North Notes
Spokane-North Rotary Club Bulletin
July 25, 2022
            Aug 1: Noon. Lunch at the Bark.  Topic: Dave Schaub, Inland Northwest Land Conservancy.
            Aug. 22: Noon.  At Holmes Elementary.  Speaker: Holmes Principal Kale Colyar. After lunch, members and spouses help stow school supplies for the year.
Happy Buck$:
            Bill Simer was happy that Lenore Romney is now club treasurer, relieving his duties, though he remains on the club board.
            John Mailliard was happy to celebrate his wife’s 76th birthday.
Top priority: secure elections
             Eight candidates are vying for Washington Secretary of State in the Aug. 2 primary election.  At the club’s July 25 luncheon, the incumbent, Steve Hobbs, talked about how markedly the job has changed over the years.
             Gov. Inslee nominated Hobbs to his current post last Nov. 22 when Kim Wyman left for a position with the Biden administration with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.  Cybersecurity is something the state also worries about.
.           Hobbs, an Everett native, was a state senator since 2006 from the 44th District in the Snohomish area.  He chaired the Senate Transportation Committee and helped secure funding for Spokane’s North-South Corridor freeway.
           Hobbs said he was happy for his opportunity to talk to our club and “for doing a makeup” for his Lake Stevens Rotary Club.  I will be working in the corn booth’s club at the Lake Stevens Aquafest (July 29-31),” he added.
            Hobbs has had 30 years of military service in the U.S. Army and National Guard.  He was deployed to Kosovo and Iraq.  He said that he had wanted to serve in military intelligence, but instead was sent to serve in the infantry.
            “The role of the secretary of state has changed in the 16 years I served in the legislature,” Hobbs said.  He said the office still has the “custody of the seal,” and state libraries, including in every prison, then elections and other administrative incorporations and non-profit organizations.
            Now there is an array of security clearances and nearly daily attempts from agencies in cyberspace in Russia and China to access election data and other information, he said.
            Hobbs said he has 22 staffers in his elections division.  The challenges, he said, “take a lot of time – and the media like it.”
            With a number of elections in 39 counties, and just three county commissioners in many of the counties, a number of issues arise, he said.  One example involved a commissioner in Ferry County who was asked to move a
dropbox.  With little staff, Hobbs said, the commissioner just moved the ballot drop himself, putting the box in the back of his pickup, where it stood while he stopped on a break.
            The challenges vary from simple incidents like that to doubling cyber security by adding a backup to the state’s cloud computing backup, Hobbs said.
            Of the international espionage about election data, he said, “the threat is real.  We have to push back and fight it.”
            Hobbs said, “My top priority is to ensure our elections are secure and accessible to every eligible voter.”
            Asked about proposed changes in various states to alter election rules and accessibility – where some voters must wait in lines for four or six hours – Hobbs said, “a lot of secretaries of states are worried about that.”
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink