Executives Board


steveSteve Schmidt
Chair

Steve began his political career when he was elected PCO in Kansas in 1979. In 1980, he was appointed to the Executive Committee and continued as both a PCO and a member of the Executive Committee until 2001. During the period from 1990 – 2002, he worked on several Kansas campaigns, including the election of the first female governor of Kansas Joan Finney. From Kansas, Steve moved to Walla Walla and was elected PCO in 2012 and has operated as a member of the Executive Committee since 2012, serving as both chair and vice chair. Steve’s goal for the Walla Walla Democrats is for the group to grow the Central Committee and voter base in Walla Walla County.
joanna-cropJoanna Cowles
Vice Chair 1

Joanna has lived in College Place since 2001 and enjoys the friendly, small-community feel of the Walla Walla Valley. As a conservation biologist at the Walla Walla County Conservation District, she works with local landowners to design and implement stream and habitat restoration projects throughout the county. In 2015, Joanna began attending local democratic meetings and became involved with events during the election season. She is passionate about upholding women’s rights, fighting for equality in LGBT and racial minority communities, and combating climate change.
john-cropJohn Knapp
Vice Chair 2

John was raised in Southern California. Over his lifetime, he has lived in Seattle, Minneapolis, Montana, and Walla Walla. With a background in Theology and Science, John is a Lutheran minister who graduated from seminary school in 1973. John has spent the last 35 years operating a furniture repair business, Knapp Furniture Restoration, in Walla Walla. John joined the Walla Walla Democratic Central committee in 1980 and is a current Vice Chair of the Walla Walla County Democrats.
don-cropDon Schwerin
State Committeeman

Don was raised on a dry land wheat-pea-cattle operation in Walla Walla County. He did his undergraduate work at Whitman College and graduate work at the University of Minnesota in political science. Following an academic career of political economy in Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, he returned in 1985 to a second career as a farmer and manufacturer in Walla Walla. A failed attempt in 1992 to win the 16th LD senate seat led him to work for Congressman Tom Foley as his agricultural specialist in the 5th CD. After the 1994 election, Don moved into an accounting role for Seneca Foods in Dayton and eventually managed the plant, in time to to close down the plant and ship it to Peru. He retired as CFO from the Walla Walla Housing Authority. Don has been PCO with the Walla Walla Democrats since 1985 and has served two terms as state committeeman. He was elected to the Executive Board in 2015. Since 1996 Don has been commissioner for Walla Walla County Fire District 8. Don and his wife Anne-Marie, executive director of the Walla Walla YWCA, live on a wheat farm in the hills outside Dixie.
generic-femaleHelen Hansens
State Committeewoman

Helen was born and raised in Walla Walla and became politically involved at an early age. A staunch Republican, at 11, she was campaigning for Richard Nixon. She moved to the Seattle area in her 20s, eventually settling in Edmonds, Snohomish County, and found herself moving away from the Republican party as the GOP moving in a direction which challenged feminist principles and civil rights protection, and encouraged isolationism, religious intolerance, and normalized bigotry that has become a smoke screen to hide real issues confronting America: social and economic injustice, an imploding healthcare system, failing infrastructure, failing schools, an exploding criminal justice system, stressed cities and on-going assaults on the environment. Her political allegiance shifted to the Democrats in the 1980s. While living in Edmonds, Helen served as a delegate from the 21st LD to the Snohomish County E-Board, was a member of both the Snohomish County and Washington State Platform Committees, was chosen as a delegate to 3 state conventions, and was active in more than a dozen campaigns. Since returning to Walla Walla in 2013, she has become Vice-Chair to the 16th LD Dems, was seated as an alternate delegate to the 2016 state convention and worked on multiple campaigns. Helen was recently elected State Committeewoman for the Walla Walla Democrats.
nancyNancy Monacelli
Treasurer

Nancy is a California transplant, having lived and raised her five children in Whatcom County prior to moving east of the mountains in 1996. She has spent her career working with manufacturers, the past 25 years as a software developer and consultant. A Democrat since her first election, Nancy became more active with her local Democratic community after giving up the life of a road warrior. She has served as PCO, LD state committeewoman, county treasurer, booth worker, door-knocker, phone banker, volunteer wrangler, caucus organizer, spokesperson and all-around gofer for the Walla Walla County and 16th LD Democrats and is currently an elected DNC member. She is also deeply involved with issues of homelessness and mental health. Nancy and her husband, Richard, live in Walla Walla with Bob the dog, Gonta the cat, their seven horses and a revolving door of extended family.
danielle-cropDanielle Wilson
Secretary

Danielle is originally from Honolulu, HI and moved to Walla Walla in 2009 to attend Whitman College. Danielle has been working with the Walla Walla County Democrats for the last year and was recently appointed Secretary.