Citizens, politicians glad it’s over

By JIM HALEY

Herald Writers

EVERETT — It’s time to shake hands, bandage the wounds and go back to work.

Local politicians and residents called for healing in the wake of a bitter, partisan battle over the presidency.

Maybe even a quadruple bypass, following the clogs that hindered a quick resolution to this election.

Wednesday night’s speeches by President-elect George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore were a good start.

"There will be some partisan bickering, but the leadership will pull us together," said Everett resident Neal Colyn.

Russ Lister, who caught up on current events Wednesday night by reading Time magazine at the Everett library, agreed.

"I think it will die down fairly quickly," he said of the political divisiveness.

Linda Beilfus of Snohomish said she was glad to see Gore concede and the election finally end.

"For (Gore) to continue the fight would have been fruitless," Beilfus said.

Democratic politicians from Washington state praised Gore for leaving with grace and ushering in peace.

"Vice President Gore was well-spoken, and he did a good job of trying to bring us together even after this divisive election," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

U.S. Rep.-elect Rick Larsen, a former Snohomish County councilman, also was impressed with Gore’s speech.

"I thought he was very gracious and statesmanlike …" Larsen said. "Now is the time for the country to come together in a bipartisan manner to work on those issues that are important to the people and the country."

U.S. Sen.-elect Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, also congratulated the new elected president and thanked Gore.

"A recount is never easy," said Cantwell, who faced one in a tight race against Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash. "… We campaign as Republicans and Democrats, but we govern as Americans."

And outgoing Rep. Jack Metcalf, R-Wash., said he was "relieved that the contest for president has been decided." The closeness of the election "demands an attempt on the part of both parties to rise above partisanship," said Metcalf, who will retire from Congress at the end of the month.

The first task the two parties can work together on is a better election system, many frustrated observers said Wednesday night.

"To rely on old machines in the Internet age is just lunacy," said U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.

Beilfus of Snohomish and Colyn of Everett said they think the election showed the Electoral College process is outdated.

"It’s not serving our needs anymore. Gore won the popular vote, so it’s not reflecting the will of the people" with Bush winning the presidency, Beilfus said.

"Get rid of the Electoral College," Colyn said, "and go for the popular vote so we can find out on the night of the election rather than having it drag on."

Hear, hear, said Lister.

"The states need to rethink their ballot process," Lister said, "so we don’t get in this mess again."

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