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!”

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