NEWS GLEAMS | GOP Fails to Elect Speaker of the U.S. House, Puyallup Men Charged With Attack on Tacoma Power Facilities

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Republican-Led House Remain Unable to Select Speaker of the House

Despite the official start of the new congressional session which took place on Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Republican-led House has been unable to select a speaker of the House for the new term. Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been nominated for the sixth time as of the afternoon of Jan. 4, yet has been unable to secure the vote.

This stalemate is in part due to a 20-person ultraconservative Republican block which refuses to vote for McCarthy; their actions have repeatedly denied him the 218 votes necessary to receive the role. It has been the first time in a century that a speaker’s election has took multiple votes to decide.

Without a speaker, the House will be unable to conduct standard business, including the swearing in of new members or moving legislation forward. 

By contrast, all 212 Democrats have voted for Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to be the incoming House minority leader.

This story is developing.

Photo depicting the Cushman Substation in Tacoma, Washington.
Cushman Substation, Tacoma, Washington, December 1, 2011. Cushman Substation in Tacoma was not one of the substations damaged by the attack on Christmas Day in 2022. Photo is attributed to Visitor7 (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 license).

Two Puyallup Men Charged with an Estimated $3M in Damages to Four Tacoma Energy Facilities

Following an FBI investigation, two Puyallup men, Matthew Greenwood, 32, and Jeremy Crahan, 40, were arrested on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. They appeared before the U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Tuesday, Jan. 3, and were charged with conspiracy to damage energy facilities and possession of an unregistered firearm.

“On Christmas morning, four power substations in Pierce County were vandalized, impacting 14,000 households and businesses,” reported KPTV. “The four substations that were targeted were the Graham and Elk Plain substations operated by Tacoma Power and the Kapowsin and Hemlock substations operated by Puget Sound Energy. The damage to just the Tacoma Power substations was estimated to be at least $3 million.”

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Western Washington, the two suspects were identified through the analysis of cell phone records. Their images were also captured at one of the substations of Tacoma Power; one of the pick-up trucks was later connected to the defendants. Upon running a search warrant on the subjects’ homes, law enforcement officials “recovered distinctive clothing pictured in the surveillance photos” and “seized two short-barreled firearms that had not been registered as required by law,” including one which was equipped with a makeshift silencer. 

As of the time of reporting, the suspects are not charged with terrorism, due to a lack of apparent political motivation, though similar attacks across the country have faced such charges.

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