By Ann McCreary
The Democratic Party intends to fight to elect candidates even in Republican strongholds like Okanogan County, the party’s new chair said during a stop in Twisp last week.
The party “has abandoned eastern and central Washington in the past,” Tina Podlodowski said during a road trip through the state to talk with voters and volunteers. “We’re going to run in every race every place,” she said.
While in Okanogan County, Podlodowski, a former Seattle City Council member who was elected to head the party in January, met with party officials and members of Indivisible, a progressive advocacy group.
“For us it’s all about taking a look at the 12th Legislative District and how we can flip from red to blue,” Podlodowski said during her visit to Twisp July 31. All the district’s current state legislators — Brad Hawkins of Wenatchee, Cary Condotta of Wenatchee and Mike Steele of Chelan — are Republican.
Podlodowski criticized state legislators for failing to approve a capital budget at the end of the legislative session. “It makes no sense to hold up projects and jobs,” Podlodowski said.
House and Senate Republicans refused to pass the capital budget because they linked the budget negotiations to their insistence that the Legislature resolve a controversial Washington State Supreme Court ruling on water, known as the Hirst decision, that requires people who want to use a well to first prove there is adequate legal water.
Democrats had proposed a temporary approach to the Hirst issue that would have allowed current projects to proceed for two years.
She said the Democratic Party represents “values that resonate with voters throughout eastern and central Washington — education, fair wages, jobs, health care for all.”
Podlodowski’s road trip took her through Vancouver, Goldendale, Yakima, Wenatchee, Republic and Spokane. In Spokane she celebrated Democratic candidate Karen Hardy’s second place finish in the August 1 primary election, which puts Hardy on the November ballot for the 7th Legislative District.