Sunday, April 23, 2017

Celebration and March for Science

The Celebration and March for Science Saturday, April 22, 2017, was by all measures, a terrific success. Upwards of a thousand people, from all ages and stages participated in one way or another. The event took place at John Dam Plaza in Richland, Washington, and lasted for several hours, culminating with a march that seemed to last forever.

The event was organized by a group whose principal objective was to show appreciation for all that science has given us. Organizers promoted no political ideology, but the mood reflected a feeling that the Trump Administration and some Republican members of Congress, were immune to scientific facts.

There were a variety of demonstration/information booths at the event, on everything from body armor to bees.
You can ask Dennis McQuerry (pictured above) about biofuels as well as bees.

The Celebration and March serve to raise awareness about the role of science in our everyday lives, and to question how politics impacts the practice and application of science. Railing against the "politicization of science" is futile, because, for better or for worse, science and politics go hand in hand, as this article in The Verge explains.

The scientific method and the way real science is practiced insulates us from fakery, but not politics. As we've seen, "a president who clearly picks and chooses facts to suit his own version of the world changes the relationship between science and culture, in potentially destructive ways" (Lopatto, 4/21/17).

The challenge for scientists and those who support science is to remain objective, while rejecting "alternative facts," and promoting, ACTIVELY (not universally accepted), the application of scientific findings to policy making. One place to start is with the coming budget debate. Write your members of congress and tell them not to cut or hamstring the National Science Foundation (NSF), the EPA, NIH, and other science agencies. Our lives and the lives of future generations will depend on how vigorously and effectively we defend science today.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Observations on the GOP's Health Care "Plan"

by our Facebook Friend, 'Roberto' Macdonald

Caught an interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. He was questioned by CNN's Sanjay Gupta. Both men are surgeons.

Price was touting the latest version of a Republican "health care plan" (an essential component of which is "no plan"). The Republican plan does not include a "mandate". Price says that people should not be forced to buy health insurance if they do not want it. To do otherwise, Price argues, is unbecoming a free society.

Gupta asked if an uninsured person would be taken care of in case of an accident. Price's response was (in paraphrase), "Of course. We are a compassionate society." In a different context (food stamps, welfare), people who received the benefits of a "compassionate society" might be called "freeloaders", but not in the context of health insurance opt-outs!

Price wrapped up by proclaiming "everyone should have health insurance."

Price's "should", of course, speaks volumes: everyone "should" do what they ought to do, and "ought" to do what they should do, but no one "should" or "ought" to be compelled to do what they don't want to do. 

This is more than mere hypocrisy, which is an easy game to play. It's easy to find a reason to label someone a "hypocrite" for one reason or another. But the use of arguments like Price's essentially enshrine and codify hypocrisy. Price's arguments are not just slick, they're sick, which is a good metaphor in the context of the healthcare debate.

It is not possible to provide health care for everyone without a "mandate" in some form, either through taxes in a single-payer system, or through compulsory participation in an insurance-based system (which, Chief Justice Roberts tells us, amounts to a tax). 

It should be obvious to everyone that anything the Republicans come up with will not include a mandate and, thus, will not cover pre-existing conditions. Essentially, the country will revert to the previous "market-based" system which provided the best health care one could afford. 

Of course, they will claim to provide for pre-existing conditions through state-operated "high-risk pools". These pools work like this: those denied conventional coverage will go on a waiting list, because the high-risk funding is inadequate to cover everyone. Eventually, a small percentage of those on the waiting list will get coverage. For the rest, they'll get a handy little map with directions to the nearest emergency room.
Tom Price is an uncompromising conservative, is a strong foe of abortion and Planned Parenthood, an Obamacare opponent and a supporter of efforts to privatize Medicare. Read more here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Reflections on Rep Dan Newhouse Sunnyside Town Hall (Revised)

According to the Yakima Herald, nearly 150 people turned out Thursday evening, April 13, to hear from U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA4) on issues ranging from immigration to dairy regulations to President Donald Trump's taxes.

A number of people representing progressive interests in the 8th LD and Benton County carpooled to the town hall in Sunnyside to pose questions on issues of concern to the community. The reaction to Mr. Newhouse's town hall was mixed, with some grateful just to see him make an appearance, and others less than satisfied with the format for the town hall (questions presubmitted and drawn by a moderator), or the congressman's less than forthright responses to questions from the audience.

Rep Dan Newhouse at Sunnyside Town Hall, April 13, 2017

Congressman Newhouse began the town hall with a request for a prayer. The reaction to that request -- heckling --was a preview of things to come. An attendee wondered what the reactions would have been had someone asked to follow-up with a Muslim prayer. The heckling about the prayer made some uncomfortable.

There were comments to the effect that the town hall was so raucous it made for an unpleasant experience. Plus, it was difficult to maintain a reasonable give and take with Newhouse, since he kept being interrupted, and people in the audience were talking at the same time.

That lack of courtesy and respect bothered some people, especially those who went to the town hall with an open mind to hear Newhouse's point of view. Others felt differently.
Faces in the audience reflect variety of responses to Rep Newhouse during town hall
Many pointed out that it was important for Newhouse to understand that people were frustrated and angry about what was happening in Washington. People felt disenfranchised. The accusations about the Trump Campaign colluding with the Russians to sway the 2016 Election to Trump was on a lot of people's minds, and Trump's refusal to release his tax returns exacerbates suspicions.

In response to a question on Trump's tax returns, Newhouse said he'd help write a bill making it mandatory for ‘a president’ to release his tax returns. Not exactly responsive to the Trump tax returns question, but perhaps better than nothing.

There was a great deal of dissatisfaction voiced about Newhouse's tendency to waffle-word his responses -- not an unusual tendency among politicians. For example, Newhouse sponsored H.R. 848, a bill that exempts animal and crop waste and fertilizer from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. He was challenged on this by residents of Outlook who say their drinking water is being polluted. He responded by saying the RCRA rules were never meant to apply to dairies, but he would "research" the problem. Some may have wondered why he didn't do this prior to introducing the bill.

Newhouse said that he initially supported the GOP American Health Care Act (AHCA), but changes in the bill concerned him, and he said he wants to take the time to get it right.
Hold up your card, red or green, disagree or agree.
On the issue of net neutrality, Newhouse said he will look into the issue to see what agencies are doing with residents' browsing history and, if needed, look into legislation. He seemed less than well-informed about the issue. The House of Representatives has already approved a repeal of protections put in place under the Obama administration. On a 215-205 vote, largely along party lines, the House voted to undo these Obama-era broadband privacy rules that govern the behavior of Internet service providers. Newhouse voted with the majority.
Newhouse will host a final listening session from 6 to 7 p.m. in Okanogan County on April 20 before Congress is back in session April 25.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Who should run for office? You?

Hello, we are Heidi Hill and Christine Brown, co-chairs of the Benton County Democrats Election Committee.
Our current political climate has resulted in renewed interest for citizen involvement.  Have you considered running for an elected office or being an active campaign worker? Given that it is our goal to support candidates in as many offices as possible, we are going to need a lot of volunteers.  We are going to need your time, your talent and your money. It’s how it’s done. The time is now to learn what that involves and to make your plan.
First, what positions are up for election in 2017?   Most are non-partisan, meaning the focus is on the issues of the job and not whether you are Democrat, Republican, etc.  These positions include city council, school board, port district, hospital district and fire districts.  All of these positions are an excellent way to get involved in your local government.  Two exceptions to the nonpartisan races include Benton County Treasurer and Sheriff.
You can find a complete listing of positions up for election in the 2017 cycle here:

The Benton County Auditors website is full of basic election information including filing fees, basic requirements to run for office and links to other important sites.  The auditor is preparing a packet for elections; it is not available at the sending of this email. You will definitely want to be familiar with this information.
Also note that when you file, publicly announce a candidacy or begin raising money, you must file with the PDC. Please see: for more information.

Election cycles are built around dates, and the first important date is the filing period.   This year it is May 15th through 20th, 2017.  You can file online.

A full calendar of election dates can be found at:
Also, it is not too early to think about running for a partisan position coming up in 2018...a state representative position of the 8th or 16th Legislative Districts or for Congress in the 4th Congressional District.
At a future date, all candidates will be invited to appear before Democratic leadership and Precinct Committee Officers to request support by the party.

Ready to Run: Pasco!  Sponsored by Amplify
April 29th 9 AM – 4:30 PM
Location: Local 598, 1328 N. 28th Ave. Pasco, WA
Sign up at:
Cost $20.00 (includes lunch)

Camp Wellstone - Seattle
May 19-21, 2017
Training is provided by some of the nation's leading experts in four different tracks: grassroots organizer, campaign workers, candidates, movement technology. Deadline to apply for this is April 12th.
Cost: $450 plus hotel & transportation

Online Links for Training: (Night School) *video tutorials  (Really rich resource, no charge)

offered by Benton County Democrats
Monday, April 24th, 2017
6:00-8:00 Local Candidates Panel
Location: Local 598, 1328 N. 28th Ave. Pasco, WA

If you are thinking of running, please attend. Please bring your spouse, partners, and potential members of your support team.
The Benton County Democrats organization is committed to recruiting and training candidates and campaign workers.  This 2 hour session will provide discussion on these topics:
1. What are the primary job duties of a city council member, school board member and port district commissioner.
2. What are the basics of running for office - costs, time commitments, fundraising, collecting good volunteers, preparing a campaign plan
3. Hear directly from people who've run for elected office.  How much of their own money did they spend, on what, best way to get your name and message out there and what's it really like to run for office.  You'll have a chance to talk with people who've run for office in the past, to learn from their hindsight and success. 
Confirmed Presenters at time of writing include:
Angie Tyree
Jay Clough
Carol Moser
Doug McKinley
Dori Luzzo Gilmour
Tom Moak
Rebecca Francik

Participation is free.  Campaign workers/volunteers are encouraged to attend this workshop as well.   We need to know how many to expect, please respond back to this email with your name, phone number, and which office you are interested in running for.
Here’s the Facebook link to the Introductory Workshop Event. Click here.
Elected officials should reflect their constituency.  We encourage people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, religious ideologies, sexual orientation, male and female to consider representing Benton County. 
In solidarity,
Heidi Hill
Christine Brown

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How to Write Effective Letters to Congress

Given developments in Congress over the first months of the Trump Presidency, including today's exercise of the "nuclear option" by Senate Republicans in order to ram through Neil Gorsuch's SCOTUS confirmation, I thought letters to our members of congress might be in order. I found this guide by Robert Longley for writing effective letters useful, and thought you might, too.

Real Letters Are Still the Best Way to Be Heard by Lawmakers
by Robert Longley
Updated March 02, 2017

People who think members of the U.S. Congress pay little or no attention to constituent mail are just plain wrong. Concise, well thought out personal letters are one of the most effective ways Americans have of influencing law-makers. But members of Congress get hundreds of letters and emails every day. Whether you choose to use the Postal Service or email, here are some tips that will help you write a letter to Congress that has impact.

Think Locally
It's usually best to send letters to the representative from your local Congressional District or the senators from your state. Your vote helps elect them—or not—and that fact alone carries a lot of weight. It also helps personalize your letter. Sending the same "cookie-cutter" message to every member of Congress may grab attention but rarely much consideration.

Keep it Simple
Your letter should address a single topic or issue. Typed, one-page letters are best. Many PACs (Political Action Committees) recommend a three-paragraph letter structured like this:
    1.    Say why you are writing and who you are. List your "credentials." (If you want a response, you must include your name and address, even when using email.)
    2.    Provide more detail. Be factual not emotional. Provide specific rather than general information about how the topic affects you and others. If a certain bill is involved, cite the correct title or number whenever possible.
    3.    Close by requesting the action you want taken: a vote for or against a bill, or change in general policy.

The best letters are courteous, to the point, and include specific supporting examples.

Addressing Members of Congress
To Your Senator:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:

To Your Representative:
The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:

The above addresses should be used in email messages, as well as those sent through the Postal Service.

Finding Their Addresses
Senate and House of Representatives
U.S. Senators (web sites and mailing addresses)
Write Your U.S. Representative (A service of the House that will assist you by identifying your Congressperson in the U.S. House of Representatives and providing contact information.
U.S. Supreme Court
Contact Information - US Supreme Court
The Justices do not have email addresses, but they do read letters from citizens.

To Conclude
Here are some key things you should always and never do in writing to your elected representatives.
    1.    Be courteous and respectful without "gushing."
    2.    Clearly and simply state the purpose of your letter. If it's about a certain bill, identify it correctly. If you need help in finding the number of a bill, use the Thomas Legislative Information System.
    3.    Say who you are. Anonymous letters go nowhere. Even in email, include your correct name, address, phone number and email address. If you don't include at least your name and address, you will not get a response.
    4.    State any professional credentials or personal experience you may have, especially those pertaining to the subject of your letter.
    5.    Keep your letter short—one page is best.
    6.    Use specific examples or evidence to support your position.
    7.    State what it is you want done or recommend a course of action.
    8.    Thank the member for taking the time to read your letter.

    1.    Use vulgarity, profanity, or threats. The first two are just plain rude and the third one can get you a visit from the Secret Service. Simply stated, don't let your passion get in the way of making your point,
    2.    Fail to include your name and address, even in email letters.
    3.    Demand a response.

Identifying Legislation
Cite these legislation identifiers when writing to members of Congress:
House Bills: "H.R._____"
House Resolutions: "H.RES._____"
House Joint Resolutions: "H.J.RES._____"
Senate Bills: "S._____"
Senate Resolutions: "S.RES._____"
Senate Joint Resolutions: "S.J.RES._____"

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tech Day for Socially [Media] Challenged

Tech Day at the Richland Library
Last Sunday dawned bright and sunny and instead of taking a walk in the park, I headed over to the Richland Library for a “Tech Day” designed to help bring the IT-challenged into the age of social media mania. The BCDCC Communications Committee organized the event; DeNomy Dage, Kendall Miller, Micki McKinley, Bonnie, Andy, Jenni, Jessica, Heidi, plus assorted volunteers. We are gratful to them all.

The exercise was meant to help the “resistance” use the power of social media to concentrate forces, and aid in focusing issue activism. Of particular importance was teaching trainees how to set up a Facebook account and follow event planning on sites such as:
Democrats of the Mid-Columbia
Democrats of the 8th Legislative District Washington
Indivisible Washington State 4th Congressional District
Love Not Hate Tri-Cities
March for Science Tri-Cities
Tri-Cities Citizens Climate Lobby

There was also a discussion of how to use Facebook and Twitter to “share” meaningful articles and dialogue, whether in our local Tri-City Herald, in the New York Times, or on the Daily Kos, etc. Any digital site worth reading will provide sharing logos for Facebook and Twitter, as well as Google+ and email. Click on the logo and the article is shared. Check the very bottom of this post and you’ll find those symbols and a few others.
Jessica Gonzales showing how to use Google Docs, with an assist from Kennedy
Jessica did a presentation on Goggle Docs, showing how to create and share documents, as well as how to create Goggle forms, which is useful for a number of things, including collecting information for volunteer organizations and/or events.

Bonnie Kendall, a recent devotee, did a presentation on Twitter and discussed how simple and straightforward it is to craft a quick, but meaningful 140-character message using hashtags (#) and the ‘at’ [@] symbol to share and direct a ‘tweet.’ She suggested “following” at least 20 people/sites, and “lurking” a bit once a Twitter account is set up in order to learn the ropes. You can start by following Bonnie (@BonnieKendall6).

After the presentations and general discussion, help stations were set up, with Mickey McKinley pushing tables all over the room, and one-on-one help was provided to those seeking additional instruction.

It was a great occasion. We should do it again.
Ann Fraser trying to talk her dad, Steve into actually using the Facebook account he set up.

I Called Rep Dan Newhouse & Urged Him to Support an Independent Investigation

This is his response. What do you think of it?

Dear Dr. Badalamente,

          Thank you for contacting my office with concerns about Russia’s influence over the Trump Administration.  It is important to hear from constituents as I work in Congress representing the people of Washington’s 4th District.  I sincerely appreciate you reaching out and sharing your views on this important issue.          

As you may be aware, prior to leaving office, the Obama Administration cited evidence that during the election Russia was involved with cyber-attacks on the Democratic National Committee, Republican National Committee, and other individuals and entities.  Some information that was obtained in these hacks was made public.  There is no evidence that voting machines were tampered with, but it is unacceptable to have any foreign government involved in our elections.  I believe we must do all we can to get to address these cyberattacks, and continue to investigate.       

You may be pleased to know that the FBI is investigating Russia’s potential role in last year’s elections and any potential ties between Trump officials and Russia.  Additionally, the Senate and House Intelligence Committee have promised to thoroughly investigate any contacts between Trump aides and the Kremlin.  In fact, the House Intelligence Committee has been conducting a long ongoing investigation into Russian activities since last year. It started before the election with concerns about Russia’s cyber activities and since the election the committee has broadened the scope of the investigation to include any involvement by Russia into our election, and any ties of Russian officials to any U.S. government official at any level.

In fact, the Intelligence Committee wants to know about any American citizens coordinating with the Russians.  Chairman Nunes and Ranking Member Schiff have, in a bipartisan manner, announced the parameters of their investigation, which you may learn more about by going to  Despite the leaks, we must be careful to ensure this classified investigation can continue.

While it is premature to prejudge the investigation, if our intelligence professionals uncover serious crimes, we must consider the appointment of a special prosecutor.  I believe that Congress has an obligation to protect our country from any foreign threats, and I will be sure to monitor these investigations as they are conducted.
 I hope you will continue to be in contact as Congress debates the many issues of importance to the country. I also encourage you to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter and to sign up for my e-newsletter for the latest updates on my work to represent Central Washington’s views in our nation’s capital. 

Thank you again for taking the time to share your concerns with me—I am always glad to hear from constituents of the 4th District. It is an honor and privilege to serve you in Congress.

Dan Newhouse
Member of Congress

Thursday, March 30, 2017

8th LD Priorities -- Quick Survey

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rogers Sold You to Charter

From Tech Crunch's Taylor Hatmaker 5 hours ago:

Today in a 215-205 vote on Senate Joint Resolution 34 (H. Res. 230), the House voted to repeal broadband privacy regulations that the Obama administration’s FCC introduced in 2016. In a narrower vote than some expected, 15 Republicans broke rank to join the 190 Democrats who voted against the repeal. The FCC rules, designed to protect consumers, required ISPs to seek consent from their customers in order to share their sensitive private data (it’s worth noting that ISPs can collect it, either way).

Today’s vote is a blow to anyone who’d prefer not to put their browsing history on blast, and a major victory for advertisers hungry for all of the de-anonymized personal data that they can vacuum up and dole out. With Congress and the FCC squarely in the latter’s camp, consumers who value privacy — and really, we all should — are in for a rough ride.

The language of the joint resolution is as follows:
This joint resolution nullifies the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission entitled “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services.” The rule published on December 2, 2016: (1) applies the customer privacy requirements of the Communications Act of 1934 to broadband Internet access service and other telecommunications services, (2) requires telecommunications carriers to inform customers about rights to opt in or opt out of the use or the sharing of their confidential information, (3) adopts data security and breach notification requirements, (4) prohibits broadband service offerings that are contingent on surrendering privacy rights, and (5) requires disclosures and affirmative consent when a broadband provider offers customers financial incentives in exchange for the provider’s right to use a customer’s confidential information.
The vote among Washington representatives looked like this:

Nay       D       DelBene, Suzan (WA 1st)
Nay       D       Larsen, Rick (WA 2nd)
Nay       R       Herrera Beutler, Jaime (WA 3rd)
Yea       R       Newhouse, Dan (WA 4th)
Yea       R       McMorris Rodgers, Cathy (WA 5th)

Nay       D       Kilmer, Derek (WA 6th)
Nay       D       Jayapal, Pramila (WA 7th)
Nay       R       Reichert, David (WA 8th)
Nay       D       Smith, Adam (WA 9th)
Nay       D       Heck, Denny (WA 10th)

"Hello, Charter? This is Dan. I voted 'Yea'. You're welcome.

I will call Dan Newhouse's office again tomorrow and tell him how disappointed I am in his vote. I'll also send him a postcard illustrating how I feel. What will you do?

Are you on line right now?

If you are on line, better check back over your shoulder. Charter is watching!

Last year the FCC passed a set of rules for how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) handle their customers’ data. The commonsense rules updated longstanding federal protections for Internet users. Under the rules, ISPs would be required to protect your data and wouldn’t be allowed to do a host of creepy things, including sell your Internet browsing records without your consent.

Those rules were a huge victory for consumers. Of course, the ISPs that stand to make money off of violating your privacy have been lobbying Congress to repeal those rules. Unfortunately, their anti-consumer push has been working.

The Senate voted last week 50-48 on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to repeal the FCC’s privacy rules.

The House votes on it TODAY.
If the House passes it, you’ll be even more at the mercy of your ISP. Because Congress is using a CRA resolution, the FCC will be prohibited from writing similar rules in the future. And thanks to the current legal landscape, no other federal agency has the authority to protect you against privacy invasions by your ISP.

Call Rep. Dan Newhouse today and urge him to oppose S.J. Res. 34, which would repeal the FCC’s broadband privacy rules.

Rep. Dan Newhouse contact information:
Washington, DC
adr: 1641 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
ph: (202) 225-5816
fax: (202) 225-3251
Yakima, WA
adr: 402 East Yakima Avenue, Suite 445, Yakima, WA 98902
ph: (509) 452-3243
fax: (509) 452-3438

Monday, March 27, 2017

Writing Your Members of Congress

Postcard Writers at Ethos Bakery Sunday Afternoon
Several Progressives gathered at Ethos Bakery last Sunday afternoon to participate in another Sunday postcard writing session. Postcards, postage, and address labels were provided. Coffee, tea, and pastries were avaiable to keep the activist fires burning.

The group that does this is Tri-Cities Postcard-Writing Sundays. Go to their page and get on their mailing list to be notified of future gatherings.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Power of Citizens

Today was a reminder of the power of citizens. Thousands of you voiced your opposition to the Trump Administration's healthcare bill. And today, the bill was pulled from the House floor due to lack of support. Your calls, letters, and emails made a difference. 
This was people power in action. We were able to stop a bad bill that would have negatively affected thousands of Washingtonians from moving forward. Thank you for standing up and making your voice heard. People power works!
We have more fights ahead but I'm encouraged by today's good news. Thanks again for all you do. It's an honor to represent you.  
Derek Kilmer

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The GOP American Health Care Act is Outrageous

From Indivisible Washington

Republicans are rushing to get their outrageous American Health Care Act (AHCA) through before the upcoming April recess, ignoring the normal legislative process, because they don’t want to face you, their constituents. They are moving forward even though we now know, from estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, that TrumpCare will lead to at least 24 million Americans losing their coverage, higher premiums for consumers, and a $600 billion tax break on the wealthy and corporations.

Members of Congress need to know that you reject TrumpCare. The bill the House will be voting on this Thursday would harm millions of Americans. It gives wealthy Americans, insurance companies, drug companies, and other corporations tax breaks. These tax cuts are paid for on the backs of poor and middle class Americans by dramatically scaling back the subsidies that low- and moderate-income families use to purchase affordable health care as well by gutting the Medicaid program.1 The changes to Medicaid financing would not only end Medicaid expansion but also jeopardize states’ long-term financing of the program and their ability to provide coverage to other populations who depend on the program—for example, children, the elderly, and the disabled.

Call your representative in the House and tell them to vote NO on TrumpCare. Tell them you oppose any plan that does not preserve the coverage gains and quality of care under the ACA. First, Do No Harm. Reject TrumpCare.

TrumpCare Details: The CBO score is in and (surprise, surprise!) TrumpCare is even worse than we feared
  • 24 million Americans would lose coverage over the next 10 years—14 million in the first year alone
  • 2 million Americans with employer-sponsored coverage would lose it by 2020; 7 million would lose it over 10 years
  • Higher premiums, higher deductibles, and more out-of-pocket costs
  • Insurance premiums would skyrocket by 20% by 2019
  • $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid funding while giving rich Americans and corporations a $592 billion tax cut
Call NOW and tell your members of Congress that you oppose the AHCA. Go here to see scripts you can use, if you'd like. Then go to the Indivisible Facebook page and post your experience.

I just finished talking with "Andrew" in Rep Dan Newhouse's office (202-225-516). He was very pleasant and promised to pass on my comments.

And keep sending in those postcards!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Trump Budget Slams Science and Rips the Safety Net

Trump’s proposed budget is out. Here are some of the worst cuts for our state that he's proposing.
1.   Transportation - Trump’s budget would cut important local infrastructure projects including funding to help build Link light rail in Lynnwood, Federal Way, & Tacoma and expand Bus Rapid Transit in Spokane, Everett, & Seattle. This despite his pledge to make massive infrastructure investments.
2.   Environmental - The budget makes massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency – cutting the budget by 31% and laying off a fifth of the employees. It would end funding for climate change research, cut funding for clean up of SuperFund toxic waste sites, and reduce grants to help cities and states fight air pollution. Trump believes climate change is a hoax, so he's following through on his beliefs, no matter how absurd they are.
3.   Agriculture and Farming - Trump proposes to cut billions from the Agriculture Department, hurting farmers and needy families. He’d cut hundreds of millions from Women/Infant/Children Nutrition Assistance, and rural development and research grants would be on the chopping block as well. Even the Meals On Wheels program and after-school lunches for poor children would be cut!
4.   College Access and Affordability - The budget would cut $3.9 billion from Pell Grants, financial aid that’s critical to helping students and families afford college. This budget would close the door of opportunity to millions and prevent students from getting the skills, experience, and training they need to succeed. But remember, Trump "loves the uneducated," so this makes sense to him.
5.   Jobs - The 21 percent proposed cut in the Labor Department reduces funding for job training programs that benefit seniors and disadvantaged youth. The budget eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which helps low-income seniors find work and closes poor-performing centers for Job Corps, a job-training program for disadvantaged youth. This doesn't track with Trump's pledge to concentrate on "jobs, jobs, jobs."
6.   Health and Scientific Research - Health and Human Services would face devastating cuts, and more than a third of the $15.1 billion in cuts would affect the National Institutes of Health, the government’s main engine of biomedical research. Make America Sick Again! Get the tee shirt.
7.   Children - The Education Department faces a $9 billion cut under the Trump administration budget, which would downsize or eliminate a raft of grants, including for teacher training, afterschool programs, and aid to low-income and minority college students. These colossal cuts to our schools are a betrayal of our commitment to students. While the budget doesn’t detail effects on the Head Start preschool program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, these important supports for vulnerable children could be slashed as well. I can't think of anything funny about this, can you?
8.   Housing and FEMA - The Trump budget would cut $6 billion from affordable housing and community development grants – grants that have funded important projects like recovery from natural disasters and improvements in low-income neighborhoods. Add the GOP American Health Care Act, and you have a prescription for genocide of the poor in America.
9.   Weather and Hurricane, Tornado and Tsunami preparedness - We didn’t think that NOAA and the National Weather Service would be partisan targets – shouldn’t everyone want decent weather forecasting? But Trump’s budget would cut funding from all sorts of weather and coastal programs at the Department of Commerce, including helping coastal communities prepare for storms, satellites for tracking weather and supporting forecasting, and climate change research efforts. Meanwhile, Trump's family is safe in Trump Tower.
10.        The Arts and Public Broadcasting - We spend hardly any public money on the arts, especially when compared to military spending. But Trump’s budget would still eliminate the $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - aka PBS and NPR – as well as the National Endowment for the Arts and funding for libraries and museums across the country. Trump has his own ideas about art.

Show Up, Speak Up, Influence Planning for the City of Richland

What are your issues and/or concerns; traffic, bike lanes, open spaces, river access, electric vehicle charging stations, coal trains, water resources, homeless, community  policing...?

Attend this public open house and make your issues/concerns and recommendations known to the commission. Now is the time!

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Friday, March 17, 2017

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Draw your postcards and get 'em in the mail!

We have a lot of artistic people in our mix. A picture can sometimes convey how we feel about proposed legislation as effectively, or even more effectively, than the written word. Postcards are especially suited to pictures -- isn't that what they were made for?

So, draw your postcards and mail them to members of congress. Take a quick photo of your creation and post it in the comments section of this blog. Let's see what you've got!

Here's mine on the GOP American Health Care Act -- AHCA.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Statement by Derek Kilmer (D-WA6)

The debate about repealing the Affordable Care Act is neither disconnected nor distant – it’s about people. Real people who will suffer real consequences if the Republican repeal plan were to pass. 
  • It’s about the breast cancer survivor in Gig Harbor who told me that she's only here because of treatment she received through the Medicaid expansion. 
  • It’s about the mom in Tacoma who was able to make sure that her daughter's bi-polar disorder was treated by keeping her on the family's insurance plan until she was 26. 
  • It’s about all of the seniors I represent that will face premium costs up to 5 times more than younger individuals under the repeal plan.
  • It’s about the 24 million Americans expected to lose their insurance under the Trumpcare plan and for every person who will see their insurance premiums rise – on average 10-15 percent.
  • It’s about women. One in every five women in our country have gotten care from Planned Parenthood, and they may lose access to mammograms, cancer screenings, and primary care if this bill passes.
  • It’s about the 1.3 million people who have received treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders who may lose access to those vital services under this bill.
  • And it’s about the people who will lose access to preventive services from our public health departments because this misguided bill completely eliminates the Center for Disease Control’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.
It’s for all of these people that I will vote no.
There is still plenty we need to do to improve our healthcare system. There are positive changes that can be made to the Affordable Care Act. In fact, I've proposed changes to the law to improve rural health care, enhance affordability for small businesses, and strengthen primary care. 

But Trumpcare doesn't represent progress. Asking people to pay more for less heath care coverage is a move backward.  

Please know that I will keep fighting the fight for the folks I represent. As always, I’m honored to represent you.
- Derek

Proposed Amendment to 8th LLDO by-Laws

Currently, 8th LDDO By-laws are inconsistent with the WSDCC and BCDCC by-laws/rules in not specifying that voting by proxy is permitted. Without such specificity, the issue devolves to RRO, which prohibits proxy voting unless otherwise stipulated.

We want to expand our reach and engagement of the wider membership. Allowing proxy voting helps do that. We have a lot going on that generates voting. Let’s get everyone involved!

BCDCC Rules that stipulate the rules under which proxy voting is permitted under Article XI of the BCDCC By-Laws are:
Voting by proxy shall be permitted in accordance with the following rules:
a. All proxies must be in writing, and either signed by the member or accompanied
by a signed letter attesting to the wishes of the member, and designating who will
vote the proxy.
b. No person will hold more than one general and uninstructed proxy.
c. Proxies are nontransferable.
d. In order to vote a general and uninstructed proxy, the holder must register the
proxy with the Secretary of the Central Committee before a vote is taken
e. All specific and instructed proxies must be registered with the Secretary before a
vote is taken, and shall be tallied for inclusion in the final vote count.
f. The holder of the proxy must reside in Benton County.

 I recommend these be adopted verbatim under Article III of the 8th LD By-Laws.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Benton County Democrats and 8th LDDO Wednesday Meeting

The Benton County and 8th Legislative District Democrats will hold their regular monthly meeting this coming Wednesday, March 15th, at the union's labor hall on Duportail, just off the bypass in Richland. The 8th LD meets at 6:00 pm followed immediately by the BCDCC at 7:00 pm.

The proposaed 8th LDDO agenda follows:
  1. Call to Order by Chair 6PM
  2. Adoption of Minutes as sent out on March 14th 6:02PM
  3. Adoption of the Agenda 6:04PM
  4. Officer Reports 6:05 PM – 6:25 PM
  5. Treasurer
  6. Secretary
  7. State Committee Woman
  8. State Committee Man
  9. Chair of Activism
  10. Chair of Fundraising
  11. Chair of Elections Vice Chair
  12. Chair Report 6:25 PM
  13. Our Revolution
  14. Candidate/Campaign Training Opportunity
  15. Monthly State Committee Meeting Update
  16. Budget
  17. Good of the Order 6:45 PM
  18. Adjournment 7:00PM
8th Legislative District Meeting Minutes, February 15, 2017

I. Skye called the meeting to order at 6:08 PM on February 15, 2017 at the Laborers Hall 348. A flag salute is conducted.
II. Adoption of the Agenda
Motion is made to adopt the agenda as e-mailed out prior to meeting. Motion carried.
III. Guest Speaker Leo Perales
Leo spoke on the Inclusive Community Resolution in Kennewick. Took questions. Motion made: The 8th LD encourages the cities within our communities to support similar inclusive resolutions. Seconded. Motion passed.
IV. Officer Reports
A) Brent Kirby – Treasurer – 8th LD currently has $2,458 in checking and $375 in savings.
B) Carl Sjostrand – Secretary – Updated body on the previous motion to purchase a recorder. New motion was made for: The 8th LD to purchase of a PA System, with the cost split between the 8th LD and Benton County CC, for use in the meeting space; if Benton County fails to pass the motion to split, the 8th LD covers the cost itself. Seconded. Motion carried.
C) Barbara O’Brien – State Committee Woman – Spoke on the state committee meeting she attended. Full comments are attached. Took questions.
D) Jay Clough – State Committee Man – Also spoke on state meeting. Jay was elected for 4th CD Executive Board, spoke on the state chair election, took questions.
E) Matt Bonomo – Spoke on upcoming DNC elections, state bills SJM 8000 and HJM 4003. Took questions.
V. PCO Outreach Update
Allison Dabler spoke on the need and recruitment of PCOs and further outreach. Took questions.
VI. Chair Report
A) Standing Committees
a. Legislative Candidate Search Committee

i. Nancy Washton appointed as chair. Body votes and approves.
b. Fundraising Committee
i. Angie Mykel appointed as chair. Body votes and

B) Additional Committees a. Bylaws Committee
i. Chuck LoPresti appointed as chair. Body votes and approves.
b. Audit Committee
i. Stacy Cash-Ware is appointed as chair. Body votes and

c. Community Activism Committee

i. Jill Mulhasen is appointed as chair. Body votes and approves.
VII. Good of the Order
  1. A)  Question of committee meeting times/8th LD website.
  2. B)  Reminder to body of Protest Tuesdays at John Dam Plaza.
  3. C)  $229 was collected at the meeting for the 8th LD.
VIII. Adjournment
Skye adjourned meeting at 7:01 PM Minutes submitted by: Carl Sjostrand

The BCDCC agenda follows:

1. Call to order
2. Flag Salute
3. Special order of Business
    *Young Dems food fundraiser
    *Guest Speaker: Indivisible group

4. Report of Committees
    *Labor and Commerce
    *Platform and Legislation

5. Report of the Officers
    *Recording Secretary
    *Vice Chair

6. BCDCC Chairs Report
    *Candidates running for open seats and upcoming elections
    *House Bill 1723
        -Action moving forward
        -Yays and Nays for bill
    *Political Movement moving forward/Together as one!

7. Old Business

8. New business
    *If not having already done so, approve Bylaws, Policy Guide and Rules

9. Good of the order

10. Adjourn

Please review last month's meeting minutes prior to the meeting.