Rossi’s backers haven’t buried hatchet

You have to be considered a pretty valuable legislator for the top person in your party to not just attend your fundraiser, but come over a day early and spend the night in a hotel to be up early enough to do it.

Displaying for Rep. Beverly Woods (R-Kingston) that kind of respect was Dino Rossi, twice-elected governor and cheated out of it on a third count bungled in King County.

The enthusiasm of the crowd that gathered at the Silverdale Beach Hotel for a 7 a.m. breakfast was matched by expressions of anger and regret that the No. 1 guest was not now the governor, hope that he’ll try again in 2008 and a demand to know what was not done to ensure a fair election then.

Rossi said he will decide in 2007 whether to run again, mostly depending on how it would affect his family, with children aged 15, 12, 9 and 5.

He still has the desire to fix the problems of the state and said the only reason anyone should run for office “is to be in the right place at the right time to do some good.”

He said it was “a very good thing” Secretary of State Sam Reed did in cleaning out the election rolls by getting rid of registrations of dead voters and those listed in more than one place but the important thing is, “Don’t let it get down to a recount again.”

Turnout is what matters, he said, echoing the sentiments of onetime Republican strategist, the late “Gummy” Johnson, whose philosophy was not to try converting the enemy to your side, but get as many of your side as you can to the polls.

Rossi praised Woods, in her seventh year in office, “for her fiscal sanity, and (for being) one of the true leaders in Olympia.”

She’s been House Republican caucus chair and is now the ranking Republican on one of the most powerful and important committees to Kitsap County, Transportation.

Woods has led the fight for expanding passenger-ferry service to the Kitsap Peninsula, in the face of Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and a sitting Democratic governor.

She also fought successfully to move up years ahead of scheduled traffic safety projects in Kitsap, including the traffic light on Bond Road where many accidents and some deaths have occurred.

Woods told the crowd that despite a heavy schedule as a legislator, she still does all the bill-paying and bookkeeping for the construction business she and her husband, Jim, own.

“I sign the front of the check, not just the back like the other side,” she said.

She’s been targeted by House Speaker Frank Chopp in this election and faces Bainbridge Island city councilwoman Christine Rolfes as her Democratic opponent.

That’s reason to worry. Bainbridge Island has been the tail that wags the dog of Kitsap County with a heavy turnout of voters — and it aspires to be the whole dog.

The presence and endorsement of Dino Rossi throughout the campaign will help her, however. Many Democrats were just as outraged as the Republicans over the fact that Rossi won the initial vote and the recount but was done in by a suspect second recount.

Gregoire is running hard for re-election already but many feel Rossi is owed his shot at it.

He was asked, by the way, what he would say to visiting Mexico president Vicente Fox if he were governor today. “I don’t know that I would have invited him here,” he said. “As for the immigration problem, when the bath tub overflows, the first thing to do is stop the water coming in. As governor, you don’t have a whole lot of control over it, but you have to deal with the financial consequences.”

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.

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