Hello Democrats and happy Friday!
Voting Rights - Voting rights is the huge issue of this week. This coming Monday is MLK Day, and this day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. must motivate all of us to engage on one of the great missions of his life - protecting the right to vote. It’s also the wish of the King Family that we stand resolute and do everything in our power to elevate every voice and every vote.
This week, in Atlanta, GA, the President and Vice President forcefully defended the fundamental right to vote and called on Congress to stand on the right side of history by passing voting rights laws that prevent voter suppression, ensure full access to voting by mail, expand access to drop-boxes, and more.
The Freedom to Vote Act takes on election subversion to protect nonpartisan election officials from intimidation and interference; activists from the Civil Rights Movement knew that these officials could help or harm efforts to eliminate voting rights discrimination and this influence remains true today The bill would also get dark money out of politics and create fairer district maps by ending partisan gerrymandering, a tactic deployed relentlessly during the Jim Crow Era to disenfranchise Black voters. Meanwhile, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act restores the strength of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, another legacy of Dr. King’s leadership, and allows the Justice Department to stop discriminatory laws before they go into effect.
Both acts have now been combined into one omnibus bill, known as the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. This bill includes important proposals to combat voter suppression and election sabotage as well as provide new public disclosures of money spent to influence elections.
Senate Republicans have blocked these bills – and oppose even debating them. That’s why President Biden made it clear that he supports changing the Senate rules to prevent a minority of Senators from blocking action on voting rights. If the Senate can change the rules so Donald Trump can block Obama’s Supreme Court nomination and seat his own conservative Justices, we should be able to change them to protect the heart and soul of our democracy. I’m glad to say that our own Sen. Patty Murray also is loudly and proudly standing up to pass these bills, along with the rest of our exceptional delegation.
At consequential moments, history presents a choice. Lawmakers have a choice to make on which side of history they stand on. Do they want to be on the side of Dr. King? Or George Wallace? Do they want to be on the side of John Lewis? Or Bull Connor? Protecting the constitutionally-protected right to vote is a sacred responsibility – and Republicans who want to stand in the way of this are going to be judged by history.
And let’s be clear - this is not a vague or theoretical issue. The right to vote is actively and intentionally under attack. Republican legislatures across the country are passing laws like prohibiting volunteers from giving water to folks waiting in line to vote and closing DMVs in communities of color so that eligible voters face even more obstacles to get the new forms of ID Republicans are requiring at the polls. Here in Washington State, GOP legislators have proposed ending universal vote-by-mail and continue to question the integrity of our elections. These challenges are real, and they are happening now.
This Monday on MLK Day, if you have the day off work, I hope you’ll take some time to engage on this issue. Contact your elected officials, talk with some friends to make sure they both know about voter suppression AND that they are registered to vote, if eligible. Write a social media post – find something to do to help move this issue forward. Call our Senator Patty Murray's office at 202-224-2621 and thank her for stepping up to help lead the Senate towards action on these critical bills! Access to the ballot is the foundation of our democracy, and we can’t let the progress earned by the sacrifice of leaders like Dr. King be taken away by vote-suppressing politicians.
State of the State - The legislative session kicked off this week, and Governor Jay Inslee gave his State of the State Address about his agenda for the 2022 session. He talked about the importance of combating climate change, ending homelessness, and more, with an emphasis on the urgency of addressing these issues NOW and not kicking the can down the road. I can’t agree more - voters expect and deserve action! You can read Inslee’s address here or watch it on TVW:
COVID & Hospitals - This week, Governor Inslee also took action to help support Washington hospitals, as many have been struggling due to COVID. More and more COVID cases are coming in and many hospitals don’t have the beds and staff to match, leading to non-emergency procedures being canceled and continuing stress and burnout on our hard working doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff. Inslee’s order activates the National Guard to work in hospitals and COVID testing sites in some of the hardest-hit areas of Washington. I hope that this surge in personnel is able to help alleviate the pressure on our medical system as we get through the worst of the post-holiday and omicron COVID rise.
So many of us are experiencing this in our own families - just this week my 92 year old mom was turned away from hospitalization because there wasn’t a bed for her, and needed specialists who could not be accessed for care. This is NOT the fault of medical and support personnel - this is about a lack of personal responsibility and care for the community when it comes to vaccinations and the simple act of masking.
I ALSO want to remind everyone how irresponsible the WA GOP leaders have been on COVID. Remember when their Senate Republican Leader John Braun told the Columbian newspaper that it wouldn’t be a bad thing if more people got COVID?
It sure seems like a bad thing to me - for so many reasons.
Or how House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox said that hospital capacity concerns never pan out here?
Our hospitals are in crisis! How out of touch can you be? With more than 1M cases in our state, and more than 10,000 dead, this is the height of callousness, ignorance, and loyalty to a dying ideology over care for the people they are supposed to serve.
If people like Braun and Wilcox were running Washington state, it would be a disaster, with countless more deaths, more people sick, and more pain and misery. I’m so glad that we have Inslee’s leadership through this pandemic.
Blue Washington Special Offer - Our organizers are working hard around the clock to ensure that every single Democrat statewide turns out to vote this November, but they need your help. Our Coordinated Campaign needs to hire more organizers and we are currently facing a $3M budget gap. We truly cannot do this without you, which is why I wanted to remind you about joining our recurring donor program Blue Washington. By becoming a recurring donor, you will be supporting every single Democratic candidate in our state, driving progressive voter turnout, and ensuring we maintain our blue majority!
Our Blue Washington program specifically helps us build our organizing team and fund the resources they need to fight voter suppression and turn out every single Democrat. The more resources we have, the more we can accomplish!
What better way to watch President Biden’s updates at his State of the Union this year than with a cup of Joe! So get your coffee in style with our new mug! Those who sign up with a donation of at least $10 monthly will receive this limited edition “Organizing Works” coffee mug with a message to remind us why Democrats win:
Sign up today by clicking below! The earlier we can start organizing, the more we will be able to accomplish. Will you invest in a more progressive future for Washington?
Campaign Finance Update - This week had news on the campaign finance front - candidates running for state office had to file their C4 reports for December, and many federal candidates reported their fundraising for the fourth quarter of 2021. On the federal level, I’m thrilled and not at all surprised that Sen. Patty Murray was able to announce strong grassroots support for her campaign - she outraised her Republican opponent, with an average online donation of $25.77 this quarter and more than 17,000 contributions in the fourth quarter alone, with contributors from every county in Washington state. That support shows that the Democratic base, together with our networks, are engaged in this race and enthusiastic to support Sen. Murray, which is exactly the kind of energy we need going into these midterm elections.
On the state level, I was interested to see “independent” Secretary of State candidate Julie Anderson’s C4 report on her campaign’s spending. Anderson has filed against Democrat Steve Hobbs - our first Democratic Secretary of State in nearly 60 years.
For this “independent,” the staff whom she’s hiring seem to make clear how she’s leaning politically - her campaign treasurer is Jason Michaud, who works for conservative candidates across Washington, including House Republican Minority Leader Rep. J.T. Wilcox. And for her PR campaign, she hired a Republican communications operative named Bobbi Cussins, who used to work for the state House Republican Caucus in the legislature and for conservative advocacy groups like the Association of Washington Business. Doesn’t sound too “independent” to me!
Consider getting early endorsements from your local party organizations for both Senator Murray and Secretary Hobbs, as we will need EVERY Democratic vote to help them to victory.
DNC LGBTQ listening sessions - The DNC's Coalitions Team will be hosting a number of listening sessions in late January/early February to hear directly from LGBTQ leaders across the country about how we can better support and engage LGBTQ communities in every state. We would love to have good Washington representation! These listening sessions will be facilitated by the DNC Coalitions Team and the goal is to better understand how they can support and engage with LGBTQ communities across the country.
I think this is a great opportunity to provide feedback to the DNC Coalitions Team, but we need to send them names for consideration by next Tuesday, January 18th. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, reply to this email with your name and contact information, and we can pass it along to the DNC!
One last FYI - make sure folks are watching out for our next state committee meeting coming up Saturday, January 29th. I’m looking forward to connecting with all our state committee members on the important work we have ahead of us and getting the ball rolling on a big election year! We will have a few special guests join us for the meeting as well, and you’ll be able to stream it live on Youtube to watch! You won’t want to miss it!
Thank you so much for your support as always! Stay healthy and safe!