Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, September 09, 2010

James Olsen for 23rd Keynotes on Bainbridge Island

First impressions of James Olsen (R), a hardworking and passionate candidate for Washington’s 23rd Legislative District, can sometimes be a bit misleading. His direct, frank, and honest communications is not usual among politicians, could tend to unwanted controversy, and does not always lend itself to the vague middle ground that hedges a bet (or a vote). James Olsen likes to say what’s on his mind, and oft does so with a military precision learned through 30 years of Coast Guard service. But in this time where conservative resurgence seems more likely than ever, his straight talk was well received among the Bainbridge Island Republican Women, who hosted his keynote at their regular Wing Point Golf & Country Club lunch meeting, September 8th. Overall, it was a superb event, topped off with an unannounced cameo by James Watkins, Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District.

Preaching to the choir, you would think that James Olsen’s standard talking points for driving fiscal accountability and creating job growth in Washington would have been routine, but not so. James demonstrated the energy and passion of a “fighter” on a mission, completely unlike what I’ve seen thus far out of the incumbent and apparent stealth candidate, Christine Rolfes (D). James also took advantage of new media resources to augment his talking points. In a short video, Follow the Money, compiled by his wife and advisor, Mary Dombrowski, Olsen educated the group about the size and origin of financial contributions supporting Rolfes from out of district. He then posits the question about whom Christine Rolfes may really be representing. It was indeed a thought provoking exercise. More campaign videos are available online (intro).

Among the talking points, Olsen described himself as an experienced business person who understands fiscal accountability, describing Rolfes as a “career politician who will never take the steps necessary” to move Washington out of the current economic crisis. He is “outraged at the shredding of I-960” and the subsequent passage of 77 new tax measures costing taxpayers almost $800 million dollars. “Too many taxes and over regulation is a job killer,” he said, precisely the opposite of what government needs to be doing.

The meeting did not go without controversy, however. One luncheon guest asked about Olsen’s position on pro-choice. “I am proud to be pro-life,” he made clear, following equally firm that he did not believe it his role to fight Roe v. Wade, and wanting to stay clearly within the scope of what he can directly influence in Olympia. When questioned about government subsidies for public housing and the arts, Olsen was more direct; “the State has core missions to do,” going on to note that artists need to compete just as businesses and individuals do.

As the meeting started to wind down, James Watkins managed a cameo appearance and addressed the group. In my observation, Watkins has been very skillful to stay consistently on topic but embellished this time with a special anecdote. Describing his observations at a recent Shoreline parade, he recalled an impassioned Democrat supporter who exclaimed it was patriotic to pay more taxes for more government. Watkins looked at the crowd and asked them if they wanted more government or more jobs? To the horror of the Democrat supporter, a crowd ended up chanting “less government, more jobs”. It is good to see the word is getting out.

Know your candidates and vote. November is coming.

Photos: top left, left to right, BIRW President Betsy Greene, James Watkins, James Olsen, and BIRW event coordinator Sunny Day. Left center: James Olsen


Anonymous said...

Wonderful summary of the meeting with James Olsen .
He is "definitley" a Fiscal conservative and Just what we need in place of Big spender Rolfes !!!


Anonymous said...

Odd how this blog entry implies that it is a problem that Rolfes is getting out-of-district support, a blog supporting Olsen, written primarily by people in eastern WA.

I disagree with the politics of the people of the Palouse (as expressed in the voting booth), but I don't go around telling people out there how they should vote in local elections.

With his multiple "sign-gate" controversies, Olsen has shown that he doesn't care about the opinion of the people that he would be representing on Bainbridge. Why should these people expect him to represent their interests?

kingstonJW said...

Thank you to the anonymous comment... to be clear, while the blog is owned by Tom Forbes in Whitman County, the concept of Palousitics is commentary from the Palouse to the Puget Sound. I am a contributor residing in Kingston, Kitsap County.

I've since started making this more clear at the beginning of blog entries; however, that seems to have raised its own ire. Apparently I need more sunshine on my pale skin.

My best for liberty...