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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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