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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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

Three Vs for Victory!

We know how to win on November 6th.

Volunteer

  • Knock doors for candidates and campaigns
  • Sign up for phonebanking or textbanking
  • Babysit for candidates or other volunteers
  • Work on a campaign

GiVe

  • Give $ to candidates and campaigns
  • Give $ to grassroots PACs (donate to Riveters PAC here)
  • Attend fundraisers
  • Co-host a fundraising houseparty with your friends
  • Donate your professional services to a campaign (photography, web skills, graphic design, etc.)

Vote

  • Vote the entire ballot in every election
  • Make sure all of your friends and family are registered to vote
  • Register voters in the community
  • Remind your friends and family to vote
  • Have a voting party at your house

We win when we all do our part. We ARE doing it!

Use these social media graphics to remind your friends to get involved. Right click to save images.

Social media profile pic

 

Facebook cover photo

 

Social media profile pic

 

Graphics by Olivia Hahnel.

2018 Endorsement Process

Riveters Collective 2018 Endorsement Process and Information

  • Riveters Collective has Washington Nonprofit Corporation status, which allows electoral activity, including endorsements.
  • RC Member Jae Heidenreich volunteered to be the Endorsements Committee Chair.
  • RC recruited endorsement committee members by an open call to members through Facebook and email.
    • RC excluded anyone from the committee who had already begun working on a campaign, is a candidate for a local office, or has a formal leadership role in a major political party. For this reason, RC board members Lisa McShane and Stephen Jackson were excluded from the Endorsement Committee, and abstained from involvement in the process.  Michael Peñuelas began working on Tim Ballew’s campaign halfway through the endorsement process and excluded himself from participating in the 42nd district senate race endorsement work. Elizabeth Hartsoch and Eowyn Savela supported the committee’s work, but did not serve on the committee. Elizabeth actively worked on the campaigns of Tim Ballew and Carol Frazey, and excluded herself from assisting the committee’s work on the 42nd district senate race and the county council race.
    • Eleven people responded to the call, met the criteria, completed the application and were appointed to the endorsement committee.  Three of the eleven committee members, also serve on the RC board: Lisa Van Doren, Michael Peñuelas, and Towhee Wean. The other committee members were: Jae Heidenreich, Arlene Feld, Julie Batten (who had to resign from the committee early for personal reasons), Debbi Anderson-Frey, Galen Herz, Amy Rydel, Mehar Singh, and Maggie Davis-Bower.
  • Endorsement committee members formed sub-groups to work on the six different positions.
  • Recognizing that the RC leadership team and endorsement committee are not sufficiently representative of the larger community–and more importantly the more marginalized and vulnerable members of the community–and recognizing that many local progressive groups are prohibited from making candidate endorsements, RC solicited feedback from groups representing diverse interests.  We received and incorporated input from Recreation Northwest, Susan Marks, Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, the Lummi Nation, Racial Justice Coalition, Gender Diversity, Bellingham Tenants Union, and NAMI Whatcom.
  • The Endorsement Committee built questionnaires based on responses from community groups and RC’s platform.
  • The RC board invited the following candidates to participate in our endorsement process:
    • All progressive candidates who filed to run for 40th district representative, 42nd district representative, 42nd district senator, and Whatcom County prosecutor.
    • All candidates who filed to run for Whatcom County council (except Eric Bostrom, due to his hateful and discriminatory public statements and actions).
  • Final questionnaires were shared on the RC website and in the facebook group.
  • Declared candidates were sent RC endorsement questionnaires on May 10th and others were sent at the end of filing week.  Questionnaires were due May 25th.
  • The endorsement committee developed a rubric to rate how well each candidate’s questionnaire responses aligned with the RC platform.
  • The endorsement committee developed candidate interview questions and rubrics.
  • Eleven candidates submitted materials to the endorsement committee by the May 25th deadline.
  • The endorsement committee interviewed candidates June 4-7.  The interviews were recorded on video and will be made available to the public, along with the questionnaire responses.
  • Each endorsement committee member scored candidate written and interview responses.
  • Following extensive conversation, the endorsement committee recommended endorsements  to the RC Board on June 10th.
  • The RC Board used the recommendation of the endorsement committee to vote on the final endorsements.

 

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