34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for December, 2016
On this day after Thanksgiving, I feel thankful for the honor to have led the 34th District Democrats. Challenging and rewarding to be sure but the 34th Dems’ work is far from done. Now, more than ever, we need to re-commit to fight actual evil poised to lead our country to ruin. Abuse of power in our nation is not new but the hubris of this newly-elected President is unparalleled and should challenge us to action. A stranger to truth and civil discourse, he can’t be fought with resolutions or infernally slow process. We must challenge him door-to-door, neighbor-by-neighbor. We live in a blue district but we can make a difference in the 2018 Congressional and state house elections.
What can you personally do to help local party organizations? Do you have the energy, the funds, or the time to engage? Did you help this year in the 41st or the 30th, where out-of-district volunteers really made a difference? If you didn’t help, I hope that bubble you live in has permanently burst because the country can’t afford you now. Recently, I’ve been contacted by many new folks who want to find out how they can help the local party. Each conversation, I’ve had to start from scratch. It takes more than one person. What can you do to help your neighbor, your district, your country? Show up. Just show up.
Out of many, one.
My sincere thanks to everyone whoever did anything to help during my terms! You know who you are. Please celebrate the season with the 34th Dems on December 14th at 6:30. Please bring a main dish, appetizer, or dessert to share. If you picked up a Navos Giving Tree card, please remember to bring your unwrapped item.
The last Drinking Liberally of 2016 is December 6th. Please join me at Pizzeria 22 in Admiral for conversation and great food and drink.
34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for November, 2016
I’ve given 10 years of my life to an organization that I love – the 34th Legislative District Democrats.
But what is this organization? It’s a society of like-minded people who often agree to disagree. It’s a membership that makes decisions collectively and by majority vote. It’s a body composed by law and run by rules that they have collectively created. Anyone can join – anyone. Anyone can be involved.
PCOs are automatically members whether they’ve paid dues or not. The point is that the door is wide open to new membership. Somewhere, either in this newest elected group of PCOs that start their term immediately after the November 8th election, or a longstanding or new member, is the person who will lead the 34th Dems next. It’s time for new fresh leadership. I am proud of the work that this organization has done. I’m so very proud of our executive board and thankful for their kinship. But my biggest disappointment is that I’ve been unable to develop a likely Chair in January 2017. I know you’re out there. No matter what wing of the Democratic Party you are in, I’d like to talk with you. I’d like to help you get elected. I invite you to meet with me at C&P Coffee on November 12th. I’ll be there from 10 to 11:30 to answer your questions. Our re-organization is 3 months away. Help me get some sleep after the election by letting me know you’re interested.
There’s an election on and please contact me or Drew Estep vial email here to find out how you can get our down ballot Democrats elected. It’s very close for Secretary of State and Lieutenant Governor.
The last Drinking Liberally before the November 8th election is on Tuesday, November 1st. Please join me at Pizzeria 22 in Admiral for conversation and great food and drink.
34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for August, 2016
This is an historic time for our country. After electing and re-electing an African-American President, the Democratic Party has nominated a woman to run for the White House. I celebrated last night with my daughter and thought often of my mother. She was no Hillary Clinton fan when she was alive. She was fully on board with Barack Obama in 2008. She passed away right before she received her ballot and was unable to vote for him. As she suffered through lung cancer, she would say, “I can’t believe, I’m not going to be able to vote for Barack Obama.” But I believe she would have come around to support Hillary Clinton this time, just as I did. She didn’t tolerate bullies. She hated injustice. And as I cried and applauded, I wished I could have seen my mom’s face, my grandma’s face, and my great-grandma’s face. I did see my daughter’s face. She, who gave money for the first time in politics, a Sanders’ supporter, was so excited by the possibilities of his candidacy. Who was sad and angry over the DNC’s crap, but knows that she can’t turn her back on the country and future now. And I swear, she looked proud and amazed to see this day. There is hard work ahead and we will be stronger together.
Our August 10th meeting will have a panel on the relationship between our police and our communities of color. Our panel is still forming but includes: Sheriff John Urquhart, Retired Judge Anne Levinson, and Sili Savusa, Executive Director of the White Center Community Development Association. We will also have a post-election wrap-up and will introduce our Coordinated Campaign Field Organizer Drew Estep. See also our August Newsletter which is online here.
Don’t forget to join us on Election Day, August 2nd at Drinking Liberally at 6:00 p.m. at Pizzeria 22 before you hit those election night parties.
Chair, 34th District Democrats
34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for April, 2016
Together we gathered to choose a Democratic nominee for President of the United States. 12,000 strong! The votes for delegates were approximately 70% for Sanders and 30% for Clinton. Neighbors were engaged with each other and passions were strong. Not a single person was removed for being disagreeable. Not a single ID was checked in order to participate. There were cheers for candidates and no jeers at anyone. How different is this from a Trump rally?
All of this accomplished by volunteers! There is no way to thank each one personally. So many did so much! I don’t want to leave anyone out, but here’s a few names that really stand out! Ann Martin, Steve Butts, Ted Barker, Les Treall, March Twisdale, Carol Frillman, Karen Chilcutt, and each of the 14 area caucus coordinators! These folks really stepped up and spent hours in meetings working towards a successful caucus.
We saved for 3 years and spent it all on outreach, rent, and supplies at 14 locations. Thank you to all who have contributed approximately $11,000. A lot for sure but less than a dollar a person was given. If you took a contribution envelope with you, please return it with what you can afford. We still have expenses this year and a legislative district caucus coming up! Make a contribution online here now. Any amount will help. We need your support to get out the 2016 vote – up and down the ballot! Can you make your contribution today?
The Legislative District Caucus is on Sunday, April 17th at West Seattle High School at 1 p.m. Doors will open by Noon. We have partnered with the White Center and West Seattle Food Banks and ask you to bring a non-perishable food item that day. At this caucus, the precinct level delegates will likely choose 38 Delegates and 19 Alternates to go to the State Convention (May 1st) and 7th Congressional District Caucus (May 21st). All delegates and alternates will be contacted with more information as soon as possible.
Our April 13th meeting will feature a candidate forum for Lieutenant Governor, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and State Auditor. We will also feedback session on the Precinct Caucus and a preview of the Legislative District Caucus. See the full agenda here.
Chair, 34th District Democrats
34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for October, 2015
The three most dangerous words in Washington state politics: Progressive Income Tax. From the McCleary decision to the November 3rd levy measures; our governments eternally search for funding for basic needs of society. The first sentence of the Supreme Court of Washington’s Order, dated August 13, 2015, states: “The Washington Constitution imposes only one ‘paramount duty’ upon the State: ‘to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.’”
By far, an implementation plan to achieve full funding for our schools, would positively affect a multitude of social inequities. Imagine what ills robust funding of our public education system could prevent: The school to prison pipeline, joblessness, homelessness, mental illness and unintended pregnancy. The search for creative solutions for the climate crisis, energy, transportation, and hunger could be found through fully educating our children. Our overwhelmed social programs would be less so if we were to provide our children, the education they need to succeed in life. Thriving children results in a thriving society. We can’t continue to blame the institution of education and its teachers; we need to set the blame upon ourselves because we, the people, don’t demand tax reform.
The Supreme Court’s leadership is needed by all our political leaders. Our paramount duty is to drive them there. The future of our state depends upon it.
Visit the timeline of events for McCleary v. State of Washington: http://www.courts.wa.gov/content/publicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20News/McCleary%20v%20State%20Timeline2015.pdf
A brief history of the fight for a state income tax please see: http://depts.washington.edu/depress/washington_state_income_tax.shtml
34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for August, 2015
Is it only because the party process is so foreign to the average person? Or that it’s fashionable to be non-partisan? Or because the cultural divide is so hard to breach? Could it be that the prism of white privilege thwarts us from prioritizing the goal of a more diverse organization? Or that we’re too uncomfortable with it? “Hey, I’m an approachable, friendly face of the party. Who wouldn’t want to be part of it?” Perhaps someone who has never voted before, speaks English as a second language or not at all, or is already on the fringe of the pervasive culture that benefits from the status quo. Pessimism isn’t the way I operate. As Chair, I will keep seeking a better way, and I urge you to do the same. If you’ve never participated on one of our committees, I urge you to consider helping the 34th Dems with this one. The party can be a candidate pipeline and with the upcoming Presidential caucuses, we owe it to our country to work harder to be more inclusive.
Election night, August 4th, is also West Seattle Drinking Liberally, Pizzaria 22 at SW College and California Ave. SW in the Admiral District. Join us there to toast the hard working candidates!
34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for July, 2015
We will never have a perfect President to lead this country. Democrats push candidates as far to the left as possible during the election but they always seem to gravitate toward the center once they’re in the White House. I recognize that governing requires the art of compromise. But I still react grim-faced when an elected official I’ve supported makes a move that is 100% opposite of what I value. It can be crazy-making and dispiriting. Then this morning the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act again. The ACA has made a huge difference in my family. Without it, a family member would be truly without hope, lost and ill. I’d be thousands of dollars in debt and grief-stricken. So I’m not happy about TPP, drilling in the Arctic, or Charter Schools, but knowing that one of my loved ones, and millions of others like her, are thriving because of what one politician had the fortitude to do, is better than finally getting a pony any day. So yes, we did the right thing, and yes, we need to do this again in 2016. Because who sits on the U.S. Supreme Court is by far the most important reason to work for, vote for and elect a Democrat to the White House. I want to win. We need to win. We can do it together or we can flail at each other from our respective issue silos and lose. Let’s win!
At our July 8th meeting, Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon, Senator Sharon Nelson will give us their legislative wrap-up and I imagine some choice words about what was passed and what wasn’t. I am assured that there is hope that the 2nd session will adjourn in time for our meeting so there will be something to report. Many thanks to our Olympia delegation!
Our program at the meeting will focus on diversity in the 34th. Matias Valenzuela from the King County Office on Equity and Social Justice will help us get to know our communities better and inspire us in our outreach efforts. The program is being organized by Lois Schipper, our Diversity Chair. Thanks, Lois!
It’s parade and festival season! Check out the website and the newsletter for further details.
Remember Drinking Liberally West Seattle is on July 7th, 6:30 p.m. at Pizzeria 22 (Admiral District)!
34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for June, 2015
Why do the 34th Legislative District Democrats’ endorsements matter? One of the many reasons is to shine a light on the candidates and issues we feel represent our values the most. I know what a Democratic candidate should stand for and what a republican stands for and I have no idea what an independent stands for. A non-partisan office doesn’t preclude someone from identifying with a party. Just because the system obfuscates the issue doesn’t mean we should capitulate on party identification.
Party building is another reason our endorsements are important. We will supply our PCOs and other volunteers with our sample ballots which will highlight the candidates and issues we support. Then our feet hit the pavement to meet the electorate at the door. We introduce not only who and what we support but also the organization itself. This is an important step towards building our GOTV (Get Out The Vote) framework for 2016. Talking to your neighbors is the best way get out our message and to find out what’s on their minds. We will have a PCO training starting at 6:30 prior to our July 8th meeting where we will arm them with walk lists and our sample ballot for the primary. If you’ve never knocked on doors but would like to, contact me or Les Treall so we can team you up with a PCO who has.
More Endorsements: At our June 10th meeting, we will hear from candidates for King County Elections Director, Port of Seattle and Burien City Council. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will start promptly at 7. We will also consider endorsement of these candidates that night. You can suggest a question to the forum committee by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2014 members may renew their membership up through our endorsement meeting on June 10th to have the right to vote. Anyone who became a member in May will be able to vote. Become a member now (click here). Come out and support your candidates!
Remember Drinking Liberally West Seattle is on June 2nd, 6:30 p.m. at Pizzeria 22 (Admiral District)!
34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for May, 2015
Did you ever think that Burien would fling itself to the center of a controversy that would cause the ACLU and its members to write thousands of letters to the City and threaten it with millions of dollars of litigation? I didn’t. Learn more about what their City Council deems important and attend a meeting on Monday nights, that is if they haven’t locked the door to keep the public out. And make sure that if you bring a latte along that it has a top on it because that’s against the law in public spaces now in Burien. And better shower first, make sure you’re not a homeless young person or mentally ill. Burien City Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz will attend one of our meetings soon to help us understand where this is all going.
Democratic candidates need to run for local office. It’s important for them to run as Democrats especially when the positions are non-partisan. They become the leaders of tomorrow and transform such ludicrous attempts in the name of public safety as these. This is where our role in endorsing candidates makes the difference. Showing up is what we need you to do. We should all be proud of our 2013 endorsement of Ms. Berkowitz.
Our next forum on May 14th presents candidates for Seattle School Board race for Pos. 6 and Seattle City Council At-Large Positions 8 and 9. It’s co-sponsored by the 11th, 34th, and 37th Legislative District Democrats. We are honored to have Ross Reynolds, a long time presence on KUOW and the co-host of The Conversation, as our moderator. It will be held at South Seattle College Georgetown Campus. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the forum will start promptly at 7. You can suggest a question to the forum committee by email here.
Endorsements: Our 34th District endorsements take place on May 20th, the third Wednesday of the month, at the Hall at Fauntleroy. Come early to meet the candidates at 6:30. The place will be packed and we’ll do our best to squeeze in every bit of Democracy we can.
2014 members may renew their membership up through our endorsement meeting on May 20th to have the right to vote. There is no meeting on the 2nd Wednesday this month.Become a member online now. Come out and support your candidates!
Remember Drinking Liberally West Seattle is on May 5th, 6:30 p.m. at Pizzeria 22 (Admiral District)!
34th Legislative District Democrats Chair’s Message for April, 2015
One year from now the 34th District Dems will be holding its 2016 precinct caucuses to begin the process of selecting delegates to the Democratic National Convention*. When I decided to run for a second term as Chair, I thought the 2016 Presidential election cycle would be the most exciting part of it. After all, electing a woman to the White House would be historic. But this year turned that expectation upside down with the thrilling race for Seattle City Council Position 1. Barring something unforeseen – It’s Hillary 24/7, definitely historic (no matter how you feel) – but with the constant change in the Seattle race, who knows what to expect? There are well-regarded candidates and our decision as to who to endorse will be key to who will first represent West Seattle and South Park on the Seattle City Council. Our forum for Position 1 and for King County Assessor is on April 8th. You can suggest a question to the forum committee by email here. I promise you quality questions, an entertaining and revealing evening of historic proportions.
I can’t stress this important reminder enough: All new members must pay their dues by the April 8th meeting to vote at our May 20th endorsement meeting. 2014 members may renew their membership up through May 20th to have the right to vote. Our endorsement meeting replaces our normal meeting on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. Become a member (or renew your membership) online now. Come out and support your candidate!
Stay tuned for upcoming co-sponsored forums with other legislative districts for the races for Burien City Council, Seattle City Council At-Large Positions 8 and 9, Seattle School Board and Port of Seattle. To be scheduled in the weeks after the April 8th forum but prior to our endorsement meeting on May 20th.
Now is the time to get involved. We need volunteers to help at the endorsement meeting and plan the 2016 precinct and legislative district caucuses. Please contact me to be a part of it.
Gather the night before the forum for Drinking Liberally in West Seattle, April 7th, 6:30 p.m. at Pizzeria 22 (Admiral District) and convince someone to support for your candidate!
*Please see the post about the draft delegate selection and affirmative action plan on the website here. This plan will be voted on at the State Committee Meeting on April 18th
34th Legislative District Democrats March Vice-Chair’s Message
(Chair Marcee Stone is out of town this month so Vice-Chair Ted Barker is writing the monthly message to members.)
Former Speaker of the United State House of Representative Tip O’Neill is widely credited with the phrase “all politics are local”. By that he meant if you want to be a successful politician you need to understand how issues, regardless of their scope, affect your constituents. In our March meeting we will be examining both ends of the “scope” spectrum. At one end, we will be learning about the Trans Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade agreement among the nations of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Although, the TPP covers a large part of the globe it will have impacts locally. At the other end of this spectrum, we will have a teaser to our candidates’ forum next month, and hear from the candidates running for the new District 1 of the Seattle City Council. We will have them pick questions on issues of importance to local residents at random to answer.
Reminders for upcoming events: Our April meeting will be a full forum for candidates running for District 1 on the Seattle City Council. The May meeting will be held on a different day than normal. We will have this meeting on May 20th. We will vote on our endorsements at this meeting. Also, in accordance with our bylaws you must be a member in good standing (dues paid) by the end of the April meeting to be eligible to vote for endorsements. Our the Earth Day Fundraiser will be on May 3rd from 4:00 to 6:30 at the home of Russ Brubaker’s. Representative Joe Fitzgibbon will speak. More details will be on our website.
Finally at our upcoming meeting we will be asking for volunteers to help put on our annual Garden Party. It is a big event, but if we all pitch in a little it will be much more manageable.
Thank you for supporting the 34th!
First Vice Chair, 34th District Democrats
Updated January 30, 2015
Marcee Stone-Vekich is the Chair of the 34th District Democrats. Contact her via email or at 206.465.1963.
34th Legislative District Democrats February Chair’s Message
On Friday, January 23rd, Tom Rasmussen declared he would not run for the Seattle City Council in 2015. What a stunning development! A good listener, Tom seemed to be everywhere in our community, checking on citizen issues and helping wherever he could. If you reached out to him, you would hear back and that set him apart. Thank you, Tom, for your many years of committed public service to seniors, transit and parks, and your longstanding support of the 34th District Democrats.
We can expect many qualified candidates will throw their hat in the race for Seattle District 1. One candidate forum will be held at our April 8th meeting. We have 3 races in Seattle and 3 in Burien. We may hold forums co-sponsored with other districts as well.
Important reminder: All new members must pay their dues by the April 8th meeting to vote at our May 13th endorsement meeting. Any 2014 member may renew their membership up through the May meeting to have the right to vote. Become a member now at the highest level you can. Can you provide your dues on a monthly basis? Five bucks a month can be more effective than a one-time payment! The 34th needs your continued financial support as well as your voice!
February 11th Meeting: An excellent program is coming together on the housing crisis in our communities. Hear discussion regarding tenants’ rights, microhousing and homelessness. Many thanks to Brianna Thomas for facilitating this! We will also discuss our proposed budget and hear the State Committee report.
More action: February 16th in Olympia attend KCDCC Lobby Day — Contact Tamsen Spengler to get busy with legislative action and meet with our legislators. Or attend the Washington State Democratic Party Grass Roots Forum, then grab a beer and awesome seafood at the Crab Feed. Get your tickets here. Car pools can be arranged. Would you like to be the contact?
New Business: Some 34th friends have founded a new Drinking Liberally in West Seattle, First Tuesday of the month, 6:00 p.m. at Pizzeria 22 (on College and near California Ave SW)! Join co-hosts Steve Butts, Carol Frillman, Max Vekich and myself for the inaugural gathering on February 3rd.
Thank you for your support of our newly-elected Executive Board. Let’s work together for great outcomes.
Chair of the 34th District Democrats
Messages from Previous Months
34th District Democrats December Chair’s Message
I don’t believe there are any people I know whose lives have not been touched in some way by mental illness. Whether it’s personal, a family member, co-worker or friend; we all see the effects of untreated mental illness. The most insidious part of it is that the future is forever changed and the damage is exponential. We know this and yet can’t calculate the toll on our society. The loss of life, creativity and knowledge, the cost to us as a nation is more than mere dollars. The 34th District Democrats the last few years have donated to the Navos Toy Drive during the holidays. It’s a small gesture but we also do this so you’re aware of the work that they do in our community. Please go to their website and learn more about their work.www.navos.org.
So in the spirit of the season, please bring an unwrapped gift for a Navos family. If you did not pick up a gift tag at our November meeting, contact Joy Pakulak (206.380-5448), or go to www.navos.org to donate or shop online. Special thanks to Joy who is coordinating our efforts to support Navos, an organization that benefits the most vulnerable in our community.
Our annual holiday party is Wednesday, December 10, 6:30 PM at the Hall at Fauntleroy. All members and their guests (partners, spouses, children, & parents) are welcome to attend. This is a party so there are no speeches or asks, just fun! Entertainment is the Elliott Brothers Jazz trio.
Please bring a potluck side dish or dessert or two to share, along with any special dietary restricted foods your family may require. The District provides hams, turkey, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
We’ll present our 2014 Membership awards and a very special Lifetime Achievement award. (There’s still time to nominate someone http://www.34dems.org/org_recognition.htm).
Stay tuned for our 2015 membership drive now with the added capability of contributing monthly.
Thank you for your involvement and support of the 34th Legislative District Democrats.
Chair, 34th District Democrats
34th District Democrats November Chair’s Message
I so wish I had a crystal ball right now! My October message was all about getting out the vote for the November 4th election and that is still what”s on my mind. But by the time you read this, it will be all but over. I hope you”ve made a difference to take back the State Senate, fund our busses and schools, and pass a statewide initiative to protect vulnerable populations from gun violence. In November, we will be poised for future battles whatever the results on the 4th.
November 12th is our last business meeting of the year. What better time to assess where the district is and where it needs to go. Here”s my point of view. Send me an email with yours.
• Held a joint-LD candidate forum with the 11th and 37th Democrats
• Added a new fundraiser celebrating Earth Day to raise early campaign funds
• Raised the bar on our signature fundraiser, the Garden Party
• Cut newsletter mailing costs by sending an email link to the newsletter while still mailing one to those without email
• Raised significant funds for candidates and campaigns
• Rolled out NGP database, finance control and email system
• Increased our membership on the District Facebook page from 91 to 370
• Revised and updated our bylaws
More to do:
• Get the most out of NGP, our technology provider
• Update our more than 10-year old website
• Increase our membership and PCOs
• Add geographic, ethnic and generational diversity
• Find and involve more volunteers
• Intensify outreach and voter registration
If I”m re-elected Chair of the 34th District Democrats in January 2015, I promise to keep us moving forward to 2016.
Chair, 34th District Democrats