On Wednesday evening 12 students from surrounding high schools protested a $500 per plate fundraiser at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish for Dino Rossi, King5 reports. Property records show that Rossi and his wife own a house in the neighborhood, so it's cool that they can use the clubhouse for these fundraisers. Sounds convenient.
A March for Our Lives spokesperson told me the students came from "all over the district," including some from Sammamish's Eastlake High. They were there to ask Rossi—the anti-LGBT, anti-choice, pro-gun Republican candidate running for Congress in Washington's 8th District—to hold a town hall to discuss his views on gun safety. Here's King5 talking to one of the protesters:
This is amazing. As a woman escorts a couple of rambunctious kids across road and into the country club neighborhood, Bothell High student Tyler Parris says, "I'm from the suburbs, it's not necessarily in our blood to go out and be engaged civically. But that's changing. The young people, my generation, are fed up with gun violence and with organizations like the NRA that lobby for gun companies. We're making this a place that you come and protest."
Watching people protest outside office parks, subdivisions, country clubs, and alongside busy throughways has been one of the rare visual joys of the 2018 congressional races. Parris is right. Suburbs aren't built for protests. People don't hear the noise from their window and pour out from their apartments to join in the streets. They're safely ensconced in their cars and single family homes. They don't have to engage with their neighbors unless they absolutely want to. But if these young people press on, they'll start to see their work paying off. There's no doubt that weekly meetings and protests outside Congressman Dave Reichert's offices influenced his decision to retire. That decision opened up the seat and turned the race into a toss-up that the Democrats have a real chance of winning this year.
Young people have a special role to play in this particular congressional race. Rossi won young voters by nine points during his failed bid for the Senate in 2010. He hasn't made it to Congress yet, but he'll coast to victory if the youths in the suburbs don't force him to answer tough questions in public.
In that race the NRA spent over $400,000 on advertising for Rossi. His campaign manager, Andrew Bell, told the Issaquah-Sammamish Reporter that "in the grand scheme of elections, $400,000 isn’t the biggest amount spent on a single candidate; independent expenditures on a candidate’s behalf can be in the millions." Cool! If $400K isn't "in the grand scheme of elections" a lot of money for an independent expenditure to throw down, then I'm sure Rossi will have no qualms denouncing the next pile of money they spend on his behalf.
Of course, Rossi would have to be morally opposed to the NRA's murderous policy goals in order to denounce them, but it sounds like he's pretty supportive. He received an "A" rating from the organization the last time he ran, and he's on track to earning the same grade this year. In an infuriatingly vague interview with the Seattle Times, Rossi "declined to endorse a new ban on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines," but said a ban on bump stocks "makes sense." And he, like many other Republicans, said nothing about the Parkland shooting in the days following the tragedy.
As always, Rossi's people didn't return a request for comment on the protest.