DEMOCRATIC EVENTS

1. NEW – Skagit Democrat stalwart and Letter to the Editor writer extraordinaire, Larry Edwards, was injured last Tuesday, Mar 21 in Florence, Italy.

Larry was hit by a motorcycle while vacationing with Pat in Florence. He suffered extensive injuries including multiple leg fractures, several broken ribs, and head trauma. Pat has reported he is making slow but steady progress. They have been treated well by the medical and civil establishment in Florence. Pat is getting help and support from friends and relatives who have made the trip to Florence. Pat has asked for our “prayers and healing vibes” as Larry fights to get well.

2. CORRECTION – We previously reported there would be a conference call hosted by Representative Jeff Morris this coming week. We have since learned that that report was in error. At present, there is no such conference call scheduled. We apologize for the error.

3. Political Gender Watch Tour 2017, Tuesday, Mar 28, 8:00am – 9:30am, McIntyre Hall Performing Arts and Conference Center, 2501 E College Way, Mt Vernon

Presented with Leadership Skagit the Women’s Funding Alliance, Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women and Politics, will join local, seasoned women in politics for a candid conversation on their experience in public office. Together, our panel of experts will break down the barriers and share the great benefits of bringing gender into politics. Tickets $10. Buy Tickets Here.

4. The next Indivisible Skagit Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Mar 30, 5:30pm to 7:00pm, Burlington Public Library, 820 E Washington Ave, Burlington

It’s going to be a great time!  Bring a friend!

5. NEW – Gala Information

The Gala fundraiser and auction is June 3rd. The Gala volunteer team is meeting bi-weekly to get the event ready for you. Here are some ways you can get involved right now:

  • Plan to help with the mailing at HQ beginning April 11th and ending on the 13th. It begins at 10 in the morning. Volunteers socialize and  work  until 3 or so in the afternoon. Some bring light snacks to share and the coffee never stops.
  • Donate something to Skagit Dems for the auction, live or silent. We need items for the auction. You may be surprised at what sells. So feel free to inquire, even about your “weird” stuff.
  • Buy a ticket and attend the event. It is a great evening with like minded folks.
  • Volunteer to help at the event for 30 minutes or so. It takes people at the event in various ways to keep things going smooth.

To volunteer for the mailing work party, to donate an item to the auction, buy tickets or pitch in at the event you can contact the staff at HQ  360-336-1555 and leave a message for the Gala team, send an email to staff@skagitdemocrats.org and/or attend the planning meetings.

The next Gala Team meeting is on Thursday, Apr 6, 1:00pm at Skagit Democrats Headquarters, 300A South First Street, Mount Vernon.

6. NEW – Skagit Democrat Women on the Rocks meets Monday, Apr 10 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm in the 13 Moons Conference Room at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge, 12885 Casino Drive, Anacortes

Their next meet-up is Monday, Apr 10 and gives like-minded women a chance to share conversation and enjoy their company over Happy Hour beverages and appetizers. All Democratic women are welcome.

7. NEW – Fidalgo Democrats meeting Tues., April 11th, 7:00 pm at Anacortes Public Library, 1220 10th Street, Anacortes

“The Hanford Nuclear Reservation Cleanup” will be the topic with Betty Carteret, retired Hanford engineer, and Scott Peterson speaking. A moderated period of questions and comments will follow.

The meeting is open to the public. Feel free to bring friends, family, and colleagues. Help yourself to coffee and homemade cookies. Please bring a non-perishable item for the food bank donation box. Questions? Call Corinne Salcedo, Chair, at 360-293-7114.

8. Please Sign the Petition to Oppose the Sale of PeaceHealth Labs at United General and St. Joseph Hospital

PeaceHealth, our not-for-profit community hospital, should not sell its labs to an out-of-town for-profit company to the detriment of patient care, community health, and good jobs. When we, the healthcare workers at PeaceHealth St. Joe’s, went on strike, you were there to help us. Now that we’re facing the sale of our labs, we need your help again. Sign the petition now stating your opposition to PeaceHealth selling our labs to Quest.

  • This sale will hurt patient care: The buyer, Quest, will not be providing the same level of care to our community and has already indicated that it will be shipping some samples out-of-state for analysis.  This means less care and slower care for our community and could mean issues with the quality of results.
  • This sale will hurt our community’s health: To protect our community, infectious diseases need to be quickly diagnosed in order to control their spread.  The reduction in our community’s capacity to analyze samples could have an impact on our ability to control infectious disease and promote community health.
  • This sale could mean some patients lose access: Because they’re part of PeaceHealth, our PeaceHealth labs are required to provide financial aid – sometimes known as “charity care” – for patients who can’t afford their lab work.  Under Quest ownership, the labs have no obligation to provide supports for low-income or uninsured patients and many in our community could lose access.
  • This sale will take away living wage, union jobs: Our PeaceHealth lab caregivers have living wage jobs that support their families and our community and they’re members of a union, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW.  The new for-profit Quest has refused to recognize the caregivers’ union and has not committed to hiring these experienced community caregivers.
  • This sale violates PeaceHealth’s mission: PeaceHealth has a mission to care for our community as a faith-based non-profit.  Its sale of the labs is in direct conflict with this mission.

Take action now to oppose the labs’ sale.  Sign the petition now. Together, we can send a message to PeaceHealth– it’s time for our hospital and labs to put community first!
Sincerely,  The healthcare workers of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW

9. UPDATEDPlanned Parenthood  of Skagit County expands rallies in response to Anti-Choice campaign

The anti-abortion people are out in force for the next few weeks. In response we are having our usual once a month rally every Saturday until Easter. We will be meeting on Saturday, Apr 1, 8, and 15 from 11:00AM to 12:00PM at 1805 Division Street (between 18th and La Venture) in Mount Vernon. Bring your own signs or I have some. Please try to wear something pink. Let’s show this great organization that we have their back and appreciate the quality healthcare that they bring to our community.

10. Please Consider Donating to the local farm worker union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ)!

Support the Northwest’s only indigenous led farm worker union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ)! This independent farmworker union is based in Skagit Valley with over 400 members who are excited to move justice forward in the fields through continued organizing.

For the last several years many people of all ages from all over the country have been supporting FUJ and have joined us with solidarity taking many forms, including time on consumer educational picket lines, educating friends and family about farm worker issues, and financially supporting the union! That solidarity has been indispensable to this historic movement!

As FUJ prepares for their first picking season under a union contract they are looking to set up their administrative office with a space for members to access needed union services. FUJ is working hard to raise $5,000 dollars to lease an office space before June 1st.

Familias Unidas’s historic union election victory this summer was a huge step forward for local farmworker organizing, and a major inspiration to all of us who are working to build a better world! Please donate today so they can become firmly rooted and continue to lead the movement forward for economic justice for farmworker families in Whatcom and Skagit Counties!

Click Here to donate.

11. Ready to Run: Bellingham! Saturday, Apr 1, 9:00am to 4:30pm, WECU Educational Center, 511 East Holly Street, Bellingham
Are you ready to run for office? Are you ready to help a community member run? You aren’t alone and many folks are making the decision to take action in this way. Whether you know it now or not, our democracy needs people like you, now more than ever, to move up and speak out.

Amplify brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in offering free training sessions for people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and young people who want to run for office. This is the first step for you to help shape a more reflective and equitable future. We know that running for office can be intimidating. That’s why we are here: to help, to assist, to support. So, sign up and join us for your first step in changing how our democracy works!

There are literally THOUSANDS of local offices up for election in 2017, and not all of them require intensive, expensive campaigns you hear about in the news. Your local hospital district, fire protection district, and even water-sewer boards are waiting for your leadership!

The training is free and we’re providing a light breakfast and a hearty lunch. We can’t wait to see you in Bellingham! RSVP Today! Host Contact Info: info@amplify.win

12. NEW – A message from Tina Podlodowski, Chair, Washington State Democrats

“It’s pretty simple. If we want to stop Donald Trump and his minions from destroying our democracy, then we need to get organized for effective action here at home in Washington State. Right now.

After all, it’s not their government. It’s our government, by and for the diverse individuals, families and communities that make up our state, and our country. Every day, I’m inspired by the millions of people marching across our land to defend our shared values. I’m inspired by the work of our democratic elected officials like Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson to fight the discriminatory and unconstitutional immigration ban. I’m inspired by our local fast food workers leading the charge on fair wages and benefits like sick days for all. I’m inspired by the hundreds of Washington women signing up to learn how to run for office for the very first time. But we need more. We have to turn our marches into a movement, and that movement needs to engage thousands and thousands of volunteers skilled in political actions and campaigns for change. We must empower people to become activists.

To train, support and consistently communicate with thousands of activists around our state takes a team of experienced organizers on the job 365 days of the year, 24/7, and the funds to support local actions and elections in every corner of our state. As a party, we don’t do that every single day. That has to change. And it’s why I am asking you to support our new grassroots fundraising effort that, well, supports Washington’s grassroots – The Resistance.

Every dollar raised by The Resistance will go directly into community organizers and community organizing across our state. From Sequim to Walla Walla, Bellingham to Vancouver, Ritzville to Sunnyside, our party needs to be present and active, connecting communities and winning elections. Activism is the energy that fuels our party, and by combining consistent, low-dollar grassroots funding support with empowering organizing, that’s exactly how we’ll make progressive change. By becoming a monthly donor to The Resistance, you’ll support these essential efforts across the state.  And you can be assured that every dollar we raise through monthly contributions will go directly to those efforts – because we’ll show you every month, with our Stories from The Resistance, so you can be educated and inspired too. Plus, we also have some pretty cool Resistance-wear, suitable for showing exactly where you stand, any place, any time.

Thank you so much for everything you already do to support the party. I wouldn’t be asking you for more now if we didn’t absolutely need it. There has never been a more important time for all of us to get involved and make sure the message of our Democratic values reaches as many ears as possible. We sincerely hope that every Democrat in the state of Washington will commit to supporting our movement, and we can’t accomplish that goal without you. Please consider signing up for a monthly donation and helping us make sure that we have people on the ground fighting to get great Democrats elected across our state.

Click here to join The Resistance and learn more about what our movement has already accomplished.

Thank you for all you do to make positive, progressive change in Washington State. And seriously, let’s dump Trump and his GOP followers who are trying to take away the Affordable Care Act and basic healthcare, refusing to fund Washington Schools, and pushing for tax breaks for millionaires, rather than a wage increase for the middle class. Let’s organize! Help us realize our shared vision of a stronger and unified Washington, and a nation where everyone is guaranteed an equal voice. Because that’s what the Constitution says. And every now and then the Constitution needs an assist from a group of determined citizens – please join us in The Resistance.

13. NEW – A message from 40th Legislative District Senator Kevin Ranker

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, lead Senate Democrat on budget negotiations, issued the following statement following passage of the Senate Republican’s operating budget proposal:

“After a marathon 18 hours of debate in a 36 hour period, Republicans passed a budget today that falls short of our values in Washington state despite Democrats’ best efforts to improve it.

The Republican plan passed tonight is a property tax plan impersonating a K12 education plan for our 1.1 million schoolchildren. This plan makes our unfair system worse, picking winners and losers from our communities. 71 school districts stand to lose $30.4 million, including Tacoma, Everett, Blaine, Concrete, and Ritzville. And other communities will see their local property tax increase including San Juan Island, Seattle, Mukilteo among many others.

We need to fully fund our children’s future, but we cannot balance it on the backs of our most vulnerable. The Republican budget is balanced by a $274 million cut to programs for our poorest, single moms and homeless. It is an $80 million cut to our mental health programs. And late last night in Ways & Means Committee, an amendment took a $1.7 million cut to family planning programs such as Planned Parenthood.

I believe we can do better than this, and we must. This is the time to care. This is the time, as elected officials, to make people’s lives better, to make our communities better, and to ensure all of the citizens of this great state have the opportunity for a better life. I look forward to negotiate a final budget that will reflect the values of our state, caring for the most vulnerable and fully funding an exceptional education system.”

14. NEW – This Week In Review – Saturday, Mar 18

This week had a big win with our defeat of TrumpCare, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do. Here’s what’s going on:

1. TrumpCare is Done – For Now
We had a huge victory on Friday afternoon – Donald Trump and Paul Ryan announced that they would be suspending their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with their terrible TrumpCare bill. The GOP refused to bring their own bill to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.

The, bizarrely, Trump began blaming Democrats for saving millions of people from losing their health care. “We had no Democrat support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren’t going to give us a single vote, so it’s a very very difficult thing to do,” Trump said. “I think the losers are (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi and (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer because now they own Obamacare. 100% own it.”

Democrats do “own it”! But this victory wasn’t just won on Friday alone – together, we managed to save health care for millions of people through week and weeks of work.

It’s “on us”: all the phone calls we made, the emails we sent, the town hall meetings and rallies we went to, it all played a major role in blocking this bill. Remember, we can block the Republicans from advancing their extreme conservative agenda when we all stand together.

We have no doubt that the Republicans have more bad ideas in store for us – the Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination is up next, then we must fight the re-permitting of the Dakota Access Pipeline – and it probably won’t be long until they’re trying to undermine health care and the Affordable Care Act again. But as long as we keep fighting, we can push back and make change happen.

Because of our people and our work, health care for millions of people has been saved. We’re doing the right thing. Thank you!

2. Senate Republican Budget Unveiled In Olympia
Our next focus will have to be in the Washington state legislature, where the Republicans who control the State Senate unveiled their budget proposal this past week.

Their proposal includes a wildly unfair tax plan – giving giant new tax breaks to corporations like Boeing, Walmart, and Comcast, at the same time as they would raise property taxes on seniors and working families by $5.5 billion statewide.

And their proposal makes giant cuts from critical services for Washingtonians. They’d eliminate early learning and pre-school for low-income three year olds, they’d cut homelessness prevention programs despite the homelessness crisis on our street and other assistance for needy families, and it would end the voter-approved I-732 cost-of-living raises for teachers.

Their budget would even raise tuition at our colleges and universities, and fails to fully fund schools as called for by the McCleary decision. Education is our paramount duty, and this budget fails students at every level.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

1. NEW – Community Group to Hold Meeting about Proposed New Gravel Mine, 6:30pm, Wednesday, Mar 29, Samish Elementary School, 23953 Prairie Road (junction of Prairie Road and Highway 9)

Central Samish Valley Neighbors are organizing this community meeting. The proposed gravel mine is situated near Prairie Road and Grip Road only a few hundred feet from the Samish River. The mine could eventually swallow up 500 acres of forest, forever changing the landscape and environment of this neighborhood. The purpose of the meeting is to update the community on the current situation and discuss the next steps to ensure the county pays attention to the public concerns during the mine permit process. Click Here for more information.

2. NEW – Open house celebrating Skagit Food Distribution Center volunteers, donors and community partners, 236 West Moore Street, Sedro-Woolley, 4:30pn to 6:00pm

3. NEW – The Skagit County Tulip Festival kicks off Saturday, Apr 1

Click Here for more information and events.

4. NEW – Woodfest 2017 will be held the first weekend in April on Saturday April 1 from 9:00am to 4:00pm and Sunday April 2, from 10:00am to 3:00pm at Sedro-Woolley High School, 1235 3rd St, Sedro-Woolley

Woodfest is an annual celebration of woodworking and student achievements. Marking the kick off of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and being a sanctioned event of the Tulip Festival, Woodfest is a wonderful beginning to many activities throughout Skagit County.  There will be vendors with an emphasis on wood products, a silent auction both days, and a hand crafted wooden raffle item.

Students from area schools will be exhibiting their wood art and it will be juried by local craftsmen and the public will have an opportunity to vote on their favorites.  The prizes will be awarded Sundayafternoon by the Tulip Ambassadors from the Skagit Tulip Festival at 2:30 pm.

5. NEW – Stand.earth, Sierra Club, and the Na’ah Illahee Fund are offering Organizing and Mobilization Training on Sunday Apr 2 and Apr 9, 11:00am – 5:00pm, Burlington Community Center, 1011 Greenleaf Avenue, Burlington

The training is offered to anyone who wants to join us in building a movement and inspiring action in Skagit county. The two days will include hands on training of key organizing skills like empowering leaders to fight back, mobilizing large groups to take collective action, and building relationships to sustain us in the movement. Lunch will be provided. Space is limited. Contact Alex Ramel of alex@stand.earth to RSVP.

6. Skagit Conservation District opens its annual Plant Sale
Click Here for the Winter Newsletter.

7. Peanut Butter Challenge

Please contribute to the Peanut Butter Challenge by bringing peanut butter to the Skagit County Democrats’ Headquarters by Friday, May 4 (open Monday through Thursday, Noon – 4:00pm). If possible, buy Jiff or Adams brand because they are made by Union workers. The Northwest Washington Central Labor Council is collecting peanut butter for the Whatcom and Skagit Food Banks in conjunction with the National Association of Letter Carrier’s Annual Food Drive, which is Saturday, May 13.

The statistics are shocking: One in six people in Skagit and Whatcom Counties must rely on food banks. Most have jobs but don’t earn enough to support themselves and their families. Peanut Butter is an excellent source of protein with a long shelf life. Together we can make a difference and help stamp out hunger!

8. Community Action’s ‘Have A Heart 5K’ fundraiser, Saturday, Apr 29, 8:15am – 11:00am, Edgewater Park, 600 Behrens Millet Road, Mount Vernon 

Community Action of Skagit County‘s annual “Have A Heart 5K” fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, Apr 29, beginning at Edgewater Park (600 Behrens Millet Road) in Mt. Vernon. All proceeds benefit Community Action programs, which offer many different services ranging from homeless prevention to nutrition support. Tickets available at haveaheartrun.org.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. Listen to We Do the Work, Tuesdays, 6:30 pm, at KSVR, 91.7; KSVU, 90.1; or KSJU, 91.9 FM
A weekly local worker radio program that features news, interviews, music, and comments, “We Do the Work” believes American workers are at the heart of our economy and culture, deserving dignity, respect, and a decent family wage. To hear our other shows, go to We Do The Work Archives. Questions about interviews? Email ksvrwedothework@gmail.com

NEW – We Do The Work’s program for Tuesday, Mar28, 6:30pm, 91.7 FM – Paul Hope, President of the Washington Education Association Fourth Corner, Part 1

Interview by Ken Winkes:  Paul discusses the current national politics and Washington State’s current legislative session on public education.

We Do The Work Comments:

  • There are many definitions of patriotism.
  • Leonard Kelley, Secretary-Treasurer of the Snohomish County Labor Council and Mayor of Stanwood, shares an event coming up for high school students to receive hands on experience in trade type work and other good jobs.

2. Listen to Speak Up! Speak Out! Radio

We are a half-hour weekly, locally-produced radio show committed to community, peace, justice, and non-violence issues. Topics and interviewees change weekly. Our shows are available anytime or subscribe to podcasts at http://www.speakupspeakoutradio.org/. Also find us at https://www.facebook.com/SpeakUpSpeakOutRadio/. Interested in getting SUSO e-News? Contact SUSOenews@gmail.com.
SUSO Radio airs at:
  • KSVR 91.7 FM, Mount Vernon, Wednesdays 5:00pm, rebroadcasts Sundays 8:00pm
  • KMRE 102.3 FM, Bellingham, Sundays 11:00am and Wednesdays 7:30am
  • KSVU 90.1 FM, Hamilton, Sundays 8:00pm and Thursdays 8:00am

Don Ambrose, Editor
Action Newsletter
news@skagitdemocrats.org

NOTE – Please send all Newsletter submissions to news@skagitdemocrats.org . I prefer to receive submissions by each Thursday but can accept them up to Saturday morning.