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23rd ld Democrats News

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  • 30 Apr 2021 3:48 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)



    Hello fellow Democrats! What a week for the Democratic Party we had!

    Biden’s 100 Days: Thursday, April 29th was President Joe Biden’s 100th day in office. In that time, President Biden and the Democratic Congress have acted decisively to respond to the COVID pandemic and help our economy recover.

    • Over half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, meeting the goal of delivering more than 200 million vaccine doses in the first 100 days.

    • 160 million stimulus checks have been delivered.

    • More than a million jobs have been created since President Biden took office. 

    • Last week, weekly unemployment claims fell to the lowest level since March of last year, when the pandemic began.

    In Biden’s speech to the American people and a joint session of Congress Wednesday evening, the President outlined the next steps of his agenda: how to build our country back better with massive and transformative investments in infrastructure, jobs, and clean energy, while helping to support families and communities with critical social programs like paid family leave, early learning and pre-school for kids, free community college and more financial aid for students in our higher education system, lowering health care costs by making the American Rescue Plan’s health insurance premium reductions permanent, and much more.


    The American people have responded - polls show that Americans loved his address and the positive, progressive agenda that he’s putting forth. Did you have a chance to watch the speech? If you missed it, you can watch it on Youtube here and read his remarks here. If you did watch it, make sure that your local party has shared the speech with your members over social media and/or email! This was a great speech and we want to be sure that our grassroots Democrats are hearing the message that Biden has presented. 


    End of Washington’s Legislative Session:The 2021 legislative session was one of the most historic and consequential ever in Washington state. On issue after issue, Democratic legislators stepped up to deliver real results and pass powerful legislation to address the needs and concerns of the people of Washington. Amid a global pandemic and an economic crisis, Washington state Democrats led the way: from addressing immediate emergencies like economic recovery and public health needs to tackling long-term challenges like combating climate change, balancing our state’s upside-down tax code, and addressing institutional racism in our criminal justice system. We couldn’t be more proud of the work done and the wins achieved by our Democratic legislators this year.

    Republicans are already working to overturn the major progressive tax reform we passed by filing lawsuits against the capital gains tax. This is a policy that our party’s advocacy committee has been pushing for years and will be a real change for making our tax system fairer and helping us make the investments we need in early learning and education. We need to work hard to defend this progress, but let’s celebrate the wins we’ve had. More details about some of the issue areas that you, our PCOs, told us were important, can be found here. Please spread the word!

    Filing Week Coming Up:We are now 17 days away from the start of local candidate filing week and 21 days away from the deadline to file for office in 2021! Has your local party been talking to candidates in your local area about the races they can run for? We know 54 local candidate recruitment meetings have already happened - were you able to participate? Our Rise & Run page has information for our potential candidates; sign up there to get a package of information on running for office that can help you or candidates you know run and win! It’s important that we are contesting as many local races as we can across the state this year. We need the help of our PCOs and local parties to get people to step up and run. And be on the lookout for our three-week June candidate training that will help us win in ALL these races!

    Something To Look Into: Follow the money! It’s important for us all to keep up on what our local Republican counterparts are doing. The Public Disclosure Commission makes it convenient and easy to see what committees are raising and spending money. Have you looked at what your local Republicans are doing? You can see filings for all of the LD and county parties on the PDC website here

    The information there is updated monthly as treasurers submit their reports, but please always keep an eye on what your GOP counterparts are doing! I make it my goal for our state party to raise more money than the Republicans do every month, and we want local parties to try for the same. If your local Republicans have far more money than you, maybe it’s time for a new fundraising plan? We can help via the state party Finance Committee, chairs or vice chairs should contact us at questions@wa-democrats.org with “FINANCE” at the start of the subject line. 

    Something To Watch: This weekend is our spring Washington State Democratic Central Committee meeting! All of the state committee members from our legislative districts and counties will be assembling virtually to pass resolutions, report on work from the Democratic National Committee, and our own state committees, and more. The proceedings start at 9 AM, and we’ll be streaming them live on Youtube here!

    Build The Blue Gala May 11th @ 4:30 PM

     

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    We want to make sure everyone knows about our “Build The Blue” gala coming up on May 11th with special LIVE guests DNC Chair Jaime Harrison and Georgia’s Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock, along with our own Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland! And just today, we confirmed that Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth will also be making an appearance! This is going to be a great event and you can sign up or learn more atwa-democrats.org/buildtheblue.

     

    We’d love you to consider signing up as a Table Captain, or, if you want to help spread the word, we havea toolkit of social media graphics that you or your local party organization can share to help let people know about this fun upcoming event!


    And on one last note - for everyone who’s eligible to get one of the vaccines for COVID-19, I hope you’ve had a chance to receive at least your first shot by now. It’s really important that we all do our part to help stop the spread of the virus and vaccination is an important part of that effort. Some vaccine locations aren’t even requiring an appointment anymore -- you can just walk up and get vaccinated at a time that’s convenient for you. Folks can find a vaccine site nearby at the WA Department of Health website. We care about you, your family, and your community. Get vaccinated and stay masked up!

    Thank you all, stay happy and healthy, and I’m looking forward to seeing our state committee members tomorrow!

    Tina Podlodowski


  • 23 Apr 2021 6:27 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)



    Dear Democrats,

    We can’t talk about anything this week without mentioning the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. 

    This has been a rough week of news to watch, especially for our Black friends, family, and neighbors, who are reminded on an almost daily basis now of the pain and trauma that our society inflicts upon them. At the same time, we have hope this verdict can be the beginning of a shift in our country — a shift away from the systemic racism that is so deeply embedded in our society and criminal justice system and towards true, long-overdue justice. There is so much left to be done. Countless people continue to wait for justice, are demanding justice, and deserve it. America is demanding change.

    A guilty verdict is less than what America deserves. We know that this verdict alone will not heal our nation from the plague that is systemic racism. We must continue on our path towards ridding ourselves of this plague. The best way we can do this is through transformative action that will bring restorative justice to Black Americans, who have always been disproportionately harmed by state violence. Never forget that our collective demands for accountability and justice are what brought about this monumental change. This shift was not random or inevitable; this verdict was the result of deliberate and dedicated action. Where we go from here can bring about even more significant change — but not without continued effort.

    Tuesday’s guilty verdict reminds us that in this moment we must direct all of our work toward building a more powerful, more diverse, and more antiracist party. Each day, we must reaffirm our commitment to support and elect candidates who will help make the real changes in our laws and in our society that are necessary for us to dismantle institutional racism. We still have so far to go in order to build a society that truly cares for all Americans - but these are steps in the right direction. It is my hope that this moment can serve as a turning point where we bend our country’s moral arc more towards justice. This course-correction will end with this week’s verdict if we stop our work, too. We cannot stop because all of us are needed moving forward. I’m glad to have you join me in the commitment to this work.

    State Tax Reform and Capital Gains: There is good news this week coming from the state legislature, though. With just a few days left before session ends on Sunday, April 25th, both the House and the Senate have now passed major reform to our state’s upside-down tax code with a capital gains tax! This has been a huge priority for our party’s Advocacy Committee and it’s been something we’ve been working on for years. The capital gains tax would have the very richest Washingtonians pay a 7% tax on the profits they make from the sale of investments like stocks if they make more than $250,000 from those sales in a year. This would affect fewer than 1% of Washingtonians, but it would raise money that Washington State can invest in important programs like expanding child care services for families and making sure that caregivers are getting the compensation they need to both provide high-quality early learning and earn a living wage. 

    The legislature is also funding the Working Families Tax Credit to get money back into the pockets of lower-income families throughout Washington. This cash assistance program is proven by experts to be one of the most effective anti-poverty measures we can implement. Together, these steps are hugely important for fixing our upside-down tax code.

    We know the Republicans are going to be mad as hell about this and they’re going to fight as hard as they can to protect lower taxes for their ultra-rich donors - while lying about the impacts to the rest of us. Expect to hear more from us about the work we will all need to do to help protect this historic reform from their attacks. And thank you to our Democratic legislators who took these bold and necessary votes!

    Filing Week Coming Up: We are one month away from the filing deadline for local 2021 elections! There are thousands of local seats up in Washington where we want to have Democrats on the ballot! School boards, city and county governments, and special districts like ports and fire commissions all have seats up this year. We know how important it is to run Democrats in every place we can across Washington -- research from the 2020 election showed that having down-ballot Democrats running helped drive turnout all across the ticket and may have even ensured Biden’s victory in key swing states! It’s critical that we have Democratic candidates running to win in 2021.

    We set up our Rise & Run programto give local Democrats and party organizations the information they need to run and win anywhere in Washington. https://www.wa-democrats.org/riseandrun has information you can use to help plan and execute a campaign for local office. And, thanks to the efforts we’ve done with Contest Every Race, we identified 10,248 people who are considering running for targeted offices in this cycle, and another 5,733 folks who declined to run but are willing to volunteer or become PCOs. Has your LPO had their candidate introduction meeting? Are you calling these potential volunteers? What are you waiting for?

    May 17th through May 21st is the week when candidates NEED to file for office, so make sure you’re talking to people in your community who would be interested in running before that week is up. This next month is crucial; it can help define our work for the rest of 2021!

    _____________________

    Something To Do: Washington’s own Rep. Debra Lekanoff of the 40th Legislative District is a nominee for EMILY’s List’s “Gabby Giffords Rising Star Award!” We are so proud of Rep. Lekanoff and we’re glad that her hard work is being recognized nationally with this nomination. The Gabby Giffords Award will be awarded based on community input - you can go to this link to VOTE for Rep. Debra Lekanoff to be honored with this special award. 

    Something To Share: Thursday, April 29th next week marks the 100th day of Joe Biden’s presidency. The progress that’s already made is immense. The passage of the American Rescue Plan means that many working families bearing the brunt of this crisis are getting the support they need to get through this crisis. The American Rescue Plan also provided funding to get more Americans vaccinated, the resources to get our kids and teachers safely back to school, and so much more. As of this week, more than 200 million vaccine doses have been administered nationwide. We are on track to recover from the COVID crisis!

    We have a set of graphics, social media content, and talking points for Democrats and local parties to use to help celebrate and communicate about the successes of these first 100 days. Go here to access these resources and help spread the word about the benefits that Democrats are already delivering for the people of Washington.

    Build The Blue Gala May 11th @ 4:30 PM


    We want to make sure everyone knows about our “Build The Blue” gala coming up on May 11th with special LIVE guests DNC Chair Jaime Harrison and Georgia’s Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock, along with our own Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland! This is going to be a great event and you can sign up or learn more at wa-democrats.org/buildtheblue.

    We’d love you to consider signing up as a Table Captain, or, if you want to help spread the word, we have a toolkit of social media graphicsthat you or your local party organization can share to help let people know about this fun upcoming event!

    With gratitude for all you do,


    Tina Podlodowski

  • 16 Apr 2021 3:29 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    Friday Wrap Up (2).png


    Hello fellow Democrats! Tina is on spring break with her family this week, so you’re getting the Friday email from a new person today! My name is Alex Bond, and I’m the new communications director for the Washington State Democratic Party. I’m a lifelong Washingtonian who’s been working to elect Democrats in this state for many years now - I’ve probably met many of you at some point or another, and I’m excited to electronically-meet the rest of you! 

    Like many of you, right now I’m watching the last two weeks of the legislative session with a ton of interest. Last week Tina wrote to you about the major police accountability bills that were passed. This week, I’m excited to see our progress on tax reform and what happens next with the capital gains tax proposal. We know that Washington has the most upside-down tax code of any state in the nation, where the rich can avoid contributing their fair share to the vital services we all count on like health care, schools, affordable housing, and more. Taking action on the capital gains tax is long overdue. 

    We should all be glad to see that the Working Families Tax Credit is moving forward in the legislature, with HB 1297 now having passed both the House and the Senate. This bill would provide direct cash assistance to lower-income families to help folks pay their bills or cover emergency expenses. Passing this bill, sponsored by Rep. My-Linh Thai (LD 41), would be a big step forward for a fairer tax code. 

    These kinds of direct cash benefits - which poverty experts say are some of the most effective ways to help folks in need or on the edge - are also a big part of the American Rescue Plan at the federal level. Beyond the direct stimulus checks, our own Senator Patty Murray helped get into the bill the new Child Tax Credit, which will get money directly to families with children. The New York Times did a great story about Senator Murray’s work on the issue - I encourage you to check it out

    Balancing our upside-down tax code is a key part of this year’s advocacy agenda from our state committee, and it’s good to see legislators taking the issue seriously. It’s looking like 2021 is going to be a historic year for a fairer tax code in Washington state and across the country. These needed changes will lend a helping hand to working families that have been struggling for a long time, strengthen the public goods and institutions we will depend on even more as we recover from the pandemic, and allow our elected officials to enact good policy with a focus on the country’s long-term best interest. 


    Warm regards,

    Alex Bond

    WA Dems Communications Director

    _________________________________

    Something to do: We’re working with the DNC to collect stories from Washingtonians about how the American Rescue Plan stimulus package has affected your life! Whether it’s being able to get vaccinated, a stimulus check helping you pay your bills, or other things like helping to keep a small business afloat or your school district being able to do a better job for students, we want to hear about it! 

    What we’re asking for - a short film that you can record on your phone, or have someone hold the camera for you, and film from the waist up, with the picture vertically aligned “selfie-style.” Record between about 30 seconds to a minute, and try to film in a well-lit area and with a neutral background. 

    Your script could be something like, “I’m Barbara from Tacoma, Washington, and I’d like to thank Joe Biden and our members of Congress for passing the American Rescue Plan. This bill has helped me and my family by… [add your story here]”

    You can submit the videos here. Thank you for your help!

    Something to read: As we work to build the Democratic party’s strength in rural areas, it’s important that we make sure rural voters know what Democrats are delivering for them. The American Rescue Plan passed by Democrats in Congress has huge benefits for rural areas, andthis article from The Daily Yonder includes a great deep dive into how the ARP will combat child poverty in rural America. We’re asking all of our rural Democratic party organizations to please share this article on social media with your friends, neighbors, and constituents. Make sure to remind them that Republicans Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Newhouse, and Jaime Herrera Beutler all voted against this massive boost for poor rural families… despite representing most of the rural areas in our state!

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for all your help and support! This is a big year for Democrats, and we appreciate all you are doing to help support our progressive causes and candidates.

  • 16 Apr 2021 3:12 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    Kitsap County

    Kitsap County this week launched the largest-ever eviction prevention program, funded by approximately $18 million from several different state and federal funding sources, providing financial support to low-income individuals and households who may be behind on rent and utilities.

    “Helping individuals and families maintain their housing, and avoid the potential devastation of evictions, is the number one thing we can do to support our entire community on the path to recovery,” said Commissioner Rob Gelder, chair of the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners.

    In order to make it easy for tenants to apply for funding, Kitsap County has rolled all of this funding into a single new program - the Kitsap Eviction Prevention Assistance program (KEPA) - so that eligible households do not have to sort through different requirements and applications for the different funding sources. Instead, there is a single Pre-Application that determines eligibility for all programs. Either tenants or landlords may initiate the Pre-Application.

    “We hope to make this program as easy to access as possible for eligible tenants who are behind on rent,” noted Kirsten Jewel, Kitsap County Department of Human Services Housing and Homelessness Division manager. “The goals of the program are threefold: to benefit tenants so they can get caught up on rent and utilities, to help landlords who can collect past due rent and pay their bills, and to support the community so that we can avoid a tsunami of evictions due to tenants’ inability to pay rent once the eviction moratorium is lifted.”

    Eligible households can apply for past-due rent, current rent, and up to two months of future rent, which will be paid directly to the landlord. In addition, program funds may be used for tenants' past-due utilities charges, paid directly to utility companies.

    To be eligible, households must have a total income of 50% or less of area median income and experienced a financial impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A chart showing these income amounts by household size is available on the program websiteThis assistance is only for renters and landlords. Homeowners are not eligible to apply unless they are the landlord.

    Tenants who aren't sure whether they qualify can still submit the Pre-Application and may be referred to other programs for support if they don't qualify for this eviction prevention or utility assistance. 

    Kitsap County has contracted with Kitsap Community Resources to be the primary distribution agency. This means most tenants and landlords will be working with them directly. Kitsap County also contracted with Housing Kitsap and the Bremerton Housing Authority to provide eviction prevention funding to their existing tenants.

    The Coffee Oasis will be accepting applications from youth and young adults (up to 24 years old) who may also submit an application through Kitsap Community Resources. The program is set up so there is “no wrong door” and applications will be routed to the appropriate agency.

    In addition, Kitsap County contracted with six outreach partner organizations that will work directly with historically under-served minority populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. These partners will provide outreach, education, and application assistance to the populations they serve and include Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center, Mt. Zion Church, Gather Together Grow Together, Surviving Change, Foundation for Homeless and Poverty Management, and House of Refuge/Hope 360.

    Information about the program, including the Pre-Application, is available at http://kcowa.us/kepa
    The Pre-Application is also available in Spanish.

    Informational flyers are available to print and share:

     


  • 15 Apr 2021 6:36 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


     

    Democrats,

    Thank you so much for all that you do to make our Party stronger and help elect Democrats at every level!

    I’m so very excited to announce that registration is now open for our first-ever Build the Blue Gala on Tuesday, May 11th. This will be our biggest, best virtual event yet and we hope you will be able to attend!

    Please RSVP and get your tickets online here!

    I’m ever more excited to announce that we will be joined by LIVE speaker DNC Chair Jaime Harrison and other incredible elected officials from the National scene! More speakers will be announced in the coming weeks so do stay tuned!

    This is your chance to join hundreds of Democrats from across Washington State to celebrate our 2020 victories, get inspired for the huge opportunities facing us in the 2022 election cycle, and support the work we need to protect our strong Democratic majorities and gain ground in critical races statewide.

    Will you help us build our strongest organizing program yet and pack our bench with strong and diverse Democratic candidates? Please sign up online here – and if you have friends who you think would be interested, please do consider signing up as a table captain to get special recognition and perks on event day!

    Please direct all questions to WA Democrats Development Manager Anjali Narula at anjali@wa-democrats.org. Thanks again so very much for all you do for our Party – we can’t wait to see you in May!

    With Gratitude,

    Tina Podlodowski

    Chair, Washington State Democrats


    Paid for by Washington State Democratic Central Committee. Not authorized by any federal candidate or candidate's committee.

    Washington State Democratic Party615 2nd Ave.Suite 580Seattle WA 98104 United States

  • 9 Apr 2021 4:06 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    Friday Wrap Up (2).png

    This week we’re talking about police accountability: how do we make sure that law enforcement is protecting the public, not putting people at risk by abusing power, and address the problems of our unjust and racist criminal justice system?

    It’s difficult to overstate the impact that the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin had on our country and our politics over the past year. While we’ve had countless examples of law enforcement killing Black people and people of color for decades, across the country and here in Washington, the killing of Floyd lit a fire under the police accountability movement and drove a summer of protests and conversation. 

    To be clear, and to restate a core belief of the Washington State Democratic Party, Black lives matter. It’s abhorrent what we allow to happen in our criminal justice system. We have to change and reform the culture and structures of policing in our country, our state, and our counties and cities. 

    Chauvin is on trial currently for the killing of Floyd – while it can be tough to watch, it’s important for us to keep our eyes on it and grapple with the racism and injustice of our criminal justice system. These are times of pain and anger, but they can also be moving times of love and grief and mourning. Trauma and wounds are real and they hurt, but they can bring healing and reconciliation. What it takes is for us to be willing to commit to listening, come together to support and stand with our BIPOC friends, family, and neighbors, and focus on the work of justice and change in our hearts and in our laws. 

    Here in Washington, our legislative Democrats are taking real action towards police accountability by passing serious and meaningful reforms. Washington isn’t immune from violent and unjust law enforcement overreach by any means; people like Tommy Le, Manuel Ellis, and Charleena Lyles have been the victims. While we continue the conversation and work to end systemic and institutionalized racism and violence in our criminal justice system, we want to recognize our legislators’ commitment to changing these broken institutions. Some of the bills that have passed in the legislature and are headed to the governor’s desk to become law include:

    HB 1054 from Rep. Jesse Johnson (LD 30), which bans dangerous and unacceptable police tactics that lead to loss of life likeno-knock warrants, chokeholds, neck restraints and certain military equipment. It also establishes restrictions on tear gas, vehicular pursuits, and shooting at moving vehicles.

    SB 5051 from Sen. Jamie Pedersen (LD 43), which provides timely and effective enforcement of state standards for peace and corrections officers and allows the Criminal Justice Training Commission to discipline officers who abuse the privilege of carrying a badge and a gun. This bill adds “teeth” to existing law enforcement reforms by making sure that bad and abusive police can be held accountable.

    HB 1088 from Rep. John Lovick (LD 44), which toughens state law on police officer impeachment disclosures (often referred to as ‘Brady lists’ of officers who’ve engaged in misconduct that affects their credibility as a witness in court) and requires that law enforcement agencies must inquire about past impeachment disclosures before hiring an officer. 

    SB 5259 from Sen. T’wina Nobles (LD 28), which mandates the collection of data on police uses of force so that the state can study the trends and make systemic change, adding more transparency to Washington’s policing. 

    HB 1089 from Rep. Bill Ramos (LD 5) would provide meaningful transparency about the investigations and charging decisions made after deadly force is used by police.

    SB 5066 from Sen. Manka Dhingra (LD 45) requires officers to intervene if they observe a fellow officer using excessive force and, if force is used, to render aid to the victim at the first safe opportunity. In addition to the duty to intervene, the bill also creates a duty to report excessive force to their superiors.

    Obviously, there’s still so much to do, but I’m so glad that Washington Democrats are taking this challenge seriously. Preserving and protecting human life must be law enforcement’s highest values. To build trust in communities, we must set expectations that honor those values and build systems of accountability and transparency. These bills are a step forward towards justice and racial equity that’s sorely needed.

    ____________________________________________________

    Something to read: We loved this article in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin by Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia about mass incarceration. It’s long but worth the time, so set aside a few moments this weekend to read it and think hard about what it has to say. Titled ‘Let My People Go,’ it’s a deep examination of our carceral state and the human impacts of the racism and injustice thereof. As Warnock writes, “That we are a nation that comprises 5 percent of the world’s population and warehouses nearly 25 percent of the world’s prison population is a scandal and a scar on the soul of America.” This issue is tentacled throughout our society. Incarceration impacts so many other aspects of American life and it’s a challenge we must all grapple with, no matter how long it takes and even when it makes us uncomfortable.

    Something to do: This is a bit of a change in subject, but it’s something that we really wanted to share. We’re assembling digital art assets for local parties to use in their social media and we wanted to start sharing them now. Our online drive holding them is here and you should be able to download graphics for use in your own social media campaigns on big issues like the American Rescue Plan, building the party, and spreading the word about COVID vaccination. As time goes on we’ll fill out this drive with more resources and assets on more different subjects and topics, but in the meantime feel free to get started! 

    Something to watch: You’ve probably heard about the PRO Act in Congress to strengthen labor unions and support worker organizing, but what specifically does the bill actually do? Our friends at the IUPAT union put together this great video on the PRO Act that’s really worth a watch!

  • 8 Apr 2021 10:43 AM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

    Equity training is a must

    Martha Patterson, Silverdale  (Previously published to the Kitsap Sun, April 7)

    Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm famously said, “Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread, and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.”

    The statement the letter clearly illustrates is one of privilege, reflecting the belief that no problem exists because it has not been personally experienced, and illustrates why equity training is needed, not just in our schools, but for all. Ponder this. Why do you suppose very few people of color reside in Poulsbo? Do you remember the outrage among some members in the community a few years back, when the Viking Festival Princess was black, and how a few men in Nazi attire showed up at the festival? Why are students of color suspended and expelled from schools at much higher rates than white students? Why are students of color referred for Special Education services at much higher rates than white students? White Nationalist activity has been reported in Kitsap County, and supremacist groups are known to recruit in online video game chat rooms, often frequented by teenagers. 

    Why are white male politicians in Georgia working so hard to suppress voting?  Think about your own school years. How often did you read a book about or written by a person of color? Martin Luther King wrote in his Letter From the Birmingham Jail: "The Negros greatest stumbling block is not the Ku Klux Klanner,  but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice.” 

    Do some reflection. Equity training is a must. 

    Martha Patterson, Silverdale

  • 7 Apr 2021 10:08 AM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

    Court strikes down Indian Family preference in adoptions.

    View in browser | indiancountrytoday.com

    April 7, 2021

    This is a developing story.
    Go to Indian Country Today for updates 

    Court strikes key provision of Indian child welfare law

    By Joaqlin Estus

    Legal experts are deeply concerned about an “incredibly divisive” ruling from a federal appeals court that struck down parts of a law giving Native American families preference in the adoption of Native American children ... continue reading

    [AP Photo/Kevin McGill]


  • 3 Apr 2021 8:17 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


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    23rd-District Legislative E-News: April 3, 2021

    Dear friends and neighbors,

    A pivotal time in virtual Olympia

    At the beginning of this legislative session House Democrats committed to protecting Washington’s families and communities, and to ensuring an equitable and inclusive recovery. We made our goals and focus clear.  My hope is that you will evaluate how well our Legislature performs at protecting the health, safety, and well-being of families and communities by how we prioritize COVID-19 response, economic recovery, climate change, and addressing systemic inequity. As we head into the last few weeks of this session, crucial bills in these areas are still possible in play. As I’ve heard often during my first session as your representative, our work is a marathon, and we still need to get across the finish line.

    Budget highlights

    wa recovery budget

    Operating: Washington Recovery Budget

    This weekend the House will be working to pass our version of the operating budget, the Washington Plan for Community and Economic Recovery. While there is more work to do before a final budget is approved and sent to Gov. Inslee, our first draft reflects our priorities and our commitments. Some highlights are:

    • $1.9 billion for homelessness and affordable housing, including enough rental assistance to protect those who have fallen behind during the pandemic from facing eviction, and new revenue dedicated to permanent supportive housing to address the homelessness crisis that affects cities and towns throughout Washington.
    • Nearly a billion in recovery support for small businesses, including small business grants.
    • $2.7 billion for public health and healthcare, including more than a billion dollars to continue to fight COVID-19 with vaccinations, contact tracing and testing.
    • $790 million for early learning and childcare, including stabilization grants for childcare providers, and an ongoing commitment to increasing the available slots and the reimbursement rates.
    • $133 million for the skilled nursing safety net trust account, including increased Medicaid reimbursement rates.
    • $340 million for the immigrant relief fund, to support our neighbors who, because of broken and unjust laws, have been left out of much of the federal support.

    A more complete summary is available here, and all of the details and accompanying documents are available on our LEAP system.

    Capital: Historic construction plans to rebuild the economy 

    Shovels will be flying throughout the 23rd district and all around the state, thanks to the combined list of proposed projects funded by the House and Senate’s 2021-23 capital budget. At this point it’s a certainty that the final budget will break the record for total investments and put tens of thousands of people to work rebuilding the economy. On Friday the House approved its version of the budget, and we’ll soon begin negotiations with the Senate to produce a final product.

    construction vertical

    Federal funding is helping immensely this year, with the House budget (HB 1080) including $400 million from the American Recovery Act to invest in water, sewer, and broadband service along, with $189 million for critical capital budget projects enabling work, education, health monitoring, and other items related to responding to the pandemic.

    A total of $48.5 million would go toward grants and loans for early learning facilities. Public schools would receive $969.9 million, while community colleges get $299.8 million and public universities are set for $678.9 million in construction funding. The largest project is the construction of the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility at the University of Washington ($191.3 million).

    This proposal also sets new records for investments in housing ($240 million), early learning ($48 million), and broadband internet access ($155 million). Just a few of the projects on track to receive funding here in the 23rd district include:

    • $1.6 million for Bainbridge Performing Arts to expand its services to the community.
    • $320,000 for improvements at Madrona Day Treatment School in Bremerton.
    • $2 million for vital Ridgetop habitat protection in Silverdale.
    • $600,000 for modernization of facilities at TC Chief Kitsap Suquamish tribal compact school.
    • $2.5 million for the Hood Canal fish passage.

    As I said, this is the House version of the budget; the Senate version does not track the House plan line for line, so until we’ve completed cross-chamber negotiations, some of these details are subject to change. Full details about the budget are available here. You can also find district project lists and maps.


    Transportation: Investing in our shared future

    In 2020, transportation funding took a huge hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pending decision on I-976, and the need to construct new fishing passages, adding a great deal of strain on our transportation budget. As a result, Gov. Jay Inslee put many construction projects on hold.

    Reduced travel as a result of COVID-19 restrictions also created a sizable reduction in funds from gas taxation.

    Almost $800 million in federal funding and the state Supreme Court’s rejection of I-976 changed that financial landscape.

    The 2021-23 budget proposed by House Democrats, which we approved by an 87-11 vote Friday afternoon, restores paused projects and continues the work of building a transportation system for the future, with investments in green transportation, mass transit, fish passages, and critical projects such as the I-5 bridge between Washington and Oregon. Here in the 23rd, we’ll see evidence of the transportation budget throughout the district:

    WSF
    • $500,000 to prepare for traffic improvements at the Kingston ferry dock, easing the traffic congestion on surrounding streets.
    • $2.3 million for a new regional public transit terminal in Silverdale.
    • $3 million for a similar terminal in Bremerton.
    • $1.5 for a new battery-powered bus for Kitsap Transit.
    • $43 million to convert two Jumbo Mk II ferries to electric-hybrid for the Bainbridge-Seattle run.
    • More than $200 million to make significant repairs and improvements on ferries serving our district’s riders.

    A more in-depth look at the transportation budget proposal can be found here.

    Vaccine eligibility expands to all adults on April 15

    The governor recently announced that all adults over 16 will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting April 15th. So far, the phased approach has helped to ensure that the most vulnerable among us were the first to receive doses. Now, thanks to the heroic work of healthcare professionals and the expanded supply from the federal government, eligibility can expand even more quickly than expected.

    As the governor indicated in his announcement, the accelerated timeline comes, in part, as a response to a recent increase in COVID cases. New variants are highly transmissible, and we must continue to wear masks, keep our distance, and wash our hands to avoid overwhelming our healthcare system's capacity to care for people who become sick.

    I know it’s hard, we’ve all been living under these restrictions for so long. But now is not the time to give up. Let’s remember, this time last year we didn’t even know much about the virus. Since then, we’ve come together, protected each other, developed multiple vaccines, and given doses to millions of people.

    Use the Vaccine Locator, now available in multiple languages,  to find a vaccination appointment. And if you can’t get online, call the state COVID-19 Assistance Hotline at 1-800-525-0127.

    Here is a snapshot of the most recent date from Kitsap Public Health:

    Kitsap COVID 4-2-21

    Getting more assistance to families in need

    The House’s bill to bolster economic recovery and provide food and cash assistance to families in need was signed into law this week by Gov. Jay Inslee. We all have a friend or neighbor who is struggling right now to make ends meet or worrying about where their next meal will come from. That’s why HB 1151 expands a cash assistance program for families, allows for five additional months of food assistance and requires the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to update the standards of need for cash assistance programs — last updated three decades ago.

    Food insecurity has skyrocketed during the pandemic. This bill will update existing programs to help ensure families have options beyond food banks to put food on the table. We also know that families’ needs have changed over the past 30 years, so HB 1151 will update or modernize standards of need to include expenses like internet, childcare and health care.

    My voting-rights bill awaits the governor's signature

    I’m very pleased to say that HB 1078, my proposal that will make the restoration of voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals automatic rather than provisional, has been approved by both the House and Senate and now requires only Gov. Inslee’s signature to become law. This has been a multi-year effort, one I’ve worked on both before and after becoming your representative, and I especially want to thank Sen. Patty Kuderer for having been so helpful over the last several years. It’s a shame it has taken so long for the state to enact such a common-sense policy, which is already in place in red and blue states around the country. But it’s finally happening, and by all measures this reform, which comes at no cost to taxpayers, will actually reduce recidivism and in the process drive down the exorbitant costs of our corrections system.

    And an update

    I promised to keep you posted on my other bills, and I am hopeful that soon after you read this another priority bill will have been debated and approved in the Senate. HB 1086, creating the state office of behavioral health consumers, has made its way through the Senate committee process and is now in the Rules Committee, the last stop before reaching the virtual Senate floor.

    HB 1411, which will expand healthcare workforce eligibility for thousands of qualified Washingtonians by prohibiting the Department of Social and Health Services from automatically disqualifying persons with criminal convictions from certain caregiver jobs, also has reached the Senate Rules Committee and is poised for floor action. I look forward to this bill becoming law this year.

    It’s hard to believe, but as I write this on Friday, April 2, there are barely three weeks left in my first session in the House. I’ll be providing another update before we adjourn, and a final session wrap-up shortly afterward. But I want to stress that although the Legislature will not be in session, I work for you year-round. I’m very hopeful that as the threat of COVID-19 subsides due to the measures we are taking, I’ll be able to meet with many of you face-to-face. Regardless of when good sense and good science allow us to resume personal meetings, I always welcome your emails, letter, and calls. Please keep in touch to help me do this important job better and better.

    Sincerely,

    Simmons SIg

    Rep. Tarra Simmons

     

    Contact Me
     P.O. Box 40600, Olympia WA 98504
    tarra.simmons@leg.wa.gov

    (360) 786-7934 | Toll-free Hotline: (800) 562-6000 | (800) 635-9993 (TTY)
    housedemocrats.wa.gov/simmons

    Legislative Assistant
    Shannon Turner | shannon.turner@leg.wa.gov


  • 2 Apr 2021 7:14 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)



    Hello fellow Democrats! 

    Right now it looks like there’s just been a scary attack by a vehicle on the Capitol building in Washington DC. There’s still a lot that we don’t know about who did this or why, but it appears that a Capitol Police officer was killed in the attack. Our hearts are with the officer’s loved ones and the entire U.S. Capitol Police Department. USCP officers have bravely stood on the line through extremely challenging moments this year. We send comfort to all who have been impacted.

    This week we’re doing a deep dive on voting rights, how Republicans won’t stop trying to roll back the right to vote, and continue to spread conspiracies about the 2020 elections – here in Washington and across the country.

    “Republicans in Washington state still pushing the election conspiracy that won’t die”

    In case you missed it, Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times wrote an article delving into how, right here in Washington, Republicans still refuse to give up on the conspiracy that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen. He discusses the King County Republicans’ now-infamous “Election Integrity Committee” report, writing:

    Its first report uncovered zero fraud, but contains assertions that come straight out of a Republican fever dream. Such as the feat that “members of Antifa/BLM” have been registering as voters here, “despite coming from other areas to stay temporarily to riot.”

    The report attacks the state’s electronic vote-counting systems, contending, falsely, that they “were originally developed for the purpose of manipulating results to cheat elections.” Its source for many of these claims is a report by Trump’s infamous election lawyer Sidney Powell, who last week admitted in a defamation suit in court that “no reasonable person” could have heard her wild allegations about the election and assumed they were true.

    Westneat’s article also notes that despite GOP conspiracies, multiple hand recounts across the state have confirmed the accuracy of our 2020 elections:

    What’s so strange about all this is that after the November election, Republicans concerned by the possibility of fraud challenged various vote counts around the state. This is a good thing: It’s a check on the system when parties demand a hand recount of votes in places where they suspect problems.

    “The point is to try and build people’s confidence up,” Doug Roulstone, of the Snohomish County GOP, told the Everett Herald about why he was paying for a spot-check recount there. “They want to know nothing is happening here.”

    Hand recounts were requested near Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, in an Eastside precinct in the 45th Legislative District, on Orcas Island in the San Juans and in five precincts in the 9th Congressional District in Federal Way, Kent, Mercer Island and Seattle.

    I’m guessing you haven’t heard much about this. That’s because these recounts came up with nothing. Not only was nothing amiss, but in most of the precincts, the laborious process of scrutinizing every ballot by hand didn’t change a single vote.

    Hand recounts are a great tool because if there’s a mismatch caused by the vote-counting software — the main suspicion raised by Trump and his lawyers — then an inspection of the physical ballots will detect it.

    Example: Local Republicans requested a recount of an Orcas Island precinct in the governor’s race, due to concerns about the software and the margin of Gov. Jay Inslee’s win there. Inslee had beaten Republican Loren Culp in that precinct by 711 votes to 199 in the initial machine tally. After a hand recount, Inslee won by the same 711 votes to 199.

    “After going through all this I have great confidence in the election in Washington state,” a member of the canvassing board there said.

    Good news, right? Not if you’re drunk on Trump.

    It’s clear that Washington state Republicans are more interested in pushing their own delusional conspiracies about how they think the election was stolen from Donald Trump than they are on working to solve any of the challenges still facing America in 2021. 

    The fraudster running the state GOP’s Election Integrity Committee

    Not to be outdone by the King County Republicans, the Washington State Republican Party has an Election Integrity Committee of its own; they chose quite a character to chair it. Bill Bruch, their failed candidate from the 10th LD race in 2020, announced in February that he was chosen to chair the committee:

    image1.jpg

    For a committee supposedly working on integrity, they chose a chair who lacks it. As reported in the local press with the help of our Skagit County Democrats, Bruch was an investment advisor who defrauded his elderly clients and was found liable for judgements totaling $1.7 million. While running for office in 2020, Bruch also claimed that people should be cautious of COVID vaccines and not wear masks, stated that COVID-19 was “a huge fraud perpetuated [sic] on mankind,”and asserted that the entire pandemic was a conspiracy between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates.

    Clearly this isn’t a person who anyone should be trusting to stand up for integrity or fair elections. Like the rest of the Washington State Republican Party leadership, he’s a conspiracy theorist focused on bogus stories from right-wing media instead of the reality of people’s lives. Bruch prioritizes his delusions of conspiracy over economic recovery and the help that folks need to get through the rest of this pandemic. 

    GOP’s legislative assault on voting rights

    All these attacks on voting aren’t just silly talk; Republicans in the Washington legislature are intent on pursuing an agenda to roll back the right to vote in Washington state, as we’ve seen Republicans do in other states like Georgia. Led by Sen. Doug Ericksen (LD 42) and Rep. Brad Klippert (LD 8), a group of GOP legislators introduced legislation to end all-mail votingand disenfranchise legal voters, and to throw away ballots that were legally cast before Election Day because of post office mistakes. 

    On top of that, every Republican legislator voted against HB 1078, the bill on its way to the Governor’s desk that will restore the right to vote to people who have been convicted of a felony but released from DoC facilities. While Democrats are making sure Washingtonians’ rights are protected, Republicans are standing in our way.

    The reaction to Georgia

    We’re already seeing an outcry across the country in response to the anti-voting bills being pushed by Republicans in Georgia. Even businesses that often take conservative stances like Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola (both headquartered in Atlanta) are speaking out in opposition and just a few hours ago, Major League Baseball announced that they’d be moving this summer’s All-Star Game out of Georgia in response to the bill. These important moves show the cultural power of our movement, but we need to make sure they are linked to true accountability for those who are pursuing these radical and unpopular assaults on voting rights. We need to leverage this cultural power into political power that can pass the legislation necessary at the state and federal levels to make sure that every voter can get their ballot in and exercise their right to vote.

    It’s clear that this GOP agenda isn’t just talk; they legitimately want to roll back our rights to vote -- from Georgia to Washington state. We need to fight to make sure that every voter knows their rights, every voter is registered, and every voter can return their ballot and have their voice heard. This is the lifeblood of our democracy and our party will not give up the fight!

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Something to do: Right now Georgia is one of the most important states in the battle to protect voting rights. We encourage you to get involved with the “Stop Jim Crow” campaign led by Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action group. You can get information on what’s happening with voter suppression in other states and how to get involved in the national effort to protect voting rights on their website here

    Something to watch:This week onDemocracy on Demand, we talked with Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (LD 34) about the important environmental bills moving through the legislature this year. We know it’s essential for Washington state to lead the fight against climate change and to make sure that we’re cleaning up our energy sources, reducing our carbon emissions, and protecting those most affected by environmental pollution. This was a very interesting talk that included many ideas for how folks can get involved in these last few important weeks of the legislative session! 

    Something to read: With states like Georgia passing Jim Crow-style attacks on voting rights, it’s more important than everfor Congress to act and pass the “For The People” voting rights bill. Our own Senator Patty Murray agreesand told the Spokesman-Review paper that we can’t let this bill be filibustered by Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party. Read up on these issues and let’s take this fight to the Republicans -- in Washington and across the country!

    -- 

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