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Voices Unheard: Empowering Change with Rural Americans United

In This Newsletter

  1. Why I Am Not Running

  2. Voices Unheard: Empowering Change with Rural Americans United

  3. The work must be done by us

  4. Celebrating Heroes: Candidates Making a Difference in Central and Eastern Washington

  5. Presidential Immunity: A Supreme or Kangaroo Court? Watch the Video

  6. Yakima City Council's Tomfoolery: The Story of Spencer and Leslie Hatton

In the next newsletter: Optimism With Rural Voter Registration Data, Dominick Bonny and Christian Patriotism, Federal Funding Floods Central and Eastern Washington, H2a visa workers unionize and more!

1. Why I Am Not Running

In LD14, we have Chelsea Dimas and Raul Martinez running for Representative, Maria Beltran for Senate. In LD4, Miguel Valencia is running for Senate, Natasha Hill in LD3 for Representative, and Marla Keethler for Senate in LD17. Additionally, Terri Niles is running for Representative in LD17, while several candidates are running for the CD5 House and Maria Perez for the CD3 House. These races all have special circumstances, whether it's due to redistricting, open seats, or incumbent factors, making them particularly impactful.

While there are many local races of importance, these State and Federal races carry significant visibility, especially for Central and Eastern Washington.

It's a simple truth that Democrats need victories more than just candidates. Over the next few newsletters, I'll delve into the facts behind this statement. While it's my opinion, it's grounded in both heuristic and empirical research, which supports the efforts of Rural Americans United for change.

Campaigns are centered around candidates and consume vast resources. But if there's no political infrastructure to absorb the lessons learned after the campaign — including trained resources, media connections, donor connections, and constituent information — much of the excitement and hope built up during the campaign is lost. This loss is evident in the data; Democrats often lose in Central and Eastern Washington, resulting in ever fewer votes and donations, and a rightward shift in the region.

Every Democrat running for office is a hero, improving life for all of us. However, the future success of the Democratic party will be measured less by how many candidates run, and more by how many win. While Central and Eastern Washington may soon demonstrate its presence by the number of candidates it puts forward, for now, ensuring that a few candidates win is paramount.


2. Voices Unheard: Empowering Change with Rural Americans United

Rural Americans United is focusing on the unheard voices. Our pro-Democratic values messaging campaign has delivered over twenty million radio impressions since last October, but we aim to do even better. Too many voices are dismissed by election cycle politics, especially in Central Washington. This includes Latinx, Indigenous, youth, and increasingly disenfranchised white communities that make up the working class.

How do we know we are overlooked? National polls may state that youth favor Biden, but our voting records show our youth voting 3:1 in favor of Trump so we know they didn’t ask us. When national polls show a strong Latinx turnout for Dems, but our Latinx population's voter turnout remains troublingly low, we know they did not ask us. When the national polls fail to reflect Indigenous persons, we know they did not ask us.

We will continue our pro-Democratic values messaging, but going forward, we will employ a proven methodology that utilizes media, which provides us ways to measure responses and better target the unheard populations; many dialogs with many different approaches. Using tools such as social media and direct communication technology to understand what these disenfranchised, low voter turnout populations care about. If we truly care about our communities, we need to understand them better. Relying on opinion, supposition, hubris, or other people’s polling does not demonstrate the respect these people deserve.

This is a first-of-its-kind effort in Central and Eastern Washington. Rural Americans United is reaching out to interested partners to bring together local organizations, data analysts, communication, and production specialists to create a super team. We are well underway. The information we expect to gather will be eye-opening and hopefully shine light on the many unanswered questions as to why engaging these low voter turnout populations remains a challenge.

This work won’t be done by outside parties because they do not see the value in our communities as we do.


3. The work must be done by us, and it takes money. We need your support. Please invest in your, in our future

Rural Americans United Address


4. Celebrating Heroes: Candidates Making a Difference in Central and Eastern Washington

The most asked question of us last election was "who do I vote for?" Well, we are creating a list of Candidates that are Democrats or embrace democratic values and will publish to our website soon. We do research, but also depend on information from all of you to keep current. Please share your local candidate information with us and we will add it to the page.

Top : Natasha Hill LD3 Rep, Raul Martinez LD14 Rep.

Bottom: Miguel Valencia LD4 Senate, Terri Niles LD17 Rep, Marla Keethler LD17 Senate


5. Presidential Immunity: A Supreme or Kangaroo Court? Watch the Video

Arguably the most important court case in our nation's history is unfolding. The Supreme Court's duty is to interpret and adapt our Constitution to the modern era. But this time, it feels different. It's as if they're standing alongside our forefathers, crafting the Constitution anew, albeit two hundred years later. Yet, the impact remains just as profound.

Their decision will shape whether we continue as a government of, by, and for the people or veer towards autocracy. Watch the video of the Supreme Court hearing. Warning: what you'll hear is deeply troubling.


6. Yakima City Council's Tomfoolery: The Story of Spencer and Leslie Hatton

A letter to the Yakima City Council regarding the council's sandbagging of the petition drive (see previous blogs). Reprinted with permission from Spencer and Leslie Hatton.

"Yakima City Council moved the goalposts when it realized Yakima voters raised enough petition signatures to block ordinances eliminating or demoting 5 citizen advisory committees.

In Yakima, we have the right to stop misguided city ordinances and send them to a popular vote by filing petitions with a certain number of voter signatures. After the County Auditor certified the number of voter signatures needed was 804, more than 1,200 petition signatures were filed to block City Council from eliminating the Sustainable Yakima & Community Integration Committees and degrading the Bicycle/Pedestrian Committee, Tree Board, and Historic Preservation Committees.


Another option the City Council could take immediately is to repeal the ordinances, thereby restoring the committees to their previous official city status.

One week after sufficient petition signatures were filed, City Council hatched a plan to retroactively raise the signature threshold from 804 to 1,258. How did they do that? The City asked the County Auditor to add the number of city residents who voted only in the Yakima School Board and the West Valley School Board races, but did not vote in the city council elections for Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7. The Auditor’s Office noted in writing to the City of Yakima that the city was only billed for conducting an election in those four districts, and not for the elections for the Yakima School Board and West Valley School Board elections. Those school boards paid separately for their own elections.

Furthermore, in a phone call to the Washington Secretary of State, officials there noted that school district elections “have nothing to do with” city government elections because school districts are independent legal entities with separate taxing authority from city government, even though there may be some geographic overlap between the school district boundaries and the city boundaries.

Within two days after this plan was exposed, voters collected an additional 179 signatures, as allowed under state law, to now have over 1,400 petition signatures. City Council responded by directing City Manager Zabell to publicly reject additional voter signatures and set the goalposts high enough to disenfranchise more than 1,400 Yakima voters.

Please do the right thing. If not, it will likely be necessary to file a lawsuit to stop these City Hall misguided actions."


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