FROM THE EDITOR The curious case of Matt Shea

(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)

Oh look, another news story about Spokane Valley Representative Matt Shea! Shea, who was at least a champion of the 51st State Movement that really got its start here in Stevens County, is under fire after a House of Representatives report says he participated in domestic terrorism.

However, in this time of different political realities, one side can say that Shea is a danger to us all, while the other side can say it was a smear campaign put on by the Democrat-controlled house.

I for one, am suffering from some serious Matt Shea fatigue.

This representative doesn’t serve NE Washington, but many people around here know of him and mention him in social media. There has been a bread crumb trail of issues leaked by some of his former associates that include a “Biblical Basis for War” document where some people surmise that he was writing some kind of war plan. There have been various private chats that people have revealed where violence was discussed.

NE Washington social media pages have been awash with both supporters and detractors of Matt Shea, who has an anti-government streak that many people around here could probably agree with. He’s a hardline Christian, which again a lot of people around here could get behind. He is also a former Army captain.
The coverage of Shea has been less than flattering from numerous media sources, and several Republican leaders have criticized him before. Now after this latest report, he has been removed from the House caucus and stripped of his house leadership positions.

The investigation, however, was done by an independent source, which Shea supporters say is Democrat leaning. While the results of the investigation were forwarded to both the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office, I’m not sure exactly what they are supposed to do about it. The investigation itself has no legal ramifications unless those two groups decide to do something about it. But this is the new reality in politics. Shea, who does enjoy playing the under-attack politician, has compared himself to Trump being impeached. Both sides see it as the other political party or official going too far. The more headlines that one would think would reduce support never seem to touch his voting base. He also keeps winning elections.

It appears that the House will probably not try to remove Shea from his elected seat. In the state’s history only one representative has been removed and that was for sexual assault of a minor. Lawmakers are somewhat resistant to going against the will of voters when it comes to elected seats. Shea has served six terms and while I don’t exactly know the pulse of the Spokane Valley, it appears he has a strong enough base there to continue to be elected.

So what exactly was the point of this report if no action is really going to be taken except from House Republicans? This is especially confusing for a newspaper like ourselves with a small staff and limited man-hours to produce content.

The local connection for Shea is how he has been a champion for the 51st State Movement or Liberty State. That is another curious case as we really haven’t heard of any events or big rallies by the movement in months. The last big media thing was a press conference months ago in Moses Lake where very little was announced in how the movement was going forward.

So what do we really have to show for all this controversy in the past year or two?

Again I don’t believe the House will take action against Shea, and he will continue to be elected. Anyone hoping that this newspaper will lambast him for supporting rancher rights, being anti-government and being ultra-conservative – well you don’t know much about NE Washington, do you?

My issue or qualm has been media these days seems to report more on people talking than actual action taken. Here is another political report, that “the other side” can very well say is a political smear job and will tune out any media source that reports it like the Bible or fact. The waters have been so muddied and both sides of the political spectrum are looking for their team to win.

And yet, nothing happens action-wise. Shea is still a representative.

But let me pull back the curtain a little bit. I personally do not get an emotional response from the Shea stories. He is not my representative. We live in a free country where people can start state separation movements. Shea says a lot of things that people don’t like but hey, we have free speech. In terms of the standoff and domestic terrorism part – I really would like to see an actual law enforcement agency make that call and not another political review group before I even begin to come up with an opinion.

That being said, there appears to be a group of conservatives that don’t particularly enjoy Shea. This serves as the most confusing part of this whole matter. You can’t tell me it’s a Democrat-ran ordeal when some of Shea’s biggest critics are conservative as well. Shea’s supporters can call them communists and Marxists, but that’s not something I particularly agree with.

Ultimately it’s going to be up to the voters of Spokane Valley to decide. You know, voting: elections, all that fun American stuff. They are the ones who will ultimately determine if this report is worthy of notice. The rest of us, I guess, are just here for the political intrigue?