“Who Are We?” contest winners announced ?>

“Who Are We?” contest winners announced

Winning artwork by Emilie Haedt, an eighth-grader at Tacoma’s Annie Wright School. (Image courtesy Legacy Washington)

Five Washington students have been named state champions in a writing, art and film contest sponsored by the Office of Secretary of State’s Legacy Washington  program, which produced  the “Who Are We?” profile series and exhibit.

The competition asked Washington students in grades 6-12 to share who they are and who they hope to become. Contestants could submit entries in different formats, including writings, two-dimensional art or film projects. There were two categories, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12.

This year’s writing contest winners and the names of their entries are:
• Larissa Meyer, a seventh-grader at College Place Middle School, Edmonds – “Dear Future Self”
• Tyray Hunt, a 12th-grader at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, submitted an essay entitled “Who Am I” and a poem called “Evergreen”

The art contest winners are:
• Emilie Haedt, an eighth-grader at Annie Wright School, Tacoma – “Wandering Raven”
• Chanae Bird, an 11th-grader, Joel E. Ferris High School, Spokane – “Who Am I?”

The film contest champion is Navid Rahbin, a ninth-grader at Joel E. Ferris High School, Spokane – “We Are Family”

“I congratulate each of the contest champions on this special honor,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “So many of the entries were very compelling and thoughtful.  I applaud all of the students who took part.”

The five winners will be invited to a ceremony in the Office of Secretary of State at the Capitol on Feb. 9 at 3:30 p.m. where they will be presented with a special certificate and gift card by Wyman. Winning pieces also will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website, featured in SOS publications and appear alongside the Who Are We? exhibit.

A group of judges chose the winners from about 100 entries. For more information about the contest, contact Legacy Washington’s Laura Mott at laura.mott@sos.wa.gov or 360-902-4171.

Throughout 2016, Legacy Washington released a series of online profiles about fascinating, accomplished Washingtonians, capped by last August’s launch of its “Who Are We?” exhibit in the Secretary of State’s front lobby at the Capitol. Profiles of the Who Are We? project can be viewed here.

Legacy Washington documents extraordinary stories in our state’s history. This collaborative venture, spearheaded by Wyman, relies on original sources at the Washington State Archives, Washington State Library and heritage organizations across the state. Legacy Washington’s work can be found in libraries across the U.S. and in heritage organizations and schools statewide.

From Legacy Washington: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Seattle visit ?>

From Legacy Washington: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Seattle visit

Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a speech during his only visit to Seattle. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)

With the nation observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s worth recalling the time when the civil rights icon paid his lone visit to Seattle, in 1961. The Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, the Seattle civil rights activist, arranged for King to come to the Emerald City.

Legacy Washington’s online profile on Dr. McKinney, released last January, describes what happened when McKinney reached out to King:

The Brotherhood of Mount Zion Baptist Church had invited the civil rights leader to give a series of speeches in Seattle. King, 32, was controversial. He’d received threatening phone calls. His home in Montgomery had been bombed. He’d survived a stabbing attempt during a book signing in Harlem. But McKinney believed the country’s leading voice for civil rights would send the right message to Seattle at the right time. “A lot of people had never seen him and wanted to hear him. We wanted him to come in and address us here. And he agreed.”

The forthcoming King visit to Seattle sparked controversy. Conservative blacks worried his visit would trigger racial disputes. Some of McKinney’s parishioners found anti-King material on their desks at Boeing. One parent of a student at Garfield High School, where King was scheduled to speak, raised concerns about the leader’s rumored ties to the Communist Party.

McKinney wrote King, alerting him of circumstances surrounding his scheduled tour. “An extreme conservative rightwing element, whose presence is a known factor on the west coast, have been quite vocal about your coming. The total community, which far exceeds the Negro population of 27,000, is quite aroused over some incidents that have occurred relative to your visit here. We have worked exceedingly hard to gain citywide support for your first visit to the Pacific Northwest, and that support is guaranteed now more than ever.”

While King’s entire visit was controversial, one stop proved especially contentious. In 1961, Seattle was inundated with massive construction projects for the Century 21 Exposition. The 1962 World’s Fair limited the number of available venues that could accommodate large crowds. McKinney settled on Seattle First Presbyterian Church at 8th and Madison, a great barnlike building that could hold some 3,000 people. He counted on a gentleman’s agreement and began publicizing the speech. “We got closer to it and started announcing it,” McKinney says. “There was some kickback at the church.”

First Presbyterian canceled the speech, triggering an unforgettable encounter between McKinney and the church lay leader who was also a lawyer. The imposing attorney, with his 6-2 frame and white flowing mane, had a “voice that could strike fear in judge and jury.”

McKinney can still hear his booming voice: “You did not follow proper procedures. But I know you’ve spent money. Give us a bill and we’ll pay for it.”

“We didn’t come down here asking for any money,” McKinney told him. “We don’t want your money.”

“What did you say?”

“You heard me. Nobody told us that there were any hoops to jump through, papers to sign and documents. You never told us that. But that’s okay, Dr. King will be in town, he will speak. And I think I ought to let you know—this is not a threat—but we are going to tell the world about what happened.”
“Well, tell the truth,” the attorney responded.

“Nothing but the truth, so help me God!”

“Right is right,” McKinney says. “We had an agreement and we were upholding our end of the bargain. Now you want to back down because some folks are bigoted and racist and don’t want to have Dr. King speak here.”

“You’ll look back and thank them,” King said when he heard the news. “Some people can kick you upstairs when they’re trying to put you downstairs.’”

The cancellation generated headlines.

King’s November visit would mark his only visit to Seattle and the last time he would travel alone. He reported bomb threats on the airplanes he flew and suspicious-looking men who seemed to be tailing him in Chicago and Birmingham.

When he arrived that November, the prominent figure’s message of nonviolence, his plea to President Kennedy to outlaw segregation by executive order, his admonition that young people were imperative to the movement, were met with roaring applause all over Seattle. To some 2,000 University of Washington students packed into Meany Hall, King said, “The student movements have done more to save the soul of the nation than anything I can think of. … We’ve broken loose from the Egypt of slavery and stand on the border of the promised land of integration.”

“His was a voice that needed to be heard,” McKinney says. “We were going through some difficult times. You had the feeling that you knew you were doing the right thing and somebody had to stand up for it.”

King gave two assemblies at Garfield High School and revved up a packed house at Eagles Auditorium with such force one onlooker said “the hall was shaking—literally.”

King and McKinney later pulled up chairs at Mitchell’s Bar-be-cue where they talked for hours. “Dr. King loved barbecue. He didn’t want to go to anybody’s home, but if I could take him to that place where I showed him good barbecue he’d love it. We were there until four o’clock in the morning. People were walking in off the street and I think he ordered everything on the menu.”

McKinney was the first subject honored with a Legacy Washington profile in its “Who are we?” online series and exhibit, which take a look at standouts in Washington’s political and cultural history.

Wyman begins second term as Washington Secretary of State ?>

Wyman begins second term as Washington Secretary of State

Secretary Wyman with former Secretaries of State Sam Reed (left) and Ralph Munro at her ceremonial swearing-in. (Photo courtesy of Laura Mott)

Kim Wyman began her second term as Washington’s 15th Secretary of State after being sworn into office before a joint legislative session Wednesday.

Wyman took the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu shortly after noon on Wednesday, receiving cheers at a joint session of the House and Senate when she was called up to the rostrum for her swearing-in. She smiled as she took the time-honored oath to uphold the constitution and laws of the United States and Washington and to perform her new duties to the best of her ability.

Secretary Wyman hugs her husband, John, after taking the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Yu. (Photo courtesy Legislative Photograph Department)

Wyman was joined on the rostrum by her husband and their son.

The midday joint legislative session also included Gov. Jay Inslee’s State of the State speech after he was given the oath of office by Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst.

A different view of Secretary Wyman taking the oath of office from Justice Yu as other justices, statewide officials, legislators and visitors watch. (Photo courtesy of Legislative Photograph Department) 

Seven other statewide officials also were sworn in, including newly elected Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, Auditor Pat McCarthy, Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and Treasurer Duane Davidson, and the newly re-elected Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. With Wyman, McCarthy and Franz now in office, this is the first time Washington has had at least three female executive statewide officials since 1997, when the state had four: Attorney General Chris Gregoire, Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn, Lands Commissioner Jennifer Belcher and Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson.

Grammy Award-winning artist Judy Collins sang the national anthem and “America the Beautiful” during the ceremony.

Wyman held a ceremonial swearing-in and program later that afternoon for about 100 family members and friends in the State Reception Room, including former Secretaries of State Ralph Munro and Sam Reed. During her speech, Wyman emphasized civility and bipartisanship. (more…)

SEA…HAWKS! Wyman joins fans at Capitol rally ?>

SEA…HAWKS! Wyman joins fans at Capitol rally


Secretary Wyman with former Seahawk Marcus Trufant in her office. (Photos courtesy of Benjamin Helle)

Not even freezing temps could keep hundreds of Seahawks fans from gathering on the north steps of the Capitol for a rally Friday morning to cheer on the Hawks before their home playoff game Saturday night against Detroit. Secretary of State Kim Wyman joined Gov. Jay Inslee, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen and former Seahawk defensive back Marcus Trufant in firing up the cold crowd before they took turns raising the Seahawks’ “12” flag high above the Flag Circle. Before the ceremony, Trufant came to Wyman’s office for a brief reception, where the former Seahawk signed autographs and had photos taken. Go Hawks!

Trufant addresses fans at a Seahawks rally outside the Capitol as Gov. Inslee, Lt. Gov. Owen and Secretary of State Wyman applaud.

Trufant puts the finishing touches on raising the “12” flag outside the Capitol.

Registration deadlines coming for February Special Election ?>

Registration deadlines coming for February Special Election

If you aren’t a registered voter in Washington but want to vote in the special election period ending Feb. 14, here are registration deadlines to keep in mind.

Jan. 16 is the last day to register online or make online updates to your name or address. Because Jan. 16 is the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and the U.S. Postal Service isn’t delivering mail that day, our Elections Division is urging county elections offices to accept mail-in registrations or updates postmarked Jan. 17.  Go here to register online or to print out a voter registration form.

If you’re currently not a registered voter in Washington, you have until Feb. 6 to register in person at your county elections office.

Counties will mail ballots to military and overseas voters on or before Jan. 15, with the remaining ballots being sent to all other voters by Jan. 27.

Thirty-four of the state’s 39 counties have at least one district with a measure appearing on the February Special Election ballot. Of the 103 ballot measures throughout the state for the February election, 79 are for school levies. The others cover city, fire, park, library, hospital and cemetery measures.

For more information about the February Special Election, contact your county elections department or the Secretary of State’s Elections Division.

Holiday Tree has left the building ?>

Holiday Tree has left the building

As Blood, Sweat & Tears sang many years ago, what goes up must come down.

The 2016 Holiday Tree was removed by a Department of Enterprise Services crew Wednesday morning after standing tall in the Capitol Rotunda for a month. The Capitol is being prepared for the Inaugural Ball Jan. 11. Here are photos showing the tree’s removal.

From the Archives: Nixon goes to 1960 Rose Bowl ?>

From the Archives: Nixon goes to 1960 Rose Bowl

(Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)

As the University of Washington Huskies get ready for their much-anticipated semifinal battle with top-ranked Alabama Saturday at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, it’s worth taking a peek into the State Archives for any photos related to the Dawgs and past bowl appearances. This shot shows then-Vice President Richard Nixon and his family riding in a convertible inside the Rose Bowl stadium before the 1960 game between Washington and Wisconsin. The Huskies routed the Badgers that year, 44-8. Go Dawgs!

From the Digital Archives: 1959 Capitol Christmas tree ?>

From the Digital Archives: 1959 Capitol Christmas tree

(Courtesy of Washington State Digital Archives)

Now that Christmas is over, many families have removed their Christmas trees or will soon. In fact, the Holiday Tree in the Capitol Rotunda outside our office will be coming down in early January. In case you’re wondering about these trees of yesteryear, here’s a rare photo of the 1959 Christmas tree that stood in the Rotunda. The classic photo is part of the Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990 found in the State Digital Archives. Below is a photo of this year’s Holiday Tree.


WA Electoral College: 8 votes for Clinton, 4 `faithless’ voters for others ?>

WA Electoral College: 8 votes for Clinton, 4 `faithless’ voters for others


Members of Washington’s Electoral College cast their votes for President Monday at the Capitol. (Photo courtesy Brian Zylstra)

Washington’s Electoral College made national news Monday when four “faithless” electors declined to vote for Hillary Clinton, who carried the state 54-38 over Donald Trump.

Eight electors cast ballots for Secretary Clinton, three votes went to former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell and one elector voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, an activist opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

It was the first time Washington had a “faithless” elector since Mike Padden of Spokane Valley, now a state senator. He voted for Ronald Reagan in 1976, rather than Gerald Ford, who had carried the state that year. The Legislature quickly passed a law imposing a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for voting for someone other than the nominee.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the state’s chief elections officer, said she will enforce the statute. She is conferring with the Attorney General on a process for levying the penalty. Wyman and Gov. Jay Inslee hosted the College.


Members of Washington’s Electoral College with Gov. Inslee and Secretary of State Wyman after the vote. (Photo courtesy Benjamin Helle)

It was the 32nd gathering of the Electoral College since statehood, and easily the most lively. A witness of the assembly four years ago said there were only a dozen people in the gallery. This time, however, with much attention on the process nationally, several hundred protesters rallied on the Capitol steps and in the Rotunda and filled every available seat in the State Reception Room where the College met.

The session, following a careful script provided by federal authorities, went smoothly and no outbursts or attempt to affect the electors. Each elector filled out a ballot for president, and a second one for vice president.

The votes were collected, counted and announced by Chair Julie Johnson from Neah Bay. She announced the eight votes for Clinton and then the votes for Powell and Spotted Eagle. The same process was used for vice president. Eight votes were announced for Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine; one apiece for his fellow senators Maria Cantwell, Susan Collins and Elizabeth Warren; and one for Winona LaDuke, a Native American environmental activist.

Reaction to the “faithless” votes was muted. Each elector was given a moment to talk about their votes. Several said they would work to replace the Electoral College with direct popular vote.  Washington actually has signed up as one of 11 states in the National Popular Vote compact aimed at following the popular vote. That bill passed in 2009. More states would need to join, with collectively having a majority of the electoral votes, to trigger the law.

Electors Bret Chiafalo of Everett and Levi Guerra of Warden were active in the Hamilton Elector movement, urging their colleagues to vote for a Republican moderate and try to peel off GOP electors in other states. Their goal was to peel off enough votes to deny Trump an Electoral College majority. That did not happen.

Each state gets electors equal to the number of its U.S. senators and representatives. That’s currently 12 for Washington, the second largest bloc in the West.  It takes 270 electoral votes to elect, and Trump went over that level on Monday, with Washington mentioned in national news coverage for its unusual votes, none of whom affected the president-elect’s tally.

WA Electors gathering at Capitol ?>

WA Electors gathering at Capitol


The 32nd Washington Electoral College convenes at the state Capitol at high noon on Dec. 19, taking part in a time-honored ritual of awarding the state’s electoral votes for president and vice president.

Amid speculation that several of the 12 delegates will choose to be “faithless” electors, the College will assemble in the ornate State Reception Room, hosted by Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Gov. Jay Inslee.

The state went for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump and dozens of other candidates, so the electors will be the slate elected by Democrats at convention. All signed pledges to vote for the party nominee, Clinton, but several have since aligned with the Hamilton Electors in a national effort to peel off enough Trump electoral votes to deny him the presidency. Mavericks have said they would vote for an alternative Republican, though the state went for a Democrat and the electors all are Democrats.

The last faithless elector in Washington was Mike Padden of Spokane Valley, now a state senator. He voted for Ronald Reagan in 1976, rather than Gerald Ford, who had carried the state that election. The Legislature quickly passed a law imposing a civil penalty of up to $1,000 to vote for someone other than the nominee. It has never been imposed. Wyman has been conferring with the Attorney General on a process for levying a penalty if there are faithless electors this time.

Hamilton Electors lost their attempt to persuade a federal judge to block such fines, but they vowed to appeal.

Wyman noted that the Electoral College has always been controversial in some circles, particularly in years like this one where the popular vote winner did not receive enough electoral votes to win the presidency. Washington actually has signed up as one of 11 states in the National Popular Vote compact aimed at following the popular vote. That bill passed in 2009. More states would need to join, with collectively having a majority of the electoral votes, to trigger the law.

The founders decided on the Electoral College process, basically winner-take-all by state, as a compromise between Congress voting on the president and vice president, and allowing a direct popular vote by qualified citizens.

Each state gets electors equal to the number of its U.S. senators and representatives. That’s  currently 12 for Washington, the second largest bloc in the West.  It takes 270 electoral votes to elect.

Washington electors will each fill out their ballots for president and vice president during the meeting. Six of each document are needed and will be sent to Congress, the state and national Archives and the presiding judge of federal district court. Vice President Biden, as president of the Senate, will preside over a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 and the new president is inaugurated on Jan. 20th.

The Washington Electoral College gathering will be televised by TVW live and via livestreaming.