Governor-hopeful Semi Bird makes appearance, offers Q&A at Long Shot in Yelm

GOP candidate discusses clean and nuclear power, schools, more


Republican gubernatorial candidate Semi Bird made his way through Yelm last week and spoke to residents about what he and his campaign stand for at a special event at Long Shot gun store.

During the event, Bird answered questions presented to him and gave attendees an idea of how he would operate if elected governor.

Bird, who received the endorsement from the Washington state Republican Party last month, said understanding why politicians serve and who they serve are two of the most important aspects when serving in office.

“Why would I not be in Yelm? I’ll go anywhere at any time to visit anyone because we all matter,” Bird said. “I think that’s the important thing that politicians miss. We all matter, and we all have worth. To that point, it speaks a lot to who I am and where I come from.”

He brought up Abraham Lincoln’s concept “of the people, by the people, for the people,” adding it’s important to ensure the people have representation within the country. He said it’s the government’s job to protect and maintain the individual rights of citizens.

“A constitutional republic is a form of government that has representation in which the people run the government. Power is inherent in the people,” Bird said. “What is America? Why shall we and should we always remember and speak to America? We’ve forgotten who we are over the years. We’ve become so divisive as a nation that we’ve forgotten our identity, all together. We talk about black lives, white lives, brown lives, gay lives, straight lives. We continue to divide on every excuse that we can think of. We forgot the phrase melting pot.”

He said the United States is composed of many cultures, colors, religions, but together all serving as one under the American flag.

“When I talk about how we all have worth, I think about how I started my life in the inner city of east Oakland, California, born to a single mom with seven children in 1961. By the numbers, chronologically, I was a kid born without civil rights,” Bird said. “Born without civil rights, yet, my mother raised me never to be a victim. She raised me to have resiliency, to navigate adversity. She knew that when I stepped off that front porch, I may face challenges. I may face adversity. I may be judged. I may be looked at differently. I may be looked down at.”

He added that his mother didn’t raise him to have a “poor me” mentality but raised him to remember the groups like the Tuskegee Airmen and people like Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.

“I’ve achieved the American Dream. I learned from childhood that what I believe, I can achieve,” Bird said. “This is a nation of meritocracy. If you’re willing to work hard, there is nothing that you cannot accomplish. That is the mindset that I have. This is what I want to share with every child in the state who is willing to listen.”

Bird said he moved to Seattle when he was 6 years old and never left until he dropped out of high school.

“A high school dropout, K-11, D’s and F’s. C’s were like A’s, and my mother would say, ‘oh honey, you can do better. You’re not applying yourself. Keep trying,’ ” Bird said. “I tell people often that my mother raised me to be an Ameri-Can, not an Ameri-Can’t.”

Bird later joined the Marine Corps and after two enlistments over seven years, he was honorably discharged with a good conduct medal.

“I received my honorable discharge, my high school diploma, and moved on with life,” Bird said. “I went to college for my bachelors degree in business administration, 4.0, Summa Cum Laude, and got my bachelors of science degree in business administration.”

He also received a master’s of science degree in human resource development from Villanova University and a certificate of entrepreneurship from UCLA and is pursuing a doctorate of philosophy in industrial and organizational psychology at NCU.  Later in life, Bird became the executive director and behavioral scientist for Team Concepts Training and Consulting and served in various positions since then, including as an associate director of professional development and community education at Washington State University and has worked as a consultant for the Department of Energy.

“Never give up on a child, and a child should never give up on themselves — resiliency. This is why when we talk about what’s best for a child, we should talk about resiliency,” Bird said. “We don’t teach a child to think that the color of their skin determines their outcome in life. We teach a child that there’s nothing that they cannot achieve in life, regardless of their race or religion. That’s what I believe.”

Recently, Bird attended the Republican Party state convention, which had the largest gathering of delegates in Washington state history. Bird noted delegates attended from all 39 counties in the state. At the convention, Bird received the GOP endorsement for governor over candidate Dave Reichert with a super majority vote of 72%.

When asked about the differences between himself and Reichert, Bird first pointed to donor support.

“The differences between Dave and I would be that Dave had $2.5 million dollars, and I had half a million dollars. Dave is backed by big money donors. I am not. Dave is backed by most of the Olympia politicians. I am not,” Bird said. “The people spoke. The citizens spoke. We the people spoke. My response was to thank the chairman for how he managed the convention with parliamentary prowess, to thank the delegates for showing up and driving across the state and for being present, even though [Reichert] did not show up.

“Dave’s response to the convention was to say ‘GOP leaders promised me that Semi Bird would be disqualified,’” Bird continued. “... He was not happy. So there’s some similarities and differences.”

Bird also pointed out that Reichert voted in favor of capping trade while he was in Congress, adding that Bird himself would never vote to cap trade. Another difference between Bird and Reichert, he said, is how the two candidates believe current Gov. Jay Inslee handled the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington. Bird stated that Reichert believes Inslee did an “OK job.”

Bird, who previously served as a school board member in Richland before being recalled by voters over mask requirements, said Inslee and Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson are “responsible for the deaths of children and adults.”

“They devastated our economy,” Bird said. “People worked their livelihoods for their businesses that were closed down and devastated. Who gave the government the authority to determine who was essential and who was non-essential?”

Bird said the current administration is making a deal, sometimes called the gas ban, with Puget Sound Energy. He said though it technically doesn’t ban natural gas, it starts the process.

“The carbon commitment act is to commit to removing all carbon-producing mechanisms, whether it’s your leaf blower, whether it’s your car, whether it’s how you heat your home,” Bird said. “To be specific, it says this. Puget Sound Energy is making moves. They are incentivising them to ban natural gas. Your electric bills are going to start going up. People are already starting to see their electric bills going up because of the incentives with Puget Sound Energy to get rid of natural gas.”

When it comes to energy sources, Bird believes that Washington should introduce “small portable nuclear reactors” to be used. If elected, he said he’ll support and incentivise that source of energy.

“That is what I’ll bring in, safe, carbon free and forever,” Bird said. “We’re not going to compromise carbon-free energy, which is hydro. What we should capitalize on is bringing more electrical energy, which is nuclear and plentiful, and so we should be lowering costs.”

Bird also points to Ferguson, who is running for governor as a Democrat, for the state’s rise in crime.

“Rape is up 51%. Property crime is up 73%. Murder is up 96%. We’re the seventh most dangerous state in the nation. We’re No. 1 in retail thefts. I can go on and on … That is Bob Ferguson,” Bird said. “He took away our Second Amendment rights, Article 1 Section 24, but yet during CHOP and CHAZ, we can unload M16s out of the back of a Prius, we can burn down police substations, and that is the summer of love?

“You can either have law and order and safe streets, or you can have homeless encampments anywhere and everywhere,” Bird said. “Feces anywhere and everywhere. An epidemic of drug overdoses, the No. 1 killer from 18 to 45. An out-of-control fentanyl epidemic with three cartels operating out of Washington state.”

An attendant in the crowd asked Bird how he plans to get the votes of independents or Democrats considering voting red, and the governor hopeful had a clear suggestion for that population of voters.

“Tell them to walk downtown and take a big sniff and then open their eyes. Better yet, tell them to take their children or grandchildren down to the port. No, tell them to do this at 12 p.m., maybe 1:30 p.m.,” Bird said. “I’m intentionally being facetious because it’s important for them to get the full effect of the Ferguson administration that they’d have. Bob Ferguson is not the boogeyman. Bob Ferguson would just be a very bad governor.”

Next week, the Nisqually Valley News will feature an in-depth story on Bird’s perspective on issues related to Yelm and Thurston County.

— This amends an earlier version, clarifying Semi Bird received a good conduct medal and is pursuing his doctorate but hasn't yet received it.