Seattle PI: Gov. Inslee does Paris, but how’s the political climate on this side of ‘the pond’?

Joel Connelly, writing for SeattlePI.com, looks ahead to the issues at stake in the governors race in 2016.

On embracing innovation in education

Inslee has aligned himself with the Washington Education Association, saying that charter schools drain resources from the state’s public schools. The governor is still in the doghouse with Boeing Machinists over the $8 billion-plus incentive package to Boeing, especially as jobs go elsewhere. He cannot afford to alienate the WEA.

GOP challenger Bill Bryant is visiting charter schools, championing the independent schools, and calling for a legislative “fix” that would restore funding.

On creating solid, family wage jobs

Alcoa is in the process of laying off 1,500 workers at its Wenatchee smelter and Intalco works in Ferndale. Aluminum has been a basic part of the Northwest’s manufacturing economy since lured by low-cost electricity in World War II.

The governor’s office responded with a perfunctory statement, describing the layoffs as “a tough blow for many hard-working Washingtonians.” Inslee’s interest is obviously with solar cells, biofuels and the litany of new-economy enterprises that are the core of his stump speech. What’s buttressed the state for years does not appear on the governor’s radar.

Ex-U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton has zeroed in on Inslee ties with Bay Area environmentalist Tom Steyer, saying recently: “Bill Bryant would be a far more effective leader than an incumbent who is simply the creature of a California billionaire, constantly calling for more regulation and higher taxes.”

On connecting with voters

Bryant is an open, affable Seattle Port Commissioner who has won elections in King County. He will be far more difficult than McKenna for the Democrats’ front groups to harass...

The Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate isn’t that well known, but will be hard for Democrats to demonize. He is an outspoken defender of charter schools.

Read the full article on SeattlePI.com.

Mike Foster