I thought it would be hard but its not says John Huntley owner of Mills Electric in Bellingham referring to the various McKenna fundraisers hes had a hand in creating.
Its been nearly a year since AGC of Washington gave an early endorsement to Rob McKenna for Governor. Since then many individual AGC members such as John have been hard at work to help the McKenna campaign donating not just money but their time and coordinating skills as well.
John — with the help of IMCO President Frank Imhof Exxel Pacific President Kevin DeVries and AGC Northern District Manager Liz Evans — has co-hosted three fundraisers.
I wanted to help people to see Rob and get to know him John said. Im not a political guy but got tired of the status quo and got involved. Its not difficult; just get your friends together and go from there.
Not only will AGC staff help interested members host a fundraiser or increase their involvement in other ways the McKenna campaign itself is certainly eager to help.
Patricia Galloway CEO of Pegasus Global Holdings in Cle Elum held an unusual and popular fundraiser for Rob at Cle Elums Unionville Ranch which she co-owns. Pat met with Rob and discussed transportation issues; Galloway has served as a member of various transportation-related expert review panels and as chairman of the SR 99 Tunnel Expert Review Panel. Meanwhile one of her co-hosts Lynn Brewer suggested to the McKenna campaign that it hold an event in Central Washington.
I said I have the perfect place in mind she recalled. We brought people from Eastern and Western Washington together. It was easy as I invited clients friends organizations like AGC and more. In addition to Rob luminaries such as former Congressman and WSDOT Secretary Sid Morrison attended.
The campaign gave us a list of dos and donts and made sure we understood the nuances of political giving such as the maximum contribution rates of $1800 for primary and general and the fact that people can give all $3600 at once Pat said. To maximize the contributions going to the campaign — nearly $40000 was raised — Pat and her co-hosts kept the food and other costs under $10 per person. That was a little bit of a challenge but a local restaurateur and photographer and entertainer Jonathan Harris donated their services (in-kind contributions).
Pat is excited to be supporting Rob. Ive been doing work in Washington State since the 1970s she said. Washington once was a place business wanted to come and had a great transportation system. How we move goods particularly agriculture products from Eastern to Western Washington is a major issue for the economy and construction. Rob will improve our vital infrastructure systems.
As an engineer herself Pat believes that STEM (science technology engineering and math) education is critical for the construction and engineering industries. In Washington kids are entering engineering or science-based careers at a very low rate she said. We have to import these skills. Robs new direction for education including his support for more STEM schools will help turn that around.
Pat said that not surprisingly Robs speech at the Cle Elum event received a rousing standing ovation.
In Bellingham John said that McKenna has received a very positive response from those attending the fundraisers. Rob has great ideas for education and hes pro-business and pro-small government — all good things. Hes a trustworthy guy and that comes through particularly when people meet him in person.
Photo: Sam Baker Lori Hansell Jeff Hansell Sid Morrison Patricia Galloway Matt Manweller Rob McKenna Kris Nielsen Jonathan Harris Lynn Brewer and Doug Brewer