Events Calendar

Monday, January 8, 2007

David Sirota Prefers our Washington

Seattle Town Hall Panel: From left: John King, WPC Policy Committee Chair; WA Rep. Mark Miloscia; AZ Sen. Ed Ableser, WA Sen.-elect Eric Oemig; WA Rep. Shay Schual-Berke; Keynote Speaker David Sirota; Emcee Ken Alhadeff; WA Sen. Jim Kastama; ME Rep. Linda Valentino. (Photo courtesy of Dina Lydia)

In my previous post I wrote about the Clean Elections Forum in Everett on January 4th. What I did not mention was the fact that our forum was the first of four that would be held between Thursday and Saturday and would follow I-5 from Everett to Olympia. On Friday night, I was pleased to attend the 2nd forum. Held at Seattle’s Town Hall, this event featured the panel from Everett (Minus Rep. McDermott) and added the three Washington State legislators I mentioned as prime sponsors of Clean Elections legislation this year. State Senator-elect Eric Oemig (D- WA 45) was also on hand to proclaim his support for Clean Elections as incoming Vice-chair of the Government Operations and Elections Committee in Olympia this session. Highlighting the Town Hall event was best-selling author and political consultant, David Sirota.

I am a big fan of Sirota’s so I was especially pleased to see the following on Saturday morning from Sirota's Blog:

Democrats, Corruption & the Difference Between Two Washingtons

”The difference between what happened late this week in Washington, D.C. and what happened at the very same time in Washington State is a good example of how people in our nation’s capital are still very much oblivious to what the rest of society thinks is acceptable behavior.”

In his post, Sirota writes about an article from MSNBC about a Democratic fundraiser in Washington DC held only hours after they had passed so-called “Lobby Reform” measures in the newly Democratic controlled congress and compares that to the event he had just headlined in Seattle, Washington.

”As I sit here in a hotel room reading the MSNBC report after being at this terrific event here in Seattle, I am simultaneously embarrassed and proud to have worked in Democratic politics. I am embarrassed that, at a time state legislators are putting their political capital on the line to truly clean up politics, many (though not all) of their counterparts in Congress clearly think “reform” is the punchline of a joke. Public Campaign’s David Donnelly says, “It sends a very mixed message to be on one hand saying that they’re clamping down on lobbyists, but then raising money from those very same lobbyists that they say are part of the problem.” I’d say that’s putting it mildly - it’s really making a mockery out of our party’s name by insulting the public’s intelligence and so openly trying to pull a fast one on the American people.

But I am also proud. I met legislators tonight who have guts - real guts - to indict a system they themselves have come up through, and that they are now willing to admit is inherently corrupt. Make no mistake - these are not big-time congresspeople with the huge staffs of yes people and K Street entourages that now insulate our federal representatives from their own constituents, and make sure there is a reelection support system no matter how often they sell out. No, these are actual citizen legislators - people who live out here in the Real World, who can’t bring themselves to lie with a smile about reform like so many folks in D.C. It will be up to the people of Washington State to help these legislators push public financing of elections by creating the grassroots political energy necessary to enact such power-challenging reforms - but after such an energetic showing tonight (and subsequent forums in cities across the state), I’m hopeful public financing is going to happen here, if not this year, then soon in the future.”

Knowing that folks like the panels in Everett and Seattle (especially our own state legislators) are willing to put themselves on the line for something as important as ensuring the ownership of our democracy and electoral system remains in the hands of the citizens, I am more inspired than ever that we can make this happen. I hope you will join the movement to “Take our Country Back!”

Chad Shue
Vice-Chair - Director of Communications
Democracy for Snohomish County

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