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Poker News | World Poker News

Poker Player Hopes to Be Washington Governor

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Lee Rousso is an attorney in the state of Washington, as well as being a recreational poker player and fan of the game. Moreover, he has taken an active role with the Poker Players Alliance as a Washington state representative to fight for new laws to protect poker. And now, he is running for Governor of Washington.

Rousso is running for the Democratic nomination in the August 19th primary in 2008, and his strongest competitor is Dino Rossi, a candidate who was the Democratic nominee in 2004 and just barely lost the election – after two recounts of the voting ballots. But Rousso is running a dedicated, grassroots campaign in an attempt to win the primary and run against incumbent Governor Christine Gregoire in the November election.

The platform upon which is he running takes numerous issues into consideration, but Rousso’s key issue is a state law that was signed by Governor Gregoire in March of 2006. SB 6613 made online gambling illegal in Washington, and those found breaking the law would receive the same charge of a Class C felony as they would if they had been involved in child pornography, stalking, drive-by shooting, threatening the governor, family abandonment, heroin possession, or unauthorized abortion. The penalty for someone convicted of illegal gambling is a maximum of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

While Rousso hopes to use his candidacy and possible eventual governorship to bring attention to the antiquated and unreasonable gaming laws in Washington, he has already begun the fight. He filed a formal complaint against SB6613 several months after its enactment, claiming that the law is a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution, specifically its commerce clause which prohibits states from enacting laws that discriminate against interstate business.

Rousso noted, “You can’t even find people who think that this law is a good idea. Even people who are opposed to gambling in general recognize that this law goes way, way, way too far.”

The website established for Rousso’s campaign – www.leeroussoforgovernor.org – displays a lengthy statement on the front page entitled, “Why I’m Running and Why I’ll Win.” In it, he explains his run for Governor of Washington in his own words:

“This is a candidacy born out of what must surely be a world record case of buyer’s remorse. I voted for Christine Gregoire in 2004 and did so without hesitation. Now, I feel so disappointed and betrayed by her leadership that I wouldn’t support her re-election with a loaded gun to my head.

“My affection for the governor began to sour on March 28, 2006, when she gleefully signed Senate Bill 6613, the so-called Internet Gambling Ban. Under SB 6613, the state can kick down your door in the middle of the night and haul you off to prison for five years for committing the ‘crime’ of playing poker on the internet. And while you are rotting away in prison, the state can steal your house and throw your family out on the street. Really, who knew the Taliban had so much influence, and so far from home?

“SB 6613 represents at best a hysterical overreaction to a nonexistent problem. At worse, it is the cold, hard boot of the government pressed against the neck of its citizens. Either way, SB 6613 is both indefensible and intolerable, and I will not rest while this monster still breathes…”

In addition to Rousso’s obviously strong stance against the anti-gaming laws in place in Washington, his range of issues is expansive. Though the first issue in a list of “what I intend to do during my first term as Governor” is to overturn SB 6613, the list also includes addressing traffic congestion, building a new 520 bridge without raising taxes, limiting the growth of the state payroll, and promoting trade and tourism with Asian nations.

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