Categories: Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving 2023!

Hap­py Thanks­giv­ing, everyone!

Since World War II, when Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt and Con­gress agreed on a date, Amer­i­cans have gath­ered on the fourth Thurs­day of Novem­ber to cel­e­brate the bless­ings of the year and express grat­i­tude for boun­ti­ful harvests.

The hol­i­day actu­al­ly dates all the way back to the 1500s, when some of the first Euro­peans to reach North Amer­i­ca gave thanks for what they had. The first Thanks­giv­ing in what is now the Unit­ed States is thought by many his­to­ri­ans to have been cel­e­brat­ed by the Span­ish at St. Augus­tine, Flori­da, in 1565. There were also Thanks­giv­ing cel­e­bra­tions in Vir­ginia in 1619, two years before the Pil­grims and the Wampanoag Native Amer­i­cans com­mem­o­rat­ed the often-depict­ed life­sav­ing har­vest at Ply­mouth Plan­ta­tion in Massachusetts.

Abra­ham Lin­coln made use of both Thanks­giv­ing, in the 1860s large­ly cel­e­brat­ed north of the Mason-Dixon Line, espe­cial­ly with­in New Eng­land, and Christ­mas, cel­e­brat­ed large­ly to the south, toward fur­ther unit­ing the nation. That, in turn, ini­ti­at­ed the change in mean­ing for Thanks­giv­ing, even­tu­al­ly pro­vid­ing room to dis­cuss in pub­lic the suf­fer­ing of Native Amer­i­cans over the centuries.

“We are tru­ly a good Nation because we are a good peo­ple — the First Lady and I see it every time we trav­el the coun­try because we meet so many incred­i­ble peo­ple doing the most extra­or­di­nary things,” Pres­i­dent Biden’s 2023 Thanks­giv­ing Day Procla­ma­tion declares. “We have met with ser­vice mem­bers, vet­er­ans, and their fam­i­lies, who have self­less­ly served and sac­ri­ficed for our country.”

“We have wit­nessed the resolve of fire­fight­ers, police offi­cers, and first respon­ders, who risk their lives every day to pro­tect us. We have seen the best of our char­ac­ter in the doc­tors, nurs­es, sci­en­tists, pub­lic ser­vants, union work­ers, and teach­ers, who ensure every­one is tak­en care of and no one is left behind.”

“We have seen all the pos­si­bil­i­ties this Nation holds in the moth­ers, fathers, and care­givers, who work hard to build a future wor­thy of their chil­dren’s great­est dreams, and in young peo­ple across the coun­try, who are the most tal­ent­ed, engaged, and edu­cat­ed gen­er­a­tion in history.”

Here are some of the things our team at NPI is thank­ful for this year:

Snohomish County Sheriff-elect Susanna Johnson

We are thank­ful that vot­ers in Sno­homish Coun­ty, Wash­ing­ton’s third largest sub­di­vi­sion, have elect­ed a new top law enforce­ment offi­cial to replace right wing Sher­iff Adam Fort­ney: Susan­na John­son. John­son is a calm and thought­ful pro­fes­sion­al who was sup­port­ed by all liv­ing for­mer sher­iffs in her campaign.

“Susan­na is a dec­o­rat­ed grad­u­ate of the FBI Nation­al Acad­e­my, which is the most sought-after exec­u­tive law enforce­ment lead­er­ship train­ing in the world, and also worked her way through col­lege to earn a mas­ter’s degree,” her cam­paign biog­ra­phy states. “Like many peo­ple, Susan­na rec­og­nizes that this is a piv­otal time for the pro­fes­sion. Although the major­i­ty of police offi­cers with Susan­na’s tenure have elect­ed to retire, she believes this is the most crit­i­cal time for expe­ri­enced lead­ers to step up and lead the way.”

“A native of the Pacif­ic North­west, Susan­na lives in beau­ti­ful Lake Stevens. She is mar­ried and enjoys camp­ing, gar­den­ing, walk­ing the dogs, hang­ing out with the kids and grand­kids, and build­ing any­thing. She is also a long­time com­mu­ni­ty vol­un­teer, work­ing with youth across Sno­homish Coun­ty for over thir­ty years.”

We appre­ci­ate Susan­na step­ping up and being will­ing to serve!

Spokane Mayor-elect Lisa Brown

We are thank­ful that vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton’s sec­ond largest city have cho­sen a new chief exec­u­tive: Lisa Brown. For­mer­ly a Wash­ing­ton State Sen­a­tor and the Direc­tor of the Depart­ment of Com­merce, Brown has the expe­ri­ence and the vision to be a great leader for the Lilac City. She defeat­ed an unpop­u­lar right wing incum­bent, Nadine Wood­ward, who repeat­ed­ly demon­strat­ed bad judg­ment, such as when she went to event with mil­i­tant fun­da­men­tal­ist Matt Shea and accept­ed a bless­ing from him, then claimed she had­n’t intend­ed to share a stage.

“As an econ­o­mist, edu­ca­tor, civic leader, and for­mer state leg­is­la­tor, Lisa has used her skills and rela­tion­ships to get big things done for Spokane, bring­ing resources and invest­ments to the city and the region for decades,” her cam­paign web­site explains. “She loves this city for its peo­ple, neigh­bor­hoods, poten­tial and qual­i­ty of life, includ­ing abun­dant access to nature.”

“On the week­ends, you can find Lisa hik­ing and bik­ing with her hus­band Bri­an across the many trails in the region or enjoy­ing one of Spokane’s parks with her grand­son Blaze. She appre­ci­ates the fan­tas­tic culi­nary and cul­tur­al offer­ings of the city, espe­cial­ly live music when her son, Lucas Brook­bank Brown, is on the stage. Lisa has lived as a renter or home­own­er  in all four quad­rants of the city and is cur­rent­ly a res­i­dent of the West Cen­tral Neighborhood.”

Senate Bill 5082

We’re thank­ful that the Leg­is­la­ture and Gov­er­nor Inslee enact­ed SB 5082, our leg­is­la­tion to per­ma­nent­ly abol­ish Tim Eyman’s push polls and replace them with truth­ful, use­ful fis­cal infor­ma­tion. The half-decade effort to pass this bill was sup­port­ed by many NPI allies. Work­ing with Leg­isla­tive Direc­tor Kathy Saka­hara and the NPI staff, the Wash­ing­ton Vot­ing Jus­tice Coali­tion and Bal­ance Our Tax Code mem­bers helped us get this noble cause across the fin­ish line.

Many elec­tions offi­cials endorsed and cham­pi­oned our leg­is­la­tion too. We’re grate­ful to Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs, Thurston Coun­ty Audi­tor Mary Hall, and King Coun­ty Elec­tions Direc­tor Julie Wise for their assistance.

Thanks to every­one who tes­ti­fied, wrote a let­ter to the edi­tor, con­tact­ed a leg­is­la­tor, or donat­ed to sup­port our advo­ca­cy. You made a difference!

My Health, My Data Act

We’re thank­ful that the Leg­is­la­ture took action this year to pass a nation-lead­ing repro­duc­tive data pri­va­cy law. Polling we released ear­li­er this year showed that more than sev­en in ten vot­ers sup­port the My Health, My Data Act intro­duced by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Van­dana Slat­ter and request­ed by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Ferguson.

“The My Health My Data Act is the first pri­va­cy-focused law in the coun­try to pro­tect per­son­al health data that falls out­side the ambit of the Health Insur­ance Porta­bil­i­ty and Account­abil­i­ty Act, or HIPAA,” the AGO explains. “The Act was devel­oped to pro­tect a consumer’s sen­si­tive health data from being col­lect­ed and shared with­out that consumer’s con­sent. Washington’s con­cern for the urgent need to enhance pri­va­cy pro­tec­tions for health data is wide­ly shared: 76% of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans express sup­port for the My Health My Data Act.”

Sensible gun safety legislation

We’re thank­ful that this year, the Leg­is­la­ture final­ly took the impor­tant step of ban­ning assault weapons in Wash­ing­ton, build­ing on past work to ban high-capac­i­ty mag­a­zines, ghost guns, and bump stocks. The Ever­green State has become a wide­ly respect­ed nation­al leader on gun safe­ty legislation.

We’re glad to have been able to sup­port the impor­tant work of our friends at the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty with our research polling and leg­isla­tive advo­ca­cy. Our col­lec­tive good work has made our com­mu­ni­ties safer and saved lives.

NPI supporters

And final­ly, we’re thank­ful that we were able to bring our research polling to more local­i­ties this year, includ­ing Seat­tle City Coun­cil Dis­trict #3, which had a key city coun­cil con­test in 2023. Many Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate read­ers stepped up with con­tri­bu­tions to make that hap­pen. You’re the best! Have a great Thanksgiving.

Andrew Villeneuve

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