Richardson's Seattle Trip Wrap-up Part II
Thursday, Governor Richardson was in Seattle for some political meetings and a fundraiser. My day started off by getting to the Westin Hotel at 11:00am. I got there early to meet Carlos Trujillo, the Governor's Western States Political Director. Once Carlos arrived, we dropped his bags off and went to lunch at the Icon Grill (across the street from the hotel).
While Carlos and I were eating lunch, Governor Richardson was in Redmond talking to several hundred Microsoft employees. Those of us involved in the trip planning had been trying to get the Governor some time with the people involved in the Microsoft PAC. Governor Richardson said later that when he spoke at Microsoft, he mentioned his recent trip to the Bay Area where he spoke to Google employees. When that was met with a less than enthusiastic response, Governor Richardson remarked that he's a 10% and needs all the help he can get.
I got feedback on the Microsoft speech from 2 sources: a Microsoft employee and an interested observer I know from my day job. The employee was already a Richardson supporter, and the observer raved about how down to earth and unpretentious Governor Richardson is. Here are some of those comments:
.delivered with a confidence.Strong at presenting his qualification..........Had solid answers to immigration, the war, environment, etc...he took extra questions..and took extra time to shake hands at the end..........very accessible.....is well-qualified for effective leadership."
The next meeting was one I set up, with Latino business, civic and political leaders. Thanks to Luis Moscoso, Tomás Villanueva and Tania Maria Rosario for their assistance in helping me identify the appropriate people to invite to the meeting. I felt this meeting was a great success, as we had standing room only (more people came than we planned for) with people coming out of the door. Governor Richardson made some comments about the campaign and his thoughts on the immigration bill in Congress and then took questions. Most of the questions focused on the immigration issue and how to support Latino small business and entrepreneurs. I have to confess I was out in the hallway due to the lack of space, so I didn't hear everything.
Governor Richardson's next meeting was with state Democratic Party leaders in the Cascade Ballroom. I was not in the room because I was setting up for another meeting, but I'm told it went well and that he emphatically stated his position that we have to get our troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007. Look at this post for the links to the articles written by David Postman and Neil Modie, since they were in the room for the speech.
Governor Richardson's next meeting was an impromptu one, with leaders of the LGBT community. I say impromptu because it was not on Governor Richardson's calendar, but he took the time to meet with the 20 people who had come to see him. Again, I wasn't in the room, but spoke to one person afterwards who said that Governor Richardson had been supportive on all of the issues that were discussed with the exception of gay marriage.
After a 30 minute wait for the impromptu LGBT meeting to end, Governor Richardson met with a handful of bloggers, including me. There we discussed everything frommedial marijuana and the drug war, to energy, transportation, immigration, habeas corpus, health care and the Iraq war. David Goldstein has posted his thoughts on the meeting, and thehim has posted a summary as well. Dan Kirkdorffer also has a comprehensive summary of the meeting posted.
It was Governor Richardson's second time meeting with most of the bloggers who came. We also met with him last July when he was in town on Democratic Governor's Association business.
Finally, Governor Richardson met with labor leaders in tow separate meetings. The first meeting was with labor leaders affiliated with AFL-CIO. The second meeting was with the SEIU locals. For those unfamiliar with union politics, last year SEIU split with AFL-CIO to join some other unions in forming the Change to Win coalition. I was also not in the room for these meetings so I am not privy to what was said.
To end the day, we all went to a fundraiser in Mercer Island at the home of Judy and Joe Shocken. If you're from Washington, you have an idea of what Mercer Island is like. If not, let me tell you it was a nice sunny day, about 75 degrees and we were at a very nice house on the shores of Lake Washington.
I got there early to help set up and make sure things were taken care of. I worked the reception table along with Dawn Bonker and Michael Martin. 10 people or so had shown up when Governor Richardson arrived at 7:03pm (the fundraiser started at 7pm). He even joked about it being 7:03, probably because all of his meetings earlier in the day had gone overtime, and he had been a few minutes late to each successive meeting.
During the course of the evening Governor Richardson entertained guests with his now famous story of meeting with Saddam Hussein and insulting him by showing him the bottom of his shoe (this is an insult in the Arab world, but in Bill Richardson's defense he was dragged out of his bed at 1am after a long trip to Iraq to go meet with Saddam).
I got to spend a couple of minutes with the Governor at the fundraiser and he thanked me for all of my work and told me he thought we'd had a good day. Having worked for elected officials for almost 10 years now, and having been around plenty of politicians and famous people, being thanked for my work by Bill Richardson was very gratifying. You could hear it in his voice and know that he really meant it.However, I'm not going to take all of the credit for the thanks that was given, because I'm not the only one making things happen. Thanks also goes to Emmett O'Connell, my partner in crime, and thanks to all of you who are out there working on behalf of Bill Richardson. I can assure you he really appreciates it.