It’s heartbreaking that, yet again, we must open this email discussing another terrible mass shooting, this time in Boulder, Colorado. As we honor and remember the 10 lives lost in this horrific event, we must redouble our commitment to preventing such tragedies that threaten our livelihoods daily. Remember that gun violence is preventable, and our children and grandchildren shouldn’t have to grow up in a world where these tragedies are acceptable. Republicans are working to sustain the cycle of gun violence that keeps us in fear and harm’s way. Just 10 days before this shooting, an NRA lawsuit blocked a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines passed by the city of Boulder.
Voters in Washington have spoken again and again on this issue and we know that stopping gun violence is the necessary thing to do. Americans deserve better than an epidemic of gun violence in our homes, schools, and communities, and Democrats aren’t giving up.
Here in Washington, we want to highlight the good work some of our local parties are doing by stepping up to hold accountable an out-of-control sheriff in Pierce County. You may have read already about Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer, who confronted a Black newspaper carrier late at night while off-duty and called up a massive police response after he repeatedly lied and claimed that the carrier was threatening to kill him. After the news reported this racist confrontation, our Pierce County and Tacoma legislative district Democrats unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the sheriff, demanding his resignation, and calling for a recall effort should he not resign.
“Simply put, there are big problems with law enforcement in Tacoma. After the events of January 2021 that could have left another Black man dead at the hands of police, our membership believes it’s clear that Sheriff Troyer is unfit to hold his position and should resign immediately. The Democratic Party platform calls for accountability and courageous conversations about policing in our communities, and that’s why this resolution passed unanimously among elected precinct committee officers and other civic leaders in Tacoma,” said Justin Camarata, Chair of the 27th Legislative District and Cassandra Brown, Chair of the 29th Legislative District in a joint statement.
We’re all proud of our Pierce County Democratic leaders for stepping up and calling out Sheriff Troyer. And since we worked hard, won some elections, and Democrats took control of the Pierce County Council majority in this past year’s elections, the council is able to hire an investigator to probe Troyer’s conduct and find out the whole story here.
Troyer’s conduct is shameful, but it’s fantastic to see Democrats standing up to hold him accountable. Bravo to our Pierce County and Tacoma Democrats!
In the legislature, we’ve got about a month left until the session ends on April 25th and Democrats are still hard at work on our priorities. Legislative Democrats in the House and Senate are releasing their budget proposals and included key items from our state party advocacy agenda in Thursday’s proposal:
Health care and pandemic response The budget includes $1 billion for vaccinations and bolstering our testing and tracing efforts. It also makes significant investments in public health, including investments to expand our public health workforce and major subsidies to reduce insurance rates for those who purchase health insurance on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.
Stronger rural Washington The budget includes money to fund firefighting resources, improve fire-susceptible forests, and cut fire risk at the expanding juncture of urban areas and forests. The capital budget would also expand access to broadband internet throughout the state in rural areas and create thousands of construction jobs through projects like school construction, weatherizing homes, and investing in the Housing Trust Fund to build affordable housing, all across the state.
Balancing our tax code The budget includes a capital gains tax on the investment returns of the richest 1% of Washingtonians and invests the money into our child care system to fund the Fair Start for Kids act - improving the futures of children in need with high quality early learning and helping working families get access to care for their kids. It also funds the Working Families Tax Credit, which gets cash back in the pockets of low-income families.
Climate action and environmental protection The budget would fund the Climate Commitment Act, which would place an enforceable, declining limit on climate pollution from the largest-emitting sectors of our economy.As well, the capital budget proposal would spend hundreds of millions of dollars on green energy projects, electric grid modernization grants, salmon recovery, clean-up of toxic waste sites, and more.
Social justice and racial equity The budget proposal would fund the HEAL Act, which would reduce environmental health disparities by using principles of environmental justice, create a state Office of Internal Investigations to bring a neutral, objective perspective to the investigation of police brutality, and invest in Immigrant Relief Fund payments to individuals who might not be eligible for federal aid.
This is on top of the many policy bills passing in the legislature on issues like police accountability, electoral reform, housing and labor rights, and more. We’ll keep you up to date on the progress coming from the legislature this year, but we’re very excited by what we’re seeing from our Democratic champions!
Something to do: Our organizing department is continuing our work towards the 2021 elections. Our Contest Every Race candidate recruitment program kicked off with a great discussion call with local party chairs on Monday night with attendance that blew away similar Contest Every Race launches in other states. Chairs have a deadline of Sunday night to provide their feedback. Through Contest Every Race, we will reach out to Democrats across Washington and connect folks interested in running for office with races and elections in their local districts to make sure that every district, school board, and city and county council can have Democrats running to represent our party and our values.
For the 700+ (over 20% of the national cohort!) Washington State participants in the Train The Trainer (T3) program we’re running in concert with the Best Practices Institute, please note that we are now through week two out of six of the program. All registered participants should be sure to locate your training recordings, catch up on anything you may have missed so far, and submit your quizzes. The winning local parties of the $1,000 T3 competition will be determined based on who can get the highest portion of participants through the full program, so make sure your local party is in it and active!
Something to watch:This week onDemocracy on Demand, we talked with Rep. Monica Stonier from Vancouver who gave us an update on the legislative session and some of the good bills that Democrats are working on for us. It was fun to hear about legislation focused on improving and expanding healthcare centers within schools, providing students with the care that they need to thrive, especially in rural and/or lower-income areas that don’t have as many healthcare options. This is important work and we’re glad to have Rep. Stonier and our other Democratic legislators taking it on!
Something to read: The Washington Post printed an excellent article this week about the importance of down-ballot races and how they boosted the Biden campaign in 2020. They highlighted the importance of investing in state parties across the country in order to ensure that we’re competing and building the party in all 50 states. We’re taking on that same challenge here in Washington and working to help elect Democrats in every county throughout the state. This broad-based organizing is how we will win!--