Change is in the air at the Washington State Democratic Party.
The party’s central committee (WSDCC) voted decisively today to set the party on a new course by selecting Tina Pododlowski of Seattle and Joe Pakootas of Spokane to be the party’s new Chair and Vice Chair for 2017–2018.
(Full disclosure: I am a voting member of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee and worked to elect Tina Podlodowski and Joe Pakootas).
Podlodowski, fifty-six, and Pakootas, fifty-nine, had campaigned together as a unity ticket (abbreviated as #PodPak) for the party’s top two officer positions.
Each are business and civic leaders who answered the call to run for higher office during the past cycle against Republican incumbents (Podlodowski took on incumbent Secretary of State Kim Wyman, while Pakootas challenged incumbent U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers).
Podlodowski supported Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President last year, while Pakootas supported Bernie Sanders.
“Working people face a devastating economic threat from Donald Trump and his Republican allies in our state,” Tina and Joe wrote in their campaign materials. “Our party must stand up for them, represent them, and include them. We can’t do that if we keep losing these critical state and local elections.”
“We must change, and change requires leading with our Democratic values, and finding new leadership in a new party chair and vice chair to accomplish it.”
Podlodowski and Pakootas’ weeks of outreach paid off, as Podlodowski was elected by a three-to-one margin over the incumbent Chair Jaxon Ravens, while Pakootas was elected by acclamation, with no one else having been nominated.
Tina Podlodowski is the second woman and the first lesbian to become the Chair of the Washington State Democrats, while Joe Pakootas is the first Native American Vice Chair in the party’s history. Their terms began this afternoon following their elections and will continue until the party next reorganizes until January of 2019.