Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

LIVE from Wenatchee: Candidates address the Washington State Democratic Convention

Good morning again from Wenatchee.

The 2018 Washington State Democratic Convention continues here at the Stanley Civic Center in the heart of the Apple Capital of the World.

Following the opening ceremonies, Temporary Convention Chair Manka Dhinga (D-45th District) recognized candidates running for legislative and other electoral positions to speak for a few minutes each. More than a dozen candidates lined up in front of the stage to speak to the delegates, alternates, and guests.

Many spoke of the need for better education funding.

Valerie Sarratt is a middle school teacher running for the 12th Legislative District (for Position #2). She said: “I expect to get into the House and work for full funding for education, voter rights, and to create communities where we are working together and have a strong economy.”

Sylvia Hammond is running in the 13th LD, a district that’s been deeply red for thirty years. Sylvia thinks Democrats have the momentum to turn the district blue. Like Sarratt, a top priority for her is strengthening Washington’s public schools.

A recurring theme of the speeches was the need for women to run “to nurture and heal our country and state.” (Women are woefully underrepresented at almost every level of government in our country, from local and state to federal.)

Multiple candidates touched on the importance of supporting the party’s standard bearers in rural areas, including Karen Hardy, the party’s 7th LD Senate hopeful. A democracy like the United States shouldn’t have so many uncontested elections, Hardy said, declaring that she’s tired of seeing only Republicans on her ballot.

“Russia gets ballots with one name, Libya gets ballots with one name,” she said. “Washington State will not continue to get ballots with one name on them.” She finished by thanking the crowd and declaring, “Keep it up! Work, work, work!”

Carolyn Long, running for the 3rd Congressional District against entrenched Republican incumbent Jaime Herrera-Beutler, was the next to receive a warm reception from the Convention. She’s a political science professor at Washington State University’s Vancouver branch. Like Manka Dhingra, she says she was inspired to run after Democrats lost the 2016 presidential elections. She said she’s particularly disturbed by the continued polarization of our politics and wants to see a Democratic Congress exercise its oversight powers to rein in the Trump regime.

Tirzah Idahosa, a candidate for the Washington State Senate in theĀ 30th Legislative district, told the Convention: “I am a mother, union member, military brat, disabled, and a care provider.” She explained that she has raised over fifty children in foster care and helped start Democrats for Diversity & Inclusion.

The Washington State Senate has not had any black women members since Rosa Franklin retired several years ago, and Idahosa hopes to change that this year.

Everett Maroon, a 16th LD hopeful and a member of the state party’s Advocacy Committee, described how he took a struggling nonprofit that supported people with HIV and turned it into a $500,000/year organization. He added that he would be the first transgender person in the Washington State Legislature.

Candidates running in the 12th, 3rd, 13th, 6th and 35th Legislative Districts are also here at the Convention, as well as candidates for Spokane County Clerk and Jefferson County Commissioner.