Friday, March 18, 2016

Blue America Endorses Darcy Burner


In February an old friend of this community's, Darcy Burner, let us know that she is running for the Washington state legislature. With Pramila Jayapal likely headed off to Congress, the legislature is going to need a thoughtful can-do, bold progressive. That's Darcy. Washington has long been a leader in progressive change-- and she intends to make sure that tradition stays strong and vibrant. She likes to point out that
Women in Washington gained the right to vote in 1910, kicking off the campaign that led to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 giving all American women the right to vote;
Women in Washington had the right to choose whether to continue or terminate pregnancies in 1970, before Roe v. Wade;
In 2007 the Washington State Legislature ensured every child would have access to healthcare, pioneering many provisions of the Affordable Care Act;
Every consenting adult in Washington had the freedom to marry the partner they loved in 2012, before the Supreme Court decision made it legal throughout the nation; and
The now-national campaign for a $15 minimum wage kicked off in Seatac and Seattle, redefining the boundaries of what is possible and reasonable for workers in this economy.
"Unfortunately," she reminded her supporters, "the role that Washington plays in setting the course for national progressive change is in significant danger." In 2013, Republicans captured the State Senate and brought forward-progress on most issues in Washington to a grinding halt. They are now within two seats of a majority in the State House. Republicans in Washington State in the last few years have made it clear what their agenda is:
Telling the Supreme Court to "pound sand" when the court ordered them to fund education (Baumgartner, 2014), and, instead, offering a plan to send kids to school four days a week to save money (Becker, 2012);
Denying LGBT people the right to use the bathroom (Erickson, 2016);
Banning cities from raising the minimum wage (Baumgartner, 2016); and
Pushing anti-union so called “right to work” legislation (Shea, 2016).
She told us directly and clearly that she can’t sit on her hands and let them destroy the state that she loves... so she launched a campaign for the open State House seat in the highly swing 5th Legislative District. Blue America instantly endorsed her and added her to our very selective state legislative page.

The 5th has a Democratic State Senator who is the #1 target of the Republicans. Both House members are currently Republicans. Darcy is running for an open seat being vacated by one of those Republicans. The 5th district is in the foothills of the Cascade mountains, a gorgeous mix of agriculture, forest, mountain, and suburban housing-- from traditional old farming towns to brand new bedroom communities. Darcy describes it as "an ethnically diverse, economically diverse place with a shared sense of self-reliance and practical approaches to getting things done." Historically the area has been Republican territory, but a combination of the 2012 redistricting and population changes as more people move in have changed that. In 2012, Obama got 56% of the vote in the 5th; Cantwell got 58%; and Democratic state senator Mark Mullet won with about 52%, the first Democratic legislator in a while to go to Olympia for the 5th. It's winnable but swing. In that same year, Jay Inslee, who won the gubernatorial race, got only 46% of the vote in the district.

Darcy has two opponents in the race. The Republican, Paul Graves, is a lawyer for one of the big Seattle law firms who makes his living defending large corporations when they hurt or kill people so the grieving widows and children don't recover anything-- literally... that's how the man has chosen to live his life. And now he would like to spread his wings and take it to the legislature!

The Democrat she'll be facing is Matt Larson, the current mayor of Snoqualmie. Wednesday, the legislative district's Democrats had their monthly meeting to consider the endorsement Larson had requested. Although they had previously endorsed Darcy, the district has a history of dual endorsements in races. Below is a photocopy of the endorsement committee report:

Click it-- it's worth reading

A little background: In the 5th, there's a recent history of one of the state legislators-- Jay Rodne, who our old friend Jason Ritchie is running against-- making inflammatory anti-Muslim comments. There's also an ongoing federal lawsuit between the Snoqualmie Tribe and Mayor Larson, who decided recently to cut off fire service, water, and sewer to the reservation out of spite for them objecting to him siting a major development on one of their burial grounds. The chair of the 5th is someone whose mother spent time in one of the Japanese internment camps. The endorsement committee includes the aforementioned chair, a woman of Native American descent, an African-American man, and three other women. When they interviewed Larson they specifically asked about whether he believed American Muslims were a security threat to the U.S., based on concerns about a comment he had made earlier at a forum. The entire committee agreed that his answer indicated that he believes Muslim teenagers are a potential threat because they might be recruited by ISIS.

At Wednesday's meeting, Larson openly accused the district's Democratic chair and the endorsements committee chair of lying about his answer-- although every member who was there for that interview is in agreement about what he said. He and his supporters shouted down women who were speaking; they tried shouting down the chair, and they were openly aggressive and hostile. He failed to get the endorsement. Every member of an ethnic or religious minority in the room voted against him, as did 80% of the women. It's electing people like Matt Larson-- as Democrats, no less-- that gets us Japanese internment camps and a soiled brand for the party itself.

So... how does Darcy intend to win? "With shoe leather," she told us. "By running the type of people-powered campaign that I believe in, we can and will beat big corporate money." If you'd like to help Darcy do that, just tap the thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

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