“Riding the Blue Wave: Charting Our Success in 2018”

Since 1969

“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!

Posted by Michael Harry, 1 comment

Inspiration from Mainstream Senator Mark Miloscia

Sen. Mark Miloscia

“Since session ended, I have spent much time knocking on doors, and visiting and reconnecting with folks—6,122 doors to be exact. I answer questions and listen to their thoughts and concerns on the needs of our community.

“If I had to sum up their fears and dreams at this time, I would pick the famous Charles Dickens quote:

“‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…’

“It was the best of times: People are thankful that our state leads the nation in so many things. They see construction cranes dot the landscape and are thankful for the record low unemployment and record high business and job growth.

“They are thankful that money is pouring into the budgets of many families, businesses, and governments.

“They are thankful for the dozens of ‘local’ nameplate companies, universities, nonprofits, and individuals that are recognized the world over as being among humanities best, brightest and most successful.

“People are very thankful of the Legislatures, and my own involvement, with others here in this room, in helping to improve their lives and our state the last four years.

“They mention our success in fully funding education to record highs of our state budget, of providing all-day kindergarten to every child, and of passing ground breaking legislation to cut college tuition for all students.

“Of passing family and sick leave to aid working people needing help, and in insuring equality of pay for women, and in fully funding collective bargaining agreements for our public servants, and in investing record amounts in helping those with disabilities, mental illnesses and drug addictions live a successful life.

“And of fighting and winning to keep legislative records open and transparent to our bosses, the people we serve.

“Yes, people are thankful.

“However, according to the many comments at the door, it is also the worst of times.Having knocked on doors for decades, views are different this year. Despite the good times, people, whether they are Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, young or old, are worried and fearful about the “foolishness” they see, and a “coming winter of despair.”

“They fear a rising tide of taxes–jobs tax, carbon tax, property tax, car tabs and tuition increases, utility taxes, congestion tax, gun tax, waterfront tax, soda tax, income tax, mileage taxes, and on and on, smothering people’s hopes and dreams, and I even hear increased talk of folks wanting to move out of this “crazy state.”

“They see a growing dysfunction in our government institutions and political leadership, such as stuck tunneling machines and increased congestion, failing human services programs, $12M/mile bike lanes, and increased crime and violence. Despite great increases in taxes and programs, they see governments and do-nothing politicians causing problems rather fixing problems

“The see a growing culture of intolerance and promotion of irresponsible, profane behavior dominating what used to be the safe, unifying, and uplifting spaces in our society–such as our parades, sporting events, college campuses, comedy shows, news programs, government transition ceremonies, singing our national anthem, and saluting flag and country. The inspiring public activities that once unified us as proud Americans, now seem to approve and promote the most indecent, shameful and dangerous words and behaviors imaginable, poisoning not just what it means to be an American, but even any common understanding of our shared humanity.

“Even worse, they see their government leaders and civic institutions remaining silent and increasingly reject the rule of law and the civic and religious virtues and traditions that once strengthened our society and made our nation and state a light for the world! They wonder if their leaders have gone “crazy!” What was once termed “Seattle Nice,” has now morphed into “Seattle Vice!” with Seattle’s alternative paper The Stranger now becoming the Bible & Constitution for our state and culture.

“They see a rising tide of Seattle’s problems of crime and violence, congestion, drugs and vulgarity, discarded needles, and vagrant homelessness and massive apartment complex’s being pushed into their communities, overwhelming infrastructure, neighborhoods, and governments ability to be effective and provide for a livable and affordable society. Almost three years after a Homeless Emergency has been declared, this humanitarian disaster has only gotten worse! When will this nightmare end?


“And when government does reach out to help, what we actually get, is government callously ignoring people’s suffering in favor of some irrational ideology.

“A true story: Recently, Public Health Managers were briefings our city residents on their responses to the opioid crisis. An attendee spoke and started pleading for help for her son whose addictions were destroying his life and his family. The manager replied, “Unless he wants treatment, there is nothing we will do.” She emotionally pleaded again, and again, “I need help, it’s getting worse!” Again, he repeated his inability to do anything to help.

“I was shocked!

“Are our public agencies now ignoring a mothers cries to save her son? 

“I ask you: Can we stop this age of foolishness, season of Darkness, and winter of despair?

“Can we? 


“Yes we can!

“Today, I am here to ask for your support. Our state can and will be better!

“I am here today because my parents, Joseph and Mary, sacrificed to raise their five children, and taught us the importance of marriage, family, and faithfulness to God and Church.

“I am here because I learned about the importance of duty, honor, integrity, and sacrifice, while serving as an Air Force Academy cadet, pilot, and officer.

“I am here because I learned about love, forgiveness and mercy from my St Vincent’s faith community, and by helping those in need, the least of our brother and sisters, at Goodwill Industries, FW Community Caregiving Network, and The Reachout Shelter.

“I am here because of many Republicans and people in this community, and in business and labor groups, people in this room, who when I was politically abandoned and alone, believed in me and welcomed me back to public service to represent the folks in the 30th District.

“Lastly, I am today here because Meschell married me 38 years and 10 days ago. She has loved, protected and cared for me and our three children, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in now 14 grueling campaigns—14! It is her sacrifices that have helped me become a better husband, father, and Senator. I owe her, everything.

“As your Senator, I will hold both party’s leaders, our Governor, and others accountable to effective, efficient, and ethical actions and results in everything government does. We must continue to improve our local governments, our education and transportation systems, until they are the best and most transparent in the nation.

“I will fight for seniors, and all others being taxed out of their home and out of this state, and I will fight against the current trend to tax everything and to fix nothing.

“I will fight for all children, for those most vulnerable, and for those who are in desperate need of our care. We need effective programs that get people into housing and jobs, not give out care packages to live in the woods—there is no right to trespass or to camp and die alone in the woods.

“I will fight to reverse the growing drug epidemic and stop the pot houses and needles sprouting up in neighborhoods. We will stop the normalizing of hard drugs and the use of heroin injection sites that destroy lives and communities. Investment in effective treatment and public safety programs and integration back into society, is the answer.

“I will fight the regionalization of these foolish, and self-destructive policies that some leaders are now calling to be implemented throughout King County. Do we really want our community and our state to be as unaffordable, unlivable, and as mismanaged as Seattle? Do we?

“I will fight to bring Republicans and Democrats, Labor and Business, suburbs, rural and urban areas together, to make sure the best ideas, no matter the source, became law. Our ideological diversity is our strength, if we bring people together for our solutions for the common good. It can happen! If business and labor can unite to oppose the head tax in Seattle, then all us can unite on issues that bring shared prosperity and success. 

“Lastly, I will fight to help all who suffer with policies that work!  Indeed, all black lives matter, Dreamers matter, unborn lives matter, school children’s lives matter, mothers and fathers matter, blue lives matter, sick-homeless-drug addicted and death row lives matter, both rights and individual responsibility matter, marriage and children matter, the integrity and kindness of our public words and behaviors matter, and most important of all, this election matters! 

“Elections matters. You see, I have great faith and hope for our state’s future. We can cut property taxes and car tabs, we can have a government that is transparent and gets results, and we can have a government that will hear a mother’s cry for help for her sick child, and act!

“God has blessed us with great talents and treasures, blessed person in this room. For we are not just Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, business or labor, or any other category that divides us.

“We are brothers and sisters, who when we work together, with wisdom and belief, love in our hearts, kind words on our lips, we will push back the foolishness, despair, and darkness that threatens!  And we will have a state that is filled with wisdom and hope and light! 

“This is my belief, this is my dream… and this why I am running for State Senate.

“Help elect me, and let’s win this fight!

“Thank you and God Bless!”

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Opening Remarks from Mike Vaska, MRW Chair, at 2018 Cascade Conference

Cascade Conference XXXVII

Opening Remarks from Mike Vaska, MRW Chair

“Welcome to the 37th Cascade conference. I’m Mike Vaska, Chair of the MRW Board. I’m excited to be here with you this weekend. I was at my oldest son’s college graduation in St. Louis yesterday. His college—named after our First President George Washington—was founded just days before the Washington Territory was created. We felt right at home. It rained on the ceremony. It was pure joy to see the next generation of leaders from all parts of the country, all races and religions, begin their journey. Camille and I are proud of our son, Grant, who will be a little closer to home the next few years as he’ll be at Stanford working on the economics of health care. I want to thank you all for taking time from your busy schedules to be part of our conference.

“Our theme is Riding the Blue Wave: Charting our success in 2018. As with all good conference themes, this one is a tad bit provocative, and subject to more than a little debate. Does the Blue Wave mean the mid-term headwinds that the President’s party usually faces? Or does it mean the shock waves rippling off Seattle City Hall as it one more time heaps a tax burden on the people and jobs in that Great City? You might be interested to know that parents from all over the country asked me about Seattle Head tax and if there might be consequences for the City and our state. A political wave that lifts one movement to new heights, can send the other crashing against the rocks. We have gathered at this conference from all parts of Washington to hear how we can ride the blue wave or waves this year to create opportunities, and find success.

“At my son’s graduation, I learned that Washington University in St. Louis cherishes its connection to the Founding Fathers so much that it has one of the few surviving hand written copies of the Declaration of Independence.
St. Louis was also the jumping point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which rode different types of waves—the
Missouri and Columbia rivers—on a voyage of discovery to the Northwest. Lewis and Clark were men of the frontier, where common sense and perseverance are basic survival skills.

“A great Mainstreamer Bill Ruckelshaus observed many years ago that the expedition was launched to plant ideals of the American Revolution in the Northwest frontier. Lewis and Clark were sent on their mission by Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Father who wrote the Declaration of Independence, So, when Lewis & Clark decided on the location of their winter camp at the mouth of the Columbia, they held the first American vote in the West. In a Big Tent on the Washington side of the river, all 30 in the group were allowed to vote, including Clark’s slave York, the Native American women Sacagawea, and foreign born French Canadian trappers. This vote aspired to the values of the American Revolution; the ideal that everyone is created equal and should have a voice in our society.

“It would be more than 50 years before Abraham Lincoln freed slaves like York, and nearly 100 years before women like Sacagawea were allowed to vote. But that vote on the shores of the Columbia River foresaw the future, where the voices of people of all races and colors came together as one people, as one team, the American Team. The Cascade Conference first met in 1969 to raise a Big Tent around a movement that continued Lewis & Clark’s legacy, aspiring to the ideals of our Founding Fathers, shaped by frontier pragmatism. Since becoming chair a year ago, I’ve been asked by many: What is a Mainstream Republican? Here’s what I’ve learned from talking with many of you: this Mainstream movement is not defined by a place on the political spectrum. It is not shaped by a single issue, a single vote, or a single elected official. Mainstream is a way of engaging in politics and governing. The Mainstream Way is guided by these ideals.

“First, a government of, by and for the people must work toward commonsense solutions that are fiscally responsible, and not based on some abstract ideology or political fad; Second, we work toward solutions that reflect our unique Northwest values; we cherish our Great Outdoors and welcome newcomers who can help us to build stronger and more successful communities, and; Third, we embrace the diversity of our people. Under our Big Tent we respect our differences, but recognize we share fundamental American values. We value political diversity but reject litmus tests for participating in our democracy. We know that in a democracy, enduring solutions require finding common cause with those who may not share all of our values.

“Of course, Mainstream’s origin story includes many of our state’s greatest leaders: Governor Dan Evans, Senator Slade Gorton, Congressman Joel Pritchard and so many more. Like Stan Lee in the Marvel Movies, they show up everywhere.
They led by example, and created a Mainstream Way of governing embraced by our leaders of the present. For much of the last decade, our Republican leaders in the state legislature used the Mainstream Way of working across the aisle. They created and led a Majority Coalition Caucus that included commonsense, thinking Democrats along with our Republican Senators. We’ll hear more about that at lunch.

“This bipartisan coalition is on temporary hiatus since last year, something we hope to change through elections this year. But we should be proud of its accomplishments, which show that the Mainstream Way continues to shape a progressive vision for our state based on collaboration:

• they reduced public university tuition and increased public school funding without raising taxes
• they passed one of the first state family leave laws in the nation
• they gave undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children access to higher education

“As the theme of this conference suggests, Democrats would like to ride a Blue Wave to extinguish this Mainstream Way of governing. So how do we win in spite of this?

• We make sure we have the best candidates
• We create opportunities that help our citizens succeed
• We take your passion and turn it into real engagement

“That is how we win in 2018. Today and tomorrow we will discuss how to make this plan a reality. We’ll look at Who are the candidates, What are the solutions, and How we put our passion into action. I know that when you go home on Sunday, you will be as excited as I am for our prospects. Now, I was a youth soccer coach for more than a decade. I quickly learned that whether we had success in the Fall depended on the quality of our efforts in early Summer. So, I like to think about this Cascade Conference as the beginning of our 2018 season. What we do this weekend may decide whether we are a winning team this Fall.

“Yes, you will hear today from our great speakers. Think of them as your coaches. Ask them questions, challenge them, and learn all you can from them. But as anyone who has been on a winning team knows, success comes only when each member commits to being the best he or she can be. And even more importantly, success comes only when each commits to the fullest of his or her ability to help the team win. Returning players set the tone for success. New players bring energy and fresh ideas. We are very honored to have veteran Mainstreamers in the room today, and also to have a dozen college students, many attending their first conference.

“So, with the goal of building a winning Mainstream team—one that can win this Fall—I ask all of you to stand up and welcome your teammates. Shake their hand, and wish them a good session today and tomorrow. And wish them a winning season this year. Now, let’s get this team going.”

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Republicans Must Lead in Giving Dreamers a Place to Call Home

Mainstream Republicans of Washington and MRW Alliance respectfully ask that Republicans in the United States Congress make it a top priority to adopt legislation that would prevent deportation and provide permanent legal status for so-called “Dreamers,” children who were brought into this country unlawfully.

While our nation must enforce its laws, American justice does not punish children for actions of others. Deporting children to a country many have never known is not a fair and just punishment, would be inconsistent with our values and harm the economy of our states and the country.  Continue reading →

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MRW Spotlight: Duane Davidson

Duane Davidson serves as Washington’s 23rd State Treasurer

By Duane Davidson

This last election, with the help of the Mainstream Republicans of Washington (MRW), I made history – becoming the first Republican to win an election to be Washington’s State Treasurer since 1952.

MRW helped at every step of the way.  Recruiting me to run, educating me about the challenges and intricacies involved in running a statewide campaign and supporting me to victory.  Happily, after a successful campaign, MRW also advised on transition and the initial steps in taking office.

MRW is really the “brain trust” for Republicans who want to win campaigns in Washington state.  They can draw on the collective wisdom of their many successful members – such as Daniel J. Evans, Slade Gorton, Ralph Munro, Sam Reed and Kim Wyman.  In recent decades Washington hasn’t had any winning statewide Republicans who weren’t Mainstreamers. Continue reading →

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Fall 2017 Immigration Forum

The Immigration Policy Reform Forum, held in Bellevue on November 10th brought together 60 civic leaders for a day devoted to “messaging for action.” Participants came wanting to better appreciate the need for immigration reform and to craft effective messaging, including marshaling conservative arguments, behind reform. Nationally syndicated conservative talk show host Michael Medved was the keynote speaker. The session concluded with participants personally committing to counter the nativist opposition, which has hijacked constructive policymaking. Forum participants agreed to affiliate as an informal network to push for immigration reform within Republican circles.

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Fall 2017 Political Operations

In the general election of Fall 2017, several notable Mainstream Republicans across the region performed well, providing hope amidst an uncertain political environment. For example, Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn won by landslide margins – almost 2:1. Morgan Irwin, who was a sponsor of the receptions at this year’s Cascade Conference, won 57% of the vote.  Several of our local candidates won across the state, as well. However, the primary focus of this race for groups across the spectrum was always going to be the Senate race on the Eastside in Legislative District 45, and that was no different for MRW.

When Senator Andy hill tragically passed away on Oct. 31 2016, mourning turned to angst as Republicans realized they must defend their most vulnerable seat after losing their most talented incumbent. Worse, those voters resoundingly rejected the Republican presidential candidate just one week later, handing him just 26% of votes cast; more than 15% of voters in Legislative District 45 voted for a third-party candidate, virtually all of them Republican. However, the GOP faced a binary choice—defend the seat or concede the majority.

Jinyoung Englund stepped up to run in this critical election, and impressed many as an intelligent and energetic candidate. However, Democratic strategists capitalized on historic opposition to the president and GOP national politics to gain an early advantage. Together with the failure to respond to these tactics, her opponent bested her in the primary election by 10 points. To save the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, Republicans would need all hands on deck, a lot of faith, and some luck.

Continue reading →

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Wyman Health Update

Dear Mainstream Republicans,

As most of you know, early this year, I was diagnosed with a rare form of colon cancer.  The radiation and chemotherapy I received was physically and emotionally draining – both for me and my family – but I am very thankful for the tremendous care of my doctors and nurses.

Knowing that I had the collective strength and support of so many wonderful friends, including all of my fellow Mainstreamers, also made a tremendous difference in my recovery.  I can never thank all of you enough for your cards, flowers, prayers, and, of course, socks!  Every day during my treatments, I saw pictures on social media of people “rocking the socks” on my behalf, and it always put a smile on my face and filled my heart with inspiration!

I recently had my eight-week post-radiation check-up, and I am so very glad to report the doctor found no evidence of the tumor. Follow-up tests have confirmed that all cancer cells are dead, the diagnosis we were praying for.

While this was the most difficult experience of my life, my family and I are grateful to receive such a positive outcome – and feel truly blessed by all of the love and support we received.  Thank you and God bless!


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Letter from Incoming Chair of Mainstream Republicans

Letter from Incoming Chair of Mainstream Republicans

Dear Mainstream Republicans:

These are most interesting and exciting times for Mainstream Republicans of Washington. As its new Chair, I’d like to share a few thoughts about our important work.

Thanks in part to Mainstream’s pragmatic and moderate approach, Republicans continue to govern in our state, even as party fortunes have faded elsewhere on the West Coast. Can you believe California Republicans have not elected a statewide officeholder in a decade, and are on the wrong side of a supermajority in the state legislature?

Mainstream Republicans of Washington was formed a quarter century ago to carry on the legacy of a common sense and moderate approach to governing. We recruit and train candidates, and support them in primaries and general elections. Among our recent successes are the election of Congressman Dan Newhouse, State Treasurer Duane Davidson, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier. Continue reading →

Posted by MRW Alliance

Cascade Conference 2017

The 2017 Cascade Conference received region-wide coverage from various press outlets, and the 36th consecutive event was certainly one to remember. Joel Connelly and Knute Berger provide complementary accounts of the conference for their respective publications, focusing on the national political climate and its effect in the Pacific Northwest Continue reading →

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