Focus on Climate Action – Rep Sharon Shewmake

In a recent poll completed by Riveters Collective seeking input on what areas the organization should focus on in the upcoming year, Climate Action was the top priority. Each month, Riveters Collective will highlight climate action mitigation policies and strategies that our endorsed elected officials are implementing in our communities.

Our first Focus on Climate Action is with Representative Sharon Shewmake. Representative Shewmake was elected in 2018 to serve in the 42nd Legislative District. Following are three policies related to climate that she plans to champion during the 2020 legislative session.

 

Natural Gas Leaks in Our Cities

Natural gas is a potent greenhouse gas. Even small leaks can add up to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, the incentives utilities have to fix leaks encourage leaky infrastructure. Utilities are currently allowed to pass the costs of all the gas that leaks out of the pipes along to the ratepayers, unless the leak is likely to explode. We need to fix this for the environment and for rate-payers who shouldn’t be paying for gas they don’t get.

In partnership with the utilities, unions, and environmental community, Representative Shewmake is writing a bill that would change this. In short, it would mandate a cost-benefit analysis that would incorporate 1) the cost of the wasted gas, 2) the social cost of that carbon, and 3) the human safety-related costs of any leaky infrastructure. If 1+2+3 is a dollar figure larger than what the repair would cost, the utility would be required to fix the leak.

Representative Shewmake plans to introduce this bill for the first time in January. If passed, Washington would have the strongest policy in the nation to deal with fugitive emissions and she hopes other states would follow suit.

 

The “Sustainable Farms and Fields Act”

Farms don’t just produce food, they also have the potential to help us fight climate change by storing carbon. HB 2095 is a bi-partisan bill that Representative Shewmake helped develop that would pay farmers to sequester carbon and reduce fossil fuel use on farms. The idea is that we could have a local offset program where those looking to offset CO2, including the state government, could invest in carbon sequestration on farms. The Senate version of this bill made it pretty far through the process, but eventually got stalled. A few agricultural associations felt like they were insufficiently consulted during the bill’s development and asked that the House of Representatives step in to slow the process down. Representative Shewmakeis working on it over the rest of 2019.

This work is being funded by a “budget proviso” that Representative Shewmake wrote and got included in last year’s state budget.

She told us, “I’m really excited about this bill – I think it is a great policy both for our farmers and for our climate. My hope is that, together, the stakeholders will try to pass the new-and-improved “Sustainable Farms and Fields Act” in 2020!”

 

Tax Break for Electric Bikes

Representative Shewmake wrote a bill last year that would incentivize the purchase of electric bikes by setting up a tax break. It would get rid of the sales tax on the purchase of an electric bike, which can really add up! The idea is to decrease the barriers to adoption of electric bikes, which are a fantastic low-carbon alternative to cars.

Though the bill didn’t pass last year, the Governor’s office and other major stakeholders took notice and Representative Shewmake is having regular meetings with them about how we can move this innovative idea toward implementation in 2020!

You can email Representative Shewmake at Sharon.Shewmake@leg.wa.gov.
And, subscribe to her newsletter here.

Stay tuned for regular Focus on Climate Action updates from other elected leaders in our community.

PAC 2019

***CLICK ON THE RACE TO EXPAND THE DETAILS***

 

Whatcom County

Bellingham

Ferndale

 

Primary Election Endorsements 2019

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40th Legislative District

Whatcom County

Bellingham

Ferndale

 

Endorsement FAQ

General

Why does Riveters Collective make endorsements?

  • To support the candidates who will best advance our platform.
  • To build political power and relationships with elected officials.
  • To provide the community more information about candidates.

Why does Riveters Collective endorse in the primary election?

  • The RC endorsement process utilizes a committee rather than a vote of the members.  The committee has access to extensive information about the candidates gathered via in person and written interviews. Each position has questions carefully crafted by endorsement teams surrounding current issues and needs of each elected position.
  • Unlike the Whatcom Democrats endorsement, an RC endorsement is not tied to substantial resource access that provide a significant competitive advantage.
  • We want candidates who best align with our platform to win.  That means they need our support first in the primary election in order to make it to the general election.

How does being endorsed by Riveters Collective help candidates?

  • Endorsed candidates benefit from public support from RC, including social media and website posts, as well as volunteer support from RC members.
  • RC may choose to use PAC funds to print slate cards.
  • RC may choose to undertake an independent expenditure campaign through the PAC in support of endorsed candidates.
  • All candidates who participate in the RC endorsement process will have their questionnaires and interviews shared publicly.

In which races does Riveters Collective make endorsements?

  • RC endorses in local races, from school board up to state legislators.  We focus primarily on races in Whatcom County and Bellingham, but will endorse in smaller cities and Skagit and San Juan counties as our endorsement committee capacity allows.

 

Process

How are members of the endorsement committee selected?

  • We posted the web-form application for the committee to our Facebook group and page, sent to our email list, tweeted and instagrammed.
  • 19 people applied to be on the committee and we invited all of them to join.  One person was not able to commit to the meetings and so declined to participate in the committee.
  • Qualifications for committee members:
    -Live in Whatcom, Skagit, or San Juan county.
    -Work collaboratively with positive intent to identify candidates who align with the  RC platform.
    -Commit to attending meetings and communicating with the committee March-early June.
    -Commit to making time outside of meetings for question development, editing, response review and scoring, and communication with the committee.
    -Anyone who is an officer, committee member, or employee of a political party, or who is already working on a campaign for which we plan to endorse is not eligible for the endorsement committee. Committee members will refrain from involvement in campaigns until endorsements are made in early June.

How does the endorsement committee evaluate candidates?

  • The committee is tasked with identifying which candidates will best advance the vision described in the 2019 Riveters Collective platform. We ask them to attempt to endorse one candidate in each race, but dual endorsements or no endorsement is allowed at their discretion.
  • Candidates are evaluated based on their responses to questions about campaign viability, issues and experience questions, and an in-person interview.  The committee scores how well their responses map to the RC platform, but is also encouraged to consider the person’s record, life experience, and vision.

How should candidates seek endorsement from Riveters Collective?

  • After filing closes, the committee will send an invitation to be considered for endorsement including instructions and a questionnaire to all candidates.  The endorsement committee may decide to exclude candidates with antithetical views. We use the email address provided by the candidate and available on the county auditor’s page.
  • To be considered for endorsement, the candidate should complete the candidate information sheet and the written questionnaire, and email them to riveterscollective@gmail.com prior to the deadline. Candidates returning their written questionnaire before the deadline will be invited to schedule an interview.  Candidates seeking our endorsement are also required to use a code of conduct in their campaigns.

How does the endorsement committee decide what questions to ask candidates?

  • Typically, the committee wants to ask each candidate 30 questions, but we ask them to narrow the list to 10. That requires negotiation and tough decisions.
  • Race subcommittees meet in person and online multiple times to formulate questions for each race that relate to the RC platform. Once drafted, the wider committee is invited to review and make comments/suggestions on each race’s questions.

How does the endorsement committee decide which candidates to recommend for endorsement?

  • Committee members score replies to the written questionnaire and in-person interview based on a rubric, outlining higher scores for ideal answers based on the Riveter’s platform of ideals.
  • The committee is also encouraged to consider the person’s record, life experience, and vision.
  • At the committee’s final meeting, they discuss and decide the final recommendations they will make to the the RC board of directors.

What about dual endorsements?

  • Since the goal is to provide clear guidance to voters, we ask the committee to use dual endorsements sparingly.  
  • Still, we’ve had one dual endorsement each year we’ve endorsed.

How is the final endorsement decision made?

  • The endorsement committee presents recommendations to the board of directors.
  • Usually the board votes to endorse all recommended candidates, but it is possible for the board to vote in a way that’s inconsistent with a committee recommendation.

Can an endorsement be revoked?

  • Revoking an endorsement requires a vote of the RC board of directors.  The directors will consult the endorsement committee chair prior to such a vote.
  • We would consider revoking for a code of conduct violation, if we learned that the candidate had intentionally falsified their endorsement materials, or other unethical or inconsistent behavior on the part of the candidate, at the discretion of the directors.

 

Campaign Training for Everyone Resources

Whether or not you attended our Campaign Training for All event, here are some links to help you make your make your campaign inclusive and get started on the right track.

Inclusivity

ASL Voter Assistance Hotline:
https://www.nad.org/asl-voter-hotline/

Communicating with a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Person:
https://dhcc.org/dhcc-outreach/communication-info/

Including People with Disabilities in Your Political Campaign: A Guide for Campaign Staff:
https://www.ncil.org/campaign-guide/

Issues that matter to Disability Community:
https://www.aapd.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/2018-REV-UP-Issues-Guide-Print.pdf

Getting started

WA Secretary of State guide for candidates https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/candidates/state-candidates-guide-2019.pdf

NGPVan How to Run for Local Office https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/661521/How%20to%20Run%20for%20Local%20Office.pdf

WA Democrats Rise and Run resources:
https://www.wa-democrats.org/riseandrun

2019 Code of Conduct & Ethical Behavior Policy

Civic spaces should be welcoming and safe for all members of our community, and the Riveters Collective is committed to systemic change toward this goal.  Campaigns – as pop-up, temporary, high-intensity workplaces – are especially vulnerable to abuses of power. In 2018, the Riveters Collective PAC Pledge to Vote Campaign followed the lead of Tim Ballew II’s campaign for state senate (led by Tim Ballew II’s 2018 State Senate campaign, written by Tim’s field manager, Michael Peñuelas) in requiring all campaign workers sign a code of conduct, and in designating external reporting contacts.

In 2019, implementing a code of conduct will be a prerequisite for any campaign to be endorsed by the Riveters Collective. To make this easy for campaigns, we’ve provided a model code. We will accept a campaign’s code of conduct provided it meets the following criteria.

  • Asking all candidates, paid staff and contractors to commit to a workplace that is free of harassment, bullying or intimidation;

  • Making this code of conduct visible to volunteers;

  • A zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault and harassment;

  • And importantly, identifies a point person, aside from campaign leadership, who can be contacted with concerns.

Beyond our endorsement process, we have advanced this issue by proposing and passing a similar requirement for the Whatcom Democrats endorsement process, and we are working with people at the state level to implement codes of conduct at a state-wide level.

Endorsement Process 2019

Follow along here as we share each step of our endorsement process.  We will update this post from now until we announce our endorsements in June.

June

  • Candidate interviews were held the first week of June, 32 in total!  Interviews were recorded via Facebook live.
  • Committee members scored the interviews using rubrics and discussed the candidates.
  • At the end of interview week, the committee discussed all of the candidates and decided on their final recommendations to the board.
  • The committee presented their recommendations to the board on Monday, June 10th.
  • The board voted unanimously to endorse as recommended by the committee.  Note: Kris Lytton and Michael Peñuelas abstained from voting on endorsements in the 40th legislative district Senate race.  Beth Hartsoch, Eowyn Savela, and Suzanne Munson abstained from voting in the Bellingham City Council Ward 1 race.

May

  • We asked Dena Jensen to research incumbents’ records to see how they compare to the Riveters Collective platform.  We tasked Dena with identifying top three and bottom three positions/decisions for anyone running who has previously held public office, no matter if they are running for a different position this election.  This is a big job and we know info may be difficult to find for some positions, but we think it is worth attempting.
  • Questionnaires were prepped for distribution to candidates.
  • Subcommittees met to work on rubrics.
  • Questionnaires were posted on our website on May 13th and emailed to candidates on May 17th.  Candidates must return completed questionnaires by May 24th to be considered for endorsement.
  • The committee reviewed and scored the questionnaires.  Unfortunately, no candidates from Blaine or Lynden returned questionnaires.
  • Dena reported in that it was challenging-to-insurmountable to accomplish the task we gave her in a fair way.  Instead, she proposed she serve as a researcher to verify or look up electeds’ records as requested by the committee.

April

  • The full committee met again to share progress on question development and learn how to make rubrics that will allow them to score how well question responses align with our platform.
  • Subcommittees finalized questions and started to build the rubrics.

March

  • 19 people applied to be on the committee and we invited all of them to join.  One person was not able to commit to the meetings and so declined to participate in the committee.  Committee members: Alex Ramel, Alicia Rule, Amanda Zimmerman, Colleen Harper, Darlene Giblin, Debbi Anderson-Frey, Eddy Ury, Jennifer Wright, Kris Lytton, Krystal Rodriguez, Lisa Van Doren, Loretta Sheldon, Maggie Davis-Bower, Margie Overhauser, Mehar Singh, Misty Manherz, Rosalinda Guillen, Sarabeth Bede, Stephanie Allen, and Stephanie McDonald.
  • The committee met for the first time to get to know each other, learn some background of Riveters Collective and learn why we make endorsements, discuss the races and decide which races we can cover, decide who will work on which races, discuss writing questions and using rubrics to rate answers against the Riveters Collective platform, and learn about the online collaboration tools we use to work.
  • The committee divided into subcommittees working on Blaine and Lynden races, Ferndale races, Bellingham races, and Whatcom County races.  The subcommittees worked to research positions and draft questions based on our platform for the written questionnaires and interviews.

February

  • We asked Riveters Collective board members and endorsement committee veterans Debbi Anderson-Frey and Lisa Van Doren to chair the committee.  We also invited Alicia Rule from Blaine to co-chair to help us expand our endorsement capacity to the smaller cities.
  • We asked for input to help plan which races we should endorse include in our endorsements.
  • Our endorsement committee consists of volunteers from the community. We used a Google form to recruit endorsement committee members and shared it in our Facebook group, on our Facebook page, to our mailing list, and on our other social media channels. Qualifications for committee members:
    -Live in Whatcom, Skagit, or San Juan county.
    -Work collaboratively with positive intent to identify candidates who align with the  RC platform.
    -Commit to attending meetings and communicating with the committee March-early June.
    -Commit to making time outside of meetings for question development, editing, response review and scoring, and communication with the committee.
    -Anyone who is an officer, committee member, or employee of a political party, or who is already working on a campaign for which we plan to endorse is not eligible for the endorsement committee. Committee members will refrain from involvement in campaigns until endorsements are made in early June.

Good Neighbor Election Pledge

The 2019 Elections are already taking shape. With several key local elected positions opening up, many fine progressive candidates will put their lives on hold to do the hard work of campaigning this year. Maybe even you! Or maybe you’ll work or volunteer for a campaign, or be a thoughtful, informed voter. It is all vital, consequential work. Let’s do the work in way that encourages participation and removes barriers to involvement, and let’s do it with grace.

 

Local political activists and community members, will you take this pledge with us?

 

I pledge to participate in elections by:

  • Acting in good faith when participating in political discussions and events.
  • Assuming positive intent of all participants in the electoral process.
  • Campaigning on issues and not on the shortcomings of opponents.
  • Refusing to spread rumors. Rumors are harmful. They waste time and energy, damage relationships, and discourage people from participating in campaigns and electoral politics. I pledge to research and verify claims made about candidates, campaigns, and supporters, including speaking directly with the people about whom the claims are made, before sharing such claims.
  • Informing myself on issues and policies so that I can make the most educated choice when choosing which candidates to support with my time, money and vote.
  • Agreeing to offer my support to progressive candidates on the ballot in both the primary and general elections.
  • Refusing to work with, or support, candidates or campaigns that commit or tolerate sexual harassment/assault, and committing to believing victims and survivors of sexual harassment/assault.
  • Rejecting the assumption that politics includes winning at all costs. Instead, I pledge to support the idea that in our community candidates only truly win when they are elected on the strength of their values, communications, character, and hard work.

Sign:

Sign your name above to be added to the list of neighbors who have pledged:

Eowyn Savela

Nathan Carnes

Stephanie Allen

Kris Lytton

Karlee Deatherage

Mike Estes

Carol Frazey

Michael Peñuelas

Teizeen Mohamedali

Towhee Wean

Dena Jensen

Valeri Wade

Steve Hansen

Naomi Bunis

Suzanne Munson

Jon Humphrey

Loretta Sheldon

Cheryl Robison

Alicia Rule

Colleen Harper

Genevieve Jones

Amanda Zimmerman

Amber Hixson

Jaime Arnett

Satpal Sidhu

Kelly Bashaw

Makenzie Graham

April Barker

Kristen McLewin

Bob Burr

Ashanti Monts-Tréviska

Arrissia Owen Turner

Susan Mulligan

Sarah Watts

Jace Cotton

Jonathan Scanlon

Kai Rapaport

In Response to Sen. Ranker’s Resignation

Today, Senator Kevin Ranker resigned his position as state senator for Washington’s 40th Legislative District. Riveters Collective believes that resignation was the right decision, as we can no longer tolerate abuse of power at the expense of women’s safety, well-being, and professional advancement, and we also believe that the ongoing investigations of Ranker would impact his ability to serve his constituents.

Communities across our country are grappling with new ways to reconcile after sexual harassment and abuse allegations surface. We do not know the perfect answer, but we believe it starts with listening, learning, and apologizing without excuses. We are grateful to Ann Larson for coming forward and speaking her truth in the face of immense of personal and political risk. We are grateful to the people who listened to and believed Ann. We are grateful that Kevin recognized the harm his actions have caused and decided to step aside.

The events at the center of Ranker’s resignation remind us that much work remains to be done to ensure our State is a safe place for women, and Riveters Collective will continue to be active in calling for change.

First, we call on the Legislature to do more to protect victims of sexual harassment. Ranker’s appointment in the Fall to multiple major leadership positions, while Senate leadership was aware of formal sexual harassment allegations, casts doubt on whether their new respectful workplace policy and the addition of a Human Resources Officer are sufficient. The recently implemented policy and staffing resulted from the efforts of 170 women and their allies who asked that the legislature make a “tangible commitment to end sexual harassment in all its forms in Olympia”. Based on how Ann’s sexual harassment allegations were handled, it seems clear that the steps taken are inadequate. At a minimum, credible allegations of mistreating subordinates should be disqualifying for leadership positions.

Riveters Collective also expects that the person that is selected to replace Ranker firmly believes in advocating for better workplace culture, standards, and a grievance process to build a culture of respect for everyone working in the State capital.

Ann Larson has reaffirmed that one woman can change the world by speaking her truth. She is doing it. Let’s do it with her.

Signed,
Riveters Collective Board of Directors

In support of Ann Larson

We believe women and we support survivors.

Creating a safe space for people in the political world is an integral part of our work as Riveters. Our policies clearly state that we do not work with anyone who has harassed, abused and/or assaulted others. (See our zero tolerance policy for candidates).

But our work goes beyond simply refusing to work with harassers and predators. We must affirmatively stand with survivors who are willing to come forward and share their stories.

Today, we are standing with Ann Larson. We believe her story of harassment and retaliation perpetrated by Washington state 40th district senator Kevin Ranker. In the past, Kevin has been our political ally and our friend, and this story is not easy to read for any of us.  We’ve compiled a list of resources that we have found useful in supporting survivors, responding when a friend or family member is accused, and apologizing for past complicity or enabling of an abuser.

Speaking out against harassment and abuse can be hard, especially when the perpetrator is in our community, an ally, or in a position of power. But we MUST listen to and believe survivors’ stories. We believe Ann. And we believe that supporting those who share their stories will lead to a political community where people feel safe and valued, especially individuals who are in lesser positions of power. This will require us all to dig deep and dive into a difficult issue. We call on the State Senate to hold themselves to high standards in conducting this precedent-setting investigation.

Thank you, Ann, for your bravery in telling your story. Reach out if there’s more we can do to help.

#westandwithsurvivors #weAREdoingit