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HomeThe Voter Newsletter

The Voter


A newsletter from 





Our Newsletter

Send us your news!  The Voter features information on our forums and other public events; our neighborhood discussion groups; volunteer opportunities; our voter registration and education efforts; and our work on issues like accountability for local government, climate change, education, health care, and police reform.

View a PDF of the current issue of The Voter.


Do you have an idea? Contact the Voter Editor at votereditor@lwvskc.org.

Past Issues
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022

December 2021

November 2021

October 2021

September 2021

Summer 2021

Our mission

The League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Want to work with us? Become a member!
Want to reach us? We’re at
info@lwvskc.org!
Want to support us? Donate today!

Volunteers are what we're made of!

Lauren Pixley, Volunteer Coordinator


Juneteenth VR volunteersThese days, it’s almost impossible not to feel as though we have no control over what’s happening in the world. It seems like every day there’s a new crisis, be it economic, social, educational, or environmental.

Living in a country that has created systems that truly benefit only those in power can be scary for those in marginalized communities who fear that not only their rights are in question but even their humanity. Whether we view the separate problems or their foundation, it’s easy to feel as though our individual actions will make little to no difference.  

Even in times of crisis though, we must fight to preserve our freedoms and ensure that future generations will have the chance to build on our shoulders. As League members, we know that democracy doesn’t end at the ballot box. We provide the tools and trainings necessary to learn how to study issues, observe and testify at public meetings, and register voters. We help each other grow and make a difference. The League gives individuals the opportunity to come together as a community. We can pool our resources — knowledge, time, finances, passion, privilege, and platform. We can learn from each other about the science behind the climate crisis and volunteer our time as Climate Guides - representatives of the League at city meetings across the county. We can attend public meetings and testify about citizen surveillance (the government’s use of the internet to monitor us). We can stand up for what we believe in by marching for voting rights alongside activists.  

These are real examples of how our members have been engaging with democracy by volunteering with the League. You don’t even have to be a member to volunteer with us! We need all hands-on deck to empower voters and defend democracy. You CAN make an impact, and we need your help to make it happen!


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What Does it Take to Run a League?

Saunatina Sanchez, Membership Coordinator

That’s really what this issue of
The Voter is about. As a member-run organization, we rely on members to volunteer in all the positions that make the League function. 


We celebrated Defending Democracy Across Generations at our spring party and we’re following that up by supporting the generation currently growing up in these interesting times with the experience elder members have gained throughout our lives. 
Your Local League, LWVSKC, has made our focus for the upcoming year on activating our Observer Corps and Youth Leadership Training programs. The great thing about this focus is we have a lot of amazing projects already operating with experienced activists and organizers, so connecting local politically active youth to groups already working on issues they’re passionate about will benefit and boost both group’s interests. 

LWVSKC currently has nine committees under which our activities are organized. While each committee has different needs, if you’re someone who enjoys doing data entry or outreach, I think all teams would be interested in your time.

Volunteer Opportunities:


Action 
Tracking what city and county councils are doing, reviewing League positions, and creating position proposals is what this team is all about. Since these tasks tend to involve reading and writing on your own time, it’s very flexible. Good thing because there’s no upper limit to how many people can get involved. 

City Climate Action 
Support the implementation of a county-wide program to share and support climate change efforts in cities throughout King County. If you want to make an impact on human-caused climate change, this is the group for you. 

Development 
Money! This team raises the funds necessary for LWVSKC to do its work — from designing multiple appeals per year, to organizing fundraising events, to thinking up new and creative ways to fundraise. Your involvement can be for a specific event or activity or as a regular member of the team. 

Economics and Taxation 
Are you interested in educating the public about the state, county, and city budgets and revenue issues? Study the macro-economic trends impacting our communities and review the fiscal impact of ballot issues on League-supported programs and positions. 

Education 
Do you follow issues related to public education from pre-K to 12th grade, and even up through our university systems? There’s a lot of work to be done to improve the educational systems in our cities and state, this is the group you’re going to get support to work on those issues. 

Health Care 
Our network is dedicated to educating and mobilizing League members to work toward legislation that achieves the goals of our LWVUS health care position, with a strong focus on Medicare for All (a single-payer system).  

Membership and Internal Organizing 
Recruit, welcome, and support our members! This is the group for those who like to be on the party planning teams, those who enjoy data organization, and those who like to work behind the scene as unsung heroes of office management. 

Police Reform Team 
Advocate for common sense reform to our criminal justice system and help monitor the implementation of new laws relating to public safety. One of the most urgent and essential tasks of our time. This group coordinates a lot with our Observer Corps. 

Voter Services Team 
This may be what many consider the heart of the League of Women Voters at all levels of the organization. This is the team for those who are passionate about voter registration, education, and getting out the vote. Provide updates on ballot initiatives, solicit volunteers for upcoming elections, and share best practices with the League and our community. 

Visit lwvskc.org/volunteer to learn more about these teams and other opportunities available. It takes us all to create a strong League, a strong city, county, state, country, and world. Everything matters — from showing up to pro-choice rallies to organizing forums to registering voters — this is the time to get involved and support a future with full democratic rights. We look forward to working together with you!


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Youth Registration is Essential!

Story and photos by Sally Yamasaki


inglemoor

Last month, at the age of 64, I returned to high school. Inglemoor High School hosted the League of Women Voters to set up a table to register voters. 

 

In so many ways the youth of today impress me, and this day of registering the high school students at Inglemoor did not disappoint. Nearly 60 students registered during their lunch to become new voters. 

One student pointing to her “vote” button told her friend, this is feminism!

Another student told me of how their mother was not allowed to vote; yet their mother always taught them about politics and so they grew up valuing the ability to vote. 

Yet another student said, “Voting is the way we participate in Democracy.” 

Anyone can register to vote when they are 18 years old and are a US citizen. However, what many people do not know is that in Washington you can pre-register to vote when you are 16 years old, and when you turn 18, you will automatically be mailed the ballot. 

If you would like to register / pre-register, update your information, or learn what is on the ballot you can:


• go to votewa.gov 
• or call 1 (800) 448-4881


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Voter Registration Training in August

Want to help out at future events like the one at Inglemoor? Attend our upcoming training! 
Thursday, Aug. 4 from 7pm-9pm


Come get a review and/or update on the voter registration process. You’ll learn how to register new voters with either the paper form or on their cell phones. Sarah Phillips, Susan Vossler and Judy Deiro are offering the training. Participants will need to be vaccinated and boosted, and masks will be required if we meet indoors. Register by emailing judy.deiro@gmail.com. Location is pending – we’ll email registrants and post on our website.

We encourage you to bring a clipboard, lots of questions, and your sense of humor. We will provide the new voter registration forms and any handouts needed. Assuring people are registered to vote in one way we can do our part to have a successful mid-term election in November.


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King County Prosecutor Candidates Forum




  

The Office of Prosecuting Attorney is a powerful public office with influence over the daily lives of many King County residents. Voters should make informed decisions by understanding the duties of the office, the candidates’ background and qualifications and their views and attitudes on issues. The consequences are far-reaching. 

Please Join the League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County for our first candidate forum of the season, in-person and livestreamed.


Date: July 21, 2022 
Time: 7:00 to 8:30 PM 

Renton Civic Center 
507 S 3rd St, Renton, WA 98057 
Transit and Carpooling encouraged, 
Theatre is located near the Renton Transit Center 
Forum will also be livestreamed on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOsaesH-ZMVJFwFaCjGCIaw


Moderator
: Hon. Dean S. Lum (Ret.)  

Please participate in the preparation of candidate questions by submitting your specific questions or general topical areas of interest to Voter Services at voterservices@lwvskc.org by July 15.

To help you in organizing your thoughts we have added the information below, taken largely from the County Prosecutor’s Office Website.  


The King County Prosecutor’s Office – What It Does 


The Office of King County Prosecutor is a department of County Government. It is directed by the King County Prosecutor. The current County Prosecutor is Dan Satterberg, who is retiring from the office at the end of this term. The two candidates for this office are Leesa Manion, currently Chief of Staff to Mr. Satterberg, and Jim Ferrell, currently Mayor of Federal Way. One of these two candidates will be the County’s chief legal officer in January of 2023. 

The Office is the second largest public law firm in the state of Washington, following the Washington State Office of Attorney General. The adopted biennial operating budget for 2021-22 is approximately $170 million, with a staff of just under 500 employees, including attorneys, paralegals, and other administrative personnel. 

The Criminal Division is the most generally recognized element of the office. Its attorneys, supported by paralegal, investigative and administrative staff, represent the people of King County on any felony case. Felony cases are those charges which are punishable by imprisonment of one year or more, or a fine of more than $5,000. Felonies may include such crimes as murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault, arson, burglary, and sales or distribution of illegal drugs. These cases may be resolved by plea agreement, jury trial, or bench trial, and in some cases following an appeal to the State Court of Appeals or the State Supreme Court.  

The Civil Division is the County's law firm. It serves as legal counsel to the Metropolitan King County Council, the County Executive, and all Executive agencies, the Superior and District Courts, the County Assessor, independent boards and commissions, and some school districts. In addition to providing advice to those entities it also represents the County in all civil litigation.  

The Family Support Division is an integral part of the federal and state child support system. The deputies establish paternity for children born out of wedlock, ensure support obligations are enforced, and modify support amounts when necessary. 

The Juvenile Division was created as a separate and distinct division in 2017 under the recognition that juveniles are different than adults. The Juvenile Division is tasked with carrying out the duties of the prosecutor in a manner consistent with the purposes of the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) which includes providing a) for punishment commensurate with the age, crime, and criminal history of the juvenile offender; b) for the rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile offenders; and, c) for the handling of juvenile offenders by the communities whenever consistent with community safety. 

The Victim and Community Services Section includes sections intended to aid residents in matters of domestic abuse, elder abuse, victim assistance, and interpreter services. 

The elder abuse unit consists of staff trained to address the special circumstances inherent in these cases. Our Elder Abuse team addresses the abuse of vulnerable adults, a population that includes disabled adults as well as the elderly. Our goals are three-fold:

• to prosecute cases of neglect, financial exploitation, and sexual assault of the elderly and disabled; 

• to work with police, social service agencies, and medical professionals to improve the referral, investigation, and, ultimately, prosecution of cases of abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults; and

• to provide training to first responders so they can better recognize and react to such cases. 


Please submit your questions for the candidates to Voter Services at voterservices@lwvskc.org by July 15, 2022.

 

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August 2 – The Primary Election


With our vote-by-mail system, the election really starts in July when ballots are mailed. League will be holding candidate forums for the Secretary of State, King County Prosecutor, and Congressional District 1 races. Be sure to check the calendar on our website for details and links.

Here are key dates for the election: 


• July 12 Local voters’ pamphlet mailed
• July 13 Ballots are mailed and main KC Vote Center opens
• July 25 Deadline for online or mailed registration be received
• July 26 Recommended deadline to return ballot by mail
• July 30 Additional Vote Centers in KC open
• August 2 Election Day; ballots must be delivered or postmarked to be counted
• August 2 Ballot Drop Boxes open until 8 p.m.


To make sure that your ballot is counted, it’s important that the signature on your ballot envelope matches what KC has on file to compare. If you think your signature has changed, you can fill out a signature update form and mail it to King County Elections ahead of time or use one of the Vote Centers to vote and let them know you want to update your signature.

What you may see on your ballot, depending on where you reside in King County


Candidates for:


• US Senate and Congressional Representatives for Districts 1, 7, 8 and 9
• WA Secretary of State
• *WA Legislative races in Districts 1, 5, 11, 12, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 41, 45, 46, 47 and 48


Ballot Measures:

• City of Normandy Park – Civic Center Capital Improvement
• Skykomish School District No. 404 – Program and Operations Levy
• Enumclaw Fire District – Fire and EMS Levy
• King County Fire District No. 34 – Fire and EMS Levy
• Mountain View Fire and Rescue – Fire and EMS Levy
• Si View Metropolitan Park District – New Aquatic Center Bond


You can use Vote411, our national League website, to see what’s specifically on your ballot and see more detailed responses from candidates to questions submitted by League. 

Need more personal assistance?  Write to elections@kingcounty.gov or call 206-296-8683  

*Did you know that all of WA’s Legislative races appear on the primary ballot whether there are multiple candidates or just one? Want to know why? Click here to read about our sometimes confusing partisan/nonpartisan election system. All the races will appear again on the general election ballot.

 

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Testimony re proposed change to King County Elections

On June 15, 2022, Heather Kelly spoke in favor of Ordinance 2022-0180 favoring even-year elections for certain King County offices. That testimony is reprinted below. To learn more about the ordinance, click here.  
 
As President of the League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County, I’m here to express our support for the passage of the ordinance 2022-0180 before you to move elections for county offices from odd-numbered to even-numbered years. 
 
The League is all about voting. We assist multitudes of citizens in registering to vote. However, ensuring that people follow through is a greater challenge. 
 
The data comparing voter turnout in odd versus even years in King County shows that the timing of elections can have a profound impact not only on the number, but in some ways even more importantly, on the diversity of people casting their vote. 

• The LWV is first and foremost an organization focused on defending democracy - the more people that participate in elections, the stronger the democracy. Experts project an increase in voter turnout of at least 40% if this change is realized. 

• Democracy must work for everyone! Voters turning out in even years are younger and more diverse than in odd-numbered years. Turnout of young voters between the ages of 18-24 grows from 18 percent in odd years to 50 percent in even years. Since we know this age bracket typically has the lowest turnout, we cannot afford to pass up this easy opportunity to engage them.  

The League recognizes that this change may make it more expensive for some candidates to run for office. That’s a problem in its own right and the League is committed to addressing it, but minimizing voter turnout is not the solution. Rejecting this ordinance on that basis would communicate that only certain voters are worth candidates’ investment. Surely, that’s the wrong message to send. 
 
The League only takes stands on issues supported by our public policy positions, which are crafted through careful research and due diligence. In this instance, we have found the arguments and evidence supporting ordinance 2022-0180 to be compelling, and we ask you to vote yes. 



What Happened at the Annual Meeting!                       


While not quite as engaging as our pre-covid dinner meetings at the church were, we still got our needed tasks done and had some lively conversation! The bylaw amendments were passed, budgets were adopted, as well as re-adoption of the League’s positions with amendments to further support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) by using more inclusive text and the following introduction:

Consistent with our bylaws and policies on diversity, equity and inclusion it is the intent of the League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County that these public policy positions be applied to further the goal of achieving greater diversity, equity and inclusion in King County.

The draft program for the coming 2022-23 year is:

•September:

  • Prosecution Philosophies
  • Approval Voting v. Ranked Choice Voting (advocacy forum)

• October: Election Forums, GOTV
• November: King County Criminal Justice System 101 
• December: Current topic re Climate Change
• January: Program Planning for 2023-2024
• February: Homelessness and Housing - update on KCHA
• March: Current topic in Education 
• April: Current topic in Economics & Taxation


Let us know if you’d like to volunteer to work on any of these (or have additional ideas). Email us at program@lwvskc.org.

And finally, we said goodbye to outgoing board members Adele Reynolds, Kathy Sakahara, Marilee Fuller, Sara Thein, Chelsea Jordan and Lisa Nelson, and we welcomed new ones. Here is the Board of Directors for 2022-2023:


Top Row:  Heather Kelly, President; Mary Taylor, 1st VP; Barbara Tengtio, 2nd VP; Barbara Erickson, Secretary
Middle Row:  Jennifer Pritchard, Treasurer; Joanna Cullen, Ed. Fund Treasurer; Lev Elson-Schwab, Action; Meg Van Wyk, Development
Bottom Row:  Saunatina Sanchez, Membership; Sarah Beth Miller, Units; Terri Bates, Tania Hino, and Pat Griffith; Directors at Large

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Together We Are LWVSKC                       

Barb Tengtio, 2nd Vice-President


As you are all aware, LWVSKC is a non-partisan grassroots organization that encourages informed and active participation in government.  Our mission is to empower voters and defend democracy.  Towards this end, all are welcome and needed! 

While LWVSKC has traditionally been comprised of mostly caucasian women, we are actively working on ways to attract and involve more women, men, and LGBTQIA folks from all walks of life and backgrounds.  Our work must be representative of all and inclusive of all and we are determined to find ways to strengthen and grow our membership in diversity and numbers. 

LWVSKC has several annual membership dues options to encourage all to participate and to communicate that all are welcome.  We offer a student dues ($10) and an option to pay what is manageable for you (starting at $5). We also have our standard dues amounts, recently approved at our annual meeting for the 2022 - 2023 year, $85 for an individual and $130 for a family.  Finally, we have options for folks who are in a position to pay a bit more to do so and help fund those paying at a lower level.  Regardless of what amount a LWVSKC member pays, we are required to pay for each member, $19 per member to State League and $32 per member to National League. So, you can see, it is important that we all contribute to the best of our ability.

membership history


The chart included here shows the history of our membership since 2004 - 2005.  Over the span of the last 19 years, we have raised dues three times: once in 2007 - 2008 from $50 to $60, then in 2014 - 2015 from $60 to $75 and this year (to take effect July of 2022) from $75 to $85.  We did not make this recommendation lightly. Much research took place reviewing dues at other similar sized Leagues in different cities around the Country.  Additionally, we felt strongly that we needed to make extra efforts to expand the diversity of LWVSKC and that to do so we would need the dues increase to balance out a potential drop in membership revenue caused by more new members taking advantage of our reduced dues options. 

As you can see from the membership chart that membership numbers in total have declined over the last 19 years, from 881 in 2004-2005 to our current level of 464. And, of course, our income associated with membership has decreased.  We are making efforts to grow our membership in the coming years and believe that the modest dues increase is a necessary part of being able to do this.  Again, LWVSKC is committed to welcoming all and strongly believes that all are needed to empower voters and defend democracy.



LWV National Convention                       

Barb Tengtio, 2nd Vice-President 


LWV National hosted a hybrid convention this past June in Denver, CO with over 500 in-person delegates and another 500+ virtual delegates representing all 50 states.  Washington State had 8 in-person delegates and many more virtual delegates. 

Notably, the Convention coincided with the Supreme Court decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.  LWVUS Board President, Dr. Turner’s opening remarks included “We hold the power to create a more perfect democracy.  Women’s rights are human rights and we will continue to fight until the right to abortion is restored.” That evening, Convention attendees joined Denver activists in marching to the Colorado State Capitol Building and rallying for abortion justice.  

nationalThe evening before, a panel of women leaders in the voting rights and social justice movements spoke to the ways in which women can power democracy.  And, the following day, MSNBC political analyst, Joy Reid reflected on the essential nature of League’s work. 

Throughout three days of plenary, delegates elected the 2022-24 LWVUS Board of Directors and voted on several motions, including the LWVUS budget and bylaws amendment proposals. 

Conference attendees were also offered five opportunities to attend dozens of caucuses and workshops on a variety of topics, some of which included: activating youth, working with ClubExpress, and finding common ground in an Us vs Them environment. 

Due to time constraints the presentation of Biennium Awards was postponed and will be held virtually in July. 

Barb Tengtio, 2nd VP LWVSKC, attended her first Convention and commented “The Convention was informative and the exchange with other League members across the State and Country was very valuable.  I look forward to the opportunity to attend the next one and welcome more to join me!”


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Connecting With the Community                       

This month, President Heather Kelly interviewed LWVSKC veteran and King County SE Unit Leader Cathy Dormaier. 

Watch this Zoom interview here.  A transcript follows:

 

HEATHER: Awesome. Okay, well, this was for the summer edition of the voter. The lovely Cathy Dormaier has agreed to be interviewed. So here we are Fourth of July weekend. I guess I'll just start at the top, which is my typical first question when did you join the League and what brought you to the League?


Cathy DormaierCATHY: So I don't remember the exact year, I've been a member for over 30 years. I first joined when we lived in Maple Valley, before we moved here, and we were in Maple Valley between 1985 and 2000. So somewhere in that range, I joined and one of the things that was a driver for me was Barbara Norby, who has since passed away, but she was a fabulous unit leader at that time for South King County. She just did all kinds of reaching out, touching base phone calls, reminding people about meetings. She always brought a news clipping - she was quite an avid reader - so she'd bring news clippings to our meetings, and we’d discuss all kinds of interesting topics. So that was a person who kind of drew me to exactly how many years I've been a member, I can't tell you, but it's been over 30. The other thing is, I really liked the focus that the league was nonpartisan.  I very much appreciated that the focus was on the issues, ballot issues and issues around going on in our communities and the United States, and just really doing a deep dive sometimes into some of those topics and just helping me to be better informed. One of the things that not only I joined for was helping people get registered to vote. But that was also I found out as I've surveyed some of the unit members out here that is their driving force for being a unit member as well.


HEATHER: Yeah, I mean, it's always fun to be out in the field, so to speak, and making those connections with other voters, and especially if it's like in your own community, you know, I completely get that reason for people to join and then stay in the league too, because it's also just, when you take a buddy, it's fun to spend time with your fellow unit, folks, or, you know, community folks. Well, we are definitely experiencing a very strong uptick in our requests for voter registration support. I mean, every weekend now, again, and we're having people come to the tables and ask about the league and ask how to join. It feels like the machine is kind of like warming up again. So hopefully, you know, we'll start integrating some new members that way, but also just being of service to the voters in general.

CATHY: Our unit just finished doing a voter registration in April at the high school and having had a 34 year career in education, touching the younger voters or voters to be in some cases, and getting them interested in voting and the league and everything is just, it's one of my passions.

HEATHER: Yeah, I can totally see that. I mean, I think that's something that's interesting about the league is no matter what your sort of previous career or focus was in life, there's probably a place for you to fit in either as an advocate or an educator. I mean, I'm always learning from League members, because we really run the gamut in terms of our skills and experience. It's super great. So I'm actually I'm gonna follow up on that. Because we had last week of like a youth outreach, sort of kickoff coordination meeting where we're trying to bring all of the folks under one umbrella or at least in one place to get some ideas generated and share knowledge and experience about how what's working to get into high schools because teachers have been so burned out and all of that. So, for you, you know, down that way, was it sort of a personal relationship that seemed that you use to get in there? Or how did you get in the door? 

CATHY: Well, it's really kind of interesting. Apparently, there was a previous Enumclaw high school student who was now living up north, who was interested in it, and I guess reached out to the high school principal, and said, Are you interested in doing this, but he couldn't come down and do the registration because he didn't have any transportation. So that's kind of my secondhand story that I kind of pieced together. But anyway, then the high school principal responded back to him and then he I think, contacted the league and said, Hey, I can't register, can somebody down there? So they touch base with me and actually, we had done voter registration in the high school before but obviously, during the pandemic but I had gone through the media specialists. So I went in and had a one-on-one meeting with the principal and talked about, you know, posters with the QR code and all of the things that we needed to do in order to make that work. 

HEATHER: Right, Yeah, that's awesome. I love that a former student, led the charge on that, that's really cool. You know, that I just got back from well, I say got back from convention, like, I actually left my house, I just wrapped up attending convention virtually and I was trying to go to a lot of the sort of youth voter focused sessions. One of the ones that I went to, was actually two workshops. The first one was about hearing from youth in the league, about why they joined, how they're engaging, what's keeping them motivated, and why they chose the league. The second part, which another League member attended was, like the skills, the skill development portion. In the first session, one of the things that stuck with me was one of the youth coordinators, and I can't remember which league he was from, maybe Maine. He was young himself, and he said, you know, we often tell ourselves this lie, like, oh, you know, high schoolers or students, they don't want to hear from us old folks. We need like, people of their own age going in, and, you know, speaking sort of their language, so to speak, and somebody that was somebody in the audience like made that point, how do we get league members to join, who can then go out and do this work and the panelists was, like, faulty premise, they do want to hear and learn from you. When we decide for them, that we don't have value to bring as like seasoned lifelong feminists advocates, like activists, we're closing the door before it can even really be opened. I just, I really appreciated him sort of saying that, like, don't count yourself out of the race league members, you do have a reason for being there. I think Seattle King County does a really good job of having younger lead organizations out in schools like Washington bus, but Washington bus was like we need you to, we can't cover all the schools because King County is massive and you know, I think it's a mistake to be like, well, we can't have intergenerational relationships. Because if that were true, like the league wouldn't exist. Okay, so now I'm going to ask how you ascended to become a unit leader, like what was your sort of path once you joined and what other committees or studies or what other ways were you engaged along the way?

CATHY: Well, I think what I'll do is just share my kind of my history of my career, and kind of lead into why I did this. So again, I said I had a 34-year career as a teacher and then the last 12 years as a principal. All in the elementary school. So I am kind of always wanting to be well informed and you know, share the information, even in my classrooms, having the kids vote for certain things or, you know, was one way to get them interested in the dynamics of registered voters and voter registration, etc. I also was adjunct faculty at Seattle Pacific University for a number of years, teaching certificated and classified staff mainly in the Kent School District, but in other school districts on occasion around the area. Oftentimes they were in the areas of leadership, especially women in leadership was one of the classes that I taught. My husband and I were foster parents to three children. So kind of getting involved in that arena in the community as a whole was certainly interesting. For me, it helped me become just not only a better person, but a better teacher. Because then getting a close up view as to you know, what some parents dealt with

HEATHER: Some of those barriers. Yeah, yeah.

CATHY: I was elected to a school board for four years when we lived down in Oregon. So I kind of got that viewpoint, looking through that knothole, if you will, into decision making, and politics and getting community input and decision making, etc. Then once I retired in 2005, that's when I said, Okay, I'm going to, I promised Barbara Norby, I made this promise to her, I said, you are working so hard -when I retire, which was 2005, I will step into helping you or I will become the unit leader, because you have worked so hard for so many decades.

HEATHER: I love succession plans!

CATHY: Yes and so, you know, I did that. I also, after I retired, I've been on the board of a nonprofit here in Enumclaw, that helps people in need with food and rental assistance and you know, basic needs. I've been on that board for 14 years. 

HEATHER: What's the name of that organization?

CATHY: Plateau Outreach Ministries. So it started with a group of local churches coming together to help support people in need, because oftentimes, people were going from church to church to church asking for help. So they joined together and now it's just become probably the best-known nonprofit for help for people in need in our community here on the entire, what we call the plateau, if you will. Then of course, teaching came naturally to me in my career. So then I decided, hey, why don't I become a yoga teacher? So because I love yoga. So I got certified in 2010. So I've been teaching over 10 years now. So it's kind of interesting how all of these pieces, although they're each different, kind of weave together to just create the path that I'm on currently and the things that I did in the past. You know, like I said, working with young kids I've mentored, personally mentored a couple of young adults. One was, as soon as I retired, I started volunteering for community in schools of Kent. They paired me with a young lady who was in third grade, and I followed her, met with her weekly, throughout many years till after she graduated college. Yeah. So that was a very long-term mentorship, and then mentored a couple of other young people in our neighborhood. So yeah.

HEATHER: Well, I mean, it sounds like in addition to covering lots of ground, you also have developed some really focused deep, meaningful relationships along the way in terms of like, I'm going to be there for this person in kind of this holistic way, and that's really cool. I've never had the opportunity to kind of do that because I'm always, you know, jumping from client to client as a lawyer, and you're there for them kind of in this ala carte snapshots specific way, but the longevity of those kinds of mentorships, you were talking about, that must have been really amazing to see somebody grow.

CATHY: Well, and it's always been my belief that every child deserves an advocate. Most of the time, that's their parents. That sometimes, you know, and I saw this in schools that I worked in sometimes, that didn't happen for a variety of reasons. So, I saw, you know, other staff members, as well as myself stepping up to advocate for some of our kids in our school.

HEATHER: Yeah, well, you know, I definitely feel like it can be incredible, like the impact that one person can have in the life of a child, you know, I think there's a lot of research on that one educator or that one person that can make the difference between a child's path this way versus this way. So it sounds like you've seen that, from so many different perspectives, like the school board, and then a foster parenting, what a neat thing to have, like a well-rounded grasp on an issue that's so complex. That's really cool. So I guess one question, I've been asking people, and even when I haven't, I've kicked myself afterwards, wanting to go back and redo the interview is, especially somebody who's been in league for a long time, What would you recommend to somebody who's just joining, or who's thinking about joining in terms of like, how they can make their league experience feel good and like successful? 

CATHY: Well, I would say probably two answers, or two suggestions, one is to be involved. That doesn't mean you have to step up and be the leader of every single thing but being involved in a variety of groups, activities, support, so that you get a lot of practice and interacting with other people and reaching out finding what their beliefs are, and how yours can mesh with theirs, or how you can agree to disagree, respectfully, you know, with their beliefs. So just getting involved in a variety of activities, and not just say, “Well, I'm only going to do this one thing”, you know, kind of have an ala carte, like you were saying a lot of different things. So be involved, and then be informed is the other one. Just read the newsletters, the emails, you know, the things we get from our local units here all the way to state and national, and stay informed also of, you know, state, national events that are happening newsworthy -can’t avoid that anymore, you know - and just be as informed as you can, have both sides of the issues. Those would be kind of my two suggestions to people to be informed and be involved.

HEATHER: Well, thank you for making a pitch to read our weekly emails. We do try to pack really relevant and timely updates into those so folks do feel motivated and connected to what's going on in our gigantic County. Well, is there anything else that you would want to share with our members before we sign off?

CATHY: Oh, just to share one of the things that I was asked to do. This was over a year ago, there was a team of, I want to say 15 of us or so that were recruited, asked, invited, to do the appreciative inquiry process and I had not heard of that. But I certainly have done hundreds of interviews over my 12-year career, but that was more for you know, staff positions, obviously, but I certainly had done a ton. But this was a different twist on an interview. So I agreed, and we went through a training and I think I interviewed six or seven different members around the state who had been hand selected or randomly or I don't know how they were selected. But we had a series of interview questions to ask them and the piece that was really interesting is once they asked a question, or answered a question, then we were supposed to start drawing more out and doing a deeper dive with them. And there's no real script on how to do that. But it's just keep, you know, can you tell me more about that? Or, what's another way that you could look at that, or what have other people said to you about that, you know, different ways that you could address them. I have to say, I was so impressed with every single member that I had the pleasure of interviewing, the incredible intelligence, that all of these members had, the backgrounds and their passion and their experiences. It was amazing. I felt like I came away with a new friend, every time I finished that. So that was also a way for the league to get feedback on what is the league doing well, and what are some areas that we can improve on? And really, that to me gets a lot deeper information than just a yes, no, you know, or fill in the bubble or whatever. Now taking all of the answers and synthesizing them into, you know, kind of a broad brushstroke of an answer for each question was, you know, a much deeper challenge. But, just being able, you know, I was kind of like, well, I've done interviews, so I guess I would be okay with doing that. But it was exactly like this, it was just the two of us. In a recorded session and we had some key questions, but then we could veer off and, like I said, draw them out more. That was just very interesting. So that would be one thing. In closing, I’d say, I just I thoroughly enjoyed, and I think it would be very beneficial to continue to do that as we go along.

HEATHER: I think that's a great idea. I mean, even doing something similar at the county level, you know, because member feedback is such a valuable asset, you know, from speaking, from a leadership perspective, as long as you really listen, right. I think the interview style, like the Appreciative Inquiry, interview style, really requires that, because if you're, I mean, because you have no script. So the only thing you can do is listen, and you have to listen carefully in order to keep and in order to create and maintain a connection and a degree of trust over, a really short period of time. At least enough. I mean, it sounds like you were successful enough where you felt like a real kind of friendship had blossomed. That's so cool. I mean, I think there's real hunger for that, right now. Especially, or at least, I mean, there's, I guess it's probably not a coincidence that I started doing these, right. It's so neat to hear from League members and just take a few minutes with each other. Like, we have such busy lives. We're all busy people taking care of people and I don't know it's almost like a luxury to be able to just pause a minute and do this. So well. I guess that leads me to thank you, because this was so wonderful. And I guess if I ever have yoga questions, I know who to come to now.

CATHY: If you're ever out our way, we're currently in the process of going through our seven chakras energy centers to open them up, each week is a different chakra. We just finished our heart chakra next week we're moving to the throat chakra.

HEATHER: Amazing. Well, I definitely need the energy floodgates to open. That's so cool. What studio are you with?

CATHY: I'm at yoga culture here in Enumclaw. I take yoga and teach yoga at that studio and just love it.

HEATHER: Awesome. Well, it was so nice to connect with you. Thanks again for making time and enjoy your holiday weekend.

CATHY: Thank you. All right, take care as we say in yoga, Namaste.

HEATHER: Namaste to you friend. Bye bye.

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Board Brief

Heather Kelly, President

Annual meeting. Spring fundraiser. Council. Convention. Suffice it to say, we’ve closed out the spring with a bang! Thank you so much to all our members and supporters who helped us finish the year so strong. We made almost $11,000 at our spring fundraiser, surpassing our goal and laying a solid foundation for the year ahead. We are already putting those dollars to work for the voters by investing in an amazing venue for our first in-person candidate forum in over two years (yes, that’s a teaser…read on for details)! 

This coming year we are focusing on youth voters. We’ve already lined up a solid team of volunteers, including high school student Isha Sudhir (Enumclaw H.S.) and University of Washington student Emma Eldring. They are going to up our social media game bigtime and round out our voice to help us connect with even more students! If you have a passion for mentoring new League members, keep an eye on our weekly emails for opportunities to help us welcome new folks.  

Our new volunteers are helping us rebuilding some serious momentum. This summer look out for voter registration opportunities, candidate forums galore, voter education events, and more! If you can help us re-engage with community in person, please reach out. We have a lot of rebuilding to do as community members and partners re-emerge with us in advance of Election Day.  

Of course, the pandemic isn’t over. We still have community members at risk, and we want all our League members to stay healthy. If you’re out in public, mask up. If you’re feeling unwell, stay home. Together, we will mobilize voters and stay safe. 


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RUST :  A MEMOIR OF STEEL AND GRIT

By Eliese Collette Goldbach 

Reviewed by Vicky Downs


RustEliese Goldbach just wanted to pick up her diploma at the University but needed one piece of paper and three signatures. She was afraid to get them.  In the past, she had some psychological problems, and was still afraid of a lot of things. She also didn’t have enough money to pay her bills.

She dreamed of leaving Cleveland’s ugly steel mill with its orange flames and ubiquitous dust, to teach at a university surrounded by clean air and liberal people like herself.  Instead, she learns that the ONLY organization that would pay her enough to cover her bills, was the ugly mill. She would have to stay in her polluted city until she had more money.

The mill hired Eliese, but her wildest dreams did not prepare her for learning that one worker had died after falling into a boiling cauldron and another was crushed under heavy machinery. It made her grateful for the lessons the mill provided to ensure that each new hire had the nerve to do the work.  She learned how to buckle on a harness that went around the legs and shoulders. It was the only thing that could keep her from falling out of a lift that had to be tilted forward.  

When tested, Eliese knew she had to push up in spite of the height and the sudden feeling of vertigo. She looked at the ceiling above, not down, and only later realized she had proved to herself she could trust the harness and those who taught her. Best of all, she did indeed have what it took to work in a steel mill!

Known as #6691: Utility Worker, the experienced hands assured her the money she would receive would be the envy of Cleveland and definitely more than she could make as a college professor. They also made clear that as a member of the working class with a union card in hand, she was an extraordinarily rare “liberal” amongst conservatives.

When there was a disaster, she learned “there was no division so great that it could eclipse the unity that had been forged in the light of the mill’s orange flames.” When Eliese had a mishap, one old timer looked straight at her, as though he knew it had all been her fault. Another man told her not to worry, “you’re not in trouble, but next time, use your head.”  She learned how to talk with men so they didn’t mind working with a female and she learned the Union had her back. 

After an automobile accident, her first phone call was to her Union. Later, upon returning to the mill, they told her she would not lose her job, but would be moved to the Shipping Department, which would be physically easier for her.  

I learned that a factory filled with danger but also a union, worked wonders for this author. After three years, thanks to finding ways to work with various personalities, and how to stay safe, she had earned enough to follow her dream of becoming a college professor. 

Working at a university meant she would have a huge pay cut and another start at the bottom, but she was proud she’d gained confidence and thanks to union-backed wages had saved enough money to risk the change.

This book helped me understand why workers from Starbucks to Amazon are trying to create unions for themselves.


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We’d Like to Hear From You!

Not sure who to reach? You can always find us at info@lwvskc.org or 206-329-4848!


Membership coordinator Saunatina Sanchez is at membership@lwvskc.org and holds in-person and virtual office hours. Check our events calendar!


Want to stop by our office? We have office hours every Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  We’re located at: 

Melbourne Tower

1511 3rd Avenue

Suite 900

Seattle, WA 98101


Executive Committee of the Board of LWVSKC

President

Heather Kelly

president@lwvskc.org

First Vice-President

Mary Taylor

mary.taylor@lwvskc.org

Second Vice-President

Barbara Tengtio

2ndVP@lwvskc.org

Secretary

Barbara Erickson

secretary@lwvskc.org

Treasurer

JenniferPritchard

treasurer@lwvskc.org


Directors of the Board of LWVSKC

Action Chair

Lev Elson-Schwab

action@lwvskc.org

Communications Chair

open

communications@lwvskc.org

Development Chair

Meg Van Wyk

meg.vanwyk@lwvskc.org

Director-at-Large

Terri Bates

terri.bates@lwvskc.org

Director-at-Large

Pat Griffith

pgseattle@q.com

Director-at-Large

Tania Hino

program@lwvskc.org

Membership Coordinator

Saunatina Sanchez

membership@lwvskc.org

Program Chair

open

pgseattle@q.com

Unit Liaison

Sarah Beth Miller

unitliaison@lwvskc.org

Voter Services Chair

open

meg.vanwyk@lwvskc.org



Education Fund of LWVSKC

Board members listed above also serve as the Education Fund Board. 

Education Fund Treasurer

Joanna Cullen

eftreasurer@lwvskc.org


Committee Chairs for LWVSKC

Economics and Taxation

Nora Leech

nleech2002@yahoo.com

Education

Joanna Cullen

jfoxcullen@gmail.com

City Climate Action

Callie Ridolfi, interim

callie@ridolfi.com

Investment

Cindy Piennett

cindypiennett@gmail.com

Observer Corps

Mary Taylor

mary.taylor@lwvskc.org

Health Care

Mo Brinck-Lund

molunida@gmail.com


Nominating Committee for LWVSKC

Chair

Adele Reynolds

nominate@lwvskc.org

Member

Ellen Barton

nominate@lwvskc.org

Member

Cathy Dormaier

nominate@lwvskc.org


And if you’re looking for the editor of The Voter, reach out to votereditor@lwvskc.org!



Find us on the web at lwvskc.org!



Quick link for this page is: https://www.lwvskc.org/thevoter