<< Washington State Democratic Party

Notes from Unity Coalition Candidate Forum - January 8, 2006

TVW has audio/video here under "Campaigns and Elections" in 2006:

These are unofficial notes from the Forum in Renton on January 8th, 2006 taken by Barbara Whitt. Candidates: Jean Brooks, Bill Harrington, Mark Hintz, Dwight Pelz, Laura Ruderman.

My notes were very cryptic and I didn’t always get the names of the people asking the questions or their affiliation. If anyone else that went got the names, please feel free to put them in. Also, I had a great deal of trouble hearing Jean and Bill so didn’t get all of their answers.

These notes were meant to be my own personal notes so I was not diligent about getting everything everyone said – sometimes deliberately. If you can fill in the blanks, feel free to do so.

Edited and augmented by Anita Latch. Suggests you go watch the streaming video if you want the exact words of an answer.

Question 1 – It has been said that money is the mothers milk of politics. How will you fundraise and what is your experience?Edit

Jean – Build on the base, use the internet ala Howard Dean

Bill – couldn’t hear

Mark – Build on Paul’s work – He has instituted a practice of working the phones, “Dialing for Dollars" in Snohomish County and has averaged $1,000 per hour. Transfer the county knowledge to the state.

Dwight – He founded Washington Fair Share. He is close to the major fundraisers in the state, ie an “insider” and he has “historical allies”.

Laura – says she is quite confident in her fundraising abilities even though she is NOT an “insider”. Refered to the need to support Senator Cantwell during this campaign.

Question 2 - How will you build a stronger, more competitive party.Edit

Bill - he would give 10% of the proceeds to the counties. "Have more fun events." Would have a Chairs meeting between PCO training and the Crab Feed on Feb 20. Refered folks to his flyer.

Mark - the Legislative Districts have to do it on their own and that he would provide information instead of money.

Dwight – have a working understanding of each Legislative District. Visit every county in every year.

Laura – She has already visited every county. There has to be the right candidate at the right time. Need good communications. There seems to be a lack of communications and respect from the State Party.

Jean – couldn’t hear. Needed to fix her mike.

Question 3 was regarding the Democratic Party being like “herding cats”. What philosophy would be needed to bring them all togetherEdit

Mark – As the father of six children, he is used to “herding cats”. Make sure people are heard. Use staff to gather and disseminate information. He has led an organization with a large budget.

Dwight – Reiterated his 15 years experience as an elected state politician and 15 years as an organizer, having founded Washington Fair Share. Build the organization by building leadership.

Laura – She is a Microsoftie – hire the best people and empower them to do their jobs.

Jean – Refered to her time as Dean of Students as "herding educated cats."

Bill -

Question 4 was from the Native American Council – What about inclusion in the “Big Tent”?Edit

Dwight – The Party is making progress – there are many caucuses. Ask them what is their goal and strategy, then I will provide the resources. Need clarity of goals and an idea of what each caucus should do day to day and month to month.

Laura – Wants to sit down with the caucuses one on one and ask "where have you been historically and where do you want to develop?" Then provide training opportunities. Gave example of the Hispanic Caucus having attended DNC training for hispanic issues and wants to make simular opportunities available to all caucuses.

Jean – Move caucuses from individual movements to make partnerships – get them on the Eboard. Suggested that perhaps only elected state committee men and women should be allowed to hold office of as a state-wide caucus Chair. She was concerned about the lack of a presence on the coalition by the Young Democrats.

Bill – couldn’t hear. But apparently someone was working on their mikes.

Mark – Agrees with all the others (my comment – he does that a lot). Says they talk alot, they need to act. Gave example of a Snohomish school district which wanted hispanic teachers but could not find any to hire. He explained that the district has to cultivate people to become teachers, intimating that the party needs to support First Nations people in counties and LDs who can become the leaders we need.

Question 5 - Ag caucus - How will you move the Party forward in ’06 and ’08?Edit

Laura (DANG! I was apparently dazzled with her answer cause all I wrote was “Good answer as usual!”)Refered to the Grange and the Wheat Growers, who used to have Democrats in leadership and now have Republicans - so when the subject of endorsements comes up Republican candidates get endorsed. Need to find local candidates and then provide the money to support them.

Jean – She lived 12 years in Eastern WA. Go to the base and find out who to support. Start at the lower offices.

Bill – Raise goals for caucus attendance. Said that he will put the party behind a ballot initiative to move primary from September to June.

Mark – Strengthen our message and then support candidates. Build the Farm Team.

Dwight – Long range vision. Too far down the road – working at ’08 and ’12 and not at ’06.

Question 6 – Harvey Brooks from the Vet caucus (he’s a Black Vet) – How will you be supportive of Vets and the Military.Edit

Jean – We need to have a positive message and critique the Republicans. Listen and find out issues. A strong military needs a strong country.

Bill – Supports the “War on Terrorism” (my comments – you can’t have a WAR on an ACTIVITY!)

Mark – We believe in the troops even if we don’t believe in the pResident. (my spelling)

Dwight – We need to support ALL low income and disabled people.

Laura – We let the other party define us. The caucus needs to step up to the Republicans.

Question 7 Jeremy Sher from the Jewish caucus – How will you schedule meetings to maximize attendance?Edit

Bill – Schedule meeting two years out. Example was from the dog show world, where he has experience. "There are no easy answers."

Mark – Said that when he got home after the meeting in Ocean Shores where this was discussed he researched all the major and other religions so the Snohomish County Dems meetings would not conflict with anyone's observance of faith.

Dwight – Set annual meetings far into the future.

Laura – Good answers as usual. (sorry, but she is a compelling speaker and it’s easier to listen to her than to write, and then she gets LOTS of applause.)As a legislator she had to fight to be able to close session so she could attend Seder. She is sensitive to major conflicts. The party should not move locations once announced.

Jean – something about resolutions. "Respect" We have an annual schedule, we need to stick to it.

Question 8 - The Disability caucus – How will you involve disabled people?Edit

Mark – This is an outreach situation. If we don’t push for inclusion, no one will. Talked about his two daughters with mental health issues.

Dwight – Communicating with advocates. (he gave a long rambling dissertation that didn’t actually answer the question)Democrats care about their issues and believe thsat government makes lives better, Republicans don't care about the less fortunate.

Laura – Wants to actively include in Leadership position. We need to be proactive – including the website! The website should be available in Braille and a variety of other languages. We need to 1)Think productively about this, 2) Listen and 3)Act

Jean – Says she just needs to repeat everything she has already said. Said office staff of party should reflect inclusion.

Bill - ?? anecdote...

Question 9 – Anita Latch – President of the WA ST Stonewall Dems – The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community is considered one of the “divisive” agenda items used by the republican party to deny our party values. What do you believe is our party’s responsibility to the LGBT community and how will you manifest this responsibility in your work as a party leader?Edit

Dwight – This is a "no Brainer". It is a fundamental civil rights question and not open to discussion. He has never waivered. He supports the LGBT, etc. Believes in Civil Liberties for all, including marriage. Civil Rights. We can not build our party by compromising our core beliefs.

Laura – (Sorry, all I have written is WHOOOOO HOOOOO!!! Apparently she gave an excellent answer – lots of applause)She voted for the Anderson Murray Civil Rights Bill during her first term and party officals were aghast but she held firm -"This is what I believe in."

Jean – "Ditto". Agreed with previous answers on civil rights and equality.

Bill – agreed with rest. HB 1515 is reasonable.

Mark – agreed with rest. Inclusion builds unity.

Question 10 – Larry Kalb (Progressive Dems of WA) How will you insure that candidates respect our platform?Edit

Laura – Communications

Jean – (answer didn’t seem to go with the question)Be smart through the state.

Bill – Need to give LD's 10% of the funds raised in their area.


Dwight – Make every candidate read the Platform. Platform is a wonderful documant but is not a litmus test.

Question 11 – What is your vision where the party is going and how does the Black fit in?Edit

Jean – Represent ALL people. Make the caucuses more participatory. Listen.

Bill – Need a defined urban policy. Refered to girls who use sexuality to escape lifes challenges and young men with no hope.

Mark – This is an inclusive Party – meet with each caucus and find out what they need/want – key word being “INCLUDE”. Need to determine what the needs are, make a plan and follow through.

Dwight – A Party fighting for working/poor/middle class people. 1963 War on poverty is now a war on the poor. Encourage participation.

Laura – She has a vision of inclusion (Another excellent answer. She addressed the internal structure of the party. Activits need to know that their concerns are heard and addressed.

Question 12 – What about training for Ethnic and Racial Minorities.Edit

Bill – Thinks it is a Legislative issue. (??)Caucuses need to have staff support.

Mark – Snohomish County prepares ballots and website in English and Spanish. Party website needs to be in both. Unity. One big tent.

Dwight – Work with the caucuses – need to get specific. (He didn’t address all ethnics and languages – only the Spanish.)Said he had a long conversation with Frank Sanchez. The goal is to register voters, recruit candidates, have leadership in the party, translate the website and have training sensitivity.

Laura – Addressed need for All languages. What communities are feeling ignored? We have to do more, send caucuses to national level trainings. Attend to constitutent populations not just six weeks before an election.

Jean – Reflect diversity in hiring in Eastern WA as well as here. Mentioned Korean community in Pierce County.

Question 13 – Women's Caucus - What about diversity on the Eboard (4 women – 14 men)Edit

Mark – Outreach – Support

Dwight – He "isn't sure the state party chair needs to play a role here." There are enough women. Required gender balance from LDs. Three most important office holder are women.

Laura – Boy, my notes make no sense here at all. They say “Yippeee! Birthday is in Oct she either 29 facing 30 or 30 facing 31. Don’t remember how it tied into the question. Electing women is a good start.

Jean Sometimes women may be reluctant to get involved...

Bill - Outreach candidates, women on E-Board, (blah, blah, blah) accountable...

Question 14 - Gary Yakasuki – Asian Caucus – What about Affirmative Action? Especially in regards the Central Committee.Edit

Dwight – Charter revision every two years. There is a problem if the board does not reflect the ethnic diversity (in the state). A policy making body needs to reflect diversity of the state. (note to myself – What’s the “Central Committee”?

Laura – Make sure everyone is included. The more people feel included the less splintering there is. Need to reflect ethnic, geographic, gender orrientation in the state.

Jean – Warm & fuzzy bothers her, we need to have policies that promote diversity and make involvement meaningful.

Bill –

Mark – Changes are happening now. See the current meeting. Proactive.

Question 15 – Cathy Baily – Labor Caucus – She is a AFSME Union member. What is the role of Labor in the Party?Edit

Laura – Voted for collective bargaining for state workers while in the state legislature. Great answer that ended in “We need to be the Party that supports Labor!”

Jean – She has a long history of Union involvement. Labor is the reason she is involved with the party. We need to support labor, not criticize. We will loose more jobs in Washington State if the Democrats are not connected with labor.

Bill –

Mark – Labor is important

Dwight – Labor is the backbone of Democrats – we are the party of Laborers. The Unions like him.

Question 16 - Progressive Caucus - How will you support the platform?Edit

3 minute wrapupEdit

Jean – She has no health problems, she is a Breast Cancer survivor.

Bill – He talked about a 5 year old...need to give vision.

Mark – Mortgage broker in large offices. His activism started in 1996. Was Chair of 39th LD two terms and then redistricted into the 44th LD where he served as chair one term. Now he is the Chair of Snohomish County Dems. We need staff in critical areas 24/7, not just 5 months in a Presidential election year. Offices active all the time. Talked about openness of the Snohomish County E-Board.

Dwight – Sounded like a campaign speech. I was quickly bored. "Never in my lifetime or yours has it been more important to be a Democrat. Republicans rolled back the New Deal, eviserated homeowners, Social Security, Medicare, college loans. We have done good work, have much to do. Work with leaders to build party. Candidates need to take on the Republicans. He is ready to build the party, build the voterfile - which should be accessible to all Democrats.

Laura - It is each of our responsibilities to make the world a better place. We need to be an “ORGANIZED Political Party. We need to have a message that resonates with Eastern and Central and Rural Western Washington. She is running because we need to re-elect Cantwell. Needs to develop and deliver message which will resonate with those who share our values but think they should vote Republican. We need a strategic plan. 1) Organize 2) Message 3) Action

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