Skagit County Democrats Action Newsletter for September 20, 2021

DEMOCRATIC EVENTS

1. NEWIn Memoriam – Warren Keuffel
From Skagit County Democrats Chair, Lynn Campbell
“It is with a very heavy heart that I want to share that Warren Keuffel passed away in his sleep on Sept 5. Warren joined our CommTech team less than a year ago. Warren accomplished so much in the short time he was with us. Warren did extensive research and helped find and set up our membership and donor software program, Bloomerang. Warren worked diligently and was passionate about helping Skagit County Democrats grow, become more organized and efficient. Warren assisted us with Zoom anytime we asked for help. If a committee needed help with Zoom, he assisted.

He was a huge help with credentialing during our endorsement meeting, and was always eager and willing to help in any way he could. Brenda Cunningham and Warren worked very closely together on the Bloomerang program, and it has exceeded our expectations.

I was keenly aware of his absence during our meeting Sat. SEPT 11. He always attended, and assisted wherever he could. Ashley Gregorious helped recruit Warren when he first became a member, and the entire CommTech worked very closely with him. There are so many people within our party who developed a relationship with Warren. He left very big shoes to fill.

As Chair, Warren presented very real questions and assisted wherever he could with solutions. Warren was always upbeat, positive, and was a valued member if Commtech and Skagit County Democrats. Once I receive more information, I will share with you all. I am deeply saddened for his family. Also, please remember to reach out with kindness and love to one another. In solidarity, Lynn”

2. NEWSkagit County Republicans’ “Election Integrity Audit” is NOT supported by Skagit County government
The following is taken from a news release from the Skagit County Auditor’s Office: “Skagit County has received multiple reports from community members that individuals have been going door to door throughout the community asking for personal information related to voting eligibility. Most of these individuals are believed to be affiliated with an ongoing Skagit Voter Integrity Project. [conducted by the Skagit County Republicans] County government, including the Skagit County Auditor, are not involved with this project. Skagit County Elections staff will never come to your home.Click Here for the full press release.

3. NEW10th Legislative District Representative Dave Paul will conduct a Virtual Chat, Tuesday, Sep 21, 5:30pm – 6:15pm, via Zoom
Click Here to register.

4. UPDATEDThe Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual candidate forum for the 5 contested seats for Mount Vernon City Council Wednesday Sep 22, 1:30am – 1:00pm via Zoom
Click Here for more information. Click Here to register.

5. NEWThe 40th Legislative District Democrats Executive Board meets Thursday, Sep 23, 5:00pm – 7:00pm, via Zoom
Click Here for the connection link.

6. UPDATEDThe 39th Legislative District Democrats General Membership meets Sunday, Sep 26, 10:30am, via Zoom
Click Here to register for this meeting.

7. NEWVirtual House Party hosted by Velit Seyfettin for Ashley Gregorious, Candidate for 10th Legislative District Representative, Position 1, Wednesday, Sep 28, 6:00pm – 6:45pm, via Zoom
Click Here to register. Zoom information will be provided with RSVP/donation.

8. NEWTax Town Halls: Northwest Region, Wednesday, Oct 6, 2:30pm OR 6:30pm, online
“The Tax Structure Work Group wants to hear from you to understand your priorities when it comes to taxes. The Tax Structure Work Group invites individual taxpayers and business owners to share their opinions about the state tax structure during a virtual Tax Town Hall for your region . . .

9. UPDATEDThe GOTV (Get Out the Vote) Card Project
“GOTV Postcard campaign ends in three weeks, and your help is needed now!

Can you write 20 GOTV postcards to encourage Skagit Democrats to VOTE in this local General Election? These elections decide who will be making decisions for our city councils, hospital commissions, school boards and more – and they have a great impact on our community.

To order cards, send an email to carolosully@yahoo.com with your name, number of cards and which location (Mount Vernon or Anacortes) you prefer. OR stop by the new Skagit Democrat Headquarters at 2021 College Way, Suite 104, Mount Vernon, during office hours and the volunteer will fill your packet on the spot!

All cards are to be returned to the pickup location by Thursday, Oct 7 (in zip code bundles would be great) for bulk mailing. Everyone, Every Time ~ VOTE!”

10. NEWNew Headquarters Staffing Schedule
We are slowly working on returning our new headquarters to regular hours. WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS! Shifts are in two-hour blocks. Please email staff@skagitdemocrats.org to let us know your interest and availability. OR you can simply click on and fill out this form and we will contact you and set you up with everything you need. For those concerned about COVID safety, please note that the office is not open to the public at this time, and masks are required whenever more than one person is present. Staffing hours for this week are:

  • Monday – 12:00pm – 2:00PM
  • Tuesday – 4:45pm – 6:00pm
  • Wednesday – 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Thursday – 4:00pm – 6:00pm

11. Skagit County Democrats Volunteer Opportunities

  • Are you willing to help us staff our new Headquarters Office? – Office staff volunteers: Help staff our open office hours each week. Projects for downtime will be provided! (See above for contact information.)
  • Are you a policy wonk and are actively tracking bills? Please be part of a new committee – the Legislative Committee. Contact chair@skagitdemocrats.org.
  • Are you technically oriented? The Communications and Technology Team is seeking volunteers to help with Zoom management for meetings. Please contact commtech@skagitdemocrats.org.

12. UPDATEDRedistricting News
The following was taken from Friday News & Action with Tina Podlodowski of Aug 20
“Now that the final census data has been released for our state’s redistricting process, the bipartisan Redistricting Commission has released their planned schedule for major dates to track in the rest of the process:

  • Currently – DrawYourWA mapping tool (The mapping contractor has updated the MyDistricting mapping tool with 2020 Census geographies and 2020 Census population and demographic data adjusted for the relocation of individuals in state custody to their previous known addresses per RCW 44.05.140.)
  • Tuesday, September 21 – Commissioners will each release their proposed state legislative district map.
  • Tuesday, September 28 – Commissioners will each release their proposed congressional district map.
  • Tuesday, October 5 (7 p.m.) – Statewide Virtual Public Outreach Meeting to receive feedback on state legislative map proposals.
  • Saturday, October 9 (10 a.m.) – Statewide Virtual Public Outreach Meeting to receive feedback on congressional map proposals.
  • Friday, October 22 – Deadline to ensure full consideration of third-party map submissions by the Commission.
  • Monday, November 15 – Deadline for Commission to submit final maps to the Legislature.

. . . If you want to learn more about immediate steps for getting involved, our state party’s Redistricting Committee hosted a great webinar training on how to use the Draw Your WA tool along with third-party mapping software like the free Dave’s Redistricting tool. We encourage folks who want to get involved and learn more about redistricting and their communities to watch the webinar here.”

2021 Skagit County Redistricting – In Skagit County information on the redistricting of County Commissioner Districts can be found HERE.

“Two [more] public meetings and one public hearing are scheduled for redistricting:

  • September 27, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (public meeting)
  • October 25, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (public meeting)
  • November 22, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (public hearing for a final redistricting plan)

Meetings this fall will be held either in a hybrid format or fully virtually, depending on best Public Health guidance at the time. If you have questions or need additional information, please visit https://www.publicinput.com/skagitcountyredistricting. You can also email redistricting@co.skagit.wa.us or call 360-416-1700 for more information.”

13. Important dates for upcoming election season
The following is from the Skagit County Auditor’s Office:

November 2, General Election

  • TBD – Official Logic & Accuracy test
  • October 13 – Domestic ballots mailed
  • October 25 – Deadline to register or update existing registration online and by mail
  • November 2 – Deadline for in-person registration and voter updates – Closes 8:00 PM
  • November 2 – 2021 General Election Day – Closes 8:00 PM
  • November 16 – Canvassing Board Meeting – 1:30 PM*
  • November 23 – General Election Certification – 1:30 PM*

*Times may change if a scheduling conflict arises. Changes will be posted on the Auditor’s web site.

All Logic & Accuracy Tests, Canvassing Board, and Certification Meetings are held at: Skagit County Elections Department, Skagit County Auditor’s Office, 700 South 2nd Street, Room 201, Mount Vernon, WA 98273.

14. Skagit County Democrats 2021 Endorsements
The membership has endorsed the following candidates running for office or a board position this year.  

  • Anacortes
    • Ryan Walters
      • Position Sought: Mayor, City of Anacortes
      • Campaign name: Committee to Elect Ryan Walters
      • Campaign E-mail address and phone number: campaign@ryanwalters.com; (360) 610-7770
      • Campaign website: https://www.ryanwalters.com/
      • Campaign mailing address: 1803 10th Street, Anacortes WA 98221
    • Amanda Hubik
      • Position sought: Anacortes City Council, Position 4 (At-Large)
      • Campaign name: Friends of Amanda Hubik  
      • Campaign E-mail address and phone number: Amanda4Anacortes@gmail.com; 360-499-3856
      • Campaign website: https://www.amandahubik.com/
      • Campaign mailing address: PO Box 3014, Anacortes WA 98221
    • Sara Holahan
      • Position Sought: Anacortes City Council, At-Large Pos. 5
      • Campaign name: Citizens for Sara
      • Campaign E-mail address: sara@saraholahan.com
      • Campaign website: http://saraholahan.com/
      • Campaign mailing address: PO Box 1702 Anacortes, WA 98221
  • Burlington
    • Tonya Bieche
      • Position Sought: Burlington-Edison School District 100, Director District 2
      • Campaign name: Tonya Bieche
      • Campaign E-mail address and phone number: biechebieche@gmail.com; (360)757-1020
  • Mount Vernon
    • Iris Carias
    • Juan Morales
      • Position Sought: Mount Vernon City Council, Ward 1, Pos. 1
      • Campaign name: Juan Morales
      • Campaign E-mail address: morales2021.citycouncil@gmail.com
      • Campaign mailing address: PO BOX 2261, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
    • Richard Brocksmith
      • Position Sought: Mount Vernon City Council, At-Large Position
      • Campaign name: People for Richard Brocksmith
      • Campaign E-mail address and phone number: electrbrocksmith@gmail.com; 360-826-2094
      • Campaign website: https://www.richardbrocksmith.com/
      • Campaign mailing address: PO Box 372 Mount Vernon WA 98273
    • Melissa Beaton
      • Position Sought: Mount Vernon City Council, Ward 3, Position 2
      • Campaign name: Re-Elect Melissa Beaton to Mount Vernon City Council
      • Campaign email and phone number: melissabeaton@comcast.net; (360)630-7070
    • Chris Sadler
  • Sedro Woolley
    • David Baer
    • Joseph Burns
    • Enrique Lopez Cisneros
      • Position Sought: Sedro Woolley School District 101, Director Dist.1
      • Campaign name: Enrique Lopez Cisneros
      • Campaign E-mail address and phone number: sedrounited@gmail.com

15. NEWChair’s Corner
This week we have an essay written by Judy Farrar on “The Importance of voting”
“The right to vote is the foundation of democracy. Although most people today take their ability to vote for granted, it certainly has not always been this way. When our country was founded, in most areas of the country only white men who owned property were allowed to vote. There is a long history of struggle for various groups to achieve the right to vote. People have had to fight long and hard to be counted as equal citizens. It has taken four amendments to the Constitution to achieve voting rights for the vast majority of Americans. Today the right to vote is again under attack by those who do not believe in democratic ideals.

Unfortunately, many Americans are apathetic about voting. People say things like, “All politicians are corrupt,” or “the parties are basically the same” or “it doesn’t matter if I vote or not.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Think of the things that have been accomplished by people who haven’t been afraid to struggle on behalf of the common good. We have labor laws that establish safe working conditions, 40-hour work weeks, minimum wages and much more. We have roads, bridges and interstate freeways. We have electricity for all of the country, clean water standards, food safety regulations. We have public schools, libraries and parks. We have Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. All of these things have been accomplished because people organized, expressed their views and voted for politicians who worked on their behalf. It’s easy to think that things have always been this way, but the reality is that people who cared had to fight for these things to happen. While much needs to be accomplished, we need to remember and appreciate those whose work before us has improved our lives dramatically.

People often ignore the importance of voting in local elections. This is a mistake because what happens on the local level is even more likely to influence our lives. The decisions that are made by county commissioners, city councilmen/women and school boards directly affect the lives of their constituents.

Most people have busy lives and may have a hard time knowing who and what to vote for. It helps to keep up with local issues by subscribing to the local newspaper. There is information about candidates and proposals in the Voter Pamphlet that comes in the mail. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan group that you can look to for helpful information. Their website in Skagit is https://skagitlwv.org/. You can also look for endorsements from your local Democratic or Republican headquarters.

It is important that we all take the time to inform ourselves and participate in our democracy. Democracy is hard to win but easy to lose. It’s up to all of us!”

16. NEWLinks of the Week
The Links of the Week provide in-depth pieces and resources the Editor has found to be relevant, insightful, and thorough on important issues of the day.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

1. All the Schools have now started
Be on the lookout for the youngsters. WATCH OUT FOR KIDS ON THE ROADS!!!

2. The Statewide Poverty Action Network will be conducting a listening session for Mount Vernon, Thursday, Sep 23, 4:00pm – 6:30pm, via Zoom
Click Here to register. “Statewide Poverty Action Network is a grassroots legislative advocacy organization that works to improve our state’s safety net programs that are essential to Washingtonian’s financial security. We are conducting Listening Sessions throughout the state to hear from poor and working-class people about their everyday struggles and what statewide policies would create positive impacts for them.”

3. Skagit Superior Court starts Eviction Resolution Pilot Program
Click Here for more information.

4. Skagit County is seeking proposals from qualified individuals or firms interested in serving as the Skagit County Land Use Hearings Examiner
“The deadline for submission of interests and proposals is October 1, 2021.” Click Here for more information.

5. Skagit County Rental Assistance Program
The Skagit County Rental Assistance Program provides financial assistance for rent and utilities to income-eligible Skagit County renters and their landlords who have been impacted by COVID-19. Click Here for more information.

6. COVID-19 Information
“Beginning on Monday, September 13, the Skagit County Fairgrounds Testing and Vaccination Site will be changing its operations, limiting testing and vaccination services to individuals who live, work, or go to school in Skagit County. This change is due to high demand and supply chain issues with testing supplies

Also beginning on September 13, testing will be limited to individuals 5 and older who are actively exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, or who have had a known COVID-19 exposure. Limiting to these two groups will allow us to ensure access to testing for disease mitigation purposes.”

Click Here to see the Level of Community Transmission in Skagit County. Click Here for the Skagit County Public Health webpage.

Masking – State-wide Mask Mandate now in Effect
“Today, Governor Inslee announced that the current mask mandate will be expanding effective Monday, September 13 to include large outdoor events with 500 or more attendees. This new mask mandate will apply to all people five years and older in Washington State, and will be required regardless of an individual’s vaccination status.

The current statewide indoor mask mandate has been in effect since August 23, requiring that all people over the age of 5 wear a mask in indoor public settings, including places like restaurants, grocery stores, and malls. The state has been strongly recommending masks outdoors in crowds of any size if social distancing could not be maintained, in the hopes of increasing public protection against COVID-19.”

Masking helps protect those who are unvaccinated, including children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and others with auto-immune or other conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated. Parents should be reminded that there is real risk to children until vaccinations are available. Kids who aren’t vaccinated still need to wear masks, though children younger than two years old should never wear a mask due to the risk of suffocation.

Breakthrough Cases Explained
“A breakthrough case happens when someone who is fully vaccinated (14 days past their final vaccine dose) tests positive for COVID-19. People who catch COVID-19 within these 14 days are not classified as breakthrough cases since their body has not built full protection yet. It is important to remember that breakthrough cases are expected, just like with any vaccine. That’s because none of the COVID-19 vaccines are 100% effective at preventing infection.

So why get vaccinated? Fully vaccinated people have much stronger protection against COVID-19 compared to those who aren’t. Vaccinated people who get infected are less likely to experience symptoms (if any), compared to those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated people are also likely to recover faster, even against delta. CDC data shows that over 99.99% of people who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 did not die or even require hospitalization. The highest hospitalization rates remain in areas with low vaccination rates.

As of September 2nd, Washington state data showed there were 21,757 vaccine breakthrough cases among more than 4.1 million vaccinated people from January 17 — August 21, 2021. Although that might sound like a high number, this means that only 0.5% of vaccinated Washingtonians had breakthrough infections. Of the breakthrough cases that we have data for, just 9% required hospitalization and less than 1% died of a COVID-related illness.”

COVID-19 Vaccines & Testing
Skagit County is once again operating a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site at the Skagit County Fairgrounds. Both testing and vaccination is available to the public free of cost.

  • Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • South Gate Entrance of the Fairgrounds: 501 Taylor St, Mt Vernon, WA 98273
  • No insurance or appointment required!
  • Vaccination is available for anyone 12+; we will have first and second doses available, as well as 3rd doses for certain immunocompromised individuals. Please talk with your doctor before seeking a third dose.
  • Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines available (based on supply)
  • Antigen testing is available for anyone 5+.

Have questions? Please call (360) 416-1500.

“Skagit County Public Health will now make third doses available to immunocompromised individuals. People are asked to speak with their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.”

“Gov. Jay Inslee today announced a vaccination requirement for employees working in K-12, most childcare and early learning, and higher education, as well as an expansion of the statewide mask mandate to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.” Click Here for more information.

Click Here for the Skagit County Public Health Department vaccine webpage and the most current information about availability. Evening appointments are now available at the Fairgrounds. On March 31, Governor Inslee announced that all adults, ages 16 and older, are eligible for vaccination.

Other Testing Options – “With case numbers on the rise and delta circulating in Skagit County, Public Health wants to remind everyone that getting tested is still essential in our fight against the spread of COVID-19. As a reminder, whether you have been vaccinated or not, if you’ve been around someone who has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms.

For a full list of local testing options, go to: https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthDiseases/coronavirusTESTsites.htm.

Skagit County Public Health is now offering free antigen testing at our Wednesday evening vaccine clinics at the Skagit County Administrative Building (700 S 2nd St., Mount Vernon, WA 98273). We accept anyone 5 years and older; no appointment or insurance required. Test results are available in 15 minutes. Note: This is NOT intended as a pre-travel test.”

ANNOUNCEMENTS

1. Speak Up, Speak Out
Although Speak Up, Speak Out (SUSO) has not been airing new broadcasts, past broadcasts going back to March 2006 are still available for the next year at their website: http://speakupspeakoutradio.org/.