(Photo courtesy of Legislative Support Services Photography)
Secretary of State Sam Reed bade a fond farewell to the people of Washington Tuesday after 45 years in public life, including 35 years as a state and county elected official.
Addressing a joint session of the Legislature, Reed brought along a special reminder of his family’s long connection to Washington politics and government — his grandfather Sam Sumner’s battered leather briefcase. Exactly 100 years earlier, Sumner, a state GOP chairman and longtime party leader, was sworn in as a state House member, beginning a legacy of public service that would extend to Reed’s career and love of politics and government decades later.
“Politics is, and should be, a noble calling,” Reed said in his well-received remarks. He added:
“It has been an amazing ride for Margie and me. Nearly a lifetime ago, it seems, we came to Olympia from the apple orchards and the Palouse of Eastern Washington to teach and to serve in government. We stayed to raise our family here and to heed the call the service. On our hardest days, we never regretted that decision.
“My heart is full as this Wenatchee boy reflects on the opportunity to be of service and to work … to make Washington a better, more responsive and just government worthy of her people. Whenever we saw a problem to fix or an opportunity to grasp, we went to work. In our better moments, we worked collaboratively, across the aisle, with common purpose and with civility.”
Among the highlights Reed mentioned were:
- Saving the State Library.
- Creating the nation’s first ground-up Digital Archives.
- Restoring confidence in the elections process after the closest governor’s race in America, fighting for the Top 2 Primary and other reforms and improvements in the elections process.
- Ramping up service to job-creating companies.
- Honoring our history and promoting a new State Heritage Center on the Capitol Campus to house the Archives and State Library and make public records, books and history accessible to the public.
In closing, Reed said:
“Although I am leaving public life, I am not leaving public service. I expect to be deeply engaged as a volunteer, working and mentoring as a private citizen on my signature issues of civility, bipartisanship and moderation.”
The joint session also heard Gov. Chris Gregoire’s optimistic and sweeping State of the State Address recapping her eight years in office and her thoughts about the future. The gathering also heard farewell remarks from Attorney General Rob McKenna, who succeeded Gregoire at the helm of the 1,100-member AG staff and who lost to Democrat Jay Inslee for Governor in November. And outgoing Brian Sonntag, the veteran State Auditor, also gave well-received and emotional farewell comments. The proceedings were broadcast live and archived by TVW.