OLYMPIA…Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler today offered this remembrance of former Gov. John Spellman after learning he had passed away Monday night at age 91.
“Out of all of John Spellman’s contributions as King County executive and later as governor, the one that never received enough credit was his support for our state’s public schools. Although he took office during the post-Jimmy Carter, post-Dixy Lee Ray economic downturn, he and his fellow Republicans who led the Legislature prioritized spending to put more than half of the state’s general fund toward public schools. And when the downturn persisted, he still made special efforts in his second biennial budget to protect the schools.
“It wasn’t until this past year, nearly 35 years later, that more than 50 percent of the state budget again went to basic education. And when Governor Spellman came to visit this past June I enjoyed being able to tell him that our Republican-led Senate made sure the ‘Spellman standard’ for education funding had been reached.
“I valued my conversations with Governor Spellman over the past few years, not only because he was our state’s most recent Republican governor but because he remained sharp and inquisitive. He brought one of his grandsons when we visited this past June, and I strongly encouraged him to consider attending Washington State University for his college education. Governor Spellman sent me word in December that his grandson, raised in California, was seriously considering joining Cougar Nation.
“God speed, Governor Spellman.”