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November 20, 2005

Thursday Evening at the 36th

Last Thurday evening, the thundering 36th LD, a robust Democratic Club that encompasses Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard and part of Belltown, held its annual auction and fundraiser at the Pacific Science Center.  Between 150 and 175 people were in attendance.  Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 36th LD Senator, and Helen Sommers and Mary Lou Dickerson, Representatives, were all present as well.  Kohl-Welles emceed the event which included food and drink, a silent auction and a panel of politicos talking about the impact of the last election and what Democrats need to be doing next.

The panel included Pam Eakes, currently working on Howard Dean’s staff in the other Washington; Eric Liu, DEMOS Board Member; Jeannie Kohl-Welles; James Kelly, President of the Urban League; Helen Sommers; Edie Gilliss, Political Director of the Progressive Majority; and Christian Sinderman, political consultant. 

Here’s a quick run-down of what each of them said:

Christian Sinderman: This was a good election for incumbents and for Democrats.  There were few upsets; with few exceptions, incumbents won.  He added that there was a nice win for the environment in Snohomish County with Dave Somers’ win over Jeff Sax. Best were the big wins in the defeats of initiatives 912 and 330. 

Edie Gilliss: She added that it was a good year for progressives.  She said we retained the Whatcom County Council for progressives and won back the Councils in both Snohomish County and Clark County.  She said the Republicans had thought they might make inroads but didn’t.  In the next year we have great opportunities to take back more seats in the suburban crescent.

Helen Sommers: She said it’s been an incredible few weeks on the national scene with the indictment against Libby and the wins in Virginia and New Jersey.  She talked about how Bush’s attitude of being right all the time doesn’t seem to be playing out with the public very well.  She then talked about the events in this state and how well we did bringing together labor and business to defeat 912.  She and Mary Lou were very active in working against 912 in our district, including raising money for wonderful lawn signs.

James Kelly: He talked about how the legislature and governor provided leadership for the Transportation bill this spring.  Then with Hurricane Katrina, it became clear how important it was to address our infrastructure.  Because of the leadership out of Olympia, the voters decided not to support rolling back the Transportation bill.

Senator Kohl-Welles: There were other groups that helped defeat 912 and Dave Ross on KIRO radio did a good job of laying out the facts every chance he got.  She said that having 912 on the ballot was more about embarrassing Chris Gregoire than it was about transportation.  Then the Republicans tried to intimidate the voters.  She also talked about the importance of next year’s elections, especially in the Senate which traditionally changes back and forth between the two parties.  But next year, they are hoping to pick up 1-3 seats which should make passing the Civil Rights bill easier.  It is really important to reelect Democrats and keep and expand that majority.

Eric Liu: He said that Jeannie Kohl-Welles exemplifies a kind of leadership that doesn’t glorify the self.  Her leadership is not about her. He then said that the defeat of 912 was not only about transportation or Gregoire.  The people were sending a basic message that we believe in government.  They affirmed the purpose of government.  There are certain things we can’t do alone – develop good transportation, create jobs, provide adequate healthcare.  People are hungry for leadership that sends that message.  It’s what we yearn for and it’s up to us to start telling that story.   

Pam Eakes: She said she came across the country to bring a message from Governor Dean to one of his favorite places – Seattle and the state of Washington.  He has only been in office 9 months and this was his first challenge.  She talked about the national wins and said that Tim Kaine’s victory in Virginia meant that the politics of Karl Rove is toast.  His opponent’s attack ads backfired, as did bringing in President Bush to campaign.  President Bush put it over the top for the Democrats. 

Then she shared a few highlights.  Blacks turned out in high numbers, perhaps as a result of Bush’s treatment of blacks in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  In New Jersey, Democrats expected to win but not by the numbers that we did.  She mentioned the defeat of Schwartznegger’s initiatives in California and then said that her favorite was the defeat of the incumbent mayor in St. Paul, a Democrat who had supported Bush last year. 

She also said that the defeat of 912 made national news and that there was a big gender gap in the voting for and against 912.  Women really came out against 912.  She went on to say that the DNC is optimistic about 2008.  At the DNC, Governor Dean has put together a great team and a great program.  The DNC is paying for 4 staffers in each state.  They are training them, giving them benefits, and consequentially planning to keep them in these roles and to raise the level of professionalism.

Posted by Lynn Allen on November 20, 2005 at 10:00 PM in Inside Baseball | Permalink

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» EP covers Edie at the 36th LD from Progressive Majority Washington
Evergreen Politics covers Washington State Political Director Edie Gilliss' recent participation at the 36th LD Democrats post-election forum. You can read it by clicking here. [Read More]

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