13. November 2022 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus Call to Meeting, June 2022 · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events

Ag and Rural Caucus Self-Call To Meeting, June 2022

Water Right Adjudication: Yakima and Nooksack
 06:30 PM 23 June, 2022 

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 813 7992 2162 
Passcode: 331894

Water Rights Adjudication: Theory, Yakima Experience, and the Nooksack Anticipation

Mary Verner, theory – Department of Ecology
Tom Ring, veteran of Yakima adjudication
William Clarke, anticipation, Whatcom County, Ag Water Board

“There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.”
Leonard Cohen

The Ag and Rural Caucus looks for the cracks. We look for the light. We try to go behind the headlines and easy snap phrases to learn how policy really works. And we try to find constructive solutions in the nuances. We try to understand the interests around the table and the details of the issue at hand. Using knowledge and sensitivity we try to lever open the cracks to make something work. Wolf-cattle management in Ferry and Stevens Counties, the Lower Snake River dams, and most water issues are examples of where we have fallen short, but we keep trying.

I am reminded of the Leonard Cohen lyric by a question that came up in our coordination meeting last week. One of our guests asked how we would respond to more technical information. I responded that, while in no way are we experts in water law, we would welcome the opportunity to learn. Had I been more alert I would have more vigorously welcomed insight into how professionals look for the cracks to drive solutions. Water rights adjudication is a rich example of looking for the cracks. In the case of the Yakima River Basin adjudication, it took forty years to find the cracks. Time – forty years – obviously is one way of resolving problems but it is expensive for both the public and water users. Can Ecology and water-rights advocates across the state learn from episode to episode to reduce the decision-making costs, or is each adjudication sui generis, unique?

We are using a “compare and contrast” format for Thursday’s meeting. Mary Verner heads up Ecology’s Water Resources Program, Bill Clarke is an attorney and lobbyist specializing in water and natural resources, and Tom Ring has been with the Yakama Nation’s Water Resource Program and is a veteran of Yakima Basin water issues.

Mary and Bill will have different takes on the adjudication enterprise for the Nooksack and Tom will provide balancing commentary to keep us moving.

This, at least, the plan. Join us. And invite your friends to come in. Please encourage anyone in your circles who might be interested. As always, our meeting are open to everyone.

20 June 2022

A Scarce Resource

How do you divvy up a scarce resource? Like water. There are laws, rules and regulations, and values. Values are ideas like there should be water for endangered salmon, or water to grow food for people, or that water is fundamental to life and should be conserved as a public resource. Then, of course, we have values like having a green lawn in August and a clean car whenever. Not all values are created equal.

Water rights adjudication is application of Washington State Law and Ecology rules. Where do values come in? Clearly, how we value water has changed in the last hundred years. The legislature keeps up with some of this change and adds RCW’s with revised instructions for Ecology. So, is water right adjudication just a mechanical application of law or is there room to grow to accommodate changing values? And by whose authority?

Please do join us on the 23rd. We will talk about water, naturally, but we will also be talking about the kind of society we choose for our grandchildren. We can talk about water as a metaphor for the political choices we make about our collective life. And we can talk about water as the fundament for jobs, families and communities, and not just east of the Cascade crest.

13 June 2022

Lost Your Title?

Ever settle a parent’s estate? Maybe not all the deeds and titles were filed quite where you thought. Maybe you ended up filing a lost title request with the Department of Licensing so you could sell Mom’s old Buick?

This is a little like a water adjudication. The Buick is from 2003 but the estate’s water right dates back to 1893. This is what keeps irrigators in Whatcom County up at night. They are in the very first stage of a comprehensive water right adjudication and farmers are wringing their hands about how to document their great-grandparents’ claim to use water for crops in the late summer when the rains give out. (I can see our friends in Othello shaking their heads worrying about short August rains but the Nooksack does not have Grand Coulee Dam upstream.)

On the 23rd we will take up water right adjudication. Mary Verner from Ecology with give us the theory of water right adjudication, Tom Ring from the Yakima Valley will talk about how the forty-year Yakima Basin process played out, and Bill Clarke from Whatcom County can share what the process looks like as it is just  beginning.

7 June 2022

Water Rights: The Fundamentals

 Let’s start at the beginning. Who has rights to use public waters and how did they get them? This is the business of water right adjudication. And the Department of Ecology, working for the state, is boss. Except that the state is a later comer to claiming jurisdiction, about a hundred years. And except that only the courts can really adjudicate water rights.

Confused? Aside from one-on-one adjudications, there has been only one general basin adjudication, the Yakima. It took forty years. It wrapped up in 2019.  It is known by its court title: Ecology v Acquella.

Next up is the Nooksack (WRIA-01). Are landowners in Whatcom County looking forward to forty years of litigation?


Copyright © 2022 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

Add us to your address book

20. September 2022 · Comments Off on Doug White Kickoff September 20, 2022 · Categories: Elections, Recent Events

Doug White has made it through the Primary and is moving on to the General! Please join us in Kennewick on Tuesday, September 20th at 6:00 PM to kick off this next stage of Doug’s Campaign for Congress. We would love to see you there! 

Doug is a fourth-generation Central Washington farmer, born and raised in Yakima. He is running because he was taught right from wrong and to live by the golden rule and like many of us he is angry at how our politicians have neglected Central Washington’s needs, such as water, immigration, and infrastructure.

Doug was victorious in the primary election and is now facing Dan Newhouse in the general election. It is critical that we come together and support Doug as we enter this next stage of the campaign. Doug’s general election campaign kickoff event in the Tri-Cities is a great opportunity to learn more about the campaign, hear from Doug on the issues, and meet with fellow supporters. I have attached the full invitation to this email. Here are the details on when to join and how to RSVP:

Join us for Doug White’s Campaign Kickoff in the Tri-Cities

Date: Tuesday, September 20th

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Location: Moonshot Brewing

Address: 8804 W Victoria Ave #140, Kennewick, WA 99336

RSVP by registering at this link or emailing Max@dougwhite4congress.us

If you can’t make in person but would like to learn more about Doug or support his campaign, you can join us for Doug’s Virtual General Election Campaign Kickoff on September 26th at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/s/86436923073

Doug White for Congress
PO Box 9674
Yakima, WA 98909
United States

Doug White is running to represent Washington’s 4th Congressional District in Congress. To support his campaign, make a one-time donation or sign on as a monthly recurring donor.

Email is the best way for our grassroots movement to stay in touch, but if you need to, you can unsubscribe here: (Unsubscribing is not supported in previews).

Do you want to help build the power we need to send Doug to Congress? Forward this email to a friend, neighbor or colleague and follow the campaign on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

18. September 2022 · Comments Off on Doug White Door Knocking September 18 · Categories: Elections, Recent Events

Door Knocking Yakima!
Sunday September 18th!
11 - 3pm
Rally point Yakima Dems Office
402 S 3rd St, Yakima, WA 98901 


  • Door knockers: 3 hours shifts or any other time limit you can. Meet at Rally point
  • Drivers: Pace cars to drive behind door knockers and make sure they are safe, have literature and water.

¡Se busca!

  • Tocadores de puerta: Turnos de 3 horas o cualquier otro límite de tiempo que puedas. Nos vemos en el punto de encuentro
  • Conductores: Conducen los coches detrás de los tocadores de puerta y se aseguran de que estén seguros, tengan literatura y agua.

We need volunteers! Phone banking, Texting, Canvassing, Letter writing and so much more. Join us now for Blue in ’22.


¡¡Necesitamos voluntarios! Llamadas telefónicas, mensajes de texto, campañas de publicidad, escribir cartas y mucho más. Únase a nosotros ahora para la democracia en ’22.

07. September 2022 · Comments Off on Fix Democracy First Happy Hour September 7, 2022 · Categories: Recent Events

Democracy Happy Hour, September 7 @ 5 pm PT:

Why Do We Need the Separation of Church & State?

Democracy Happy Hour September 7 @ 5 pm PT!

Grab a drink and come hear about the latest democracy news, ongoing efforts to fix democracy, and actions you can take at our weekly Democracy Happy Hour, Wednesdays @ 5 pm PT.

Topic for September 7, 2022:
Why Do We Need the Separation of Church & State?

Upcoming Topics in August:

  • Sept 14 – Minority Rule: How did we get here?
  • Sept 21 – Benefits & Types of Public Funding for Elections
  • Sept 28 – Next U.S. Supreme Court Session: What can we expect?


Please submit any questions to: cindy@fixdemocracyfirst.org.

18. August 2022 · Comments Off on Badger Club – It’s Not Easy Being Green · Categories: Recent Events


There is little doubt that the Earth’s climate is changing, and if you harbor any, you have not been paying attention to the weather recently. There is also little doubt that the principal causes of this change are human activities from the burning of fossil fuels to changes in land-use such as deforestation and the world-wide increase in large forest fires, all of which inject climate altering gases and particles into the air. The result of all of this, among other climatic changes, is the warming of the planet as more of the sun’s energy reaching the Earth’s atmosphere is absorbed by the atmosphere than is reflected or reradiated into space.

 Controlling climate change will require global action.

But global action starts with local action. Washington State government has chosen to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by requiring all future electric energy generation to be met through renewable resources, particularly wind and solar. The state’s climate strategy also requires electrification of nearly all economic activities: transportation, farming, construction, manufacturing, etc. This approach is a logical one for Washington as the state has one of the lowest “carbon footprints” in the country because of the past abundance of hydro-generated electricity in the region. But the region’s hydroelectric generation capacity is more likely to decrease than increase.

 Which brings us to the current proposal to build a combined wind and solar energy project in the Horse Heaven Hills south of the Tri-Cities. All energy-generation technologies have adverse environmental impacts – from manufacture to installation, operation, and decommissioning – in addition to their benefits. The point is whether these benefits outweigh the negative consequences. Our August 18 Badger Forum will examine the Horse Heaven Hills project from four different perspectives.

Register for BADGER FORUM: It’s Not Easy Being Green

COMING SEPTEMBER 15: The two candidates for Benton County Prosecuting Attorney, both Republicans, will square off in a Badger Forum. With the retirement of Andy Miller, this will be the first time in more than two decades that there will be no Democrat holding a Benton County office. Watch our Home Page for registration to open. 

18. August 2022 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus Call to Meeting, August 2022 · Categories: Announcements, Recent Events

Ag and Rural Caucus Call To Meeting, August 2022


Courtney Flatt: A Conversation
Thursday 1830 August 18, 2022 

Courtney Flatt
Northwest Public Broadcasting; Northwest News Network

Bring your ideas, imagination and good humor

Courtney will get us started Thursday evening but then it will be up to us to keep the conversation going. This is not our usual analysis-heavy event. Befitting a warm August evening, we plan for a wide-ranging conversation. Start with ideas for stories of important or neglected local issues and then move to more speculative ideas.

Joe Pakootas, a CD 5 candidate several cycles ago, talked about his tribal bias for thinking seven generations out when thinking about public policy. This is your chance to so indulge your imagination.

16 August 2022

Imagine our Futures

Put yourself in Courtney’s shoes for a moment. What do you think are the important issues for rural Washington? Then up the bar a notch or two and imagine what rural Washington will look like in twenty years – 2042. That is not so far off. What will our neighborhoods and economies look like and what will be our issues? And bring your thought experiment to our conversation with Courtney on the 18th.

4 August 2022


August is our spumoni month. Some of us are busy in wheat harvest and haying while others are taking vacation with the kids before the start of school; some of us are spending evenings and weekends knocking on doors for our candidates, and others of us are simply keeping our heads low and looking for a respite from the heat. No flavor is quite right for everyone.

So, join us on the 18th for a spumoni-type evening with Courtney Flatt of Northwest Public Broadcasting. Courtney covers “environmental, natural resources, and energy issues in the Northwest.” Sound familiar? We will sit down – via Zoom of course – and chat with Courtney about she sees as the emerging natural resource issues of our region. I am not asking Courtney to do a presentation so much as to stimulate a conversation. I hope for a wide-ranging conversation with your ideas melding with Courtney’s in a fun exchange…kind of a spumoni ice cream sort of evening.

Please put 18 August at 6:30 pm on your calendar.

31 July 2022

Join the conversation this Thursday evening.

15 July 2022

Copyright © 2022 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

Add us to your address book

18. August 2022 · Comments Off on Franklin County Call-to-Meeting August 2022 · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events

Endorsement questions

August General Business Meeting Details
Thursday, August 18
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Chiawana Park Shelter No. 1

Fellow Democrats,

Tthe primary behind us, which means it’s time to jump into getting our people elected.

Several items on this month’s agenda are toward that end. We’re talking about putting up signs for congressional candidate Doug White and 15th LD senatorial candidate Lindsey Keesling. We’re figuring out how to coordinate with other counties and LDs to put forward a concerted information campaign about what Dems have done this cycle to help our communities.

And we’re discussing a formalized candidate endorsement questionnaire that will let us hold our candidates accountable.

Our featured guest this month is Trinity Orosco, a judicial candidate for Franklin County District Court. As she’s a nonpartisan candidate, she’s not up for endorsement.

You can find the full agenda here. Please consider attending to talk about and vote on these important matters. We hope to see you there.

— Vice Chair Jake Dorsey, for Chair Ana Ruiz Kennedy

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 2621 Pasco WA 99302