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.

We also have supported the election of many state legislators and local officials, and Republicans have a functioning majority in the state Senate and are within two seats of a majority in the House.

But as we heard at the Cascade Conference in Leavenworth last month, there are some hard questions about how our sustained success at home can coexist with proposed federal policies that are out of step with the needs and desires of our communities. Some of these proposed policies threaten jobs across the state, from fruit growers in the Columbia Valley to technology companies in Bellevue. O thers could undermine our enjoyment of the great outdoors through efforts to clean up air and water pollution.

I’ve included a cop y of the agenda from our most recent Cascade Conference so that you can see the challenging issues we would like to tackle. I’ve also included a link to articles from the Seattle P-I and Crosscut, among other coverage of the event.

Sen. Slade Gorton advised state Republican elected officials and community leaders to address the challenges on the national front by staying focused on “doing our jobs,” working to solve our challenges here at home. That’s advice Mainstream Republicans will follow.

We will continue to support Mainstream candidates, like Jinyoung Lee Englund, who is seeking the seat formerly held by the late Andy Hill. Her victory will mean that Republicans can continue to govern in the Senate through a coalition with a few Democrats, continuing a Mainstream Republican tradition of working across the aisle to address the challenges facing our state.

We will continue to advocate for our Northwest values and, as President Reagan urged, seek to defend them against encroachment by the federal government. Beginning this Fall, look for us to bring the great ideas and discussion from the Cascade Conference to events and forums across the state.

Gov. Evans reminds us that our fortunes in Washington State are not bound to events in the other Washington. After all, he won the governor’s race in the same election where the Republican nominee for president-Barry Goldwater-was soundly defeated. But to succeed over the next few years will demand our collective commitment to further the Northwest Republican values that have sustained us for the last half century.

I hope that you will continue to support Mainstream Republicans of Washington. Your help is needed now as much as it ever has been. Based on what I saw at the Cascade Conference, you’ll be joining a group full of excitement and anticipation for our work.

Finally, I want to thank former Secretary of State Sam Reed for his extraordinary leadership of Mainstream Republicans as its chair over the last several years. Sam has worked tirelessly with the board and staff to modernize and reinvigorate the organization. I’m glad to say he’ll remain active as a member of the board and executive committee.

I encourage you to call or email me with your suggestions, comments or concerns.

Very Truly Yours,

Mike Vaska
Mainstream Republicans of Washington