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Topic: Government & Politics

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Unsoeld, Jolene Bishoprick (1931-2021)

Jolene Unsoeld's political beginnings date to the early 1970s, when as a self-described citizen meddler she worked on Initiative 276, a successful 1972 ballot measure that required the state to make i...

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Upper Skagit River Hydroelectric Project

Three Seattle City Light dams on the Upper Skagit River in the Cascade Mountains today (2000) produce 25 percent of the electrical power consumed in Seattle. (The dams are located in southeast Whatcom...

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Van Lydegraf, Clayton (1915-1992)

Clayton Van Lydegraf's career as a revolutionary began when he joined the American Communist Party as teenager in the 1930s. In the 1940s he became the party's second in command in the Pacific Northwe...

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Vickery, Gordon Franklin (1920-1996)

Gordon Franklin Vickery served the City of Seattle for 34 years, first as a firefighter, rising to the office of Chief, and then as Superintendent of Seattle City Light. In both offices he exercised s...

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Volpentest, Sam (1904-2005)

He was known as "Mr. Tri-Cities," the "Man from Hanford," the "Godfather of the Tri-Cities," and, occasionally, by less-flattering terms. For more than 60 years, just about everyone at Hanford and in ...

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Votes for Women: A 1910 article by Missouri Hanna, called Mother of Journalism in Washington State

On November 8, 1910, the male voters of Washington state went to the polls, and voted nearly 2-1 to amend the state constitution, extending the right to vote to Washington women. This 1910 article on ...

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"Waiting For the Big One" by Walt Crowley

A condensed edition of this essay was published in The Seattle Times Sunday Opinion Section on October 30, 2005. This version offers a fuller tour of Washington's "tectonic" political shifts and elect...

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Wallgren, Monrad Charles (1891-1961)

Monrad Charles "Mon" Wallgren (1891-1961) served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and four years in the U.S. Senate before becoming Washington's 13th governor in 1944. Swept into office...

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Wanamaker, Pearl Anderson (1899-1984)

Pearl Wanamaker was a long-serving Superintendent of Public Instruction (1941-1957), whose years in the non-partisan office addressed World War II educational and vocational demands, and managed the b...

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Wappenstein, Charles W. (1853-1931)

Charles "Wappy" Wappenstein was a colorful character who was twice Seattle's chief of police (from 1906-1907 and from 1910-1911) and served as a member of the Seattle police force for a much longer pe...

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Warbass, Edward (1825-1906)

"A Pioneer of Three States -- Adventurer, Prospector, Miner, Trader, Explorer, Promoter, Soldier and Public Official," was how Edward Warbass was once described ("San Juan's Best Known Pioneer"). He c...

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Washington State Grange

The Washington State Grange was founded on September 10, 1889, at the Pioneer Store in La Camas (now Camas), Clark County, spurred in part by objections to the proposed state constitution that had jus...

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Washington State Library

The Washington State Library was established by the organic act which created Washington Territory in 1853, and it has served as the official library for state government since Washington gained state...

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Washington State Politics -- Its Past, Present, and Utterly Unpredictable Future

On May 24, 2002, Walt Crowley delivered the following historical "primer" on Washington state politics to the Western States Caucus of the Democratic National Committee held in Seattle. The talk revie...

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Washington State Taxation

Washington's tax system, as in all states, is a contentious arena in which politicians, businesspeople, workers, parents, property owners, and educators wrestle over their share of taxes. Washington h...

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Washington Territory and Washington State, Founding of

Soon after the creation of Oregon Territory in 1848, settlers north of the Columbia River began demanding a territory of their own. Congress acquiesced on February 8, 1853, with the creation of Washin...

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Wastewater Treatment and the Duwamish River

The Duwamish River, located in King County, has borne the burden of municipal and regional development over the past century. Its channel straightened and dredged, tributaries rerouted, and floodwater...

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West Coast Waterfront Strike of 1934

Along with every other major West Coast port, Seattle's harbor was paralyzed from May 9 to July 31, 1934, by one of the most important and bitter labor strikes of the twentieth century. The struggle p...

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West, Jim (1951-2006)

Jim West was a Washington State Senate majority leader, a Washington State Senate minority leader, and served as mayor of Spokane from 2003 to 2005. At age 28 he became the youngest person ever electe...

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White River Valley (King County) -- Thumbnail History

Since the mid-nineteenth-century arrival of non-Indian settlers in the White River Valley (also known as the Green River Valley), the White and Green rivers have undergone many changes. Annual floods ...

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Whitebear, Bernie (1937-2000)

Native American leader Bernie Whitebear guided the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, which provided social services to Native Americans. He ran the foundation for 30 years. He was famous for le...

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Williams, Jeanette (1914-2008)

Alice Jeanette Williams had a long and productive career as a political force in Seattle. She was the first woman chair of the King County Democrats and a 20-year member of the Seattle City Council (1...

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Williams, W. Walter (1894-1983)

W. Walter Williams led the Seattle-based Continental Mortgage for nearly half a century, guiding the business from modest beginnings in the University District to its ranking as one of the top mortgag...

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Williams, Walter B. (1921-2006)

Walter B. Williams, son of W. Walter Williams (1894-1983), not only assumed leadership of Seattle's Continental Mortgage from his father, continuing to grow and strengthen the firm through the 1990s, ...

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