Legislative District 26 Democrats express our heartfelt concern for our community during this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We salute all of those on the front line: from healthcare workers to grocery store clerks. We are observing the stay-at-home directive from Governor Inslee by making all of our meetings virtual. In addition, we have canceled our Bridge To Bridge Dinner Auction and delayed the opening of our Gig Harbor Campaign Office. Please stay safe, we will get through this together. - Luellen Lucid, Chair, LD 26 Democrats.
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We enjoyed another fine turnout at our last General Membership Meeting on March 2. Thank you to those who attended, and welcome to all those Democrats coming to a 26th LD meeting for their first time. For those who were not able to make the meeting, I will offer some highlights.
The Executive Board honored Randy Spitzer as the Democrat of the Month for March 2017. Randy made a name for himself the hard way in 2016, one doorbell at a time. Alongside February ’17 Democrat of the Month, Payton Swinford, Randy used his person-to-person skills to support South Kitsap School District levy and bond. He has also stepped up to help lead fundraising efforts in the 26th LD. “It feels good to win something,” Randy remarked.
Larry Seaquist then presented George and Cindy Robison with the Abigail Adams Award to honor their huge contribution to the Democratic Party and to the 26th LD. The Robisons are an invaluable resource for the 26th, and to its Chair, Executive Board and Committees. In addition to rebuilding a moribund Democrats group in the 26th, the Robisons remain active in Key Peninsula Lions and Democrats clubs, which they helped to create.
We had several guests from Kitsap County speak, including Bremerton Councilwoman Leslie Daugs, supporting the UFCW in their negotiations with CHI Franciscan. Bremerton Councilman Greg Wheeler announced his campaign for Mayor of Bremerton, and asked for our support. Deborah McDaniel also announced her campaign for Bremerton City Council. The 26th LD looks forward to helping these Democrats get elected.
RoxAnne Simon was elected Pierce County Vice Chair to replace Cecilia Hardy. RoxAnne was already an E-Board member, so we will be voting to fill her At-Large position as well as the position of Treasurer, for which Kathleen Tei was nominated.
Finally, we discussed our plans to rent an office for the 26th LD Democrats in Gig Harbor. I am confident that volunteer staffing of the office can be accomplished, given a wave of good Democrats from the Harbor. Jo Rodman’s last social club meeting at Round Table Pizza in gig Harbor was wall-to-wall Democrats. Negotiating a lease agreement and planning for funding are in the works.
I am extremely proud of the work being done by our Executive Board and our Committees. Our Candidate Recruitment Committee is drawing 30 or more potential Democratic leaders to its Leadership Development Workshop. Alec Matias, Legislative Committee Chair recently spoke in Olympia in support of a State Bank. His committee members also participated in the Mannette Bridge rally in support of a welcoming Kitsap County. State Committee Woman Joy Vartanian offered up a wall full of events, meetings, rallies and marches that our members are encouraged to attend and represent the values and causes of the 26th LD Democrats.
Joy’s efforts to get Democratic participation throughout the District fit with the theme of our meeting, “Resist!” Our newly elected state and national chairs are looking to us, the grass roots, for direction. We have the awesome challenge and responsibility to rebuild the Democratic party from the ground up. Please check our web page, 26d.org for ways to get involved, or feel free to contact me One of our PCO’s, Twila Slind, recently told me that she has a goal of doing at least one political action every day. If we all follow Twila’s example, we will once again elect Democrats to the State Legislature.
On this day when we commemorate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., I wanted to share links to the photographs that State Chair Jaxon Ravens spoke about during his visit to the 26th LD earlier this month.
Jaxon has every right to be proud of his father, Bob Fitch, and I think he knows how lucky he is to be his son. I could not help but note how amazing it was that we had both arrived at this same place, the Democratic Party, yet had taken such different routes to get here.
In the spring of 1968, I was six years old, living on the base at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. My father was an enlisted man supporting six children, and assigned to training new sailors. After almost twenty years in the service, he finally had an assignment that did not take him out to sea away from his family for months at a time. I attended school outside the gates of the base in the racially mixed city of North Chicago.
I was already an avid reader, and I spent hours studying the encyclopedias that my father had purchased from a shipmate who sold them door-to-door to make extra money. (This was very common, as my father sold vacuum cleaners in his spare time.) I eagerly devoured the sections on U.S. Presidents and the 50 states. I also remember how I looked forward to Fridays when our class would share My Weekly Reader, which was my main source for news of the world around me.
After Dr, King’s death, I copied my young black friends my cutting out his picture and gluing it to the front of my construction paper folder that held my week’s work. I recall my father coming home that afternoon in his clean white uniform, sitting at the dining room table. When he noticed my folder, he became enraged, and demanded to know why I would decorate my folder with a picture of this “nigger.” My answer that “everybody else was doing it,” was not good enough, so I lied and told him that my teacher, Mrs. Morrison, “made” us do it. He stormed over to the phone hanging on the wall, preparing to call the school to raise hell. When I stopped him, and admitted that it was my own decision, he quickly retrieved his leather belt and administered a brutal dose of punishment. When he was done, and I was still wailing, he told me to go to school on Monday and tell the class during Show-and-Tell that he was the man who had killed Martin Luther King, and that he was proud of it. I remember being confused, and believing that he, indeed, could have been the killer, given his hatred for Dr.King. At this point, my mother finally intervened and was able to calm my father, and I was sent to bed without supper. Hours later, my mother snuck some food to me in my room as I sat alone in my room, still crying. While she gently rubbed the red marks on my body left by the belt, she told me that my father beat me because I lied to him, and not because of the folder. But even at six, I knew better, and he confirmed my feelings by referring to me as “mama’s little nigger lover” for many days afterwards.
My point in relating this painful story is that, especially on this day, we should honor all of those who suffered and sacrificed for the civil rights movement by continuing the struggle. Although race relations are still an issue today, we have come so very far from 1968. Yet now, with Donald Trump preparing to take office, we must hold tight to our ideals of equality and justice in America. Democrats must work even harder to keep moving forward with civil rights, and stand up for our Muslim and immigrant neighbors as this four year term of uncertainty begins. We must, at the same time, realize that Trump supporters today are not necessarily bad people, but merely a product of our times, the same way my father was in 1968.
My second point is much simpler: please be kind to each other. We are all fragile creatures, us human beings, and we need to be handled with care. Unless you know a person intimately, you may never know the secret pain or shame that they carry, so let’s treat each other gently. Please take the time to listen to others, and show respect for their feelings, even when we disagree.
Inside of me, that 6-year-old boy still remains. He still longs for approval and validation of his beliefs, likely explaining my great reverence for men like Hugh McMillan, George Robison and Larry Seaquist. And, finally, if the six-year-old kid inside of you needs a hug from time to time, I want you to know that I’m here for you.
John Kelly, Chair
26th LD Democrats