The 2013 Sizzle Awards
Courageous Crusader Award:
Rep. Reuven Carlyle
Rep. Carlyle reached superhero status this year for his extraordinary commitment to the common good. As the new chairman of the Finance Committee, Rep. Carlyle led the crusade to reform our state's outdated tax system and increase funding for our kids' education. He coura- geously took on special interests big and tall and always put the needs of our kids before tax loopholes.
"Got This Covered" Award:
Rep. Eileen Cody
When it came to ensuring health coverage for Washington families, Rep. Cody had it covered. She led the fight to expand Medicaid for more than 300,000 families in Washington. Cody even won over Sen- ate Republicans through her impassioned speeches, op-eds, and inter- views about the cost savings and jobs created. Washington families can rest easier knowing that Cody has their back.
Rep. Mike Hope
Many politicians have caved in the face of the National Rifle Association, but not Rep. Mike Hope. When the far-right came after him with extraor- dinarily aggressive personal and misleading attacks, Hope came roaring back. He drew upon his experience as a police officer to advocate courageously for common sense gun safety legislation. Hopefully he can add a few more Republicans to his pride in support of gun safety next year.
True Patriot Award:
Rep. Bruce Chandler
While national Republicans strive to find the latest way to bash immigrants, Rep. Bruce Chandler was a true champion for the Washington Dream Act. He passionately argued that all children deserve the opportunity to earn an education and fully participate in our communities. Chandler's leadership helped bring along more than 20 other House Republicans to support the bill, which ultimately died at the hands of Rodney Tom and the Senate Republicans.
Rock Star Award:
Gov. Jay Inslee
In his first few months in office, Governor Inslee showed what strong and principled progressive leadership looks like. Whether he was driving the national conversation with his climate action plan, keeping up the drum- beat for the Reproductive Parity Act, or hitting all the right notes about closing tax loopholes for corporate special interests, Governor Inslee was in tune with the people of Washington from start to finish.
"Got This Covered" Award:
Sen. Karen Keiser
When it came to ensuring health coverage for Washington families, Sen. Keiser had it covered. She led the fight to expand Medicaid for more than 300,000 families in Washington. Keiser even won over Senate Republicans through her impassioned speeches, op-eds, and interviews about the cost savings and jobs created. Washington families can rest easier knowing that Keiser has their back.
Shark Tamer Award:
Rep. Cindy Ryu
Rep. Cindy Ryu earned a 2013 Sizzle Award for going head to head with vicious loan sharks this year. Payday lenders circled the capitol all session in hopes of overturning basic consumer protections. They bared their teeth and tried to rip our regulations to shreds, but Ryu never backed down in her defense of Washington families. She successfully fended off loan sharks' attacks this year and calmed the waters for next session.
Strong Man Award:
Rep. Pat Sullivan
It took a lot of muscle to fend off Rodney Tom and the Senate Republicans' far-right agenda, but Rep. Pat Sullivan was up to the challenge. He squashed their attacks on injured workers, the environment, and middle class families. As the lead negotiator for the House of Represen- tatives, Sullivan flexed his muscles to protect our communities and put the smack down on conservative Senators trying to rig the system for corporate special interests.
The 2013 Fizzle Awards
Rep. Jan Angel
Corporate lobbyists: please take a number and form a single-file line outside Rep. Jan Angel's office. She will sponsor your bills in the order they were received.
As the state co-chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the ALEC Legislator of the Year in 2012, Angel has consistently put corporate profits before the interests of her constituents. Protect a tax loophole for Big Oil companies? Reduce access to mammogram screenings? Whatever you say! Now that she's running for the state Senate, the bill for Angel's legislative services has come due: ALEC members have already donated more than $100,000 to her campaign.
Sen. John Smith & Rep. Matt Shea
Seriously, we can't make this stuff up. We thought Sen. John Smith had this award locked down in July when news broke about his ties to an anti-Semitic church identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. But, never to be outdone, Rep. Matt Shea made a furious comeback by telling a survivalist rally of Tea Party and local militia members to prepare for the coming economic collapse. It's hard to believe anyone could out-crazy Senators Pam Roach and Don Benton, but Shea and Smith succeeded. Congratulations?
The Flat Earth Award:
Sen. Doug Ericksen
Who better to lead the Senate Environment Committee than a climate change denier? Sen. Doug Ericksen became chair through Rodney Tom's coup and put his backwards, anti-science agenda front and cen- ter throughout session. From letting an infamous climate-denier testify as an "expert witness," to his attempts to count coal power as clean energy, Ericksen has been a throwback to the days of asbestos pajamas and doctor-approved cigarettes. He is an embarrassment to anyone who ever passed a science class.
Political Weather Vane Award:
Sen. Rodney Tom
Wherever the winds of political power blow, there you'll find Sen. Rodney Tom. He's built his career on political opportunism with little regard for his own values and beliefs. After a dramatic power-grab to become Senate Majority Leader in December, Tom's top priority for session was maintaining his tenuous control over the Republican caucus. He refused to allow a vote on a House-approved transportation package, the Reproductive Parity Act, the Dream Act, gun safety legislation, an anti-Citizens United resolution, and other progressive legislation. Tom claimed to support some of these bills.
But when it came time for action, appeasing the likes of far-right Senators Don Benton and Pam Roach was always Tom's priority. For protecting his own power and title at all costs, Tom earned the 2013 Political Weather Vane Fizzle Award.
Broken Compass Award:
Opponents of Gun Safety Legislation
Legislators of both parties were off the mark when it came to background checks for gun purchases this year. While Speaker Frank Chopp and others deserve credit for pushing this legislation in the House, the opposition of Democrats Kevin Van de Wege, Steve Kirby, Chris Hurst, Pat Sullivan and nearly every Republican doomed this legislation. Their opposition may backfire next year when Initiative 594 – backed by nearly 90 percent of the public – aims to be on the ballot.