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.

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

Tina Podlodowski + Joe Pakootas elected to lead the Washington State Democratic Party

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.

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