Chair’s Messages

Chair’s Message: Winning by not losing, and our upcoming Seattle City Council Position 8 Showdown in the Wild West

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Winning by not losing

At the national level we are an opposition party, and will be for the next 3 years and 10 months. So we won’t be able to achieve any of the things we’d like to. At the national level, we need to put our positive agenda for the nation on hold while we fight the rightwing extremists who have taken over our government using dark money from oligarchs who now believe the end of democracy is within their grasp. But, just as we did yesterday, we will prove them wrong.

Celebrating our victories

While I’m extremely confident we’ll win in the end, we’re going to lose many fights in the coming years. So many that we’ll get good at losing (like Trump’s nominees). But sometimes, on the most important fights – like saving the ACA – we will win. And when we do it’s important that we celebrate our victories so that we can recharge and inspire each other to continue the fight. That’s what we did last night at Dakota Place Park, where we gathered and celebrated yesterday’s victory over the Republican attack on our health care.

The next fight we’ll win if we continue to stand up and stick together: tax reform

The republican leadership had two major goals for this Congress: repeal the ACA and reform the tax code. Both are designed to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy oligarchs who fund the Republican Party, at the expense of the poor, the middle class, and democracy itself. The Republicans chose to use a budgetary procedure called reconciliation to pass their draconian agenda, because budget reconciliation allows them to avoid the possibility of a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. And they chose to repeal the ACA first because the budget resolution for the current fiscal year dictates that any reconciliation measure must reduce the deficit, which the Republican ACA repeal was designed to do. Republicans then could draft a new budget resolution for the upcoming fiscal year with easier deficit targets, allowing for more aggressive tax cuts. Yesterday they saw their plans go up in flames. Any tax cuts for the super wealthy will now have to be smaller than they would if the measure had passed. And the political challenges the Republicans faced with the ACA repeal aren’t going away any time soon. They have to deal not only with an American electorate that is against them, but with extremist factions within their own party that demand ideological purity that moderates can’t stomach. On this fight, just as with the repeal fight we just won, if we stand up and stick together, we will win.

Coming up in April: Seattle City Council Position 8 Showdown in the Wild West

There are now 10 declared candidates for Seattle City Council Position 8. How do you choose from such a large field. We know the approach the Republicans took last year ended in national disaster. We also know that a candidate forum in which 10 candidates get equal time isn’t necessarily effective in leading to a decision. So we’re trying something different: 

After brief introductory comments from each of the candidates they’ll each draw a question at random and answer it, and after each has had a chance at answering one of our questions we’re going to let you choose which candidates you want to hear more from through a process of elimination.  Eight of the ten candidates have enthusiastically said they’ll be there. One has said maybe, and one has yet to RSVP.

Note: If you have a question you’d like to hear the candidates answer please submit it to Chris Porter at wsdccm@34dems.org.

 At the end of the evening we’ll endorse one (or more) of the candidates. We want it to be fun, interesting, informative and valuable for our members and for the candidates alike. Hope to see you there!

A note about voting: according to our bylaws:

“Only members in good standing by the end of the prior month’s meeting may vote, except that any member who had paid dues in the previous calendar year may vote if the membership is renewed at or before the meeting where the endorsement takes place.”

If you were a member last year but haven’t renewed yet, you can click here to pay your dues and renew your membership in time for the April meeting. If you weren’t a member by the end of the last meeting you won’t be eligible to vote at the April meeting but can join now to be eligible to vote at our big May endorsements meeting.

http://www.34dems.org/contribute/

 In solidarity,

David Ginsberg

Chair, 34th District Democrats

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Chair’s Message: February

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First I’d like to thank all who attended our February program on resisting the Trump Agenda, whether in-person or by watching our livestream. As I said that night, you give me hope, and the sheer number of people who showed up in person and watched online up was inspiring. We hope to see you all again in March, when the topic will be protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from the Republican juggernaut.

It’s President’s Day and I’m taking this day to reflect on the presidents who’ve made America’s journey a journey of progress. From George Washington’s revolutionary role to James Madison’s central role in writing the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, to Abraham Lincoln’s freeing of the slaves, to Teddy Roosevelt’s conservation, to William Howard Taft’s trust-busting and establishment of the Department of Labor, to FDR’s New Deal, to Dwight Eisenhower’s sending federal troops to support desegregation, to JFK’s call to put a man on the moon, to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, to Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

And then there’s Donald Trump, a threat to everything these great presidents and many others have achieved.

The Dodgy Republican President

We’re one month into the Republican Presidency. And by February 9th – the last date for which information is available on www.whitehouse.gov, the former reality TV host had issued 23 Executive Orders, which if he continues at that rate works out to a rate of 399 per year, the highest of any president in history, and more than 10 times the rate of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans who were so outraged at the 129 Executive Orders signed by President Obama during his second term remain notably silent as the Republican President issues Executive Orders at more than 3X that rate. So where is the Republican outrage at “presidential overreach” now? Like most Republican outrage, it was nothing but false outrage manufactured for consumption by our facile and ratings obsessed television news organizations.

Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reports, the Trump family’s lavish lifestyle continues to cost taxpayers more than $1,000,000 per day, with much of that money being funneled into Trump businesses in New York and Florida. This is an unprecedented conflict of interest from a man who has refused to release his taxes, put his assets into a blind trust, or otherwise be honest with the American people.

As the Republican President continues to enrich himself at taxpayer’s expense, his ties to Russia continue to raise questions. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was forced to resign after admitting he’d discussed reversing sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration in violation of the Logan Act. Questions abound about what the president knew and when he knew it. Americans have a right to know if there is a Russian mole in our White House, and even Fox News has joined the calls for a full investigation.

The Center of the Resistance

Seattle and Washington State continue to establish themselves as the center of the resistance to the Republican President’s extremist agenda. Attorney General Bob Ferguson successfully blocked the Republican President’s travel ban, Governor Inslee has made standing up against Trump a hallmark of his Governorship, and both Seattle and Burien have passed legislation making them sanctuary cities in defiance of Republican anti-immigrant polices. Mayor Murray has been increasingly vocal in his critiques of the new regime in Washington D.C. as well.

Here in the 34th we’re building a resistance movement to be reckoned with. Our February program was attended by more than 700 concerned citizens while a similar number watched our first livestream on Facebook Live. We gained 111 new members, more than $4,000 in contributions, 15 new PCOs and 2 new Executive Board members. THIS is what the beginning of a successful resistance looks like, and here in the 34th we’re just getting started!

The Indivisible movement continues to grow, and there are now Indivisible groups in West Seattle, Burien and Vashon.  The West Seattle group has organized a weekly meeting with the staff of Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell at the Federal Building downtown, which Indivisible groups from around the 7th and 9th Congressional Districts are now joining.

Get Involved!

I hear this question frequently from people who’ve never been involved in politics in any way before but feel compelled to do something now. If you’re wondering what you can do to help empower this local resistance, here are some of my top suggestions:

1. Become a Precinct Committee Officer

The biggest impact you can have on changing outcomes is to become a PCO and help us reach out to your neighbors, get them registered to vote, help them stay informed and engaged, and hear their concerns. Our new Data and Technology Chair Kyle Prete has just built a wonderful map-based PCO Lookup Tool for our website to help you:

  • Find out if there’s already a PCO for your precinct
  • If there isn’t you can contact our PCO Chair Brooks Salazar to get appointed
  • If there is a PCO you can look for a nearby precinct where you can become an Acting PCO

Also, this feature will be coming soon:

  • Ability to contact your PCO so you can offer to join their Precinct Committee and help in them contact voters in your neighborhood

2. Become a Member of the 34th District Democrats

The 34th District Democrats are one of the most powerful and well organized Democratic organizations in the State of Washington, but we’re only as strong as our members and PCOs. What does the 34th do?

  • We partner with other community organizations and support our community
  • We recruit candidates for open positions and help them get their campaigns off the ground
  • We hold programs on topics of interest to the community
  • We host candidate forums to help the community get to know candidates
  • We endorse candidates and support them with our money and our ability to directly contact voters to get them elected
  • We get out and talk to voters from Alki to Talequah to help keep them informed, engaged and help make sure their voices are heard
  • We mobilize like nobody’ business to GOTV for Democrats at election time
  • And much, much more

Many of these efforts cost money, and our Treasurer Gina Topp tells us that the current cost per member of running this organization is just under $10/month, so the best way to become a member is to sign up by selecting the $10 monthly contribution option here. Monthly contributions help us budget and plan, so please consider contributing in this way. I recently switched to monthly contributions myself, and I encourage everyone who’s able to do so as well.

3. Join one of our Executive Committees

The Executive Committees are the workhorses of the organization. Most of the committees meet monthly, and all of our committees welcome and encourage new members. You can learn more about each of our standing committees, including how to contact each Committee Chair, on our website here.

4. Sign up to Volunteer

We participate in community events, march in parades, host candidate forums and community-focused programs throughout the year, and we need your help! You can sign up to volunteer on our website here.

Other ways to help

As many of you know, we have several special elections coming up this year which will determine control of the Washington State Senate. Our neighbors to the South in the 31st District could use some help. Their new Chair Brian Gunn has made a plea to help raise the funds they need to take Pam Roach’s seat this fall. Please join me in contributing $25 or more to the 31st Legislative District Democrats to help out in this effort. You can do that here.

Also Dow Constantine’s campaign kick-off is coming up this Thursday. Dow’s leadership at the County has never been more important than it is today in the face of this national nightmare. I’m a co-host of this event, which will be held at the home of Maryanne Tagney and David Jones (a.k.a. the Coleman Mansion) in Fauntleroy this Thursday, February 23rd. Please join me there!

Thursday, February 23rd at 5:30PM

at the home of Maryanne Tagney and David Jones

9343 Fauntleroy Way SW

Seattle, WA 98136

Guest $100 | Friend $250 | Sponsor $500 | Co-host $1000

RSVP here or dowconstantine.com/february23

Questions: events@dowconstantine.com or (206) 328-2969

Who are the 34th District Democrats?

We are the Democratic Party of the 34th Legislative District. We work to elect Democrats, uphold Democratic values, and support Democrats in Seattle, White Center, Burien, Vashon/Maury Island and beyond.

We are our elected officials. We are our candidates. We are the activists who knock on doors in neighborhoods from Alki to Tahlequah and the voters who make their voices heard each election. We are all volunteers.

We are your neighbors. We are your co-workers. We are your friends. We stand up for the marginalized and the voiceless among us. We join arms with allies to fight against injustice and fight for equity. We are engaged in our communities and we are committed to a brighter future for all of us.

We believe in inclusion, that unity is better than division, that we are stronger and better when everyone has an equal shot at living up to their potential. We believe diversity is a source of strength and that inequality is a threat to democracy itself.

We believe it’s important to stand up to tyrants and bullies. We believe in the power of individuals working together to make great progress against incredible odds. We believe in you.

Join us in the fight of our lives. It might not be easy, but it will be rewarding.

And we will win.

In solidarity,
David Ginsberg
Chair, 34th District Democrats

34 DEMS

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Chair’s Inaugural Message

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First, I’d like to thank all of the PCOs who elected me Chair by acclamation at the reorganization on January 11th (my late mother’s birthday). It is an esteemed honor to serve as Chair of one of the strongest LD organizations in Washington State. The challenges ahead are daunting and will require more of all of us. Rest assured that I and the new Executive Board are already hard at work preparing to make the 34th even stronger, better organized, more representative of the population we serve and even more effective politically so we can meet those challenges head on.

A Catastrophic Election

Many of you were at the Hall at Fauntleroy on November 9th when I announced I would run for Chair, less than 24 hours after the most catastrophic election in U.S. history. I didn’t have a prepared speech, but I spoke to you about my 14 year-old twins and how this was the first election they’d really paid attention to, how that morning my daughter Anya woke up, grabbed her phone to check the results and sat in bed and cried. It was heartbreaking as a father, and as I struggled to figure out how to explain why and how this had happened I realized I couldn’t because I didn’t understand it myself, but what I could do was show how we respond when everything we care about, democracy, civility, equity and even life itself are threatened: and how we respond as Democrats is we stand up and fight!

Depths of Despair

I don’t mind sharing with you that the next several weeks were not easy. As Trump put together his transition team and small bands of the worst of his supporters went about attacking people who didn’t look like them, didn’t worship like them, didn’t love like them, I sank as far into the depths of despair as anyone. I’m a gay father. My kids are Jewish. Nearly half of my neighbors in High Point are immigrants, and a third are Muslims. We’ve kicked the can on climate change to the very last yard, even the Paris Agreement isn’t nearly enough. And here we are faced with a neofascist wrecking crew with unfettered power over our once great democratic institutions. I’d lay in bed at night with my mind racing, wondering “where do we go from here?”

Developing a plan: What can we do here in the 34th to resist?

Despair, like doing nothing, was not an option. I got to work developing a plan to realize the full potential of the 34th. I started with our PCOs because I knew anything substantive we hoped to accomplish depended on our PCOs, who are the most important part of an effective Democratic party. So, drawing on my previous experience as 34th District Captain for the Neighborhood Leader program of the Obama ’08 campaign, I came up with a plan to recruit a PCO for every precinct, to build a precinct committee in as many precincts as possible, to build a structure to support our PCOs including 12 PCO Area Coordinators, and to ask our PCOs to engage in their precincts not just at election time but on at least a quarterly basis. I also resolved to personally participate on the PCO Committee and in its activities. But would our PCOs be willing?

Calling PCOs

I started calling PCOs to introduce myself and these plans, and to let them know that if I was elected we’d be asking more of them than we ever had before, and what I found was remarkable. Everyone I spoke with realized that we all need to do more, that business as usual is no longer enough. Not a single PCO pushed back – not one. Out of those conversations I began to get a sense of hope that we could rise to this challenge. That hope has grown stronger every day.

Executive Board

While those conversations with PCOs were happening, the beginnings of a new Executive Board started to come together. A handful had stepped up by the last meeting of the outgoing Executive Board in November. In early December I got the outgoing Board and candidates for the new Board together at my home, and after that started meeting weekly with the candidates so we’d be prepared to hit the ground running. I’m thrilled with our new Executive Board. Many of you had the opportunity to hear from each of them on January 11th, and I’m confident you’ll be as thrilled with this Executive Board and their work as I am. As we’ve worked together my hope and confidence have continued to grow, and I’ve no doubt at all we’ll accomplish great things here in the 34th, and beyond.

We provided a sneak preview of our new website at our January reorganization, and it went live the next day. Please check it out, it’s beautiful and easy to navigate, includes a search function, and you can sign up to join one of our Executive Committees right on the site – and, by the way, please do – we need all hands on deck! Here are the new logos designed by our Digital Communications Chair Carrie Alexander:

This one is for use in places where we want a rectangular logo:

34 Dems rectangular logo, two-tone blue with "34" circled and "Dems" to the right of the circle

And these are for use in places where we want a square logo (such as profile pictures on our Social media accounts):

34th Dems square logo. Blue circle with text "34th Dems" inside, also in blue.                  

I absolutely love them, they look great on our new website and other digital communications. I really appreciate the clean, modern design and I hope you do too.

Ready to Roll!

So here we are. On January 20th Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. While this was a dark day in our nation’s history, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

First, this is NOT Donald Trump’s America, and the Republicans have NO MANDATE for their draconian agenda. Trump received only 46.1% of the vote, Republican House candidates received 49% of the vote, and their Senate candidates received just 42% of the vote. The approval rating for the new “President” is at 37% – a historic low, and the approval rating of the Republican Congress is just 13.8%. Even Republican gerrymandered districts can come into play with numbers like that.

Second, despite Hillary Clinton’s hopeful words after the election we no longer owe Mr. Trump a “chance to govern.” That goodwill quickly evaporated as this administration began shaping up to be nothing more than a fascist kleptocracy, a threat not just to beloved programs and policies, but to our republic itself and to the future of life on this planet. We owe them NOTHING. Accordingly, there will be no ‘honeymoon’. As Democrats we will fight to block or delay every one of his unqualified and corrupt nominees. We’ll organize and fight to defeat every piece of draconian legislation. We’ll lose many of these battles, but we’l win this war for our nation’s future. Here in the 34th, we’re already hard at work recruiting PCOs for every precinct, building an infrastructure to support them, and reaching out to the 31st and 45th LD organizations to see how we can help them win the special elections in their districts later this year so we can take back our State Senate and finally meet Washington State’s paramount duty and fully fund our schools.

Please stay tuned, we have great things in store. Our first program, on February 8th, will focus on resistance and what we can do locally to resist the Trump agenda and support communities marginalized by Trump’s policies. Among the confirmed participants are the ACLU of Washington and the West Seattle chapter of the newly formed Seattle Neighborhood Action Coalition, members from Seattle Indivisibles, and the founder and Executive Director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network. It should be quite a program, you won’t want to miss it!

The road ahead won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding, and we will win.

Forward together,

David Ginsberg,

Chair, 34th District Democrats

Chair’s Message 2015/2016

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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.

Marcee

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.

Many thanks,
Marcee Stone-Vekich
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.

Many thanks,
Marcee Stone-Vekich
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.

Marcee Stone-Vekich
Chair

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!

Marcee Stone-Vekich

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:  34thforumcommittee@gmail.com.

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)!

Cheers,

Marcee Stone-Vekich
Chair

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)!

Cheers,

Marcee Stone-Vekich
Chair

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!

Cheers,

Marcee Stone-Vekich
Chair

*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!

Ted Barker
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.
Marcee Stone-Vekich
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.

Happy Holidays!

Marcee Stone-Vekich
Chair, 34th District Democrats
206-465-1963

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.

Marcee Stone,
Chair, 34th District Democrats