Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

'Maggie' out, 'Scoop' next for Northwest?

People of Washington State, and to a lesser degree of the entire Pacific Northwest, are beginning to ponder life without "Scoop" and "Maggie." "Maggie" is Democratic Sen. Warren G. Magnuson, the most senior member of the US Senate, who was defeated for re-election this month by Washington's Republican attorney general, Slade Gorton.

Democratic Sen. Henry M. (Scoop) Jackson was not up for reelection this year, but he is widely believed in line for a high-level position with the new Reagan administration, which would mean his resignation from the Senate.

About these ads

In terms of congressional seniority, Senators Magnuson and Jackson rank first and fourth respectively, but their power goes beyond mere longevity.

Both are highly regarded for their legislative abilities and their knack for bringing large federal projects back To Washington State.

Their contacts throughout the federal bureaucracy, cultivated through more than 80 years of combined service in Congress, are legendary.

The late President John F. Kennedy used to say of Senator Magnuson that he would amble onto the Senate floor late in the afternoon, mumble a few words about a "little" amendment, and Grand Coulee Dam Would be built.

Probably a lot of people in Washington really believed that Maggie was responsible for building Grand Coulee Dam, too, even though the dam was completed in 1941, three years before he was first elected to the Seante.

Magnuson may not have built Grand Coulee Dam, but, by some accounts, he was responsible for funneling an estimated $80 billion in federal projects into his home state during six Senate terms.

Just this year he demonstrated his abilities by seeing that the Pacific Northwest got plenty of relief after the Mr. St. Helens disaster -- nearly $1 billion worth.

About these ads

But Magnuson has been more than just a senator who got things done for his home constituency. As chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, he was responsible for such nationally significant legislation as laws requiring truth in lending, health warnings on cigarette packages, auto seat belts, and flame-retardant nightwear for children. He also had a hand in establishing the 200-mile fishing zone off US coasts which enable this country to protect its fisheries resource.

Meanwhile, the biggest political question in Washington State is not so much if Senator Jackson will Resign, but how and when he will do it. Will he quit the Senate before January and let Gov. Dixy Lee Ray appoint a Democratic successor? Or will he wait and let incoming Gov. John Spellman appoint a second Republican?

And if he wants a Democratic successor, does he still want to leave that important decision to Governor Ray, who is a maverick and still smarting from her own defeat in the Democratic primary?

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.