Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Open Mike" Night In Pullman

Mike McGavick, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator, is traveling the state in his RV and visiting with Washington residents in more than 40 towns and cities.

This evening, the big red RV stopped at Kruegel Park in Pullman for a barbecue and meet-and-greet.

Mike was introduced by none other than our Once and Future Governor, Dino Rossi, a personal hero of mine!

Then Mike came up and spoke for a while and took some questions from the large crowd of 150. Some highlights on his positions: For a strong national defense and supports the war on terror. Against activist judges. Feels the House's immigration bill is too strong but that the Senate bill is not strong enough. Favors stronger border security, including a fence on the Mexican border, no Social Security benefits to illegal aliens, and a guest worker program that penalizes illegal aliens. Wants to see the health care system and Social Security reformed. Believes in limited government, free enterprise and free, but fair, trade. Srongly dislikes negative campaigning and the current partisanship in DC. Supports a Constitutional ban on flag burning. Will not allow the Snake River dams to be breached on his watch.

However, the former Safeco CEO is not totally in lockstep with the national party, as behooves a Washing-ton GOP candidate. He said no senator from Washington could vote more than 90% with his/her party (like Cantwell) and still be a good representative of the state's interests. McGavick is against cuts to Pell Grants proposed by the Bush Administration and says more grants are needed to encourage students to study math and science so we can compete in the global marketplace. He thinks a green card should be issued along with a student visa so foreign students can keep the knowledge they have learned here. He thinks that the No Child Left Behind Act needs reform to be more flexible. These answers seemed to throw off the Democratic ambush questions.

Even though this event was attended by many local GOP luminaries, such as Representative David Buri, Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers, Whitman County Prosecutor Dennis Tracy, State Representative candidates Steve Hailey, Tedd Nealey and Joe Schmick, and County Commissioner candidates Harmon Smith, Michael Largent, and Jeannine Larkin, it was open to everyone.

In fact, the local 'Rats held a somewhat lame "silent vigil" nearby. Mike invited 'em up for hot dogs and hamburgers, but they just stood there holding their signs.

Heck, PARDner and anti-WASL activist Don Orlich even stopped by to ask Mike a question about the No Child Left Behind Act. Somehow I doubt Orlich, a staunch member of the Whitman County Democrats, will be voting for Mike.

Mike has his own Democratic "stalker" named Kelly, who videotapes every McGavick public appearance, waiting like a vulture for some gaffe. Mike said his campaign would never shadow Maria Cantwell in such a way.

All in all, it was a great evening. Getting to meet Mike and Dino personally was a highlight, along with getting a chance to finally talk face-to-face with Daily News reporter Michelle Dupler in person.

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