Hello Democrats! Lots of news to share with you this week at both the state and federal level. Legislative Democrats are just passing the halfway point of session (with a big new transportation proposal), and we’re learning even more about what went down in the final days of the Trump presidency. Read on!
Democratic Transportation Plan - We had big news out of the legislature this week, where House and Senate Democrats rolled out a transportation infrastructure package with major support from elected officials, labor unions, transit advocates, pedestrian and bicycle groups, business groups, and environmental and social justice advocates.
The “Move Ahead Washington” package provides historic funding for preserving our infrastructure, combating climate change by reducing emissions, expanding safe, affordable transit options, and addressing harm inflicted on communities of color from our existing transportation system - all without adding a penny in gas tax.
Move Ahead Washington also includes significant funding to address the negative environmental, health, and economic impacts of past transportation policies. The package includes tribal and special needs transit grants, workforce development initiatives, and walking and biking projects for neighborhoods that have historically been excluded from these investments.
Environmental investments include fulfilling Washington’s obligation to replace fish passage barriers, increasing access to public transportation, scaling up electrification, improving stormwater treatment, and more. Public transportation investments will allow for four new hybrid electric ferries to be added to the current fleet, two additional conversions of Jumbo Mark II ferries to hybrid electric, high-speed rail funding, and the expansion of transit routes.
Ground-breaking investments in multimodal options will ensure all Washingtonians are able to get around in ways that are safe, accessible, and affordable. Move Ahead Washington was designed using feedback from two years of community engagement to identify transportation needs and priorities.
The package allocates unprecedented funding for highway maintenance and preservation, coupled with Complete Streets projects, which will support safe streets and roadways for people all over Washington. Ongoing project highlights include funding Washington’s portion of the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River, improving the US 2 Trestle, and more projects — large and small — across the state.
You can see the specific project lists here for transit, bike/pedestrian, and highway.
Funding for the package comes from a variety of sources, including a tax on fuel that is exported out of state, so nobody in Washington will be paying for it. Additional funding comes from the passage of the Climate Commitment Act and the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.Thank you to our wonderful Democrats in Congress for investing in infrastructure!
I’m excited to see what happens next with this package, and I hope that we’re able to see action on this during the second half of the legislative session! As a reminder, the last day of the legislative session is March 10th, so there’s just a month left for action on all our legislative priorities.
Big Public Safety Vote - Our state legislators took another big vote on public safety Wednesday evening and, voting along party lines, the state Senate passed legislation to prohibit the sale of high-capacity firearm magazines. SB 5078 will be a big step toward safety from gun violence and ending mass shootings in our communities.
We know that this bill will make a difference. Nine states already restricted magazine capacity, and six of those states now have a lower rate of gun violence than Washington, according to the state Attorney General’s office. Data shows that allowing the sale of high-capacity magazines is the single best predictor of mass shooting rates in a state. In our state, high-capacity magazines have already been used in mass shootings in Mukilteo, Burlington, Seattle, and Spokane.
Public safety is an especially important issue right now, and with Democrats in charge in the legislature, Washington State is leading the way in keeping our communities safe with reasonable laws around these deadly weapons.
Trump and Culp, Culp and Trump - Trump had a week of bad news, mostly around documents from his time as president. We all remember how Hillary Clinton was dragged through the muck as a candidate because of some deleted emails.I don’t think we should be surprised that what Trump did was far, far worse. First, there’s the finding that his administration had taken classified materials and documents out of the White House and removed it to Mar-a-Lago as his presidency ended:
The National Archives and Records Administration discovered what it believed was classified information in documents Donald J. Trump had taken with him from the White House as he left office, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The discovery, which occurred after Mr. Trump returned 15 boxes of documents to the government last month, prompted the National Archives to reach out to the Justice Department for guidance, the person said. The department told the National Archives to have its inspector general examine the matter, the person said.
Then yesterday came the news that there are unexplained gaps in Trump’s official call logs as the insurrection attempt of January 6th was occurring:
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has discovered gaps in official White House telephone logs from the day of the riot, finding few records of calls by President Donald J. Trump from critical hours when investigators know that he was making them.
The committee has learned in recent weeks that Mr. Trump spoke on the phone with Mr. Pence and Republican lawmakers on the morning of Jan. 6 as he pushed to overturn the election. For instance, Mr. Trump mistakenly called the phone of Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, thinking it was the number of Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama. Mr. Lee then passed the phone to Mr. Tuberville, who said he spoke to the former president for less than 10 minutes as rioters were breaking into the building.
But many of the calls the committee is aware of did not show up in the official logs.
The revelations about incomplete call logs come as Mr. Trump is under increasing scrutiny for apparently violating the Presidential Records Act by ripping up some White House documents and taking others with him when he left office. The House Oversight committee on Thursday announced an investigation into what it called “potential serious violations” of the law, including that Mr. Trump took 15 boxes of White House documents to his Palm Beach, Fla., compound and attempted to destroy presidential records.
What does all this mean? It shows the extent to which Trump and his administration are attempting to avoid accountability - hiding and destroying documents, apparently including classified material, and breaking public records requirements. They are desperate to prevent the American people from knowing how terrible their administration was.
Trump waded into Washington State politics this week as well, of course, with an endorsement of sore loser gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp’s current run for Congress in the 4th Congressional District!
That makes two Trump endorsements here in Washington, with Culp’s endorsement joining conservative extremist Joe Kent’s, who’s running for Congress in the 3rd CD.
It seems to me that the Republican party is in complete disarray here in Washington, with the disgraced leader of their party now endorsing primary challengers to two of their own members of Congress! The Republicans are STILL the party of Trump (the resolution just passed by the RNC calling the January 6th insurrection “legitimate political discourse” proves it) and we can’t let them off the hook!
UPDATE on Key Tasks for Local Parties - For the past two weeks, I’ve emailed you about some of the key tasks that we NEED local parties working on as the Coordinated Campaign spools up for 2022. Just since last week’s email, we had new groups of party leaders and some PCOs from Ferry, Jefferson, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane counties step up! Can we count on you and your local party organization to be next?
The critical projects that we want our local party organizations to get started on right away are:
Early Endorsements - Don’t wait to endorse our great Democrats, like Sen. Patty Murray and Secretary of State Steve Hobbs. These early endorsements help build the groundwork for our organizing and voter contact around these candidates. It’s especially important for legislative candidates and folks in smaller districts, who don’t represent as many areas and who really want to be able to get their Democratic Party endorsements in their voter guide statements. The voter guide statements for both the primary and general elections are due in the middle of May and if your party waits until later than that to endorse, your LPO’s endorsements won’t be included in voter guide statements! That’s a big problem for our parties and for the candidates we support - make sure you have scheduled at least one early endorsement opportunity in April, at the latest.
PCOs Can (and Should) Start Doorbelling and Contacting Voters - For PCOs, the time to walk or call the voters in your precincts is NOW so that we can get that data back into Votebuilder ASAP. The data PCOs collect in the first quarter of this year is essential to the voter targeting every Democratic candidate will be able to do in the primary election and for the rest of the year. If needed, our Coordinated Campaign staff can help set PCOs up with a phone or canvass list, an appropriate script for their precinct, and either a listening or ID canvass - just ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Volunteer Teams - Join a local volunteer team! Our state party field organizers are already working to set up local volunteer teams and scheduling voter contact events with those teams. Search for events near you and sign up for your first shift of the year at https://www.wa-democrats.org/organizingevents/.
If you don't see an event near you to sign up for, invite three friends to join you in starting a new volunteer group, and let us know at email@example.com. We'll work with you to set up a schedule and provide a script, lists, and training!
Thanks for reading, and for your support. Let us know if you’re up for stepping to the plate and taking action as our 2022 Coordinated Campaign gains steam, and we’ll be right there with you!
PS - Many congratulations to the King County Democrats and Chair Shasti Conrad for their terrific Winter Soirée, which raised over $55K for their local efforts!
P.P.S - Maybe that’s why King County GOP Chair Joshua Freed decided to quit?