Governing the Evergreen State: Political Life in Washington front cover

Washingtonians sanctioned the first voter-approved state Equal Rights Amendment, and they were the first to elect a woman and a Chinese-American as governor. In this state full of political mavericks, split tickets are a source of pride and independent voters currently outnumber Democrats and Republicans. Sam Reed, Secretary of State from 2001 to 2013, explains in his foreword that voters participate in the most open primary system in the nation—a reflection of Washington’s Populist and Progressive era roots—a heritage that drives its citizens and elected officials to remain a powerful center of regional and national legislative change and policy innovation.

On March 5th of this year, in a direct challenge to federal laws, Governor Jay Inslee signed the nation’s first state law that prohibits internet service providers from blocking and slowing down online content—evidence that the state still cultivates political mavericks. Written as a guide for residents and for use in higher education classrooms, Governing the Evergreen State: Political Life in Washington provides an updated and absorbing look at Washington’s ever-evolving state political and judicial system and presents intriguing case studies. Fresh analyses from a wide variety of contributors offer springboards for further discussion. The author roster includes university academics, a senator, a pollster, a newspaper reporter/blogger, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, and a court administrator. Together, they deliver seasoned perspectives on a continually transforming political landscape.

The volume’s first section examines political setting and behavior. Chapters explore state culture, elections, political parties, interest groups, media coverage, and a new topic—Washington’s increasing diversity and role as a protector of civil rights. The second section looks at government institutions and has chapters on the state’s constitution, legislature, governor and other executives, and the judicial system. New topics include continuity and change in public policy, and environmental and natural resource policy.

This compilation is the sixth in a series dedicated to Washington State government and politics. Previous volumes in the series are Governing Washington (2011), Washington State Government and Politics (2004), Government and Politics in the Evergreen State (1992), Political Life in Washington (1985), and The Government and Politics of Washington State (1978). Like these prior editions, Governing the Evergreen State: Political Life in Washington is a cooperative project between WSU Press and The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service.