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LIVE from Wenatchee: 2018 State Democratic Convention kicks off with patriotic celebration

Good morning from Wenatchee!

This weekend, the Washington State Democratic Party is holding its 2018 Convention, the last event in the party’s biannual caucus and convention cycle, at the Wenatchee Convention Center in the Apple Capital of the World.

As we have in years past, NPI is offering live coverage of the goings-on at the Convention. Today’s general session just got underway a short time ago after being called to order by State Party Chair Tina Podlodowski.

In keeping with last night’s declaration by East Wenatchee City Councilmember that Democrats are proud patriots who love their country and want to take it forward, the convention’s first moments were filled with pageantry.

Delegates participated in both the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence. The moment of silence was offered for the purpose of reflecting on the meaning of the Allegiance and the need to eliminate ongoing violence and injustice in the United States. Delegates held up #JusticeForAll signs during and after the Pledge of Allegiance, emphasizing the final words of the patriotic pledge.

Delegates were also treated to a stirring rendition of America the Beautiful by local artist, Michael Carlos.

Following the pageantry, the delegates were welcomed to Wenatchee by Chelan County Democrats Chair Bill Miller, Douglas Country Chair Karen Keieman, and 12th LD Democrats Chair Dan Maher. “We welcome you to North Central Washington and hope you come back often. Go out and do good work”, Keieman said.

State Senator Manka Dhingra (D-45th District) was appointed Temporary Chair of the Convention and will preside until a Permanent Chair is elected.

Following the appointment, representatives from the Caldwell Confederate Tribe and the Yakima Nation stood up and asked to be recognized.

Although Podlodowski requested that the convention stay on time and stick to the schedule, Dhingra allowed them a moment to speak. The representatives sang a traditional song of the Caldwell Native Americans that spoke of love, unity, and strength. It was a powerful and fitting way to kick off the Convention.

Next, candidates currently running for office were asked to come up to the stage to introduce themselves and the positions they’re running for.

These Democratic candidates are teachers, CPAs, firefighters, healthcare professionals, union representative, current representatives, nonprofit leaders, and military veterans who are running for legislative and congressional offices.

Credentials Co-Chairs Javier Valdez and our very own Andrew Villeneuve then took the stage to deliver the Final Report of the Convention Credentials Committee.

Javier and Andrew reported that four hundred and sixty-nine delegates have signed in thus far, with sixty-nine alternates signed in. Forty-nine alternates are eligible to be seated. If all alternates are seated, then the total number of eligible voters who may vote here in the hall would rise to five hundred and twelve.

Next, the ceremonial roll call of the counties and legislative districts of Washington State was conducted by Rob Dolin, one of NPI’s founding boardmembers. Rob asked each delegation to describe themselves in just three words.

Responses to this difficult task were a mix of humor and Democratic sentiment.

Some of the three-word phrases included “We can count”, “Keeping it blue”, “Vote for Brown”, “Let’s go Mariners”, “Rise and run”, “Healthcare for all”, “Keep families together”, “Lock him up”, and “Flip the 8th”. Others did not abide by the three word limit, offering up longer responses such as “we pick the best apples”.

Many delegations simply cheered as their districts and counties were called.

Upon the completion of the roll call, more Democratic candidates were recognized to address the assembled delegates and alternates.

The first was congressional candidate for the 4th District, Christine Brown.

Brown opened her remarks by stating that she is “running to take a big table to Washington, D.C. with a seat for all of you”.

She reiterated the importance of ensuring every voice is heard with an especially loud and urgent call for comprehensive immigration reform. Brown also touched on issues of environmental policy and doubling down on renewable resources. She asked Democrats all over the country to get involved, canvass, and advocate for Democrats running in competitive districts in Eastern Washington.

“We want to turn Eastern Washington Brown“, she concluded, vocalizing Democratic support for both herself and her Democratic colleague, Lisa Brown, running in the 5th Congressional District against Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Stay tuned for more news and analysis coming to you live from the Washington State Democratic Convention in Wenatchee.