Political briefs

Nishimura joins U.S. Senator to cheer new GI Bill

Mercer Island’s Hiromi Nishimura, the 87-year-old veteran of WWII who recently was part of the Nisei class at the University of Washington to receive degrees interrupted by the war, spoke on July 2 at the UW along with Sen. Patty Murray to celebrate President Bush’s signing into law the GI Bill for veterans who have served the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. The GI Bill doubles college benefits for veterans and extends unemployment benefits by another 13 weeks “to ensure that college is within reach, giving our veterans the tools to reintegrate and provide for themselves and their families well into the future,” said Murray at Red Square.

Nishimura expressed his appreciation for the first GI Bill when he completed his wartime service for Army Intelligence, interrogating Japanese POWs and translating documents.

“There were no jobs for many veterans, who received unemployment. Then the GI Bill found us, and offered us hope and opportunity,” Nishimura said. “I was able to graduate from UW in 1948 and for 25 years enjoyed my work at UW, and through it, a sense of well-being. You might say the GI Bill helped create the ‘Greatest Generation.’”

He added that “until passage of this latest GI Bill, the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan had only a portion of their educational expenses covered. This new bill will give them the educational benefits they deserve. I am happy for them.” Nishimura is a proud veteran, helping to maintain the VFW Hall on Mercer Island.

Evans endorses Litzow

Dan Evans, former Washington state governor and U.S. Senator, issued the following statement:

“I am impressed with Steve’s drive, passion and commitment to protecting the environment. With his leadership and experience on the Mercer Island City Council, he can rise above partisan politics and find real solutions for Washington.”

Dan Evans joins a long list of coalitions, community leaders and elected officials who have endorsed Steve Litzow in this race.

“The momentum is clearly with us and our message of putting education first, reducing traffic congestion and protecting our environment is resonating with the voters of the 41st District. I am thankful for Dan’s support of my candidacy,” said Litzow.

The Litzow campaign has walked to more than 5,700 homes, collected over 100 endorsements and raised over $90,000.

Litzow is currently serving his second term on City Council of Mercer Island, where he lives with his wife, Jenny, and their four children.

More candidates for Congress

In addition to the rematch between Rep. Dave Reichert and Darcy Burner, four other Eastside and south King County residents are running for Congress this fall. With more than two candidates, the primary vote will send the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, to the general election in November.

According to the Web site of Secretary of State Sam Reed, six candidates are registered for the contest in the 8th U.S. Congressional District. Keith Arnold of Auburn, John Orlinski of Bellevue, Richard Todd of Snoqualmie and James Vaughn of Orting are all running for the seat. While Orlinski and Todd did not file a party preference, Vaughn and Arnold are running as Democrats against Burner. Reichert was the only candidate to indicate that he is a Republican.

Fire destroys Burner home but not campaign

A fire that destroyed the home of the Democratic candidate seeking to represent Mercer Island and much of the Eastside in U.S. Congress will not end the rematch campaign.

Last Tuesday evening, Congressional candidate Darcy Burner’s campaign announced that she would continue her second run to represent the 8th Congressional District despite a fire which broke out around 7 a.m. and burned down her family’s home. Burner’s husband, young son and 7-month-old golden retriever survived the fire.

According to Burner’s Web site, the fire appeared to start from a faulty lamp in her son’s room. King County Sheriff’s spokesman and Island resident John Urquart said investigators determined that it was not arson and the fire was accidental.

Burner’s spokesperson said that her son, Henry, notified the family of the fire.

The home, located in the 3600 block of West Ames Lake Road between Redmond and Carnation, “is at a total loss,” according to Burner’s spokesperson Sandeep Kaushik.

After receiving news of the fire, Burner’s two-term challenger issued a statement about her safety.

“My thoughts and prayers are with them as they work through their loss,” read Dave Reichert’s statement. “At times like these, we are reminded that nothing is more important than family and loved ones.”

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