Happy Friday Democrats!
The first three days of the impeachment trial have reminded us just how low the Republican Party has fallen. An airtight case of inciting an insurrection that should lead to a Trump conviction has become yet another exercise in disingenuous denial and a lack of accountability. The same is true here in Washington state.
Earlier this week, on behalf of the State party, I joined the National Women's Political Caucus of Washington, along with sexual assault and women's rights organizations from across Washington State, to publish an open letter opposing the recent appointment of former GOP State Senator Joe Fain to the Washington State Redistricting Commission. Commissioner Fain, appointed by Senate Republican Leader John Braun, is widely known as the subject of serious allegations of rape.
Fain's refusal to even address these allegations is unforgivable – and one of many reasons why he lost his reelection bid in LD-47 to now State Senator Mona Das in 2018. All appointments to the redistricting commission are critical to sustaining ethical values in our electoral process, and that starts with who has a seat at the table. Fain has already refused to resign from the commission, and Republican legislators are backing Braun's decision 100%, so it's up to us to keep adding on the pressure and holding him and Sen. Braun accountable for this shameful decision. Simply, Joe Fain should not be on the Redistricting Commission and this veiled attempt to "rehab" his reputation by the GOP for another turn at elected office disgraceful. We must stand behind survivors of sexual assault, ESPECIALLY when others are not.
Washington Republicans were hoping the Fain appointment would go unnoticed. This tactic only says one thing to me: they are normalizing sexual predatory behavior and sending the message to Washingtonians that sexual assault allegations are not taken seriously – just like with Trump. This is something we will not stand for. My team and I have worked tirelessly to work with sexual assault and women's rights groups to hold Fain accountable -- and we will continue this work throughout the coming weeks.
This week, we're focusing on the amazing work that Democrats are doing in Washington and on the national level, and with bill cutoff next week in the 2021 Legislative session, it's a great time to make your voice heard.
For example, Representative Debra Entenman is leading the charge in the 2021 legislative session to hold police accountable with House Bill 1267. HB 1267 would establish an Office of Independent Investigations within the Office of the Governor for the purpose of investigating deadly force incidents involving peace officers. Learn more about HB 1267 and Rep. Entenman's most recent work in the legislature on this week's episode of Democracy on Demand.
During the pandemic, Washington state continues to be the model for our nation when it comes to Coronavirus relief. This week, our legislature approved House Bill 1368 -- $2.2 Billion in COVID-19 relief. Once Governor Inslee signs the bill, this aide will take effect immediately due to its emergency status.
Here’s a breakdown of what HB 1368 will do:
$618 Million - Vaccines, testing, and contact tracing
$668 Million - support for WA schools
$365 Million - rental assistance
$240 Million - small business grants
$70 Million - undocumented immigrant fund
$50 Million - Childcare assistance
$26 Million - Food assistance
In the other Washington, President Biden and his administration and our Democrats in Congress are fulfilling their promises to the American people with the launch of the American Rescue Plan. We don't have a minute to waste when it comes to COVID relief. The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress know that every day counts and that's why they are fighting every day to get relief to the American people -- FAST!
Here's a simple break down of ARP:
● Get $1,400 direct relief checks to Americans, on top of $600 checks previously approved, for a total of $2,000 in direct aid
● Enhance unemployment benefits and extend pandemic unemployment programs
● Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour
● Provide additional support for small businesses
● Extend the federal eviction moratorium and provide additional aid to low- and moderate-income households out of work
● Provide funding for vaccines, testing, and schools
This virus ravished our country, and it will take BOLD action to put the pieces back together. This is an ambitious plan, but we can't just "return to normal." We must make a new normal by getting Americans the economic relief we so desperately need and providing more access to tests and vaccines to protect every American.
And finally, a little accountability for the biggest political grifter in the history of Washington state, Tim Eyman: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/tim-eyman-found-liable-on-campaign-finance-violations-barred-from-controlling-political-committees/
Thanks for all you do and with gratitude,
Something to do: Sign the letter to hold Fain accountable - nwpcwa.org/joefain
Something else to do: We need your help uplifting real people’s stories who have been impacted by the pandemic and Republicans delaying a vote on COVID relief. If you or someone you know feels comfortable sharing your story, either written or by video, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a video through this form.
Something to watch: This week on Democracy on Demand we chatted with Representative Debra Entenman (47th LD) about police accountability.--