Samish Valley residents continue fight against open-pit mine

BY JED HOLMES

Update on Grip Road Gravel Mine Proposal and Invitation to Community Picnic & Concert

There are many good reasons to subscribe to and support your local newspaper. One often overlooked reason is the public notices section, sandwiched somewhere between the obituaries and classifieds. Over the past year, the Skagit Valley Herald published more than 1300 such public announcements. As our community learned, ignore these notices at your own risk. 

The Central Samish Valley can loosely be defined as the green pastures and rolling hills along the Samish River from Old 99 to Highway 9. It is rural but not isolated, with 1500-2000 people residing in this community. The street names here reflect the tranquil qualities of this area that attracted many of our community members: Nature View Drive, Wildlife Acres Lane, Prairie Road, Wildwood Lane, Cedar Ridge Place, etc. 

In spring of 2016, when many of us were busy tending to our gardens and farms, Concrete Nor’West applied for a permit to create a new gravel mine just 200 feet from the Samish River in the heart of the valley. The application proposes the removal of 4.28 million cubic yards of sand and gravel. For perspective, imagine a pyramid one-third larger than Great Pyramid of Giza. Imagine enough gravel to fill Safeco Field to the point that you couldn’t shut the roof, and even then you would still have some left over. Imagine a landmark roughly the size of Burlington Hill disappearing from the landscape.

In addition to the enormous environmental impact at the mine site, all this sand and gravel would have to be transported across our already overburdened rural roads. Literally, hundreds of thousands of truck trips would be required to remove all of this material. However, for many months the community (myself included) was largely ignorant of this pending development, having missed the permit application announcement in the newspaper. 

By the time the permit hearing came around in December 2016, the county was ready to sign off on the developer’s proposal and only a handful of community members were present to voice their concerns. It was a foregone conclusion that the mine would move ahead as proposed. However, thanks to a mistake in the process for notifying neighboring property owners, the calendar for public comment was reset. This respite gave the community time to wake up and come to grips with the scope and impacts of the proposed project.

A community group called Central Samish Valley Neighbors was formed, led by some very dedicated individuals who have been pushing back against this mine proposal from day one. Our mission is “to protect the safety, environment, and quality of life in the Central Samish Valley from possible negative impacts of the proposed Concrete Nor’West Gravel mine.” 

The group has organized community meetings, including one in late March that was attend by more than 125 people. It has also been able to raise funds to help pay for analysis of traffic impacts and legal consultations. These outreach efforts have resulted in more than 150 public comments being submitted to the county since the beginning of the year. 

The county has begun to take our concerns seriously. Per its latest letter to CNW, the county is now advocating for larger buffers and limited hours of operation, and it has even commissioned an additional study of the road safety impacts.  These are reversals of the positions previously taken by the county, and it is refreshing to see. At the same time, even as these shifts in the county’s perspective are welcome, we are still a long way from our goal of ensuring that any development in our community does not threaten our safety, environment, and quality of life. 

If you would like to learn more about the proposed mine, please join us for a community potluck picnic, concert, and low-key fundraiser on September 9. Starting at 2:00 pm we’ll have games and live music as well as updates on our group’s efforts with regard to the proposed gravel mine. For more information, please see our website: https://centralsamish.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

 

VIEWPOINT: Trump's Speech on Afghanistan a Bluster of Fake Bravado

BY JEFF SIDDIQUI

Member, American Muslims of Puget Sound

This article was originally published on Siddiqui's blog here.

Yes, Donald Trump, the President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of its overwhelming military decided to give a speech on Afghanistan. I would give it zero points for a well thought-out plan and full points for high rhetoric, bluster, fake bravado and other brave-appearing but meaningless, sounds.

Let’s take a closer look…

  • “Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate.”

Unless of course, we talk about MUSLIMS who do not deserve any protections against prejudice, bigotry or, hate. Note that most naïve Muslims are still sitting out there waiting and hoping that Trump will condemn the bombing of the Mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota; they have a long wait in front of them.

  • 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists”

Most Americans remain unaware and don’t care to learn, that we the US, attacked Afghanistan and destroyed the final remnants of its order…misguided as the order was…for reasons of getting a gas pipeline through the country to the Arabian Sea. We invaded after the Taliban government decided to give the pipeline contract to an Argentine company instead of to UNOCAL, the American company. The bit about Ben Laden was a ruse that Americans embraced because of our thirst for vengeance over the 9-11 tragedy. Well over two MILLION lives and millions more maimed from Pakistan to Libya, we are still thirsting for more blood for the 3000 dead who, ironically, included about 10% Muslims and a number of undocumented people.

  • “And, as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq. As a result, our hard-won gains slipped back into the hands of terrorist enemies. Our soldiers watched as cities they had fought for, and bled to liberate, and won, were occupied by a terrorist group called ISIS.”

We invaded Iraq based on a desire to establish our power, nothing else. It was our plan to destroy Iraq and ALL of its infrastructure….roads, power, organization,  government…everything and we succeeded completely. Our soldiers watched as Iraqis began their destructive looting of anything else that we had not destroyed. We then destroyed the connections between Shia and Sunni by first pitting the Sunnis against the Shia and then the Shia against the Sunni. It is now almost unimaginable to see and Iraq that can survive as an intact country with Shia and Sunni Arabs living as brothers and sisters, let alone the Kurds who are now openly calling for their own nation.

  • “Today, 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world.”

The key words are “US-designated”. Of course, the US only designates groups they do not like, as “terrorists” while the real “terrorists” who serve the purposes of the United States, are “defenders of freedom”. No American violent organization like the KKK, militias and other ‘Patriot Nation”-type organizations who are armed to teeth, are considered as “terrorists”. The very term “Terrorist” has become a bankrupt, meaningless, political designation.

  • “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.”
  • Perhaps the only truthful statement of the entire speech. Not only has Pakistan turned a blind and protective eye to the violent fanatics who are busy committing massive slaughter of Pakistanis, Pakistan is also the haven for American Drones and Death-Squads (a.k.a. “Special Forces” and “Seal Teams”).

    Pakistan has long been the prostitute for the US because the US sends arms and money for Pakistan’s military and for its corrupt military and civilian leaders who do not care enough about Pakistan to put a stop to the mindless, ignorant and fanatical religious leaders who drive all the violence in the country.

    Of course, the US serves as the prostitute for rich countries as well. The US knows full well, that the sole center for the creation, distribution and promotion of religious-based violence is Arabia (“Saudi” Arabia). But with hundreds of billions of dollars pouring in from that country into the US and its companies, it is more expedient to lay the blame for violence and fanaticism on countries who cannot affect any US interests.

    • Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next.”

    Of course, this does NOT include our own forces of terrorism nor the forces of our friends and allies such as Israel, Britain, Arabia, Egypt, Philippines and others who also commit innumerable acts of terrorism in order to maintain their gains on the lands they hold. No, it only includes anyone who we dislike or who our allies dislike even if they are fighting for their lives and their freedom. We don’t dare even start a count of how many “innocent lives” we have had a hand in slaughtering.

    • Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace. We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live, or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.”
      • The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism.”Having destroyed everything in Afghanistan…over and over again since the 1970s…we now wag our finger at the people, holding them responsible for their own future. Having destroyed the nation and blown everything into smithereens, we now insist “we are not nation-building”…”again”?? when did we build that unfortunate nation before?

      No kidding. The American people have forgotten, with encouragement from our political leaders (Trump included) that Pakistan was a beautiful, peaceful country where different Muslims and different religions co-existed reasonably well before America introduced the intolerant strain of violent Muslim thinking via the House of Saud, in order to fight the Soviet Union. The responsibility for creating arming training and spreading their violence lies ONLY at the doorstep of the United States.

      • But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people.”Er…doc. That is “Saudi” Arabia, they were the people who committed the horrors of 9-11. The rest of the so-called “Muslim terrorists” in America are people who were lured into positions by the FBI where the FBI could then arrest them with great fanfare and show how America is still safe. Here, we are not taking into account, the people who strut about with masks, military gear and automatic weapons, to try to terrorize Muslims into leaving and to intimidate the rest of the “liberal” Americans.

         

  • “We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan,…”

The whole reason Pakistan is involved in Afghanistan is because India is there and Pakistan has no wish to have Afghanistan become a military ally of India and get caught in the jaws of the two allies. The whole reason why Pakistan is at odds with India is because India controls a large part of Kashmir and will not agree to allow the people to either go to Pakistan or to become a sovereign nation. Kashmir controls the last two great rivers that flow into Pakistan, the other three great rivers have already been largely or entirely diverted into India, leaving Pakistan in near-drought conditions until flood season when water is the last thing anyone wants. India signed the Indus Waters Treaty

with Pakistan in 1960 under which it guaranteed a year-round minimum amount of water (cusecs = cubic feet per second) into Pakistan. Since then, all India has done is to decrease the flow of water into Pakistan that came from the three rivers flowing from India (Ravi, Sutlej and Beas) and under Indian control. Give India the last and largest river flowing from Kashmir and watch Pakistan turn into a desert.

For the US to now invite India to get deeper into Afghanistan is a life-or-death situation for Pakistan and a sure bet that Pakistan will also be deeply involved to counter India.

  • That’s why we will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan.”

Unfortunately, the American armed forces have already killed hundreds of thousands (million?) of innocent Afghans. By making it easier to kill even more is certainly not going to endear the US to the citizens of Afghanistan, this “War!” is doomed to continue into failure.

  • ”Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.”

Nice rhetoric and bound to get lots of praise from our hot-headed, patriotic, REAL Americans but in reality, it is meaningless drivel. The only ones to benefit from all this, are the industries that “serve” the war-effort and the politicians who support them as Afghan blood flows endlessly.

  • America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. However, our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check. The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden. “

The loophole!! Now we can lay the blame for failure at the feet of the corrupt Afghan government and walk away any time we wish and actually look good to the gullible Americans!

  • Our actions, and in the months to come, all of them will honor the sacrifice of every fallen hero, every family who lost a loved one, and every wounded warrior who shed their blood in defense of our great nation…”

That is all we really care about, American deaths. We cry every day for the 2,270 Americans killed in Afghanistan,  we scream for vengeance for the blood of these sincere people who gave their lives thinking they were actually defending the US, we conceal all their wasted lives behind calls for defense of America. But we never mention even one of the almost million Afghans killed and many times more who were left maimed by our actions and under our watch. Afghans are not even given the dignity of recognition and accounting for the lost lives, both the Americans and the Afghan “government” (under US control) decided they did not need to keep numbers of Afghan casualties.

Thus we pass into another phase of the exercise of mindless American might. Drunk with power, we will kill endless more innocent people and glory in the fact by saying we are keeping America safe

Nobody will ask, “Who is keeping our victims safe?”

 

 

Jafar “Jeff” Siddiqui is an American Muslim living in Washington State and is the first Muslim-American to cast an electoral vote. He is a member of American Muslims of Puget Sound and is a human rights activist. He is involved with movements for inter-faith understanding. He has contributed articles for a textbook on terrorism, used by US law-enforcement agencies. He grew up in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (North-West Frontier) Province.

SKAGIT DEMOCRATS WEEK IN REVIEW

COURTESY OF SKAGIT COUNTY DEMOCRATS

NEW - Please Help the Sumas Farm Workers by Donating at Community to Community Development's website at http://www.foodjustice.org/donate-1. 
Tragically a H-2A Farm Worker died more likely by not receiving medical help in a timely matter and now around 100 Farm Workers are homeless and have no way to get back home to Mexico.

 

During harvest, many local farms hire foreign guest workers through the federal H-2A program. But what are the impacts of this program? How does it care for-or completely ignore-the health and safety of migrant workers living and working in our community? The horrifying treatment of H-2A workers by Sarbanand Farm in Sumas, WA is an example of why this program doesn't work. Workers suffering terrible working conditions in the extreme heat and smoke were fainting in the fields. Their crammed quarters had no A/C, refrigerators, or microwaves to prepare food, and have expressed that they are charged weekly for food, and then received under-cooked food, or not enough food. One worker, who had complained for four days that he wasn't feeling well, died at Harborview Medical Center. Several others are sick and at a hospital.

 

On August 4, 2017, a group of farm-workers went on strike to demand better working conditions, including on-site medical attention, shaded areas, and food. They were immediately fired by the company and given one hour to leave the property, without paychecks. They're stuck with expired work permits since the company didn't renew for them, like they were supposed to and now all the workers are in a legal limbo. Around 100 workers are now in an encampment in the yard of a nearby family. The community has been working to provide food, camping supplies, and portable toilets in an attempt to create tenable living conditions. What the farm workers need: donations to pay for portable toilets and for people to put gas in their cars so they can try and sort out their health and legal situation.

 

NEW - Coffee 'n Cards

All are invited to drop in (for any length of time) between 10:00am - 12:00pm EACH TUESDAY for Coffee 'n Cards.  Sending postcards to give a PoB (Pat on the Back), oppose/support a specific issue, or occasional SOY (Shame On You) to deserving individuals or groups is a positive way to react to the negative news from Trump administration.  Colorful postcards, pens and topic cards with addresses are provided, stamps sold 3/$1, and you bring your own coffee!  Return address labels for your cards are time-savers.

 

For ten weeks, this group has been meeting outside regular office hours at the Skagit Dem. HQ with the goal of sending postcards. We have sent over 80 post cards each of the past two weeks, but more help would be appreciated!  It is very satisfying to be doing something little but very positive.

 

The 39th Legislative District is looking for volunteers to staff the Democrats booth at the Evergreen State Fair, Aug 26 - 27, Monroe

To make sure the dates are all covered each LD is staffing two days for the Democratic booth in Monroe. We will have Sat and Sunday. The Snohomish County Chair, Mario Brown is very grateful to us for taking the 26th, which is the same day as the Snohomish Democrats Gala. This is a great event and fun. Morning and evening shifts available. Let's show the fighting spirit of the Democrats in the 39th. Contact: Cathy Ozog (cmozog@gmail.com) if interested in taking a shift.

 

The Skagit Democrats Executive Board will not meet in the month of August

Our next meeting will be of the Skagit Democrats Central Committee on Saturday, Sep 9.

 

The 10th Legislative District Democrats Executive Board meeting for August 2017 has been cancelled

The September meeting will be held on Sep 23, the fourth Saturday, instead of the usual third Saturday.  Same time and place for the meeting in September - Skagit Democrats Headquarters at 10:00 am.

 

Whatcom Democrats' Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner & Fundraiser, Saturday, Sep 23, 5:30pm - 8:30 p.m., Silver Reef Hotel Casino, 4876 Haxton Way, Ferndale

The Whatcom Democrats' biggest fundraiser of the year. Enjoy a terrific buffet of northwest favorites, rousing speeches from local and State elected officials, and the company of fellow Democrats. Click Here for more information.

 

Skagit Democrats are assembling a team with the help of the local Congressional District 1 & Congressional District 2 Sister District Project to phone bank and canvass for Manka Dhingra in the 45th Legislative District so we can turn the State Senate blue!

We have a critical race in the 45th legislative district and an opportunity to put the power back in the hands of Democrats! Please join your fellow citizens in supporting Manka Dhingra. There are weekly phone banking and canvassing opportunities. If you would like to participate in this endeavor, please send an email to staff@skagitdemocrats.org with your contact information.

 

Interested in helping flip the Washington State Senate?   

Our local chapter of Sister District Project, a national grassroots organization that supports democratic campaigns in districts that tend Republican, is helping to support Manka Dhingra's campaign for state senate.  We are working to organize carpools down to Redmond to help her campaign by canvassing in the 45th district. Canvassing is happening every weekend on both Saturday and Sunday at 10 AM and 1 PM. Training is available before each 2-hour canvassing block. If you are interested in participating, please contact Molly Westring at mollywestring@gmail.com.  

 

NEW - A message from Washington's Paramount Duty - An Open Letter to Fellow WPD Advocates,

Together, we've accomplished a lot, and we still have a lot to do. With the legislative session in the rear-view mirror, WPD is taking stock of what we've accomplished and the work ahead. 

 

First, we want to thank YOU. Thank you for showing up - for calling, emailing, advocating, showing up on lobby days, and testifying in public hearings, sometimes on very short notice. Your voice made a difference. Many of you joined us in attending Education Funding Task Force meetings last year, and then public hearings this past session. Together we learned to testify, to hold our legislators publicly accountable, and to speak truth to power. 

 

Eighteen months since our founding, we are proud that we have moved the needle in Olympia in favor of amply funding public schools by:

  • Mobilizing thousands of parents and allies to call and email their legislators
  • Organizing hundreds of parents and allies to show up and testify at public hearings
  • Meeting with dozens of legislators
  • Becoming a "go-to" source for what is happening on the issue of education funding in Olympia - by the media and the public

From tweets to amicus briefs, WPD is a lean, efficient and effective volunteer-run organization. We are all together, with you, a collective of informed and informative passionate public-school advocates. We literally crowdsource advocacy on the WPD FB group and have moved the political conversation in Olympia. 

 

To be clear, the budget that was passed at the 11th hour did not meet the paramount duty of the state to amply fund education, and for that, we are disappointed. Analysis of the passed operations budget and lack of capital budget has shown school districts struggling statewide with the funding gaps that remain. 

 

Our mission remains to compel our state to amply fund basic education. We envision that every child receives the attention they need from their teacher to thrive, that every school has stocked libraries, updated curricula, arts and sports programs, a funded librarian, counselor, guidance counselor, and nurse. 

 

WPD continues its advocacy planning and activities - Summer Stinson, WPD VP, and Kathryn Russell Selk, WPD super-volunteer, are hard at work on an amicus brief to be filed to the Supreme Court by the end of the month. In addition, we will endorse legislative candidates for the November elections who demonstrate that they will fight for amply funded schools. And we will prepare to advocate for a supplemental budget during the 2018 legislative session.

 

Thank you for staying informed, for showing up, and for being part of this growing collective voice that will not be quieted until our mission is accomplished and every child in Washington state has equal access to a quality public education.

 

Yours in advocacy, Tali Rausch, WPD Board President & Mom to 3 Public School Students

 

NEW - Week in Review, Aug 12

McMorris Rodgers Rally To Hold Her Accountable

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers refused to hold any public events before voting to take away health care from 23 million Americans. She has shown time and time again that she's more concerned about following the Republican Party line than representing her constituents. So, at an event this week, more than 150 constituents rallied to ask McMorris Rodgers questions and hold her accountable for her vote for Trumpcare.

McMorris Rodgers' constituents pressed her on issues including funding Planned Parenthood, immigration, protecting health care coverage, and her strong support for Trump and his agenda. McMorris Rodgers' floundering answers make it more clear than ever that we need new leadership in the 5th Congressional District that will truly represent their constituents' interests. Check out news coverage here.

 

Watch and share some video from the event here - if there's one thing that Cathy McMorris Rodgers made clear, it's that she loooooves Donald Trump in the White House!

 

Facebook Live Discussion of Summer of Canvass

Next Tuesday, August 15, we're holding a Facebook live event to talk with Democrats across the state about our Summer of Canvass program and how we're organizing and building our party. The event will be all online, so you can watch and ask questions from anywhere, from 8-9 PM. You can RSVP and get more info here - it'll be a great event and we're looking forward to it!

 

You'll get an update on our Summer of Canvass and the work we're doing to invest in our party infrastructure in every corner of the state. So far, volunteers with our Summer of Canvass have been out across the state - listening to voters' concerns and talking about our party and how our progressive approach can help address the challenges people are facing in their everyday lives.

 

Our next big milestone is next weekend - Saturday, August 19th is a National Day of Action, and we want as many Democrats as possible out on the doors. We need your help to spread the word about our party and the essential issues that we're working on. Click here for more information on canvasses in your area or to sign up to be contacted by an organizer with details on how you can help and get involved. Thank you!

 

Trump Sabotaging Health Insurance

A new nonpartisan study has found that Trump is already causing double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies, proving that his threats of sabotaging Obamacare are already having a real and harmful effect on Americans.

Trump is responsible for this - the study found that the president has created uncertainty "far outside the norm" that's now causing a significant hike in premiums. Now Trump is still deciding whether he will withhold crucial payments that stabilize insurance premiums as part of his continued effort to sabotage healthcare markets, creating major uncertainty that has caused insurers to raise premiums or leave markets entirely.

 

If Trump chooses to end these payments, he will directly impact millions of Americans who could see their premiums increase by as much as 19 percent. Americans could be forced to pay a "Trump premium tax" next year that could amount to as much as 50 percent. Republicans may have failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act thus far, but that hasn't stopped them - and it can't stop us either. We have to continue to be vigilant and protect our health care.

 

Tell us what you'd ask Dave Reichert

We're already laying the groundwork to beat Dave Reichert, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and other congressional Republicans in 2018. But that starts with holding them accountable now -- and Dave Reichert is still refusing to hold a town hall meeting to hear from his constituents.

 

We're collecting questions that Washingtonians would like to ask Reichert if they had the chance - like why he voted more than sixty times to repeal Obamacare, or if he supports Trump's budget to slash education spending, or why he voted to keep Trump's tax returns secret. You can click here to send us your question for Reichert - we'll be reading them all and sharing some of the best with the public and with Reichert's office.

 

Tensions with North Korea

Trump's 17-day vacation to his golf course (by the end of this trip, he'll have spent 1/3rd of his presidency at a Trump-branded property) hasn't prevented him from dangerously escalating tensions with North Korea.

 

Trump has to understand that this is a time for global leadership, not recklessly ad-libbing threats from the golf course. The president needs to be crystal clear when addressing the country or the world on issues of defense and national security.  Neither America nor our allies and enemies should have to spend the rest of the day interpreting Trump's dangerously ambiguous statements. Unfortunately, Trump's erratic response has only endangered our national security and escalated tensions. When nuclear war and the security of our nation are at stake, we need to be thoughtful and serious - especially when dealing with a madman like Kim Jong Un. Trump's rhetoric and needless escalation is irresponsible and puts us at risk.

 

Tina and Susan Hutchison on KUOW radio!

Tina and the Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison had a joint appearance on KUOW radio this week, talking about primary results, Trump escalating tensions with North Korea, and more! You can listen to the segment by clicking here.

 

Help Us Fund Our Eastern Washington Outreach

Tina just got back from her tour of Eastern Washington - talking with Democrats and voters about how we grow our party across the state - and we heard loud and clear that we need to do a better job of finding innovative new ways to reach people in these areas. Many areas of Eastern Washington are too rural to doorbell, or lack wi-fi for communication over the internet, or don't have daily local newspapers.

 

We want to raise money that we can spend on Eastern Washington-specific communications efforts. Whether that's big signs, radio spots, newspaper ads, or something else, we want to identify the best ways to communicate about our party to Eastern Washington voters. Our Win Eastern Washington Fund goes exactly to that. We already have commitments from many Eastern Washington legislators and elected officials to help support this effort - can you help as well with a contribution? Thank you!

 

COMMUNITY EVENTS 

1. NEW - Nomorebombs.org presents Nuclear Tipping Point, 7:00pm - 9:00pm,Anacortes Public Library Meeting Room, 1220 10th Street, Anacortes

Nomorebombs.org presents the first in a series of monthly programs about nuclear weapons in our world today, scary movies, and informed conversations. NUCLEAR TIPPING POINT is a provocative short film by prominent Cold War Veterans George Schultz, Sam Nunn, William Perry, and Henry Kissinger. It will be followed by a discussion of significant current events in the field, what they mean, and how we can better understand the serious future consequences of our government's actions today. Let's talk about the world we want for our children. Let's get involved. Contact Tracy Powell, Call360-840-3826 or email tracy@nomorebombs.org.

 

2. NEW - Concrete Heritage Museum Association Annual Potluck Dinner, 6:00pm, Wednesday, Aug 16, Concrete Community Center45821 Railroad Street, Concrete

Free admission. Open to the public.

 

3. NEW - Concrete celebrates Cascade DaysSaturday and Sunday, Aug 19 and Aug 20, 9:00am to 4:00pm

Click Here for the schedule.

 

4. NEW - The Upper Skagit Library Foundation Book Sale, Saturday, Aug 19, 9:00am to 3:00pm, Library Parking lot, 45770B Main Street. Concrete

Join us during Concrete's Cascade Days to purchase gently used books of all genres and support your local library. Your donations will have a direct impact on library programming.

 

5. Here's some news from Safe and Sane Skagit

Safe and Sane Skagit is a group of Skagitonians advocating for firearm safety. Recent activities include:

  • Lobbying for responsible gun legislation. A Law Enforcement and Victim Notification bill passed in 2017, HB 1501, the first firearm safety legislation to pass in WA State in many years. (WA State ranks 10th in the nation in firearm safety laws according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.)
  • Partnering with the Alliance for Gun Responsibility in an #ivoteorange campaign this summer, tabling at the Edison Farmer's Market and elsewhere.
  • Participating in the Washington State Firearm Tragedy Prevention Network
  • Liz Hjelmseth, gun violence survivor and SaSS member, is featured in the bookShot and on King 5 News and participated in a Town Hall Seattle panel discussion on gun violence, available as a KUOW Speaker's Forum podcast.

Save the Date! SaSS Seeds of Change event Saturday evening, October 21, with speakers, lively discussion, music, and refreshments. More info to come. Visit us onFacebook or write to safeandsaneskagit@gmail.com.

 

6. Skagit Project Homeless Connect! will conduct an outreach program Friday, Aug 25, 9:00am - 2:00pm, Knutzen Cardinal Building, Skagit Valley College, Mount Vernon

No identification required for most services

  • Health fair
  • Clothing
  • Housing services
  • Haircuts
  • Free lunch
  • DSHS services
  • Veteran's services

7. NEW - Skagit Habitat for HumanityFriendly People Needed

Are you always saying hello to everyone and trying to help out? The Skagit Habitat for Humanity Store could use someone as chipper and friendly as you! Customer Service volunteers help customers at the Store feel welcome and assist customers with questions. Various shifts available. Must be 16 or older to volunteer. Contactvolunteer@skagithabitat.com for more information.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. NEW TIME and ANOTHER DAY - Listen to We Do the Work, Tuesdays, 5:00pm and Sundays, 7:00pm, at KSVR, 91.7; KSVU, 90.1; or KSJU, 91.9 FM

A weekly local worker radio program that features news, interviews, music, and comments, "We Do the Work" believes American workers are at the heart of our economy and culture, deserving dignity, respect, and a decent family wage. To hear our other shows, go to We Do The Work Archives. Questions about interviews? Email ksvrwedothework@gmail.com
 

NEW -

We Do The Work's program for Tuesday, Aug 15, 5:00 pm and Sunday, Aug 20, 7:00 pm, 91.7 FM - Robert McCloud, Organizer for the WA and N Id District Council of Laborers

Interview by Lori Province: Robert discusses the safety and fairness issues in the construction industry. For more information, go to

https://www.facebook.com/LaborersLocal292/ 

 

We Do The Work Comment: Icelandic Women stand up to pay inequality.


2. Listen to Speak Up! Speak Out! Radio

We are a half-hour weekly, locally-produced radio show committed to community, peace, justice, and non-violence issues. Topics and interviewees change weekly. Our shows are available anytime or subscribe to podcasts at http://www.speakupspeakoutradio.org/. Also find us at https://www.facebook.com/SpeakUpSpeakOutRadio/. Interested in getting SUSO e-News? Contact SUSOenews@gmail.com.


SUSO Radio airs at:

  • KSVR 91.7 FM, Mount Vernon, Wednesdays 5:00pm, rebroadcasts Sundays 8:00pm
  • KMRE 102.3 FM, Bellingham, Sundays 11:00am and Wednesdays 7:30am
  • KSVU 90.1 FM, Hamilton, Sundays 8:00pm and Thursdays 8:00am

       

 Visit the Skagit County Democrats Headquarters


We are open Monday through Thursday, 12:00pm to 4:00pm            
                     

300 A First Street                                            
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273         

(360) 336-1555  

staff@skagitdemocrats.org        

www.skagitdemocrats.org

 

Submit News Items

This weekly e-newsletter is compiled and formatted by Don Ambrose, action newsletter editor, Skagit County Democrats. 

 

We welcome Democratic News items for inclusion in this publication. Deadlines are Thursdays to be considered in the following weeks newsletter. Email items to news@skagitdemocrats.org

 

Articles in this e-newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the Skagit County Democrats. Due to scheduling differences, the email and website versions of the newsletter may appear at different times.

Skagit County Democrats, 300 A First Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273

2017 40th District Democrats Annual Chili Contest

40th LD Democrats State Committee Man Tom Pasma introduces Washington State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz.

40th LD Democrats State Committee Man Tom Pasma introduces Washington State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz.

Nearly 100 people attended the 40th District Annual Chili Contest Sunday, August 13 at Double S Quarterhorses in Bow. Photos by Tara Nelson

Nearly 100 people attended the 40th District Annual Chili Contest Sunday, August 13 at Double S Quarterhorses in Bow. Photos by Tara Nelson

WOW! 

What an amazing time we had at the 40th District Annual Chili Contest last Sunday at Tom Pasma's Ranch in Bow! We tasted more than a dozen chilis from local progressive organizations, heard from some local political rockstars, soaked in sunshine and great company, enjoyed live music from 40th LD San Juan Vice Chair Sharon Abreu, and experienced a live horse training demonstration.

We had contestants from the 40th, 39th & 10th LD Democrats, Skagit County Democrats, Fidalgo Democrats, Young Democrats of Skagit County, Whatcom Democrats, ACLU/Power People Committee from Skagit Indivisible United, Burlington Democrats, Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, and Sister District Project CD1 & CD 2.

Mt. Vernon City Council candidate Iris Alicia Carias.

Mt. Vernon City Council candidate Iris Alicia Carias.

Rita Sullivan took home the 1st Place People's Choice Chili with her black bean Cuban-style chili and Sedro-Woolley City Council candidate Karl de Jong was a close runner up with his wild, locally-sourced venison (expertly butchered by his campaign staffer!) and bacon chili. 

A friendly chicken was ready to help clean up where any corn chip crumbs may have fallen.

A friendly chicken was ready to help clean up where any corn chip crumbs may have fallen.

We also heard from Washington State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, 40th District Rep. Kris Lytton, Bellingham City Council member Roxanne Murphy, Sedro-Woolley City Council member Germaine Kornegay, Mt. Vernon City Council candidate Iris Alicia Carias, Anacortes City Council member Liz Lovelett. We will also hear from 40th District Representative Jeff Morris and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy on their new carbon tax initiative. 

Washington State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz.

Washington State Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz.

Washington State Representative Kris Lytton (D-Anacortes).

Washington State Representative Kris Lytton (D-Anacortes).

Sedro-Woolley City Council woman Germaine Kornegay.

Sedro-Woolley City Council woman Germaine Kornegay.

Mt. Vernon City Council candidate Iris Alicia Carias.

Mt. Vernon City Council candidate Iris Alicia Carias.

Anacortes City Council member Liz Lovelett.

Anacortes City Council member Liz Lovelett.

Bellingham City Council member Roxanne Murphy.

Bellingham City Council member Roxanne Murphy.

We also presented flowers and much-due recognition to long-time members Hue Beattie and Maggie M. Hanson as well as former Skagit Vice Chair Rita Sullivan.

The 40th District Democrats recognized State Committee Woman Maggie M. Hanson (r.) and also former 40th e-board members Hue Beattie and Rita Sullivan for their life-time of service to Democratic values.

The 40th District Democrats recognized State Committee Woman Maggie M. Hanson (r.) and also former 40th e-board members Hue Beattie and Rita Sullivan for their life-time of service to Democratic values.

After the event, attendees were treated to horse and hydrabull demonstrations by nationally known trainer Sue Sultze with help from Tom Pasma. 

40th LD Democrats State Committee Man Tom Pasma and his wife Sue Sultze in a "hydrabull" horse training exercise. 

40th LD Democrats State Committee Man Tom Pasma and his wife Sue Sultze in a "hydrabull" horse training exercise. 

Nationally known trainer Sue Sultze of Double S Quarterhorses.

Nationally known trainer Sue Sultze of Double S Quarterhorses.

Mt. Vernon City Council candidate Jorge Manzanera and former 40th Democrats Vice Chair Dylan Richardson help set up our banner.

Mt. Vernon City Council candidate Jorge Manzanera and former 40th Democrats Vice Chair Dylan Richardson help set up our banner.

Finally, we'd also like to give a big shout-out to local food producers who made generous donations for our 1st Place gift basket. Those include Samish Bay Cheese, Bow Hill Blueberries, Gothberg Farms, Rhododendron Cafe, Breadfarm and Tulip Valley Winery.

Thanks again to everyone who made this event spectacular! 

On Charlottesville: Enough is enough

By Tina Podlodowski

Washington State Democratic Party Chair

 

ENOUGH

In 1993 I was a young(er) activist, moving from a corporate career at Microsoft to community-based organizing efforts, and taking a job as Staff Director at Hands Off Washington.

One of our board members was the incredible Bill Wassmuth, founder of the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment. Bill, a former Roman Catholic priest, waged a vigorous battle against white supremacist hate groups in the Pacific Northwest. And he experienced the violence of the Aryan Nation groups firsthand when they blew up the back of his house with a pipe bomb as he sat in his living room. 

Three Aryan Nation members were convicted in the bombing.  And Bill was a prime mover of the legal action in 2000 that led to a $6.2 million judgment against the Aryan Nations, bankrupting the group and forcing it to abandon its compound in Northern Idaho.

Bill passed away in 2002, but I’ll never forget his warning to be vigilant: ’’To ignore hate groups, even though they usually include relatively small numbers of people, is to miscalculate the impact that they can have on a community.’’

We cannot ignore what happened in Charlottesville, or, indeed, what happens every day across this country, including in our home state of Washington. It’s easy to say that white supremacy is a problem somewhere else – a problem in the South, or in other states, or not in our cities, towns and communities. But it’s not – it’s a problem we have to confront and address here, too.

For example, one of the leaders of the white supremacist rally this weekend in Charlottesville was from our state – James Allsup, president of the College Republicans at Washington State University in Pullman. 

And, here’s Camas native Joey Gibson, the white supremacist leader of Patriot Prayer in the Vancouver area who organizes racist rallies in Vancouver, Portland, and -- just this past weekend -- in Seattle.

All in all, the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified 21 hate groups in Washington State, like Faith Freedom in Bellevue, The Daily Stormer in Seattle, Proud Boys in Bellingham, Northwest Front in Bremerton, KKK chapters in Vancouver and Spokane, and statewide groups like Firm 22 and Crew 38. These last two are racist skinheads that form a particularly violent element of the white supremacist movement, and have often been referred to as the "shock troops" of the “hoped-for white revolution”.

Enough.  On behalf of Democrats across our state, I ask every elected official of any party or affiliation in the State of Washington to take a stand against the white supremacist movement. And specifically, I call on my counterpart – Susan Hutchison, Chair of the Washington State GOP -- to issue a statement denouncing the white supremacist groups and rhetoric that are causing this violence and division in communities across our state and our country right now.

The America we love has become a dangerous place for far too many people, and I’m going to make sure we Democrats do all we can to heal our country. We must turn back the racist white supremacy movement that’s growing too quickly, even in Washington. I’d appreciate your help and your ideas and your support – keep on standing with us – and please support the incredible groups in Washington that do anti-racism and anti-bias work every day.

Thank you for all you do,

Tina

 

Week In Review -- July 31

COURTESY OF SKAGIT COUNTY DEMOCRATS

 

Health Care Update

Things moved quickly on health care this last week - after a series of failed votes on several health care proposals, the Senate voted late Thursday night on a bill that was referred to as a "skinny repeal" of the Affordable Care Act. Had it passed, the "skinny repeal" bill would have taken health care away from millions, closed off insurance options in many areas, and raised premiums.

 

Fortunately, the Republicans failed once again. Not surprisingly, our Senators had our back every step of the way. If you can, please take a moment to send a message to thank them for standing up to Trump and fighting for health care! 

 

Senator Maria Cantwell:

Senator Patty Murray:

 

Upcoming Events With Tina

Tina's tour of Washington is starting this weekend - if you're in one of these areas, consider joining us at an event in the next few days! We'll be having pancake breakfast and going doorbelling to talk to voters in Vancouver and Goldendale. In Wenatchee and Spokane, we'll be doing town hall events to talk policy, politics, and our party. And in Republic, we'll be watching primary election results come in with our great candidates in the 7th LD special elections - Karen Hardy for Senate and Susan Swanson for House. We haven't had Democrats on the ballot in the 7th for years, and competing in every legislative district is essential to building our party and holding Republicans accountable across the state.

 

Republic - Election Night with Karen Hardy and Susan Swanson! Tuesday, Aug 1, 6:00pm - 9:00pm, Republic Brewing Company, 26 Clark Ave North, Republic, WA 99166, RSVP here

 

Spokane - Town Hall, Thursday, Aug 3, 6:00pm - 7:30pm, Toad Hall, 1427 W Dean Avenue, Spokane, WA 99201, RSVP here

 

Capital Budget Fiasco

People are waking up to the consequences of legislative Republicans blocking action on our state's capital budget, which funds more than $4 billion in infrastructure, jobs, and construction across the state. The Seattle Times points out that losing the $1 billion in school construction and the 115 mental health care beds in the budget could have big impacts on court cases involving the state:

 

The $4 billion, two-year capital budget that lawmakers let fall to the floor is not some extraneous item. Supreme Court justices resorted to holding the state in contempt with a $100,000-a-day fine to force school finance reform. The 75 new or remodeled schools included in the capital budget are important to finally complying with the court's McCleary ruling by enabling class-size reductions.

 

The capital budget also includes about $65 million in funding for badly needed new mental-health facilities.

On that point, a federal court also has held the state in contempt for allowing mentally ill inmates to languish in jails without needed treatment. Leaving Olympia without the capital budget only deepens the state's moral abandonment of its vulnerable citizens.

 

For Senate Republicans to kill the bipartisan capital budget, which passed the House 92-1, just shows the importance of retaking our state Senate and restoring functional, normal government to our legislature. This is why we're working hard to elect Democrats in this year's special legislative elections and why we need your help!

 

Primary Election Day Tuesday

This is the last weekend before primary election day and it's more important than ever that we're out talking to people about our Democratic values, listening to their concerns and priorities, and building our party in every corner of the state. We've already had hundreds of people step up to get involved in our Summer of Canvass program, but with just days left before the primary election, this is a crucial time to sign up and get out on the doors.

 

We're having canvasses across the state, and we need your help. You can see a list of upcoming canvasses and sign up here!

If you can't make it out on the doors, you can help fund our field organizing efforts by joining The Resistance - our monthly fundraising program that goes directly into field organizing and other party building efforts like the Summer of Canvass. Click here to find out more and help fund our grassroots efforts at $3, $7 or $14 dollars a month - even $27 - makes a huge difference!  Thanks for considering.

Week In Review -- July 25

COURTESY OF SKAGIT DEMOCRATS

Statewide Construction Projects Killed By GOP

The legislature adjourned for its third special session this Thursday - the longest session in state history is now over, but one critical piece of work was left undone. The state's capital budget, which funds more than $4 billion in construction projects across Washington, passed the House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 92-1, but Republicans held it hostage in the Senate and refused to bring it up for a vote. The bipartisan capital budget failed to pass, and now infrastructure across the state will be unable to go forward.

 

What do we lose as a result? The budget supports 19,000 good trades and construction jobs annually that will now be lost. The capital budget would have invested $1 billion in school construction - an essential element of reducing class sizes and fully funding education under the McCleary decision - along with $800 million in maintenance and construction at our colleges and universities. It would have funded 115 new beds for providing critical mental health care at Western and Eastern State Hospitals. It would have invested in affordable housing projects, as communities across our state face a crisis of affordability. And it would have supported rural areas with clean water protections, irrigation projects, and farmland preservation.

 

For a list of specific projects sorted by legislative district, go here and click your LD numberto see what projects will be lost in your district because of Republican obstruction.

 

Clearly, the Republicans are all talk on jobs - and by killing this budget, they've let down every corner of our state, even their own districts will suffer. It's more important than ever that we retake the state Senate and get a state government that actually works again. 

 

Campaign with Manka and Gov. Inslee!

Making sure we have a functional state government that reflects and advances our progressive priorities starts with retaking the state Senate. Manka Dhingra, running in the 45th LD in the Redmond/Kirkland area, is one of our best chances to win the seat we need for a Democratic Senate. If you live in the area, Manka and Gov. Jay Inslee are going doorbelling this Sunday, and they'd love for you to join them there!

 

Our New E-Canvassing Program

Our new eCanvass program is a way to get out the vote of your friends, family, and contacts - from home! Our eCanvass program is an easy way to send a reminder email to your email contacts, letting them know about the importance of voting in their local elections. All of your information and contacts stay private - the party doesn't get any data or email information from you, but your friends get their personalized voting reminder from you. Click here to learn more and get set up with eCanvass.

 

Report on Trump's First Six Months

Trump's six-month report card is just as dreadful as it was for his first 100 days.  There have been showy claims and plenty of grandstanding, but he's failed to back them up while pushing a deeply flawed and conservative agenda. And the American people have recognized this - he's the most unpopular president at this point in his first term since modern polling began.

 

The most substantive work Trump has done has been to sow uncertainty and unrest, proposing a dreadful budget and backing a health care repeal bill that would have left millions without health care, slash protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and raise insurance premiums. His agenda is a disaster for our economy as well - his budget would dismantle education funding and he and his fellow Republicans are desperate to pass tax cuts for the rich that prioritize the 1% over the middle class.

 

Trump has caused the world's opinion of the United States to plummet, and he's isolated the United States from our allies, undermining our national security.

 

Trump is failing the workers in the auto, manufacturing, construction, and coal industries who he promised to lift up during his campaign. The American auto industry is slowing down and automakers are cutting jobs after years of recovery and growth. Despite Trump's promise that companies would not leave, jobs continued to move overseas. Companies including Carrier, Rexnord, Boeing, Harley-Davidson, Ford and General Motors cut American jobs, despite Trump's promises to their workers.


Trump claims he's signed the more bills than any President.  That's a lie. Trump has signed zero major laws and accomplished nothing of importance over his first six months in office. But he has found the time to spend 40 days relaxing at his golf courses.


Oh, and now he's under investigation for possible obstruction of justice charges relating to his campaign's collusion with Russia during the election. And this is just in the first six months!

 

America deserves leaders who will fight to create good jobs, raise wages, offer true paid leave, and provide education opportunities for all in order to ensure economic opportunity. This is what Democrats stand for, this is what Democrats are fighting for, and we won't back down. It all starts with winning our local elections this year and retaking Congress next year by beating Dave Reichert, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and other Republicans across our state and our country.

 

Tina's Tour of Washington

Keep an eye out for news from us on Tina's upcoming tour of Washington state! Starting next weekend, she'll be going from Vancouver, to Goldendale, to Wenatchee, spending primary election night (Tuesday August 1st) with our 7th LD Senate candidate Karen Hardy and House candidate Susan Swanson in Republic, and finishing up in Spokane, and holding town halls and public events along the way. We'll be sending out more information soon as the events are finalized, but in the meantime, information on the primary election night event on Tuesday August 1st in Republic is on Facebook here. We're looking forward to this tour and talking with and listening to Democrats and voters across our state about how we build our party!

 

Our Summer of Canvass is Ramping Up!

With ballots in the hands of voters across the state this week, it's more important than ever that we're out talking to people about our Democratic values, listening to their concerns and priorities, and building our party in every corner of the state.

We've already had hundreds of people step up to get involved in our Summer of Canvass program, but with just days left before the primary election, this is a crucial time to sign up and get out on the doors. We're having canvasses across the state, and we need your help. You can see a list of upcoming canvasses and sign up here!

 

If you can't make it out on the doors, you can help fund our field organizing efforts by joining The Resistance - our monthly fundraising program that goes directly into field organizing and other party building efforts like the Summer of Canvass.

Click here to find out more and help fund our grassroots efforts at $3, $7 or $14 dollars a month - even $27 - makes a huge difference!  Thanks for considering.

 

Taxes are an investment in our future

By Tom Pasma
40th LD State Committeeman

Americans should be angry.

What we are witnessing in this country right now is an all-out assault on American citizens who fall below the 1 percent in wealth and it has been planned for a very long time and we as a country, have failed to recognize or organize against it.

The constant unraveling of reproductive rights, privatization of our prisons, schools, state parks and public lands, along with the defunding of infrastructure projects and social safety nets. These events aren’t isolated incidents but part of a bigger long-term strategy of the Republican Party to essentially destroy the federal government. And they’re winning.

The Nation Magazine calls this strategy “The Overthrow Project”:

"The essence of the Overthrow Project is familiar: to reduce taxes on the very rich, free the business community from taxes and regulations that interfere with its money-making, and subsidize that community with public funds. In addition, the Overthrow Project aims to privatize as many governmental activities as possible. Left for government is the maintenance of the remaining public infrastructure that enables private enterprise to operate efficiently and safely, as well as the assurance of public safety through ever-higher funding of the military, the homeland-security apparatus, the police, and other forces of so called law and order,” they wrote in their February, 2017 issue.

The Overthrow Project is more than just the pendulum swinging from blue to red every other presidential election. It is part of a longer strategy to obtain permanent control over ALL branches of federal and state governments. And they’re winning–big time.

With our executive branch, both chambers of our Congress, and a majority of state legislatures being controlled by Republicans, our U.S. Supreme Court is the last thin, dangling thread between the America we were taught to love and a fiscally-fascist fantasy world dreamt up by Randroids who got theirs and no one else matters.

I want to be brutally honest about what is truly going on, we have front row seats and are participants of a film in which the wealthiest people putting us in our positions in society. A film in which we are at the bottom of all aspects of human life and human dignity! According to some powers that be, if you fall below the 1 percent line in this country you are not worthy of having anything that can resemble having a quality life. The current powers that be are on their way of either taking or finishing taking away any basic form of the ability of making a living wage, having an  education, retirement, savings, owning a home, voting, freely traveling, postal service, etc. etc. all aspects of having a quality life with the ability to truly make decisions that we might want to make for our lives to be better. I constantly hear about how we Democrats got here and who to blame, but if you have one foot in yesterday and one into tomorrow, you are pissing on today. And if we continue to argue and fight about B.S., well then, you can turn the lights out, because the game is over!

We all have a story, but the question is, what are we going to do about it? Are we liberals going to continue to fight amongst ourselves or are we going to stand up and say, enough is enough and we are not going to take this all out assault on basic human rights as a citizen of the United States of America? As a small business owner and part of the community that actually produces the highest majority of jobs in this country and someone who worked on the ACA throughout Washington state, having affordable healthcare has had the largest impact me and business because now I know my insurance will be there for me if I actually have to use it.

Before the ACA, I never had the luxury of knowing if I had a healthcare need if they would actually pay for the costs. Lucky for me, I have had no major health-related issues and am healthy. But before the ACA was enacted, my family and I paid about $12,000 a year with a $10,000 deductible for a policy not worth the paper it was written on and now I actually have insurance that has to pay for any of my health issues that I may have or may come up in the future.

Think about that, the 1 percent is pissed off that my insurance has to pay for 85 percent of actual health-related costs. Before the ACA was made into law, this was not the case. I am able to get a health physical every year now, which my insurance covers, my chiropractic care, which they pay a portion of, etc. etc. Is the ACA perfect, no but a little bit of something is a hell of lot better than nothing at all!

Now that’s not to say the ACA can’t be and shouldn’t be improved! We are witnessing planned total destruction of the ACA from the republicans and then they stand there and tell us that it is completely failing. Everything that we are witnessing and living through is nothing but societal standing and pure evil! I have a lot more to say, but I am not the greatest writer, so I will finish for now with the following;

Taxes are an investment in the future. Period.

What kind of future do we want to have for this country or our state or communities, All generations have made an investment and sacrifice for the future to have a better quality of life than before them, that is what made this country great! As someone who was born in Montana and raised in a Roosevelt household from rural america and I continue to live and make my living in rural america. I will leave you with this thought from President Roosevelt,

"No man can occupy the office of President without realizing that he is President of all the people."

Week In Review

COURTESY OF SKAGIT DEMOCRATS

A MESSAGE FROM WASHINGTON STATE DEMOCRATS CHAIR TINA PODLODOWSKI

As a mom of three, I know what every parent knows - it's virtually impossible to negotiate with preschoolers. As much as we may love them, and care about them, they don't respond well to reason and they want what they want for themselves. Period. They are not necessarily ever thinking responsibly or in consideration of the greater good, or even of what might also be good for the kid standing right next to them.  And, then, of course, we've all seen the meltdowns when they don't get their way.

 

Usually they grow out of it - thank goodness. But, sometimes, it just sucks to be a grown-up, be responsible, and do the right thing.I was thinking about this last night, as the state legislature was passing its budget - and narrowly averting a disastrous and irresponsible government shutdown. Because we have a divided legislature, with a Democratic House and a Republican Senate, the final budget product would by nature have to be a compromise. And like most compromises, there are some things that are great, and some that are not so great.

 

I want to thank our Democratic budget negotiators and legislators for standing up for our Democratic values with the victories they got in the final budget deal. This was an incredibly difficult task, and with the GOP budget negotiators unwilling to come to the table again, and again, and again, I'm not quite sure how they pulled this off. But I'm incredibly grateful. Thank you to negotiators Timm Ormsby, June Robinson, Kris Lytton, Pat Sullivan, Kevin Ranker, Christine Rolfes, Andy Billig, and everyone in the Democratic House and Senate Caucuses, as well as Governor Inslee for signing the budget bill.

 

This budget makes progress toward fulfilling the "McCleary Mandate" from the state Supreme Court to strengthen our K-12 schools. It adds $7.3 billion to K-12 education over four years. Of that, $1.8 billion is spent in the 2017-19 budget. Another $464 million is raised through the expansion of online sales-tax collections, and the elimination of tax breaks on bottled water and oil refineries.

 

State workers finally receive a pay raise - after years of none, or cuts.  Our mental-health system will be able to add community-crisis centers. Early learning education is expanded, as well as oversight and coordination of foster care and child welfare programs. Temporary Aid for Needy Families, civil legal-aid services, and homelessness and housing services are all boosted.

 

Democrats negotiated and passed a landmark statewide paid family leave law, one of the strongest and most progressive family leave policies in the country, so that workers have time to take care of their families and themselves without going broke. We have progress on establishing carbon caps on greenhouse-gas emissions coming from certain businesses, and, importantly, monies to update training for law-enforcement officers on using less-than-lethal force. Plus so much more.

 

But despite the best efforts of our Democratic legislators, Republicans were able to force elements of their regressive tax plan into the final budget. In many areas of the state - some Republican, but mostly Democratic - Republicans insisted on raising regressive property taxes on the working class, instead of reforming our tax code and asking the rich or giant corporations to pay more.

 

GOP Senators refused for months to even engage in budget negotiations with Democrats, and brought us to the brink of a government shutdown simply in defense of wealthiest 1%. And here are the three guys leading that charge - Republican Senate negotiators Sen. Mark Schoesler of Ritzville, Sen. John Braun of Centralia, and Sen. Dino Rossi of Sammamish, have all made it their top priority to defend the rich and the big corporations that fund GOP political campaigns. Their backwards priorities are wrong for all Washingtonians, and we must get them out of power.

 

We've been asking Democrats for months to contact their legislators to talk about the importance of the budget - if you live in the district of one of these three, make sure your senator knows just how unhappy you are with them.

 

Isn't it about time to give these three a bit of a "time out" on being able to hold budget negotiations hostage? I know exactly the three Democratic women for the job - moms all - and they need your help today:

 

  • Manka Dhingra - 45th LD - http://www.electmanka.com/- Manka is a prosecuting attorney in King County, an award-winning PTSA mom, and an advocate for immigrants who started a landmark anti-domestic violence nonprofit group. She is committed to fully funding schools, improving transportation options and cutting traffic, and creating an economy that works for everyone. She's running to take Dino Rossi's seat - let's make sure she does!
  • Michelle Rylands - 31st LD - http://www.michellerylands.com/- Michelle is a PTA President, a veteran, and a union member who works in law enforcement to keep us safe. She's running to fully fund education, invest in job creation, and protecting health care - especially in rural areas like the 31st LD in South King County and Pierce County. She's running to retire GOP Senator Phil Fortunato - one of the most extreme Tea Party members of the entire legislature. 
  • Karen Hardy - 7th LD - https://www.karenforsenate.com/- Karen is the Head Wrangler for the Rocking K Ranch - she's a country girl who knows the importance of jobs and an economy that works for everyone. She'll make sure that people in rural areas and Eastern Washington don't get left behind. Karen is standing tall to give GOP Senator Shelly Short a much-needed vacation. Did you know that Shelly raises about $110K of her election funding from PACS, but only $2K from real people? We need Karen!

 

With your help, we get these Democrat women in charge of retaking our state Senate back for the working people of Washington, and make both the revenue and expenditure side of the budget equation fair, caring, and equitable.  Because Washingtonians shouldn't have to worry about government shutdowns and losing their family homes to property tax hikes.

 

Let's keep up the fight - and thank you for all you do in your community, and around our state. On this 4th of July weekend, take a moment to read the words that started it all for our United States, and enjoy the time with family and friends.

 

With gratitude,

Tina Podlodowski

Chair, Washington State Democrats

A letter from Michael Shepard For Port of Bellingham

Michael Shepard is a candidate for Port of Bellingham, District 1. He is endorsed by the 40th District Democrats.

Michael Shepard is a candidate for Port of Bellingham, District 1. He is endorsed by the 40th District Democrats.

Hello Democrats!

My name is Michael Shepard and I am running for the Port Commission District 1 position in Whatcom County. I’m running for the Port Commission position because I want to bring a fresh, new perspective to the port. My vision is to create a consistent and open dialogue between the port and the people of Whatcom County, and to establish strong and lasting relationships between all the stakeholders of a rapidly growing region.

I am very excited to run in this year’s election cycle! This is my first time running for public office, and I am very passionate about the Port. I am a lifelong Democrat, and a 20-year resident of Whatcom County. While enjoying my time here, I have worked for the Whatcom County Parks, Whatcom Community College, Northwest Indian College, and Western Washington University. I currently teach graduate and undergraduate eLearning classes in Environmental Studies, Anthropology and Cultural Sustainability at Goucher College, and am a Research Associate at Western’s Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. I am also a member of the Portage Bay Shellfish Advisory Commission, and a board member for the Kulshan Community Land Trust.

The Port race is a very important race this year, because we have the chance to elect an all-progressive Port Commission team. Because the Port is in charge of creating policies to guide the economic development and growth of Whatcom County, and the operation of the port, it is crucial that we elect these progressives into office. Additionally, the Port of Bellingham has unique authority to foster family wage job creation, and can facilitate economic development through the development of marine terminals, airports, and transportation centers, along with the promotion of tourism as a driver of economic stimulus. The Port also has jurisdiction over the environmental protection, clean-up, and the creation of public access to Port properties. Many people in Whatcom County do not know what the Port does, and it is our campaign’s goal to spread awareness of what the Port and Port Commissioners do for Whatcom County!

As a candidate for Port Commission, there are many issues that I am passionate about in Whatcom County. Some of the issues that my campaign focuses on are finding solutions to long-term affordable housing, and supporting and creating family-wage jobs, so that we can have comprehensive, countywide economic development. I recognize that Bellingham is in a housing crisis currently, with prices continually rising, and the Port of Bellingham can be an ally to Whatcom County in promoting long-term affordable housing options for our community. If elected, I will advocate for the Port to support housing affordability initiatives, so that we can accommodate for the creation of new jobs, and thus new Whatcom County residents.

My campaign also recognizes that the local economy and the environment are inherently connected. I will take action to promote a broad conceptualization of economic development, and strive to seek projects that increase environmental sustainability, while also promoting positive economic development. I want the Port to be a partner in ensuring the clean-up of Port properties and waterways, using sustainable development technologies and methods to develop and re-develop Port properties and businesses, and also overseeing the restoration of salmon habitat.

If you support my campaign, and are passionate about politics, and getting involved in local elections, I encourage you to volunteer for my campaign! We have volunteer shifts available every day from 10 am-8 pm for phonecalling and doorbelling, and we also doorbell every Saturday from 10 am-1 pm. Our volunteering efforts are based out of the Whatcom Democrats Office, located at 215 West Holly St. Suite B27. If you wish to volunteer please feel free to visit my website, email me at shepard4port@gmail.com, or call my campaign manager at 452-359-9872. Along with volunteering, we can also use all the financial support we can get, as campaigns are expensive. If you feel inclined to donate to my campaign, donations can be made on our website here, or checks may be mailed to 2516 Kulshan St. Bellingham, WA 98225. I hope to have your vote in the primary and general election, and I look forward to talking with you soon. Don’t forget to vote. Thanks!

Best,

Michael Shepard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week In Review – June 24

COURTESY OF SKAGIT COUNTY DEMOCRATS

The 2018 midterm elections are now just 500 days away - we're fired up to take on Republicans and hold them accountable at the ballot box for their terrible positions on health care, education, human rights, and more.

Senate Reveals Trumpcare Bill

The Senate revealed its Trumpcare proposal in advance of a likely vote next week. No surprise - it would end health care for millions of Americans to give millionaires and billionaires a tax cut. This bill would probably be the single biggest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich in American history.

Our Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are fighting hard to oppose this bill. The swing votes will be in the states of Nevada, Alaska, West Virginia, and Ohio. If you have friends or family in those states, it's critical that you encourage them to call their senators' offices and weigh in against this terrible bill. A vote in the Senate is expected as soon as next Thursday, June 29th.

 

The House of Representatives has already announced their intention to vote on the bill quickly if it passes the Senate. This may be our last chance to save health care for 23 million Americans, maintain protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and continue to build towards a health care system that works for all. 

 

You can help us oppose this bill with the online Trumpcare Toolkit- this has the information we need to lobby swing votes in the Senate and get the word out about the major negative impacts this bill would have on all of us.

 

Stopping a State Government Shutdown

We've seen Republicans in Washington D.C. shut down the federal government, but now they're threatening to do it in Washington state. If the legislature doesn't pass a budget in the next week, state government will shut down on Saturday, July 1st, with massive consequences for all Washingtonians.

 

State parks will be shut down for the 4th of July weekend, public safety will be at risk when criminal investigations and supervision of released sex offenders are shut down, and tens of thousands of Washingtonians will go without essential services like food assistance and child care. You can read more about the consequences of a shutdown here.

 

Despite the risk of a shut down, Republicans are holding on to their extreme demands and still refusing to compromise with Democrats on a budget that fully funds education and essential services like the social safety net. Call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000and demand Republicans join Democrats in working towards a budget that avoids a shutdown and gets the job done for kids and schools. And click here for more ways to get involved and put pressure on Republicans.

 

Join Michelle Rylands Sunday!

You know how important it is that we retake the state Senate - Michelle Rylands is our Democrat running in the 31st LD special election, and it's important that we give her our enthusiastic support! Michelle is a PTA President, a veteran, and a union member who works in law enforcement to keep us safe. She's running to fully fund education, invest in job creation, and protecting health care - especially in rural areas like the 31st LD in South King County and Pierce County. Click here for more information.

 

Fight Back by Joining Summer of Canvass

We can fight back against the Republican assault on education and health care with our own people power! Our Summer of Canvass program is an exciting, volunteer-led canvassing program. These next few weeks are essential for getting the word out about what the Republicans are doing at the state and federal levels, and talking to our neighbors face-to-face is one of the best ways to spread the word.

 

We're having canvasses across the state, and we need your help. You can sign up to join us here - we'll be spreading the word and building our party infrastructure so we can elect progressives and build our political power to enact our positive agenda.

Please click here to join us - see you on the doors!

 

Help Fund Our Grassroots Organizing - Join The Resistance!

We've heard from the activists of the party that field organizing working with local party organizations is the most effective thing we can do to help, and that's exactly what we're doing. The Resistance is our new program that will help us build the progressive movement, win elections, and retake our state and our country! Click here to find out more and help fund our grassroots efforts at $3, $7 or $14 dollars a month - even $27 - makes a huge difference!  Thanks for considering.

Stand up to Discrimination in Washington State

A message from Tina Podlodowski, Chair, Washington State Democrats

At this very moment, opponents of equality are collecting signatures for I-1552, a harmful initiative that seeks to roll back Washington state's long-standing non-discrimination protections for our transgender friends, family members and neighbors. I-1552 backers need to collect about 260,000 valid signatures by July 7. If they succeed, the law that has long protected transgender people from discrimination will face repeal on ballots this November.

We're joining with Washington Won't Discriminate to stand against this terrible initiative. Say that you will "Decline to Sign" any petition that would repeal our non-discrimination laws. Washington isn't the first state to consider codifying anti-transgender discrimination into law. Remember North Carolina? Last year, the Tarheel State passed HB 2, giving blanket authorization to ban transgender people from using public restrooms at school, work, even in public buildings. And the backlash was immediate and severe: Upwards of $600 million in tanked revenue, countless cancelled entertainment events, and the loss of national respect. 

Now, petitioners in Washington are collecting signatures on a dangerous HB 2-style initiative-and each signature gets them closer to their goal of putting anti-transgender discrimination on Washington's ballot. United, we can defeat I-1552-but we only have six weeks, and the clock is ticking. Decline to Sign: Add your name to help keep I-1552 off Washington's ballot.

It's an unfortunate stain on Washington's commitment to fairness and equality when, in 2017, people are seeking to legalize discrimination against some of our most vulnerable community members. Thank you for being a part of the movement to defend our state's non-discrimination laws-and affirm the values that unite us as Washingtonians.

P.S. You can keep up with the latest in the No on I-1552 campaign by liking Washington Won't Discriminate on Facebook and following @NoDiscrimWA on Twitter.

WEEK IN REVIEW

State shutdown, Emily's List training event & Washington State Democrats' new field organizer


COURTESY OF SKAGIT COUNTY DEMOCRATS

State Shutdown?
With Republicans continuing to block passage of a state budget that fully funds education and essential state services, state government is heading towards the brink of a government shutdown. The legislature needs to pass a budget by July 1st or the government will halt nearly all of its services - a disaster for Washington state. We need to force Republicans to come to the bargaining table so the legislature can come to an agreement on a budget and we can all avoid a government shutdown. A government shutdown would be a disaster for all Washingtonians:

  • Public Safety - Many Washington State Patrol Troopers and Corrections Officers would be temporarily laid off. Supervision of parolees would be halted and jails would even be unable to accept new inmates. State law enforcement would be unable to process most casework or act to keep Washingtonians safe from crime and violence.
  • Businesses - Businesses count on government for all kinds of help, and many of these essential activities would be suspended in case of a government shutdown. Delivery of state goods would be halted, contracts could be canceled, work on construction projects would be stopped, and businesses would be unable to secure important licenses and permits for their activities.
  • Students & Vulnerable Washingtonians - A shutdown would halt services for foster children, victims of domestic violence, the disabled, and more. Low-income families in state-subsidized housing could receive eviction notices, and assistance from housing to food could be cut. The most vulnerable Washingtonians would be left without a safety net, while payments to school districts and health insurance coverage for teachers are colleges and universities could be suspended.
  • Parks and the Environment - A state government shutdown would force the closure of all state parks - right as the 4th of July weekend begins. Families with camping plans, couples getting married, or just folks who want to go for a hike or a picnic would have their plans disrupted.
  • And that's not all - a shutdown would let fish die at our fish hatcheries, halt clean-up at SuperFund and toxic waste sites, and even suspend forest fire suppression and prevention activities.

What You Can Do To Help

  • Call Your Legislator - Call your legislators at the legislative hotline - 1-800-562-6000 - and tell them Republicans need to come to the table so we can fund schools and avoid a shutdown. This is all the more important if you live in a district represented by Republicans!
  • Come To An Event - Progressives are holding rallies across the state next week calling on Republicans to join the Democrats and act. All the rallies are onThursday, June 22, with details linked below:
  • Doorbell Your Neighborhood - Sign up to doorbell or host a canvass with our Summer of Canvass program! These next few weeks are essential for getting the word out about what the Republicans are doing, and talking to our neighbors face-to-face is one of the best ways to spread the word.
  • We're putting together volunteer-led canvasses across the state, and we need your help. You can sign up to join us here - we'll be spreading the word and building our party infrastructure so that the legislature doesn't have to be going up to the brink of shutdown.
  • Join Our Thunderclap - Help amplify our voices on social media! Click here to find out more about linking your social media account to ours via Thunderclap so we can post our message to legislators and the public simultaneously and make an even bigger impact.

Other News
In other news, we'd like to invite women who are running for office or are interested in running for office to an upcoming candidate training with Emily's List. The training is in Seattle on Saturday July 8 - find out more and RSVP here!
 
We're also proud to announce our newest field organizer has joined the team! We're so excited to welcome Maria Beltran to our team as the Central Washington Organizer, based in Yakima.  Here's a note from Maria introducing herself to all of you - and we hope you get a chance to meet her in person soon!
 
"Hello Democrats! I am a recent Gonzaga University graduate, where I majored in Political Science. At Gonzaga, I built my leadership experience as the Vice President of the Gonzaga Young Democrats and female co-chair of M.E.Ch.A (a national Latinx justice organization) at Yakima Valley Community College. Growing up in Yakima, I was exposed at an early age of the injustice my community faced, and continues to face. As a first-generation college graduate and woman of color, I hope to serve as an advocate for social change and help elect Democrats across central Washington. My passion for politics, love and knowledge of the Yakima Valley makes this position perfect for me - and I'm so excited to be joining the Washington Democrats organizing team!"
 
We're glad to have you on the team building our party in Central Washington, Maria! Full story here.
 

Call for volunteers for Skagit County Fair

The Skagit Democrats plans to staff a booth at the upcoming Skagit County Fair, August 9 - 12. We need volunteers to staff the booth, set up, tear down, and manage and support the endeavor. If you willing to help, please contact our office staff at 360-336-1555 during office hours or email to staff@skagitdemocrats.org

 

Turn the Senate Blue!

Skagit Democrats are assembling a team to phone bank and canvass for Manka Dhingra in the 45th LD so we can turn the State Senate blue! If you would like to participate in this endeavor please send an email to staff@skagitdemocrats.org with your contact information.  

What's Going on at Cherry Point? 


By Alex Ramel

Whatcom County has spent the last few years grappling with local decisions over the role that coal, crude oil and fossil fuel export will play in our economic future and what that will mean for the environment, the community, our neighbors and other businesses in the region. It's been an electoral issue every November since at least 2011. 2017 won't be any different. Most readers in Whatcom will have seen the “Preserve Cherry Point Jobs” yard signs that have been popping up. And while that top-level message of protecting local jobs is easy to agree with, it's worth digging a bit deeper to understand that unrefined fossil fuel export actually threatens refinery workers as well as the fishing industry, tourism and many other parts of our local economy.

The policies recently passed by Whatcom County Council only prevent new facilities that would export crude oil and other unrefined fossil fuels. Keeping the unrefined product here keeps the refining work here. Cherry Point jobs are far more secure with these policies than they would be without. You don't have to take it from me, the United Steelworkers who represents the workers at 4 of the 5 refineries in Washington issued a press release in 2015 saying:

Job loss in the U.S. refining sector and all the jobs dependent on it would result from the lifting of the crude oil export ban. The ban has allowed U.S. refineries to compete against foreign competitors with lower labor, environmental and safety standards. Lift the ban and the cost of crude oil rises for U.S. refineries, thrusting them into direct competition with refineries in China and India. The end result is the shutdown of refineries and loss of U.S. jobs.

For the local workers, and the local companies that do business with the refineries, the risk of shipping oil oversees should be at the front of our minds. Big oil worked hard to lift the crude export ban because they are eager to get cheap labor and reduced health and safety regulations oversees. Maximizing oil industry profits is not the same thing as protecting oil worker jobs. 

Even though the immediate threat of the coal export terminal has passed, there are still numerous proposed pipeline, oil train and natural gas export facilities that are actively being contemplated for Whatcom County. The environmental impact of these projects could be catastrophic. If all of the projects I've seen proposed were built it would more than triple the carbon footprint of the entire state of Washington and lead to massive increase in risk of oil spills and other disasters. 

Fortunately, the Whatcom County Council majority has recognized this risk, found the middle ground, and made smart decisions that protect the community -- and our neighbors on the rail lines and on the Salish Sea -- from the risks of more exploding oil trains, spilling oil tankers and the damage and pollution that could come from a new coal, crude oil or natural gas terminal proposal.  

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Alex Ramel is a resident of Bellingham and an advocate for clean energy policies. He's volunteered in one capacity or another on most of the local elections in Whatcom County for the past ten years. 

WEEK IN REVIEW -- JUNE 14

COURTESY OF SKAGIT DEMOCRATS

Comey Testifies Before Congress

Former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee just gave us the clearest and most damning evidence yet that President Trump lied to the American people and is likely committing obstruction of justice - a serious and disturbing charge. It's now clear that Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to steal the presidential election and that Trump has worked hard since then to curtail any investigation.

While Trump continues to attempt to protect himself and his friends, today's testimony shows that he doesn't care about the attacks on our democracy and on the American people. This behavior should alarm every member of Congress and every American, and oversight must happen.

We're going to be closely tracking the investigations into Trump's conduct. With mounting evidence that Trump himself personally obstructed justice, we need to do what we can to uncover the truth.

 

Jinyoung Englund & Jim Jensen

Have you heard about Jim Jensen, the Port of Tacoma Commissioner candidate who wasjust exposed by local activists and the Tacoma News Tribune for his history of racist and sexist posts on social media? Jim Jensen was one of Trump's biggest supporters in Washington state, but that's not all. He's also one of the top donors to Jinyoung Englund, the Republican running in the critical 45th LD special legislative election. It's not enough that Jinyoung supports Trump and his policies herself - she's also taking thousands of dollars from one of Trump's most offensive supporters.

Email Jinyoung at jinyoung@jinyoungenglund.com and tell her that she should reject Jensen's support and return his contribution to her campaign! His offensive comments should have no place in Washington politics, and Jinyoung accepting his support reflects incredibly poorly upon her.

 

TrumpCare On Deck In The Senate?

Senate Republicans are closer than ever to repealing the Affordable Care Act and slashing health care for 24 million Americans. While the Trumpcare bill passed by the House would have disastrous effects for millions of Americans, the Senate Republicans are desperately cutting deals with their members to try to win support for the bill.

 

The fact is, they're still going to repeal Medicaid expansion, they're still going to throw millions off their insurance, they're still going to raise premiums through the roof, and they're still going to slash protections that women, the elderly, disabled people and the sick are counting on to provide essential health care.

 

We have to be ready for the Senate Republicans to push this through as soon as they have the votes, maybe without even giving the bill a public hearing. Our champion Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are fighting this bill as hard as they can, and we need to be ready to back them up.

 

Update On The Summer Of Canvass

We've kicked off our Summer of Canvass, and the response has been great! More than 500 people across the state have already signed up to get involved. This is after just one week of people signing up - Washington Democrats are clearly fired up to build our party infrastructure and talk with voters across the state. 

 

Can we count on your help as well? By getting out on the doors we can hear voters' concerns and talk with them about how our progressive values can help their families and communities succeed. Sign up to get involved by canvassing in your local community here! Action is essential this year to winning critical special legislative elections, retaking our state Senate, and laying the groundwork to beat Congressional Republicans like Dave Reichert and Cathy McMorris Rodgers next year! And if you haven't signed up for our monthly donor program (The Resistance), which directly funds this field organizing work,you can sign up for that here. Your monthly and sustained support provides essential funding to support our field organizing efforts. Plus, you get cool swag and an inside view into our organizing efforts and the change we're making as we fight back against Trump and advance our progressive agenda.

 

McMorris Rodgers Ignoring Constituents

Did you see the video of Cathy McMorris Rodgers this week ignoring her constituents at a $5,000 plate fundraiser? Last week, McMorris Rodgers blew off her constituents with a sign in her office door saying she was out of the office meeting constituents in her district. Except she was actually on the other side of the state in Bellevue, raising money for herself at a $5000-a-plate fundraiser with a bunch of lobbyists. Undaunted, a couple of her constituents traveled across the state to the fundraiser in an attempt to meet McMorris Rodgers and talk to her about health care -- but they were turned away. This just emphasizes the importance of rallying to defeat McMorris Rodgers and other Eastern Washington Republicans in 2018. Click here to contribute to our Cathy McMorris Rodgers Retirement Fund and help us build our party to compete in 2018!

WEEK IN REVIEW -- MAY 27

(SKAGIT COUNTY DEMOCRATS) We knew the TrumpCare health care bill was bad when Congressional Republicans rammed it through the House of Representatives on a narrow vote three weeks ago. But with the CBO score just released this week, now we know all the facts on the bill.


If TrumpCare becomes law: 

  • Older Americans will pay more, with premiums increasing 20% next year.
  • Individuals with pre-existing conditions will be subject to faulty and expensive high-risk pools.
  • Insurance companies will be able to institute lifetime limits on coverage, even on those with chronic illnesses. 
  • $834 billion in Medicaid cuts included in AHCA that would heavily impact children, the poor and those with disabilities.
  • Planned Parenthood will be defunded, making it more difficult for millions of women to access critical health services.
  • Wealthy Americans receive a huge tax cut.
  • States can opt out of Obamacare's essential benefits clause, including ER trips, outpatient care, maternity, mental health, prescription drugs, and more.
  • States can opt out of Obamacare's "community rating" provision that prevents insurers from charging higher rates to sick people.

Special Election Wins in NH & NY
Special legislative elections are some of the most important races of 2017 - not only do they give Democrats an opportunity to take our government back from Trump and the Republicans, but they show the momentum and enthusiasm for our progressive agenda. Democrats notched two big wins this week in New Hampshire in New York, flipping two seats from red to blue that had been long-time Republican strongholds:
 
"Democrats running for state legislature in New Hampshire and New York won two seats Tuesday night that had for decades been held by Republicans - victories that national Democrats heralded as a promising sign for a party that lost ground in statehouses across the country during the Obama era. In both cases, women led the way.
 
"We've been performing well in a lot of districts and keeping swing districts in Democratic hands, but these are the first legislative pickups of anyone since Trump got elected. So we're really excited," said Carolyn Fiddler, a spokesperson the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, in an interview. "These are really good indicators of Democratic performance this fall."
 
Edie DesMarais, a retired special education instructor, became the first Democrat ever elected in New Hampshire's town of Wolfeboro, with a narrow 56-vote victory. The first Democrat in 2017 to flip a seat from red to blue, she won a seat for the New Hampshire House in an area that went to Donald Trump by a 51-44 margin,according to the Daily Kos.
 
Similarly, in New York, high school teacher Christine Pellegrino became the first Democrat to win in her deeply conservative district, which is located along the southern shore of Long Island. Trump won the district by 22 points."
 
"This is a thunderbolt of resistance," Pellegrino, 48, told Newsday. "This is for all the supporters and voters who understand a strong progressive agenda is the way forward in New York."
 
This is tremendous news - especially since we have some of the most important legislative elections in the country right here in Washington. With five seats up in the state Senate, two of them Democratic incumbents, we have the chance to retake our legislature by electing Manka Dhingra in the 45th LD, Michelle Rylands in the 31st LD, and Karen Hardy in the 7th. The momentum we're seeing in legislative elections across the country is a great omen for our chances here in Washington - with your help, we can deliver a Democratic Senate and stop the Republican obstruction of progress that has been holding us back for too long.
 
What Happened In Montana
We all know the importance of competing in our special elections, and the special Montana Congressional election was huge news this week. There are some key facts in the race that can inform how we campaign, fight, and win here in Washington.
 
First, on campaign spending. Campaign spending on this race topped $17M - an eye-popping amount of money on both sides, nearly doubling the most expensive Congressional race in Montana's history. The money flowing into the campaign from independent expenditures, or I.E.s (which can spend unlimited amounts of money), mostly benefited Gianforte. Groups supporting him spent more than $6.3 million, according to FEC records, including $2.4 million from the Congressional Leadership Fund. By contrast, Quist got most of his money from individual donors, but he also benefited from I.E.s including money from Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Both candidates were well-funded, though Gianforte benefited from a large wave of special interest IE money. 
 
Second, on votes and turnout. Setting the "Trump effect" aside and comparing the special election to the 2016 Congressional election for the seat shows the importance of turnout. In 2016, Democrat Denise Juneau lost by 15.7% to the GOP incumbent Ryan Zinke, with 74.4% of eligible voters turning out. Juneau got 205,919 votes and Zinke got 285,358. In the 2017 special election, Quist lost by 5.9% but with only a turn out of 54% of eligible voters - Quist had 166,483 votes (as of our last check of the Montana Secretary of State's site) and Gianforte had 189,473. If everyone who voted for Juneau in 2016 had shown up to vote for Quist in 2017, he would have had a huge victory - turnout is essential.
 
Third, what does that mean for us here in Washington State? IDing, persuading, and turning out voters - the hardest work - is still what ultimately wins elections and turns red areas blue. And it very rarely pays off in one cycle - that's why the hard work of multi-cycle investment and strict measurements matters. It's why it is SO CRITICAL that every LD and County participate in the Summer of Canvass - especially in the 45th, 48th, 31st and 7th, plus the LDs and Counties that can lend a hand in those areas now for our 2017 special elections, and to begin that long hard slog towards 2018. If you have NOT signed up for Summer of Canvass yet, please do so - contact Dylan immediately at dylan@wa-democrats.org. Bottom line - we simply won't win races if we don't do the work.
 
Sign Up For Our Summer of Canvass
We've heard feedback from Democrats across the state - to paint this state blue, Democrats need to talk to more people, not just likely Democrats or people who vote consistently. We need to get back in touch with voters whether they consider themselves Democrats or not, whether they voted last year or not, and understand their top priorities and concerns. And we need to do it at a scale that will help us win competitive races in 2017 and lay the groundwork for 2018.
We heard you and now we're doing just that. To accomplish this, we will launch a massive, volunteer-led summer canvass to knock on doors across the state, listen to voters' top concerns, and understand what it would take to engage them in our party.
You can sign up to join this effort and help us doorbell across the state here!
 
An Easy Way To Post About Summer of Canvass - Thunderclap!
If you want to help spread the message about Summer of Canvass with your friends and network, an easy way is to join us on Thunderclap! This is a service that helps us blast out a message simultaneously on social media from many Democrats, amplifying our voices and spreading the word about the importance of getting involved. Click here to learn how Thunderclap works and help us spread the word about the Summer of Canvass!

Single-payer is great but it's not the only option

By Matthew Ward
Former 40th District Resident & Expatriate

As an American who has lived in two countries with universal health care (UHC) systems, one thing I find odd is the common assumption in the US that other developed countries have single-payer systems. When discussing possible alternatives to the ACA, it's quite common to hear American political pundits declare that single-payer is the alternative, rather than an alternative, to the ACA. A common variant to this theme is "Medicare-For-All" is the only thing that will ever work.

Now, while I like single-payer healthcare systems, it's really hard for me to agree that "Medicare-For-All"/single-payer is the only workable model. You see, I live in Japan, which is one of many developed countries that has UHC but not single-payer, and I'm a huge fan of the system here. To be fair, I've also lived in Taiwan, which has a single-payer system, and am a huge fan of that system too, but in many ways, I feel that the models presented by countries like Japan or the Netherlands may well be more viable for the U.S. than Canadian or Taiwanese-style single-payer. 

So why do Americans think of "single-payer" as the only alternative to the ACA? It appears to me that Americans have come to use the term "single-payer" as a generic term for "health care funded primarily by taxes," a description that does loosely apply to most UHC systems used worldwide. However, one problem with this assumption is that it glosses over a lot of important differences that we will need to understand if we are to expand the ACA into a UHC system or try to create a new system in the event that the ACA is repealed.  

With that in mind, here are a few common universal health-care models and some simple descriptions:

1). Single-Payer: One public entity collects and pays fees, with only a minor and optional role for private insurance. Classic example: Taiwan.

2). Public Multi-Payer: A number of public and quasi-public entities collect and pay the fees. In some cases, these entities may include employer or industry-run non-profit health societies, thus retaining a strong role for employer-based coverage. However, like single-payer, private insurance has only a minor and optional role.  Classic example: Japan.

3). Two-Tiered: A public entity or entities pays part of health care costs (for example, catastrophic care) but people are required to buy heavily regulated and standardized private insurance plans for other expenses. Classic example: The Netherlands.

4). Insurance Mandate: Everybody is simply required to buy private insurance, though the insurance packages and fees are so heavily regulated that they essential represent one standard national package, and subsidies ensure that everyone can afford to do this. Classic example: Switzerland.

Keep in mind that this is a generalization: Almost every UHC system is unique and many systems are hybrids to a degree. Also, none of these descriptions relate to "socialized medicine," which refers to situations in which the government owns and runs the actual health care providers, as opposed to the means of funding health care. For a variety of reasons, full-on socialized medicine is extremely unlikely to be implemented in the US in the foreseeable future.  

The ACA is most like #4 currently, though it's not yet universal, and already has some elements of #2 and #3 due to the Medicaid expansion. If it had a full-on public option, it would be a hybrid, though the public option could then gradually be expanded into a single-payer system. Another possibility is that the public option might end up working in tandem with expanded Medicare and Medicaid systems to form a universal multi-payer system. A third possibility would be the US government regulating the price and conditions of private insurance, pharmaceuticals, and medical procedures to the point where the ACA becomes a Swiss-like universal insurance mandate system. In all possible systems, much greater government control over the price of medical care would be required, especially if the system ended up being more tax-based.  

Of course, also it's possible that an entirely new system could be created that would bypass the ACA. Worth noting though: very few UHC systems were created out of full cloth: Most evolved out of existing systems, which is why many are hybrid and very few exactly match the systems of other countries. There is a good reason for this: Despite the fact that in the rest of the developed world both the left and the right generally support UHC, creating a heath-care system is enormously complicated and difficult, and about half of the attempts to create single-payer systems in particular worldwide ended up in failure.  

Because of this reality, I strongly feel that we should fight to preserve the ACA for future expansion. Expanding the ACA into a universal system is a more plausible path than creating a new system. It already contains several plausible paths to UHC, and even Democratic attempts to replace it could take years or fail entirely. Meanwhile, judging by the AHCA, any Republican plan is almost guaranteed to be a disaster.

Above all, we Americans should demand the UHC that the rest of the developed world enjoys, but we should recognize the variety that exists in viable health-care systems, and avoid being too ideological or picky about the form the system takes in the US.  

 

Matthew Ward was raised in the 40th District and a native of Lopez Island. He currently lives with his wife and two children in Osaka, Japan, where he can be found listening to Taiwanese metal and working as an English instructor.  

Week In Review -- May 14

It hasn't exactly been a slow news week, so we'll get right into some of the most important news going on and the info you need to know.

 

The Comey Firing - We Need An Investigation

Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey is an obvious move to interfere with the FBI's investigation into his campaign's collusion with Russia during the election.

We know that Trump fired Comey as investigations into the Russia scandal were ramping up significantly. Prosecutors just issued grand jury subpoenas in the Russia investigation, Comey had recently asked the Department of Justice for money for the Russia investigation, and insiders say that Trump had grown enraged. And now we've learned that Trump personally initiated the process that led to Rosenstein's memo and ultimately Comey's firing.

This is just the latest example of Trump acting like a bully when feeling threatened. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Sally Yates, James Comey - Trump is out of control, and he's personally interfering with important legal investigations.

It's now obvious that Trump has a wide array of personal issues - with Russia, with his taxes, with the profit that he's making off of Mar-A-Lago and his presidency - and he's desperate to quash any effort to inform the public about what's really going on.

Trump's firing of Comey makes it obvious that we cannot allow the Russia investigations to be buried by a corrupt Administration and complicit Republican leaders in Congress. 

Our Senator Maria Cantwell went on CNN to talk about the importance of having a special prosecutor who can do an independent investigation into the collusion between Trump and Russia - click here to watch.

 

The Republican Response

While our Democratic leaders are standing up to oppose Trump and demand an independent investigation, Washington State Republicans are defending Trump or shamefully remaining quiet. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dave Reichert, Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Dan Newhouse are all standing by Trump while he eviscerates our ethics laws. 

What does Trump have to do to lose their support? Is passing tax cuts for the rich so important to them that they're willing to stand by Trump through all this? This is a shameful betrayal of the American people to protect their political party.  We know that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell won't do anything to rein in Trump themselves- we need a popular movement putting pressure on all Republicans in Congress to act. 

If you think that Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dave Reichert, Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Dan Newhouse should join Democrats in supporting a special independent prosecutor, sign our petition here! And if you've already signed it, please forward this email to three friends and ask them to sign as well! The Constitution charges the President with the task of taking care that the laws be faithfully executed.  A President is impeachable if he attempts to subvert the Constitution. We need to know if Trump has done that.

 

DNC Chair Tom Perez Coming to Seattle on Tuesday

We are excited to announce that DNC Chair Tom Perez will be joining us as a special guest and headlining our first Resistance event in Seattle on Tuesday, May 16!

Tuesday, May 16

5 to 7 p.m.

Centilia Cultural Center at Plaza Roberto Maestas

1660 S Roberto Maestas Festival St.

Seattle, WA

 

Please consider signing up for The Resistance so you can join us for what it sure to be an exciting evening. Already a Resistance Member? Email joebarden@wa-democrats.org to RSVP! As a member of The Resistance, your sustaining monthly contribution will allow us to invest directly into community organizing. Every monthly dollar raised by The Resistance will go directly into field and community organizing in districts across our state, and all members of The Resistance will receive buttons, stickers and a monthly newsletter detailing Stories from The Resistance. We hope to see you next Tuesday as a member of the Resistance!

 

Next Week is Filing Week!

Candidate filing week is coming up, May 15th through 19th, and if you or someone you know if interested in running for office then this is the time to step up! 

We're proud to have a strong slate of candidates already running for our state legislative seats - there are five seats up in our state Senate for special election in November, and we have strong progressive women running in all five seats! We have Manka Dhingra in the 45th  (the most important legislative seat in the country in 2017), Michelle Rylands in the 31st, Karen Hardy in the 7th, Senator Rebecca Saldana in the 37th, and Senator Patty Kuderer in the 48th.

But there are many important races across the state, particularly at the local level. City council, school board, fire and water districts, and much more - which often make decisions that have hugely important impacts on people's lives. The website for your county's elections department will have information on what races are open in your area this year. Filepalooza is another website that can look up offices open for election in your area this year and help you file.

Another resource that can help is our partner website, TrainDemocrats.org! They provide effective, free, and online training sessions for Democrats who are candidates, potential candidates, or want to do more to work on or understand campaigns. If you're interested, we encourage you to sign up and learn more about how to be a strong and competitive Democratic candidate! The first step to winning elections is to be on the ballot, and we want Democrats running for office everywhere. If you or someone you know is interested in running, it's time to step up! Thank you for reading and for your support!

This Week In Review -- May 6

COURTESY OF SKAGIT DEMOCRATS

We all know the big news this week was the U.S. House of Representatives passing TrumpCare, the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But now the legislation goes to the Senate, where it has a long way to go before passing into law.

 

What The Bill Means

Republicans changed their bill several times before the final vote - here are the details on the version that finally passed off the House floor:

  • A total of 24 million people across the country would lose their health insurance.
  • Premiums would increase, especially for older Americans. With age discrimination legalized, many people aged 40-65 could be paying seven times or more as much for insurance as they do today.
  • Medicaid would be slashed by $880 billion, leading to cuts to health care for low-income families, special education for disabled children, and services for the long-term disabled.
  • Planned Parenthood would be defunded federally.
  • A new $600 billion tax cut for the wealthy

 

 Pre-Existing Conditions

One of the most shocking and latest developments in the bill was the change to allow insurance companies to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions and even deny your health care coverage when you need it most. Here's a partial list of those conditions under TrumpCare:

AIDS/HIV, acid reflux, acne, ADD, addiction, Alzheimer's/dementia, anemia, aneurysm, angioplasty, anorexia, anxiety, arrhythmia, arthritis, asthma, atrial fibrillation, autism, bariatric surgery, basal cell carcinoma, bipolar disorder, blood clot, breast cancer, bulimia, bypass surgery, celiac disease, cerebral aneurysm, cerebral embolism, cerebral palsy, cerebral thrombosis, cervical cancer, colon cancer, colon polyps, congestive heart failure, COPD, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, DMD, depression, diabetes, disabilities, Down syndrome, eating disorder, enlarged prostate, epilepsy, glaucoma, gout, heart disease, heart murmur, heartburn, hemophilia, hepatitis C, herpes, high cholesterol, hypertension, hysterectomy, kidney disease, kidney stones, kidney transplant, leukemia, lung cancer, lupus, lymphoma, mental health issues, migraines, MS, muscular dystrophy, narcolepsy, nasal polyps, obesity, OCD, organ transplant, osteoporosis, pacemaker, panic disorder, paralysis, paraplegia, Parkinson's disease, pregnancy, restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, seizures, sickle cell disease, skin cancer, sleep apnea, sleep disorders, stent, stroke, thyroid issues, tooth disease, tuberculosis, and ulcers.

Shockingly, even pregnancy or having been the victim of a rape or sexual assault could be cause for your health insurer to drop your coverage. No woman should ever have to think twice about reporting a rape to the police because she's worried about losing her health care. But it should be no surprise that these guys - Aren't looking out for what's best for women.

 

What Comes Next In The Senate

Now the bill goes to the Senate, where our own Washington champions Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray are fighting hard to kill the bill and protect our health care.

Republicans may have a harder time moving the bill through the Senate than the House - they have a narrower majority, and several Republican senators have already expressed serious concerns about the bill. If we keep up our effort and if people across America call their Senator, march, and organize, we can put an end to this.

We're lucky to have two champions for health care like Cantwell and Murray representing us in the Senate. But we'll need to help support people in other states working to lobby their delegation to oppose TrumpCare so we can stop this bill.

 

What You Can Do

The Resistance is our year-round effort to raise money directly for the field organizing efforts we need to win back Congress and pass a progressive and effective agenda on health care. If you sign up to make a small monthly contribution, we can make the sustained and year-round investments in organizing and party building it'll take to win across the state. All of the money raised by monthly contributions through the Resistance will be invested directly into field organizing efforts.

Click here to join the Resistance and help us win these races!

The fight to stop TrumpCare - and retake Congress by beating Reichert, Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, and McMorris-Rodgers - will be a long one, and it's far from over. Your sustained support is critical to being able to organize and win in these districts across the state.

 

Other News

Our chair, Tina Podlodowski, spoke at an event this week in Seattle on "Social Justice and Effective Activism". She and Republican Bill Bryant were interviewed about how people can be effective agents of political change in their communities.

You can watch a video of the speech here.