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

Resources for Community Response to Sexual Harassment/Assault

These are links we find helpful. Note: These resources have not been vetted by mental health or trauma experts.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services 

Understanding how Sexual Harassment and Assault Happens

Why don’t women just say no?

Research on false accusations

What is victim blaming?

What is gaslighting?

Supporting Survivors

Helping a Friend (This is from a university, but the steps are great.)

Four Ways to Support People who are Survivors of Sexual Assault

Supporting queer women who are survivors of harassment

Why getting an apology is often not the end-game

Why some survivors choose to name their abusers and why some choose not to 

 

Resources for Harassers, their Enablers, Friends, or Family

Letter template to share with those who have participated in or been a bystander to sexual harassment

What to do if you have sexually harassed or assaulted someone

What to do if your friend or family member is accused of sexual harassment 

What about Due Process?

Examples of Decent Apologies

Preventing Sexual Harassment and Assault

How men can better recognize and interrupt everyday sexual harassment

Forget the “Blue Wave:” We Did It

A reflection on the 2018 election

by Morgan Steele, Campaign Manager for the Riveters Collective Pledge to Vote campaign

As you watch the recount for the 42nd State Senate seat, don’t attribute the historic closeness of this election to the “blue wave.” It was us: the everyday people of Whatcom and Skagit Counties who stood up, got organized, and fought for change. We didn’t oust Sen. Doug Ericksen like we intended, but we won in many other ways.

 

As the Campaign Manager for the Riveters Collective, I saw it firsthand. The Riveters Collective is a women-led grassroots group with over 4,000 members. Most of us are moms with full time jobs that we balance in addition to the 40+ hours a week we put into building a culture of civic engagement in our community. We were mobilized to action when our local politics ran headlong into the Trump Administration as Ericksen took a second job working for Trump’s EPA.

This fall, the Riveters launched an innovative voter contact program that involved the painstaking work of building relationships with over 15,000 infrequent voters and aiding them throughout the entire electoral process. Most of the voters we talked to were completely unaware there was an election happening, much less an election about the issues most affecting their lives.

For example, one young man we spoke to didn’t know about the election and said he was disinclined to vote. After a conversation with our canvassers, he agreed to take the time to cast his ballot. When our reminder-to-vote postcard showed up in his mailbox a week before the election, he remembered our conversation and voted right away. We met him again at our election night party, where he showed up in person to thank us. Without us, he said, he would never have known how much of a difference one vote could make.

Evan, who voted because we canvassed him.

Our hard work paid off: Our data show that voters we reached were almost 2 times more likely to vote than those we didn’t. We saw dozens of volunteers step out from behind their computers and engage in the nitty-gritty of the electoral process for the first time. To us, this proves that the historic level of voter turnout in the 42nd LD wasn’t due to some intangible “blue wave,” but due to the hard work of everyday people stepping up to lead.

This trend was reflected in the diversity of first-time candidates stepping up to run for office. Riveters Collective held a candidate recruitment event in May to encourage more women and people of color to run. Of the dozen attendees, half decided to compete in 2018 elections. Notably, one of them flipped a historically Republican seat in the State House: Representative-Elect Sharon Shewmake, the economist, mom, and professor who is also our new state representative in the 42nd Legislative District.

Our community’s effort wasn’t just reflected in who we sent to Olympia (a notably more diverse cohort including Debra Lekanoff, the first Native American woman elected to our state legislature), but also in what principles we supported. Our values are clear: we want progressive leadership on the issues affecting our lives. A whopping 66.8% of Bellingham voters chose to tax ourselves in order to bring more affordable housing to our city. Whatcom County voted overwhelmingly in favor of common sense gun control, as 60.2% voted for I-1639. We supported accountable policing with 58.89% voting for I-940. Bellingham voted overwhelmingly in favor of the climate change action at about 54% supporting I-1631.

Ericksen is trying to spin the fact that he hung onto his seat by the skin of his teeth as some kind of victory of people power over big money in elections. He’s right, but not for the reason he thinks: it wasn’t “big money” that brought Justin Boneau within 80 votes of snatching Rep. Luanne Van Werven’s seat in Olympia. Boneau raised less than a third of the donations Van Werven received. It was voters’ thirst for genuine candidates who look and live like us and who will champion the most pressing issues.

When you look back at these elections, don’t see 2018 as “a wave year.” See it as the year everyday folks decided enough was enough. See it as the year Riveters Collective and other local progressives joined forces to build lasting grassroots power. See it as the year we used that power to elect progressive champions at all levels of government.

Then, when you look forward to the upcoming city and countywide elections in 2019, know that we’re just getting started.

Thank you

After countless doors knocked, donations tallied, texts sent, and vote after vote sought, pledged and returned, and so many races yet to be called, there’s only one thing left for the board of directors to say to you, the Riveters Collective.

Thank you.

Thank you for your time, your efforts, your voices, and your bravery.

Thank you to every person who ran for office—who braved campaigning and forums, who earnestly listened to a cacophony of differing opinions, and made the choice to offer your leadership to our community. No matter the outcome of your race, thank you for your willingness to serve.

Thank you to all who served on our endorsement committee and gave hours of your time vetting candidates, not to determine who was the most enigmatic choice, but to determine the candidates you believed most capable of accomplishing the goals of the Riveters’ platform.

Thank you to everyone who showed up to a candidate forum and asked tough questions. Thank you to everyone who wrote a letter to the editor, attended a rally or a protest, joined a new group, donated to a campaign or cause you believed in, or simply engaged in the type of political conversation you would have shied away from 3 years ago.

Thank you to everyone who sat still and listened. Who paused to examine their own privilege, had uncomfortable conversations, and read and learned and discussed new views on intersections and identity.

Thank you to everyone who knocked on doors and made calls and sent mail (both e- and snail) to their fellow voters and our elected representatives. Thank you for holding our government officials accountable. Thank you for helping to crush turnout records. And thank you for inspiring so many others to join in our work.

Two years ago, in the wake of an election that shattered so many of us, the seeds of a movement were planted in our ever-fertile Northwest corner of Washington. Riveters was born out of moxie and collaboration, when a group of ordinary people—women, parents, perfectly average individuals—stopped waiting for those in power to fix things. Although so many of our members would still consider themselves unremarkable, together we’ve accomplished the exceptional, simply through our commitment to doing the work at hand—work that too many of us have neglected for too long.

It’s work we’ve not done perfectly, with plenty of missteps and painful lessons learned. There have been times when we’ve been blind to our privilege and had our edges painfully stretched. We’ve experienced a taste of the personal attacks that too often are directed at any woman in the public sphere. We’ve learned, we’ve grown, and we’ve persisted.

In these election results there are wins and not-wins, and lots of continued nail-biting and challenges to act upon. But what we’re building is not an event or a single election, it’s a habit. It’s an acceptance of our responsibility to one another and the world we live in. We’re reclaiming our space in civic life.

At our election celebration, board member Marissa McGrath quoted Henry Rollins and said “The only thing worse than complacency is complacency.” With all that you’ve made happen these last weeks, months and years, we know that as a community and group, we’ll never be complacent again. So today we celebrate our wins and grieve our losses, and then we get back to the practice of civics. There’s a platform to revise, a candidate bench to build, and so much more to do to nurture our community and democracy. However, one thing is abundantly clear: however much work there is to do, we ARE doing it.

Thank you for all that you do.
The Riveters Club Board of Directors

Bellingham City Council At-Large Position

Earlier this summer, Councilmember Roxanne Murphy announced her resignation from the Bellingham City Council.  This initiated an appointment process to fill the vacancy.  The council will meet on Monday, October 1st to hear from the applicants and vote to appoint an interim council member who will serve out the remainder of the term, ending November 2019.

The Riveters Collective has, with input from a number of community groups, crafted a 10-question questionnaire as a way to collectively get to know the applicants. We are sharing the responses we received so that you can:

  • Learn more about the applicants and their positions.
  • Evaluate how well each applicant aligns with our platform.
  • Email the Bellingham City Council and urge them to vote for the candidate you think would best represent you.  You must do this before 6:00 pm Monday, Oct 1st.

Please note that we did not receive questionnaire responses from all applicants. It was difficult to share our questionnaire with all applicants because the city removed the contact info from their applications before posting them online. Click here to view the 12 responses we received.

You can view more information about all of the applicants, including those who did not complete our questionnaire, by going here and viewing the “special meeting packet”, linked in the Final Candidate Applications section.

Email contacts for Bellingham City Council (use individual emails AND group email for best results).

ccmail@cob.org  (all 6 Council Members)

gknutson@cob.org (2nd ward) Gene Knutson

abarker@cob.org (1st ward) April Barker

mlilliquist@cob.org (6th ward) Michael Lilliquist

ptmvargas@cob.org (4th ward) Pinky Vargas

tbornemann@cob.org (5th ward) Terry Bornemann

dchammill@cob.org (3rd ward) Dan Hammill

Wink for the Win

Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 7:30 PM – 10 PM

At WinkWink, Bellingham’s brand new woman-owned, sex-positive, gender-inclusive sex shop!  1305 Commercial St., Bellingham, Washington 98225

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE!  Join our event on Facebook for updates.

 

Come Party with Us

The Riveters Collective and WinkWink, Bellingham’s new woman-owned, identity-inclusive sex shop, are teaming up to raise funds to encourage people who don’t usually participate in elections to vote this November! Funds raised will pay for our Pledge-to-Vote campaign to flip the 42nd district!

This is a private party and shopping event with 20% of sales generously donated to the Riveters Collective pledge to vote campaign.

Tickets are available on a sliding scale. Capacity is limited to 90 guests, so get your tickets soon. Please give what you can and come Wink for the Win!


About WinkWink:

WinkWink is a woman-owned sex shop in Bellingham, WA. Among our offerings, you’ll find non-toxic sex toys, lingerie, books, menstrual products, and educational classes.

WinkWink is sex-positive, body-positive, and gender-affirming; we aim to help make sexual pleasure, wellness, and health available and accessible to all people.

We believe that normalizing, accepting, and affirming all bodies, identities, and gender experiences is an inherently political act.

Pleasure is our revolution.

2018 General Election Endorsements

These are our recommendations for Whatcom County voters in the 2018 general election.  Want more information on ALL candidates? We’re updating this (linked) document with everything we find! 

How did we decide who to endorse?  We thought you’d never ask!  Click through for more information.

Candidates

42nd District Senate

Pinky Vargas

42nd District Representative

Sharon Shewmake

Justin Boneau

40th LD Representative

Debra Lekanoff

Whatcom County Prosecutor

Eric Richey

Whatcom County Council

Carol Frazey

 

Ballot Measures

YES on I-940 – de-escalation training for law enforcement

YES on I-1631 – carbon pollution fee

NO on I-1634 – bans taxes on soda

YES on I-1639 – reduce assault weapons violence

YES on City of Bellingham proposition 2018-5 – low income housing levy (Bellingham Home Fund)

 

 

 

Let’s Flip the 42nd in 2018!

The Riveters Collective is doing it! We have ONE goal for the 2018 campaign season: FLIP THE 42nd DISTRICT by increasing voter turnout with a proven strategy.

Pledge-to-Vote Campaign to Flip the 42nd LD

We will go door to door to ask low turnout voters to pledge to vote. They fill out a postcard promising to vote, we mail it back to them so it arrives with their ballot. The front of the postcard recommends voting for RC-endorsed candidates (Pinky Vargas, Sharon Shewmake, Justin Boneau, Eric Richey and Carol Frazey), initiatives (Yes On 1631, No on I-1634, and Yes on 1639) and the Bellingham Home Fund.  Research has shown that pledge to vote campaigns are more effective than traditional get out the vote strategies, and no other local campaign is targeting infrequent voters. Our goal is to turn out 2,000-3,000 votes that would not have otherwise been cast. Our postcard will include our voting recommendations so that these votes go to our candidates.

Riveters Collective is the only organization doing this work in the 42nd. These are votes that otherwise wouldn’t show up in this election and they could be the difference between winning or having Doug Ericksen (and Vincent Buys and Luanne Van Werven) back in Olympia. This will bring the turnout we need to win. We expect to spend $21k on printing, postage and staffing for this effort.

Want to volunteer?  Send us an email at riveterscollective@gmail.com, we’ll be in touch in September.

DONATE HERE: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/riveterspac

Thanks to Becky Kurle at Liet Unlimited for design work.  We now have tens of thousands of these beauties on hand.

***UPDATE: When we initially published this post, we had two goals, the second being to prompt the PDC to clarify that childcare is an allowable campaign expense.  Since we planned our campaign season activities, the PDC added this to their guidelines!  Given that this goal is now met, we will focus entirely on flipping the 42nd district.***

Letter to Doug Ericksen re: First Amendment Violations

****UPDATE 20 July 2018****

This campaign WORKED.  Doug Ericksen has un-blocked MANY BUT NOT ALL constituents.
{Are you still blocked?  Can you like or comment on posts on Doug’s public figure page? You are NOT blocked. Can you only share posts? You are blocked.}

If you are a constituent in the 42nd district and you are still blocked, please send us an email.

***Original Letter***

17 July 2018
Senator Doug Ericksen
PO Box 748
Ferndale, WA 98248

Dear Senator Ericksen,

You are violating the First Amendment rights of your constituents by blocking them from your social media pages.  As detailed in the letter you received from the ACLU in late 2017, deleting comments and blocking constituents on social media is a form of government censorship that violates the First Amendment.

We, your constituents named below, ask you to open your social media forums to all constituents and discontinue your practice of silencing those presenting opinions or facts that are inconvenient to your propaganda.  If any constituent is still blocked from your social media forums on August 1st or thereafter, you will elevate this matter to legal action.

Sincerely,

Riveters Collective, and your constituents named below.

Your legislative district:
Your name
E-mail:
Are you currently blocked from a Doug Ericksen "public figure" social media page?

{Unsure of your legislative district?  Search your address here}.
{Unsure if you are blocked?  Can you like or comment on posts on Doug’s public figure page? You are NOT blocked. Can you only share posts? You are blocked.}

Eowyn Savela – constituent – blocked
Elizabeth Hartsoch – constituent – blocked
Michael Peñuelas – constituent
Dena Jensen / Dena Louise FB – constituent – blocked
Brenda Bentley
Treasure Samuel
Cory Blackwood – constituent – blocked
Maria DeMars – constituent
Rebecca
Judy Pratt – constituent
Susan Mulligan – constituent
Leigh woody – constituent
Margie Overhauser – constituent
Jillian Naccache – constituent
Tina McKim – constituent
Loretta Sheldon – constituent – blocked
Jennifer Hampton – constituent – blocked
Ann Mulvey – constituent
Jessica Tupper – constituent
Paula Rotondi – constituent
Christine Smith – constituent
Bob Burr – constituent
Carrie bullock – constituent
Ashley DeLatour – constituent
Greg Verbarendse – constituent
Frances Badgett – constituent
Kathleen Rielly – constituent
Candice Lankhaar – constituent – blocked
Sarah Watts – constituent
Maggie Barry – constituent
Mary Marshall
Juli Evangelista – constituent
Stephanie A Trasoff – constituent
Eve Smason-Marcus – constituent
Krista Rome – constituent
Lois Holub – constituent
Jaime Arnett – constituent – blocked
Gina Fagan Kley – constituent
Jennifer LeSchander – constituent
Beccy Bayne – constituent
Dale Johnson – constituent
Stephanie Oppelaar – constituent – blocked
Cat Carnell – constituent
Darcy Allen – constituent
Sarah Kirkish – constituent
Dave Bishop – constituent – blocked
Teizeen Mohamedali
Kristina Van Ness – constituent – blocked
Jennifer Hoover – constituent
Wendy Fanello – constituent
Dan Murphy
Stephanie Allen – constituent
Suzanne Gray – constituent
David Butenschoen
Stephen Jackson – constituent – blocked
Kathleen Pate – constituent
Megen Porter – constituent
Shannon Parsons
Ameina – blocked
Sarah Kellogg – constituent
Jamie Chambers – constituent
Diane Smith – constituent
Julie Hunter – constituent
Barbara TROSKE – constituent
Amber Hixson – constituent
Lisa Van Doren – constituent – blocked
Liz Isaly
Alisa Sachs – constituent
Rowena Donelson – constituent – blocked
Amy Glasser