News from the Skagit County Democrats
Skagit County Democrats Action Newsletter for May 22, 2023
1. The most recent meeting of the Fidalgo Democrats, "Legislative Update", Tuesday, May 9, can now be viewed on YouTube (Click Here).
"Thanks to our 10th and 40th LD legislators Alex Ramel, Dave Paul, Clyde Shavers and Liz Lovelett for an excellent presentation of the many accomplishments in the legislative session. We really appreciate all your hard work and dedication to the citizens of NW Washington. We are so fortunate to have this amazing team working for us! All our past meetings can be found on our page at https://www.youtube.com/@fidalgodemocrats3675."
2. NEW – A Moment of Hope
The following is an excerpt from the Friday News & Action with Shasti Conrad of May 19
"This week, I’m reminding myself that even when our movement fails to carry the day, we grow stronger by fighting for our values. In South Carolina, where more than a dozen Republican state legislators co-sponsored a bill that would make getting an abortion punishable by the death penalty earlier this year, Republicans passed a bill to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Why does this give me hope? Because it took literally all week for them to pass this unpopular and unjust policy after Democratic women in the legislature filed more than a thousand amendments to bog down the process. Despite ultimately being unsuccessful in stopping the policy, these courageous women made damn sure their constituents and the entire nation paid attention to this latest assault on pregnant people’s fundamental freedom to control their own bodies. That’s the kind of unrelenting advocacy Democrats bring to the table, and why I’m drawing hope from their example this week.
Also, if you have family or friends in South Carolina who will be affected by this ban, remind them that our Washington Democrats have passed a law that would protect them from prosecution if they come here to get the essential reproductive care they need."
3. Chair's Corner – The Republican Narrative Undermines the Welfare of our Relatives and Neighbors Addicted to Opioids like Fentanyl (Editor's Choice as worthy of repetition)
"Imagine learning every day that a plane with 180 Americans on board crashed! That’s how many Americans die every day from an overdose of opioids, including fentanyl. (1) What is the cause of this national crisis? A common Republican narrative is that the crisis is due to illegal immigration across an “open border”. For example:
- In January 2023, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) claimed, “Last year alone, we lost over 100,000 young people to deaths from drugs like fentanyl because we have an open southern border.” (2)
- On Nov 29, 2022, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) claimed that enough fentanyl was seized at the border to kill the entire US population 7 times over and that the answer is to prioritize the safety of Americans by building the wall. (3)
- On Nov 29, 2021, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) cited fentanyl seizures as a sign of “Biden’s Border Crisis.” (4)
But this narrative is false:
- Fentanyl is not primarily trafficked by illegal immigrants. Over 90% of fentanyl border seizures are from U.S. citizens, mostly at points of entry.(5)
- Only a small minority of fentanyl seizures occur at interior checkpoints during apprehensions of people who have illegally crossed the border. (5)
- The opioid crisis was not created by Biden. In 2020, under Trump, the amount of fentanyl seized at the border accelerated dramatically and there were 95,000 overdose deaths in our country.(5)
- In 2021, U.S. citizens accounted for 86.3% of fentanyl trafficking convictions compared to just 8.9 percent for illegal immigrants.(6)
So, if illegal immigration due to an “open border” is not the problem what is the true narrative? Two decades ago, pharmaceutical companies began promoting the use of opioids as painkillers leading to a large increase in addictions. Practice guidelines eventually restricted distribution of painkillers from pharmacies leading to growth of the illegal market, dominated by the opioid fentanyl because it is cheap, manufactured in China and India for drug cartels in Mexico. (7)
Because fentanyl is much more potent than heroin and morphine, it can be transported in very small quantities. Also, it can be added to other drugs and made to look like legitimate medication. All of this means that addressing the fentanyl crisis requires a multi-faceted approach. (8) Improved law enforcement is one aspect: Biden’s 2023 budget proposes more funding for seizing drugs at border crossings (9) and, just recently, the FBI arrested key cartel individuals. (10) Another approach by the Biden Administration is prevention and treatment of addictions including:
- Appropriation of $3 billion in funds through The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to allow states to target addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery. (11)
- Ending prior restrictions to enable doctors, through the 2023 Omnibus Bill, to more easily prescribe buprenorphine—an effective medication for opioid abuse. (12)
- Approval this year by the Food and Drug Administration of the first over-the-counter opioid treatment, Naloxone, a drug which saves lives by rapidly reversing overdose. (13)
- Two billion in additional funding by the National Institute of Health for research projects to improve access to addiction treatment in a wide variety of justice and community settings. (14)
The Republican scapegoating of immigrants by focusing on “the open border” as the cause of the fentanyl crisis is a dangerous and irresponsible tactic that does not prioritize but actually risks American lives. This attack on the Biden Administration for “creating” the crisis further undermines focus on true solutions that would help our family members and neighbors who are on self-destructive paths.
It is imperative that we strongly resist elected officials who present us with such false narratives designed to stoke fear and anger. Our personal and collective welfare is at stake.
Respectfully submitted, Lynn Campbell, Chair"
Citations available upon request – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. "Masking up" is now OPTIONAL for volunteers and visitors at our Skagit Democrats Headquarters Office.
5. NEW – Links 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.
- Government Shutdowns: How We Got Here
- The Republican War on Alejandro Mayorkas—the Man With the Most Impossible Job in DC
- Violent Extremism in America – Interviews with Former Extremists and Their Families on Radicalization and Deradicalization
- The demographic makeup of the country's voters continues to shift. That creates headwinds for Republicans
- Why Putin Attacked Ukraine When He Did – And why he has the blind spots that he does
1. NEW – Memorial Day Observances
- Anacortes, Monday, May 29, 11:00am – 12:00pm, Causland Memorial Park, 710 N Avenue
- Concrete, Monday, May 29, 1:00pm, Forest Park Cemetery, 44826 Compton Lane
- Whatcom Memorial Day Parade, May 27, 12:00pm-3:00pm, The parade starts at the corner of Alabama & Cornwall and continues south on Cornwall
2. Join Safe and Sane Skagit for a "Wear Orange" photo, Saturday, Jun 3, 9:30am, 5800 Cains Court, Edison
Parking is available at Edison Elementary School two blocks east. "We'll be tabling all day near Tweets and i.e. Gallery to honor all those affected by gun violence this past year and celebrate 2023 major legislative successes . . . Pick up a ribbon, sticker and information or get involved."
3. NEW – Skagit County Releases Point-in-Time Count of People Experiencing Homelessness in 2023
"The annual Skagit County Point-in-Time (PIT) count took place on January 26, 2023, led by Community Action of Skagit County in partnership with Skagit County Public Health, many community partners, and dozens of volunteers. The purpose of the PIT count is to estimate the number people experiencing homelessness in Skagit County based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) definition of homelessness which includes individuals who are unsheltered, and those residing in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and safe havens." Click Here to review the full report.
4. NEW – Farmers Market Benefit Cards Available to Eligible Seniors Beginning May 22
"Beginning Monday, May 22, 2023, the Skagit County Senior Services Program will have a limited number of Farmers Market Benefit Cards available for Skagit County seniors, age 60 years or older (55+ if Native American/Alaska Native), who meet certain income requirements." Click Here for more information.
5. NEW – Skagit County Public Works Publishes Farmland Legacy 2022 Annual Report
"Skagit County Public Works has published its 2022 Farmland Legacy Annual Report, chronicling the County’s work protecting local farmland in the past year and over the past quarter century. The report presents data in bite-sized articles and graphic formats that can help provide insight into the role of agriculture in our county and the impacts of protected farmland in preserving agricultural viability. Farmland under conservation easement protection in Skagit County now totals 14,325 acres. The report can be accessed online here."
6. Skagit County Commissioners Approve 2023 Docket
This is worth a look if you wish to monitor County Government. This involves the "comprehensive land use plan and development regulations" under consideration this coming year. Click Here for the 2023 Docket webpage.
7. Guemes Island Ferry Fare Proposal Public Hearing Scheduled for Thursday, June 8, 3:30pm – 5:30pm, Commissioners’ Hearing Room, 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon
"To access the full Rate Study Report, the 2023 Fare Proposal, and the 2023 Ferry Fare Revenue Target Report, please visit: [the 2023 Ferry Fare Proposal] page . . . The public can attend in-person or via Zoom using the following link: https://bit.ly/SkagitBoCCMtg."
8. Farmer's Markets
The 2023 Farmer's Markets are beginning to open.
- Anacortes – Saturdays, 9:00am – 2:00pm, opened May 6
- Concrete – Saturdays, 10:00am – 2:00pm, opens May 27
- Mount Vernon – Saturdays, 9:00am – 2:00pm, opened May 20
- Sedro-Woolley – Wednesdays, 3:00pm – 7:00pm, opens May 24
9. COVID-19 Information
Click Here for the most current report and resources.
1. Anacortes Sunday Demonstrations
Democrats are again demonstrating in Anacortes each Sunday, 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the corner of 12th Street and Commercial Avenue. "We carry signs for Dem candidates, get out and vote signs, women's right-to-chose in healthcare and so on and so on. We need more people to show up."
2. Coffee & Cards, Wednesdays, 10:00am – 12:00pm, Skagit County Democrats Headquarters, 2021 East College Way, Suite 104, Mount Vernon
Coffee and Cards meets on Wednesdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm. This is the group that was previously led by Carol Sullivan and is now lead quite capably by Judy Farrar. The group is a way for us to express ourselves about issues of importance to us all.
We will write messages of encouragement and support to people who are making positive contributions as well as messages of concern and opposition to people who are negatively impacting our world. This includes legislators on the local, state, and federal level as well as CEOs of corporations and other people having a significant impact in our world. We will share ideas for people to write to and issues to address.
Postcards and stamps will be provided, but we ask that people bring money to cover the cost of the postcard stamps which are currently $.44. Coffee will be provided or bring your own. As Carol always reminded us, “We are stronger together.” Our office is located at 2021 East College Way, Suite 104, Mount Vernon, 360-336-1555."