Three Washington State University political science professors have teamed up to create a new textbook for the coming decade.

Cornell Clayton, Lance LeLoup and Nick Lovrich began work on “Washington State Government and Politics” in April 2002 when they realized the current edition was more than a decade old.

Contrary to previous editions, this book will be useful to both students and political practitioners alike.

“Civic education is vital in allowing the public to reconnect with the government,” said contributor David Ammons, the state political writer for the Associated Press.

“This book takes the mystery out of government and what goes on within it.”

According to Clayton, past books were only a description of Washington state politics. “This book provides not only a description of state government and politics, but an analytical criticism of past, present and future problems and developments within the state,” he said.

For example, Clayton’s chapter focuses on how the state and federal constitutions define citizen rights differently, and how the state court must decide when the state constitution overrules the federal constitution and vice versa.

Other contributors to the book include university faculty from across the state and Ed Weber of the Thomas S. Foley Institute.

Collaboration on the book culminated in an author’s conference in November 2002, when the book’s contributors met in Pullman to discuss how to incorporate current political trends into their chapters.

“I was impressed that the editors reached out to me, someone reporting on the issues who is able to give some perspective on whether or not the book complied with what is going on in the real world,” said Ammons.

Among the challenges faced while writing the book were Clayton and LeLoup’s sabbatical leaves to Italy and France respectively.

Another challenge was the multitude of information that needed to be sorted through.

“Washington is the most digitally advanced state,” Lovrich said. “The majority of the state’s documents are online, which gave us access to more than enough information to include in the book.”

The book’s release also coincides with “The Year of the University Press,” as designated by the Association of Research Libraries and the Association of American University Presses.

“This book exemplifies the important values of research and scholarship that WSU Press embraces,” said Mary Read, director of University Publishing at WSU