WNC “toasts” Locke and Dunn at 2004 Gridiron West Dinner

The Washington News Council “toasted” Governor Gary Locke, Democrat, and U.S. Representative
Jennifer Dunn, Republican, on Friday, Nov. 5, 2004, at our 6th annual Gridiron West Dinner, at the Washington
State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle.

This gala bipartisan event came just three days after Election Day. Nearly 550 people attended, from politics, government, media, business, academia, law, and other sectors. They were treated to a fun-filled evening of comedy, song, video tributes and affectionate “toasts” of our honorees.

To read comments on the event, please click HERE.

Both Locke and Dunn had “family tables” with their spouses, children and other relatives and close friends.

(NEWS FLASH: Just a few hours after the dinner ended, Mona Lee Locke gave birth to their new baby daughter at Swedish Medical Center. Some speculated that the evening’s laughter might have induced labor.)

Both Locke and Dunn had announced that they would not seek reelection this year and will be retiring from office in January 2005. The Gridiron West Dinner is modeled after the Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington, D.C., where political and media leaders poke fun at each other in good-natured comedy, skits and songs.

Highlights of this year’s Gridiron West Dinner included: Emcee Mike Egan’s photographic history of Gary and Jennifer’s changing hairstyles over the past 40-plus years; Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist David Horsey’s retrospective of his best cartoons of Gary and Jennifer over the past 20 years; and a video tribute to Gary and Jennifer produced by Larry Cali and Ken Jones of KING-TV.

“Toasters,” who took the stage in pairs, included Martha Choe & Slade Gorton; John Carlson & Mary Charles; and Dick Thompson & Patti Payne. Payne did a musical tribute, accompanied on the piano by John Ellis and joined onstage by Jennifer Dunn’s husband, Keith Thompson, and her two sons, Reagan and Bryant.

After the “toasts,” Gary and Jennifer each took the stage to respond to their “toasters.” Jennifer recited a list of the “Top 10 Reasons I Will Miss Being in Congress.” Gary replied specifically to each of his “toasters,” and gave as good as he got.

The audience was entertained by song parodies sung by “The Beetles” of Cabaret Productions. Another highlight was the entire Washington News Council singing a song to the tune of “Sgt. Pepper”s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (“Washington News Council”s Watch Dog Board”). To read parody lyrics, click HERE.

Past Gridiron West Dinners have “toasted” Jim Ellis and John Ellis (2003); the five living former Governors of Washington (2002); television anchors Jean Enersen, Kathi Goertzen and Susan Hutchison (2001); former Seattle P-I columnist Emmett Watson (2000); and former political reporters Adele Ferguson, Dick Larsen,
Mike Layton and Shelby Scates (1999).

Nearly 50 tables of 10 were sponsored by corporations, foundations, or individuals. “Baby Kissers” ($5,000) table sponsors included Boeing, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Kemper Development Company, King County Journal, Microsoft, Pemco Financial Services, and Starbucks. “Back Slappers” ($2,500) table sponsors were The Gallatin Group, Premera Blue Cross, Puget Sound Energy, Safeco, Sandy Schoolfield & Jon Kechejian, and Weyerhaeuser. “Glad Handers” ($1,000) table sponsors included Apex Foundation, The Benaroya Company, Evans School of Public Affairs, Gorton Legacy Group, Merriman Capital Management, Port of Seattle, Regal Financial Bank, Rockey Hill & Knowlton, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Wes Uhlman & Associates, Washington Dairy Products Commission, Weyerhaeuser, and the Wingood Foundation. Many individuals also sponsored tables, including WNC members Richard Baxter, Suzie Burke, Carolyn Duncan, Cyrus Krohn, Barry Mitzman, Chuck Nordhoff, Stephen Silha, and Robert Utter.

The event was filmed by TVW and broadcast statewide. It will be repeated (see www.tvw.org for schedule.)

Videotapes and/or DVDs of the event will be available soon. Please call 206-262-9793 to reserve a copy.