Skagit County Democrats Action Newsletter for January 18, 2021

DEMOCRATIC EVENTS

1. NEWThe Skagit County Democrats Essay Contest winners were announced, award presentation To Be Determined
The contest theme was, “Why is it necessary for white people to talk about race?”. It was open to all High School students at all public and private high schools in Skagit County.

  • 1st Place – $750 – Zoe Roberson, Anacortes High School
  • 2nd Place – $500 – Sophia Greschiskin, Mount Vernon High School
  • 3rd Place – $250 – Kaylin Quatsoe, Burlington-Edison High School

Click Here to read the essays.

2. Inauguration Eve virtual reception, Tuesday, Jan 19, 6:00pm – 7:00pm sponsored by Washington State Democrats
The Washington State Democrats will be holding a virtual celebration to honor our new President and Vice President on “Inauguration Eve” – Tuesday, January 19th! Democratic superstar Jaime Harrison who was recently nominated as DNC Chair by President-Elect Biden will be a featured speaker. Please direct all questions to WA Democrats Development Coordinator Anjali Narula at anjali@wa-democrats.org.

Tuesday, January 19th
6:00pm to 7:00pm
Event Details Provided upon RSVP
Suggested donations – $50 | $100 | $250
Tickets can be purchased here: https://act.myngp.com/Forms/7084024134477285120
Or please RSVP here: https://act.myngp.com/Forms/7588427292742780672

3. The Skagit County Democrats conducted their Reorganization Meeting Jan 9
The following officers were elected:

  • Chair – Lynn Campbell
  • Vice Chair – Marco Morales
  • State Committee Man – Bennett Massey-Helber
  • State Committee Woman – Mayra Velazquez
  • County Commissioner District 1 Representative – Velit Seyfettin
  • County Commissioner District 2 Representative – Jim Byron
  • County Commissioner District 3 Representative – John Smith
  • 10th Legislative District Representative – Kurt Huber
  • 39th Legislative District Representative – Jeremy Harrison-Smith
  • 40th Legislative District Representative – Rita Sullivan
  • Secretary – Brenda Cunningham
  • Treasurer – Cindy Lane

4. The 40th Legislative District Democrats conducted their Reorganization Meeting Jan 10
The following officers were elected:

  • Chair – Spencer Lively
  • Whatcom County Vice Chair – Aimee Powell
  • Skagit County Vice Chair – Janet McKinney
  • San Juan County Vice Chair – Geri Turnoy
  • State Committee Woman – Laura Jo Severson
  • State Committee Man – Ralph Schwartz
  • Secretary – Suzanne Munson
  • Treasurer – Rosemary Ryan

5. The 39th Legislative District Democrats conducted their Reorganization Meeting Jan 3
The following officers were elected:

  • Chair – Jordan Sears
  • 1st Vice Chair – Jessica Corbman
  • 2nd Vice Chair – Ryiad Cooper
  • Secretary – Karen Dix-Colony
  • Treasurer – Eric Halvorson
  • Sergeant-At-Arms/Parliamentarian – Bill Phillips
  • State Committee Representative – Tiffany Kelly
  • State Committee Representative – Paul Kelly
  • Snohomish County Committee Representative – Brad Bowman
  • Snohomish County Committee Representative – Kayla Meduna
  • Skagit County Committee Representative – Jeremy Harrison-Smith

6. The 10th Legislative District Democrats conducted their Reorganization Meeting Dec 19
The following officers were elected:

  • Chair – John Amell (Island County)
  • 1st Vice Chair – Alida Booth (Snohomish County)
  • 2nd Vice Chair – Bennett Massey-Helber (Skagit County)
  • Treasurer – Cindy Lane
  • Secretary – Allison Warner
  • State Committee Member #1 – Mary Kanter (Island County)
  • State Committee Member #2 – Scott McMullen (Skagit County)

7. Fidalgo Democrats
Fidalgo Democrats has a new Chair – Barbara Cooper. Fidalgo Democrats is suspending the January meeting while continuing to reorganize.

8. Skagit Democrats Fundraisers

  • Political Collectibles for Purchase: These are the first of the political collectibles being offered for purchase. If you are interested in a listed item (or what else is available), please email staff (staff@skagitdemocrats.org); note the item of interest and include a phone number. Staff will contact you with information needed to proceed with the purchase (pay online or pay by cash or check at Headquarters at time of pick up by arrangement at the door). This is a fun project for staff. Provenance connected with some of the items has been very educational. Click Here for sample pictures.
  • Coronavirus Face Mask Fundraiser: For a donation of $20 you will receive a hand-made face mask especially designed by an engineer/industrial designer at the request of the Medical Director of Pediatrics at Mission Hospital in California. The masks provide full coverage and are comfortable. Click Here or Here to see examples of the masks. If you would like to donate, Click Here. Under purpose on the donation, please indicate “Mask” and indicate which fabric you would like: #1 first on the left, #2 the middle, #3 on the right (for example: “Mask #3”).
  • Greeting Card Fundraiser: Social distancing and staying safe makes it difficult for us to get out and look for cards to mark special occasions or just say hello. For a donation of $15.00 you will receive a box of 6 – 8 beautiful hand-made greeting cards. These are one-of-a-kind cards so no two boxes are the same and aren’t made to order. Let us choose your lovely card set. Pictured on the web site (Click Here or Here) are samples of the kinds of cards you will receive. If you would like to donate, Click Here. Under purpose on the donation, please indicate “Cards” and the number of boxes you want.

Thank you for your continued support of the Skagit Democrats.

9. UPDATEDThe Skagit County Democrats Headquarters, 300A South First Street, Mount Vernon, is CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC for the time being
As a temporary measure in response to recent events and pursuant to direction from the Executive Board, we have removed Executive Board and PCO names and addresses from our website and Facebook page. Please pay for membership on our website (Click Here) or you can mail your checks to our Post Office Box – Skagit County Democrats, PO Box 761, Mount Vernon, WA 98273-0761. Staff will continue to check voicemails and emails. They will get back to you and will continue to perform the essential work.

10. NEW“County Republican Party shares right-wing theories of Capitol violence”
The following is quoted from the Skagit Valley Herald, Wednesday, Jan 13, By BRANDON STONE
“In the wake of the insurrectionist riot Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, the Skagit County Republican Party website and Facebook page have been posting articles from right-wing media sites that point fingers at the left.

Some of the posts, from sources such as Gateway Pundit, Town Hall, We the Governed and Tea Party 247, blame left-wing “pretenders” for the violence at the Capitol rather than supporters of President Donald Trump.

Despite FBI statements to the contrary, county party Chairman Bill Bruch said he believes Antifa (left-wing, anti-fascist) sympathizers masqueraded as Trump supporters in order to instigate violence to distract from the process of verifying the electoral college that would have dealt with what he believes was “massive, massive, massive voter fraud,” based on these articles and on information he heard from people at the president’s rally before the attack on the Capitol.

In a Jan. 8 news conference, Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, said there was no indication that Antifa affiliates were involved, according to reporting from The Associated Press.

Bruch stood by the posts, most of which came from sites with a political focus rather than news coverage.

“Pretty much everything on the website is true,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

Of the more than 120 people facing criminal charges in connection to the storming of the Capitol, an AP investigation showed that many had posted to social media about the conspiracy that the election was stolen from Trump, and several threatened violence against officials not loyal to the president.

Every court attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election has been thrown out for lack of evidence. But Bruch said he believes the FBI, judges, Justice Department officials and Republican elected officials who did not side with the Trump campaign have ulterior motives and can’t be trusted.

He said he believes violence still may have happened without the interference of 30 to 50 Antifa sympathizers, but said Trump supporters got swept up in the moment. He said he doesn’t know exactly what happened and will likely know more in the coming months.

Bruch said he trusts the providers of the information outside of mainstream media because he believes those providers present a message that the majority of Republicans believe. He said he would consider changing his mind on these issues if a majority of the 74.2 million people who voted for Trump changed their minds, as well.

Prominent Republican elected officials from the county declined to condemn or endorse the posts.

State Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, said Republicans in his district, the 39th Legislative District, have a variety of opinions on this, and he didn’t want to perpetuate an intra-party fight.

He declined to say whether he believed the 2020 election was legitimate or if he believed Antifa sympathizers sparked the violence at the Capitol.

“I would leave the door open to people who believe either way,” he said.

However, he said he had “no reason to doubt” statements from the FBI that there is no evidence of an Antifa presence.

County Commissioner Ron Wesen strongly condemned the violence and destruction of federal property, but said he did not know who exactly was responsible. He said he supported the right to ask questions about who is responsible, saying the freedom to do so is an American principle.

“A lot of this will be clearer as time goes on,” he added.

Wesen said he acknowledges the validity of Joe Biden’s upcoming presidency, but said there is a possibility it was acquired through fraud. (* See Editor’s note below)

Bruch said he is disappointed in mainstream media organizations and Fox News for not defending Trump supporters in the wake of the violence at the Capitol and said he and other conservatives have had to go to these alternative outlets to find posts that they agree with.

“It’s hard to find the truth on TV,” he said. “A lot of us don’t watch it.”

The national and state GOP websites are not as far-reaching in their recent posts, and both offered statements of disapproval for what occurred at the Capitol without accusing anyone but Trump supporters of participation.

The national GOP site offered a statement on its homepage that condemned the violence and stated: “Our Founding Fathers established a nation of laws, not a nation of anarchy.”

The state GOP site had no reference to the Capitol mob on its homepage, but a one-paragraph statement from the state chairman on its news page stated: “Today’s events are unfathomable. I never thought I would see something like this in the greatest country in the history of the world. Violence, intimidation, and disruption of the business of the People’s House is wholly unacceptable, and it flies in the face of our nation’s foundational values.”

Bruch said he and the county GOP website administrators make the editorial decisions on which articles to post and are avoiding sources they feel are too right-wing.

“I’ve spoken with people who actually believe Trump is still going to be president after Jan. 20,” he said. “Maybe they just need hope right now.”

He said he hopes once Trump leaves office, people will be able to focus on election security issues.

* Editor’s note: A news release sent from the county commissioners’ office Wednesday afternoon contended this story “misconstrued” Wesen’s statements. However, he did not say what was in error, and while he spoke with the reporter before sending the news release, it was unclear what he believed was wrong. He did not return a phone message or email from the editor for clarification, and his comments in the press release do not represent a change in position from what was reported. The Skagit Valley Herald stands by its reporting of the initial interview with Wesen. But we offer these additional comments from Wesen here because the release said he felt compelled to make them:

“I condemn in the strongest terms the violence that took place in Washington, D.C. last week. The insurrection was shocking to witness. I also want to make clear that President-Elect Biden was elected in a free election. I look forward to President-Elect Biden’s inauguration next week.”

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon_SVH”

11. NEWA message from Skagit County Democrats Chair, Lynn Campbell
“As we all keep our eyes focused on the National news, (Inauguration Day can’t come soon enough), we are still working hard at the local level. In regards to threats of violence, the situation is being monitored very carefully throughout our state and our local police are working hard to ensure the safety of all our citizens.

We have exciting growth in our organization, and new committee chairs are working on their plans. We are already meeting new members who are talented people with some interesting and fresh ideas which will promote moving our party forward in new ways while honoring the tradition of all who have worked so hard throughout the years. It is exciting to see the growth already happening. Change can be a positive experience, if we can let go of our fear and open our hearts and try to embrace it.

After every Reorganization, we form new committees and invite broad participation. If you are interested in participating, please contact Asheley Gregorious at ash.gregorius@gmail.com. Ashley is our new Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. We are excited to have Ashley join our team. Information regarding committees can be found here.

We invite your participation so that we are representing all of our voices and concerns. Thank you for your continued support. Please feel free to contact us with any suggestions or concerns. Lynn”

12. NEWLinks of the Week
The Link of the Week provides in-depth pieces the Editor has found to be relevant, insightful, and thorough on important issues of the day.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

1. NEWEconomic Impact Payments by Debit Card
Be on the lookout for a Debit Card to be mailed to you that contains your Economic Impact Payment (i.e. your COVID-19 Stimulus payment recently approved by Congress). Many people (like me) looked at the mailing and thought something along the lines of “Oh, great, another unsolicited credit card.” or “Is this some sort of scam?” Be advised – it is neither. Click Here to see what the Economic Impact Payment Card (EIPC) will look like. Just like a newly issued credit card, the EIPC will need to be activated before it can be used, including setting a PIN (Personal Identification Number). The mailing includes instructions on how to activate the card. Click Here for instructions on how to use the card. Click Here for “Frequently Asked Questions” about the card. Click Here for information on what you can do if your stimulus debit card was lost or destroyed.

2. NEWCOVID Memorial – Presidential Inauguration Committee
“The Presidential Inauguration Committee will be hosting a memorial to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19 in cities and towns across the country on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. ET. A Washington, D.C. ceremony will feature a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. It will be the first-ever lighting around the Reflecting Pool to memorialize American lives lost. The PIC is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C. in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET in a national moment of unity and remembrance. You can get involved by:

  • Encouraging your elected officials to light up city buildings in the color AMBER
  • Asking your clergy or non-profit agencies to ring bells
  • Lighting a candle in your window on January 19 at 5:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. Pacific Time) to join in the countrywide moment of remembrance”

3. NEWThe Mount Vernon Downtown Association has been in contact with the City of Mount Vernon regarding the conduct of local demonstrations
Click Here regarding the current status of those discussions.

4. NEWThe League of Women Voters of Skagit County is offering presentations on Redistricting and the Planning Commission
“Washington League of Women Voters has made Redistricting a statewide League priority. First step in the process is helping citizens understand importance of this once in a decade opportunity to reshape our legislative district maps. Join us for one of our presentations of Redistricting 101 to learn why these maps matter!”

There is a short version of this presentation that will be offered this Monday at Skagit LWV A&A via Zoom weekly meeting. (Jan. 25 A&A meeting will discuss new Observer Corp: what it does, who can be an observer, and how findings are shared.)

  • Monday, Jan 18th 10:00-11:00 AM join us at this zoom link: Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting – Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting

Presenting the full content (one hour) is scheduled multiple times, in conjunction with our partners at LWV of Snohomish County — content is the same for each of the sessions below.   

  • Monday, Jan. 25: Observer Corp information: Amy Erie, Skagit LWV Chair What happens at the Planning Commission? The County Commission meetings? Learn what being an Observer means, how to participate and benefits to our community as this new group is organized for observing local government agencies. Zoom link works for all meetings. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72866957807

5. Skagit League of Women Voters (LWV) Action Group
“The newly formed Skagit LWV Action Group via Zoom meeting is open to League and non-league “citizen lobbyists” statewide who want to learn more about legislative issues as they voice their opinions to WA state legislators. The group meets each Monday, 10 – 11 am via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72866957807, Meeting ID 728 6695 7807, and offers training/education/issue focused discussions on 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th Mondays. (Fourth Monday reserved for Observer Corp). The LWV is non-partisan, with dual missions of Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy. Use this link to find League Position and Issue Papers on a topic of interest to you.

Please invite anyone who has an interest to join us! For questions, contact Carol Sullivan, Skagit LWV Action Group chair at carolosully@yahoo.com.”

6. NEWSkagit Eagle Festival 2021 has been canceled
Usually running the entire month of January each year, this year’s festival has been largely canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Click Here for more information.

7. UPDATEDSkagit County Public Health is no longer considering civil penalties for public health violations
Click Here for more information.

8. NEW‘No More Bombs’ invites you to a conversation with local author Betsy Bell, “To Russia With Love”, Wednesday, Feb 17, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
“It is 1983, and the anti-war movement Target Seattle is preparing for a trip to Tashkent, Seattle’s Sister City…” Betsy Bell’s anti-war memoir, Open Borders: A personal story of love, loss and anti-war activism, recounts her efforts, along with many others, to end the Cold War nuclear weapon build up. Visit the ‘No More Bombs’ website for the Zoom link on February 16.

9. Drive-through COVID-19 testing is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:00am TO 4:00pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00pm – 7:00pm, Skagit County Fairgrounds, South Gate Entrance, 501 Taylor Street, Mount Vernon
Use of the Drive-Thru testing site will be limited to those who live in or work in Skagit County. Those who do not live in or work in Skagit County should seek testing in their own communities or through their medical provider. If you have had a known or probable exposure to COVID-19, you cannot get tested right away. You must wait 8 days before being tested. COVID-19 has a relatively long incubation period, so being tested before 8 days has passed could result in a false negative. If you have questions about this, or any other questions related to COVID-19, please call Public Health at 360-416-1500. Skagit County Public Health is encouraging anyone who fits into the following guidelines to get tested:

  • Those who are essential workers
  • Anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Anyone whose physician recommended they be tested
  • Anyone who lives or works in a congregate setting
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone who is a close contact or has a known exposure to COVID-19

Click Here for more information.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. Listen to We Do the Work, Tuesdays, 5:00pm, and Sundays, 5:30pm at KSVR, 91.7 FM or KSVU, 90.1 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, Jan 19, 5:00pm and Sunday, Jan 24, 5:30 – Conor Casey, Labor Archivist at the Labor Archives of Washington, Part 2
Interview by Mike Dumovich: Conor describes Anna Louise Strong, a 20th-century American journalist, activist, and supporter of the labor movement. For more information, go to http://lib.washington.edu/specialcollections/laws.

We Do The Work Comments:

  • Some thoughts concerning what this year will bring.
  • Bits and pieces are given regarding judges, Tyson Chicken, Trump, Walmart, and bankruptcy.
  • Gary Kanter sings Don’t Mourn, Organize at Couth Buzzard, Seattle, WA. Original song was released by Smithsonian Folkways and titled ‘Songs of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill.’
  • #LaborRadioPod

2. Listen to Speak Up! Speak Out! Radio
Listen to Speak Up! Speak Out! – a half hour weekly radio show committed to community, peace, justice, and non-violence issues. The show airs on Community Radio stations (times subject to change) – KSVR 91.7 FM (Skagit Valley College), Wednesdays 5:00pm, rebroadcast Sundays 8:00pm; KSVU 90.1 FM, Hamilton, Sundays 8:00pm and Thursdays 8:00am; KMRE 102.3 FM, Bellingham, Sundays 11:00am and Wednesdays 7:30am. Our shows are available online. Stream or download a show at http://speakupspeakoutradio.org/ anytime.

NEW – Part 2 of remembering Ginny Wolff and her many contributions to our community. Due to a 28-hour power outage, we were unable to post the show to air last week on remembrances of Ginny. That show should air this week.
We are still accepting remembrances, preferably in audio format and sent via Google Drive to Dave McConnell – drmcc@gmail.com.

3. Coffee ‘n Cards – on hiatus