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July 27, 2007

Meet my Dad - Everett City Council candidate

[Cross-posted at Washblog]

This is my Dad, Jackie Minchew. He's running for position 7 on the Everett City Council, and we could use a hand. I want to tell you about him, but I will tell you upfront that I'll be asking for contributions and (this Saturday!) help doorbelling for him, if you happen to live in the great Northwest. So yes, there is an ask for contributions, but this is more about introducing my Dad to people who should know about him. If you don't want to or can't contribute, that's cool, but please read on and learn more about him. He's pretty remarkable, I'm proud of him, and I think this community should know more about what he stands for. Also contribute. ;-)

Some biographical stuff - my Dad grew up in Arkansas in the '50's and '60's. Prime time for the civil rights movement! My grandparents were very blue-collar, my grandfather a WWII vet and lifelong civil servant, and my grandmother a factory worker until she retired. Before becoming a teacher, my Dad followed in their blue-collar footsteps and was never afraid to get his hands dirty (unlike his good-for-nothing son who blogs). I don't know if it means anything to him, but I'm still proud of his plaques for the years in which he worked at Dow Chemical without missing a day for illness or injury - all while attending college full time!

His political participation actually got started in high school, when one of his teachers ("Mama Mac", or Mrs. McLaren) told her students to get out and get politically active. Remember when we taught civics? So he joined "caravans" and got to work on some campaigns. This led him to involvement with campaigns for David Pryor (Mark Pryor holds his father's old Senate seat today) and Dale Bumpers. He's not proud of his two votes for Nixon, but he promises he's fully reformed. Hey, nobody's perfect! He voted for Winthrop Rockefeller to replace Orval Faubus after the infamous segregationist standoff in Little Rock (worth noting that my Dad has worked for all three Democrats who defeated Faubus in Democratic primaries - Bumpers, Pryor and Bill Clinton).

For a time, he disengaged from politics as many of us occasionally have. He had a young (and eventually ungrateful) son to raise, a wife to happily spend his time with, was finishing college and starting a new career...you know, stuff that commands your attention.

Ronald Reagan changed that. My folks were on to the "morning in America" nonsense from the get-go. Finally fed up, when '92 rolled around, all three of us threw ourselves into the Clinton campaign. We became voter registrars and signed up voters, we phonebanked. After that, he stayed interested but mostly kept his distance until I had "the" talk with my folks: Mom, Dad...have I told you the good news about Howard Dean? He swiftly became a vocal advocate for Dean, progressive issues, an active member of the Party and sought-out campaign volunteer (because his type-A workaholic nature is perfect for what we do!). His integrity and willingness to work tirelessly endeared him to folks at all levels of local politics, both in the Party and at the grassroots level. Those of you who work in netroots know that is a difficult line to cross and come back unscathed.

Anyhoo, to finish off the biographical stuff...after the Dean campaign, after my Dad threw himself into work for local candidates, Patty Murray, John Kerry, etc. (and my Mom flew herself to Florida to work with voters there), he kept up the energy. He became chairman of Democracy for Snohomish County, and this year was elected the Chair of the 44th District Democrats. Two years ago, he entered his first race, as candidate for Position 3 on the Everett city council. Running on a sustainable energy platform against an entrenched old-money incumbent, he couldn't quite get the votes he needed, but he scored a victory by making sustainable energy an issue in not just his campaign but others in the city.

This year, while sustainable energy is still a passion and he intends to fight for sustainable solutions on the council, he's shining the spotlight on a different issue. The new hot item for land developers, always on the lookout for cheap and profitable properties, is manufactured home parks. They swoop in, buy 10 (or 30 or 60) acres for a few hundred thousand, evict all the homeowners, then either sell it for a huge profit or build...whatever will make money. Meanwhile, the former homeowners, already living where they are not by choice but typically because they can afford nowhere else, are left with either no home (but still a mortgage to pay), forced to move their home at a cost which can actually exceed the home's worth, or forced to pay for the owner to bulldoze their home. It isn't just Washington, this is happening all over the country. The law provides owners the opportunity and protection if they decide to sell or redevelop. How many folks who've worked all their lives, paid their taxes, and have sunk what's left of their savings into a manufactured home must be forced to walk away from their home, or worse, have to pay to have their own home bulldozed, then go find someplace to live and keep paying the mortgage on the home that no longer exists?

My Dad describes this as "a cultural imperative that declares profit to be more important than people." This is exactly what we're talking about - a society that values profit over people, wealth over work, that uses people up and throws them away. He wants to start changing this. There are legislative ways to protect tenants and ensure they have a chance to survive. States and counties (New Hampshire and New Jersey are examples) have started passing laws to give tenants the chance to protect their property and helps level the playing field a bit for the little guy.

There are other issues my Dad sees as important, but you've read the important stuff - how he views society, how he views responsibility, the respect he believes we owe those who have worked to build the society we enjoy today. So you see why I'm proud of him, why I'm spending this Saturday doorbelling for him, and why I'm asking for your help. You see, he's got good endorsements from the Sierra Club, Washington Conservation Voters, DFA, and elected officials throughout the county. He's got good name ID. But he's got a primary coming up and after that (if we do our jobs right) a general election against a Republican who's funded by the pharmaceuticals.

So here's the deal: If you can, and you don't live someplace where you can knock on doors for him, we'd love a contribution. My Dad won't take PAC money and believes in listening to your voice, not your wallet, so we ask that you keep your contribution under $100 - 5 bucks, 10 bucks, 50 bucks - whatever you're comfortable with. And if you DO live nearby, stop by this Saturday for the Washington Conservation Voters day of action and knock on some doors with us! WCV has endorsed my Dad and two other great environmentalists, and we're meeting at 10:00am this Saturday, the 28th at Brian Sullivan's campaign HQ - 2110 Hewitt Avenue, Everett. This is politics getting local, getting personal - getting people-powered. Thanks for helping!

Posted by switzerblog on July 27, 2007 at 01:00 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink


Thanks, Switzer.

I like hearing your Dad's history - the blend of personal and political. I've never met him but have consistently heard good things about him.

Posted by: Lynn | Jul 28, 2007 6:31:54 AM

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