This past Friday, at a “Meet The Candidates” event, I had an encounter with Ann Rivers, who is running for State Representative in Washington’s 18th Legislative District. Although I could share a lot of interesting details about this event and that encounter, what really matters is that this experience served as a reminder to me that there are a significant number of serious questions that I’ve heard about Ann Rivers, which remain unanswered. Considering the very short time left before voters get their Primary Ballots and start voting, I decided I should do what I can to make sure voters in Washington’s 18th Legislative District are aware of these questions, in order that they may fully scrutinize this candidate.
As far as I recall, I’ve only written about Rivers once, in an article that covered We The People’s (WTP) vetting of her and two other candidates. The questions raised in that article, which remain unanswered, are:
Organized Labor’s Support for Rivers– During the appointment process to replace former State Representative Richard Curtis (the process that ended up appointing Jaime Herrera), Cowlitz County Commissioner (D) Kathleen Johnson commented that she “has never seen so many members of organized labor come lobby for a Republican candidate” and that they are “confident that Rivers would work across the aisle and represent their interests.” These statements can be heard on the audio archive at the Cowlitz County Courthouse. You can also hear this audio on a “more entertaining” link I was sent - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGW7L0wkLHE.
Rivers’ Loyalty to Party Affiliation– Magnifying the questions raised by the preceding topic, at a Battle Ground School District Board meeting on May 30th of 2008, Rivers stated that she has “distanced (herself) from the Republican Party” and that she has “taken a middle-ground approach”, when she was asked how she is involved with the Republican party. This is substantiated by the minutes of that meeting.
Additional questions that I’ve heard about Rivers, since the time of her WTP vetting, that remain unanswered include:
Rivers’ support of Vanessa Duplessie (D) in opposition to Jaime Herrera’s candidacy for State Representative – It has been reported that, after Jaime Herrera won out over Rivers, in the process necessary to replace State Representative Richard Curtis, Rivers and her "Aide de Camp" in her current campaign, joined in an effort supporting Vanessa Duplessie (D), the opponent Herrera defeated in her re-election, as State Representative.
Rivers’ dishonesty and non-performance, as a lobbyist for the Battle Ground School Board – In December, 2008, Rivers convinced the Battle Ground School Board to hire her, as a lobbyist. It’s reported that, in doing this, she claimed to be a licensed lobbyist. Later the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) fined Rivers for her claim and forced her to register as a lobbyist, in fact. Although Rivers was paid to do this job, there is no record of her actually meeting with 18th District Legislators on behalf of the Battle Ground School Board.
Rivers’ role in shoving the cost of the Clark County Amphitheater down the throats of the taxpayers – I’ve only recently started to get details on this. Watch for me to report on this further, as I seek to get the whole story.
The questionable sources of Rivers’ campaign funding – To my knowledge, there has been no polling to indicate how any candidate is doing in the current race for State Representative in Washington’s 18th Legislative District. Yet, Rivers consistently refers to herself as “the front-runner”. In doing this, she points to old-style-politics gauges like, “Who has the biggest fundraising total?” Unfortunately for Rivers, the details she is required to report to the PDC on her fundraising indicates that she’s not getting much support from within the 18th … or even from the town where she lives … Jon Russell, the candidate Rivers is running against, who Rivers appears to be willing to attempt to trash at any cost, has raised more money in her hometown than she has. And the sources that are listed lead one to wonder about the true interests of those who have contributed to her campaign. One of the most recent reports on this shows the following:
For cash contributions totaling $32,700:
$ 9,180 from out of state for 29% of the total
$ 8,205 from Legislative District 18 for 26% of the total
$ 23,865 from out of District for 74% of the total
$ 1,850 from PAC’s (Special Interests) all out of District, most out of State
$ 595 1.8% from her home town, La Center
One of the most curious aspects of “Republican” Ann Rivers’ fundraising is the fundraising she has done with former Democrat Speaker of the House, Joe King.
The Company She Keeps
In my upbringing, I was taught that you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Although the concerns I’ve listed up to now may seem troubling, I find this to be the most troubling concern about Ann Rivers. She has chosen to keep close company with some pretty despicable characters.
Chief amongst these is the person I previously mentioned as Rivers’ "Aide de Camp." The Columbian reports the relationship between these two as “friends and business associates.” All I know is that, everywhere I see her, I see him. He was lurking at the back of this past Friday’s “Meet The Candidates” event, he was skulking about at her WTP vetting and I’ve seen him at community parades, driving his truck, with her campaign sign standing in the truck bed.
Beyond this, the only thing I’m certain of, regarding this individual, is that his life seems consumed with hatred for Rivers’ current rival for State Representative, Jon Russell and her previous rival for the job, Jaime Herrera. As you might expect, I’ve looked for the basis for this hatred and I can’t find any sane reason behind it. Of course, it’s not uncommon to see “sparks fly” in politics when candidates are being competitive with their differing views. That’s not what this is, though. It’s mean, hateful, and destructive and it’s beyond the pale. The evidence of this is overwhelming. When that became obvious to me, I made the decision that I would refuse to associate with this individual in any way. I’m coming as close to breaching that commitment here, as I ever have, by offering you a link to a Website set up by someone who seems to be as concerned about this person as I am about “his boss”. - http://kellyhintonwatch.blogspot.com/ - Check it out and judge for yourself.
Regardless of any responses Ann Rivers may make to these matters being raised here or whether the list of these sorts of concerns gets shorter or longer, I find it troubling that such a list of substantive concerns even exists, relative to a candidate for elected office. For me, the overriding question in this regard is, “Why?” – i.e. “Why these behaviors, in the first place? … What is the motivation behind such behaviors?” In considering that question, I realized that, ironically, Ann Rivers may have provided the answer in her closing statement at last Friday’s “Meet The Candidates” event. She said, “My life is about service. This is the next step.” As I reflected on Rivers statement, in the light of the litany of issues I outlined here, my thought is, “If Ann Rivers’ life is about ‘service’, it seems it’s more specifically about ‘self-service’. Voters should be especially wary of what she has in mind to take for herself and her associates, with the “next step” she’s campaigning for.