Senator Scott White was a man of character, rational, hardworking, a dedicated leader commited to public service. We were together in Cle Elum the last couple of days at the annual conference of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Political, labor, business, nonprofit and education leaders from around the state were there.
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and I moderated a panel that included Senator White on Thursday morning. He was excited about arranging a bus trip to Yakima with Senator Curtis King and other legislators so we could better understand gang violence. Senator White wanted to cut through the so-called Cascade Curtain between the east and west sides of Washington.
Last night, Senator White joined a group of business leaders and legislators for a quiet dinner. We talked about the pending state budget cutbacks and how to protect core services, especially the safety net services so many rely on. We briefly mentioned SR 520 and the Senator's planned testimony before the City Council on Monday. We listened as friends from Boeing and King County government described efficiencies gained through Lean managment techniques. We discussed the importance of higher education and how to get more funding; Senator White was a big booster of the University of Washington.
Tonight, a little after 7:30 p.m., we gathered in SODO to watch the beginning of the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The word of Senator Scott's passing quietly spread through the crowd atop the Silver Cloud Hotel on First Avenue South. The celebration ended. A friend was gone. A friend who likely would have been there tonight to join the party, if he could.