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Inside Olympia – New Statewide Elected Officials

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February 18, 2021

Washington’s new Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck served 8 years in Congress, and before that founded TVW the state’s version of C-SPAN, was chief of staff to Governor Booth Gardner, and was speaker of the State House. We discuss his goals and priorities as lieutenant governor, plus look back at his years in Congress and the political discourse in Washington, D.C.

Part of the lieutenant governor’s role is economic development. Heck said he will push broadband buildout to underserved areas in Washington, including rural areas, but also “broadband deserts” in urban and suburban areas.

While Heck doesn’t have a voting role on legislation, except to break ties in the State Senate as its presiding officer, he thinks a capital gains tax is likely to make it to the governor’s desk this session.

New Washington State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti served 2 terms in the State House, and before that was an assistant state attorney general prosecuting health care fraud and elder abuse, as well as a deputy prosecutor for King County. We talk about the role of the state treasurer, and the particular stamp he intends to put on the office.

One role of the treasurer is to advise the Legislature on financial issues. Pellicciotti weighs in on the use of the state’s so-called “Rainy Day” fund to help recover from COVID. He approves of its use, but says the Legislature should immediately begin replenishing the fund, which should only be tapped in extraordinary economic circumstances.