Newsletter from 4/21

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Greetings Conservatives!


Education Policy is something that I can’t pretend to know a great deal about. I don’t have kids, and it’s something that I don’t feel splits well along party lines. It is, however, something that matters a great deal, and I would like to learn more.

A group of local civics education advocates got together and invited Liv Finne to come to the island. She said yes!

This event is not sponsored by the Republican party. The following is from that group’s description:

Liv Finne of Washington Policy Institute will provide an update on the “State of Education in the State of Washington”

She will describe policies that improve student learning by expanding school choice, including Running Start, public charter schools, online schools, and vouchers or tax credits to attend private school.

Location:  American Legion basement
Time:  5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Light Refreshments Served.



San Juan County Republican Party Central Committee Meeting

DATE: 4/28/18
LOCATION: Heritage Bank, Friday Harbor
TIME: 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
WHO: All conservatives welcome

This is the primary organizing body of the Republican Party in SJC. Anyone can participate, and we have conservatives who self-describe in many different ways.

Each county in WA State is divided into precincts. They are the same for both Republicans and Democrats. San Juan County has 19 precincts. Each precinct may send one Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) for each party. These PCOs make up the Central Committee and may vote, but all may attend. Learn more here.

Who is your PCO?


 April 28: Central Committee Meeting

 May 10: Education event with Liv Finne (not SJCRP sponsored)

May 13-17: Filing week is

May 18 – 19: WSRP Meetings (eboard only)

June 2: SJI Event with KVI Radio host Kirby Wilbur

I’ve even heard talk that Glenn Morgan may be coming out to the island, which would be amazing


Even after almost a month, there was really not a large political news backlog for the island. I don’t include crime or other news generally.

The SJI School District Superintendent is leaving (speaking of education!): “San Juan Island School District superintendent announces departure” (Journal)

  • “San Juan Island School District schedules community budget workshop” (Journal)

Journal: Around Town | Updates on Friday Harbor roundabout, land bank purchases, San Juan Island’s sixth-grade move, and more

“Port of Friday Harbor commissioners approve Jensen shipyard purchase” (Journal)

  • “FH Port Holds Hearing & Purchases Jensen Shipyard, But Few Show Up” (Island Guardian)

“San Juan Island fire, hospital districts talk EMS merger in first public meeting” (Journal) (I neither endorse nor condemn this article, I am simply reporting it)

  • “Fire District & EMTs Mangement Will Form Committee To Explore Merger” (Island Guardian)

On Orcas/Lopez — “Why it may take longer for your next hospital or clinic visit” (SounderIslander)

There are a number of letters to the editors and editorials on the proposed Public Hospital District for Orcas. I recommend just searching the opinion pages, I generally don’t post opinion links.

Alcohol continues to be the drug of choice for teens” (Islands’ Weekly)

“New Washington state laws to impact San Juan County” (Islands’ Weekly)

“Puget Sound officially designated No Discharge Zone” (Island Guardian)

“Salmon Fishing Season Set – But No Restocking For Cooke.” (Island Guardian)

Skagit RP Press Release:
“MICHAEL PETRISH ANNOUCES CANDIDACY FOR THE 40TH LD HOUSE REP SEATMount Vernon — Published March 24th, 2018At tonight’s annual Skagit County Republican Party Lincoln / Reagan Day Dinner event Michael Petrish announced that he will be running as a candidate in the upcoming 2018 race for the State 40th Legislative District House Representative Seat.  Michael Petrish is a member of the SCRP and lives in Anacortes.”

Read more here!

Other events:

There is a SJI cleanup on April 22nd, you can read about it here. Read about the Orcas event here.

“Help Washington State Ferries create long-term plan at Friday Harbor open house” on April 22 (Journal)


Just 4 more days until our Lincoln Day Event!

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Lincoln Day is just about here!

To be totally frank, I have no idea how we managed to snag two guests so distinguished: WA State Senator Doug Ericksen, and David Dewhirst, Chief Litigator for the Freedom Foundation. Both this year and last we have been extremely fortunate. It is therefore no suprise that tickets are very nearly sold out.

All of the details about the events are posted on our website here.

More about our Speakers: 

It is our distinct honor to welcome State Senator Doug Ericksen, the former liaison for the Trump campaign in Washington State, and a distinguished senator in Washington State for the 42nd district.

Born and raised in Whatcom county, he is a ranking minority member on the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee. He also serves on the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.

We are also welcoming Mr. David Dewhirst, chief litigation counsel for the Freedom Foundation. Mr. Dewhirst received his J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, and studied with Justice Clarence Thomas. He has been published and interviewed by numerous outlets, including the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, The Federalist, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, National Review, and many others.

Lincoln Day Events:
Lopez Island:
Date: March 9, 2018 @ The Lopez Island Golf Club
Orcas Island:
Date: March 10, 2018 @ Orcas HotelFriday Harbor:
Date: March 10, 2018 @ The Golf Course in Friday Harbor

Details for all the events found here, including sign-ups!



“Candidate Forums “Too Expensive” So OPALCO Will Only Have One – On Orcas. (Island Guardian) This election is uncontested.

“County Looking At Building Affordable Housing -& A New County “Civic Campus” (Island Guardian)

  • Real estate excise tax could fund San Juan County affordable housing projects | Update (Journal)

“San Juan County Planning Commission continues work on vision statement” (Journal)

“San Juan County services to be relocated to one campus” (Journal).

  • Take the San Juan County Civic Campus Plan community survey (Sounder)

“Commissioner Franz calls on Trump Administration to withdraw its offshore drilling proposal” (Journal). This is a press release from Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

“Washington Lawmakers introduce new gun legislation late in session” (Journal)

“Behind the scene of the late-night veto of the public records bill” (Journal)

“Governor’s carbon tax proposal is dead in the state Legislature” (Sounder)

Open house about school bond and levy plans (this is today!!) (Sounder)

“Helping those in crisis in San Juan County” (Islands Weekly): “In San Juan County, the average suicide rate from 2013 to 2015 was four, according to reports by the San Juan County Coroner’s Office. However, in 2016, there were six suicides and in 2017 there were four.”

Nathan Butler

Newsletter: State Senate’s Hirst Fix, Inslee’s carbon tax

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Greetings Conservatives!



SJCRP Central Committee Meeting
February 10, 2018, 12 pm
@ Heritage Bank conference room in Friday Harbor

All conservatives are invited. This is the central planning body for the Republican Party in our county.

Kelley Unger introduces the Washington Policy Center:


Washington Policy Center (WPC) is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) research and educational organization that promotes sound public policy based on free-market solutions. They are a statewide organization headquartered in Seattle, with offices in Olympia, Spokane and the Tri-Cities.

WPC publishes studies, sponsors events and conferences and educates citizens on the vital public policy issues facing our region. WPC’s work regularly and seek out its policy experts for analysis and commentary. In addition, lawmakers routinely invite WPC to testify before legislative committees.

Through its research centers, Washington Policy Center focuses on seven core areas of public policy:

  • Education: The Center for Education works to improve Washington state’s ability to educate every child by giving parents, principals and teachers more control over the spending of public education dollars.
  • The Environment: The Center for the Environment brings balance to the environmental debate by promoting the idea that human progress and prosperity work in a free economy to protect the environment.
  • Government Reform: The Center for Government Reform’s works toward a government focused on its core functions while improving its effectiveness for taxpayers.
  • Health Care: The Center for Health Care develops patient-centered solutions to reduce costs and improve the availability of health care, providing the only detailed, independent critique of health care issues available in the Northwest.
  • Small Business: The Center for Small Business provides accurate information and analysis on the state’s regulatory climate, tax structure, health insurance systems, and more.
  • Transportation: The Center for Transportation researches and analyzes the best practices for relieving traffic congestion by recapturing a vision of a system based on freedom of movement.
  • Agriculture: WPC’s puts the knowledge and experience of those who work the land at the center of agriculture policy by using free-market incentives and local solutions.
Kelley Unger, Director of Development Operations, Discovery Institute 

Finally, through, WPC operates the premier website for tracking bills in Olympia, finding objective, plain-English summaries of legislation, and offering quick access to your legislators’ voting records. This is a great resource throughout the year, but is especially useful in the elections season when evaluating the past performance of current legislators.

WPC believes ideas, supported by sound research and promoted through publications, conferences and the media, over time, create an environment in which policymakers and citizens make sound public policy decisions. For more information and to subscribe to newsletters from the Washington Policy Center go to their website at

The full, unedited version of Ms. Unger’s article can be found on our webpage here. Ms. Unger is not affiliated with the Washington Policy Center. 

Local News:


OPALCO is looking for candidates to fill a board slot. (Journal). They also appointed Peter Garlock to fill OPALCO board vacancy (SounderIsland Guardian).

“San Juan County Land Bank secures over 280 acres in San Juan Valley.” (Journal reports.)

“Sen. Ranker and fellow Dems seek to protect state from Trump.” (Sounder).

For Orcas, Third hospital district town hall, Jan. 24, (Sounder).

“Starting in early April and into July, there will be delays as WSDOT contractor crews build two new roundabouts in the area of SR 20 and the SR 20 Spur.” (Island Guardian)

“The deadline for proposed amendments to the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan and Uniform Development Code (UDC) is 4:30 pm March 1, 2018.” (Island Guardian).

State and National News:


As you know, the government shut down on Friday. This is being discussed everywhere and anywhere, so I’m not sure I have a lot to add, except THE DEMOCRATS DID IT. Anyway, read about it on Fox News or USA Today.

This weekend members of our state party delegation are helping choose a new chairman for WA State Republican Party.

“A Senate committee is considering a bill that could bring an end to some of Washington state’s largest salmon farms.” (Journal)

Former Washington governor, King County executive John Spellman dies, (Seattle Times or Kitsap Sun).

“Salish Sea activists occupy the front steps of the state capitol.” (Journal reports).

  • Also from this article, “Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, plans to introduce the Salish Sea Protection Act that would fund oil spill prevention, update response plans if an oil spill happens, establish rescue tugboat efforts and coordinate emergency efforts with Canadian officials.”
  • Mandi Johnson’s editorial in the local paper was on this as well, “What we can do today to help the orcas.”
  • You can read more about it in the Island Guardian, which has a succinct summary.

The WA State Legislature passed a $4 billion construction budget and a water rights bill to deal with the effects of the Hirst decision, Bellingham Herald reports.

  • “The bill passed Thursday would spend $300 million over 15 years to restore and enhance watersheds while allowing counties to once again rely on Ecology to issue building permits for land with permit-exempt wells.”
  • “There were mixed reviews on the bill, which passed with a smattering of ‘no’ votes from both Republicans and Democrats.”
  • You can also read our local paper’s coverage here, drawn from an affiliate of the Journal.
  • Given that we discussed the Washington Policy Center in this issue, read their report on this issue here.

Governor Inslee also rolled out his plans for a state carbon tax. (Journal).

  • An editorial was in the Journal titled “County should call on Congress to pass Carbon Fee-and-Dividend legislation.” Anybody want to disagree with him?
  • Senator Ranker also commented on this in the Sounder: “Sen. Ranker comments on carbon tax proposal

The number of drivers in the state of Washington has reached over 1 million drivers, as the Seattle Times reports. In our county the increase is 50% more drivers over the age of 60 since 2010.

Jan 9th, Fed Judge blocked Trump’s move to end DACA program (Reuters) — inexplicably ruling that Trumps executive order can’t cancel Obama’s executive order, you know because Trump is bad and stuff. Kidding aside, what Trump was actually doing was insist that congress deal with this issue.

  • His (admittedly crude) comments after were widely misconstrued as applying to people rather than infrastructure. Also, consider this Peace Core member’s experience in Africa (link to American Thinker).

From the Jan  8th Seattle Times newsletter: “Voters in our state are most worried about schools and taxes, and they aren’t feeling too sunny about the chances of improvement on those issues, a new poll says as the Legislature returns today with two Seattle-area Democrats in new leadership roles. And how will the Dems use their majorities? The Senate’s majority leader shares her plans on our podcast, The Overcast.” Mcleary and Hurst still cast a long shadow. 

Lot’s of News to Cover!

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Newsletter from Jan 10, 2018:


Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since my last newsletter, but it’s a new year, the holidays are over, and it’s time to get back to work! If you have a comment, you can email me at I wish you and yours all the best in 2018! Thanks for sticking around!

–Nathan Butler, Chairman SJC Republican Party (SJCRP)




Susan Hutchison is stepping down as Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party (WSRP), read the press release here. She announced it on January 2nd, and it is effective Feb 4th, 2018.

She said: “The WSRP is in a robust financial position with a bright future. I expect that 2018 will result in many exciting wins for the GOP in our state—among them, Dino Rossi will hold the 8th Congressional seat, the Republicans will move into leadership in the State House of Representatives by flipping at least one seat, and there might even be some surprises in the State Senate.”

Susan has been an excellent leader, and is highly respected. Every person I have talked to in our county that has attended meetings at the state level noted her exceptional performance. I can only concur.

Later this month our delegates will attend state meetings to elect a new chairman — Vice Chair Lynda Gerpheide in my place — State Committeeman Rick Boucher, and State Committeewoman Cindy Carter. Chairman of WSRP is an elected, but paid full-time position.

The News Tribune reports three contestants for the slot, but actually there’s another one as well. Monique Trudnowski (link goes to NewsTribune), Lance Henderson (link is to Union-Bulletin), Caleb Heimlich (Current chief of staff to WSRP), and Marty McClendon. As we head into a major election year, we can ill afford instability as a party.

Caleb Heimlich is the favorite (but he had a headstart since he knew in advance), and will probably have the votes from most if not all of our county delegation. Do you have an opinion? Let me know and I will pass it along to our team.


Pictured: Susan Hutchison (from WSRP website)

We can only hope that the new chairman will be as good as Susan Hutchison!

All the best to her and her family going forward!

You can read her bio here



Judge Eaton Retires (Journal), and Loring sworn in as San Juan County Superior Court Judge. (Journal)

“Public hospital district appoints interim chief, against EMS staff recommendations.” (Journal)

Sheriff Ron Krebs Spread ‘Stand Up’ message. (Journal)

“Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, announced new legislation to protect Washington state’s Orca Whales and marine waters under the Salish Sea Protection package.” (Journal)

  • “NOAA says vessel rules are a win for orcas and whale watch boaters.” (Journal)
  • “Ranker unveils ambitious plan to protect Salish Sea.” (Sounder)

“San Juan Island School District meetings recap.” (Journal)

“The year ahead: A conversation with Councilman Rick Hughes.” (Journal or Sounder)

“Washington State Ferries management in San Juans.” (Guest Column in the Journal)

“Second public hospital district [on Orcas] town hall held.” (Sounder)

“Lopez public hospital district hires Orcas resident to be superintendent.” (Sounder)

“OPALCO unites with regional co-op.” (Islands Weekly)

“Vacancies for San Juan County boards and commissions.” (Islands Weekly)

Friends of the San Juans published an article in the Islands Weekly, “Friends appeals the Shoreline Master Program.”



“‘Faithless’ electors $1,000 fines upheld.” (The Spokesman Review) YES!!

“Commissioner Franz statement on governor’s carbon proposal.” (Sounder)

  • The conservative Washington Policy Center describes it as “Governor’s Carbon/Gas Tax: 20 cents a gallon & lots of subsidies.”
  • “Inslee to propose Washington carbon tax” (Capital Press, from mid Dec.)

“Legislature will re-attempt their New Year’s resolution by delivering Hirst Fix.” (Washington Policy Center)

“Four storylines to watch in Olympia during the 2018 legislative session.” (The NewsTribune)

“Washington DOH adds a third option to birth certificates.” (Journal)

The Trump administration is opening offshore areas for drilling in the Northwest. You can read about it in the Seattle Times or KOMO News 4. Another article in the Seattle Times here.

Seattle Times on sex education: “To prevent sexual violence, educators and activists say students need to look at root causes — and that sometimes means having uncomfortable classroom conversations about consent.”

Fractured West: In Oregon and elsewhere, rural residents increasingly balk at Democrats’ progressive governance. (City Journal)

Federal DOJ announces that it will no longer allow states to set policy on Marijuana that conflicts with State law.

  • You can watch Fox News discuss it here.
  • Seattle Times: “‘An attack on Seattle’: Washington state officials say they won’t back down on legal pot as Sessions rescinds Obama-era policy.”
  • King 5 News: “Justice Department ending federal policy that let legal pot flourish.”
  • Sequim Gazette: “Peninsula pot shop owners take wait-and-see stance after federal policy change.”
  • Sessions did not outline any new enforcement priorities, and seemed to indicate that U.S. Attorneys now have discretion to prosecute marijuana crimes as they see fit. (text from Seattle Times article)

Some Democrats and Republicans have been trying to shut down Atlantic fish farming after the release of the farmed salmon (branded “Atlantic Salmon”) over the summer.

  • “Escaped Atlantic salmon found 42 miles up Skagit River.” (Seattle Times)
  • “Puget Sound fish farmers say banning Atlantic salmon operations would be unfair.” (Seattle Times)
  • “Lawmakers consider bill to ban commercial net pens for fish farms after massive spill.” (KOMO 4)
  • Journal: “Cooke fined for water quality violations at Bainbridge Island net pen facility.”
  • Note also the article on Kevin Ranker above.

Behind Seattle’s government spending spree: a deluge of taxes, six-figure pay and officials eager to do more.” (Seattle Times)

  • Summary: Over the past five years, the cost of Seattle’s government has grown faster than almost any other major U.S. city, propelled by surging tax collections and a scope of government services that has expanded faster than Seattle’s population. So far, it’s mostly been supported by taxpayers, whose willingness to pay up has contributed to a 35 percent surge in tax revenue. But our tolerance for ever-increasing taxes may be at its limit. “So much of the city’s revenue thirst has been quenched with taxes that aren’t necessarily sustainable…”

Bob Ferguson, our trigger happy WA State Attorney General is in the news a lot. Really. Just recently:

  • “Washington state AG Bob Ferguson says he’ll sue over FCC’s net-neutrality repeal.” (Seattle Times)
  • “Washington AG sues Value Village, claiming thrift-shop chain isn’t as charitable as it seems.” (Seattle Times)
  • “Value Village sues Washington attorney general, fighting a demand for millions to settle investigation.” (Seattle Times)
  • He’s also suing Motel 6 for cooperating with ICE (USA Today). Setting aside whether ICE should have asked them to do so which is something seperate, witness the specticle of one government agency (WA AG office) suing a company for cooperating with another government agency (ICE). That’s just immoral. He should sue ICE if he believes he has a case — and maybe Motel 6 shouldn’t have done what they did. But should I not cooperate with the FBI because I’m scared Bob Ferguson will sue me?
  • This guy is more active than Governor Inslee. “With a growing number ofWashington adults owing money on student loans, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson wants new legislation to license and regulate student-loan servicers.” (Seattle Times)
  • Not everything he does is bad (though the vast majority is), but he is the most political state AG I can recall — he is more political than the governor. And that is not acceptable for an attorney general.


Newsletter: Freedom Foundation, local news digest

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Greetings Conservatives!

Central Committee Meeting
Dec 2, 2017 (this Sat)
12 pm
Heritage Bank in F.H.
(535 Market Street)
All conservatives are welcome.

Special to our Newsletter:

Kelley Unger, Director of Development Operations at Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute is a nonpartisan, secular think that that promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. Read more on our website here, or theirs here. Read about Kelley here.

Kelley Unger, Discovery Institute

In this article Kelley introduces us to another conservative WA State think tank, The Evergreen Freedom Foundation:

Washington is known as the Evergreen state, which for many elicits images of green farmlands and forests, and open spaces for hiking, hunting, and exploring. Originally settled by explorers, fur traders, miners and fishermen, Washington has been the home of free spirits and innovators from the time of its early settlement until the present time. But over time, expanded government, more invasive conservation and animal protection legislation, as well as organized unions, have robbed our state’s residents of their freedom and rights.

To combat this loss of freedom and rights, another local think tank was formed, The Freedom Foundation, with offices in Washington and Oregon. Founded in 1991 by Bob Williams and Lynn Harsh as the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, today they are a national leader in winning the fight for freedom at the state and local level. They’ve even received acclaim nationally for their work.

As The Freedom Foundation’s mission states, their goal is to “advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government.” The organization has a vision of a day when opportunity, responsible self-governance, and free markets flourish in America because its citizens understand and defend the principles from which freedom is derived.

Currently, the primary focus of The Freedom Foundation is Labor Reform. They are working hard to educate the public, and more specifically union members, on the stronghold that public and private sector labor unions have on our citizens.

Most Americans don’t like being told what to do. Yet many government employees are forced, as a condition of working, to pay dues to private union organizations. These union monopolies overcharge workers and spend huge sums of money on political campaigns and lobbying. And, since union power comes from government, union lobbyists always push for bigger and more powerful government.

In fact, government unions are the biggest lobby in Washington State for bigger government. Their undue influence drowns out taxpayers, but taxpayers have had enough. Just like citizens in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, Washington is ripe for change, for reforms that protect workers and taxpayers alike. The Freedom Foundation is the leading advocate for that change.

The Freedom Foundation has also been successful in several other areas of public policy that impact Washingtonians: [continued on our website here]

Local News Digest


Two of our observers in Friday Harbor had their report published in the paper, “Wonderful watch of the vote count.” Next time considering pitching in! We had a robust group this year, and the elections office was very accommodating.

San Juan County residents face property tax increase, mostly from state” (Journal), but not to worry, “Unlike the rest of the state, San Juan County residents voted to maintain almost all of Washington’s tax increases in November’s general election.” (also Journal) Not making this up.

  • A part of me appreciates the honesty and consistency though — the rest of the state votes for Democrats, and then slaps taxing limitations on legislators to keep them from acting like Democrats.
  • Also useful is the Guardian’s article “Assessed Value And Levy Rates Sent Out

Katie Loring appointed judge for San Juan County Superior Court (Journal)

The shortage of leadership in our county continues, “San Juan County boards and commissions vacancies.” Every 6 months or so the Journal runs an article noting just how many positions in our community are left unfilled.

Debates on lodging tax distributions at San Juan County Council” (Journal).

If you are on Lopez or Orcas, this article on the new UW owned rural clinics on Lopez and Orcas may be of interest: “What you need to know about UW Medicine in the islands” (Islands Weekly)

Task force formed to look at elder care options,”

On Orcas Island there are a series of forums on the proposed Public Hospital District, the next one is this week, Nov.30, 2017, 5:30-7 p.m, at Eastsound Fire Station, with more in December, January, and March.

There are a lot of letters at the moment, I’ve given up running them all. You can look them up for the JournalSounder, or Islands Weekly. The paper that gets the least by far is the Islands Weekly.

Consider taking a poll regarding drug abuse in our community, sponsored by the Prevention Coalition. They always struggle to get enough responses in our county.

A friend requested I run this quote from the last newsletter’s article on the military, written by a veteran: “The more we normalize disrespect to the national anthem, applaud pledge of allegiance protests, and entertain discussions about how democratic ideals are somehow inherently flawed – the easier it will be to disrespect the people who are sworn to protect those ideals.”