Rossi Announces his Candidacy for Governor
Issaquah, WA - 10/25/07 - Dino Rossi today announced his candidacy for governor of the state of Washington. The former state Senator told an energized audience at the Issaquah Village Theater that Washington needs a new leader for a new era in state government.
“The state government we set out to change four years ago is more expensive and less effective at solving our problems,” said Rossi. “It’s going to take new leadership in Olympia. It’s time to speak clearly about the failures of this governor and her state government. The incumbent has worked in state government for 38 years. She’s been in the same environment, surrounded by the same people, for nearly four decades. And along the way – after all these years – she’s lost sight of something very important. Christine Gregoire has become the governor for the government. Not the governor for the people.”
Rossi is making a similar announcement in Spokane later this afternoon.
“The Governor for the Government has had her turn. We can do better,” said Rossi. “This isn’t just another election. It isn’t just about Christine Gregoire or Dino Rossi. It’s about whether we have the courage to try something new. My approach to being governor will be very different. I will bring with me a whole new set of people. We will work night and day to create a new attitude of public service in state government. State government will again become our servant instead of our master.”
Rossi highlighted Gregoire’s record of broken promises:
* The governor promised to blow through the bureaucracy and control state spending. She has since added 6,000 new state employees and increased state spending by 33 percent – or $8.2 billion. This sets the state up for a huge budget deficit.
* The governor promised not to raise taxes. Shortly after being certified governor she said, “I never really said ‘no taxes.” She has since raised taxes on gas, many families who have lost loved ones, and in other sectors. The governor also told a newspaper in April that she supports a state income tax.
* The governor pushed through the largest gas tax increase in state history and promised to reduce traffic congestion. Democrat State Auditor Brian Sonntag recently released a performance audit saying her Department of Transportation is not focused on congestion relief. Her agency director said that safety is the number one priority, yet the state’s two most unstable transportation infrastructures – the Alaskan Way Viaduct and 520 bridge – are as dangerous today as they were when she entered office.
* The governor promised to protect communities from dangerous criminals. Her Department of Corrections then released thousands of felons from prison early – including high-risk sex offenders and people with a history of violence. Many of these early release felons went on to commit more serious crimes.
* The governor promised to take care of children in state foster care. Yet state foster children have been killed, raped and even tortured as she points the finger at her agency director and others. A recent report shows the state does not even have the current contact information for around 1,000 state foster parents.
* The governor promised to establish a stable education funding formula for our K-12 public education system and to demand accountability in schools. Her education funding task force failed to recommend a new, valid funding formula. The state is now being sued. She also delayed the math and science portions of the WASL as graduation requirements, saying the problem is with the curriculum. She’s had three years to improve what is being taught to students. Meanwhile, more students are not prepared for the global economy that awaits them.
Rossi also outlined his ideas and vision for Washington, while unveiling one of his new websites – www.telldino.com. At this website, people can submit their ideas to him directly – anonymously if they want. Rossi intends to keep the website active if he’s elected governor.
“The best ideas come from the people – not Olympia insiders,” said Rossi. “That was my philosophy as state Senator – and that is what I will do as governor. I know there are a lot of good ideas out there and I’m not afraid to carry them to the forefront. I understand that some people aren’t comfortable revealing their names – and they won’t have to.”
Rossi said he will be rolling-out detailed proposals as his campaign moves ahead, but contrasted his ideas with the governor’s on state spending, taxes, transportation, public safety, protecting the vulnerable, and education. He said if elected governor he would:
• Use the same priorities of government approach he led as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. In 2003, Rossi worked across party lines to pass a state budget that did not raise taxes or cut services to vulnerable people – despite a $2.8 billion deficit. He would control state spending, not raise taxes and is opposed to the governor’s idea of a state income tax.
• Focus on traffic congestion and use transportation performance audits as drivers for reform and efficiency. He believes voters were misled and deserve what they promised.
• Not release violent, dangerous felons early from prison. He would also provide community corrections officers the resources and tools they need to properly monitor people released from prison on community supervision.
• Push for stronger punishment of sex offenders who fail to register and require them to disclose their Internet activities.
• Focus on children in state care and bring accountability to the state’s role with foster parents.
• Establish a stable and responsive K-12 public education funding formula that meets the state’s constitutional “paramount duty.” He would also hold school districts accountable for consistent failure and make it easier for talented people outside the teaching profession to teach subjects like math, science and computers.
Rossi was a gubernatorial candidate in Washington’s 2004 election – the closest and perhaps most memorable governor’s race in state history. He served in the Washington State Senate from 1997 to 2003, representing the 5th Legislative District in east King County. He has also been successful in the commercial real estate business and was co-founder of the Eastside Commercial Bank. He earned a business degree from Seattle University.
Rossi is a third-generation Washingtonian, with Italian, Irish and Tlingit Alaskan Native roots. He lives in Sammamish with his wife, Terry, and their four children.