Over the fireplace in Bill Bryant’s rustic vacation home outside Winthrop, a large portrait of Teddy Roosevelt greets visitors and serves as a source of inspiration for the Republican candidate for governor.
Bryant, an outdoorsman who grew up on the Olympic Peninsula, fancies himself as a conservationist in the mold of the turn-of-the-century president. He points to Roosevelt’s influence in his own hands-on work to protect Puget Sound watersheds, while ignoring grander environmental gestures that are purely symbolic.
But critics say such endeavors are undone by Bryant’s stands on some of the biggest ecological issues facing the state today.
“He talks the game, but when there’s a tough decision on a critical issue, we haven’t seen him make the hard choice to protect the environment and preserve public health,” said Shannon Murphy, executive director of Washington Conservation Voters. “He’s sided with big polluters time and again.”