Politics | KNKX


Political news

An inflatable orca is displayed during a rally to call attention to environmental issues on Monday, Jan. 14. The environment is one of many high-priority issues in the 2019 legislative session, which is just about halfway over.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

There is a lot of activity in the Legislature right now, as state lawmakers work against a Wednesday deadline to move bills out of their chamber of origin. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what’s going on and what’s to come.

In this May 9, 2018, file photo, Seattle City Council Members Mike O'Brien, Kshama Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda listen to public comment. On Monday, the three council members voted in favor of Sawant's human services director resolution.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

A divided Seattle City Council is trying to push forward in confirming the mayor's pick for human services director, but it's unclear what the next move is. The new director will have a big say in how the city tackles the ongoing homelessness crisis.

Washington House representatives listen to testimony, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, before they unanimously voted to approve a code of conduct for the Legislature in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

State lawmakers are approaching the halfway point of their 105-day session, and they’re closing in on the deadline to pass non-budget-related bills out of their house of origin. Democrats control both chambers this year, and they’re flexing their majority muscles. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins updated Morning Edition producer Ariel Van Cleave on the latest progress.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee walks off the podium, Friday, March 1, 2019, after speaking during a campaign event at A&R Solar in Seattle. Inslee announced that he will seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Following months of speculation, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has formally launched a campaign for president that he said will seek to mobilize the country around an ambitious plan to combat climate change. (This post was updated at 4:10 p.m. to include audio of analysis from Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins.)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Seattle at an event held by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. Inslee is expected to announce his bid for president as soon as this week.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee is sounding more and more like a presidential candidate. An official announcement is expected in the coming days, but Inslee has already been making his case to the national media. KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick talked with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the prospect of Inslee running for president.

The execution chamber at the Washington State Penitentiary is shown with the witness gallery behind glass in Walla Walla, Washington. The state Legislature is exploring repealing the death penalty, after the state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press (file)

State lawmakers are considering a measure that would repeal Washington’s death penalty. The Senate Law and Justice Committee will discuss Senate Bill 5339 today in Olympia. The proposal follows a state Supreme Court decision that ruled the policy as unconstitutional, arbitrary and racially biased. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked about this repeal effort with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Capitol campus
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins says it’s hard to tell what will become a lightning-rod issue during the “fire hose” phase of the legislative session. So far this week, the lightning rod centered on hair salons. Jenkins talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about some of the many issues being discussed in Olympia.

Download now   Washington Gov. Jay Inslee points as he steps into his car after speaking at Saint Anselm College, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, in Manchester, N.H.
Mary Schwalm / The Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee is in New Hampshire today, testing the waters in the early primary state for a potential run for president in 2020. Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins is covering the trip, and talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick from across the country at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College.

Sen. Joe Nguyen is sworn in at the Capitol.
Aaron Barna / Washington State Legislature

OLYMPIA — Joe Nguyen doesn’t look like your typical lawmaker. He’s the first Vietnamese member in the state Senate. And at 35, he’s one of the youngest.

“People are realizing that I’m a senator and not a staffer,” Nguyen said. But, he added, people do sometimes ask "who do you work for?" 

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks at the Battle Born Progress Progressive Summit, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Inslee pitched his record tackling climate change, gun control measures, raising the minimum wage and expanding paid family leave i
John Locher / The Associated Press

Ahead of Gov. Jay Inslee’s State of the State address Tuesday afternoon, Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what to expect. They discussed the two-year spending plan and other issues that should arise during the 2019 legislative session.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The results of Tuesday's midterm elections are still being unpacked. While much of the focus has been on what they could mean for Democrats and Republicans, Washington state's ballot initiatives have also proven interesting. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Opponents of Initiative 1631, the carbon fee, say they’re proud to have the support of over 100 Latino small businesses. The No campaign sent out a bilingual mailer in recent weeks, listing those companies and laying out their main arguments against the proposal.

But carbon fee supporters say they’re hearing from several on the list that were surprised to be included in the ads.

Ben Anderstone



Elections are a measure of public opinion. And in part, the opinions of the people who make up the electorate are influenced by their background.


Political scientists and campaign consultants can use factors like a person’s age, race, educational attainment and income level to predict how that person will vote. But demographics can be fallible. Particular people often buck their demographic trends.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story is part of KNKX's series "Five Voters, Fresh Perspectives." We're looking at the 2018 election through the eyes of five people who are at a turning point in their lives.

For most of us, it's a choice whether we want to vote. But if you've committed a felony in Washington state, that choice can be taken away for a few years after you get out prison.

Having that right taken and then given back changed how Rebekah Brown felt about voting.

Campaign organizers for incumbent eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers were not happy Wednesday night following a debate in Walla Walla.


Parker Miles Blohm/KNKX

This story is part of KNKX's series "Five Voters, Fresh Perspectives."We're looking at the 2018 election through the eyes of five people who are at a turning point in their lives.

Steve Holdsworth began working as a Lead Advisor with Brighton Jones in downtown Seattle last spring. His family joined him here in September. They live on Bainbridge Island, and they moved from Memphis, Tennessee.

Washington's Public Disclosure Commission said Monday it's received nine complaints about a series of controversial mailers that were sent to voters in Thurston County and four hotly contested state legislative districts from coastal Washington to Spokane.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

This story is part of KNKX's series "Five Voters, Fresh Perspectives." We're looking at the 2018 election through the eyes of five people who are at a turning point in their lives.

When Curn and Nemesio Domingo Jr. go shopping at the Asian food market Uwajimaya in Renton, it’s almost like they’re on the set of the TV show “Cheers.” They know everyone.

In statehouse races across Washington this year, there are two potential boogeymen: President Donald Trump and the city of Seattle. Democrats are counting on an anti-Trump bump while Republicans are running against the liberal policies of the state’s largest city.

A year ago this month, Carla Tolle’s 13-year-old grandson Edgar Vazquez was shot and killed by a friend while they played at the friend’s grandfather’s house in Kelso, Washington.

A Washington state senator who says he’s heard from “literally hundreds of parents” of adult children who are struggling with mental illness or addiction wants to allow families to petition for temporary guardianship.

Under pressure to step down following a new allegation of sexual misconduct, Republican state legislator Matt Manweller on Monday said that he would resign his seat if re-elected this November. 

House Republican leaders on Friday called on embattled state Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Cle-Elum) to resign. The move followed the publication of a story by the public radio Northwest News Network earlier in the day detailing an alleged sexual relationship between Manweller and a 17-year-old former high school student of his in 1997.

A former Idaho high school student of embattled Washington legislator and longtime educator Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Cle Elum) says she had a sexual relationship with him beginning after she graduated in 1997, when she was 17 years old and he was a decade her senior. Under Idaho state law at the time, sex between an adult male and a female younger than 18 constituted statutory rape.

Gov. Inslee hits the road to support Democratic gubernatorial candidates nationally

Aug 28, 2018

As chair of the Democratic Governors Association this year, Gov. Jay Inslee has elevated his national profile as a critic of President Donald Trump and fanned speculation about a 2020 presidential bid.

The role has sent the second-term governor on frequent political trips across the country to raise money and promote Democratic candidates.

Washington state Rep. Matt Manweller “engaged in a pattern of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior” with current and former female students at Central Washington University (CWU) over a 13-year period, according to an 85-page investigative report released by the university on Wednesday.

Last March, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced the resignation of one of his longest-serving cabinet members, Employment Security Department head Dale Peinecke. A workplace misconduct investigation had found that over the five years Peinecke worked in state government, he made some staff uncomfortable and was “vulnerable to claims of harassment with sexual overtones.”

Central Washington University on Tuesday fired Republican state Rep. Matt Manweller from his position as a tenured professor of political science following a months-long investigation into his conduct toward students. 

Washington Republicans are regrouping after a primary election pounding Tuesday that extended beyond swing districts to rock-ribbed GOP pockets of the state.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

This story was updated Wednesday at 5:44 p.m. with results from the Pierce County prosecutor's race.

Early primary results are confirming many of the expectations of those closely watching the races. But they also seem to speak broadly about Democrats' chances in Washington going into November.