New Washington State Chair Shasti Conrad addresses the WSDCC
New Washington State Chair Shasti Conrad addresses the Washington State Democratic Central Committee (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty today select­ed a new Chair to serve as the par­ty’s chief exec­u­tive for the 2023–2024 pres­i­den­tial cycle.

Shasti Con­rad, the for­mer Chair of the King Coun­ty Democ­rats, was cho­sen unan­i­mous­ly by the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Com­mit­tee (of which I am a mem­ber) to be the suc­ces­sor to Tina Pod­lodows­ki at its bien­ni­al reor­ga­ni­za­tion meet­ing in Olympia, after run­ning unop­posed for the posi­tion. Pod­lodows­ki declared ear­li­er this month that she would be step­ping down.

Con­rad, who has con­tributed sev­er­al guests posts here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate over the years, is the first woman of col­or to be elect­ed chair of the state party.

“I’m so hon­ored to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to serve as Chair of our state par­ty and build on the out­stand­ing suc­cess Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats have earned at the bal­lot box for the last six years,” said Con­rad in a state­ment released by the par­ty. “I’m excit­ed to work with Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers from every com­mu­ni­ty to build an unprece­dent­ed field oper­a­tion that will car­ry the mes­sage of how Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats are deliv­er­ing for work­ing fam­i­lies to each and every voter.”

“After six years serv­ing as the Chair of the Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats, I’m thrilled to pass on the torch to my friend Shasti Con­rad,” said Podlodowski.

“Shasti has been a force in Wash­ing­ton Demo­c­ra­t­ic pol­i­tics for over a decade as a staffer on three pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns and a suc­cess­ful chair of the largest coun­ty par­ty orga­ni­za­tion in the state. Shasti has been a cru­cial part of our orga­niz­ing efforts over the past six years help­ing to build a top-notch state par­ty which has seen unprece­dent­ed elec­toral suc­cess in both state and fed­er­al elec­tions. There is no one more qual­i­fied to take on the dif­fi­cult task of build­ing on this suc­cess, and I have every con­fi­dence in Shasti’s success.”

Con­rad cam­paigned on the fol­low­ing spe­cif­ic pri­or­i­ties:

  • Our Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty must do more than respond to the needs of this moment; we must also build a last­ing and resilient com­mu­ni­ty that can stand against all the chal­lenges that await us.  We can’t win by just fight­ing what we hate—we must pro­tect what we love, and demon­strate our strength by spread­ing our joy.
  • This past elec­tion, the Wash­ing­ton State Democ­rats proved that we can show vot­ers a vision that pri­or­i­tizes and bal­ances the needs of both rur­al and urban Democ­rats.  Our par­ty mod­els a big tent that includes the lead­ers of the DCCC, the Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus, and an inde­pen­dent work­ing class Demo­c­rat who flipped a seat by just a few thou­sand votes.
  • As a for­mer two-term Chair of the largest coun­ty par­ty in our state, I have a track record of suc­cess help­ing pro­gres­sive can­di­dates win at every lev­el of gov­ern­ment. In the four years I led the King Coun­ty Democ­rats, our orga­niz­ers flipped a Coun­ty Coun­cil seat, six city coun­cils, and raised the funds to make our Coun­ty par­ty for­mi­da­ble in win­ning elections.
  • Addi­tion­al­ly, I built a team of com­mit­ted, skilled vol­un­teers who cre­at­ed a cul­ture of trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty that allowed for safer spaces to wel­come in folks who his­tor­i­cal­ly had not seen them­selves reflect­ed in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty: more women, more peo­ple of col­or, younger peo­ple, LGBT peo­ple, and immigrants.
  • I have the expe­ri­ence, the rela­tion­ships and the deep ded­i­ca­tion this job requires. I am eager to serve our state and our party—and couldn’t be more ready and excited!

Also elect­ed to serve as offi­cers of the state par­ty this morn­ing were:

  • David Green, Vice Chair (reelect­ed)
  • Rob Dolin, Sec­re­tary (reelect­ed)
  • David Kim, Treasurer

All will serve two-year terms end­ing in Jan­u­ary of 2025.

The Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty reor­ga­nized last week­end; the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee retained Caleb Heim­lich in his posi­tion as Chair for anoth­er two years and will be Con­rad’s counterpart.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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