New leaders take Olympia -- thank you to old guard

December 30, 2012 

There is a changing of the guard in Olympia. And while change is often a good thing, we are losing a lot of experience all at once.

We're feeling a little apprehensive and nostalgic at the same time.

In January, we will have a new governor, attorney general, secretary of state and auditor. As a state, we are going to feel a void in each of these offices.

Gregoire

Gov. Chris Gregoire has been a friend to the Tri-Cities. She is one of the original creators of the Tri-Party Agreement. She has helped our region establish an energy park with a star researcher. She held the federal government accountable for Hanford clean up, helped bring a four-year university to Richland and was instrumental in efforts to exploit Red Mountain's potential as a premier wine-producing region.

The space on this page has occasionally been used to criticize her decisions, but that sometimes happens among friends.

We're not going to guess what might be in her future, other than spoiling that new grandbaby, but we wish her well and thank her for her service.

McKenna

When Rob McKenna was elected to the office of attorney general, he continued on the fight Gregoire had started against domestic violence. He also has made long strides in the areas of veteran affairs, consumer rights, human trafficking and environmental crimes.

The one area of concern for a lot of voters may have been McKenna's swat at the federal government over Obama's health care plan. But he doesn't regret it.

We admire people who stand by their convictions.

He has maintained a well-run office -- the best in the country, according to McKenna.

The new attorney general will have a high standard to uphold.

McKenna didn't reveal any definitive plans during a recent visit with the editorial board, but we should probably expect to his name on a placard in the private sector not too many blocks from where he now works.

Reed

When Sam Reed started working in the public sector, he was a young man with brown hair. That was 43 years ago.

His hair color tells us he's not so young anymore, but he is still active and vibrant. Retirement for Reed will include tennis with his wife and grandsons -- and a possible stint as a Harvard fellow.

His list of achievements for the state of Washington include overseeing fair and accurate elections, initiating the voter-approved "top 2" primary system that forces candidates to the center and instituting a complete vote-by-mail system. We miss the old polling booths, but we do see the wisdom in vote by mail.

He is also a champion of history and documents and archives.

During the election season, he challenged all elected officials to be civil, bipartisan and moderate in their views.

We add our amen to that.

Sonntag

The office of state auditor is a lot like your garage door opener. It monitors the flow of information and when it's working smoothly you take it for granted.

We have taken Brian Sonntag for granted for 20 years. Of course, as a news organization, we're extremely interested in the state open meetings and public records laws, both of which Sonntag has championed.

He also has made giant leaps in performance audits and ways our state can save money.

His office is independent and open. We respect that and wish him well in this new role has chief financial officer for The Rescue Mission in Tacoma, which provides food and housing for homeless men, women and children.

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