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Higher ed., Bertha and budget at Civic Cocktail, Feb. 4

Update (11:45 a.m., Feb. 4): Washington State University President Elson Floyd is unable to attend Civic Cocktail due to an emergency. John Gardner, CEO of Washington State University Foundation, will join the one-on-one conversation.

A contentious state legislative session and a conversation about higher education with Washington State University President Elson Floyd  Foundation CEO John Gardner are on the bill for Civic Cocktail, 5:30 p.m., Wed., Feb. 4 at the Palace Ballroom, 2100 Fifth Ave.

From meeting Civic Cocktail Logo - No sponsors - Br Ovthe McCleary mandate to opening the state’s second publicly-funded medical school, education will lead the discussion at the first Civic Cocktail event of the year.

The  program will open with State Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48th) and Sen. Steve Litzow (R-41st) discussing issues the divided Legislature in Olympia will tackle this session, including meeting a State Supreme Court mandate to fund K-12 education, making sense of medical-marijuana laws, and moving forward with a state transportation funding package. And what about Bertha? What’s next for the stalled Seattle tunnel project, which has led to tensions between state and city officials?

Hunter is chair of the House Appropriations Committee (responsible for the state budget). Litzow chairs the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

During the second half of the program, Floyd Gardner will join host Joni Balter to talk about the role of WSU in helping to solve the critical problems that face our state, nation and world and the research university’s legislative priorities, which include building a new academic center at Everett University Center, which WSU assumed management of last summer. WSU recently announced its support of a state measure that would direct new revenue to education, including early learning and higher education, and the university is exploring a partnership with Bellevue College to offer a bachelor’s degree at the Eastside college. Floyd Gardner will also discuss WSU’s plans to open the state’s second fully accredited, publicly funded medical school in Spokane to address the state’s physician shortage, particularly in underserved rural areas.

A journalist panel featuring Essex Porter, who covers government and politics for KIRO TV, Crosscut’s Managing Editor Berit Anderson; and Linda Shaw, Seattle Times assistant metro editor and education reporter, will weigh in on the discussions.

Civic Cocktail offers an evening of networking, civic conversation, Tom Douglas appetizers and a no-host bar. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The program begins at 6 p.m. Advance registration is recommended as these events sometimes sell out. Register at or call 206-682-7395. Advance ticket prices are $20 for CityClub and Crosscut members and $25 for non-members and at the door.

Seattle Channel presents Civic Cocktail in partnership with Seattle CityClub and Crosscut. The conversation is rebroadcast on Seattle Channel cable 21 and is available on our website.