By Lisa Plymate
Headlines We approved our delegate selection process and for the next national convention, to be held in Philadelphia, July, 2016. The body voted to continue the caucusprocess rather than changing to a Presidential primary. By doing this, we will gain an additional 11 delegates to the convention. We also approved our affirmative action plan, to be turned in to the DNC for final approval. The DNC gave us baseline guidelines; we wish to do even better in terms of diversifying. Our distinctions include: 1) youth selection – DNC considers this category 17 – 36 years old, corresponding with the Young Democrats, and we wish to focus on the group 17 – 24. We propose our total youth goal of those 17 – 36 to constitute 10% of our representation, with a ‘sub-goal’ that 1/3 of these should be between 17 – 24.
2) In addition to our mandated ‘representational goals’ for assuring those groups traditionally considered under affirmative action plans (African Americans, Hispanics, Enrolled Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders), in Washington we have also developed ‘inclusion goals’ for groups commonly under-represented. These include the LGBT, people with disabilities, the very young and now, new this year, new citizens eligible to vote.
Our lunch talks always revolve around issues local to the area in which we hold our meetings. In Pasco, we heard about agricultural and rural issues. Key issues in eastern Washington include agriculture, water needs, fighting fires, land use and immigration. If the debate is properly framed, farmers and ranchers should be Democrats. Yakima City Council races promise to be quite interesting this year. Last summer, in a case filed by the ACLU on behalf of Hispanic voters, a district judge found Yakima’s system ‘suffocated’ Latino voters. No Latinos have been elected in the last 37 years, and Yakima is >40% Latino. He ordered the city to change from at-large to district elections. Members are excited that Latinos may soon be elected to city council.
Our afternoon business meeting began with a moving presentation put together by Alec Stephens, chair of the Affirmative Action committee. We started with recitation of Ella’s Song, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest….Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons, Is as important as the killing of White men, White mothers’ sons.” In minority communities, we give our children “the talk,” to explain what they should do if caught up by the police. A shooting happens, and the police are exonerated, whether it be immediate, or after an inquest, or even after a trial.
In Pasco, Antonio Zombrano-Montes, a migrant worker who threw rocks at police, was shot 17 times by a police officer from a force that lacks diversity. We heard from members of the TriCity Community Solutions group, who continue to be involved, discussed how the police perceive Latinos as “either gang members or illegal immigrants.” #BlackLivesMatter. #AllLivesMatter.
Chair Jaxon Ravens talked about the challenges of our Olympia budget. House Dems have put forth a budget that strengthens middle class families, builds better classrooms vs the Senate Republican bill that will raise health care premiums and shortchange public employees, cut taxes on the rich, cut programs, end collective bargaining and turn back the clock on women’s health. We have a new director of our communications team, Jamal Raad. We need to amplify our message, taking information in press releases and turning it into letters to the editor. New for the budget: The state party will ask candidates to pay for use of our voter files, which will not be popular, but is necessary for the budget.
DNC report – Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy will be resurrected. We should focus on the entire nation, not just battleground states. Prepare for next re-districting. Staggering losses in 2014: 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats, 11 governorships plus 910 state legislative seats and 30 state legislative chambers.
Amendment to rules for resolutions passed, to require 14 rather than 10 days of notice for a resolution to be considered. For full list of resolutions passed, see state party website.
Next meeting: September in Wenatchee.