Spring has often been called the season of renewal, and we’ve always thought it’s as good of a time as any to recalibrate and reorganize. To that end, each March, before we file our yearly report with the Secretary of State’s office, our board holds its annual meeting. The principal business of this meeting is the election of NPI’s directors (for terms of two years) and officers (for terms of one years).
NPI’s 2017 annual meeting was held earlier today. At that meeting, we reelected four of our current board members (Robert Cruickshank, Rick Hegdahl, Essie Hicks, Mario Brown), added a new board member (Diane Jones) and bolstered our Advisory Council (reappointing Kathleen Reynolds and appointing Marisa Peloquin).
In addition to being elected to new terms on the board, Rick and Diane were unanimously chosen by their fellow directors to join NPI’s leadership team as President and Vice President-Secretary for 2017–2018, succeeding Robert Cruickshank and Gael Tarleton, respectively.
Robert and Gael each ably served NPI for three years in those roles, and I deeply appreciate their service and steadfast commitment to our organization. Robert and Gael remain an integral part of our team and I know they’re as delighted as I am to see Rick and Diane stepping up to take on these important responsibilities.
Rick and Diane will be working closely with NPI Treasurer Garrett Havens and I to keep NPI rolling forward at a time when the right wing controls our federal government. (Garrett was elected to serve a full term as Treasurer of NPI today as well; he’s been doing a wonderful job for us since taking on the role last year.)
Rick’s experience and wisdom will be invaluable in ensuring NPI continues to grow, flourish, and expand its work. These are difficult days for our country, and an effective resistance needs insightful research and imaginative advocacy. NPI is committed to raising America’s quality of life by lobbying for the enactment of legislation based on the logic of our nation’s progressive values and principles.
Last year, Rick celebrated ten years of involvement with NPI, having joined our staff way back in 2006 after he returned from deployment in Kuwait.
Rick served in the Navy for twenty four years as Petty Officer, participating in Operation Noble Eagle with Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 101 (responsible for providing seaward security in Puget Sound) from 2001–2002.
After voluntarily extending his tour of duty, he deployed with Naval Coastal Warfare Group One and Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 106 to the Port of Ash Shuaiba, Kuwait in support of Seaward Security Operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom from December of 2002 until July 2003.
In April 2005, he was again recalled to active duty, re-trained as an Inshore Boat Unit with MIUWU 101, and deployed to Kuwait. In March of 2006 he returned home, started a home remodel and repair business, and retired from the Navy.
Rick now serves as a National Field Organizer for VoteVets.org. He has experience organizing support for a broad array of progressive causes — from renewable energy development to nuclear nonproliferation. Through his work with VoteVets, he helps veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be involved in strengthening their country through activism and public service.
Rick was instrumental in the planning and execution of NPI’s very first Spring Fundraising Gala in May 2008, as well as the seven successive galas we’ve held.
Rick’s good humor, hospitality, and optimism have often boosted our spirits and helped keep us on track as a team. He is a tremendous role model and a dependable leader. NPI simply wouldn’t be the organization it is today without Rick’s contributions; I thank Rick for all he’s done and look forward to working with him to take NPI to the next level at a crucial juncture in our nation’s history.
I am also very happy to have the opportunity to work alongside Diane Jones, our newest board member and NPI’s Vice President-Secretary for 2017–2018.
Diane is a veteran electrician with decades of involvement with IBEW. For ten years, she also owned a commercial salmon troll permit and spent many summers fishing in southeast Alaska. She has organized support for a number of progressive causes through the Jefferson County Democrats.
In 2015, Diane served as campaign chair/coordinator for WAmend, working with NPI Advisory Council member Steve Zemke to qualify Initiative 735 to the Legislature. The campaign was successful, and last year, I‑735 appeared on the November ballot after the Legislature took no action on it.
Voters overwhelmingly approved I‑735, making Washington the eighteenth state to go on record in support of a federal constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and money is not speech.
Diane joined our Advisory Council last summer and has attended nearly every event we’ve held in the past year. We are thrilled to have her as part of our team.
Diane exemplifies a great many of the traits we value highly at NPI. She is an excellent listener, long term thinker, and problem solver.
Most importantly of all, she is a doer — a person of action. She has a track record of getting things done. She is one of the very few activists around who has led a successful, mostly volunteer signature drive for a statewide initiative.
Congratulations to Rick and Diane — and on behalf of NPI’s staff, other boardmembers, and community of supporters, thank you for stepping up. We are fortunate to have you as part of our leadership team.