Voters Guides and Endorsements – 2017

 

Ballot hasn’t arrived?  Need a replacement? Call the Whatcom County Auditor 

Riveters Collective Endorsements

Candidate responses to the RC endorsement questionnaires

Lummi Indian Business Council Endorsements

Cascadia Weekly (see pages 7 and 8) 

Whatcom Democrats Endorsements

Progressive Voters Guide

The Stranger 

Whatcom Republicans

 

And if you like pictures:

LIBC Endorsements 2017

 

Wrench art by Kjersten Hayes

ACTION ALERT: Comment on EPA Rollbacks Daily Until 05/15/17

NOTE: This post will be updated with additional suggested comments until 5/15/17.  Please check back often.

Source: Indivisible Washington Environment Network and others

Description: As required by law, the EPA is calling for public comment on the planned rollback of environmental regulations. Comment early and often to show your support for regulations and programs that protect the environment.

Contact Information: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190, here. Under PRIMARY DOCUMENTS, click on the COMMENT NOW! button. Add your comments in support of EPA. Click on YOUR REVIEW, and EDIT as necessary. Be sure to click YOUR RECEIPT before leaving the site. You’ll be able to view your comments as soon as you post.

Sample Scripts:

These scripts are designed to inform and are for inspiration and ideas!  Choose a topic that resonates with you and then edit the script to make it your own and add personal commentary.

Background: The Trump Administration and EPA Director Scott Pruitt have proposed draconian cuts to EPA’s budget and roll-back of science-based regulations that protect us, our families and our environment. EPA oversees implementation of the Clean Water Act; the Clean Air Act; regulation of Toxics, Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal; and Superfund Hazardous waste cleanups. EPA also administers grants for brownfields clean up, environmental research, and environmental restoration–including the Puget Sound National Estuary Program. In accordance with Executive Order 13777 (Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda), EPA is seeking public comment on its evaluation of existing regulation. Comments must be received on or before May 15, 2017. We need to absolutely FLOOD THIS SITE with serious, well-thought-out comments.

Additional Information:

Step Five to Taking Action

How are you doing? What was the last action you took?

Maybe you’re feeling fired up and taking action every day.  Maybe you’re starting to feel overwhelmed and disheartened by the news each day, making it hard to act.  Maybe life has interrupted and your best intentions have taken a backseat to dealing with urgent personal matters.

No matter how many actions you’ve taken so far, know this: WE ARE IN THIS FOR THE LONG HAUL.

This is not normal.  And we must never ever allow ourselves to let it feel normal.

There is no finish line. No future end date we are aiming towards.  This is not a diet or a challenge or a campaign.

This is brushing your teeth.  This is grocery shopping.  This is paying bills.  This is exercise.  This is drinking coffee.  This is weeding the garden.

This is a habit. This is you making a permanent slot in your regular routine for taking action to protect our rights, fight injustice and inequality, and protect vulnerable populations.  You can do it.  You must.

Good news!  You already know how to start new habits.  (And if your life does not allow you to commit to a new habit right now, work in actions as much as you can until you have more bandwidth.)

Tips for Sustaining Action

Schedule it

Set aside some time for your reading the news, researching, reading books, writing letters, making calls, and planning actions. Schedule it on your calendar just like any other appointment and set a reminder. 

Remember to set up recurring, monthly donations, too.

 

Narrow Your Focus

There are so many actions to take and so much work to do.  It can feel overwhelming.  One way to fight this problem is to narrow your focus to your top three issues you are most passionate about.  Follow groups that are organizing issues on those topics.  Maybe you’ll branch out in the future, the most important thing is to keep acting and not get stuck at inaction.  Keep this in mind, though.

 

Use a Cheat Sheet

People out there are doing the  work of researching and selecting regular actions so that you don’t have to.  Here are a few cheat sheets to follow that will deliver regular actions to you, along with the rationale and sources behind them.

Wall of Us

Pantsuit Resources

Resistance 365

Fight Trump

Resist Tinyletter

 

Join a Group

Thousands of grassroots groups sprung up immediately after the election with the purpose of organizing action against Trump. These groups are working online and in person.  They are planning actions on a local level,  state level, national level, and world level.  Find one near you. (This list is not comprehensive, but a good round up.)

 

Form an Accountability Circle

This is simple.  Find some buddies who also are taking and agree to regularly check in with each other to see how it’s going.  Meet in person, do a group chat online, form a Facebook group, or however you want to go about it.  Every (one, two, three) weeks, ask everyone to report in with their latest actions. Knowing someone is going to check on you can give you that extra motivation you need.


Or, simply post your latest actions on social media and ask what your friends have been up to.  Use this hashtag: #actionaccountability

 

Celebrate, Reward, and Take Care of Yourself

Are you tired yet?  I am.  This work is exhausting physically and emotionally. Don’t burn out. Please take care of yourself.    We need you and your voice.  Take a break when you need to, but come back, refreshed and full of fire. Practice your favorite self-care.  Reward yourself for taking action.  And celebrate our victories!  Because there will be victories.  You can do it.  You must.  Remember, we are the ones we have been waiting for.

Missed step four? Read it here.

Take action:

Support Congressman Larsen’s bill on the National Security Council!

February 1st, Representative Rick Larsen is/was scheduled to introduce a bill which would make the Director of National Intelligence and the Joint Chiefs of Staff permanent members of the National Security Council. This is exactly the kind of bold leadership we want from our legislators!

Call Rick Larsen’s office:
Bellingham 360-733-4500
Everett 425-252-3188
DC (202) 225-2605

Talking Points:
1) You support Larsen’s bill to make the Director of National Intelligence and the Joint Chiefs of Staff permanent members of the National Security Council.
2) You do not agree with Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council.
3) Thank Rick Larsen for his leadership in this issue.

Alternatively, if you cannot call, you can email his office on the contact us page here: https://larsen.house.gov/contact-rick

Background:
The bill does not have a name or a number yet. Representative Larsen tweeted about the bill:
https://twitter.com/RepRickLarsen/status/826973417224228864
https://twitter.com/RepRickLarsen/status/825792726796947456

This bill would make the Director of National Intelligence and the Joint Chief’s of Staff permanent members of the National Security Council.

Why this is important: Over the weekend, Donald Trump elevated Steve Bannon, a non-elected official with no military experience, to the National Security Council and made the Director of National Intelligence and Joint Chief’s of Staff optional to attend meetings.
The impact of this is to make the National Security Council more political and removes experienced voices of reason from this group.

Representative Larsen has released his ‘Dear Colleague’ letter to ask for support from his fellow House Representatives. Currently Representative Murphy is writing a similar bill. Both bills will go to committee – most likely the House Armed Services Committee which Larsen serves on. We will be able to see what the bill does tomorrow on this page: http://clerk.house.gov/floorsummary/floor.aspx

The National Security Council is committee is a Cabinet-level group of agencies focused on national security that was established by President George H. W. Bush in 1989. To date, every version of the Committee has included the Joint Chiefs chairman and the director of the CIA or, once it was established, the head of the Director of National Intelligence. Bannon’s appointment is a major break with tradition and makes a traditionally a-political committee extremely political. The National Security Council is run by National Security Adviser Michael Flynn who himself has had plenty of controversy of late, mostly involving ill-advised comments his son has made and his close ties with Russia and specifically Putin.

https://larsen.house.gov/contact-rick

Step Four to Taking Action

Here we go- time to get busy.  Let’s look at how you can use your time to influence change.

Some of these actions are quick and introvert-friendly.  Some are harder and require you to step out of your comfort zone.  You can do it.

 

Petition (quick and easy, but low impact)

Signing online petitions is a simple, entry-level action.  You sign your name and zip code to support a cause you believe in. It takes about 30 seconds.  BUT, it’s hard to say how much they actually accomplish. (Read here, here, and here.)  Keep in mind that signing will probably get you on an email list, and right after you sign, you will probably be asked to donate money and share the petition.  That being said, there’s no harm in signing a petition, as long as it’s not the only action you take.

Here are some petition sources:

Moveon.org

CREDO Action

Petition the White House

Moms Rising

 

Vote (moderate research time, impactful, it’s your duty)

Duh.  You must vote. Vote in every election: local, state, and national.  Vote, vote, vote. Here’s some ways to get informed:

Vote Smart

Vote 411

Tell your friends, family, and neighbors to vote, too.  If our friends just voted in local and midterm elections we could change the world. Far too many people (it would surprise you who) are inconsistent in voting.  We should all be helping to get out the vote. Check out the Whatcom Democrats for get out the vote opportunities.

 

Call and Write Letters (quick to moderate time, moderate impact)

Contacting politicians and policy makers to share your opinion about specific issues is a simple, tried and true way to influence change.  If you’ve never done it, it can sound intimidating.  Luckily, there are scripts out there to follow to make it easy.  And the people who answer the phones are nice.  You don’t have to be a political junkie to call or write.  These public servants are there to serve YOU.  Let them know what you think.

Tip: Write handwritten letters instead of using the contact forms on their webpages or sending email.  Real letters get noticed.

Tip: Put the numbers for your congresspeople (state and national) in your phone.  You’re going to be calling them a lot. Find your elected officials.

Fabulous, rich resource: The Sixty-Five

Sometimes it’s as simple as a postcard campaign or a letter writing campaign.

 

Attend Town Hall Meetings (moderate time, high impact)

Word is, the best way to get your legislator’s attention is to attend one of their Town Hall meetings and ask questions.  Check out this wonderful, detailed guide put together by a handful of former DC staffers.  And, this former congressman confirms it: go to the Town Halls and ask hard questions.

 

Protest (moderate time, high profile impact)

Seattle Womxn’s March

Why should YOU participate in a peaceful protest?  Read this.

For many of us, this will be our first time protesting.  You don’t have to be a young radical to protest.  Here are some tips for protesters.  (These are very practical and may make you feel uncomfortable.  Peaceful, organized protests are not without risk, but they are entirely different than violent destruction and looting.)

Tips from the ACLU

More tips

Watch the news and your networks for upcoming peaceful protests.  There will be many.

Watch for local Planned Parenthood support rallies to counter anti-PP vigils.

Bellingham is the home of the longest running weekly peace vigil in the country. Downtown, every Friday from 4-5.

 

Volunteer (moderate to high time, high impact)

Remember all those organizations (big and small) you just donated too?  They could use your time, too. Most of them have volunteer opportunities.  Yes, life is busy.  Sometimes there are volunteer opportunities that can be accomplished online, from the comfort of your pjs. Look into it. Bonus- it’s good for your health!

Serve 306 is asking you to pledge 306 hours of volunteer time over the next four years.  That’s about 1.5 hours per week. Totally doable.

Also, your city or county probably has boards and commissions that need volunteers to guide decisions. Here’s Whatcom County’s current vacancies.

 

Campaign (moderate to high time, high impact)

Signing up as a volunteer for a political party or organization will get you on the list of folks to help out in the next campaign, whether it’s local, state, or national.  There are lots of ways to help a campaign, ranging from low to high time commitment.

Democrats

Bernie

 

Run for office (high time, high impact)

Yes, you!  If you are passionate about local issues, consider running for local office: School Board, City Council, etc.  Especially if you’re a woman.

 

Try a few of these and see how it goes.  Then try a few more.

Next up, the final step: sustaining action.

Missed step three? Read it here.

Ready for step five? Read it here.

Take action:

Step Three to Taking Action

Now you are informed and ready- time to act! Your best two tactics are your money and your time. Let’s talk $$.

Photo by Newton Free Library on flickr. Used under Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

First, donations.

There are a bajillion organizations working to do good. Many run on donations. It can be hard to figure out who to donate to. What do you care about? Which organizations are legit? How much money? How often? What about local groups vs. national organizations?

Narrow it down
This might be difficult. Many of us care about all of it- the environment, women’s rights, healthcare, LGBTQ rights, etc. Try picking your top three issues and start with those. Maybe even make a calendar where you focus on different issues each month or quarter.
This is a good list of ideas (check the comments, too): http://jezebel.com/a-list-of-pro-wo…

Find legitimate organizations
Charity Navigator is a great tool to help you decide who will use your donation effectively.

Every bit helps
If you only have a few bucks to spare and are wondering if it’s even worth donating that much, know that it DOES HELP. We are working on a scale of millions of people making donations. A buck or two adds up.

If you can swing an automatic monthly donation, go for it.

Think globally, act locally (and nationally and globally)
Don’t forget about your hometown organizations. You can often have the most impact with these small fish. Use our Civic Tithing tool to help find local organizations and set up monthly donations. Also, Charity Navigator has a rich search function, including a way to look for local charities: https://www.charitynavigator.org/in…

 

It’s also time to boycott

You can also make a difference with your everyday spending habits.

Anti-Trump
You can choose to spend your money at places that do not support Trump or his family’s businesses. Shannon Coulter started the #grabyourwallet boycott in late October. Here is the current list of business to boycott, scripts to use to tell them why you’re boycotting, and alternative businesses to use instead: https://grabyourwallet.org/

Pro-justice
You can also sign up to participate in the Injustice Boycott, which began last December. This boycott is about preventing police brutality and racial injustice.
Do you know of any other current boycotts?

That’s your first action: donate and spend wisely. Next up, how to use your time to make a difference.

Missed step two? Read it here.

Ready for step four? Read it here.

Take action:

Alternative Inauguration Day Events

By Jnn13 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Take back Inauguration Day by participating in one of these alternative events on Friday, January 20th.

Because you can love this country AND skip the inauguration.

Local

Our Inauguration Day: The Bellingham People’s Movement Assembly

WWU Student Walkout to #ResistTrump on Inauguration Day

WCC Resists Trump: Student Walkout on Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day Cabaret, at Sylvia Center

Bring Your Light to the Library

Don’t Mourn – Organize!

Unite Turtle Island: Inauguration Protest at the Border

Rest up and prepare for the Women’s Marches the next day.

National

Women Strike

Love-a-thon

Step Two to Taking Action

 

Alright, so you’ve got your non-biased news sources and you’re keeping up with things- nice! Now it’s time for step two: homework.

I know, you already have a busy life, and you’ve just upped your news intake on top of that. The thing is, you won’t be able to make effective or meaningful actions until you fully understand the situation.

First, the basics.

  • Here’s a nice civics brush up.
  • These gamified civics lessons are aimed at students, but look like fun for any age. Bonus- they’re an initiative of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
  • And here’s a handy post of our own about how the local Democratic party works.

Next, you might be wondering how this happened.

While we’re at it, we need to understand how to be better allies, too. Don’t forget the kids.

Putting a few of these books on reserve at the library is a great way to go. Get reading!

Missed step one? Read it here.

Ready for step three? Read it here.

Take action:

Step One to Taking Action

Since the election, everyone is talking about taking action and asking you to act, too.*

Let’s take a step back- maybe you’re not sure where to start or are feeling overwhelmed?

The world feels a bit topsy-turvy in the worst sort of way right now. And then on top of it, many people are telling you to call this person and sign this petition and donate here. It can be easy to get stuck at inaction from feeling overwhelmed.

Whatever your level of political activism has been, it’s time to take it up two notches. Our best chance to protect the rights and freedoms we have fought for over the last generations is to make your voice heard. If we all do a little, it will add up to a lot. You can do it. You must.

“emma reading the newspaper” by Diego Sevilla Ruiz on flickr. Used under Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

The first step to sorting through everything is to get informed.

You need to be up to speed on what’s happening in order to decide what actions to take. One of the challenges is that the media is often biased, both to the right and to the left.

Here are the least biased news sources: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/cent…

Along with the neutral sites, try adding in a few sites that lean slightly left and some that lean slightly right to get a sense of the whole picture.

Avoid sites that are extremely biased or flat out false. Here’s some tips for spotting fake news: https://www.facebook.com/OnTheMedia…

Here are some known fake news sites to avoid: http://www.snopes.com/2016/01/14/fa…

That’s step one. Pay attention, watch your sources.  Stay tuned for step two.

*For why you should take action, see here and here.

Take action:

Whitefish Love

Happy Hanukkah pants peeps, and merry Christmas.   You may have seen reports of a white supremacist hate group threatening people and planning an armed march in Whitefish, Montana.  As nauseous as this is, Montana has a strong network of people and groups working for justice and human rights.  Rather than give oxygen to groups acting in hate, let’s support those resisting in love.  The resistance is led by the Montana Human Rights Network.  Let’s play a game, donate to MHRN every time we see the Whitefish hate group in the news.  They go low, we go high.

Follow MHRN on Facebook

Donate to MHRN

Follow Love Lives Here in the Flathead Valley