MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
Hello again fellow Democrats!
I’ve just returned from an exciting week of travel across Eastern and Central Washington, with every day this week jam-packed full of meetings and meet-and-greets with our dedicated local party volunteers. I was so grateful for the warm welcome from our LPOs in the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Pullman, and Yakima – thank you to all who came to share their passion for staying engaged in this work and contributed their ideas for how we can boost rural organizing!
For the many of you who I couldn’t meet, here’s the message I gave all our Eastern Washington volunteers: I’m in this for the long haul. We might not flip every seat in this cycle, or even the next one, but I have the utmost confidence that our person-to-person organizing work is already laying the foundation for the long-term gains we need to compete in every single legislative district.
Look no further than the 3rd Congressional District for an example of how that dedication pays dividends when you might least expect it. After four years of taking the fight to Jaime Herrera-Beutler, our volunteers in Southwest Washington were ready to capitalize on the GOP’s disarray when election denier Joe Kent bested JHB in the primary. Their organizing work pushed Marie Gluesenkamp Perez to victory, and helped Democrats come within a razor’s edge of keeping control of the House of Representatives.
Now, we’ve got to double down on that neighbor-to-neighbor organizing work to protect all the gains we’ve made in the last six years and I couldn’t be more excited to be in this work with all of you!
WORKING FOR WASHINGTON
HUGE news out of Olympia this week: the assault weapons ban passed the Senate and is now headed to Gov. Inslee’s desk for his signature! I know that the time it takes to make progress on these tough issues can be depressing, so I want to take a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come on gun violence prevention since 2016.
Back then, Washington ranked #1 in the country for NRA spending. That’s right, the gun lobby spent more money here than anywhere else in the nation. That year, Republicans in the Senate blocked the passage of a bill to allow concerned family members to get an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) to temporarily remove guns from the possession of someone who they believed could be a threat to themselves or others.
Now, we’ve not only passed that law, but we’ve also mandated universal background checks, established training requirements and waiting periods for gun purchases, allowed victims of gun violence to hold firearm manufacturers accountable in court, and are on track to ban assault weapons altogether.
None of that could have happened without the organizing work we have done in the last six years to elect champions of public safety to the state legislature, so take a moment this morning to reflect on the progress you made possible.
A MOMENT OF HOPE
In Tennessee, Democrats have shown that we will not let the GOP strangle our democracy. Both of the state representatives who were expelled from the Tennessee state legislature have regained their seats after their local governments re-appointed them to their seats after the GOP’s unprecedented move to remove them from office. If you need an extra dose of hope with your morning coffee, take a minute to watch this speech from Rep. Justin Jones to take strength from his resolve to keep fighting for common sense gun laws.
DEMOCRATS IN THE NEWS
Rep. Justin Jones spoke to his constituents after getting re-appointed to the Tennessee House by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners. A reminder that local elections matter!
The Senate passed Rep. Drew Hansen’s Shield Law that protects people from other states seeking abortions or gender-affirming care from prosecution in their home state. As long as the Supreme Court continues to divide this country into red and blue states by rolling back personal freedoms like the right to an abortion, Washington Democrats will do our part to make sure anyone who seeks care here can do so safely.
While this might not have made front-page news, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this significant investment that Senator Cantwell secured to renovate the Columbia Basin Project’s West Canal. These kinds of investments in the necessary infrastructure for both farmers and our salmon populations are what Democrats deliver for our rural communities, and Senator Cantwell’s leadership made sure the communities I just returned from meeting with will get the millions of federal dollars they need to preserve our way of life.
Keep in touch, stay engaged, and as always, thank you for all you do!
Chair Shasti Conrad Washington State Democratic Party
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