by paul spencer
Sat Nov 6th, 2010 at 03:42:45 PM EST
No doubt y'all know that I didn't win the State Rep election here in Washington's 15th Leg. District, if only because I would have reported that quickly. It wasn't very close, except in my own county - but even there I didn't get the majority of votes.
The outcome was fully expected, due to the history of the last 20 years in rural WA. Going forward, though, folks are aware that I'm running again in 2012; and they're aware that I'm a stand-up progressive Democrat, who promotes similar policies to the ones that created a Democratic Party majority here from the '30s to the early '90s.
It was rather fun to tell rural folks who have been immersed in Republican/conservative propaganda for the last 20 years that the Democratic-Party-controlled government in Washington state is actually serving them quite well under adverse conditions. One observation that they could not miss: our Initiative I-937 from 2006 - opposed by Republicans and promoted by renewable-energy enthusiasts like myself - has saved a number of multi-generation dryland farmers who were simply going to give up, until they started getting the 'rental' payments from the wind turbines that have been deployed here.
I made solid contacts with the Yakama Nation during the campaign. There are several interfaces that I will husband, going forward. Mirta and I joined a start-up food co-op here in Stevenson recently, and the Yakama bought out a fruit juice manufacturing plant in the last year or so. I think that we can probably help to create a marketing/distribution network for them, starting with co-ops in the Portland metro area and the Columbia River Gorge.
I'm also involved in a Collaborative Group on one of the three districts of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. I've been invited to join a Collab. Group on the northeastern district, which is chaired by a Cowlitz tribe-member. This district borders forestland owned by the Yakama, and I think that I can get them to participate now, too.
My contacts with the hispanic population in the Lower Yakima River valley are rudimentary, but I have an excellent relationship with the Phillipino-American folks there. I also have a good connection with a Mexican-American administrator at Heritage University (a bit of an hyperbolic description of the college), and we're going to start a Young Democrats club there. There are over 3,000 students, and it's a commuter college with a majority of hispanic youth.
I'll add a quick set of observations about the regional scene, for what they're worth:
- WA, OR, and CA all maintained Democratic Party dominance in their State Legislatures (the OR House of Reps is likely to be a 30-30 tie, but otherwise ...).
- We maintained our Dem dominance in our Congressional delegation. Not sure about CA, but in WA, we only lost Brian Baird's old seat (open due to retirement) to a Republican, but Baird was one of the worst of the Blue Dogs.
- The Progressive Caucus of the House of Reps only lost 4 members out of 81; the Blue Dogs lost 25 (including 2, who tried for Senate seats) out of 43 (or thereabouts). Yes, it's true that the character of the district dictates some of these outcomes, but there remains the simple fact of the rather overwhelming difference. There are also the polls and exit polls which indicate substantial dissatisfaction with the half-measures and egregious errors that have been inflicted on us by the federal government since 2008. (I also have some anecdotal evidence for this from my friends and acquaintances.)
- Youth participation - that has to be our primary electoral mission now. Every group in which I'm a member is dominated by people in our age group, and everyone of them says that we need to involve the youth. Boy, howdy, and amen - I'm going there.
The good news is that I have the time to continue to work on various, ongoing projects; plus Mirta and I have more time to explore Europe. We'll see some of you in 2011, no doubt.