Human trafficking is a very important issue, one that should be readily talked and learned about. I wholeheartedly support an event taking place on campus about the issue.
However, my concern arises at the possibility of Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna speaking at the event in February. McKenna is running for governor of Washington, on the ballot next November.
I understand that McKenna may be an attractive guest to speak at this event, as he is a well known figure. Having a voice in high places, speaking out against the issue is to be celebrated.
I am also sure that his campaign or politics will not be of discussion.
Regardless, to invite a politician to speak during a campaign, for an office SPSCC students vote for and are directly affected by, is simply untimely. I do not object to McKenna speaking on any issue at any time other than his campaign.
There is no doubt that McKenna has launched a strong campaign against human trafficking and is working with many others, both within and outside the attorney general’s office.
McKenna was voted the President for the National Association of Attorneys General for the 2011-2012 year and chose this issue for his presidential initiative.
The issue and move to eliminate human trafficking, particularly in a state with a gross track record of high occurrences, is not something to argue. No person could disagree with ending such a practice. But naturally I begin to raise a brow and question McKenna’s motives, though not to say he doesn’t care about the issue.
It is well known that any politician’s actions are somehow related to their future campaign.
McKenna must know how this could shift his political standing.
I believe it is highly inappropriate to invite McKenna to speak at an event at SPSCC, regardless of whether this is specifically part of his campaign or if it is part of his job. Every single thing a politician says or does during their campaign for election is part of their platform. It’s inherent.
There are many other people who are working towards the same goal as McKenna, and even with him.
I strongly urge the senate to consider inviting Washington Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles representing the 36th district in Seattle, who serves on the labor, commerce, and consumer protection as well as judiciary committees.
Kohl-Welles has worked closely with McKenna and others in the campaign against human trafficking. She has been instrumental in passing laws that may help in the fight against trafficking and continues to dedicate time and effort into the issue.
Though Kohl-Welles does not directly represent the Olympia area, she seems to be a great voice to add to the conversation about trafficking. Representation of our area has no importance in discussion of the issue, involvement does. Kohl-Welles is involved at a legislative level – a level I think is more powerful than the Attorney General.
Kohl-Welles is also not running for re-election, though if she were, her position is not one that directly affects or influences students at SPSCC.