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Posts published in “Day: December 13, 2007”

East King, another turning Democratic

Fred Jarrett

Fred Jarrett

No point in re-running through the thorough David Postman post on this, but has to be noted here. State Representative Fred Jarrett, R-Mercer Island, one of the handful of Republican legislative survivors on the east side of King County, is doing a Rodney Tom: Switching parties and planning a run for the state Senate. Jarrett's route there may be easier than Tom's, since he would be replacing a retiring Democratic senator (Brian Weinstein).

Tom, you'll recall, defeated Republican incumbent Senator Luke Esser last year, in a neighboring district.

Just a little further background here. District 41 (and its predecessors), the area running from around Mercer Island to Issaquah near I-90 east of Seattle and including parts of Bellevue and Renton, was in the 90s a generally Republican district. The elections of 2002 gave it two Republicans, the senator (Jim Horn) and one of the House members, Jarrett, who was unopposed that year; the other was Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who is still there. In 2004 Weinstein defeated Horn, and Jarrett's percentage slipped to 54.6%; in 2006 it slipped to 53.1% (while Clibborn won with 64.5%). In the past six years, this has become a Democratic district.

Jarrett has been a relatively moderate GOP caucus member, and the switch isn't especially shocking. Postman did pull an enlightening quote from Jarrett: ""I felt there was a strong tradition in the Republican Party that really couldn't be lost. So what I've been doing as long as I've been in the Legislature is trying to articulate that moderate Republican, progressive Republican, viewpoint, and what I found is I may have a lot of ego, but I don't think I have enough ego to think anymore that I can do it."

Pocatello’s big employer – sold

AMI Semiconductor

AMI Semiconductor

The semiconductor manufacturer AMIS, based at Pocatello, has been that city's economic rock for more than a decade now. Up until its strong growth through the 90s, Pocatello was an economic struggler, watching the number of jobs at its old business mainstay - Union Pacific Railroad - gradually diminish. AMIS, that high tech firm on the hills north of town, has been the city's biggest single source of strength since, by a considerable margin its biggest private employer.

After today, what happens in that regard is anyone's guess. ON Semiconductor of Phoenix said today that it has bought AMIS, in a stock deal worth close to a billion dollars.

The rationale (and with some small side impact over in Oregon): "AMIS will immediately contribute exciting new products and capabilities in the medical and military/aerospace markets and will complement our existing automotive and industrial businesses,” Jackson said. “Over time, we plan to leverage the advanced sub-micron capabilities of our Gresham, Oregon, fabrication facility to achieve operational synergies and extend AMIS’s high voltage and low power offerings.”

ON said that "a significant presence" will be maintained in Pocatello. You can imagine that Pocatellans will be spending a lot of time in the weeks ahead trying to discern exactly what that will mean for Pocatello.

Kulongosi > Clinton

Surprise here is less in who he chose than that he chose: Till now, none of the three Northwest governors have publicly backed any of the competing candidates in their parties' presidential primaries. For whatever reason, Oregon's Ted Kulongoski has become the first, saying today he would support Democrat Hillary Clinton. (This according to an email from the Clinton campaign; the press release isn't posted yet on the Clinton web site.)

His statement: "At a critical time in our history, Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to restore hope and opportunity to working Americans and deliver the change America needs. No one is better equipped to repair the damage of the last seven years and repair our standing in the world."