Insanity: Count the Times a WA State Democrat Uses Racist Tropes to Sell Her Water Safety Bill

(Mark Graves/The Oregonian via AP)

A Democrat bill mandating paddleboarders and kayakers wear life vests in Washington State has moved forward in the state legislature. Not exactly man bites dog, but hang on because insanity ensues and you don’t want to miss it.


The Democrat lawmaker who introduced House Bill 1707 has never paddleboarded and doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but let’s put that aside for a second. Let us instead savor first the insane reason why she exempted certain people from being punished by her dumb bill.

As KTTH Seattle talk host Jason Rantz first reported, State Rep. Cindy Ryu exempted native Americans from the requirement that “brave” paddleboarders and kayakers wear life vests because — and this is a good one — native Americans don’t drown. 

The clueless Democrat explained during a legislative Zoom meeting that tribal members were exempted because “these are situations where they have either extensive training or [are] traditionally very used to our cold waters for eons, essentially, or are very closely supervised, [emphasis added].” She glowed with pride at the Zoom gathering, as the conclusion of her years-long efforts to pass the bill seemed to be at hand — years in which she apparently never went paddleboarding or kayaking to save herself the embarrassment of this bill.

Related: Insanity Wrap: Today’s Teens Gotta ‘Fight for Your Right to Total Safety’

Let’s pause here for a second to note that I have never, ever seen a kayaker without a life vest, and I live by a body of water routinely filled with kayakers. Those two items go together like peanut butter and jelly or peas and carrots.  Kayaks roll and plunge people underwater all the time. You’re insane if you don’t wear one.


This is a bill in search of a problem to solve.

But it gets worse for Ryu.

State Rep. Cyndy Jacobsen, a Republican and an actual paddleboarder, had another concern with her Democrat counterpart’s bill. “So I’m trying to understand this,” she said in her wind-up. “It says, on a stand-up paddleboard wearing a connecting leash, you are exempt,” she said. But Ryu’s bill also says one must be in “compliance with federal flotation device requirements.” Jacobsen attempted to get clarity about the conflict in the laws. “I mean, I don’t wear a flotation device to paddleboard. I’m just wondering about what that means,” she asked hopefully.

Alas, the Democrat had no answers for the conflicting laws. Ryu said that while she doesn’t know anything about this conflict (given that she’s only had years to research this), others will explain that another time. Oh, and please vote “yes” now.

Okay, here’s what she really said, which was worse: “What I understand — I’ve never paddleboarded. I’ve seen people doing it and admired their bravery — that they are required to carry some sort of flotation device …” which, of course, imploded her reason for offering the bill, to begin with.

She promised the Republican that she’d “have staff look into” her obvious questions that she had had years to research.


The staff summary of testimony seemed to focus on some sort of equity issue, because “males wear personal flotation devices less frequently than females. There is strong data to support the effectiveness of policies requiring that life jackets be worn,” though none was provided in the summary.

But Ryu did offer Jacobsen something — as if she were sharing hitherto unknown secret treasure — that, if one is connected to the paddleboard leash, one is exempt from wearing a life vest.

Isn’t she wonderful? And generous, too!

For those unaware, like Democrat Ryu, all commercially available paddleboards come with a leash to attach the rider to the paddleboard.  As with surfboards, if a rider falls off, he uses the leash to draw the paddleboard to himself to use as a flotation device.

Ryu still had more race pandering to do before the testimony was over. “I thought that was a great mechanism to allow the tribal members that do have a lot more access to the waters and traditional training and activity, unlike many of the other diverse communities that don’t, like Korean Americans,” The Korean-American Democrat explained. She added that “the only time I go out on the water nowadays anyway is when my non-Korean-American son-in-law takes me out on the water. And so I thought that was a good way of carving out very narrow exemptions.” Non sequitur, please pick up the white courtesy phone.


So here’s what we’ve learned from this bill and Democrat state representative Cindy Ryu. She doesn’t know the extent to which kayakers and paddleboarders use personal flotation devices, though she’s had years to research this. Koreans don’t do water, at least according to her. Native Americans do do water — for eons — which is before recorded history. For those keeping book, such as the CDC, Rantz notes, “Native Americans have the highest rate of drowning deaths in the United States of any racial demographic.”

Ryu may as well have said black people can’t swim and white men can’t jump, too.

Sadly for logic, reason, and people sick of government meddling, the committee passed this bill with a “do pass” recommendation. No Republicans voted for it. The bill will go to an even bigger number of Democrats who likely will vote to pass it, the same way schools pass kids to a higher grade without them being able to read or do math.





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