Clark County Democratic Party Newsletter
Volume 23, Issue 3
Serving Democrats with News and Opinion
State committee elects Jaxon Ravens to lead Members of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, at their quarterly meeting in Vancouver on Feb. 1, elected Jaxon Ravens to be their chair for at least the next year. In a subsequent email Ravens wrote, “I was honored and humbled to be elected.… Over the past nine years, I’ve served the party as its executive director. I've gotten the opportunity to speak and work with Democrats at the local, state and national levels – good people committed to doing important work. ... “I pledge to build on that important work. I'll work to promote Democratic values by electing Democrats, recruiting strong Democratic candidates and strengthening local party organizations in every corner of the state.” The election was necessitated by the decision of former Chair Dwight Pelz to retire from the post a year ahead of the usual date for party reorganization. The election was contested by three other candidates, Dana Laurent, Jim Kainber and Jay Clough. All had campaigned vigorously in the weeks leading up to the state meeting at the Vancouver Hilton and Convention Center. By noon of the Friday before the meeting, Sixth Street between the Hilton and Esther Short Park was littered with dozens of yard signs touting all of the candidates. That bid for attention from arriving delegates was dominated by Kainber, who served as executive director for the party for several years before Ravens was appointed to that post upon the election of Pelz after the retirement of Paul Berendt. Kainber was eliminated, along with Clough, in the first round of voting. In the final round, Ravens had a solid majority over Laurent. Clough lives in Richland. He challenged Republican U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings in 2010 and unsuccessfully sought election to the Legislature in 2012. He is chair of the organization of Democratic Party chairs. Notwithstanding his yard-sign dominance, Kainber did not appear to have much of an organized campaign over the weekend activities that began with a reception at the Clark County Historical Museum put together by Clark County members of the state committee and other repre-
sentatives of the CCDCC. Kainber’s former boss, Berendt, was prominent among the crowd of loud and lively supporters of Laurent. Laurent lives in Seattle and has most recently served as executive director of Win-Win Network, described as “a progressive organizing hub where she helps connect labor, environmental organizations and economic, racial and social justice groups across issues and election campaigns.” She was involved in the state party only as a state committeewoman from Legislative District 36. Her campaign elicited an impressive list of endorsements including, only days before the meeting, a warm nod from Gov. Jay Inslee. All four candidates made their way to the Clark County reception at the museum and were afforded the opportunity of speaking to gatherings of local Democrats and state committee people. After giving an elevator speech, each was subjected to interrogation by Temple Lentz. Her questions ranged from probing to provocative, and each had to answer: “How do you make a tuna fish sandwich?” There developed a serious divide between mayo and Miracle Whip, with one candidate ducking the question by claiming to be a vegan. Lentz’s more serious question was about the difficulties of picking up the party leadership and preparing for the next round of statewide elections in 2016. Ravens prevailed on that point as he did with most party leaders. He was endorsed beforehand by every member of the central committee’s executive board including the two from Clark County, Ed Cote and Marsha Manning. Participants in the weekend of caucuses and meetings complimented the Clark County Democrats for their welcome, which included a continental breakfast at the Torque Coffee Roaster across Columbia Street from the convention center. Among the organizers and volunteers most praised were Lentz, Noland Hoshino, Jay Renaud Roben White, Ed Baxter, Donna Quesnell, Tom Lineham, Brian Dainty, Kathleen Lawrence, Tanisha Harris, Hanna Perez, Liz Campbell, Dave Shehorn, Candy Bonneville and Marian Bryce and her daughter.
THE DEMOCRAT, MARCH 2014
Meetings scheduled for March 2014 by the Clark County Democratic Central Committee and other Democratic organizations. (Check for updates at the county party’s new website: www.clarkcountydems.com). Thursday, February 27
Sunshine Observers meet at noon at the Democratic Central Committee Headquarters at 10621 NE Coxley Drive for a bag lunch and discussion of past meetings and elections observed and future opportunities for watching public process.
Monday, March 3
Executive committee of Clark County Democratic Central Committee meets at 7 p.m. at CCDCC office, 10621 NE Coxley Drive.
Wednesday, March 5
18th District Democrats meet at 6:30 p.m. in the sixth-floor conference room at Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital .
Saturday, March 8
49th District Democrats meet at 10 a.m. at the Teamsters/Labor Center, 2212 Andresen Road.
Monday, March 10
Clark County Democratic Central Committee meets at 7 p.m. in the Teamsters/Labor Hall at 2212 Andresen Road.
Saturday, March 15
Clark County Women Democrats meet at 11:30 a.m. at Boppin’ Bo’s on Vancouver Plaza Drive east of Walmart to discuss issues and politics. No-host brunch, RSVP Donna Quesnell.
Monday, March 24
17th District Democrats meet, beginning with happy hour at Main Event at 5 p.m. with business meeting to start at 7 p.m. in the Forum Room at Touchmark.
Saturday, March 29
Reception for all Democratic Precinct Committee Officers and prospective PCOs as first element of a three-step spring training sequence begins at 3 p.m. for two hours at CCDCC office on Coxley Drive.
New 2office ready for action By D. Michael Heywood Chair, Clark County Democratic Central Committee The new Clark County Democratic Central Committee office at 10621 NE Coxley Drive is open for business. The party no longer has rented space in the former headquarters of the Carpenters’ Union. That building was sold late last year, and the new owners could not provide the space the party needed at the bargain price charged by the union. Also, the storage unit at IronGate on 117th Avenue has been cleared out. Much of the equipment stored there between campaign seasons has been put into use in the new office. A considerable haul of altogether superfluous material was donated or hauled away to recycling. Many many thanks to those who helped, particularly Ed Barnes and his crew from organized labor, the McDermid boys, Tom Lineham, Jay Renaud and Bob Rossi. Others who worked long hours, particularly arranging things in the new space, were Liz Campbell, Jamie Hurly, Karen Hengerer and Candy Bonneville. We are still exploring ways to make appropriate use of the space. We’ve concluded it probably isn’t large enough to accommodate monthly meetings of the whole central committee, but it is good for most smaller meetings. One of the first groups to put in dibs is the Sunshine Observers (story on following page) whose February meeting will be the Thursday after this newsletter goes to the U.S. Postal Service. What the office will surely accommodate is most of the campaign efforts mounted by Clark County Democratic candidates for countywide and legislative district races. We are keeping the furniture arrangement flexible so that all can share the space without undue complication. Each legislative district Democratic central committee has an assigned spot, all in one large office room together. We’ll shortly be announcing an open house to let all see what’s available.
THE DEMOCRAT Clark County, Washington Editor: D. Michael Heywood (email firstname.lastname@example.org) Chair and Subscription Manager: Gail Pollock Phone (360) 695-4769 The Democrat is published monthly and Copyright 2014 by the Clark County Democratic Central Committee, which receives mail at PO Box 179, Vancouver, WA 98666, and has an office at 10621 NE Coxley Drive, Suite 101, in Orchards. Material not otherwise identified is produced by the editor with the oversight of a revolving panel of party leaders and activists. The newsletter is published entirely by volunteer effort. Democrats are encouraged to join in by submitting manuscripts and ideas and by helping to publish at 10:30 a.m. the last Sunday of the month. Standard postage was paid at Vancouver, WA. Subscribers are asked to contribute $15 a year to defray the costs of printing and mailing.
THE DEMOCRAT, MARCH 2014
3 Sunshine Group is watching official activity When Karen Hengerer was asked last year to take over as organizer of election observers for the Clark County Democratic Central Committee, she accepted with only a minor qualification. Namely, she aimed to break with the sorry notion that election observing is just slightly more exciting and valuable that watching paint dry. She soon had developed a growing and current list of officially trained observers to fill the list of election elements that should be watched. And she concluded that a lot of other public processes needed to be observed rigorously and regularly. Thus came the organization of the Clark County Sunshine Group. Its mission in draft form: “The Clark County Sunshine Group has been formed in order to achieve multiple goals for our party: “1. Insure that our elected officials are aware that the public, and we as Democrats specifically, are interested in their deliberations and decisions. “2. Attendance at municipal meetings provides the general public a view into Clark County Democrats, and hopefully through our enthusiasm for the process
we can interest others to join us. “3. Provide an entry for new folks into the Democratic Party political process. “4. Encourage Sunshine participants to consider increasing their role, specifically including the election observer process.” Hengerer hopes the Sunshiners will consider that mission statement and perhaps adopt it at their next regular meeting at noon on Feb. 27. (Which is before the official publication date of this newsletter but a couple of days after it is likely to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service to 690 regular recipients.) The meeting will be at the new Democratic Party office in Orchards. So far 21 trained Democratic election observers have signed up as Sunshiners. A core group of seven regularly observe the various meetings targeted for watching. In January there were a dozen such events: Five sessions of the Board of Clark County Commissioners, two meetings of the Vancouver City Council, two meetings of the Board of Clark County Freeholders, one meeting of the Battle Ground City Council and one meeting of the Regional Transportation Council.
County Democrats to convene on April 12 The Clark County Democratic Convention and legislative district caucuses will be on Saturday, April 12, at the Fort Vancouver High School auditorium, 5700 E. 18th St. The doors will open for registration at 8 a.m. The convention will be called to order at 9 a.m. Any registered voter in Clark County who is willing to identify himself or herself as a Democrat and agrees to public display of his or her attendance at the sessions may register as a delegate to the county convention. Any delegate to the county convention who wishes to be a delegate or alternate to the State Democratic Convention in Spokane on June 21 must be a registered voter in the legislative district from which he or she seeks election. Delegates are to sign in by legislative district and should sit with others in their districts on the conven-
tion floor. There is no charge to participate. However, the Clark County Democratic Central Committee suggests that each participant might donate $10 to help defray the costs. After the credentials committee certifies participation, the convention will adjourn to separate legislative district caucuses for election of state convention delegations. The keynote speech is scheduled to be delivered by former U.S. Rep. Brian Baird. Both before and after the legislative district caucuses the convention will hear from candidates who expect to file for the primary election on August 5 and the subsequent general election on Nov. 4. Candidates will file with the Clark County Auditor’s elections department the week of May 12 through 16. Offices to be filled during the election cycle include all 10
seats in the Washington House of Representatives with Clark County constituents as well as eight partisan county officials. The final agenda item will be consideration of resolutions cleared by the Resolutions Committee. Resolutions must be submitted to the chair, Roben White, by March 15. Resolutions will be subject to editing by the committee and may contain no more than three “Whereas” paragraphs. They may be emailed to White at email@example.com. As part of the August 5 primary voters in each of 257 precincts may choose a Democratic and a Republican committee officer. Candidates for those positions also file May 12 through 16. Many precincts were redrawn in February. New precinct maps should be available at clark.wa.gov/elections/precinctmaps by March 10.
PO Box 179 Vancouver, WA 98666
Roy Valo finds important work in party mainstream At 25, Roy Valo, secretary for the 49th Legislative District Democratic Central Committee, is younger than most Clark County party activists and officials, but he does not want to be slotted as a Young Democrat. He asserts that the party needs younger people working throughout the organization, not gathered off to the side doing their own things. He certainly has been in the mainstream since Barack Obama captured his interest in 2008. “I grew up quite poor on a farm just outside La Center, where I graduated from high school,” he said. “We were a good old-fashioned conservative Republican rural American farm family. During my first year of college, however, is when I decided I would actually take an interest in politics just after Obama won the primary. “He really captured my interest and my enthusiasm, along with most others my age at the time. So that’s how I ended up getting my bachelor of arts degree in political science from Central Washington University.” Along the way he had met his wife-to-be, Melissa Ann, while climbing Beacon Rock. They settled in Vancouver, in Precinct 225, and Roy commuted from Ellensburg every weekend until he won his degree. Until last year they were Roy and Melissa Blodgette, but
they decided to take their new family name from his Finnish roots several generations back. After he received his sheepskin and was able to end that long commute, he set about looking for work. “With a BA in political science, I couldn’t even find a minimum-wage job here,” he said. He decided to set up as a political consultant, but that has been slow to develop. In the meantime he works at the convenience story at the intersection of 119th Street and 82nd Avenue in the Glenwood area. He also instituted his local political involvement, attending meetings of the 49th LDDCC and the Clark County Democratic Central Committee. “My precinct already had an elected Democratic committee officer,” he said, “but Catherine Rich, invited me to become the LD secretary after she took over as chair at the beginning of 2013.” Shortly thereafter, Rich nominated Valo to serve as the 49th LD representative on the audit committee for the CCDCC, and he served in that role with distinction. He then became part of the group developing a new web page and other social media connections for Clark County Democrats, working alongside Roman Battan, Rich Rogers and Pete Aller. He is now one of the webmasters for the new site that is slowly supplanting bluedonkeys.com. Readers can find the new connection at clarkcountydems.com.