Saturday, August 23, 2008
The National Lentil Festival: Political Report and Photo Essay
The National Lentil Festival is my favorite event of the year. It is an All-American parade, back-to-school celebration and block party all rolled into one. It symbolizes everything I love about living in a small community like Pullman. I think over the course of this weekend, I saw just about everyone I know here in town.
And of course, in this big election year, a variety of candidates for national, state and local office turned out to meet and greet the thousand of voters assembled to watch the Grand Parade roll through downtown Pullman today.
Terry Rossi, wife of our once and future governor Dino Rossi, walked in the parade, accompanied by a large contingent of Whitman County Republicans, including several WSU students and families, along with State Senator Mark Schoesler and Whitman County Commissioners Greg Partch and Jerry Finch, I was among that group. Here we are assembling before the parade (Terry Rossi has her back to the camera with the "Vote for My Husband" shirt):
Waiting for the parade to start, I got a chance to talk to many of our elected officials.
Here's our local law enforcement team: Pullman Chief of Police Ted Weatherly (left) and Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers (right):
Here's 9th District State Representative Steve Hailey (left) with Whitman County Treasurer Bob Lothspeich (right):
Our other 9th District State Representative, Joe Schmick (and yes, Tyana, that's his Ford F350 truck):
Here's 9th District State Senator Mark Schoesler (left) with Whitman County Commissioners Greg Partch (middle) and Jerry Finch (right):
As I was talking to Mark, Greg and Jerry, WSU president Elson Floyd (right) stopped by say hello:
I had a chance to chat with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers about the recent primary election. She was pleasantly surprised by her large margin of victory.
Leading Cathy's parade contingent were WSU College Republicans Vice President Chris Johnson (left) and Chris Howe (right):
There were some old friends at the parade today. WSU College Republican alums Christopher DelBeccaro (left) and Dan Ryder (right) were on hand to help out:
I also ran into Moscow-Pullman Daily News publisher Nathan Alford and his cute twin daughthers:
Last and certainly not least, after the parade, I ran into Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson. Glenn is a class act and we are incredibly lucky to have him as mayor:
Here are some shots during the parade. Whitman County Republican chairwoman Susan Fagan was driving the Rossi-Mobile:
Here's Team Rossi Pullman with Terry Rossi after the parade:
Overall, there was a very enthusiastic crowd reaction to Terry and Dino. There were lots of cheers and calls of "Go Dino!" and "Good luck!" I was especially impressed with the youth interest in Dino's campaign, both last night at the Republican street fair booth and today during the parade. According to the polls, that is not a demographic Dino is supposed to do well in, but you couldn't tell it this weekend.
I didn't get a good picture of the Democrats, as their entries were very early in the parade. However, Democratic Whitman County Commissioner candidate Pat O'Neill wisely separated himself from the main flock of moonabts and rode a lawnmower:
The Governor gave a campaign stump speech after the parade to a crowd of about 100 (there were more than 10 times as many people over in Reaney Park NOT listening to the Queen speak.) From what I could tell, the crowd was made up mostly of current and retired WSU professors, Pullman School District teachers, and others on the state payroll that have gotten big pay raises during the Queen's reign. There was also a smattering of students.
The Queen stuck to her tiresome lies: there is no state budget deficit, in fact we have a surplus! Forbes magazine ranked Washington #3 as a place to do business on her watch! Any budget deficit she inherited from Dino Rossi! Dino is going to throw sick kids out on the curb! That, along with liberal sprinklings of the words "Barack Obama," was about all Spendoire had to say. Overheard in the crowd: "These people around here are blinded. They just can't see how good that you and I know Chris is." *LOL*
The Democrats booth yesterday and today seemed a little slow, with mostly just partisans milling around. Bryan Burke's Eastern Washington Voters also had a booth at the street fair last night. When I went by, none other than Lu Laoshi himself, Chris Lupke, was there, recently returned from Taiwan.