Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Recap of the King County Convention

Earlier today the King County Democrats held their 2006 Convention to hear from candidates for elected office, adopt a platform, and consider resolutions. This post is a recap of the event.

The convention was held at the hall of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, one of the major sponsors of the event, and lasted for about five hours, counting about forty five minutes for registration and refreshments, which began at 2 PM.

The convention was called to order by King County Democrats Chair Suzie Sheary at exactly 2:45 PM, at which point it was obvious to any observer that the convention was going to be a very well attended event. There were so many delegates and guests in attendance that the back wall had to be opened up so more seating could be made available.

The first speaker was 7th District Representative Jim McDermott, who as always, received an enthusiastic reception. McDermott made a point of asking the delegates whether they'd had enough of right wing control of the country (which got a very loud chorus of YES).

McDermott's message was simple: if you've had enough, get out and work for change. (If you haven't had enough, he added, just sit back and turn on your television). Perhaps the most important thing Democrats in Washington State can do this year, McDermott told the audience, was to help elect Darcy Burner.

McDermott was followed by the former president of NARAL, Kate Michelman, who was introduced by Suzie Sheary and State Party Chairman Dwight Pelz. Michelman thanked delegates for a warm reception and quickly proceeded to speak about the significance of reelecting Senator Maria Cantwell to the U.S. Senate.

After completing her brief remarks, Michelman welcomed Senator Maria Cantwell to the stage. As Cantwell entered the hall (to thunderous applause) she was accompanied by a band of drummers and dozens of cheering Democrats waving Maria Cantwell signs or holding Maria Cantwell banners.

It was a very impressive reception.

The Senator delivered a confident, upbeat speech, drawing an especially loud roar when she mentioned her environmental protection efforts (and, of course, the successful Arctic Refuge filibuster from last December comes to mind). She was in a combative, fighting mood, and that was great to see.

Senator Cantwell Exits

Maria was followed by Representative Adam Smith and then State Party Chairman Dwight Pelz, who reported on the party's candidate recruitment efforts and positioning for the 2006 midterm elections.

NPI's own Representative Jay Inslee (1st District) was next. Inslee drew a loud laugh and applause when he jokingly proclaimed he was putting together a presidential committee for Stephen Colbert. Inslee touted I-937, the Energy Security Initiative, and then launched into a passionate appeal to the delegates to channel every last bit of frustration they'd ever felt over the last six years into Darcy Burner's campaign for Congress.

With that, Inslee asked the audience to help him welcome Darcy Burner.

Like Maria Cantwell, Darcy made her way to the stage through a standing ovation of delegates, followed by a parade of sign waving supporters chanting "DARCY! DARCY! DARCY! DARCY!".

After the applause finally quieted, Darcy gave what I consider to be the finest address I have ever heard her give. Ever.

It was powerful. It was poignant. It was precise. It was polished.

It was perfect.

It had a nicely balanced mix of personal background and inspiration, expression of Democratic values, forceful condemnation of Republican failures, articulation of possible solutions to our nation's crushing problems, and a passionate appeal for support.

Not once did she ever lose focus, stumble, or forget what exactly what she wanted to say. I never saw her look down. She had those delegates captivated, listening to her every word, and frequently interrupting to applaud.

I've heard Darcy speak on a lot of different occasions, and each time, she's gotten better. I am so proud of how well she presented herself and her candidacy - all of us at NPI are.

Darcy and her message resonated amazingly today.

Darcy Burner Speaks

I think she easily managed to convince any doubters in that hall that she has what it takes to win the 8th Congressional District and knock out Dave Reichert. Republicans should be very, very afraid. They'll sling their mud, and they'll make stuff up. But we'll be ready. When they lie, when they exaggerate, we'll be there to slam those attacks down before they can get traction.

This impressive performance was followed by State Representative Ross Hunter, who spoke briefly and then introduced newly converted Democrat Rodney Tom.

Tom got a very warm reception and surprised almost everybody in the hall with his comments. He even spoke about the 8th Congressional District race, saying, "I've met Dave Reichert. I know Dave Reichert. And he's as dumb as a post."

This drew a loud burst of laughter and applause, and as it finally died away, Tom added, "And that's an insult to posts," drawing a second round of chuckling and cheering.

Moving to his own race, Tom noted that "Luke Esser is 'Senator No'. 'No' to transportation, no to education, no to equal rights." He concluded his remarks and thanked delegates for their support.

Next were two of the Supreme Court justices running for reelection this year - Gerry Alexander and Tom Chambers. Each spoke for roughly two minutes and made important observations.

Alexander declared that "a judge who has taken the oath (of office) should not have a preconceived agenda" referring to the slate of candidates that the BIAW backed Constitutional Law PAC is pushing this year. (The BIAW and its right wing allies are hoping to buy a majority on the state Supreme Court).

Chambers proudly spoke of his voting in recent years to declare "certain initiatives" (ahem, Tim Eyman initiatives) unconstitutional. Chambers noted that it's not easy for the state Supreme Court to declare an initiative passed by the people unconstitutional.

Both justices ended by thanking the delegates for the opportunity to speak.

Thy were followed by King County Councilman Dow Constantine, who urged delegates to "take back our future" and restore integrity to government.

After a litany of other speakers, who all spoke briefly, the convention finally moved forward to consideration of the proposed platform. The platform was adopted section by section, with occassional objections and one proposed amendment (which failed to pass) to the Foreign Policy section.

After the passage of the platform, a motion was made to send the resolutions (which never made it to the floor) to the King County Democrats' Central Committee for consideration. The convention was then adjourned.

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