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.

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

Rick Hegdahl elected President of NPI for 2017–18; Diane Jones elected Vice President

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 Hegdahl

NPI Pres­i­dent Rick Heg­dahl (Pho­to: Lin­coln Potter/Samaya)

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.

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