This Week In Review – from the Washington State Democratic Party

This was a big week in national and Washington politics – but we’ll help you stay up to date on what’s going on, and what you can do to help out and advance the cause of progressive policies and politics.

1. Legislation Moves Forward In Olympia

It’s cutoff week for bills to move out of committee in Olympia, and Democrats are hard at work on good legislation on some of the most important issues facing Washington families and communities right now:

Standing Up for Immigrants – While Washington State leads the way in federal lawsuits against the Trump administration, local Democrats are working to protect immigrants here at the state level. HB 2097 would limit the ability of government to collect information on a person’s religious affiliation, and would prevent law enforcement from enforcing or assisting with any registry that the federal government may create based on religious affiliation, while HB 2029 would create a telephone hotline and website managed through the Human Rights Commission to refer people to assistance for immigration and citizenship issues.
Funding K-12 Education – Democrats made education funding the priority and it was the first bill passed off the House floor. Our state’s public schools are facing the largest funding cut in state history unless Senate Republicans join Democrats in passing the “levy cliff bill” (HB 1059).
Lowering the Cost of College – Democrats passed HB 1440 out of committee, which would prevent student loan services from taking advantage of students and families with misleading information or unfair fees.
Economic Opportunity – Democrats are moving legislation to fund a paid family leave program so that workers can have time for major life events like the birth of a child or a major medical emergency without losing their job, so that all workers can benefit from these important protections.
Voting Rights – Democrats passed the Washington Voting Rights Act out of committee, which would help ensure our elections are free and fair for all.

2. WA Republicans Refuse To Hold Town Halls

Across the country, people are speaking out to defend health care and the Affordable Care Act and to hold Republicans accountable for the disgraceful acts of the Trump Administration. Members of Congress work for us, and it’s part of their job to listen to their constituents.

Here in Washington, our Republican members of Congress are taking a different approach. The Seattle Times reports that Republicans are REFUSING to schedule town hall meetings during the Congressional recess next week:

What Reichert refuses to do — despite a push by many in his district — is show up and answer questions in person at a traditional town-hall meeting.

Reichert, who declined to be interviewed for this story, views such gatherings — a time-honored practice for many in Congress — as pointlessly chaotic.

With Congress on a break next week, representatives are facing increased pressure to meet with voters who want to challenge them on President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown, Cabinet picks and revelations about the Trump campaign’s pre-election contacts with Russia.

He added there was “a mission” among some to “disrupt the offices of certain members … to make us look inaccessible, unresponsive and like we’re not doing anything.”

Congressman Reichert – you don’t need anyone’s help to look inaccessible, unresponsive, and like you’re not doing anything. It’s a very accurate description of how you’re running your office!

If Republicans won’t hold town hall meetings, we’ll hold rallies at their offices. See below for details!

3. Trump Administration In Disarray

It should be no surprise that Trump’s administration is in complete disarray. From firing National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for illegal communication with Russia during the campaign, to our defeat of Trump’s labor secretary nominee Andrew Pudzer, to Trump’s rambling and distressing press conference Thursday – there’s almost too much going on to keep track of. And it’s only the first month! This might be the worst start to a presidential administration in history.

By keeping up pressure on Congress and the administration, we can hold them accountable and force them in the right direction. We’ve seen how we can beat Trump, with wins like the court ruling blocking his illegal Muslim travel ban and defeating the nomination of Pudzer for Secretary of Labor. It won’t be easy, but we have the people on our side and we can succeed!

What you can do

1. Rally At Republican Offices!

If Republicans won’t hold town hall meetings, we’ll go to their offices to rally! We’re working with labor, faith, and community organizations to hold rallies next week in all four districts represented by Republicans – join us at their offices and help us voice our concerns about repeal of the Affordable Care Act, efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and a “Muslim ban” that has sown chaos in the airports and torn families apart. Our members of Congress work for us, and it’s their job to listen!

Details for the regional town halls are:

Vancouver – Rep. Jaime Herrera Butler

Tuesday, February 21

11 AM – 1 PM

At the office of Rep. Jaime Herrera Butler

750 Anderson St Ste B, Vancouver, Washington 98661

Facebook event link

Yakima – Rep. Dan Newhouse

Wednesday, February 22

11 AM – 1 PM

At the office of Rep. Dan Newhouse

402 E Yakima Ave, Yakima, WA 98901

Facebook event link

Spokane – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Thursday, February 23

11 AM – 1 PM

At the office of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

10 N Post St Ste 625, Spokane, Washington 99201

Facebook event link

Issaquah – Rep. Dave Reichert

Thursday, February 23

11 AM – 1 PM

At the office of Rep. Dave Reichert

22605 SE 56th St, Issaquah, Washington

Facebook event link

2. Fully Funding Education!

We know that fully funding education is the top priority for the legislature this year. The state House of Representatives has passed their education funding plan out of committee and we need to let legislators know that the people of Washington support HB 1843, the Democratic plan to fully funding education!

1843 will help schools across the state, raise teacher pay, lower class sizes, and provide the resources students need to succeed. You can call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 to be connected with the offices of your legislators, and share a message like this:

“Hello, my name is _________. We need to pass a plan to fully fund education in Washington state, and HB 1843 is the right approach. The Democrat plan provides the resources that students and teachers need to succeed and it’s the fair solution for the people of Washington. Thank you!”

3. Help fund our grassroots organizing – join the DEM club!

We’re looking to expand our communications program and hire organizers to help the grassroots activate against Donald Trump and the Republicans. Joining our Democrats Every Month club (the DEM club!) is a great way to make a small monthly commitment to support Democratic organizing and progressive politics.

If you’ve already signed up for the DEM club, send this link or forward this email to a friend and encourage them to join us! This is the most important thing we can do to build our Party and the progressive movement.

Thank you for your support!