Rossi appears at high school

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi speaks with students Tuesday at Oak Harbor High School.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi speaks with students Tuesday at Oak Harbor High School.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Class invites candidates

Students in the Oak Harbor High School American Government class have been inviting elected officials and candidates to speak.

The latest response to that invitation occurred Tuesday when gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi visited the American Government and U.S. History classes.

Rossi, a Republican who lost by a scant 129 votes to current Gov. Chris Gregoire in the historic and highly controversial 2004 election, spoke to juniors and seniors about perseverance and not listening to naysayers. He shared several stories from his past that are told in his newly published book.

He talked about how his mother worked to get her family out of the housing projects in Seattle, the jobs he worked for extra money while attending college and the “cold calling” he had to make while breaking into the commercial real estate business. He also touched upon a story where his daughter sent a letter to President Bush to help her get a dog.

He attributed to his father a piece of wisdom that has served him well.

“You never fail until you stop trying,” Rossi told the students. He encouraged them to ignore the people telling them what they can’t do.

“You shouldn’t listen to those people. They have no idea what they’re talking about,” Rossi said.

He described perseverance as a key to success, a trait he hopes will help him in this November’s election.

“The polling shows we can win and this time with a recount-proof majority of voters,” Rossi said. In 2004, there were several recounts of votes in King County before Gregoire was declared the winner.

Students in the class asked Rossi about his thoughts on education and gas prices.

Regarding education, he mentioned the squabbling that took place in Seattle which he said cost that school district a $13 million grant. He added that “customer service” needs to improve in the schools.

As for gas prices, one area he said residents have control is with the state gasoline tax, which he described as regressive as it hurts low-income people the most.

Oak Harbor High School Senior Lauren Hilberdink invited Rossi to speak. Students who successfully inviting a candidate or public official to speak to the class earn credit toward their final project.

Teacher Jim Crouch said it’s a good way to get students involved and to bring noteworthy speakers to the high school.

Linda Haddon, Republican candidate running against State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, previously spoke to the students. Haugen was scheduled to speak May 21 and U.S. Rep. Rick Larson is booked to visit the class next month.

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