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Tina's Friday Wrap Up and Comments from Val

2 Oct 2021 5:58 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

Hi all,

There’s lots of good stuff here. Please share as appropriate. Please encourage as many people as you know to send in comments – we need to make sure our views are heard!! Remember our Redistricting Info Meeting is this coming Wed, Oct 6, Zoom, 7 pm. Hope to see you all there!

Val

From: Tina Podlodowski <chair@wa-democrats.org
Sent: Friday, October 1, 2021 3:00 PM
To: Tina Podlodowski <chair@wa-democrats.org>
Subject: Friday News & Action with Tina Podlodowski

Hello fellow Democrats! Another big week of news on the redistricting front, as Congressional maps came out on Tuesday and testimony meetings start next week! 

If you do only ONE thing for democracy over the next five days, we simply MUST have you submit testimony to the Redistricting Commission!

Congressional Map Proposals Out - Congressional district map proposals were presented this week from the four members of the bipartisan Redistricting Commission. You can see the four Congressional maps from the two Democratic and two Republican commissioners here, along with the legislative map proposals from last week here

The Seattle Times framed the contrast between the Democratic and Republican maps quite accurately: 

As they did with legislative maps proposed last week, the Republican commissioners, Joe Fain and Paul Graves, are aggressively pushing for more favorable competitive boundaries for the GOP, which now holds three of the state’s 10 House seats.

The Democratic commissioners, April Sims and Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, proposed maps that would more likely maintain the status quo partisan split, and said they’re hewing to legal requirements including fair representation and uniting communities of interest.

This is what it comes down to - Republicans are proposing maps that help their party win. Democrats are proposing maps that follow the law, have fair representation, and make sense for real communities. Do the people of Washington want GOP gerrymanders or do they want maps that represent the voices of voters? That’s what this process will come down to, but expect the Republicans to hold on, kicking and screaming. 

Don’t just take my word for it - the nonpartisan and independent Campaign Legal Center examined all eight proposed redistricting maps under four distinct measures of partisan gerrymandering: the efficiency gap, partisan bias, the mean-median difference, and declination. The four Republican maps scored a perfect 16-0 in favoring Republicans, while the four Democratic maps were split evenly 8-8. The CLC report includes clear descriptions of the bias measures and the reasoning behind their calculations. This is independent and mathematical proof of the GOP’s bias. 

When you look at it, GOP Commissioner Fain’s map is just silly, and has no basis in reality (or law). Exactly, why does his map split the city of Shoreline between the 7th and the 1st Congressional districts? Why does he have that “peninsula” of the 10th CD reaching up into King County? Is it because that's where rumored GOP candidate David Vander Pol lives? You know - the same David Vander Pol who is president of the company that employs GOP commissioner Paul Graves for his day job? Also, Fain’s proposal splits Whidbey Island and almost every county in Western Washington -- why? Any guesses?

Meanwhile, GOP Commissioner Graves talks about “majority minority” districts in an effort to support his Congressional gerrymandering. Well, he surely didn't show the same “care” with his legislative maps, where he broke the Washington State Voting Rights Act in failing to draw a majority Latinx district in the Yakima Valley.  It’s clear that Graves leaves the districts of his Republican friends alone - on average, the three current GOP Congressional districts retain 96% of their voters in the Graves maps. In contrast, the Democratic districts are torn apart for political gain; these seven districts would keep an average of only 63.7% of their Democratic voters under his proposal.

We get that Republicans want to draw maps that help them win elections, but it shouldn't be done by disenfranchising communities of interest or by breaking the laws governing this process that were passed by the state legislature. You just can't draw lines down the middle of every county you don't like because it suits your desire to make GOP districts. It’s disappointing, but it comes as no surprise that the GOP Commissioners are pursuing this marginalizing and harmful agenda.

At the same time, we Democrats need to work hard to make sure our voices are heard in this process. The deadline for the Commission to finalize the next decade’s maps is November 15th - not far away - and I’m told that they’ll begin negotiations in earnest on Monday. That means that NOW is the time to get crucial testimony submitted. 

Redistricting Testimony Needs To Happen Now - Since the Commission has to finalize their maps by November 15th, it’s important that us Democrats speak up and are heard as early as possible to maximize our impact. We don’t have a lot of time to get our input submitted! 

Live meetings to submit testimony are next Tuesday and Saturday, but submitting written testimony is just as important. 

When submitting written testimony at www.redistricting.wa.gov, we encourage you to customize it to your local area and your specific concerns, but make sure to include a couple key points that matter everywhere:

  • The Commission’s job should be to focus on maintaining communities of interest and keeping cities and counties together, not on electoral outcomes. 
  • The Republican maps propose huge and irresponsible gerrymanders. 
  • We support the Democratic proposals that will help make sure community voices are fairly heard. 

These are the key messages we need to get across! Please don’t delay!

Redistricting Resources - We’re putting together a folder of resources for local parties and activists to share about getting involved with redistricting - you can access it here. In the folder is a recording of the live testimony training that our Redistricting Committee put together, along with some graphics that the state party staff designed and ready to share on social media. We’ll continue adding content to this folder for you to access and help support your advocacy efforts. 

GOP and “Biblical Citizenship” - I just wanted to share with you what my GOP counterpart, state party Chair Caleb Heimlich, is up to these days. 

He’s doing an event on “Biblical Citizenship In Washington State” with the hateful former state Senator Mark Miloscia, who argues that the Democratic Party is literally in league with Satan and that another civil war is imminent. The Biblical Citizenship Movement is truly frightening - advocating for a theocracy that would overthrow our American democracy, and rooted in misogyny, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia.

The teachings of Christ preach that we should love each other, take care of the poor and the hungry, and embrace peace instead of war. Miloscia and his ilk have perverted Christianity to a gospel of hate and exclusion. I think it’s shameful that Caleb Heimlich is espousing the same and participating in this training and outreach. This is wildly out of touch with the voters of Washington state and I won’t stop reminding folks about all of this taking place, right in our backyards.

This is EXACTLY what you get when someone signs up as a member of the WA GOP.

And by the way, there is still a pandemic going on! I hope that everyone at this indoor event is vaccinated, but I’m not holding out much hope that they’ll be requiring proof of vaccination,  wearing masks, or implementing any measures to keep people safe. Irresponsibility is clearly what we should expect from Republicans at this point. 

GOP Votes To Cut Off Help For Afghan Refugees - Remember how concerned some Republicans were about helping Afghan refugees just a few months ago when the Biden Administration was ending the war in Afghanistan? Didn’t take long for Republicans in the U.S. Senate to show their true colors, in this Washington Post story:

The evenly divided Senate narrowly turned back a Republican amendment Thursday that sought to curtail assistance to Afghan refugees who were rapidly evacuated to the United States and that would have made it more difficult for them to obtain Real IDs.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sought to attach the amendment to legislation to fund the government into early December, which is expected to pass later Thursday with bipartisan support. Cotton’s amendment received 50 votes, one short of the number needed to succeed. The tally broke along partisan lines.

In addition to providing stopgap funding to keep the government open, the spending measure includes emergency funding for the resettlement of Afghan refugees who fled amid the takeover of the country by the Taliban and U.S. military exit.

Cotton’s amendment sought to cut off housing, food and medical aid, among other assistance, as of March 31, 2023, for Afghans who were granted parole to quickly enter the United States.

It’s disappointing that a small number of Republicans showed care and humanity towards people in need for once, then their party turned around to attack them for doing so immediately after. The cynicism and brutality of their party can be shocking. 

If you want to help Afghan refugees, I encourage you to support our local Refugee Women’s Alliance. Their website has more information about how to help. 

Ending on Something Fun - our hard-working state party staff might never forgive me if I didn’t share a link to the Katmai National Park’s “Fat Bear Week” competition, where people vote on pictures of big grizzly bears and declare which are the fattest. It’s a very silly thing, but bears having enough weight amassed to survive a winter of hibernation is a matter of survival (especially for mother bears supporting cubs) so this is serious business for them. Tracking the competition is a fun way to have a laugh for a few minutes - there’s voting on the bears every day through Tuesday October 5th, and you know I can never resist encouraging people to vote. 

Thanks as always for reading and have a great weekend!

With gratitude, 

Tina Podlodowski

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