NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, December 10th, 2012

A point of personal privilege

As 2012 draws to an end and I head into my second decade as a progressive activist, I want to take a moment to publicly say thanks to a number of people who have helped me and helped NPI get to where it is today.

First, thanks to everyone who supported and donated to NPI this year.

Our donors, readers, contributors, and volunteers make our work possible. Projects like Pacific NW Portal, Permanent Defense, In Brief, the Olympia Newsriver, and this blog (The Advocate) cost money to develop, maintain, and host. Effective research and advocacy requires equipment and training.

One hundred percent of what we raise goes into infrastructure and development. We don’t spend a dime on advertising or consultants.

Readers, I simply can’t stress this enough: NPI continues to work on raising America’s quality of life because of your kindness and generosity. You believe in the work we’re doing, believe that is critically important, and want to keep it going.

We deeply appreciate that.

Second, thanks to everyone who came to NPI’s annual holiday party yesterday afternoon. We at NPI enjoy being able to thank our supporters in person, and we’re glad many of you were able to make it out to the party. We wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year.

Third, a very heartfelt thanks to my good friend Steve Zemke for all of his service to NPI over the years. This past Saturday, Steve was narrowly defeated in his bid for reelection as the Chair of the King County Democrats by Karl de Jong. After that happened, Steve determined that he needed to take a break from being an activist and recalibrate. Consequently, he has decided to step down from NPI’s board of directors. We wish him the best, and I remain very grateful for all of the advice and counsel he has provided to me and to NPI over the years.

Steve had invested a lot of time and energy in trying to figure out how to move the King County Democrats forward during the 2014 election cycle, but unfortunately, a majority of the precinct committee officers who showed up at the reorganization were not inclined to give him the opportunity to continue running the organization.

Steve was actually the only candidate for chair who recruited a slate of people to run with him for all of the other officer positions. With one exception, the whole slate were elected to serve as officers for the next two years, which I think demonstrates that Steve did a very good job lining up qualified people to serve as officers. Steve did not recruit many of the people who were elected with him two years ago – in fact, several of the outgoing officers ran in 2010 with the intention of serving with Karl de Jong (Karl withdrew his candidacy in advance of the December 2010 reorganization meeting for health reasons).

That leads me to my last thank-you.

For many years, I’ve been fortunate to have been aided as executive director by my good friend Rick Hegdahl, a U.S. Navy veteran with a great sense of humor and a passion for building community. Rick has been our Outreach & Advocacy Director since 2007, but we decided that the board could really use his talents and energy. I recommended several weeks ago that NPI’s board elect Rick to one of the open positions, and this weekend, the board unanimously adopted that recommendation and elected Rick as a board member. Rick will now be taking Steve’s spot on the board since Steve has resigned, which leaves us in good shape at year’s end.

I want to thank Rick for his willingness to serve and for his loyalty to the organization. Rick is the third outstanding addition to the board we have made this year, after Martin Chaney and Kathleen Reynolds.

We are a stronger board today than we were a year ago, and that’s in no small part because of our three new board members.

I anticipate that 2013 will be a busy year for us. We have a long legislative session in front of us at the state level that is sure to have many twists and turns, and a new Congress convening in the District of Columbia, where comprehensive immigration reform and filibuster reform are likely to be on the table. We also have local elections at the county level, city level, and port level, not to mention a gazillion school board and special district positions.

In nine months, we will be celebrating NPI’s tenth anniversary, which is a pretty big milestone. We’ll be holding a special event on Thursday, August 22nd to celebrate the occasion. And, prior to that, in April, we will hold our fifth Spring Fundraising Gala, an event we first started doing in 2008, which is very popular with our donors and supporters. We hope to see you at those events and we look forward to working with you to make Washington and the Pacific Northwest a better place to live, start a business, and raise a family.

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