olympia as a local leader of MADD in the 1990’s.
“I’m going to miss this work,” he said. “It has to do with human liberty, with the limits we place on the government’s ability to take it away. There are times when I’ve been really jazzed to find consensus among disparate interests, finding the sweet spot where changes in the law make a real difference in the lives of people caught up in the criminal justice system.”
P.S. This wasn't in his official statement, but it's something we dig about Kline: He was active in the civil rights movement, working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Greenwood, MS during Freedom Summer 50 years ago, in 1964.
This Week's Loser: Women in Washington state's economy.
According to a new report from the Economic Opportunity Institute, although Washington state added 60,000 jobs in 2013, the job sectors that grew the most were low-paying fields dominated by women, including social assistance jobs (three-fourths of which are held by women), restaurant work, and retail sales. Overall, EOI reports, women in Washington state make an average of 61 percent of men's earnings, for an average of $3,481 (to men's $5,747) a month.