Editor’s Note: Northwest Progressive Institute Founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve served as a 2016 Democratic National Convention delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders. The views expressed in this post are his own; NPI does not endorse candidates or engage in electioneering for or against any candidate.
Dear Senator Bernie Sanders:
Welcome back to the campaign trail, and thank you for your tireless efforts to advance worthy causes like climate justice, Medicare For All, tuition free college, and an end to foreign policy blunders like the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
As one of your proud 2016 national delegates from the State of Washington, I’m writing to ask that you schedule a visit to Cascadia so that people in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho can engage with your 2020 presidential campaign.
We here in the Pacific Northwest have been visited by many of your fellow 2020 Democratic contenders during the past few months, and we’ve greatly appreciated the opportunity to see and hear from them in person. But we have not yet had the privilege of interacting with you yet. And we’d like that to change.
We have spent the past few years expanding access to the ballot, enacting legislation to ensure a just and responsible transition to a clean energy future, increasing the minimum wage, providing paid family leave, bolstering access to reproductive care, defending net neutrality, and making college more affordable.
Meanwhile, our Attorneys General Bob Ferguson and Ellen Rosenblum have repeatedly and successfully taken the Trump regime to court to stop a litany of illegal and unconstitutional abuses of power.
Many of the ideas we have been working on advancing here at the state level in this great green land are ideas that are central to your presidential campaign.
You’ve repeatedly emphasized that healthcare is a human right and that nobody should be priced out of a college education, for instance.
And you’ve released a bold climate action plan that calls for sweeping new investments to secure our future. Notably, you’ve called for policies that will allow the public to own the means of generating electricity, like so many subregions of Cascadia already do through public utility districts (PUDs).
We’d sure like the opportunity to discuss these ideas with you, sans media filter.
So far, we haven’t had that opportunity. And the clock is ticking.
Senator, I ask you to direct your staff to schedule a trip to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho as soon as possible. Bring your campaign to Cascadia so that our region can hear from you and engage with you before the voting begins.
Unlike in 2016, no state in the Pacific Northwest will be using caucuses to apportion presidential delegates to the upcoming DNC in Milwaukee. Washington and Idaho will be using presidential primaries, following in the footsteps of Oregon.
Here in the Evergreen State, my colleagues and I on the Washington State Democratic Central Committee had a spirited debate about whether to continue using caucuses for both allocation and delegate selection, or switch to a primary-caucus hybrid approach. In the end, we made history by approving a Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plan that utilizes a presidential primary as the method of delegate allocation for the first time in the history of our state party.
As a result of this decision, we expect an unprecedented number of Washingtonians to participate in deciding how our party’s delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Committee will be allocated.
Washington’s presidential primary will conclude on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020, along with Idaho’s. You’ll note that I used the word “conclude”. As we are an all vote-by-mail state (with accessible voting centers for those who need them), we do not vote on a single day, but rather over the course of three weeks.
Ballots in Washington’s presidential primary will be mailed in mid-February, about two weeks after the Iowa caucuses, and are scheduled to reach voters beginning on February 21st, 2020. That’s less than one hundred and twenty days from now, and it is one day before the Nevada Democratic caucuses are scheduled to be held.
Senator, if you are to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, you will need Cascadia’s support. While majorities of those turning out in our state’s respective nominating events supported your candidacy three years ago, we have many more compelling candidates to choose from in 2020.
We want to hear from you as well as them.
So, please: make a swing through Cascadia a top priority of your campaign in the coming weeks. As you know, we are a forward-thinking region that exemplifies the notion that the states are the laboratories of democracy. We aren’t just resisting the awfulness at the federal level. We are charting our own course.
We have proved that progress is possible even in difficult times.
There’s so much that needs doing to put our nation on a sustainable path to peace and prosperity, of course, and that’s why it would be so wonderful if you brought your campaign to places like Seattle, Portland, Boise, Eugene, and Spokane. If there’s anything that I can do to facilitate a visit by you to our beautiful corner of the country, please do not hesitate to have your staff reach out.
Very truly yours,
Founder, Northwest Progressive Institute and Northwest Progressive Foundation
Co-Chair, Washington State Democratic Party Advocacy Committee