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Lisa Plymate

Report from Washington State Democratic Central Committee Meeting 4/22/17, Walla Walla

150 150 Lisa Plymate

Report from Washington State Democratic Central Committee Meeting 4/22/17, Walla Walla

Structural changes in our function under new leadership

In overview, our meetings have a new format under our new chair Tina Podlodowski, and so far it’s a real improvement. Previously our Friday nights were devoted to socializing at “hospitality suites” run by various groups or individuals (often candidates). Then our time to meet in caucuses of various groups and interests was condensed and overlapping on Saturday AM, allowing for only an hour-long committee meeting before the business meeting that afternoon. Under our new system, caucuses begin Friday night, and it would be theoretically possible to attend a series of 3 caucuses, from 5-8PM before hospitality suites. On Saturday morning, we were able to attend special training sessions and hold longer committee meetings of 1h45min each, making our work far more meaningful. Plus, our committees will be much more active than they were in the past. We formerly met for an hour three times a year. We now meet for 1:45 in person, plus hold at least monthly conference calls for work, and we have much more extensive goals than in the past. This is exciting, and it reflects a commitment on the part of our new leadership to really get the job done of electing progressive Democrats in Washington state!

Our training program starting this meeting was on “Heroes’ Narratives.” The aim is to teach us to take the long view of identifying stories that excite our base at the moment, while building our base over the long term. What is our best progressive story, and how do we tell it? Unfortunately, when it comes to using a values-based narrative, thus far the conservative voices have been defining the message; we have been battling their narrative. Story-telling over a long period of time delivers a strong message that captures and holds the audience’s attention, stimulating the desired action. A good narrative, however, helps different campaigns tell a common story and builds power over time. A given campaign may have many messages, but these should all support a long-term narrative. We discussed the importance of making messages resonate, using values-based language; we need to speak to peoples’ hearts to change their minds. People cherry-pick what facts they will believe based on the emotional parts of their brains. We want to increase participation of our base and grow our base at the same time. 

In this era of sound bites, we need to return to developing “epic stories,” as, over time, that is what will resonate with people. The story elements include:

1)a hero who makes 2) a quest which should be real, tangible and urgent. The hero faces 3) a threat which may not necessarily be true, but which resonates and mobilizes. The hero uses policies as 4) tools to accomplish goals. It’s more important to tell why a policy matters, not what it does. Along comes 5) a villain is the person we hold accountable for the threat; he has his own weapons. The story is most compelling if the hero, the heart of the story, is your audience; you are their mentor. For example, Obama spoke of “single moms” as heroes. A quest might be “change you can believe in.” A threat might be “climate change.” To Trump, Hillary was the villain; she was “weak” and “threatening.” Her weapons were “lies.” This session provided a refreshing way to approach our strategies as a party moving forward. 

Lunch speaker Hillary Franz, newly-elected Commissioner of Public Lands

She spoke of the importance of listening to others, of spending time to come up with solutions to common problems we see in rural areas. She wants to work with communities and focus on helping the economy while conserving public lands. She feels we can address climate change without speaking of “climate change” per se in a way that upsets opponents; we can find common ground and build on that. She wishes to demonstrate that we can create a strong economy while supporting clean energy, and she plans to start with demonstration projects that should do just that in 5 areas she will select.

Chair’s report

Chair Podlodowski has built a budget and has an organizaing plan. She’s hired 5 new staffers, and we have a new funding source, “the Resistance.” Based on small dollar fundraising attracting new participants, the state party’s working budget based on recurring contributions went from $2000 to $17,000 per month. We now have 1100 small donors and plan to grow this base further. We now have a full-time communications director for the first time who is about to start working.

Progress report from Dylan Cate, our new organizing director

Theme “win every race in every place.” We plan to win elections and build strategic long-term political relationships. Previously the party didn’t support candidates in areas we “couldn’t win.” We will instead support all good Democratic candidates. They might not win this election, but they’ll become known, and they’ll become stronger. We’ll have new tools in our voter file; traditional methods are not working. We won’t just canvass known Democrats; we’ll get out and listen to voters, ask their priorities. PCOs should learn what their neighbors care about.

New tool

On your cell phone, open text messaging app and write: 444999. Type the work “persist” and you’ll go to volunteering opportunities. Type “resistance,” and you’ll be able to support us financially.

Committee reports:

  • Rules committee will have rules for endorsements ready in September. Rules for primaries (vs caucuses) will come later.
  • Affirmative action committee (chaired by our own Chris Porter! and to be renamed to express “inclusion”) is dealing with harassment issues and code of conduct language plus a framework for mediation
  • Technology committee has recruited 60 members from tech industry and has in place 16 teams with functions ranging from mobile apps, webcasts,centralized calendar, PCO finders.

Democratic National Committee

Members report feeling new Chairman Tom Perez is refreshing and is truly overhauling the party. We will have a 57 state strategy going forward. They report the biggest change is that they now feel the “people at the top are interested in listening.”


Please see state party website for full list and content of resolutions passed by the body.

Please contact either Chris Porter or myself if you have any specific questions or concerns. And yes, we enjoyed both the eastern Washington sunshine and the wines! 

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Plymate

State Committeewoman

State Democratic Party Meeting

150 150 Lisa Plymate

Dates: 1/27-28/17

Tina Podlodowski elected chair of Washington State Democratic Party

At our re-org meeting in Olympia, which had a whopping 100% attendance, the first order of business was to elect our new chair.  Tina Podlodowski, known to most of us for a prior stint on Seattle City Council and for running for Secretary of State this fall, a race she lost by a razor-thin margin to Kim Wyman, was the overwhelming favorite of the state committee.  She won 119: 53 for former chair, Jaxon Ravens, with 2 for late-entry candidate Roger Flygare.  In nomination speeches, Jaxon quoted Martin Luther King:  “We may have come on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.”  Tina spoke of “building  a movement, carrying on the fight.  Our resistance must be strong.” And that message won the day.   Approximately 2/3 of the membership was new this year, many of them from the Sanders’ campaign.  Jaxon Ravens was an excellent chair, and did a fine job of holding the party together through divisive times last year, but with the huge change in makeup of the membership, it was clear that change and belief in the movement were crucial in the election.

With our new chair in charge,  Joe Pakootas, chief executive officer of the Spokane tribe and former candidate for U.S. Congress against Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, was elected Vice Chair.  Rob Dolin retained his position as secretary; and Habib Habib is again treasurer.  For our 7th CD, Javier Valdez was re-elected for our seat on the Executive Council.

In a brief first Chair’s report, Tina was clear that she expects all of us to work harder than we ever have.  Within 2 weeks we will be assigned to committees, and she expects these committees to work year-round, not just 3 weekends a year as is customary.  She is adding a 7th committee, communications and training, including a rapid response team and action team around activities and issues.   Echoing her campaign for Secretary of State, she reminded us that we are a party of voters and voting rights.  She obviously believes she can still attack her goal of expanding voter participation, despite having lost her fall election, and she has great ideas on ways to do this.

Our treasurer reported our cash on hand as we start out this cycle is $573, 565.  He also advised that “one man’s civil right is everybody’s civil right.  Civil nonviolent resistance is the answer.”

We next heard reports from our elected DNC representatives.  David McDonald, state parliamentarian and on the national rules committee told us they all attended a western region debate in Phoenix in which 9 of the 11 candidates for chair of the DNC spoke.  All our reps remain uncommitted, partly because they consider the race fluid.  The voting will be on 2/25, and candidates can still file until 2/22.  Of interest, DNC chair is elected by the DNC when we do not have control of the WH.  When we do have control the President selects the chair.  He felt 5-6 of the 11 candidates are “very good.”  Ed Cote, long-time DNC member, spoke of the “grief and horror” at the Denver meeting 4 weeks post-election.  A Howard Dean pollster told them “don’t let anyone tell you this was a horrible landslide.  We won the popular vote by 2.8 m votes, and lost the electoral college by only 70,000 votes in 3 key states.  In those crucial states, we lost the millenials and we lost the “Reagan Democrats.”  Sharon Mast pointed out that Inslee is now head of the Governor’s Association.  In addition to chair, the committee will fill 8 other offices on 2/25.  Nancy Monacelli reiterated that we need a 50 state strategy, to reach out to the unengaged and bring them back in.  The question is, who is best qualified to accomplish and fund those goals?

In the morning before the business meeting, members had a chance to visit three different committees, to help us each decide which we wish to participate on.  The Eastern WA committee made it clear what works in Western Washington in terms of framing may well fall flat in Eastern Washington.  The Elections Committee told us our state has >3,000 positions across the state that are open.  No position is too small, whether seat is elected or appointed; we need to get Democrats in all these positions, on their way up.  Rules committee is responsible for coming up with our delegate selection plan and for revising rules on how to fill legislative vacancies, as well as dealing with the primary/caucus situation.  Districts have also requested an endorsement procedure guidance as well.

Finally, we passed a group of resolutions which are on the website.  Most importantly, the Young Democrats brought forth a time-sensitive resolution, signed by the 50+ members required to consider a resolution that has not gone through committee that passed overwhelmingly:

Resolution in Opposition to U.S. Visa and Green Card Holders Denied Entry to the United States on the Basis of their Country of Origin.

WHEREAS, the Executive Order signed by President Trump on January 27, 2017, has banned travel from seven countries based solely on the fact of having a Muslim majority; and

WHEREAS, the practical result of this Executive Order is to ban all refugees for a period of 90 days and all Syrian refugees for a period of 120 days; and

WHEREAS, legal permanent residents and green card holders are being illegally being detained at airports and denied entrance to the United States; and

WHEREAS, persons seeking asylum and refugee status whom have gone through proper US and international procedure and law have been denied refugee status;

WHEREAS, the denial of entry to the US can mean certain death of refugees if they are forced back to their home countries;

WHEREAS, the rejection of refugees to the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, resulted in the death of hundreds of religious minorities;

WHEREAS, Governor Jay Inslee has publically stated that the State of Washington will support and welcome Syrian refugees; and

WHEREAS, the WSDCC Platform for 2016 declares opposition to “Policies that exclude or demean immigrants based on religion or country of origin”;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, call for the State Legislature to immediately pass legislation expressing support for the admittance of refugees who have obtained legal permission and face threats to their lives if forced to return to their countries of origin and not enter the United States; and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we request that our elected representatives to enact legislation condemning the Executive Order, signed by President Donald Trump on January 27, 2017;

THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we urge the State Legislature to enact legislation pursuant to the sovereignty granted in the United States Constitution allowing for refugees to peacefully reside within and emigrate to the State of Washington.

We were then made aware of the 10 refugees being held hostage at SeaTac and were urged by our new Chair to head for the airport on our way home to join the protestors there.

Folks, judging from this meeting and from happenings this weekend, we are in the midst of a resistance movement and cannot let up.   Our new chair and officers, soon –to-be-occupied state committees, DNC members, the Progressive caucus under the new leadership of Chad Lupkes (with our own Martha Koester continuing as secretary) will do our utmost to see that we will prevail.  We will have field workers in all 39 counties.  We will work to get good Democrats in every position open; no position is too small for us to fill.  And we will resist policies and actions that violate our Constitution and harm our fellow human beings.  It’s going to be up to each and every one of us – and the friends and neighbors we will all bring to join us – to take our country back!

In solidarity,

Lisa Plymate, State Committeewoman