About Us

We are the Democrats – the party of the people, the party of good government. We believe in the values of community, dignity, equality, fairness, respect, and tolerance. We believe that through good government great things are accomplished. We pledge ourselves to a government that serves and protects its people, with liberty and justice for all.

The Walla Walla County Democrats meet at 6:30 p.m. on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, in the Board Room of the Walla Walla School District Building, 364 S Park St, Walla Walla. Everyone is welcome. (Currently, all meetings are virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Contact us for details or sign up for our mailing list.)

Executive Board

john-cropJohn Knapp

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 Chair of the Walla Walla County Democrats.

joanna-cropJoanna Cowles Cleveland
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.

Dillon Benitez
Vice Chair 2
Dillon was born and raised in Wai’anae, Hawai’i and moved to Walla Walla in 2011. Dillon first became interested in politics during the election of Barack Obama and got involved in his community, attending neighborhood board meetings and rallies at the state capital to advocate for funding of services and programs for at-risk youths. After moving to Walla Walla, Dillon became involved in local politics after attending a “meet the candidate” event and was appointed a PCO and elected Vice Chair of the 16th Legislative District Democrats from 2017-2018, he was then elected as a PCO and Vice Chair of the Walla Walla County Democrats in 2018. Dillon has a passion for environmental stewardship and national service and served as an AmeriCorps member with the Washington Conservation Corps from 2017 – 2019 responding to natural disasters across the country and caring for our natural resources here in Washington State.  When Dillon is not volunteering with the Democrats he enjoys giving back to his community as a member of the Disaster Action Team at the American Red Cross and a Volunteer Firefighter for Walla Walla County Fire District #8. Dillon currently works as a Park Ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Walla Walla.

Woody Simmons
State Committeeman

Helen 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

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.