News from the Skagit County Democrats

Posted on January 21st, 2024

Skagit County Democrats Action Newsletter for January 22, 2024



1. NEWVolunteers need to staff our Headquarters Office
We currently have openings for staffing Headquarters. We normally have 2 2-hour shifts (Noon – 2:00pm and 2:00pm – 4:00pm) per day. Volunteers can sign up for 1 or more shifts. We try to have 2 people staffing per shift. Orientation for new volunteers is offered. We are now experimenting with an easy-to-use online scheduler or google calendar for signing up for the office volunteer shifts. You don't have to make a long-term commitment – intermittent of even occasional shifts will help. If you are interested and would like to sign up or get more information, you can contact us at

2. The 39th Legislative District Democrats Executive Board will meet Tuesday, Jan 23, 7:00pm – 8:00pm, via Zoom
Click Here for the Zoom link.

3. Democracy in Crisis: Taking Action, sponsored by the 10th Legislative District Democrats, Saturday, Jan 27, 10:00am – 4:00pm, Skagit Valley College Cafeteria, 2405 East College Way, Mount Vernon
Featured Speaker: Paul Benz, Director of WA Partners for Social Change. Workshops include Civil Survival, PFLAG Skagit, FairVote Washington. Lunch and snacks served. Click Here for more information.

4. NEWFebruary Elections
There are two elections being conducted in February. The first is the Dike & Drainage Election with ballots due Tuesday, Feb 6. At this time, we do not have any information on what Dike and Drainage Districts are included. The second is a Special Election for Concrete and Mount Vernon School Districts with ballots due Tuesday, Feb 13. Click Here for the online Voter's Guide for these elections. Click Here for the Voter's Pamphlet for these Elections.

5. The Fidalgo Democrats Alliance for Gun Responsibility/Safe and Sane Skagit presentation of Jan 9 is now available on YouTube
Click Here for the video.

6. NEWLegislative Committee Report for this week
"2024 Legislative Session
Short and Quick: The Washington State Legislature meets for 105 days in odd-numbered years with a primary duty to develop and pass a two-year budget. In even-numbered years (2024) they meet for 60 days to finish up business from the last session and make budget adjustments. Because of the short timeline for this year’s session, it is critical to pay close attention to priority bills and where they are in the process.

Important dates for tracking and advocating for legislation:

  • All bills, except for budget and transportation issues, must pass out of committee in their house of origin (House or Senate) by January 31. Deadline for budget and transportation bills is February 5.
  • All bills must pass out of their house of origin by February 13, budget/transportation by February 21.
  • The last day to consider opposite house bills in committee is February 26.
  • The last day to pass opposite house bills is March 1. Some exceptions: budget related matters, initiatives, and alternates.
  • Last day of the 2024 Session is March 7.

Please review the following bills and express your support to your elected officials.

SB6082 – Increasing compensation for Washington paraeducators.
Paraeducators play an essential role in Washington public schools, often serving as the primary instructional support for our most vulnerable student populations, including special needs children. Recognizing the important role that paraeducators play, in 2017 the Washington legislature established common statewide standards for paraeducators and increased training standards. Unfortunately, the annual attrition rate for paraeducators has reached 23%. Driven out of their positions by the rigor of the job contrasted with low compensation, the legislature intends to increase state funding for paraeducator compensation, benefiting Washington students statewide, while simultaneously incentivizing paraeducators to remain in the profession.

Email your Legislator to support SB6082
Recommended Text
'Please support passage of SB 6082 to increase compensation for Washington educators. The statewide allocation for paraeducator salaries must be adjusted by the same inflationary increases provided to certificated educators and for regional differences in the cost of hiring staff. Paraeducators provide instructional support for our most challenged and handicapped children in Washington. Annual attrition rates for paraeducators have reached 23%, driven out by the rigor of their work contrasted with low compensation. Stabilizing a profession so important to the success of children is imperative.'

SB5335 – This would create a Washington health trust to ensure that all Washington residents can enroll in nonprofit health insurance coverage.
Universal health care is badly needed to reduce costs and ensure that nobody falls through the cracks at any point in life! We want to see SB 5335 passed in the 2024 state legislative session. This bill is intended to create a single-payer system by establishing a Washington Health Trust. In 2021, the legislature established a universal Health Care Commission to prepare the state for a health care system that provides coverage to all Washington Residents. Our state is already moving in the right direction on this! We just need to follow through on the vision. Please consider writing to your legislator and ask them to support this bill.

Email your Legislator to support SB5335
Recommended text
'Please support and reintroduce SB 5335 in the 2024 state legislative session. Our state is already moving in the right direction on this! We just need to follow through on the vision. Please sponsor this bill and help get it through your chamber so we can make the lives of every Washingtonian better.'"

7. NEWSkagit Valley Herald new editorial policy
We have been told that there is new editor at the Skagit Valley Herald and they will no longer publish Letters to the Editor that are partisan in nature and will never publish a letter for or against a Presidential candidate. We are monitoring this.

8. NEWInclement Weather – Headquarters Closures
Per Chair, Lynn Campbell, "During inclement weather, we will follow school closures. If the Mount Vernon School District is closed, then the Skagit County Democrats Office will be closed. This should keep this process much simpler for everyone."

9. Gala News – Save the Date!
It has been a year and a half since our major fundraiser . . . the Gala! Please save the date for June 1st, 2024. We are changing things up and it is sure to great time for all! More to come, but please Save the Date for June 1, 2024!

10. 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.


1. NEWMeet and Greet Candidates for Mount Vernon Police Chief, Tuesday, Jan 23, 6:00pm – 7:30pm, 1805 Continental Place (Police Department), Mount Vernon

2. NEW‘Keep Our Care Act’ (SB 5241/HB 1263) Community Education Panel, Thursday, Jan 25, 06:00pm, via Zoom
Click Here for Webinar registration

"A coalition of many different organizations such as the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Pro-Choice Washington has organized an educational panel for anyone who would like to learn more about the ‘Keep Our Care Act’."

The Keep Our Care Act would ensure consolidations and contracting affiliations improve rather than harm access to affordable quality care within a community. The bill:

  • Prohibits health entity consolidations that diminish access to affordable quality care;
  • Requires Attorney General oversight, compliance, and enforcement power to ensure health entity consolidations do not negatively impact access to health care services;
  • Includes a health equity assessment so that health entity consolidations address the needs of marginalized communities;
  • Ensures community input through public notification of proposed consolidations and the opportunity for public hearings and comment.

Click Here for an explainer flyer.

3. 11th Annual Farmworker Tribunal, Tuesday, Jan 23, 1:30pm, State Capitol Campus Cherberg Building, 2nd Floor, 304 15th Avenue SW, Olympia
Sponsored by Familias Unidas por las Justicia and Community to Community. "Since 2013 WA Farmworkers have converged on the state capitol for the annual Tribunal to present evidence of mistreatment and engage lawmakers in policy solutions. The tribunal is an opportunity for lawmakers to witness the power, vision, and self-determination of the Farmworker Movement in Washington State." For more information contact Victor Rodriguez at

4. 10th Annual Illuminight Winter Walk, Friday, Jan 26, 5:00pm – 7:00pm, Riverwalk Plaza, Mount Vernon
Click Here for more information.

5. NEW4th Annual 2024 La Conner Birding Festival, Saturday & Sunday, Feb 3 & 4, 10:00am, Maple Hall, 104 Commercial Street, La Conner
"Formerly called the La Conner Birding Showcase, it once focused on migrating swans and snow geese, and was started by Skagit Tourism as part of the Skagit River Bald Eagle Festival. The festival is now run by the La Conner Chamber of Commerce. This year, it has widened its scope to include all local birds, more art, and free guest speakers." Click Here for more information.

6. Skagit Board of County Commissioners to hold public hearing to consider EMS levy renewal
"The Skagit Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on January 22, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. to consider a resolution to place an emergency medical services (EMS) levy renewal on the April 23, 2024, special election ballot. The community is invited to join the hearing to learn more about the proposal and provide testimony for the record. Residents can attend and provide comments in-person in the Commissioners’ hearing room at 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, WA, 98273, or via Zoom by using the login information available on the Commissioner’s webpage," Click Here for more information.

7. The Local Journalism Committee of the League of Women Voters is planning four presentations to further public knowledge about elections
"Each of the events will be open to the public. There will not be any speeches by any candidates. The first event is about the process of the Presidential Preference Primary – how the ballot is created, how the votes are counted, and what the parties do afterward. It is scheduled for Monday, 2/12/24, from 6:30 to 8PM at the PUD Conference Room in Mount Vernon. Gabrielle Clay, Elections Manager of the Skagit County Auditor's Office, will be one of the presenters. Both parties are invited to explain how they respond to the results."

8. Skagit Valley Eagles
"The Skagit Valley Eagle Festival is no longer an organized festival; however, winter-time is still a time for celebration during this eagle-watching season. The Skagit River Interpretive Center is a great place to start your eagle watching adventure. Winter eagle watching activities take place in Concrete, Rockport, and Marblemount." Click Here for more information.


1. Anacortes Sunday Demonstrations
Progressive folks regularly demonstrate each Sunday, 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the corner of 12th Street and Commercial Avenue in Anacortes. While this is not an official Skagit County Democrats activity, turnout is encouraged.

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 led quite capably by Judy Farrar and Judith Chilcote. 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 $.51. 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."

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