News

Election 2012
8:01 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Oregon Same-Sex Marriage Supporters Look To Washington For Inspiration

Gay rights groups are hoping Oregon will be the next state to legalize same-sex marriage. Photo by Chantal Andrea

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:36 pm

Gay rights groups are hoping Oregon will be the next state to legalize same-sex marriage at the ballot. Washington did that this week. But to follow suit, Oregon voters would have to reverse themselves and repeal a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Voters passed that ban in 2004 after a campaign led by the conservative Oregon Family Council. Spokeswoman Teresa Harke says her group will oppose any efforts to overturn it.

"I think there are still a lot of people who support one man, one woman marriage. And we are ready to fight for that."

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Election 2012
8:00 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Growing Latino Electorate Reflected In Candidates

Pablo Gonzalez of Zillah, Wash., lost his bid for the Washington House. That's despite coming from a district in the Yakima Valley where Latinos are the majority. Photo by Jessica Robinson

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 7:18 am

Exit polls show Latino voters helped push President Obama to victory on Tuesday. But there was another sign of the growing influence of Hispanics on election day: That was the actual names on many ballots.

A public radio analysis done before the election found that just 2 percent of the Northwest's elected officials were Latino.

Oregon may have nudged that up. Voters in the Portland area elected Jessica Vega Pederson and Joseph Gallegos, both Democrats, to the state House.

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Environment
7:56 am
Fri November 9, 2012

New Science Teams To Tackle Hanford Plant's Vexing Challenges

The Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant or vit plant, located on the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford site is a 65-acre complex. Photo courtesy of Bechtel National, Inc.

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 3:56 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – Energy Secretary Steven Chu is bolstering the scientific brain power at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation’s waste treatment plant. A memo released to employees Thursday says the aim is to solve nagging technical problems at the plant more quickly.

The massive factory at Hanford is supposed to treat 56 million gallons of radioactive waste. That goo is currently in leaking, aging underground tanks near the Columbia River.

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Government
7:32 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Immigrants Demand Reform From Newly Re-elected Obama

Felicitas Flores and daughter Claudia rally for immigration reform in Seattle.
Credit Liz Jones / KUOW

Immigrants and advocates rallied in Seattle today to highlight their priority for the President Obama’s second term:  comprehensive immigration reform.

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Elections 2012
7:24 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

New Washington Democrats Face Tough Choices In Congress

Suzan DelBene will be a newcomer to Congress in the lame-duck session.
Credit Amy Radil

At a post-election lunch for politicians and labor leaders, Democrats were savoring their victories, but also contemplating the tough choices awaiting progressives in Congress this month.

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Referendum 74
11:05 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Gay Marriage Supporters Declare Victory

Jodi Denney celebrates with same-sex marriage supporters in Seattle.
Credit Catrena Hampton / KUOW

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Washington are celebrating victory. The campaign to approve Referendum 74, Washington United for Marriage, says it's now confident their four-point lead will hold.

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Seattle Public Schools
8:15 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Seattle Schools Will Ask Voters For $1.2 Billion

Seattle Public Schools will ask voters for property tax levies worth $1.2 billion in February. The school board unanimously approved renewals of the capital projects and operations levies Wednesday night. 

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Elections 2012
6:45 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Washington State GOP Searching Its Soul Over Losses

US Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, in the final days of the campaign. Cantwell cruised to an easy victory against Republican Michael Baumgartner.
Credit KUOW/Deborah Wang

As the vote count continues, Washington Republicans are preparing for possible losses in several key state races.

Democratic attorney general hopeful Bob Ferguson leads Republican Reagan Dunn. The two are vying for the seat left open by Republican Rob McKenna, who stepped down to run for governor. McKenna has held the office since 2005.

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Elections 2012
3:20 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Inslee Organizes Transition Team Despite Continued Vote Counting

Jay Inslee with wife Trudi at the Washington State Democratic Party's election night event at the Westin on Nov. 6, 2012.
Credit KUOW photo/Deb Wang

The race for Washington governor remains too close to call. But Democrat Jay Inslee said Wednesday he’s already forming a transition team to prepare to take office. The former congressman leads Republican attorney general Rob McKenna 51 percent to 49 percent.

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Elections 2012
2:47 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Young Washington Republicans Enthused, But Not Always Party Line

Rob McKenna, Republican gubernatorial candidate, talks to supporters, while daughters, Madelin, Katie and wife Marilyn applaud, on election night in Bellevue.
Credit AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

When you talk to Madeline Fakharzadeh, a high school senior in Kent, you wouldn’t necessarily think American politics are all that divisive right now.  At Tuesday's Republican election night party in Bellevue, she held a campaign sign for her local congressman, Republican Dave Reichert. But she has also volunteered for Democrats and for Washington United for Marriage, the group behind Referendum 74 to legalize same-sex marriage. And she didn’t think she was out of the ordinary in a Republican crowd on election night. “With times changing the way they are, it’s not a matter of, ‘I’m a conservative, I don’t believe in same-sex marriage.’ It’s changing,” she said.

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Elections 2012
9:54 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Wash. Ballots Continue To Be Counted, Some Races Will Be Called Friday

Revelers celebrate early election returns favoring Washington state Referendum 74, which would legalize gay marriage, during a large impromptu street gathering on Capitol Hill in the early hours of Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

This is Washington’s first presidential election after making the switch to all mail-in voting. Just over half of the ballots have been counted and many races are still undecided.  KUOW’s Sara Lerner speaks with Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed.

Elections 2012
9:44 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Many Races Still In Flux In Washington

Initiatives to legalize recreational use of marijuana passed in Washington and Colorado, November 6, 2012.
Credit Gubatron / Flickr

Many races in Washington state are yet to be decided. In the highly contested race for governor, Republican Rob McKenna is trailing Democrat Jay Inslee by about 2.5 percentage points. The same-sex marriage referendum and the charter schools initiative are also too close to call.  But the returns on the marijuana initiative are decisive: recreational use will soon be legal in Washington. 

KUOW’s Sara Lerner speaks with our political reporter Austin Jenkins.

Elections 2012
3:38 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Charter Schools Initiative Passing Narrowly

Charter schools could come to Washington if I-1240 holds its lead.
Credit Flickr Photo/ccarlstead

The initiative to allow charter schools in Washington is narrowly passing with 51 percent of the vote. This was the fourth time the state’s voters considered charter schools. Supporters said charters would expand students’ educational options because charters aren’t bound by district or union rules.

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Election 2012
1:58 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Ferguson Takes Lead Over Dunn For Attorney General

Democrat Bob Ferguson celebrates his lead in the race for Washington Attorney General.
Credit Deborah Wang

Two members of the King County Council waged an aggressive battle for the Washington Attorney General’s Office. Initial results show Democrat Bob Ferguson with a nearly six-point lead. His opponent, Republican Reagan Dunn, says he’s still “in the hunt.”

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Election 2012
1:35 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Washington Voters Approve Initiative to Legalize Pot

The recreational use of marijuana will soon be legal for adults in Washington, at least under state law.
Credit Flickr Photo/prensa4

This audio is pending

Correction:  In the original story Steve Sarich was referred to as an attorney.  He is not an attorney but a medical marijuana consultant and an opponent of I-502.

Hold off on that trip to Amsterdam. It appears recreational marijuana will soon be legal for adults in Washington, at least under state law.

The mood was jubilant at the official I-502 party at the Hotel Andra in downtown Seattle. In attendance was Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, a primary backer of the measure. He says this law change is about good government.

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