SEATTLE - By noon Wednesday, Washington had at least 1 million ballots yet to count. But the apparent governor-elect, Jay Inslee, still began assembling his transition team.
Although this year's political campaigns were negative in the extreme, Tim Welch, communications director for the Washington Federation of State Employees, says he hopes those who won got a message from voters' preferences.
"I think it's an opportunity for those who were elected and re-elected to really get above the fray, do what's best for the common good, and work for bipartisan solutions that really don't pit one group against the other. And as Ronald Reagan said, 'If I get 80 percent of what I want, I'm happy.' "
Welch says state workers largely backed Inslee because they think he will work with the Legislature on forging solutions to the state's budget problems and won't blame state workers for being part of that budget.
The impact of Latino voter turnout was a big factor in some states. In Washington, Rich Stolz, who heads the immigrants' rights group OneAmerica, says his group organized phone banks and voters' guides in eight languages other than English.
"The challenge for the governor - and I think he's up to this challenge - is to really harness the asset that this diversity creates for Washington state, and to build Washington into a much stronger economy."
Stolz says close to 20 percent of Washington's voting-age population is Latino or Asian American. Immigrant voters are rallying today as part of a national campaign to make immigration reform a priority. The rallies will be held at noon at Seattle Central Community College, Broadway and Pike Street, Seattle; at 6 p.m. at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 5 S. Naches Ave., Yakima; and at 7 p.m. at St. John Catholic Church, 8701 N.E. 119th St., Vancouver.
At the Economic Opportunity Institute, executive director John Burbank is hoping to see the new governor focus on working families in such areas as workers' compensation, job creation and the minimum wage. At least one goal that transcends politics, he says, is the need to keep people from falling further behind as the state's economy recovers.
"These are all things that I think a great majority of people agree upon. So, having someone as governor who understands these bread-and-butter issues from a middle-class perspective is really important, and I think Jay will be able to do that."
In Burbank's view, the election showed that Washington voters see government as having a key role in creating economic security and educational opportunity.