There were more than 100 people in attendance.
The Kitsap County Republican Party was holding it's annual Lincoln Day Dinner and I was the keynote speaker. It was a very warm and engaging crowd.
In Bremerton, it was also a "Go, Navy" crowd. I saved a mention of my son, John, being Air Force for the introductory remarks. It seemed safer than mentioning it around the table:o)
My speech was about CPS abuse. It was an assigned topic that is gaining interest because of news coverage. I talked about the Stuths and about the case in Skagit County and the lying about the theft of a computer, etc. Accountability/split DSHS (they cheered)/families first....
When I was done the county chair got up and said, "I am an attorney and early in my practice I worked some of the CPS cases. I can tell you that everything Senator Roach has said is absolutely true."
The speech was very well received. Afterwards a kind gentleman approached to say he battled with CPS to keep his grandchild. He, also, agreed 100%.
Former Rep, Lois McMahan received a special award. For those of you who know her...she has lost 100 lbs and suffers from severe dementia. The onset and progression of the disease has been rapid. She did not recognize me or talk to anyone. I gave her a hug. She is only 66.
HIGHLIGHTS: Currently, both top elected statewide officials have stayed out of the CPS wrongdoings. The status quo reigns. If the public begins to pressure they may have to turn on eachother to affix blame.
In the Q&A I mentioned to this group of Republicans that this was a potentially very big political issue. Recent polls show that citizens in Washington State are NOT satisfied with their service from government. They do not think that the money is spent well. The product is bad.
Both the top Democrat and the top Republican are the two people who have the most power in making changes.
The Democrat governor need merely give a directive to Mr. Hart. He will like his job...and make changes.
The Republican, Attorney General Rob McKenna can likewise reach into the bowels of his powerful bureaucracy and say he wants the state law followed. FAMILIES FIRST, It is very simple. He can also demand that only the truth be put before the court. It is the AG who defends CPS in court. It is the AG who is the legal counsel to DSHS...a behemoth of an agency. Millions go out in awards to wronged families.
Either top elected official has equal power to make changes.
Politically, I told the audience, this could be a big issue, especially since both statewide officials are already looking toward the 2012 gubernatorial race. Money matters get into a voter's pocket book. CPS issues get into their hearts and minds.
My opinion? Which ever party first goes after this issue has the chance to affix blame. The public is fuming mad about how this state treats its vulnerable children and on the other hand how CPS unnecessarily yanks kids from good and loving families like the Stuths.
PS...the speech was on video so there will be no lying about what I had to say...and also so I can go on YOUTube!