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Valerie Richardson

Valerie Richardson

Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Valerie Richardson

"I simply cannot participate once again in something I believe to be morally wrong," says Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber in announcing that he was halting the execution of a double murderer -and that no more executions will happen while he is in office. (Associated Press)

In Oregon, a new debate on halting executions

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber says he intended to start a debate about the death penalty when he announced at an emotional news conference last week that he would block all executions for the remainder of his term. Published November 30, 2011

**FILE** An Amazon.com employee grabs boxes to load onto a truck at the company's Fernley, Nev., warehouse. (Associated Press)

Bricks-and-mortar stores aim to nail down sales tax

Buying online, especially when it comes to jewelry, cameras, computers and other high-end electronics, can save consumers a hefty chunk of change since no sales tax is charged. But the costs to traditional retailers, not to mention state and local governments, are mounting. Published November 24, 2011

Gay-marriage foes win ruling in California

Supporters of traditional marriage scored a crucial victory Thursday as the California Supreme Court ruled that sponsors of Proposition 8 and other ballot measures are entitled to defend the initiatives in court when state leaders refuse to do so. Published November 17, 2011

Texas faces suit after nixing Rebel license plates

A Texas board voted unanimously Thursday to deny an application for specialty license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag, setting the stage for a legal showdown. Published November 10, 2011

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce discusses the campaign in Mesa, Ariz. Mr. Pearce, the sponsor of Arizona's groundbreaking immigration enforcement law, lost the state's recall election to Jerry Lewis. The recall election, forced by a petition drive, is the first for an Arizona legislator. (Associated Press)

Anti-immigration lawmaker ousted in recall

Foes of Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce declared a new day in Arizona on Wednesday as they celebrated the recall defeat of the nationally known immigration hawk who was the primary architect of the state's tough anti-illegal-immigrants law. Published November 9, 2011

** FILE ** Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear makes his victory speech during a election-night rally in Frankfort, Ky., on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/John Flavell)

Mississippi voters reject 'personhood' amendment

A Mississippi initiative stating that life begins at conception, known as the "personhood" amendment, was handed an unexpected defeat in Tuesday's off-year election balloting. Published November 9, 2011

Pat Kenyon looks over the wine selection at a Costco warehouse store Oct. 31 in Seattle. Whether Costco will be able to sell hard liquor alongside the wine depends on the outcome of a Washington state referendum on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

Costco in spirited bid to privatize liquor sales

The campaign for Washington state's Initiative 1183 is based on the belief that Costco shoppers should be able to pick up a fifth of Jack Daniels along with their family pack of hot-dog buns and three-pound tubs of mixed nuts. Published November 6, 2011

Chasm wide on Grand Canyon uranium mining

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and a mile deep, which is roughly the size of the gap between the Obama administration and Western Republicans on the issue of uranium mining in Northern Arizona. Published November 3, 2011

Colorado voters overwhelmingly reject higher taxes

Colorado's Proposition 103, the biggest tax-increase proposal of the off-year November election, was headed to a sound defeat early Wednesday, an indication that voters still expect government to solve its economic woes with spending cuts instead of revenue increases. Published November 1, 2011

Appeal denied on highway crosses in Utah

The Supreme Court handed a victory to atheist groups Monday, declining to hear a case on roadside crosses honoring fallen Utah state troopers in a move likely to intensify the debate about the constitutionality of religious symbols on public property. Published October 31, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry holds up the tax form he says that Americans would fill out as he outlined a broad economic proposal of a flat 20 percent income tax rate during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, at the State House in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

Perry opposes design of Confederate license plate

After declining for months to tip his hand, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, under pressure from state civil-rights leaders, said Wednesday he opposes a proposed state license plate depicting the Confederate battle flag. Published October 26, 2011

Voter ID, other initiatives follow GOP's resurgence

Voters in Maine, Mississippi and Washington will decide election-reform questions this November, joining a wave of 36 states that in 2011 moved to increase identification requirements, limit the early-voting period, or toughen up registration rules. Published October 23, 2011

A polar bear rests with her cubs on pack ice in northern Alaska. A federal judge in 2011 said the Bush administration violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to conduct an environmental impact review before issuing its ruling on the status of polar bears under the Endangered Species Act. (Associated Press)

Ruling impacts on polar bears

The polar bear landed back in the Obama administration's lap Monday after a federal judge ruled the Interior Department must conduct an environmental review before it can exclude climate change from its strategy in aiding the threatened species. Published October 17, 2011

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce (Associated Press)

Sham entry of Hispanic could sway Ariz. vote

The author of Arizona's landmark immigration law is facing a recall election that's as wild and unpredictable as the state's southern border. Published October 16, 2011

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has jumped from crisis to crisis since his January swearing-in. Some of his headaches, such as the state's budget deficit, have been beyond his control, while others, including his swat at the NFL Pro Bowl, are largely of his own making. A staff upheaval hasn't helped. (Associated Press)

Hawaii is no paradise for Abercrombie

Hawaii's Neil Abercrombie is finding trouble in paradise as he makes the rocky transition from longtime congressman to first-time governor. Published October 11, 2011