Some Came to Back Bush Platform,
by Jim Haley
MONROE -- They came out of curiosity, and some were there to press a particular political point of view.
A few also showed up along a fog-shrouded highway just south of here Wednesday morning just because a presidential nominee from a major political party was visiting their town.
Several dozen people lined busy Highway 203 near the entrance to a salmon restoration project at Haskell Slough where Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush made a political statement on the environment.
Many waved signs. Some were disappointed that they couldn't hear the candidate speak because it was an invitation-only event. The closest they could get, and the best chance of getting a glimpse of Bush, was at the highway near the lone gravel road leading to the slough.
Chris Mosey of Monroe, a carpenter, was a little miffed that police and Secret Service agents stopped him from entering the property where the salmon project was completed in 1999.
"I just wanted to hear what he has to say and see if the Republicans can maybe keep the economy going the way it is," Mosey said, adding he has not made up his mind about the presidential race.
There were plenty present who had.
Lisa Andrews of Seattle walked around in a full-length fish suit and said she doubts the Bush environmental policy would be good for this state.
A member of the Save our Wild Salmon Coalition, Andrews and Kathleen Casey of the Sierra Club blasted the candidate's environmental record in Texas.
"Governor Bush has come to Washington state to pretend like he's going to do good things for salmon," Andrews said. "But the facts tell a different story."
A truck bearing a big billboard criticizing Bush's environmental record in Texas dogged the candidate until he left Wednesday afternoon at Paine Field. The sign accused his state of being the top toxic waste producer in the country, and No. 3 when it comes to chemicals dumped into the water supply.
"It's just absurd that he's trying to come out and try to be an environmentalist," Casey said.
Likewise, Dan Dzilenski of Monroe, the political action coordinator for Teamsters local 174, said Bush's proposal for private-public partnerships to solve environmental problems just won't work in the case of salmon.
"We're too far down the road toward salmon extinction to say we need to rely more on private property owners," Dzilenski said.
But there were those who were thrilled that Bush took the time to explain his environmental program.
Among them were Shawn Sperte of Redmond and Casey Maddox of Kirkland.
"Obviously he has had kind of a bad rap (on environmental issues) but because he's out here showing his support ... it shows he cares about (the environment)," Sperte said.
Nelson Monroe of Monroe said he took a day off work just for the chance to see Bush.
"It's not every day a candidate comes to the small town of Monroe," he said. "I may not be able to hear his speech, but I just wanted to come out and show some support for him."
When the dark Suburban pulled out of the gravel road from Haskell Slough and onto the highway, a familiar face leaned out an open window. He smiled and waved.
That was enough to elicit squeals of delight from Mary Bickford of Snohomish.
"That was great. That was awesome," Bickford said. "He smiled, and it made it worth our coming out here."
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs