By Office of the Governor | Press Release
- Establishment of First Amendment and restricted areas on Capitol Campus
- Activated 750 Washington State National Guardsman to protect Capitol Campus as the Legislature convenes
Editors Note: Pictured is Gov. Inslee visiting Guardsmen at Call Center in Tumwater, Wash. May 20, 2020. Joint Forces Headquarters, Washington National Guard. Courtesy of Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.
OLYMPIA, Wash., January 8, 2021 – Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement today on actions the state is taking to ensure the safety and security of Washingtonians, legislators, state employees and the buildings of the Capitol Campus as the Legislature is set to convene the 2021 session on Monday, January 11, 2021.
“As legislators begin their work on behalf of the people of the state of Washington, we must do whatever we can to ensure that they can do that work without fear, intimidation or harassment. The actions we saw in both Washington, D.C. and Olympia earlier this week were completely unacceptable and will not be repeated in our state capital again.
“There will be acres of areas for people to exercise their First Amendment rights on the Capitol Campus. There will be restricted access in certain areas that are open only to legislators and staff. These areas will be clearly delineated by fencing and security personnel.
“But in light of the most recent insurrection activity, the state cannot tolerate any actions that could result in harm, mayhem or interruption of function of democratic institutions. Any illegal intrusion of the Capitol, state buildings or restricted areas will not be tolerated and strictly enforced.
“To that end, I have activated the Washington State National Guard to be in Olympia in coordination with the Washington State Patrol and local law enforcement. I am authorizing up to 750 members of the Guard and a large number of Washington State Patrol troopers will be on hand, in addition to the regular Capitol Campus security contingent.
“The National Guard’s role will be to support the Washington State Patrol in their mission to protect Washingtonians, legislators, their staff and the buildings of the Washington State West Capitol Campus.
“I thank the citizen soldiers of the National Guard who are coming from their private lives and families to protect democracy.
“We sincerely hope for peaceful actions but if that does not happen, we will be prepared.”