Remembering Ray Brown

This post originally appeared in November 2017, shortly after Ray Brown’s passing. His death was a shock to everyone. Now seems like a good time to re-publish this post in Ray’s memory. Gone but not forgotten. (It includes the obituary written by yours truly that appeared in The Daily World last year.)


Flannel-gray clouds piled up against the Grays Harbor horizon like pachyderms on parade. Rain sluiced out of the sky in sheets. Night quickly swaddled the 8th Street Ale House in sable. Inside, a select group of friends raised their glasses to Ray Brown, political activist, veteran, flier, and friend.

The November 15 Remembering Ray gathering was bittersweet. It included the shock and sadness of his November 4 passing. Also upbeat reminiscences of Ray’s wry wit, astute political observations and engagement, his naval service and love of aviation and good food. Memories wound around the table like bunting on a band stand. One attendee recalled his last lunch with Ray – spaghetti and garlic bread at the Montesano Senior Center last spring. Others recalled Ray’s support for numerous campaigns, candidates, and causes.

Ray was born in Corvallis, Oregon.* His family moved to the Seattle area in 1962, settling in Des Moines, Washington. Music was a big part of his early life. He played drums in elementary school and was in a stage band at Pacific Junior High School. Ray was also active in stage, jazz, and marching bands at Mount Rainier High School. He participated in a drum and bugle baton corps marching band called the Seattle Ettes.

Image result for
Mount Rainier High School – Wikimedia Commons.

Ray joined the Navy after graduating from high school. He attended nuclear power school in Idaho. He later served as an electrician on the USS Oriskany, an aircraft carrier. (Known as the Mighty O, the Oriskany was a Vietnam-era super carrier. It was decommissioned in 1976 and sunk off Pensacola, becoming the world’s largest artificial reef.)
USS Oriskany

Following his naval service, Ray worked at the Lockheed and Todd shipyards on Harbour Island in Seattle. He later moved to Grays Harbor to work at the Westport shipyard.

Additional interests and activities included competing on a practical pistol team, crewing on a rowing team, and aviation. Ray was a private pilot and owned several airplanes.

Ray was also active in the Grays Harbor Republican Party. He attended his first GHRP meeting in 2006. He became a party stalwart, serving in a variety of capacities including Precinct Committee Officer, delegate to the WSRP state convention, and more recently, State Committeeman. Ray was a frequent, perceptive presence at numerous meetings for a wide variety of civic and governmental functions.

He will be missed.

You can read a bit more about Ray on Facebook. Ray’s wall includes a November 11 note from his younger brother, Kerry, with additional information.

Another celebration of Ray’s life is set for Tuesday, November 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Ocean Palace banquet room, 112 E. Wishkah Street, Aberdeen.

*This is a revised, expanded version of the obituary yours truly wrote for The Daily World.

Plane image credit: Flickr

Oriskany image credit/U.S. Navy

Spaghetti image credit: Flickr


Grays Harbor Not Buying What Democrats Are Selling

Smell that sweetness? It’s a breath of freedom. Choice. Competition. It’s the refreshing, invigorating scent of a red wind blowing through Grays Harbor.

Once upon a time in the not-so-long ago, Grays Harbor was a deep blue county. Marched lock-step to the Democrat tune. Any candidate running as anything other than a D was doomed.

Not anymore. Those days are gone.

The sea change started with Herb Welch’s election to the county commission in 2010. This was the first crack in the blue wall at the county level. It was followed by Republican Wes Cormier’s defeat of Dem incumbent Terry Willis two years later. Along with Welch, Cormier’s victory secured a Republican majority on the county commission for the first time since the 1930s. This was followed by Cormier’s successful re-election bid in 2014.


– Democrats have been shut out of the county commission in the last couple of elections, when Vickie Raines ran and won as an Independent/No Party Preference in 2014. Democrats were shut out again two years later when Independent Randy Ross unseated Democrat incumbent Frank Gordon.

– In 2018, Grays Harbor Democrats failed to field a candidate to challenge Raines, who ran and won unopposed.

– After prior runs under the Democrat banner, incumbent Sheriff Rick Scott apparently saw the hand writing on the wall and quietly switched to No Party Preference.

– In 2018, Republican challengers Jodi Wilke and Jim McEntire (24th LD) lost in Clallam and Jefferson Counties. But they both won in Grays Harbor.

– In this year’s County Auditor race, Republican Joe MacLean eked out a win over Democrat incumbent Chris Thomas.

– Although losing statewide, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Susan Hutchison carried Grays Harbor.

Democrat-endorsed judicial incumbent Ray Kahler appears to have been unseated by challenger David Mistachkin.

– On ballot initiatives, Harbor voters delivered a major slapdown to Democrats, rejecting initiatives 1639, 1631, and 940 while approving I-1634.

Tally those Republican wins. Now. Can you say “Epic Smackdown”? How ’bout “Red Wave”?

The Party of Debt, Dependency, and Detroit has turned increasingly ridiculous and vicious as Desperation Fever takes hold. Seeing Grays Harbor voters increasingly reject their failed policies and bankrupt ideologies, Grays Harbor Democrats are becoming more and more puerile and petty. They’re reduced to trolling Facebook pages. Filing frivolous lawsuits. Trashing their opponent’s signs.

They’re in trouble. And they know it.

No surprises here. These are desperation tactics. They’re trotted out every time the empty suit Democrat agenda is exposed as an empty suit. They’re the predictable result of failed policies, mob rule, and collective group think from the party that thinks More Government and higher taxes are the solution to every problem. (Newsflash: “Resist” isn’t a solution. It’s a stupid slogan that’d give any three year-old a run for their money.)

Expect Grays Harbor Dems to get kookier as they keep losing ground. More shrill. Lurch further left.

Maybe we can sell tickets?

The ‘Blue Wave’ That Wasn’t; Historic GH Win for Wilke?

Call it that The Blue Wave that wasn’t. All that talk about the American people rising up as one to slap down Donald Trump and repudiate his agenda? It didn’t happen. The blue hysteria that’s been running at fever pitch since 2016? It’s not catching. (Maybe they’ll blame it on a bad You Tube video? Or The Russians.)

Sure, Democrats took the U.S. House, to no one’s surprise. Big whoops. Their margin of victory wasn’t anywhere near what they pipe-dreamed about. Meanwhile, brace yourself for a new round of Democrat “civility.”

And while Republicans increased their majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats took a pounding over their shameful treatment of Brett Kavanaugh. As well they should.

Last night’s biggest loser? Chuck Schumer, who saw his dreams of becoming Senate Majority Leader go up in smoke. Oh, boo hoo.

Closer to home, it looks like Republican challenger Jodi Wilke (24th LD) may have pulled off an historic win in Grays Harbor. She took a pounding in Jefferson County and lost district-wide, but Wilke seems to have carried Grays Harbor. I’m told this feat hasn’t been matched at the state level since Jim Buck, twelve years ago. That’s pretty darn impressive. Jodi will be back in 2020. Count on it.

Additionally, Republican incumbent Jim Walsh (R-19th) maintains a razor-slim margin over challenger Erin Frasier (D-State of Confusion). Walsh’s lead may have been bigger without the Dem-manufactured brouhaha surrounding blocking known Democratic operatives from his Facebook page. That federal lawsuit alleging “First Amendment” violations? The good news: Democrats have suddenly discovered the First Amendment! When it will seep into college campuses, the mainstream media, and the four people who still watch The View remains to be seen.

Incidentally, that tactic is straight out of Democratitis 101. Because when you can’t win on the merits or ramrod your agenda through the legislature, you run to the courts. Dems and their operatives have been doing it for years. Which is why the big take-away from this election is good news for conservatives and Republicans.

As Kristin Hawkins, President of Students for Life, points out in a November 7 email, the best news of the night was probably this:

We have now a solid pro-life majority in the U.S. Senate, which means more judges and Supreme Court justices can be confirmed!!

If President Trump is given the opportunity to appoint one or two more Supreme Court justices, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton will be finished, in my lifetime.

The question of abortion legality will go back where it belongs: to the states. And citizens will be able to vote just like how those in West Virginia and Alabama voted last night in favor of pro-life state constitutional amendments.

Some races remain too close to call. And while Democrats turned out in droves to vote yesterday, so did Republicans. Finally. This despite a hostile mainstream media that set new records for bias and bigotry. Folks, that’s a win any way you slice it, especially regarding judicial appointments.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi is measuring the curtains in the Speaker’s office. Ah, the gift that keeps on giving. Please God.

On the Door Step: Election Insights From the Ground

I’ve been out pounding the pavement for a couple state-level candidates lately, interacting with hundreds of voters on the door step and by phone. Here are some observations from the past few weeks:

  • Don’t waste your time on hard Republicans or hard Democrats. Focus on soft Rs, soft Ds, and Independent/swing voters.
  • With a couple exceptions – like the woman in the 600 block of Eklund Avenue, Hoquiam, who shall remain nameless – most voters in Hoquiam 411, 421, 431, 441, 018, 024, and 461 are polite. Only a few wanted to debate. So of course I cheerfully obliged.

  • The Republican Party has some serious work to do reaching voters under age 30. Maybe under age 40. Or 50.
  • The number of people who can’t remember who they voted for – or at least say they can’t remember – is the stuff of legend.
  • Milborne Lane is out in the middle of nowhere.
  • The hills in Hoquiam 441 get long. Bring extra water. And chocolate.
  • Frogg Togg’s and waterproof Keen hiking boots are worth their weight in gold.
  • People either love Donald Trump or they hate him. Not much middle ground there.
  • Bring extra socks.
  • The most frequent question I got while door belling? “Do you live here?” (The answer is Yes!)
  • Grocery Outlet has the best price on Epsom salts.
  • Smile and say “thank you.” Even if you have to grit your teeth.
  • ‘Celebrity endorsements’ don’t carry much weight around here.
  • The best color to wear while door belling? Red. It’s bright, bold, and people seem to like it. You can also do double-duty as a walking ‘Vote Red’ billboard.
  • Knowing where the nearest bathroom is can come in handy, especially if the local library is closed for renovations.
  • Take pictures!
  • Dress neatly and appropriately, in layers. It may be cold and wet when you hit the pavement in the morning. You’ll warm up fast as you keep moving, so be ready to shed layers by the afternoon. Also, use a breath mint or mouth wash. Wear sturdy shoes. Don’t forget your sense of humor.

  • Basic Civics courses would be a really, really good idea.
  • Sometimes Oreo chocolate candy bars, Welch’s fruit snacks and Fritos are dinner. (Don’t tell anyone, okay?)
  • Expect people to parrot back party talking points. Don’t take it personally and don’t let them drag you into a debate on the national level. Stay local and stay focused.
  • The most frequent reason I heard for someone not voting? “I’m a felon.” Hmmm.
  • Don Lemon is an idiot.
  • “Do you remember where we parked?” is something you do NOT want to hear after door-belling for hours.

  • Hug your family. Every. Day. (Crock pot meals work really well when you’re otherwise engaged.)
  • You don’t have to be a professional juggler to door bell for two campaigns at the same time. But it helps.
  • Pit bulls are not your friend.

What would you add?

I’d opine further, but some Epsom salts have my name on them. TTFN!

What Dem Response to ‘Controversial’ Mailer Really Says

‘Those Wascally Wepublicans!’

The older I get, the less patience I have with stupid. (Not that I had a lot to begin with.) But there’s a lot of stupid out there, especially during election season.

Take the Leftista response to a mailer recently circulated in select races for the Washington State Legislature. The Dreaded Mailer urges “progressive” voters in the 6th and 19th and 26th Legislative Districts to write in a third candidate, according to the Seattle Times. More background: From The News Tribune.

The regressive “progressive” hissy-fit that ensued is instructive, if not amusing.

For example, an October 27 email from, The Real Progressive Voter’s Guide for the 24th district, huffed:

Dear Friend,

This week, Republican operatives here in Washington sent fake Fuse-branded mailers, trying to intentionally mislead voters into voting for write-in candidates in close races.1 That’s why it’s more important than ever for us to get the real Progressive Voters Guide into the hands of as many voters as possible. (Emphasis in original.)

More than 400,000 Washingtonians have already filled out their ballot and thousands more will do it today. Whether you’re voting for living wages, racial justice, women’s health, our environment, or our kids’ future, the choices we make will impact our state for years to come.

Democrats and their ideological cronies like the Far Left folks at Fuse kicked up quite a fuss over The Dreaded Mailers. So much so that one must wonder:

  • Do they really think Democratic voters can’t figure out how to locate a Voter’s Pamphlet and open it?
  • That Leftista voters are unable to engage in independent analysis or think for themselves? (Hope springs eternal….)
  • That their base needs baby-sitting and hand-holding and is incapable of making an intelligent ballot choice sans Big Brother oversight?
  • Urging a write-in vote for a third option is “suppression”? Seriously?
  • What are they afraid of?

Meanwhile, trying to make hay out of… something, others gave new meaning to the word incoherent (see middle comment in screen shot):

Yea, verily. Watching the collective Leftista meltdown in response to The Dreaded Mailer is almost good as Amateur Night at the Bijou. Without the popcorn. It’s also a pretty good indicator of the Leftista view of the role and function of government, you peon citizen, you.

Maybe we can sell tickets?



Image credit: CC License

GUEST AUTHOR: Citizens, Not Subjects

Public domain

By Leona Olsen

Used by permission

We have come to a time in America when much is taken for granted, many even assume that our freedoms will remain intact no matter how apathetic we are toward preserving them. Voting is a privilege that many around the World have never known and most likely will never experience. What responsibilities do our voters acknowledge before elections? Consider:

  • Are voters preparing themselves to vote for the best candidate and to vote responsibly for measures put before them?
  • Do you believe that we are teaching our young voters the responsibilities that our Constitution charges us with in “Government by the people”?
  • Do you as a voting member of a free Republic read about the candidates and, if an incumbent, check their performance records and not just mark the name you recognize?
  • Do they uphold their oath to protect and preserve our Constitution, clearly the most important duty they have before them?
  • Do you believe that our Founding Documents have been our mainstay in preserving our freedoms granted by God and promised in our Bill of Rights?
  • What does freedom mean to you? If it was suddenly snatched away, which is possible anywhere, what would it mean to you?
  • Why are there thousands of American citizens who fail to exercise their privilege of voting, especially evangelicals, which I consistently read about, who are shirking their voting duties?

Our Constitution says “Government OF the people, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR the people. By the people means that we have a duty toward our Nation and our neighbor to be responsible with our votes, to vote for the “common good” (remember that phrase?) , not for our individual gain, nor for the gain of a special group that we affiliate with, but for the good of the Nation over all.

In the England that our ancestors vacated to come here, the populace was referred to as “subjects”, not “citizens”. Which would you prefer? Have you ever considered how life might be changed if you became a “subject”?

When government increases its power over the people, and issues edicts as to what you should watch or what you should believe, even suggesting punishment if you disagree, we have granted them more power than they are capable of wielding fairly. The preservation of our God given freedoms is up to you, the voting citizen of our United States. You, and you alone are responsible for the direction of our Nation as long as our Founding Documents remain intact and powerful.

Blaming government for all of our ills is bogus, since you the people elected your leaders. When it comes to leaders or anyone, it is always best to get to know a person before you judge and condemn.

I believe that God chose our President, a strong, independent Patriot, who has sacrificed much to work for us. Know for yourself who and what he is, because after watching the attempted crucifixion of Judge Kavanaugh, you all should know that your leaders are mere human beings, no more or no less than the rest of us. They are certainly not God’s nor even exceptional! The American citizens need to, once again, take an interest in the leadership of our Nation and to take the time to know what is happening and care enough to assist in the preservation of our Nation overall.

Leona Olsen is a resident of Grays Harbor County.

Rep. Steve Tharinger: Blue Ghost of Grays Harbor

Still clueless after all these years.

Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-24th) is sometimes referred to as the “Blue Ghost of Grays Harbor.” His attention here appears… ethereal. Haunting. Rather like his response to public record requests.

Let me illustrate. I submitted a public records request to Rep. Tharinger’s office on 07 June 2018. It read:

Good morning:

Please consider this a public records request for the dates of meetings or appearances Representative Tharinger has had in Grays Harbor since taking office until present. Please include the total number of meetings during that time frame and the type of meeting (legislative send-off, town hall, constituent, etc.)

Here’s my original request, coupled with an initial response from Rep. Tharinger’s office:

Continue reading “Rep. Steve Tharinger: Blue Ghost of Grays Harbor”