Reflections from the Chair 4-22

7th LD Dirt Road Democrats

Saturday, March 26th, each Legislative District in the State met to elect delegates to the June State Convention and for those whose boundaries changed, to hold a vote on Reorganizing.  Tina Podlodowski, Chair of the Washington State Democrats dropped into our Caucus with encouraging words.  She shared that when her youngest graduates from high school, she looks forward to returning to her rural roots, to join us in being a Dirt Road Democrat.  And with that, a new rallying cry was born.

Like many of you, I am an urban transplant. Most of my life was in the suburbs surrounding Seattle before transitioning to a “You’re moving where?” dirt road rural lifestyle.  It has not been a hardship, nor a difficult transition.  It was made easy by the friendships developed with neighbors and through volunteering.  I have learned a lot about rural challenges, about living in a district that is so red we are forced to scrabble for unusual solutions and enough bodies to keep our Party and service organizations alive. Saturday’s meeting proved there are Democrats in the 7th willing to speak up, committed to the future of our rural counties , and have feet on the ground ready to go.

After redistricting, the 7thLD boundaries now include 7 counties;  Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan and parts of Douglas, Grant and Spokane.  Our land mass is larger than the smallest three states (Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut) combined.  We extend from the Idaho border to Skagit and Whatcom counties, across three mountain passes, with orchards, feedlots, plains, forests, and the ancestral homelands of the Kalispell, Colville, and Spokane people.  As different as we are alike, those living within the new boundaries of the 7th LD would benefit from speaking with one voice, making sure that the state sees Dirt Road Democrats as important as urban areas.  It is vital that rural voices be heard and heeded by our governmental bodies.

We seated 12 delegates and 4 alternates during Saturday’s meeting, short by two alternates.  Equitable representation is important to Democrats, our delegation includes those who identified as Native Americans, Latinx, disabled, LGBTQ, and within the 25-35 year age group.  Those elected delegates, along with Legislative and County Chairs, Vice-Chairs and Committee Members will be speaking for our district at the June State Democratic Meeting, where the State Platform for 2022 will be determined.

As in many things “rural” we were successful despite the challenge of being without a permanent LD Chair and Vice Chair.  We did it with the help of those in the 12th District who shared expertise and assistance and dozens of hours of time.  We did it because people heeded the call and signed up.  There is more work to do, more voices need to be heard.  I count on our local “Dirt Road Democrats” to do what we have always done, show up and get it done.

Thank you, Kat

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