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  • 8 Apr 2021 10:43 AM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

    Equity training is a must

    Martha Patterson, Silverdale  (Previously published to the Kitsap Sun, April 7)

    Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm famously said, “Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread, and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.”

    The statement the letter clearly illustrates is one of privilege, reflecting the belief that no problem exists because it has not been personally experienced, and illustrates why equity training is needed, not just in our schools, but for all. Ponder this. Why do you suppose very few people of color reside in Poulsbo? Do you remember the outrage among some members in the community a few years back, when the Viking Festival Princess was black, and how a few men in Nazi attire showed up at the festival? Why are students of color suspended and expelled from schools at much higher rates than white students? Why are students of color referred for Special Education services at much higher rates than white students? White Nationalist activity has been reported in Kitsap County, and supremacist groups are known to recruit in online video game chat rooms, often frequented by teenagers. 

    Why are white male politicians in Georgia working so hard to suppress voting?  Think about your own school years. How often did you read a book about or written by a person of color? Martin Luther King wrote in his Letter From the Birmingham Jail: "The Negros greatest stumbling block is not the Ku Klux Klanner,  but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice.” 

    Do some reflection. Equity training is a must. 

    Martha Patterson, Silverdale

  • 7 Apr 2021 10:08 AM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

    Court strikes down Indian Family preference in adoptions.

    View in browser | indiancountrytoday.com

    April 7, 2021

    This is a developing story.
    Go to Indian Country Today for updates 

    Court strikes key provision of Indian child welfare law

    By Joaqlin Estus

    Legal experts are deeply concerned about an “incredibly divisive” ruling from a federal appeals court that struck down parts of a law giving Native American families preference in the adoption of Native American children ... continue reading

    [AP Photo/Kevin McGill]


  • 3 Apr 2021 8:17 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


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    Tarra Simmons banner

    23rd-District Legislative E-News: April 3, 2021

    Dear friends and neighbors,

    A pivotal time in virtual Olympia

    At the beginning of this legislative session House Democrats committed to protecting Washington’s families and communities, and to ensuring an equitable and inclusive recovery. We made our goals and focus clear.  My hope is that you will evaluate how well our Legislature performs at protecting the health, safety, and well-being of families and communities by how we prioritize COVID-19 response, economic recovery, climate change, and addressing systemic inequity. As we head into the last few weeks of this session, crucial bills in these areas are still possible in play. As I’ve heard often during my first session as your representative, our work is a marathon, and we still need to get across the finish line.

    Budget highlights

    wa recovery budget

    Operating: Washington Recovery Budget

    This weekend the House will be working to pass our version of the operating budget, the Washington Plan for Community and Economic Recovery. While there is more work to do before a final budget is approved and sent to Gov. Inslee, our first draft reflects our priorities and our commitments. Some highlights are:

    • $1.9 billion for homelessness and affordable housing, including enough rental assistance to protect those who have fallen behind during the pandemic from facing eviction, and new revenue dedicated to permanent supportive housing to address the homelessness crisis that affects cities and towns throughout Washington.
    • Nearly a billion in recovery support for small businesses, including small business grants.
    • $2.7 billion for public health and healthcare, including more than a billion dollars to continue to fight COVID-19 with vaccinations, contact tracing and testing.
    • $790 million for early learning and childcare, including stabilization grants for childcare providers, and an ongoing commitment to increasing the available slots and the reimbursement rates.
    • $133 million for the skilled nursing safety net trust account, including increased Medicaid reimbursement rates.
    • $340 million for the immigrant relief fund, to support our neighbors who, because of broken and unjust laws, have been left out of much of the federal support.

    A more complete summary is available here, and all of the details and accompanying documents are available on our LEAP system.

    Capital: Historic construction plans to rebuild the economy 

    Shovels will be flying throughout the 23rd district and all around the state, thanks to the combined list of proposed projects funded by the House and Senate’s 2021-23 capital budget. At this point it’s a certainty that the final budget will break the record for total investments and put tens of thousands of people to work rebuilding the economy. On Friday the House approved its version of the budget, and we’ll soon begin negotiations with the Senate to produce a final product.

    construction vertical

    Federal funding is helping immensely this year, with the House budget (HB 1080) including $400 million from the American Recovery Act to invest in water, sewer, and broadband service along, with $189 million for critical capital budget projects enabling work, education, health monitoring, and other items related to responding to the pandemic.

    A total of $48.5 million would go toward grants and loans for early learning facilities. Public schools would receive $969.9 million, while community colleges get $299.8 million and public universities are set for $678.9 million in construction funding. The largest project is the construction of the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility at the University of Washington ($191.3 million).

    This proposal also sets new records for investments in housing ($240 million), early learning ($48 million), and broadband internet access ($155 million). Just a few of the projects on track to receive funding here in the 23rd district include:

    • $1.6 million for Bainbridge Performing Arts to expand its services to the community.
    • $320,000 for improvements at Madrona Day Treatment School in Bremerton.
    • $2 million for vital Ridgetop habitat protection in Silverdale.
    • $600,000 for modernization of facilities at TC Chief Kitsap Suquamish tribal compact school.
    • $2.5 million for the Hood Canal fish passage.

    As I said, this is the House version of the budget; the Senate version does not track the House plan line for line, so until we’ve completed cross-chamber negotiations, some of these details are subject to change. Full details about the budget are available here. You can also find district project lists and maps.


    Transportation: Investing in our shared future

    In 2020, transportation funding took a huge hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pending decision on I-976, and the need to construct new fishing passages, adding a great deal of strain on our transportation budget. As a result, Gov. Jay Inslee put many construction projects on hold.

    Reduced travel as a result of COVID-19 restrictions also created a sizable reduction in funds from gas taxation.

    Almost $800 million in federal funding and the state Supreme Court’s rejection of I-976 changed that financial landscape.

    The 2021-23 budget proposed by House Democrats, which we approved by an 87-11 vote Friday afternoon, restores paused projects and continues the work of building a transportation system for the future, with investments in green transportation, mass transit, fish passages, and critical projects such as the I-5 bridge between Washington and Oregon. Here in the 23rd, we’ll see evidence of the transportation budget throughout the district:

    WSF
    • $500,000 to prepare for traffic improvements at the Kingston ferry dock, easing the traffic congestion on surrounding streets.
    • $2.3 million for a new regional public transit terminal in Silverdale.
    • $3 million for a similar terminal in Bremerton.
    • $1.5 for a new battery-powered bus for Kitsap Transit.
    • $43 million to convert two Jumbo Mk II ferries to electric-hybrid for the Bainbridge-Seattle run.
    • More than $200 million to make significant repairs and improvements on ferries serving our district’s riders.

    A more in-depth look at the transportation budget proposal can be found here.

    Vaccine eligibility expands to all adults on April 15

    The governor recently announced that all adults over 16 will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting April 15th. So far, the phased approach has helped to ensure that the most vulnerable among us were the first to receive doses. Now, thanks to the heroic work of healthcare professionals and the expanded supply from the federal government, eligibility can expand even more quickly than expected.

    As the governor indicated in his announcement, the accelerated timeline comes, in part, as a response to a recent increase in COVID cases. New variants are highly transmissible, and we must continue to wear masks, keep our distance, and wash our hands to avoid overwhelming our healthcare system's capacity to care for people who become sick.

    I know it’s hard, we’ve all been living under these restrictions for so long. But now is not the time to give up. Let’s remember, this time last year we didn’t even know much about the virus. Since then, we’ve come together, protected each other, developed multiple vaccines, and given doses to millions of people.

    Use the Vaccine Locator, now available in multiple languages,  to find a vaccination appointment. And if you can’t get online, call the state COVID-19 Assistance Hotline at 1-800-525-0127.

    Here is a snapshot of the most recent date from Kitsap Public Health:

    Kitsap COVID 4-2-21

    Getting more assistance to families in need

    The House’s bill to bolster economic recovery and provide food and cash assistance to families in need was signed into law this week by Gov. Jay Inslee. We all have a friend or neighbor who is struggling right now to make ends meet or worrying about where their next meal will come from. That’s why HB 1151 expands a cash assistance program for families, allows for five additional months of food assistance and requires the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services to update the standards of need for cash assistance programs — last updated three decades ago.

    Food insecurity has skyrocketed during the pandemic. This bill will update existing programs to help ensure families have options beyond food banks to put food on the table. We also know that families’ needs have changed over the past 30 years, so HB 1151 will update or modernize standards of need to include expenses like internet, childcare and health care.

    My voting-rights bill awaits the governor's signature

    I’m very pleased to say that HB 1078, my proposal that will make the restoration of voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals automatic rather than provisional, has been approved by both the House and Senate and now requires only Gov. Inslee’s signature to become law. This has been a multi-year effort, one I’ve worked on both before and after becoming your representative, and I especially want to thank Sen. Patty Kuderer for having been so helpful over the last several years. It’s a shame it has taken so long for the state to enact such a common-sense policy, which is already in place in red and blue states around the country. But it’s finally happening, and by all measures this reform, which comes at no cost to taxpayers, will actually reduce recidivism and in the process drive down the exorbitant costs of our corrections system.

    And an update

    I promised to keep you posted on my other bills, and I am hopeful that soon after you read this another priority bill will have been debated and approved in the Senate. HB 1086, creating the state office of behavioral health consumers, has made its way through the Senate committee process and is now in the Rules Committee, the last stop before reaching the virtual Senate floor.

    HB 1411, which will expand healthcare workforce eligibility for thousands of qualified Washingtonians by prohibiting the Department of Social and Health Services from automatically disqualifying persons with criminal convictions from certain caregiver jobs, also has reached the Senate Rules Committee and is poised for floor action. I look forward to this bill becoming law this year.

    It’s hard to believe, but as I write this on Friday, April 2, there are barely three weeks left in my first session in the House. I’ll be providing another update before we adjourn, and a final session wrap-up shortly afterward. But I want to stress that although the Legislature will not be in session, I work for you year-round. I’m very hopeful that as the threat of COVID-19 subsides due to the measures we are taking, I’ll be able to meet with many of you face-to-face. Regardless of when good sense and good science allow us to resume personal meetings, I always welcome your emails, letter, and calls. Please keep in touch to help me do this important job better and better.

    Sincerely,

    Simmons SIg

    Rep. Tarra Simmons

     

    Contact Me
     P.O. Box 40600, Olympia WA 98504
    tarra.simmons@leg.wa.gov

    (360) 786-7934 | Toll-free Hotline: (800) 562-6000 | (800) 635-9993 (TTY)
    housedemocrats.wa.gov/simmons

    Legislative Assistant
    Shannon Turner | shannon.turner@leg.wa.gov


  • 2 Apr 2021 7:14 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)



    Hello fellow Democrats! 

    Right now it looks like there’s just been a scary attack by a vehicle on the Capitol building in Washington DC. There’s still a lot that we don’t know about who did this or why, but it appears that a Capitol Police officer was killed in the attack. Our hearts are with the officer’s loved ones and the entire U.S. Capitol Police Department. USCP officers have bravely stood on the line through extremely challenging moments this year. We send comfort to all who have been impacted.

    This week we’re doing a deep dive on voting rights, how Republicans won’t stop trying to roll back the right to vote, and continue to spread conspiracies about the 2020 elections – here in Washington and across the country.

    “Republicans in Washington state still pushing the election conspiracy that won’t die”

    In case you missed it, Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times wrote an article delving into how, right here in Washington, Republicans still refuse to give up on the conspiracy that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen. He discusses the King County Republicans’ now-infamous “Election Integrity Committee” report, writing:

    Its first report uncovered zero fraud, but contains assertions that come straight out of a Republican fever dream. Such as the feat that “members of Antifa/BLM” have been registering as voters here, “despite coming from other areas to stay temporarily to riot.”

    The report attacks the state’s electronic vote-counting systems, contending, falsely, that they “were originally developed for the purpose of manipulating results to cheat elections.” Its source for many of these claims is a report by Trump’s infamous election lawyer Sidney Powell, who last week admitted in a defamation suit in court that “no reasonable person” could have heard her wild allegations about the election and assumed they were true.

    Westneat’s article also notes that despite GOP conspiracies, multiple hand recounts across the state have confirmed the accuracy of our 2020 elections:

    What’s so strange about all this is that after the November election, Republicans concerned by the possibility of fraud challenged various vote counts around the state. This is a good thing: It’s a check on the system when parties demand a hand recount of votes in places where they suspect problems.

    “The point is to try and build people’s confidence up,” Doug Roulstone, of the Snohomish County GOP, told the Everett Herald about why he was paying for a spot-check recount there. “They want to know nothing is happening here.”

    Hand recounts were requested near Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, in an Eastside precinct in the 45th Legislative District, on Orcas Island in the San Juans and in five precincts in the 9th Congressional District in Federal Way, Kent, Mercer Island and Seattle.

    I’m guessing you haven’t heard much about this. That’s because these recounts came up with nothing. Not only was nothing amiss, but in most of the precincts, the laborious process of scrutinizing every ballot by hand didn’t change a single vote.

    Hand recounts are a great tool because if there’s a mismatch caused by the vote-counting software — the main suspicion raised by Trump and his lawyers — then an inspection of the physical ballots will detect it.

    Example: Local Republicans requested a recount of an Orcas Island precinct in the governor’s race, due to concerns about the software and the margin of Gov. Jay Inslee’s win there. Inslee had beaten Republican Loren Culp in that precinct by 711 votes to 199 in the initial machine tally. After a hand recount, Inslee won by the same 711 votes to 199.

    “After going through all this I have great confidence in the election in Washington state,” a member of the canvassing board there said.

    Good news, right? Not if you’re drunk on Trump.

    It’s clear that Washington state Republicans are more interested in pushing their own delusional conspiracies about how they think the election was stolen from Donald Trump than they are on working to solve any of the challenges still facing America in 2021. 

    The fraudster running the state GOP’s Election Integrity Committee

    Not to be outdone by the King County Republicans, the Washington State Republican Party has an Election Integrity Committee of its own; they chose quite a character to chair it. Bill Bruch, their failed candidate from the 10th LD race in 2020, announced in February that he was chosen to chair the committee:

    image1.jpg

    For a committee supposedly working on integrity, they chose a chair who lacks it. As reported in the local press with the help of our Skagit County Democrats, Bruch was an investment advisor who defrauded his elderly clients and was found liable for judgements totaling $1.7 million. While running for office in 2020, Bruch also claimed that people should be cautious of COVID vaccines and not wear masks, stated that COVID-19 was “a huge fraud perpetuated [sic] on mankind,”and asserted that the entire pandemic was a conspiracy between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates.

    Clearly this isn’t a person who anyone should be trusting to stand up for integrity or fair elections. Like the rest of the Washington State Republican Party leadership, he’s a conspiracy theorist focused on bogus stories from right-wing media instead of the reality of people’s lives. Bruch prioritizes his delusions of conspiracy over economic recovery and the help that folks need to get through the rest of this pandemic. 

    GOP’s legislative assault on voting rights

    All these attacks on voting aren’t just silly talk; Republicans in the Washington legislature are intent on pursuing an agenda to roll back the right to vote in Washington state, as we’ve seen Republicans do in other states like Georgia. Led by Sen. Doug Ericksen (LD 42) and Rep. Brad Klippert (LD 8), a group of GOP legislators introduced legislation to end all-mail votingand disenfranchise legal voters, and to throw away ballots that were legally cast before Election Day because of post office mistakes. 

    On top of that, every Republican legislator voted against HB 1078, the bill on its way to the Governor’s desk that will restore the right to vote to people who have been convicted of a felony but released from DoC facilities. While Democrats are making sure Washingtonians’ rights are protected, Republicans are standing in our way.

    The reaction to Georgia

    We’re already seeing an outcry across the country in response to the anti-voting bills being pushed by Republicans in Georgia. Even businesses that often take conservative stances like Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola (both headquartered in Atlanta) are speaking out in opposition and just a few hours ago, Major League Baseball announced that they’d be moving this summer’s All-Star Game out of Georgia in response to the bill. These important moves show the cultural power of our movement, but we need to make sure they are linked to true accountability for those who are pursuing these radical and unpopular assaults on voting rights. We need to leverage this cultural power into political power that can pass the legislation necessary at the state and federal levels to make sure that every voter can get their ballot in and exercise their right to vote.

    It’s clear that this GOP agenda isn’t just talk; they legitimately want to roll back our rights to vote -- from Georgia to Washington state. We need to fight to make sure that every voter knows their rights, every voter is registered, and every voter can return their ballot and have their voice heard. This is the lifeblood of our democracy and our party will not give up the fight!

    ______________________________________________________________________

    Something to do: Right now Georgia is one of the most important states in the battle to protect voting rights. We encourage you to get involved with the “Stop Jim Crow” campaign led by Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action group. You can get information on what’s happening with voter suppression in other states and how to get involved in the national effort to protect voting rights on their website here

    Something to watch:This week onDemocracy on Demand, we talked with Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (LD 34) about the important environmental bills moving through the legislature this year. We know it’s essential for Washington state to lead the fight against climate change and to make sure that we’re cleaning up our energy sources, reducing our carbon emissions, and protecting those most affected by environmental pollution. This was a very interesting talk that included many ideas for how folks can get involved in these last few important weeks of the legislative session! 

    Something to read: With states like Georgia passing Jim Crow-style attacks on voting rights, it’s more important than everfor Congress to act and pass the “For The People” voting rights bill. Our own Senator Patty Murray agreesand told the Spokesman-Review paper that we can’t let this bill be filibustered by Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party. Read up on these issues and let’s take this fight to the Republicans -- in Washington and across the country!

    -- 

  • 2 Apr 2021 7:12 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

     

    Friends-

    Currently we are in the middle of the legislative session, but I wanted to send you a quick update. 

    Last month, we saw the horrific consequences of gun violence and anti-Asian hate in our country. My heart goes out to the families of the eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent, whose lives were taken on March 16th in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The tragic shooting last month was a horrific example of the racism and bigotry our AAPI community lives in fear of every day. 

    I am committed to using my role as State Representative to stand up to racism and fight for responsible gun laws and reform.

    Since January, I’ve focused on creating positive changes for the most marginalized in our region. Here’s what I’ve been working on: 

    • Automatically restoring the right to vote to formerly incarcerated individuals. 
    • Creating the state office of behavioral health consumer advocacy. 
    • Expanding healthcare workforce eligibility for thousands of qualified Washingtonians by prohibiting the Department of Social and Health Services from automatically disqualifying persons with criminal convictions from certain caregiver jobs

    Last week we made history in Washington State. One of the first bills I sponsored was approved by the Senate and it’s now heading to the Governor's desk-- automatically restoring the right to vote to formerly incarcerated individuals.
     
    As the first formerly incarcerated person elected to public office in the country, this is a personal victory for me. 

    I’m beyond proud to have sponsored this historical legislation and am full of gratitude for my colleagues, my team, and my supporters who have made this possible. This effort took many years with the hard work of so many advocates, activists, legislators, lobbyists, survivors, prosecutors, impacted people and more. 

    You can read more about this historical legislation HERE.

    It is an honor to represent the 23rd District. Thank you for all of your support and please reach out if you have any questions or feedback so I can be better at my job!

    Tarra

    www.ElectTarraSimmons.com


  • 31 Mar 2021 11:31 AM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    Consumer Reports  

    Dear Douglass,

    Consumer Reports’ members helped test tap water across the country as part of our nine-month investigation into the nation’s drinking water. And the results being released today are disturbing:

    Nearly every drinking water sample had measurable levels of PFAS, a group of compounds known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t easily break down in the body or the environment. And more than a third of the samples exceeded the maximum safety threshold recommended by CR scientists.

    Despite mounting evidence of potential health risks from PFAS — including cancer, learning delays in children, and interference with vaccine efficacy — federal regulators have failed to set an enforceable limit for these chemicals in our drinking water. That means your tap water could be contaminated with PFAS and you likely won’t even know it.

    Americans deserve safe drinking water, and it is beyond time our leaders make that happenSign our petition to the Biden Administration to regulate PFAS in our drinking water now!

     
    Sign the petition
     

    We’re joined in this petition effort by our allies, Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Working Group, because they also believe that our drinking water must be as clean and safe as possible. PFAS exposure is especially concerning, as more evidence comes to light at just how widespread this contamination has become.

    Manufacturers use PFAS to make stain-resistant fabrics, nonstick cookware, food packaging and hundreds of other common products. The compounds can seep into water from factories, landfills, and other sources — and they don’t break down easily once ingested. It’s been estimated that 97 percent of Americans may have PFAS in their bodies. 

    Our latest test results confirm just how pervasive these chemicals are: we found them in 117 of the 120 tap water samples. We need bold, decisive action right now to get these dangerous contaminants out of our water! Sign the petition to regulate PFAS — and please share it with friends and family!

     
    Sign the petition
     

    Thank you for joining this important fight. And a special thanks to those who volunteered to join our tap water-testing project! We will have more volunteer opportunities coming soon.

    Meg Bohne
    Consumer Reports

    The above links take you to a joint petition with our allies, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environmental Working Group (EWG), which operate under their own privacy policies. Information you submit is shared with Consumer Reports, NRDC and EWG.



  • 26 Mar 2021 1:43 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    FRIDAY HEADER.png

    It’s heartbreaking that, yet again, we must open this email discussing another terrible mass shooting, this time in Boulder, Colorado. As we honor and remember the 10 lives lost in this horrific event, we must redouble our commitment to preventing such tragedies that threaten our livelihoods daily. Remember that gun violence is preventable, and our children and grandchildren shouldn’t have to grow up in a world where these tragedies are acceptable. Republicans are working to sustain the cycle of gun violence that keeps us in fear and harm’s way. Just 10 days before this shooting, an NRA lawsuit blocked a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines passed by the city of Boulder. 

    Voters in Washington have spoken again and again on this issue and we know that stopping gun violence is the necessary thing to do. Americans deserve better than an epidemic of gun violence in our homes, schools, and communities, and Democrats aren’t giving up.

    Here in Washington, we want to highlight the good work some of our local parties are doing by stepping up to hold accountable an out-of-control sheriff in Pierce County. You may have read already about Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer, who confronted a Black newspaper carrier late at night while off-duty and called up a massive police response after he repeatedly lied and claimed that the carrier was threatening to kill him. After the news reported this racist confrontation, our Pierce County and Tacoma legislative district Democrats unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the sheriff, demanding his resignation, and calling for a recall effort should he not resign. 

    “Simply put, there are big problems with law enforcement in Tacoma. After the events of January 2021 that could have left another Black man dead at the hands of police, our membership believes it’s clear that Sheriff Troyer is unfit to hold his position and should resign immediately. The Democratic Party platform calls for accountability and courageous conversations about policing in our communities, and that’s why this resolution passed unanimously among elected precinct committee officers and other civic leaders in Tacoma,” said Justin Camarata, Chair of the 27th Legislative District and Cassandra Brown, Chair of the 29th Legislative District in a joint statement.

    We’re all proud of our Pierce County Democratic leaders for stepping up and calling out Sheriff Troyer. And since we worked hard, won some elections, and Democrats took control of the Pierce County Council majority in this past year’s elections, the council is able to hire an investigator to probe Troyer’s conduct and find out the whole story here. 

    Troyer’s conduct is shameful, but it’s fantastic to see Democrats standing up to hold him accountable. Bravo to our Pierce County and Tacoma Democrats!

    In the legislature, we’ve got about a month left until the session ends on April 25th and Democrats are still hard at work on our priorities. Legislative Democrats in the House and Senate are releasing their budget proposals and included key items from our state party advocacy agenda in Thursday’s proposal:

    Health care and pandemic response The budget includes $1 billion for vaccinations and bolstering our testing and tracing efforts. It also makes significant investments in public health, including investments to expand our public health workforce and major subsidies to reduce insurance rates for those who purchase health insurance on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. 

    Stronger rural Washington The budget includes money to fund firefighting resources, improve fire-susceptible forests, and cut fire risk at the expanding juncture of urban areas and forests. The capital budget would also expand access to broadband internet throughout the state in rural areas and create thousands of construction jobs through projects like school construction, weatherizing homes, and investing in the Housing Trust Fund to build affordable housing, all across the state.

    Balancing our tax code The budget includes a capital gains tax on the investment returns of the richest 1% of Washingtonians and invests the money into our child care system to fund the Fair Start for Kids act - improving the futures of children in need with high quality early learning and helping working families get access to care for their kids. It also funds the Working Families Tax Credit, which gets cash back in the pockets of low-income families.

    Climate action and environmental protection The budget would fund the Climate Commitment Act, which would place an enforceable, declining limit on climate pollution from the largest-emitting sectors of our economy.As well, the capital budget proposal would spend hundreds of millions of dollars on green energy projects, electric grid modernization grants, salmon recovery, clean-up of toxic waste sites, and more. 

    Social justice and racial equity The budget proposal would fund the HEAL Act, which would reduce environmental health disparities by using principles of environmental justice, create a state Office of Internal Investigations to bring a neutral, objective perspective to the investigation of police brutality, and invest in Immigrant Relief Fund payments to individuals who might not be eligible for federal aid.

    This is on top of the many policy bills passing in the legislature on issues like police accountability, electoral reform, housing and labor rights, and more. We’ll keep you up to date on the progress coming from the legislature this year, but we’re very excited by what we’re seeing from our Democratic champions!

    Something to do: Our organizing department is continuing our work towards the 2021 elections. Our Contest Every Race candidate recruitment program kicked off with a great discussion call with local party chairs on Monday night with attendance that blew away similar Contest Every Race launches in other states. Chairs have a deadline of Sunday night to provide their feedback. Through Contest Every Race, we will reach out to Democrats across Washington and connect folks interested in running for office with races and elections in their local districts to make sure that every district, school board, and city and county council can have Democrats running to represent our party and our values. 

    For the 700+ (over 20% of the national cohort!) Washington State participants in the Train The Trainer (T3) program we’re running in concert with the Best Practices Institute, please note that we are now through week two out of six of the program. All registered participants should be sure to locate your training recordings, catch up on anything you may have missed so far, and submit your quizzes. The winning local parties of the $1,000 T3 competition will be determined based on who can get the highest portion of participants through the full program, so make sure your local party is in it and active! 

    Something to watch:This week onDemocracy on Demand, we talked with Rep. Monica Stonier from Vancouver who gave us an update on the legislative session and some of the good bills that Democrats are working on for us. It was fun to hear about legislation focused on improving and expanding healthcare centers within schools, providing students with the care that they need to thrive, especially in rural and/or lower-income areas that don’t have as many healthcare options. This is important work and we’re glad to have Rep. Stonier and our other Democratic legislators taking it on! 

    Something to read: The Washington Post printed an excellent article this week about the importance of down-ballot races and how they boosted the Biden campaign in 2020. They highlighted the importance of investing in state parties across the country in order to ensure that we’re competing and building the party in all 50 states. We’re taking on that same challenge here in Washington and working to help elect Democrats in every county throughout the state. This broad-based organizing is how we will win!

    -- 
  • 22 Mar 2021 12:31 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    Things are looking up for the planet.  After a devastating four years of a treacherous administration hell bent on destroying our planet we have a president that understands and is acting swiftly to not only redress a multitude of decisions guaranteed to speed us to extinction but promise real and necessary change that the climate emergency requires.

    Our race against extinction isn’t just putting our species at risk but  entire ecosystems are failing as a mass extinction is underway. Every year 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans.   One million seabirds die due to plastic pollution annually.  91% of plastic isn’t recycled.  The US creates three times more waste than the global average and we only represent 4% of the population. This miracle of a planet needs all hands on deck now.  

    Sometimes when the big picture is so overwhelming we can’t imagine what one individual can accomplish but there’s a lot.  Our planet is drowning in plastic and our recycling programs are breaking down as China is no longer taking our mountains of plastics.  

    Here are a few ways we can help:

    Terracycle will repurpose plastic and turn it into something useful.

    There are many companies that have committed to a free service where you will get a return label and when you are finished with the plastic you ship it directly back and they will reuse it.  You can also buy a box to fill up and then send back to Teracycle.  There are many categories everything from empty printer ink cartridges to plastic toys.  The one I purchased was for plastic packaging from food packaging to bubble wrap. 

    Loop:  Order your favorite participating company products and they will send it to you in stainless steel reusable containers.  When they’re empty just return them to be refilled.  You’ll initially put down a deposit then will simply reuse your container over and over again.  

    Tru Earth:  Instead of plastic bottles of laundry detergent you get a small thin paper package of detergent strips that you put into your washing machine.  Spoiler alert, most of the volume in laundry detergent is filler.  They also make Eco strips for multi surface cleansers

    Compost:  It’s easy and there are countless ways to do it and your plants will love it.

    Other: 

    Consider an electric car.  It’s in our near future as price (starting at $30K) and range (250 miles average) are no longer an issue.  Autonomous driving will make everyone safer as most accidents are due to human error and distracted driving,  Governor Jay Inslee has set the most aggressive agenda in the country by eliminating all new ICE (internal combustion engines) by 2030.  That’s less than 10 years from now.  If you’re in the market for a new car it doesn’t make sense not to as it will be hard to resale an ICE car that will be phased out in a short while.  Plus they are amazing. Cutting edge in technology and as I said, much safer.  Also, your home is your main recharging station so you aren’t always waiting in line for the next pump, just plug in when you get home. I figure it only costs me $1.50 in electricity to go 80 miles.  

    Speaking of electricity, Puget Sound Energy has the option to match some or all of your electricity usage with green power that is 100% renewable.  

    If everyone pitched in it would make a huge difference.

    Hallette Salazar

    https://petpedia.co/recycling-statistics/

    https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/

    https://loopstore.com

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/gov-inslees-national-climate-plan-calls-for-banning-sales-of-new-gas-powered-cars-by-2030/

    https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/cheapest-electric-cars

    https://www.pse.com/green-options/Renewable-Energy-Programs/green-power

  • 21 Mar 2021 2:04 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)





     Chair’s Message – 3-18-21

    I honestly don’t know where to start or what to say. The recent attack on members of the Asian-American community in Atlanta is another very sad reminder of how far we have to go to create a world of respect for each other and appreciation for the unique characteristics that make up our fellow human beings.

    It seemed in 2008 that we were actually starting to make some headway in that regard and then the outrage of 2016 happened. I have never been more appalled to see the miserably horrible attitudes and demeanor of the former occupant of the White House become the public face of our country. The last four years set us back years, if not decades, in how we view and treat the non-white people residing in our country.

    It is bad enough that fascism has claimed a public place in our society but it is outrageous that it has taken hold of the other major political party. There has been an exodus of “classical conservatives” such as George Will, David Brooks and Chris Vance (former Republican state chair) from the other party in protest of what their former party has become. The cult of personality has come to rule them and their individual has nothing to offer except hate, misogyny, racism et al and outspoken support for all the tenets of white supremacy.

    I am so glad that our party is going in the opposite direction. Our E-Board is currently starting down the path of a strategic plan that we hope will address the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. I will discuss that at another time because I do not want detract from the horrendous event that happened earlier this week. 

    The families of Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Julie Park and Hyeon Jeong Park have suffered a major loss. Dealing with death is always hard but when it comes under such circumstances it can seem totally incomprehensible. I hope that they are able to find some comfort in the national condemnation of such a horrific act and support from their families and friends. From my Jewish faith, I say to them, may the memory of their loved ones be for a blessing,

    Val

    Chair, 23rd LD Dems



  • 19 Mar 2021 1:54 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    The murder of eight innocent people, six of whom were of Asian descent, in the Atlanta metropolitan area is an unimaginable tragedy — our hearts go out to the victims' families and Asian and Asian-American communities. But let's call this what it is: a racist attack on the AAPI community by a domestic terrorist. If we are going to progress and heal as a society, our nation must reckon with the hate and discrimination rooted in American history and American life, as well as the escalation in xenophobia that has stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, StopAAPIHate.org received almost 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents, which we know is an undercount. Asians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders have long been vital and influential members of our country's development and cultural fabric, as well as that of Washington state. Washington Democrats stand with AAPI communities in Washington state and across the country calling for an end to anti-Asian violence!

    As we’ve seen, this past year has tested the bonds that hold together our nation's seams, stretching and breaking these bonds and exposing numerous crises that we must deal with. In order to put these pieces back together, we must defeat each crisis -- one by one. Building back better begins with defeating the virus that has ravished our country, exposing the failings and wrongs that have plagued us since the beginning. It is going to take ambitious policies to overcome the coronavirus and finally become a nation that lives up to its values of fairness and freedom; that is exactly what the American Rescue Plan puts us on the path to do. Democrats must spread the message of what’s included in the American Rescue Plan far and wide and tell everyone why it’s so important. The Help is Here Guide and ARP Impact Breakdown walks through the dollars and programs coming to Washington thanks to this historic legislation. 

    Washington Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate worked tirelessly to pass a relief package that has broad support from the people - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents across the country.  Millions of people, regardless of political party, stand to benefit from the ARP and yet Washington Republicans still opposed it, and continue to denigrate it (or, oddly enough, claim credit!). It’s a damn shame that Washington Republicans rejected sweeping relief to assist struggling Washingtonians during this pandemic. We need your help to put pressure on Republicans for voting against the American Rescue Plan. Let them know that neglecting struggling Washingtonians won’t win them any elections or get us out of this pandemic anytime soon! 

    If we’re going to turn out the vote in 2022 and beyond, our work begins RIGHT NOW. If we’re going to flip these seats from Red to Blue, we need to make sure we have the means to distribute this information far and wide! You’ve been in the trenches with us for some time now, and that’s why I’m extending an invitation to join Blue Washington by becoming a monthly contributor. Blue Washington is a new opportunity for Democrats across Washington state to come together and make a collaborative effort to invest in and support year-round organizing and build long-term relationships with underrepresented communities. Winning back “red” communities across Washington State requires collective action, so please consider joining us and click on the link to learn more. 

    Washington Democrats are showing up and showing out! The 2021 Train the Trainer (T3) program officially kicked off with its first class on Tuesday. T3 is a free, 6-week, 12-part training course offered by the Washington State Democrats in partnership with the DNC and ASDC Best Practices Institute. 

    We are thrilled to announce that, after weeks of working with local parties, Coordinated Campaign alumni, and community leaders across the state, Washington leads the nation with the most participants of any state or territory in the country for the Association of State Democratic Committees’ Best Practices Institute 2021 Train the Trainer (T3) program! 

    In total, 783 Washington Democrats are enrolled in the T3 program! For anyone who missed the registration window, it’s not too late to get trained! While unregistered participants are not eligible to receive certification this time around, with approval from a local party chair, they can still sign up to view the live presentations and receive forwarded weekly wrap-up emails that include the recording and slides from each session.

    Chairs that have unregistered members who are interested in T3 should reach out to organizing@wa-democrats.org to get set up with everything you need to onboard late participants.

    _______________________________

    Something to read: As facts from the Tuesday night’s tragedy continue to emerge, it is important that we educate ourselves on the spike in anti-AAPI hate incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read StopAAPIHate.org’s incident report here: https://stopaapihate.typeform.com/to/zhMP3fUx

    Something to do: Build with us now to ensure that we flip seats from Red to Blue in Washington and turnout the vote in 2022 and beyond. Join Blue Washington by becoming a monthly contributor.

    Something to watchFor this week’s episode of Democracy on Demand, we chatted with Representative My-Linh Thai (41st LD) about her bills that were recently passed in the House legislature and are now progressing through the Senate. Rep. Thai believes in fighting for working families. We do, too; that’s why we need to support HB 1297 to expand the Working Families' Tax Exemption and HB 1009 to require that certain student health plans provide coverage for the voluntary abortion of a pregnancy. Rep. Thai’s work is an exceptional reminder of why we need to elect more AAPI people to office and fight for working families! 

    Something else to watch: We cannot stress enough how important it is to spread the word about the American Rescue Plan, so here’s a video I recorded just for you that you can use and post. This video should help inform you about how the ARP will impact our daily lives and what you can do to ensure we continue spreading the message about the ARP’s impact far and wide! 

    -- 


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