Governor’s comments made during Tuesday’s 2022 State of the State speech
Earlier this week, Gov. Jay Inslee addressed the Washington State Legislature remotely from Olympia. Among the many topics Inslee addressed in his 2022 State of the State speech, the governor addressed representative government and those who challenge election integrity.
Inslee’s comments drew the ire of many elected officials and others, including Rep. Vicki Kraft (Republican, 17th District). The Vancouver lawmaker issued a statement Wednesday, one day after the governor’s remarks.
“In the governor’s State of the State Address Tuesday, he chose to attack legislators like me who are standing up and working to bring integrity to our election process in Washington state,’’ Kraft said. “Governor Inslee actually said, ‘The right to representative government today is under attack in our country. And unfortunately, I must say, in our own state.’ I couldn’t agree more. Governor Inslee effectively attacked us as state legislators who represent the people. He’s also ruled as a one-man dictator for the past two years through emergency powers in our state. That is completely opposite to a representative form of government and it’s completely un-American.
“It is my sworn constitutional duty to ensure that every vote cast in our state is actually legal, legitimate and properly counted,’’ Kraft added. “What is not legitimate is to intimidate legislators of the opposition party into silence, and to threaten our constitutionally-protected right of free speech with criminal prosecution. I am introducing legislation in this 2022 session that seeks to ensure election integrity in Washington state. My sponsorship of this legislation on behalf of the people I represent will not be suppressed, nor will I be intimidated by the governor, nor silenced by his threats to make free speech and our First Amendment rights illegal.
“I will always fight to protect your constitutional rights and freedoms, and to protect you from government overreach,’’ Kraft concluded. “Please stay informed and involved.’’
Inslee’s comments began by referring to the Jan. 6, 2021 protests in Washington, DC.
“We just marked the 1-year anniversary of the insurrection in our nation’s Capitol,’’ Inslee said. “That insurrection continues to this day under the banner of the ‘Big Lie.’ The right to representative government is under attack in this country, and in our state.
“I am pro-democracy. All elected officials and others who care about our state and nation should be pro-democracy, too. Former Secretary of State Kim Wyman deserves our respect for the exemplary and nonpartisan way she carried out her duties in the face of these same threats, and that is why I am so happy to welcome former Senator Steve Hobbs as our new secretary of state. Like Kim Wyman, he will help keep our state and local elections safe and secure.
“It is time we stand up to those who challenge the integrity of our elections, who undermine basic democratic principles and who would do away with the rule of law. I call on all legislators, Democrat and Republican, to acknowledge forcefully that the 2020 elections were won fair and square under our Constitution — and to denounce those officials who spread deception that strikes at the foundation of democracy.
“So I think we should outlaw efforts by politicians to knowingly spread lies about elections when those lies result in violence — violence we have already seen in state capitals and our nation’s capital.’’