Paul Queary

Paul Queary, a veteran AP reporter and editor, is founder of The Washington Observer, an independent newsletter on politics, government and the influence thereof in Washington State.

Realtors Spend Big On State Elections

Realtors are aggressive about promoting their own members who aspire to political office, under the argument that Realtors will back Realtor-friendly policies. That’s typically where you see the eye-popping contribution numbers from the national group.

Meet Lisa Mennet, a Wealthy Local Who Writes Big Checks for Democratic Causes

Mennet gave the party $300,000 last month, according to the PDC, more than half of ithe party's 2021 haul thus far. That’s an unusually large donation, especially for an odd-numbered year.

Where’s my Ballot Initiative?

2021 will be the rare year without a statewide ballot initiative or a citizens’ referendum challenging something the Legislature did earlier this year. Years without direct democracy at the state level are rare, and the last one was in 2017. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1989.

Handicapping Early Challenges to the State’s New Capital Gains Tax

Imagine the now 30-something offspring of one of the original Microsoft executives selling $10 million of the stock daddy got for $10,000 back in the bad-hair days. That’s a capital gain of $9,990,000. Born-rich heir would owe $681,800 under the new tax.

Your Democracy Vouchers in Action: Seattle Mayor’s Race

Democracy vouchers were supposed to democratize campaigns and blunt the power of the monied classes, who for many years dominated political fundraising in city races. But it’s possible they’ll help perpetuate the status-quo.

Inslee Angers Native Americans with another Surprise Veto

When the bill got to the House, tribal lobbyists got lawmakers to install some teeth. A new subsection required that projects “must be paused or ceased” if a tribe finds it would “adversely impact cultural resources, archaeological sites, or sacred sites.” It was part of a series of changes in the bill designed to win over environmental justice advocates. That spooked Inslee into vetoing this section.

Inslee’s Big Veto Gamble in Two Major Climate Bills

To get the votes for two major climate bills on energy, Democrats had to agree to a future gas-tax increase for roads infrastructure. It was an awkward linkage, and Insleee's veto pen blew up the deal.

Governor Vetoes 2030 Electric Car Mandate (that wasn’t really a mandate anyway)

As often happens with super-aggressive legislation, HB 1204 got gutted on its way out of the House Transportation Committee, its mandate defanged into a milquetoast nonbinding “goal.”

Bulletproof? Dow Constantine Draws A Serious Challenger

Constantine, now 59, has never faced a real challenge from the left. Can Joe Nguyen, 37, pull it off? There’s no big scandal dogging Constantine or the county, which is generally considered to be pretty well-run, especially compared to the perpetually flaring dumpster fires down the street at Seattle City Hall. But Nguyen gets to run in the second year of pandemic discontent.

Brought to you by Uncle Joe’s Pile ‘o Cash: A Historic State Legislative Session

Operatives and lawmakers involved in the passage of the climate proposals this year say that the package was on the brink of collapse at several points during the session. The difference this year: lots of money available to the lawmakers, so no need to cut into sacred cows.

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