State Senate Bid: Cool cars, green beer and inspiring speeches

By Ron Swarner on March 17, 2012


Thursday night 500 people, some dressed in green, slowly strolled up the wide concrete floor of the new LeMay America's Car Museum as Irish melodies from band Mooncoyne filled the enormous space. A bit of dodging was in order as many stopped to gander at the 1930 Duesenberg, the 1961 Chrysler and some 30 other cars parked inside. An impressive buffet and green Coors fueled the conversations, which all centered on attorney Jack Connelly, the North End Tacoma Democrat throwing the shindig.

This past summer Connelly, who grew up in Lakewood and has been practicing law in Tacoma for 30 years, announced he would run for the seat in the state Senate opening up with Debbie Regala's retirement this year. Since his announcement for the 2012 state Senate seat in 27th District, Rep. Jeannie Darneille has announced her intention to seek the same seat, with Regala's seal of approval.

I've known Connelly since the mid-'70s, when he would yell at me, push me in the pool and work my ass hard. He was my swim coach. A damn good one, too. Connelly was also an accomplished swimmer, nabbing Lakes High School's first All American title, and later a collegiate All American swimmer for Stanford.

It wasn't a shock when Tacoma attorney Dan Hannula took the podium first during Connelly's 2012 campaign kick-off event Thursday night. Hannula, a six-time NCAA All American swimmer, was Connelly's swim mate/rival, which began at the Tacoma Swim Club. Hannula praise Connelly's strength and courage to stand up to bullies by representing those who have no voice. 

"Come One, Come all. This is exactly what this campaign is about. Coming together to make each other stronger," said Dr. Kelly Goodsell, who works regionally in education management, reiterating one of Connelly's campaign platforms - bringing the community together as one with fairness, equality and respect for every person. "Jack Connelly is a leader who acknowledges and celebrates our differences," she said with emphasis.

Connelly ended the short program explaining his campaign would be about "We" not "I." His desire is to start making works as it's designed to work. "Having people work together, we the people working together for the state of Washington," said Connelly. He explained his desire to improve education, provide more family wage jobs and to promote small business opportunities.