12. May 2024 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus for May Policy Briefing · Categories: Committee News

Ag and Rural Caucus for May Policy Briefing

Policy Briefing

6:30 pm Thursday 16 May
Off-Shore Wind Development off Washington Coast
Brian Polayge, UW School of Engineering

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85907982157?pwd=MU4vV3E3VGZ5VU02dnhvZjg2b3hKZz09
Paste link into browser.
Off-Shore Wind Development
BOEM as villain; then what?
 
Last week I sat in on a LD 19 Zoom conversation. BOEM came up and it was clear that it is a candidate for villain in the off-shore wind question. One point was clear and recurring: “No one is listening to us!” Coastal residents want to be heard, just like the rest of us.

The rest of the story remains to be put on the table – what are the consequences for coastal fisheries if a string of wind turbines is tethered just over the horizon?

What are the tradeoffs? Do we have credible research on the projected effects on the fisheries? When we have the data, how are we going to take it in? Will we stonewall,  or will we – like EFSEC – accept a tradeoff?

Join the conversation this Thursday. Brian will help us clarify what we know.

FYI: Hilary Franz, Public Lands Commissioner and candidate for CD 6, noted in the meeting that DNR regulates access for three miles off coast.

Don
13 May 2024
Off-Shore Wind Development
No Easy Task: Lessons from EFSEC
 
Siting of renewable energy facilities, wind and solar for the most part, are political minefields. Scout Energy ran into local opposition when it proposed a large wind, solar, and battery system in Benton County. Called the Horse Heaven project, opponents scored points with EFSEC. Tribal cultural sites were found; ferruginous hawk nests were documented in the area, viewscape from Richland was impaired and land values were compromised, and aerial fire fighting was made more difficult. In the end, EFSEC recommended that the governor approve Scout’s Horse Heaven project with selected mitigations that reduced the project’s potential output.

EFSEC’s handwringing in the Horse Heaven case is what is important here. EFSEC is keenly aware of its role in the state meeting its requirements in RCW 80.50.010, and the necessity of balancing state goals with environmental and local interests.

…the Council must balance the legislative directive to  provide for abundant clean energy at reasonable cost with the impact to the environment and the broad interests of the public. This is no easy task.

“No easy task” may be an understatement. EFSEC goes on to write

…the Council is persuaded that projects aimed at meaningfully mitigating climate change cannot be hidden from public view. Like all energy facilities, they will necessarily have impacts. The question is not whether all impacts must be avoided. They cannot be. [emphasis added]

So, what does this mean in the context of off-shore wind? Join in on the 16th and find out.


Don
10 May 2024
Off-Shore Wind Development
Some of the Actors
 
You know why people are looking at off-shore wind…the State of Washington is committed to transitioning away from fossil fuels. And off-shore wind is not only out of sight, mostly, it is also “better” than on-shore wind: “Offshore winds tend to blow harder and more uniformly than on land. “ This is from BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.)

BOEM is one of the differences in off-shore energy. BOEM is a federal office. On dry land we are not accustomed to seeing BOEM as a player. EFSEC (Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council) is our decider. Larry Thevik, head of Washington’s Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association, would like to see something like EFSEC having a role in the waters:

The state’s Coastal Zone Management Act, for example, could provide a “hook” for the state to have a greater influence in BOEM’s decision-making process than in other states…

One last reference for today. The Daily World from Aberdeen has a background piece introducing several other of the main actors (e.g.,Trident, Hecate) that will show up when we talk with Brian.

Don
8 May 2024
Off-Shore Wind Development: Tradeoffs
 
On the 16th we are going to learn about tethering large wind turbines to the continental shelf off the southwest coast of Washington to generate electricity that will be wired to the grid for I-5 consumers.

That is just the beginning. Our presenter is Brian Polagye. He works out of UW’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. He knows details. Like steering activity clear of US Defense marine reserves, like whether Grays Harbor has the capacity to build towers, like how Norwegian oil rigs show to work in deep water…

Brian brings technical expertise to our table but he also brings an unusual understanding of the political issues. From the minutes of a WCMAC (Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council) meeting:

Assuming that, if OSW development occurs in WA…how can/should engagement balance diffuse benefits to a relatively large number of energy users against potentially acute impacts to a smaller (but significant) number of existing ocean users?

This is the crux of our on-going discussion of renewal energy. Join us.

Don
5 May 2024
Policy Briefing: Off-Shore Wind Development in Washington

Off-Shore wind proposals are coming to Washington. We are late to the game. Europe is well ahead of North America in adopting off-shore wind, the east coast on the Atlantic is ahead of us on the west coast, and California and Oregon on the Pacific are ahead of us.

What can we learn from the early adopters? The “what” in this case is both the technical and the political. Why go to bother of building turbines in the sea? And what are the effects on local fishing industries?

Join Brian Polayge, UW School of Engineering, for our policy briefing on 16 May. Brian knows the technical aspects of off-shore wind and understands well the politics.

Don
26 April 2024

Our Better Practices roundtable is on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm.. Use the link above for 2024.

Our Policy Series is on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm. Use the link above for 2024


Copyright © 2024 Ag and Rural Caucus, All rights reserved.
Ag and Rural Caucus of State Democratic Central Committee
Our mailing address is:
Ag and Rural Caucus
2921 Mud Creek Rd
Waitsburg, WA 99361
05. January 2024 · Comments Off on Democratic National Committee – 2024 Priorities Survey · Categories: Announcements, Committee News

Hi team,

First and foremost, Happy New Year! I hope you’re feeling energized and ready to take on the new year, I know we are here at the DNC.

With a big election year ahead of us, we want to hear from you. Your input means a lot to us, so we’re curious: What are your 2024 priorities?

There are countless issues — from health care costs to racial justice to reproductive rights — that we’re focused on this year, especially with MAGA Republicans on the ballot who are threatening our progress. As a valued member of this team, we want to hear which priorities you personally feel need to be addressed most urgently.

Take a quick minute to fill out our 2024 priorities survey and let us know what issues matter the most to you. Your feedback helps inform our plans for the year:

Thanks for being a part of this team.

To a great year,

Erin

Erin Conway
Grassroots Fundraising Director
Democratic National Committee

04. January 2024 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus – January 2024 · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events

Ag and Rural Caucus for January

We start 2024 with good news. We have progress on two legacy ARC issues.

Under the Better Practices heading we take up exciting progress on devising a solution for replacing barges on the Lower Snake for getting wheat to market. We started this work in 2019 by organizing a conference at Ice Harbor Dam.

For our Policy Briefing we revisit the Wolf-Cattle issue in Northeast Washington to report grudging progress. The wolf population is healthy and producers “have accepted that wolves are on the land and are there to stay.” Our first meeting on wolf-cattle management was in January 2018 in Colville. We repeated via Zoom in October 2020.

For each session I am able to work with friends. Bill Moyer, Solutionary Rail, will lead our Better Practices session. Jay Shepherd in Colville is organizing our meeting on Wolf management, as he did in 2020.

Please join us when you are interested and able. Invite your friends when inclined. All are welcome. Contact me if you would like the link to a meeting recording. You can check up on recent mailing by going to the posts on the website: arcwashdems.wordpress.com

Happy New Year,

Don
29 December 2023
January Schedule

Better Practices
6:30 pm Thursday 4 January
: Rail solution to barges on Lower Snake River
Bill Moyer, Solutionary Rail
Thomas White, Climate Rail Alliance

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88689149657?pwd=R3dXbFRpYVUyeGVhb3ErTFI0QXlpZz09

Policy Briefing
6:30 pm Thursday 18 January
Managing Wolves and Cattle in NE Washington

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85907982157?pwd=MU4vV3E3VGZ5VU02dnhvZjg2b3hKZz09

Paste link into browser or click heading to go to meeting.
Data plus Administration
 
Data make a difference. And the data for wolf recovery in NE Washington are impressive. So much so that WDFW staff is recommending to the Commission a downlisting of wolves to “sensitive.” It is now up to the Commission.
Wolf count continues to rise. Livestock killed or injured roughly level, and greater than WDFW wolf removals in all years.
What about the politics behind administration? Julia Smith, Endangered Species Recovery Section Manager, Wildlife Program, wrote last October that “the number of livestock producers in Washington implementing proactive, non-lethal deterrence measures has markedly increased. Mitigating livestock depredation by wolves is critical to acceptance of wolves by local communities.”(emphasis added)

It seems that having cooperation on the ground helps move the program ahead.

It is important to report the other side of the political pressure. Ms. Smith was responding to a petition from advocacy groups that WDFW engage in rule-making to govern more precisely non-lethal practices and the rules for lethal removal. She noted that the current petition was the fifth similar petition from the same groups. The previous petition for rule making was endorsed by the governor. WDFW’s subsequent process elicited 10,000 comments. Of a subset of the comments, “SEPA-associated comments…WDFW received over 7,500 written submissions. Over 6,700 of these submissions were copies of or slight variations of one form letter and over 700 submissions were copies of or slight variations of another form letter.”

Back to data: “most wolf packs in Washington are not implicated in livestock depredation (86% on average over 14 years).”

This sounds like good news.

Don
16 January 2024
Wolf Management in North East Washington
 
When we first started looking at wolves and cattle in Stevens and Ferry counties one version of the question was simple: Why should we require cattle operators to lose calves to wolves reintroduced by Puget Sound wildlife advocates? The issue was sharpened by the refusal of the cattle operators to accept compensation for their economic loss because that would mean that they accepted the state’s policy of bringing the wolves back. On the other side, there were claims that cattle operators were deliberately pasturing their herds where they knew they would take losses.

There was mutual hostility between among the bureaucrats, the cattle operators, and the wolf advocates. No one trusted the other.

Where are we now? Has familiarity worn the edges off? Has the policy succeeded?

Just maybe. Just maybe wolf policy in the northern counties is good news. Julia Smith, presenting a Periodic Status Review last summer declared “Wolves are doing great…The species is gaining population.”

How about the people? How are they doing? Jay Shepard, our guest host, wrote in the Spokesman Review, “This part of the story – collaboration, work and stress – hasn’t made it out to the general public. It’s a story about hard work, tough conversations, and eventual trust and friendships. Not sensational but it’s a remarkable story that needs telling.”

He writes “we are working on potential paths forward, paths that include both cattle and wolves.”

This is a story not just about wolf recovery in the northern counties but also a story about the evolution of an issue. What Jay is reporting is a world apart from our initial conversations in Colville. The hostility of the ranchers then was on display, and easy to understand. Lack of trust in the WDFW wildlife managers was palatable. And, in language more familiar to us today, ranchers felt they were disrespected.

You do not hear quite the same language today in the northern counties. A prominent advocate for the ranchers now sits on WDFW’s Wolf Advisory Group.

Move to southeast Washington and you still do hear some the same rhetoric. You also continue to hear uncompromising language from some wildlife advocates (see box below).

Join Jay and Representative Joel Kretz (R-LD7) Thursday to hear the good news of wolf-cattle interaction and how the issue may have evolved in the northern counties. We can query, too, whether the rest of us need to catch up with their evolution.

Don
12 January 2024
A Long Story….with a Happy Ending

Back in 2018 I arrived at a September Democratic Central Committee meeting expecting a routine weekend.  Meeting in a corridor, a friend leans over and asks if I know about the resolution to remove the Lower Snake River dams. Of course, I did not. But the same thing had happened at the previous meeting in June, except then the dams were to be removed by December. Ken Caylor, chair of the resolutions committee, at that time had managed to table the resolution.

I reached out to Steve Verhey who knew the authors of the resolution. We talked about how devastating the resolution was to our struggling Democratic candidates and how we could get away from “gotcha” resolutions in the future. Steve thought he could table the resolution if I could commit to “accepting in principle” that the dams might be removed. I agreed, and Steve delivered. I was comfortable with the idea that the dam question would be settled by data and analysis.

Steve and I met later that spring in Mattawa at La Popular restaurant to hash out a plan of what would have to be done in advance if the dams were removed. At the time we thought navigation/barging was the most tractable element of the dam question. We were wrong.

The barging issue turned out to be the least tractable. The Ag and Rural Caucus went to work on how to replace the power the dams produced, studied the agricultural and recreation sides of the issue, and evaluated the claims that the dams were responsible for the failing salmon runs. Along the way, we developed the idea of ex ante mitigation to hedge the region’s bet on the dams.

We failed, though, to get anyone to talk to us about how to replace the barges. ARC punted on the barge issue until the Corps released its EIS on operation of the Columbia and Snake rivers.

The Corps report was impressive. It reported much of the data we had been seeking, couched in a pessimistic assessment of the effects of dam breaching on the price of moving Palouse wheat. One part of the picture was missing, however. There was no development of the fact that the State of Washington owns a patchwork of short line rail in the Palouse and the rail cars that go along with moving grain. WSDOT, likewise, showed no interest in investing in its owned asset to address possible loss of the barges. For WSDOT, it was business as usual, and slow business at that.

Maybe two years ago, I recall complaining to Senator Murray’s person in Spokane about the lack of serious analysis of WSDOT short line capability. I said, “No one is doing this analysis.”

Again, I was wrong. And this is the happy ending to this story. A couple of months later, Bill Moyer and Solutionary Rail, reached out to me with a fantastic set of slides documenting in detail the condition of the WSDOT short lines. I have forgotten how and why we got in touch.  I do not know, either, how a group of rail enthusiasts from Puget Sound have become so committed to making something work for us in eastern Washington.

What we will talk about Thursday is Solutionary Rail’s detailed plan of creating a Sprague to Pasco Short Line Access Corridor, building on WSDOT rail, that breaks the monopolies enjoyed by the mainlines and sets the stage for a full short line alternative for moving grain to a terminal at Pasco.

This story also comes around to the beginning. Ormand Hilderbrand and I were invited early last fall to join the Environment and Climate Caucus, chaired by Steve Verhey, to work with Lael White and Thomas While to develop a resolution supporting a rail alternative to barging on the Snake. This is the resolution for which I asked your advice last November. It is going to the Central Committee meeting at the end of January.

Don
2 January 2024

For a more accurate picture of what happened back in 2018, I link my Thinking the Unthinkable update I wrote at the time.

Our Better Practices roundtable is on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm.. Use the link above for 2024.

Our Policy Series is on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm. Use the link above for 2024


Copyright © 2024 Ag and Rural Caucus, All rights reserved.
Ag and Rural Caucus of State Democratic Central Committee
Our mailing address is:
Ag and Rural Caucus
2921 Mud Creek Rd
Waitsburg, WA 99361
28. December 2023 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus – December 2023 – Better Practices · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events

Ag and Rural Caucus for December Followup

Better Practices Followup
Immigration: How to talk about it

When Good Policy is Better Practice

We met Thursday to figure out how to talk about immigration in our red districts. It was a “Better Practices” session. What we came up with was, “let’s talk Policy.” We can agree with Republicans that our border policy needs repair. Maybe not just repair but a major overhaul. We can agree on that much.

We will not agree that migrants are criminals. We will not agree to any kind of replacement conspiracy. And we will not agree that immigrants are stealing jobs from good Americans.

We can leave those disagreements on the sidelines, for now. We can agree with our neighbors that we need to overhaul our immigration policy. Republicans for their part think they want to close the borders. We Democrats look ahead to climate refugees flooding north and know that we are not ready.

I say Republicans “think” they want to close the border. Pre-MAGA Republicans were ready to deal because they wanted workers. They understood our riposte that  “who is going to pay our social security” if we don’t import labor to stabilize our wage-earning population; they understood when we asked “who is going to harvest the food for our dinner table.”

For a policy overhaul we need at least a few Republicans who know their economic calculus. Business needs labor. Local public officials need tax revenue, and local retailers like costumers coming through the door.

Maybe we best should start small. Fund the immigration courts to do their job, for example…shorten the backlogs. If we need a counter offer, we can agree to hire (and train) more border security. More boldly, we can push to legalize DACA.. Maybe we could even provide a pathway to citizenship for the 10-11 million people working under the table and legalize their employment, to the mutual relief of employee and employer.

This may be wishful thinking. What may be the most we can hope for is to agree that our immigration policy needs to be fixed. We don’t have to affix blame for “a broken policy.” We can ask politely “what do you think we should do about it?” And then we can respond with stories, mixed with facts, about our own histories and those of our friends. Maybe we can move the dial.

Don
10 December 2023


Our Better Practices roundtable is on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm.. Use the link above for 2023.

Our Policy Series is on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm. Use the link above for 2023. 


Copyright © 2023 Ag and Rural Caucus, All rights reserved.
Ag and Rural Caucus of State Democratic Central Committee
Our mailing address is:
Ag and Rural Caucus
2921 Mud Creek Rd
Waitsburg, WA 99361
08. December 2023 · Comments Off on WSDCC Wrap-up December 8, 2023 · Categories: Committee News

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR

Hello Democrats and happy Friday!

Let me start by wishing a very happy second night of Hanukkah to all who celebrate! No matter how you spend the holiday season, I hope each of you will be able to enjoy positive, energizing time with the people who you care for most. And I can’t stress enough how important it is that we all relax and recharge heading into 2024! 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we need everyone fired up and ready to go come January. That’s because we’re going to make millions of substantive get out the vote contacts next year and ensure our candidates have what it takes to win! 

That means we will need volunteers, and lots of them!

If you haven’t already, I thoroughly encourage you to take the time to demonstrate your commitment to volunteering before the end of the year. That way, WA Dems organizers and your local party leaders will know you are on board as a top-level partner next year and we can work together for maximum GOTV success! 

You can sign up as a Party volunteer here – and I also highly recommend plugging in with your county and LD Democratic organizations – as they will be the most consistent source of on the ground volunteer opportunities.  

Thank you so much for standing with us as a critical member of our Democratic team. We are strongest when we stand together and we’re thrilled to have you on board!

Working for Washington

Thank you so much to the great folks at CityClub for inviting me to participate – and I look forward to partnering again in the future!

WA Dems Holiday Party – Please RSVP!

Can you believe our Holiday Party is coming up in just a few short days? If you haven’t already gotten your ticket, I encourage you to do so ASAP. We still have a good number of spots left, but it’s not impossible that we fill up, so please don’t miss your chance to RSVP! 

We have a terrific speaking bill – featuring AG Bob Ferguson, WA Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, Seattle City Councilmember and King County Councilmember-Elect Teresa Mosqueda, King County Councilmember-Elect Jorge Baron, and me – and we hope you’ll join us to get engaged, inspired, and ready to roll for 2024! 

WA Democrats Holiday Party
Tuesday, December 12th 
4:30pm Sponsor Reception | 5:30pm Main Event
1932 1st Ave, Seattle, WA
Tickets
$30 - General Admission | $55 - VIP (Main Event + Sponsor Reception)
Individual Sponsors
$100 - Grassroots Sponsor (1 VIP Ticket + Special Recognition)
$250 - Grassroots Champion (2 VIP Tickets + Special Recognition)
Organizational Sponsors
$500 | $1,000 | $2,500 | $5,000 | $10,000

RSVP Online Here

Please note that an earlier invitation incorrectly listed 12/7 as the date of this event – 

12/12 is the correct and official date of this event. 

We anticipate a terrific event with Democrats from across Washington State and inspiring addresses from some of our top Democratic leaders. 

Please address all questions and sponsorship inquiries to joebarden@wa-democrats.org

Thanks so much – we hope you will be able to join us!

DEMOCRATS IN THE NEWS

Inslee previews budget strategy to take down fentanyl

The governor’s budget adds over $50 million in new funding to take down opioids for the 2023–25 biennium.

Strickland appointed newest member of the New Democrat Coalition’s leadership team 

On Dec. 5, Rep. Marilyn Strickland and New Democrat Coalition Chair (NDC) Annie Kuster announced that Strickland will join the Coalition as a leadership member.

Biden administration to forgive $4.8 billion in student loan debt for 80,300 borrowers

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it would forgive an additional $4.8 billion in student loan debt, for 80,300 borrowers.

Keep in touch, stay engaged, and as always, thank you for all you do!

With gratitude,

Chair Shasti Conrad
Washington State Democratic Party

The work we do today wins elections tomorrow. If you’re ready to elect Democrats in every race and every place in Washington state, invest in our efforts and make a contribution now. 

Want to support our work year round? Join Blue Washington, our monthly giving program! It is the most effective way to help candidates, volunteers, organizers, activists, and staff because it gives us the certainty we need to scale up our program with confidence. Your monthly investment ensures we can defend our strong legislative majorities, flip key congressional seats from red to blue, and fight for progressive values. Help us lead the way to victories at all levels of government today!

Washington State Democrats
PO Box 4027
Seattle, WA 98194
United States
07. December 2023 · Comments Off on 8th LD Citizens Legislative Workshop December 7, 2023 · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events

A Citizen’s Legislative Workshop

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I would like to invite you to a Citizen’s Legislative Workshop on Dec. 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Richland Public Library, located at 955 Northgate Dr., Richland, WA.

Join me and Washington State 8th District Representatives Stephanie Barnard and April Connors to learn to how to navigate the legislative process.

I feel that empowering our community through active participation and engagement is the cornerstone of a thriving democracy. At the Dec. 7 legislative workshop, we will focus on breaking down barriers and opening pathways for every constituent in the 8th Legislative District to have their voice heard. Together, we can enhance our collective understanding, encourage meaningful involvement, and ensure that every vote is not just counted, but also counts towards shaping a brighter, more inclusive future for us all.

I look forward to seeing you Dec. 7.

Click here for more information on how to attend.

Sincerely,

Sen. Matt Boehnke
R-Kennewick

07. December 2023 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus – December 2023 · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events

Ag and Rural Caucus for December

December Schedule

Better Practices
6:30 pm Thursday 7 December
Immigration: How to talk about it

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81582823697?pwd=V1FaVlV3Ly8xTHFBTTZZM1VxblVjQT09

Policy Briefing
Merry Christmas: No program for December

Paste link into browser or click heading to go to meeting.

One more short note tomorrow. Thank you for your patience with the flood of updates.


Values: Who do we want to bring in?

(8) What kind of immigrant do we, as a country, want to admit? Emma Lazarus had an answer, engraved on the pedestal of the Statute of Liberty:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This is the moral argument. It contains an economic bent, as well. “Huddled masses yearning to breathe free” belies an energy, a drive to succeed that we might to choose to honor. Families leaving their homes and friends to endure the deprivations of travel to a foreign land with uncertainty of success, show an initiative that we have always thought of as peculiarly American. Immigrants arriving at the border may show precisely the qualities that we value. Maybe we will not see a significant economic payoff in this generation but the future value of today’s “huddled masses” may be precisely what we need.

The counter argument is that we should select for the current generation. We should not risk a future generation’s shortcomings and instead invest in today’s economic return. This argument says that we recruit the H1B-type immigrant. We should choose the well-educated aspirant who can make a contribution to our economy today.

Whatever your choice, or your mix of choices, we need to (1) invest in the administration of current policy, (2) devise a replacement policy that regularizes the status of people residing in this country and gives potential immigrants a realistic prospect of how their attempted entry will be handled, and (3) plan for the climate-induced movement of people that we will see across the world starting tomorrow.

Don
7 December 2023


H1B and H2A: Quite Different

(6) Two important classes of Washington’s foreign workers that do not show up in immigration numbers are H1B and H2A.

You are familiar with H2A workers. These are mostly short-term farm laborers. Numbers have increased to about 35,000. They arrive for specific employment and return after harvest. Most workers are from Mexico and the terms of their employment is strictly regulated.

H1B workers are high-skilled workers imported for three to six years. Microsoft and Amazon account for nearly a third of H1B workers in Washington. There are around 20,000 H1B workers in Washington, about the same order of magnitude as H2A workers.

Both H1B and H2A workers are legal. Curiously, for Washington State, most paper-less immigrants are skilled: “In Washington [and only in Washington], the industry with the largest number of undocumented immigrants is business services, made up of companies that provide professional, scientific and technical support to organizations operating in other industries.”


H1B workers are high-skilled workers imported for three to six years. Microsoft and Amazon account for nearly a third of H1B workers in Washington. There are around 20,000 H1B workers in Washington, about the same order of magnitude as H2A workers.

Both H1B and H2A workers are legal. Curiously, for Washington State, most paper-less immigrants are skilled: “In Washington [and only in Washington], the industry with the largest number of undocumented immigrants is business services, made up of companies that provide professional, scientific and technical support to organizations operating in other industries.”


It’s Complicated: Refugees and Asylees

(7) Start with definitions:

Refugees and asylees are individuals who are unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin or nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Refugees and asylees are eligible for protection in large part based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion…Once granted U.S. protection, refugees and asylees are authorized to work and may also qualify for assistance including cash, medical, housing, educational, and vocational services to facilitate their economic and social integration.

In the United States, the major difference between refugees and asylees is the location of the person at the time of application. Refugees are usually outside the United States when they are screened for resettlement, whereas asylum seekers submit their applications while physically present in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry.How many?: More than 1.3 million asylum applications were awaiting processing as of May.
Of these, approximately 750,000 were pending in immigration courts—comprising about 40 percent of all cases in the immigration court system—and 600,000 were with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Backlog? The average asylum case in immigration court takes more than 4.2 years to be completed.

Disposition? In fiscal year 2022, immigration judges decided 52,000 asylum cases; about 46% of people were granted asylum. The approval rate was closer to 39% for those who applied for asylum as a defense against deportation.

More definitionAffirmative vs. Defensive Asylum; USCIS v. Board of Immigration Appeal

An individual seeking entry with a visa or already present in the United States may decide to submit an asylum request through the affirmative process with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, if a foreign national has no lawful means of entering the country and asks for asylum or if they are apprehended as an unauthorized migrant and file an asylum request, the case is adjudicated in immigration court, as part of a defensive application. For both defensive and affirmative applications, the person is obligated to file for asylum within one year of entering the country.

During an affirmative asylum interview, an asylum officer will determine whether the applicant meets the definition of a refugee. An asylum application may be approved, denied, or sent to the courts for further review. If a claim is denied in immigration court, an applicant may appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals or, in some cases, the federal courts.RefugeesTakes about 18 to 24 months.

How many?: Maybe 60,000; A fraction of 1980 number.


Border out of Control? Maybe not, but Challenging

(4) Numbers arriving at the southern border under Biden are really high. Much higher than under Trump. So, Democrats are soft on immigration, right? Not so fast. Over all handling of the migrant load are roughly similar under Biden and Trump. Looking at the table below, Trump actually released a greater proportion of the migrants than has Biden.

So why the increase. You might blame Bidenomics: “most of the increase in illegal immigration can be blamed on the strength of the labor market rather than the administration’s tinkering with border enforcement policies.”

And tinkering under Biden there has been. Most of it has been to bring order to migrant processing at the border (CBP One to move migrants to ports of entry), and to tailor appropriate administrative response. Count TPS (Temporary Protected Status) and “parole” for work authorization on the plus side.

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/biden-two-years-immigration-record

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20most%20common,Cuba%20(3%20percent%20apiece)

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/joe-biden/biden-immigration-border-plan-voters-senate-negotiations-rcna125151

(5) Drugs and Crime: Drugs and crime thrive on the border but not from migrants.

PNAS, Comparing crime rates between undocumented immigrants, legal immigrants, and native-born US citizens in Texas

Cato Institute, Fentanyl Is Smuggled for U.S. Citizens By U.S. Citizens, Not Asylum Seekers

NPR, Who is sneaking fentanyl across the southern border? Hint: it’s not the migrants

ASU Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety. The Connection between illegal immigrants and crime

Don
5 December 2023


Better Practices

We are falling short – Can Immigrants help?

(3) We earlier generations of immigrants, what demographers call “native-born”, are not having enough babies. We are not keeping up. We are not alone. The Baltic countries including Russia and the east Asian nations (Japan, China, Korea) are all falling behind, sometimes dramatically.

This is an economic problem. We need populations to sustain economic growth, create jobs, and take care of us old people. (This is not the conventional wisdom we grew up with. Remember Paul Ehrlich and ZPG?)

The data below show the trend of declining natural increase and its offset by immigration since 2020.



Brookings reports that immigration is essential to “growth and vitality.”
https://www.brookings.edu/articles/new-census-projections-show-immigration-is-essential-to-the-growth-and-vitality-of-a-more-diverse-us-population/

Don
4 December 2023


Better Practices

We have met the immigrants…and they are us

(1) We are a nation of immigrants, with due respect to our neighbors who predate us by some 12,000  years.



(2) Where have we come from? Everywhere.

The large numbers of immigrants from Latin America and Asia in recent decades represent a sharp turnaround from the mid-1900s, when immigration largely came from Europe. In the 1960s, no single country accounted for more than 15 percent of the U.S. immigrant population, but Italians were the top origin group, making up 13 percent of the foreign born in 1960, followed by Germans and Canadians (about 10 percent each).

Immigrants from Mexico have been the most numerous since 1980, but the composition of new arrivals has changed since 2010. Now, immigrants are more likely to come from Asia, especially India and China. In fact, these two nations displaced Mexico as the top origin countries for new arrivals from 2013 to 2021, but amid the pandemic and related mobility restrictions Mexico has regained its position as the origin of most new arrivals.

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20most%20common,Cuba%20(3%20percent%20apiece).

Regions of Birth for Immigrants in the United States, 1960-Present

This bar chart displays the immigrant population in the United States, between 1960 and 2022, by region of birth. The chart demonstrates the major shift in origins—from mostly European to predominantly Latin American and Asian, and more recently African—that occurred as a result of significant changes in U.S. immigration and refugee laws, the growing U.S. economic and military presence in Asia and Latin America, and economic transformations and political instability in key sending countries.

For bar chart: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/regions-immigrant-birth-1960-present


Better Practices

Immigration – the other gun debate.

Immigration is much better than gun control for MAGA partisans. Immigration explains so much more: Immigrants commit violent assault and rape on city streets, one reason every homeowner needs a firearm. They smuggle fentanyl and kill our youth. They traffic children for sexual abuse. Immigrants are part of a conspiracy to replace white-faced Christians. Immigrants are taking jobs away from “Americans.” They are scofflaws. They hitchhike from Guatemala just to storm Texas and attack deputy sheriffs.

Thursday, 7 December, we are going so share ideas on how Democrats can talk about immigration. Bring your stories about conversations you have had with your neighbors. Share your tactics about how to redirect charges that Democrats favor open borders and favor immigrants – almost always brown-faced – over real Americans.

Facts and numbers do not usually score in silo debates. Even so, I will feed you some definitions and numbers about immigrants and immigration over the next several days to help our conversation.
Don
1 December 2023

Reminder
[CD 3: Let’s hear from a winner]
[CD 4: Different strategy for Eastern v Central Washington?]
[CD 5: This is us!]
[CD 1,2,6,7,8,9,10: My, there a lot of you -need advice]

Better Practices
Ann Marie Danimus is running for Congress in CD 5.
Meet her.
Hear her ideas.
Give her advice.
Learn her election plan.
Talk policy.
Share campaign stories.

Carmela Conroy, Spokane County chair, is also running in CD 5. Meet Carmela in the new year.

Don
31 October 2023


Our Better Practices roundtable is on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm.. Use the link above for 2023.

Our Policy Series is on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm. Use the link above for 2023. 


Copyright © 2023 Ag and Rural Caucus, All rights reserved.
Ag and Rural Caucus of State Democratic Central Committee
Our mailing address is:
Ag and Rural Caucus
2921 Mud Creek Rd
Waitsburg, WA 99361
01. December 2023 · Comments Off on WSDCC Wrap-up December 1, 2023 · Categories: Announcements, Committee News

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR

Hello Democrats and happy Friday!

I hope all of you were able to relax and recharge with the people who matter to you most during this past Thanksgiving week. I was very grateful to have some time to reflect on what has been an incredible year for me personally, and for our Party. Thank you to each and every one of you for believing in our work as Democrats, and the continued importance of supporting terrific candidates and helping ensure they have what it takes to win, lead, and build a better future for the people of Washington State.

As 2023 comes to a close, it is of critical importance that we all take time to remember what we are fighting for and why we choose to be Democrats every single day. We are the Party of democracy, the Party of choice, the Party of working people, the Party of equitable access to healthcare and education, the Party of environmental preservation, and so much more. 

I hope you will take some time this month to charge up your Democratic batteries – both by reaffirming your belief in our work, and getting some much needed rest. We all need to be ready to hit the ground running come January and we will be able to accomplish so much more together if we use the time we have now to take care of ourselves and make sure we’re bright eyed and raring to go next year! 

Thank you as always for all you do – we have a truly remarkable Democratic team statewide and I’m so glad you’re on board! 

WA Dems Holiday Party – Please RSVP!

Now that December is here, we wanted to follow-up about the WA Dems Holiday Party on 12/12. We are pleased to announce that Attorney General Bob Ferguson will be joining us as a featured speaker! 

WA Democrats Holiday Party
Tuesday, December 12th 
4:30pm Sponsor Reception | 5:30pm Main Event
1932 1st Ave, Seattle, WA
Tickets
$30 - General Admission | $55 - VIP (Main Event + Sponsor Reception)
Individual Sponsors
$100 - Grassroots Sponsor (1 VIP Ticket + Special Recognition)
$250 - Grassroots Champion (2 VIP Tickets + Special Recognition)
Organizational Sponsors
$500 | $1,000 | $2,500 | $5,000 | $10,000

RSVP Online Here

Please note that an earlier invitation incorrectly listed 12/7 as the date of this event – 

12/12 is the correct and official date of this event. 

We anticipate a terrific event with Democrats from across Washington State and inspiring addresses from some of our top Democratic leaders. 

Please address all questions and sponsorship inquiries to joebarden@wa-democrats.org

Thanks so much – we hope you will be able to join us!

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2024

Many folks have raised concerns about a recent poll from our friends at the Northwest Progressive Institute that shows Republican Dave Reichert slightly ahead of AG Bob Ferguson in a gubernatorial matchup. First of all I encourage everyone to take a look at the content of the poll and NPI’s analysis as there’s some great information there that is very helpful for understanding the current landscape and the environment we are heading into next year.  

Secondly, I want to encourage people to take this information with a boulder-sized grain of salt – but also to recognize that the race for WA Governor could be very competitive and we cannot take anything for granted heading into 2024. The single most important thing we can do to ensure we hold the Governor’s office is to show up and execute the critical GOTV work needed to get our candidate over the finish line.

This strategy has worked for the last 40 years, and there’s no reason it won’t work in 2024, but it counts on each and every one of us doing our part. Whether that’s door-knocking, donating, making phone calls, helping with voter registration and protection, or any number of other democracy-fueling activities – we all need to show up. That’s how we’ve won before, and it’s how we’ll win in 2024. 

DEMOCRATS IN THE NEWS

Democrats look to take momentum from Virginia win into 2024 statehouse fights

After Democratic wins in Virginia, both parties chart paths forward through legislative elections across the country in 2024.

Senators Murray, Collins, Baldwin Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Reauthorize Important Substance Use Disorder Prevention Programs for Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Murray negotiated and secured passage of bipartisan SUPPORT Act in 2018 as top Democrat on Senate HELP Committee; Bipartisan Promoting Maternal and Child Health Through Substance Use Prevention Act would reauthorize portion of legislation dealing with post- and prenatal health

DOT Launches New, Cantwell-Created Office to Prevent Costly Supply Chain Snafus

After pandemic-era freight congestion clogged NW ports, Cantwell wrote provision creating Multimodal Freight Office & secured its inclusion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Keep in touch, stay engaged, and as always, thank you for all you do!

With gratitude,

Chair Shasti Conrad
Washington State Democratic Party

The work we do today wins elections tomorrow. If you’re ready to elect Democrats in every race and every place in Washington state, invest in our efforts and make a contribution now. 

Want to support our work year round? Join Blue Washington, our monthly giving program! It is the most effective way to help candidates, volunteers, organizers, activists, and staff because it gives us the certainty we need to scale up our program with confidence. Your monthly investment ensures we can defend our strong legislative majorities, flip key congressional seats from red to blue, and fight for progressive values. Help us lead the way to victories at all levels of government today!

Washington State Democrats
PO Box 4027
Seattle, WA 98194
United States