I’ve been in Olympia for much of the first two days of the week, celebrating beginnings and endings. Monday was the swearing-in of Chief Justice Barbara Madsen and the newly elected (and re-elected) associate justices, Susan Owens, Steve Gonzalez, and Sheryl Gordon McCloud. It was particularly exciting for Justice McCloud, who is new to the Court, and her friends and family. Jeffrey Robinson presented Justice McCloud and spoke movingly of her upbringing and commitment to justice. One sign of the times was that Justice Gonzalez was presented by his wife, Michelle, who is an assistant dean at UW School of Law. With all the lawyers married to lawyers these days, it’s kind of surprising it took this long for that to happen.
Tuesday was more about endings. The occasion was Governor Chris Gregoire’s last State of the State Address, but it was also an opportunity to thank the Governor, Secretary of State Sam Reed, Attorney General Rob McKenna, and Auditor Brian Sonntag for their many years of service to the citizens of Washington. All four talked about public service and how lucky they were to have had the opportunity to work for the people of the state. For those of us who are sometimes cynical about elected officials, it was a good reminder that most of them are anything but cynical about their work. Brian Sonntag teared up as he talked about his decision to retire. Sam Reed displayed the leather briefcase that his grandfather, Sam Sumner, had purchased in 1910 to begin his service in the Washington Legislature. And each of them spoke proudly about their staffs and what they had been able to accomplish with the help of that staff for us, the citizens of the state. As they spoke, I could not help but think how lucky we are to have had their service.
The rest of my week will primarily focus on our Board of Governors’ meeting in Olympia on Thursday. As with all board meetings, they are open to the public. Please join us if you are able.
Enjoy the remainder of your week and I look forward to giving you an update from the board meeting in my next update.