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5th District Republicans prepare to build platform

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NORTH BEND - Joan Crecca of North Bend plans on having an extremely busy year.

Although the Republican Party has an incumbent president running in the 2004 election, Crecca, chair for the 5th District Republicans, said there is still plenty of work to do.

"The 5th District is Republican and we aim to keep it that way," Crecca said.

Like the Democrats who held their caucus last month, the Republicans will be meeting on March 9. Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans mostly will be covering issues their delegates will eventually take to the state and national conventions to help form the party's platform. When the delegates meet, they will break into their precincts and work on lists of issues to be covered. The members of the group, who must all be registered Republicans, will debate the issues and then rate them in order of importance.

"They [national GOP leaders] don't have to pay attention to our platform, but this is our way of saying this is what we want to see happen," Crecca said. "It is really a grassroots involvement."

Pam Young, a precinct committee officer in the 5th District, said Republicans are passionate about their issues, but not divisive. Touchy subjects, such as abortion, may be hard to reach a consensus on, so the party will focus on bedrock Republican issues like less government and lower taxes.

Crecca and Young said the state and county have given the party plenty to complain about in terms of taxes and land-use requirements. Whether it's the new land-use laws the county is considering for rural areas or the property taxes people can't afford, they said the powers that be have made Washington a harder place in which to live.

"There is all this money going to government and they never cut back," Young said.

As the presidential race picks up speed, Republicans in Washington will be bracing for a big year of state elections as well. Dave Reichert is a Republican running for the 8th congressional seat (of which the 5th District is a part) left vacant by Jennifer Dunn; and Dino Rossi, who was a state senator in the 5th District, will be the GOP candidate for governor. Rossi is a candidate the party has big hopes for.

"Dino is a great consensus builder," Crecca said.

All three of the 5th District seats in the state Legislature will be challenged by Democrats this fall, but Crecca said the GOP has a formidable ticket in incumbents Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-Maple Valley), Rep. Glenn Anderson (R-Fall City) and Rep. Jay Rodne (R-Snoqualmie).

"Jay [Rodne] is just great, he has so much energy," Crecca said.

Crecca also said the 5th District is GOP country. In the 2000 election, it was the only district in King County to vote Republican for the president and will therefore have the most delegates to the King County GOP convention.

With all the 5th District GOP is doing this year, Crecca and Young said the caucus next week is one of the best ways for the average citizen to get involved. They said despite a lot of people feeling cut off from politics and the decision makers in government, a little time spent getting involved will not only show the effect of government, but how many of the decisions about the 5th District are influenced by people outside the area.

"Once something is done it is hard to go back and have it undone," Young said. "That is why we have to get involved early."

They said both the Democrats and the Republicans will be making a point to get more youth involved with their parties. While registered voters are the only ones who can participate in the caucus, children are welcome to come and see how the process works.

"This is an exciting race," Crecca said.

* The 5th District Republican Caucus will be from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9. The caucus for most of the Snoqualmie Valley precincts, including all North Bend and Snoqualmie precincts, will be held at Snoqualmie Middle School, 9200 Railroad Ave., Snoqualmie. There will also be one at Snoqualmie Pass and Lake Alice. Voters may check www.kcgop.org if unsure of where their precinct will be meeting.

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