Gee and Ursula’s Top Stories: Early primary results are in, hazard pay ends next month

Aug 3, 2022, 3:27 PM

MyNorthwest is bringing you highlights from the top stories and discussions from the Gee and Ursula Show August 3: Hosts Gee and Ursula discuss early primary results, the end of hazard pay, and how Amazon saved the day after a fundraiser went viral to stop rent hikes.

Incumbents stand tall during initial primary results

It’s going to be weeks before we have the final results of our state’s primary election, but so far, it looks like all the incumbents in Congress will make it to the general election.

Two races are being closely watched — nationally — to see whether former President Trump still holds sway over the Republican Party. As of this morning, U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse are ahead of their Trump-endorsed challengers, even though both of the moderate incumbents have faced serious backlash for voting to impeach him.

“Conspiracy theories, election deniers, all the MAGA crowds, Donald Trump continues to have a hold over the Republican Party,” said Gee. “And until the Republican party is ready to denounce Donald Trump, they are going to lose, lose, and lose. You’ve seen Fox News, they are trying to separate themselves from Donald Trump because I think someone inside of there is starting to see the future.”

In the 8th Congressional District, where Republicans are hoping to flip a House seat, the Democratic incumbent Dr. Kim Schrier is leading the race with 49% of the vote.

Republican Matt Larkin is slightly ahead of County Councilman Reagan Dunn, but it’s still too close to know who will face Schrier in November.

Senator Patty Murray will face Republican challenger and first-time candidate Tiffany Smiley. Murray is leading Smiley by more than 20 percentage points.

In the Secretary of State’s race, Democratic incumbent Steve Hobbs is way ahead of his seven challengers, with 41% of the vote.

Red Wave falls flat

The much-talked-about ‘Red Wave’ did not materialize, at least not so far in the primary.

For traditional conservatives dismayed by the direction the party is going, you should feel good about what’s happening so far. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse were expected to have a much tougher time getting through the primary because they voted to impeach Trump. Herrera Beutler has 24% of the vote, behind her Democratic challenger who has nearly 32%. Joe Kent, who’s become a Fox News darling and was Trump’s pick, is in third place, with 20%.

GOP political consultant Alex Hays told KIRO 7 TV he thinks more Republicans are trying to distance themselves from Trump.

“It’s a normal thing to look ahead and to the future,” said Hays. “President Trump is the past, and someone else is the future of the Republican party.”

“I was expecting County Councilmember Reagan Dunn to be leading the pack of Republicans running against the Democratic incumbent Kim Schrier in the 8th District,” said Ursula. “He’s been doing a lot of news conferences, press releases, he has more name recognition than the others. I thought he’d be doing better this morning.”

Dunn trails Matt Larkin by 0.85% as of this reporting.

“I also didn’t expect Steve Hobbs to have such a commanding lead in the race for Secretary of State. He’s the Democratic incumbent appointed by Governor Inslee to fill the spot after Republican Kim Wyman left for the Biden administration,” Ursula continued. “Republicans have had control of that office for nearly 60 years. So if Hobbs wins in November, he would become the first Democrat elected to Secretary of State since 1960.”

Seattle votes to end hazard pay

After a year and a half, grocery workers in Seattle will no longer be getting COVID-19 hazard pay. The city council voted 5-2 to repeal the policy that required grocery stores to pay an additional $4-per-hour.

Seattle grocery worker Anne Woodford called out council members during the public comment for still working remotely.

“For Seattle city council to be calling this vote to end hazard pay for the seventh time while a majority of you are working remotely is shameful,” Woodford said. “If you want to end hazard pay, get back to the office, show up in person, and put yourself at risk with the general public like what grocery store workers do every day.”

“I know exactly how that is when you have people that talk a certain way about COVID, but they do that from home. I totally understand that. But I never liked Seattle City Council being involved with the decision to give them hazard pay,” Gee said. “Did I think that grocery store workers deserve hazard pay? You dang right I did. When we all closed down, when we were all at home, it was you that were out there out and about in the grocery stores continuing on. So please don’t take what I’m saying as disrespect towards you. My point is, I did not feel the Seattle City Council should have been involved in that decision.”

Ursula agreed with Gee’s sentiment, stating, “hazard pay is something grocery stores should’ve done on their own, given how in the middle of the pandemic, their workers were putting their lives on the line and the stores were making big profits.”

A spokeswoman for the Grocery Alliance said with vaccines available to virtually all their employees and the progress made in fighting COVID, hazard pay is not necessary. And in many cases, she said grocery stores have increased wages.

Arches Apartments to keep rents from skyrocketing after viral fundraiser

At a time when affordable housing is practically non-existent, something really cool is happening in South Seattle.

Thanks to a community fundraising effort, a non-profit group will be able to buy the Arches Apartments on Rainier Avenue South and will be able to keep the rent below market for decades to come. The Seattle Times reports the building was put up for sale after its long-time owner died. Tenants were worried that the next owner would jack up rents, so the Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation stepped in.

The foundation got a short-term loan, but still needed to raise money to buy the building. They raised $400,000 in donations from the public, and then Amazon kicked in $2 million after hearing about their efforts.

“We need to see more of this. Let’s get specific,” Gee said. “You see that building right there? Yeah that building, we’re going to go ahead and put this lump sum and we’re going to make sure that rents don’t increase. Landlord, we’re going to give you your money, you’re going to be good, but only increase the rent by a max of 3% every year. And that way, we can continue to have affordable housing.”

“And I’m happy to give Amazon credit,” Ursula said. “We talk about Amazon often with how companies like Amazon and others contributed to the lack of affordable housing. Well, here’s a real way to counteract that and do some good. So kudos to Amazon, and the Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation, and everyone else who chipped in for that effort.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee and Ursula’s Top Stories: Early primary results are in, hazard pay ends next month