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After 45 years in public life, Sam Reed bids farewell ?>

After 45 years in public life, Sam Reed bids farewell

Sam speaks to 2013 Senate

(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:

  1. Saving the State Library.
  2. Creating the nation’s first ground-up Digital Archives.
  3. 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.
  4. Ramping up service to job-creating companies.
  5. 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.


Secretary Reed `roasted & toasted’ ?>

Secretary Reed `roasted & toasted’

Sam speaks at Roast N Toast

About 500 of Secretary of State Sam Reed’s friends, family and colleagues gathered Thursday evening for a fun gala to “roast & toast” Sam on the occasion of his retirement after 12 years as Secretary and 45 years in public life.

Guests came from far and wide and from different eras in Reed’s life, so the gathering was a kind of big political family reunion. After an hour of animated conversations, the group moved into the ballroom of the SeaTac Hilton amid the pageantry of a Chinese  dragon dance, complete with drummers and cymbals. A this-is-your-life video was showed during dinner, followed by a Reed-trivia Jeopardy game hosted by pollster Stuart Elway, and an audience sing-along led by Secretary-elect Kim Wyman. (The event was privately financed.)

Roasters and toasters included Sam’s brother Roger, state Auditor Brian Sonntag, Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, Wyman, Paul Casey of Casey Communications, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, public affairs executives Barbara Smith and Gary Smith, Legacy Project chief historian John Hughes and Paul DeGregorio, former chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.  Gary Smith led the toasts.

Former Govs. Dan Evans and Mike Lowry, former Sen. Slade Gorton, former Rep. Sid Morrison, Watergate hero and EPA founder Bill Ruckelshaus, legislators and other luminaries also attended. Besides Ritchie and Ysursa, Oregon Secretary of  State Kate Brown, Alaska’s Mead Treadwell, and former Oregon Secretary Bill Bradbury, former Pennsylvania Secretary Pedro Cortez and many of Washington’s County Auditors also honored Reed.

Elson Floyd, president of Washington State University, and former WSU President Sam Smith, surprised Reed by honoring him as a distinguished alumnus. (There was much Husky-Cougar humor throughout the evening and the WSU fight song was played frequently.)

Floyd, Smith and longtime kitchen cabinet adviser Mikal Thompson also made a pitch for the endowment for the Sam Reed Distinguished Professorship in Civic Education & Public Civility. The WSU Foundation is handling the project, which will be hosted by the Foley Institute and College of Arts and Sciences at the university.

Reed, introduced by his daughter Kris, gave a Letterman-style Top 10 zany moments in his career and gave a moving tribute and video to his wife, Margie.  Reed kept his final farewell crisp and short, saying “It’s been a whale of a ride!”

National Guard honors Secretary Reed ?>

National Guard honors Secretary Reed


Throughout his years as Washington’s chief elections officer, Secretary Reed has made it a high priority to give our state’s military voters access to voting, as they are defenders of democracy.

Reed’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. The Washington Army National Guard has recognized the soon-to-retire Secretary for his service in support of the National Guard, especially with voter registration during deployment preparation.

Major General Bret D. Daugherty of the Army National Guard, at ceremonies at the Capitol Monday, presented Reed with the Distinguished Service Medal.

Both Daugherty and Reed praised the partnership between the military and the state Elections Division.  Daugherty said his daughter had been stationed in Iraq and was able to vote her ballot with great ease.

In July, Secretary Reed received a special medallion and commendation from the U.S. Defense Department for his work in assisting military and overseas voters.  Pamela Mitchell, acting director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program at the Pentagon, did the honors.

WA Electoral College: All 12 votes for Obama ?>

WA Electoral College: All 12 votes for Obama

Reflecting the winner-take-all nature of the Electoral College system, Washington’s electors on Monday awarded all 12 of the state’s electoral votes to the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

The event, convened by Secretary of State Sam Reed and Gov. Chris Gregoire, went off the clockwork.  The carefully scripted, time-honored process was much like the one taking place in all state capitals.

As flags outside the Capitol stood at half-staff, electors gathered in the State Reception Room and observed a minute of silence in memory of Friday’s school massacre in Connecticut.

Then, with Chair Heather Fralick of Shoreline presiding, the electors signed multiple copies of documents affirming, first, that Obama was their choice for president, and then, that Biden was their pick for vice president. Electors are supposed to reflect their party’s ticket — and indeed there is a law that says so and that imposes a fine on any “faithless elector,” as occurred at least once in the state’s history.

The electors, alternates, families and party officials cheered as the votes were announced.

Reed called it an historic day for the participants. He acknowledged that using the indirect method of the College, rather than the popular vote, remains controversial.  He added:

“The Electoral College is a key step in how America chooses its president and vice president. While it lacks the attention and excitement of last November’s popular election, the Electoral College vote carries the same impact.”

The Democratic governor praised Republican Reed as “one of our finest public servants … who has had a stellar career.”  Both are retiring after long public service careers.  Gregoire added:

“I am honored to bear witness today to the election of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. This ceremony, as with Electoral College votes across the country, reflects our dedication to the democratic process and commitment to open and transparent government.”

Each state has a number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives it has in the U.S. Congress. Of Washington’s 12 presidential electors, one is from each of the state’s 10 congressional districts. Those 10 were selected at congressional district caucuses last May. The two at-large electors were chosen at the state Democratic Party convention in Seattle last June.

The 12 electors were:
1st District: Grifynn Clay of Snohomish;
2nd District: Dave Gossett of Mountlake Terrace;
3rd District: Kathleen Lawrence of Vancouver;
4th District: George Fearing of Kennewick;
5th District: Rick Lloyd of Spokane Valley;
6th District: Gail Kirk of Tacoma;
7th District: Maria Ehsan of Seattle;
8th District: Elizabeth Satiacum of Olympia;
9th District: Georgia Spencer of Seattle; and
10th District: Harvey Brooks of University Place.
At-large electors are Heather Fralick of Shoreline and Alec Stephens of Seattle.

Fralic was chosen by the electors as the presiding officer during the vote.

Dec. 17 was the date for electors to meet in each of the states to cast votes for president and vice president. In all states but two (Maine and Nebraska), the

winner of the popular vote in that state wins all of the electoral votes in that (more…)

Reed honors companies that give back ?>

Reed honors companies that give back

Secretary Reed presents TreeTop President and CEO Tom Stokes with his company’s Corporations for Communities award.

There are many companies in Washington that make it a priority to give back to their communities and beyond. Secretary of State Sam Reed has honored several of these companies for their good deeds.

Reed hosted the 2012 Corporations for Communities awards ceremony in his office in Olympia Wednesday afternoon. TreeTop Inc. of Selah was the winner in the large-company category. Jim’s Pharmacy of Port Angeles earned this year’s small-company honor.

Reed presented National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion Awards to TreeTop President and CEO Tom Stokes and Jim’s Pharmacy owner Joe Cammack durin the ceremony. The Medallion Award recognizes civic engagement, voter education efforts, government services and a commitment to giving back to the community.

“A number of deserving companies were nominated this year, but TreeTop and Jim’s Pharmacy truly are deserving of this honor,” Reed said. “TreeTop’s commitment to helping those in need both locally and globally is impressive. Jim’s Pharmacy has stood out in many ways, including programs to provide vitamins for kids and college scholarships to high school graduates. Both recipients exemplify the ideal of volunteering and helping their communities.”

Joe’s Pharmacy owner Joe Cammack talks about giving back to the Port Angeles community.

Thirteen other nominees also were lauded by Reed for their community efforts. Large-category companies honored include Alaska Airlines (based in SeaTac), HomeStreet Bank (Seattle) and Weyerhaeuser (Federal Way). Honorable mention small-category companies include Associated Industries (Spokane), Brown & Brown of Washington (Tacoma), W.G. Clark Construction (Bellevue), Dick’s Drive-In (Seattle), Erik Dyrland Insurance (Bellingham), Esprit Graphic Communications (Kennewick), Fauntleroy Chiropractic (Seattle), McClain Insurance Services (Everett), Ruddell Auto Mall (Port Angeles) and Vista Engineering Technologies (Richland).

Corporations for Communities was launched in 2009 by Reed as a recognition program within the Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities Division.

Giving wisely….. ?>

Giving wisely…..

Secretary of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna are teaming up to urge Washingtonians to make wise choices with their holiday gifts to charity and avoid greedy fundraising groups.

Reed and McKenna joined forces at the Senior Services Lillian Rice Center in downtown Seattle, releasing the 2012 Commercial Fundraiser Activity Report and announcing that the report will be updated weekly “in real time” to keep donors well-informed. The two statewide officials also shared tips for everyone – young and old – on how to give wisely.

Overall this year, charities that used commercial fundraisers received an average of 46 percent of contributions, a drop from the 56 percent mark in the 2011 report and much lower than the 77 percent reported in 2010. Once again, the percentage that individual fundraisers retained was wide-ranging: Some fundraisers kept less than 10 percent and sent the remaining funds to charity, while other fundraisers’ fees and expenses were more than the amount raised.

The report, compiled by the Secretary of State’s Charities Program, spotlights recent financial information for commercial fundraisers who solicit or collect donations on behalf of their charity clients. The causes vary widely and include police, firefighter and veteran organizations, medical research, animals, civil liberties, and the environment, to name a few.

Seniors 65 and older – a group that makes up about 13 percent of Washington’s population – are especially targeted by solicitors, and thus should be very careful and research where their donations are going, the two state officials cautioned.

Said Reed:

“I’ve been so impressed with the generosity of Washington residents over the years,” Reed said. “So many people here give money to help those who are struggling in our state or elsewhere. We know that individuals will want to donate money this holiday season and beyond to help others, but we also know that they can get burned by not doing their homework before giving to a charity.

“That’s why we want to make sure donors are well-informed about where their money is going. We want contributors – regardless of age – to know which commercial fundraising groups have a bad track record when it comes to passing on donated money to the intended charities.”

McKenna, whose office deals with consumer protection, said:

“People should always contact charitable organizations in your community and ask how they spend donations to ensure you are truly helping those you wish to help.  Never be afraid to ask how much of your donation will go to the charitable purpose. It’s your money.”

The report, which has been released annually since 1995, has been revamped so it now is updated on a weekly basis. Consumers will be able to run their own reports in real time and get current (more…)

WSU creates new endowed professorship to honor Sam Reed ?>

WSU creates new endowed professorship to honor Sam Reed

Secretary of State Sam Reed’s alma mater, Washington State University, is creating an endowment to fund The Sam Reed Distinguished Professorship in Civic Education and Public Civility in honor of Reed’s “distinguished record of public service.”  He will retire from public office as Washington’s 14th Secretary of State in January 2013.

Reed received his bachelor’s degree in social studies and master’s degree in political science from Washington State University.

Reed said he’s delighted with the professorship and the emphasis on issues that have been central to him — civility, civic engagement and bipartisan cooperation to solve problems in a collegial and sustainable manner.

“Much of my grounding in political science, history, and politics came from mentors and professors in my undergraduate and graduate school years at Washington State and I am so happy to think that future generations will benefit from a Reed Professor,” he said.

Reed’s 45-year career in public service includes roles as Assistant Secretary of State as a young man, Thurston County Auditor for 23 years, and now 12 years as Secretary of State.

Reed’s career has been characterized not only by his commitment to public service but also by his principles of civic education and democracy, says Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at WSU. The Reed professorship will be part of the Institute, a nonpartisan center that fosters civic education, public policy research and a commitment to public service.

“I have had a productive and cordial relationship with the Institute,” Reed said. “We have partnered on workshops on civility and collaborated on a televised session on the  centennial of the initiative and referendum process in Washington. I feel confident the Institute and the College of Arts and Sciences will be an ideal home for this new professorship, and I wish them every success.”

Clayton added: “Sam Reed’s reputation for bipartisanship and for believing that people of different political beliefs can work together to find common solutions to problems is unusual in the current political climate. “Sam’s career serves an exemplar of the commitment to public service and civil discourse.”

He cited Reed’s even-handed handling of the 2004 governor’s race and subsequent election reforms as an example of his bipartisanship and civility.

“In my years as an elected official and as a citizen activist and volunteer, I have had a real passion for civic education and community engagement and empowerment, and I have done all I could do to make our public discourse more civil,” Reed said. “This, of course, is a continuing job of us all, and for every generation.

Persons interested in contributing to the Sam Reed Distinguished Professorship in Civic Education and Public Civility can go to:, or send donations to: WSU Foundation, PO Box 644235, Pullman, WA 99164-4235.

Reed & Wyman greet Consular Corps ?>

Reed & Wyman greet Consular Corps

From left: Irish Consul General John Keane, Hungarian Consul General Helen Szablya, Secretary Reed, Secretary-elect Wyman, and Mrs. Keane (Photo courtesy of Patrick McDonald)

Secretary of State Sam Reed and Secretary-elect Kim Wyman, in their first official joint appearance since Wyman’s election two weeks ago, greeted the Consular Corps Tuesday.

It was Reed’s last meeting with a group that includes many old friends — and the first for Wyman. The Secretary of State, along with the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, are the main points of contact for the consuls from Seattle and the West Coast. They host visiting foreign delegations and do occasional trade-and-tourism missions.  Many of the consuls will attend the state’s inauguration ceremony for the new statewide elected officials on Jan. 16.

Over Washington cider and cheese, Reed and Wyman greeted visitors from Mexico, Russia, Taiwan, Canada, Jamaica, Italy, Croatia, Uzbekistan, Hungary, France, El Salvador, Turkey, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Japan, Spain, Peru, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Latvia, Czech Republic and the Republic of Korea.

WA voters: Yes to gay marriage, Obama & Democrats … ?>

WA voters: Yes to gay marriage, Obama & Democrats …

But the governor’s race, the marquee state contest in the General Election, remains very close. 

Democrat Jay Inslee, who gave up a safe congressional seat to run for the office being vacated by two-term Gov. Chris Gregoire, led Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna 51.32 percent to 48.68 percent, or about 50,000 votes out of nearly 1.9 million counted.  Inslee told cheering supporters it looked like victory, but didn’t declare himself the winner in so many words.  McKenna, still seeing a path to victory as more votes come in, declined to concede.

Roughly 40 percent of the vote remains to be counted.  Inslee led in nine of the 39 counties. That included vote-rich King, where he was polling 63-37, for a plurality of 140k.

Another close statewide race was for Secretary of State.  Republican Kim Wyman had a lead of about 14,000 over Democrat Kathleen Drew.  Democrats led in all other contests for statewide office.

President Obama picked up Washington’s 12 electoral votes, as expected. He outpolled Mitt Romney 55-43.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, was returned to a third six-year term, polling 59-41 over Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner.

Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer and Suzan DelBene led in the open 10th, 6th and 1st U.S. House districts. Incumbents were easy winners in the other districts.

The Legislature again will have Democratic majorities to work with the new governor.

The state drew some national attention for its ballot measures:

–The state, along with Maryland and Maine, was apparently affirming same-sex marriage. R-74 was the text of the marriage equality bill passed by the Legislature last spring and placed on the ballot by opponents.  It was passing narrowly, 52-48, but proponents were already celebrating. The margin was about 68,000 with 1.9 million votes tallied, including a 65-35 affirmative vote in populous King County.

–By an even larger margin, 56-44 percent, the state was approving a plan, I-502, to authorize, regulate and tax recreational sales and use of marijuana by adults. The federal government said the vote does not change drug policies against marijuana growing, sales and use.

–Fourth time’s the charm? A plan to authorize up to 40 publicly funded charter schools, I-1240, was narrowly ahead.

–Tim Eyman’s perennial plan  to require a two-thirds supermajority to pass taxes in Olympia, I-1185, passed easily, with nearly two-thirds of the voters in favor — 65-35. The concept of a supermajority, however, is being challenged in the state Supreme Court.

Secretary of State Sam Reed said the turnout was exceptionally strong, possibly higher than the 81 percent he initially forecast.

“There were so many significant decisions for voters to make, and so many interesting state and local ballot propositions. There was literally something for everyone, and I was so glad to see the Washington voters get so engaged in our elections.”

Secretary Reed: YOUR vote is your voice ?>

Secretary Reed: YOUR vote is your voice

Secretary of State Sam Reed is urging voters to take part in “one of the most significant and interesting elections in modern times.”  He said enthusiasm is “sky-high” in Washington, which regularly enjoys one of the best voter participation rates in the country.

Reed noted that more than 8 out of 10 voters are expected to cast ballots, with some counties forecasting turnout even higher than the 81 percent he has predicted statewide.  He said he would be delighted, of course, if the turnout exceeds the record set in 2008, 84.6 percent.

He added:

“A ballot left untouched on your coffee table does no good, though, and so I am strongly urging every registered voter to mark a ballot just as soon as possible and get it in the mail or take it to a secure county dropbox. Don’t wait until the last minute.”

Reed, conducting his last election after 41 years in state and local election administration, said this is one of the most intriguing and significant elections in his tenure.

“I am extremely happy that our voters are engaged and involved in these voting decisions that will affect our daily lives in very concrete ways.  In our system of self-government, our vote is our voice — and we want to hear from everyone.

“Our voters rolls have never been cleaner, outreach efforts have never been stronger and good voter information has never been more plentiful.  Now it is up to the voters!”

Washington has topped the 3.9 million mark for the first time for registered voters — including a spike of nearly 180,000 added just since the August Primary.  Reed said the great interest is driven by the down-to-the-wire races for President and Governor, as well as “the most interesting and compelling ballot measures in the country.”

Voters will decide four citizen ballot propositions, including same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization, charter schools and a Tim Eyman tax initiative, as well as two noncontroversial constitutional amendments and two first-ever state tax advisory votes.  The ballot includes wide-open races for Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Auditor, as well as other statewide executive and court races. Control of the Legislature is up for grabs. A U.S. Senate seat and all 10 U.S. House contests are on the ballot, including a first-ever vote in the newly awarded 10th District.

Local races and propositions also await voters’ decision.

Said Reed:

“Literally, there is something for everyone in this election.”