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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 5, 2008 2:08 PM

Burner's odds in 8th improve, says expert

Posted by David Postman

The respected Cook Political Report has reclassified the 8th District race between Congressman Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, and Democrat Darcy Burner. The experts there had listed the race as "Lean Republican" and now it is a "Toss Up."

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June 5, 2008 8:56 AM

Reichert gets Dems help on wilderness bill

Posted by David Postman

Washington’s greenest Democratic congressman has signed on to a proposal by Republican Rep. Dave Reichert to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, became a co-sponsor yesterday. Reichert’s office says that Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, also signed on last night.

Reichert’s bill has been praised by some environmentalists and by the P-I’s Joel Connelly.

Connelly’s pleased to see Inslee and Dicks joining Reichert on the bill.

Bipartisan cooperation is a tradition in major Northwest land-use decisions, never more than in legislation that created the 393,000 wilderness in the "land of 600 lakes" between Stevens and Snoqualmie Passes.

A pair of Democrats, Rep. Lloyd Meeds and Sen. Henry Jackson, shepherded the Alpine Lakes legislation through Congress. GOP Rep. Joel Pritchard debunked opposition from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz. And then-Gov. Dan Evans used an Oval Office meeting to persuade President Gerald Ford to sign the bill.

But supporters of the campaign Reichert’s Democratic opponent, Darcy Burner, and her amen bloggers have called the bill a cynical attempt at green-washing.

UPDATE: Burner's campaign says I was wrong about what I originally wrote above. Spokesman Sandeep Kaushik said that Burner did not question Reichert’s motive in introducing his wilderness bill. He’s right. The statement she released last fall didn’t do that directly. But it did raise a clear question about Reichert’s commitment to the environment, saying that his proposal was “the equivalent of focusing on a tree while losing sight of the fact that the forest is being chopped down around you.”

Even some environmentalists thought Burner was being critical of Reichert. At Sightline Daily, Eric De Place wrote last fall that “presumptive challenger Darcy Burner attacked Reichert for playing politics” in introducing the bill.

In last fall’s statement, Burner talked about the importance of saving wilderness and criticized Reichert for not supporting a Democratic proposal to protect roadless wilderness areas. She said:

Now I hear that Congressman Reichert, who is not even sure yet that global warming exists, intends to begin portraying himself as going 'green.' He is telling the press that he would like to consider designating some 26,000 acres of federal land of the Pratt River Valley a wilderness area. Many in the environmental community would like to see this area conserved and so would I. So I applaud Congressman Reichert for taking a small step in the direction of wilderness conservation.

But I would also hope that he would join so many of his colleagues in co-sponsoring the bipartisan Cantwell-Inslee legislation. Otherwise, his willingness to consider protecting one small area while threatening 2 million acres elsewhere in the state is the equivalent of focusing on a tree while losing sight of the fact that the forest is being chopped down around you.

And in a follow-up today, the same point was made again by Kaushik:

When you consider more closely the totality of Congressman Reichert's record and statements on the environment, and take a look at who his campaign backers are, a much more mixed view of his environmental record comes into focus.

More after the jump.

Continue reading this post ...

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Jun 5, 08 - 02:08 PM
Burner's odds in 8th improve, says expert

Jun 5, 08 - 08:56 AM
Reichert gets Dems help on wilderness bill







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