“Riding the Blue Wave: Charting Our Success in 2018”
By Sam Reed
A record number of mainstream, commonsense conservatives gathered in Leavenworth May 18-20th for an outstanding conference. The focus was on examining the opportunities to succeed in spite of a purported blue wave coming this fall. They joined the discussion as we dove deeply into the issues that Washington state voters want to hear about. They met our candidates who will use these issues to win in November. And they met and networked with friends, political allies and new acquaintances from throughout the state who share their passion for gaining a strong and vital Washington via civility, moderation, bipartisanship and a Big Tent party.
Given the negative national political environment, there were serious concerns about attendance – and morale among those who showed up. The opposite came true. This year’s Cascade Conference reverberated with enthusiasm and optimism. Also, it was noteworthy how many young people showed up – including a large contingent of college students. The sessions were set up to not only examine issues but generate outcomes that will help us win in November.
The featured panels were: Blue Wave or Just Troubled Waters (Stuart Elway’s analysis of our state’s current political terrain); Spreading Prosperity: Creating Opportunities for All Citizens in Washington State to Succeed; Post High School Training, Education and Skills to Give Our Children the Opportunity for Success; Immigration Reform: Their Opportunity Is Our Success; and Conservative Champions for the Environment. Our preeminent State Treasurer Duane Davidson gave a TED Talk style presentation: “Creating Opportunities Through Financially Responsible Policies.”
During the Saturday luncheon, we recognized the outstanding accomplishments of our Republican leadership in the state House and Senate during recent years. With the majority coalition in the Senate and close numbers in both houses, Mark Schoesler, JT Wilcox, and other key leaders were extolled. The Mainstream Republicans of Washington presented awards for outstanding public service in 2017-2018. The recipients were Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier for the Norm Maleng Award (outstanding local government official), the state House and Senate Republican leadership for the Maryann Mitchell/Andy Hill Award (most outstanding legislators), Jamestown S’Klallam tribal chairman Ron Allen for the Dan Evans Award (environmental leadership) and Dave Reichert for the Joel Pritchard Award (most inspirational Mainstream Republican).
We were joined by Congressman Dave Reichert, State Treasurer Duane Davidson, Senator Barbara Bailey, House GOP Leader JT Wilcox, Senate GOP Leader Mark Schoesler, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, former Governor Dan Evans, former U. S. Senator Slade Gorton, former Secretaries of State Ralph Munro and yours truly, Senator John Braun, Senator Hans Zeiger, Senator Mark Miloscia, Senator Keith Wagoner, Senator Steve O’Ban, Senator Judy Warnick, congressional candidate Dino Rossi, former Attorney General Rob McKenna, Snohomish County Councilman Nate Nehring, KVI Talk Radio Host John Carlson, 2016 GOP candidate for governor Bill Bryant, Representative Paul Graves, Representative Andrew Barkis, Representative Jacquelin Maycumber, 28th district (Lakewood) House candidate Maia Espinoza, 44th district (Lake Stevens) Senate candidate Doug Roulstone, 5th district (Issaquah) House candidate Chad Magendanz and several other political luminaries.
TVW provided excellent coverage of the conference. Watch it on TVW. And finally, save the dates May 17-19th, 2019, to join us for the Cascade Conference’s 50th anniversary!