Washington Legislative District 4 (for a map, click here), including Spokane Valley and area to the north, has a problem. The people of LD4 elected Matt Shea as one of their State Representatives in 2009, a midterm election with only a 51.51% ballot turn-in rate. He is a member of the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, even of the local Spokane Republican Party. If you have any doubt of this I encourage you to click on this link. Watch the 4:22 minute video of Mr. Shea speaking at the “Old Paths for Christian History Conference” in Coeur d’Alene in October of 2015. Mr. Shea spends much of his time working for and lecturing on the State of Liberty, a concept closely allied to the Redoubt movement centered in north Idaho. The general concept is to carve out a 51st state composed of Washington east of the Cascades, north Idaho, and parts of western Montana (at least). In the Redoubt the far right faithful would have a voting majority. In the Redoubt, by force of arms if necessary, they would be able to defend their ideas of white Christian supremacy against the supposed threats posed by muslims, secularists, and other infidels. The Redoubters have their own internet newspaper, redoubtnews.com, and their own radio station, Radio Free Redoubt.
I notice Matt Shea’s photo is currently displayed at Redoubt News. Lest you think this is an insignificant number of goofy people, consider that Heather Scott, an Idaho State Representative from the Blanchard area seems to have an election stranglehold on her district. She is a prominent Redoubter also featured in Redoubt News. Her Facebook page is illustrative of her news diet. A visit there last year clearly showed her main source of information was Redoubt News. For that matter, check out Matt Shea’s Facebook page. It is not like these folks are hiding their fringy beliefs, nor are they hiding the news silo they live in. (You’re seeing their Public page. Imagine for a moment what they show their friends.) There is even Revolutionary Realty in Coeur d’Alene, a realty dedicated to serving the Redoubt faithful attracted here from the godless parts of the country. This movement bears watching. Click some of those links to get an idea what this all represents.
When Mr. Shea is not speaking to far right church groups about the State of Liberty and the Redoubt, you might find him as a guest (on August 25, 2015) of Alex Jones on the Alex Jones show. I cannot link you to the video because Jones has been banned from youtube (and Facebook).
Or you might find Mr. Shea speaking at the Red Pill Expo, a showcase of looney conspiracies held right here in Spokane. (Read: Matt Shea and the Red Pill)
Mr. Shea is a man with anger management issues that in saner times would disqualify him from any public office. He is a frequent speaker at rallies in Spokane where men (mostly) proudly open-carry their assault rifles. He poses as big on abiding with the letter of the law…but he let his concealed carry permit expire and then threatened a motorist with a pistol in a road incident on the streets of Spokane in 2012. In 2011 the outgoing Republican from the LD4 State Senate seat, the then 84 year old Bob McCaslin, Sr, publicly asserted, “I wish to state that under no circumstances would I support Matthew Shea for any public office.” The article in the Spokesman cites Shea’s threats and outbursts of anger as a major consideration. Mike Padden now holds that State Senate seat. Note: the current McCaslin, who holds the other Representative seat in LD4 is McCaslin Junior, and, in spite of his father’s opinion, votes in lockstep with Mr.Shea.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. (read Daniel Walters article) has had a ruling feud with Shea for years and has publicly warning of Shea’s far right ideology. Note these criticisms come from two politicians who are themselves hardly centrists. How much farther right must Shea be?
Ten years ago, Lisa Shea, Matt’s wife at the time, moved out of their home in fear (according to court records) after he returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. She obtained a protection order against him. Read the Spokesman article from the time. “Among other disparaging remarks in court documents, Shea called his wife a ‘product of the foster care system.'”
How does a man like this stay in office? I have to believe it is because voters aren’t paying sufficient attention. Mr. Shea presents as a “Christian” likely appealing to some who don’t understand the brand of Christianity to which he subscribes Behind that benign label his specific views are hidden in plain sight from an electorate that hasn’t been paying attention. A nice shamrock appears on his campaign signs. Perhaps most important, he consistently votes for big business…and big business gives him gobs of campaign money.
In Washington State we still have a great tool with which to “follow the money.” It is the Public Disclosure Commission, pdc.wa.gov, A candidate for office anywhere in Washington State is legally required to disclose information about who is donating to their campaign and how they are spending it. We should use it.
Ted Cummings, whom I’ve met several times and thoroughly respect, is challenging Matt Shea for the LD4 Representative seat in Olympia. Let’s look at what the PDC can tell us. Here’s the link to see contributions to the two campaigns: Shea and Cummings.
Nearly all of Shea’s top forty-five contributors are corporations, many of which are based in other states. Two thousand from Novartis Finance Corporation in Fort Worth, TX? What interest do they have in a belligerent conspiracy theorist in Olympia? Monsanto (Oregon) for $1000? Avista Corp at $2000? (At least Avista is not spending $100,000 “independently” on Shea like they did for French and Kuney. The most Avista Corp can legally contribute directly to a campaign is $2000.)
These contributions to Shea are chump change for these companies. It is money to keep a man in office who is a steady pro-corporation, anti-regulation vote in Olympia, a vote that will help protect their profits. Damn any other considerations. Maximizing profits is what corporations do. They don’t care what else Matt Shea stands for or what he does as long as he votes their way.
Men like Matt Shea get into office and stay there with corporate money backing their elections. They present their mild side at election time and then go off to burnish their credentials with the lunatic fringe.
Vote for Ted Cummings. He’ll spend his time working for the people of LD4, not preaching the Gospel of the Redoubt and parading with an assault rifle. Ted got involved over Shea’s promotion of a “right to work” law in Olympia, but the more he studied Shea the more concerned he became. Read more on this race in the Spokesman article of October 8. Then also mark your ballot for Mary May for the seat held currently by McCaslin Junior. You won’t find two more reasonable, capable people than Cummings and May. Legislative District 4 needs a return to sane representation.
Keep to the high ground,
Addendum: See Canvass!…and More AND