Hello fellow Democrats!
Republicans in the 8th Congressional District - Rep. Kim Schrier has been doing terrific work for all Washngtonians in Congress - passing the American Rescue Plan, working on lowering prescription drug prices, championing more affordable health care, and helping get our economy back on track with support for small businesses. And, for those of you with children, look for checks on July 15th as Democrats in Congress have expanded and advanced the child care tax credit for working families. She’s been there for us on issue after issue and we want her to be able to continue these efforts.
However, with a narrow Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, national GOP PACs are already targeting her seat and conservative Republican candidates are getting ready to run. Matt Larkin, who challenged Attorney General Bob Ferguson last year (and lost), and Jesse Jensen, who Schrier defeated in 2020, have both declared their candidacy in the 8th CD. Both Larkin and Jensen are Trump-supporting extreme conservatives (who BOTH lost in 2020 - did I mention that?) We know that GOP PACs and the national Republican party will be throwing their support behind them in this race with millions in special interest money - and we have to stop them.
As Democrats, we need to make sure that all our local party organizations in the 8th Congressional are organized and ready to fight hard in 2021 and 2022. It’s all going to be all about turnout, and the GOP is already stealing a page from our playbook and hiring organizers. For folks in the 8th, it’s especially important that you get the ball rolling now on some of the important organizing projects we lay out later here in this email so we can energize the Democratic base and get out the vote to win crucial races next year. I talked with KING 5 news about the race earlier this week - you can see the story, including my interview, here.
The 8th isn’t the only Congressional District that we’ll be working hard in, of course. We need to protect all our great Democratic incumbents, including Rep. Marilyn Strickland in the 10th, the first Korean-American and Black member of Congress we’ve had in Washington, and Rep. Derek Kilmer in the 6th, where we need to be carefully watching the redistricting process. As rumblings and rumors of GOP challengers come up, and as we recruit good Democrats to run in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th districts against the Republican incumbents (Jaime Herrera Beutler polling at just 30% in a recent poll!) we’re counting on all our local party organizations and members to spread the word about how important these races could be for control of the entire US House of Representatives in the next Congressional session.
The Heat Wave - We were all shocked by the heat wave that hit the PNW last week, but it’s an unfortunate fact that these heat events are going to get more common as climate change continues. While we need to work to combat climate change at all levels, from our personal energy use all the way up to global cooperation and action, we also need to work to mitigate the impacts on vulnerable folks and people who have to live and work in the heat. The heat wave caused at least 78 deaths here in Washington, most of whom were older Washingtonians or those without access to shelter. The death count won’t be complete for several more weeks and will certainly be much higher than current estimates. These are the impacts of climate change today.
As tough as it is for people in cities to deal with the heat, the impact is bigger in our agricultural communities. While we work to make sure the Democratic Party can compete and win in rural areas, we need to make sure we’re supporting our rural communities through climate change-driven crises like heat waves. Washington is already rolling out emergency rules to protect farmworkers in heat waves and hot conditions that could continue for the rest of the summer and in future years.
We also need to recognize the impact on a different sort of agricultural region on the coast and in rural areas of the Olympic Peninsula. An estimated 1 billion shellfish died in the heat wave in the PNW and Western Canada - an important part of our coastal economy that’s already facing challenges from the impacts of ocean acidification, other elements of climate change, and the pandemic. These devastating -- and potentially long-term -- consequences on local shellfish populations also adversely affect indigenous Washingtonians, as the harvesting and consumption of shellfish is an important aspect of many local tribal cultures and practices. This heat wave already makes it clear how climate change will hurt us all - urban or rural, Republican or Democrat - and fighting climate change and helping protect folks from its impacts must be a critical part of our work as Democrats and of the policy portfolio that we communicate in our rural communities.
Draw Your WA - The 2021 redistricting process will have huge impacts on our politics and lives for the next ten years, and it’s important that we work to make sure our bipartisan redistricting commission is working on maps where Democrats can fairly compete and win. One of the most important parts of this process is identifying and defining “communities of interest” - the groups that share interests and concerns and should stay unified within the same districts. This could be a neighborhood, a city, a region, or any other geographic area that encompasses a shared interest.
The redistricting commission has made a “Draw Your WA” tool where the public can suggest your communities of interest by drawing the boundaries of these areas that should stay together. You can use the tool here: https://www.redistricting.wa.gov/participate/draw-your-wa and they have a video tutorial to help make sure that you can use it.
The Washington State Democrats have their first ever redistricting committee this year, who is working on organizing volunteers to provide testimony. If you're interested in getting involved in the redistricting process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, contact information, and your home legislative and congressional districts, and we'll connect you with a lead to get you plugged in. This advocacy is important and we need to have our Democratic voices heard.
Our Voter Engagement Plan for 2021 -We're excited to update you all on four big pieces of voter outreach and engagement we're asking local parties to take on during the rest of 2021. We know folks are anxious to get this work going, and we're setting up tools and training in Votebuilder to make this as easy as possible for everyone. Chairs or vice-chairs should contact email@example.com to let us know that you want to participate and who your local party organization's point of contact will be.Once we have that information, we will provide more detailed training and materials about how to access these lists, scripts, and target universes in Votebuilder.
We have four main voter engagement projects that local parties must participate in if we’re going to win up and down that ballot -
Contacting and finding out more about voters for whom we have little data. We need to know more about some of these voters so that we can communicate with them effectively next year, for persuasion and GOTV. By contacting them and having a conversation, we can begin building a deeper relationship between them and the Democratic party, and find out how best to communicate with them through the rest of the cycle and beyond.
Reaching out to likely Dems who didn't vote in 2020 and finding out why. Unfortunately, too many likely Democratic voters still aren't getting their ballots in, and we want to find out why. By building relationships with these voters and listening to their issues and concerns, we can get them ready to vote this year and next!
Re-registering likely Democratic voters who've been purged from the voter rolls by the Secretary of State's office. Thousands of Democratic voters are purged from the voter rolls every year by the Secretary of State's office, and we know many of them are people who are still alive, still living at the same address, and still should be eligible to vote. Over 320K since 2017! We can identify these people, let them know they were purged, and get them re-registered to vote.
Registering non-registered voters. There are still so many likely Democrats who fall through the cracks of our automatic voter registration system. Over 1.3M eligible Washingtonians remain unregistered. We need the face-to-face touch to reach them and get them registered.
Lastly, on Friday, 7/16 at 6pm, Data Director Maithili Joshi and Deputy Organizing Director Chris Carter will hold an information session for party leaders over Zoom - please register for that (here:https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcpfu-qrDIjH93garkMXmcz3bcQo4VLCe7i) and join us for an opportunity to ask any questions you have live!
Rural Summit July 25 - We’re holding our Washington Rural Summit virtually on July 25th to talk about how Democrats can better compete and win in rural areas! This summit will involve communications training, small group breakouts on issues important to rural engagement, and sessions on how folks in Urban or Suburban districts can most effectively work with rural voters. This will be capped off with a keynote from the Chair of the Democratic Party of Nebraska and author of Harvest the Vote, Jane Kleeb.Please RSVP here if you would like to attend!
As always, thank you for reading and thank you for your support! With gratitude,