Demand a Hearing for SB 5222 – Universal Healthcare for WA State!

Our current private/for-profit healthcare system is in crisis: 522,000 Washington State residents don’t have any healthcare coverage, many more are under-insured, and rates are going up 19% in our state this year. These stats represent real people and genuine hardship that requires urgent action.

Healthcare is the number one concern of most voters, and there’s a solution supported by a majority. In Washington, more than 60% want a government-funded, universal healthcare option. Some legislators are listening. Senator Bob Hasegawa has filed SB 5222, to implement the Whole Washington Health Trust. If this bill passes, every single Washington resident would have quality care, including vision, dental, and mental health services. And there are some unique strengths about this bill to consider:

  • It can be implemented with the same efficient timeline as Governor Inslee’s Cascade Care bill announced on January 8th.
  • It’s been reviewed and vetted by the Department of Revenue and the Employment Securities Department.
  • It’s based on I-1600, which was endorsed by the Washington State Green Party.
  • It’s backed by a study by Dr. Gerald Friedman, a world-renowned healthcare economist.
  • It will save Washington residents billions annually. That’s billions with a ‘b’.
  • It doesn’t contract with for-profit insurance companies. It’s universal healthcare.
  • It’s fully funded and has a transition phase that doesn’t rely on federal waivers.

Please comment on the bill and call your representatives to demand they let this bill have a hearing and out of committee.

Getting these bills out of Committee will take a huge Grassroots effort by Washington Citizens. Please take a few minutes of your day to have your voice heard in Olympia. We have only until Feb. 22nd to move this bill out of committee in Olympia and onto the floor for a vote.

This bill is ready, and the time to act is now!

Go to the Whole Washington website to learn more and Get Active to help establish Universal Healthcare in WA State!

Contact your state legislators NOW to help pass RCV bill for Washington!

Cities and towns in Washington could soon have the freedom to choose better elections, thanks to bills filed in our legislature. HB 1722 and SB 5708 offer local jurisdictions the option to use ranked choice voting (RCV) for elections.

RCV is engaging voters and invigorating democracy in the 22 cities and counties around the U.S. that have already adopted it for their elections. Under this bill, Washington communities will be able to enjoy these benefits, too.

But without an immediate response from RCV supporters around the state, the Local Options bill is at risk of dying in committee. 

Please contact your three state legislators RIGHT NOW, to urge their support for advancing the Local Options Bill. 

It’s simple and quick:

  • Click on this link to either bill (doesn’t matter which one): HB 1722 or SB 5708.
  • Next, click on the dark green “Comment on this bill” button, at the top right of the page.
  • Fill in your address.
  • Click on the light green button, “Verify District”
  • Select all three of your legislators.
  • Click “Yes” if you would like a response.
  • Enter your contact information.
  • Click on “Support” to indicate your Position.
  • In the comment field, please express your view in your own words. Urge your legislators to ensure that the bill advances out of committee before February 22nd. Say why you think it’s important to allow local jurisdictions in our state to be able to use ranked choice voting i.e. giving voters more choices and decreasing negative campaigning.

What exactly does the Local Options Bill do?

It allows local jurisdictions to opt out of state-mandated primary elections in favor of a general election conducted using ranked choice voting. Alternatively, jurisdictions can keep the primary, but use a “top five” rather than a “top two” primary (with both elections conducted under ranked choice voting.)

How can I learn more?

Look here for an excellent article about our Local Options Bill by Kristin Eberhard of Sightline Institute. And check out this recent press release issued by FairVote WA.

What more can I do to help?

  • Spread the word! Encourage your friends and family to contact their legislators too.
  • Go to the FairVote WA website to learn how you can Get Involved with the growing movement to bring ranked choice voting to Washington state!

Thank you for contacting your three legislators TODAY!

In Solidarity,
Green Party of Washington and FairVote WA

GPWA 2018 Fall Gathering Review

by Mary Ellen Knoop

The Green Party of Washington held our Fall Gathering on November 10, 2018 at the Ellensburg Pasta Company.

Everything went well. Although the attendance (17 people) was less that we had hoped, there was representation from most of the state, and it was well-worth the time to be there. The meeting content was great. FairVote WA clarified Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) beautifully, and they are prepared to send at least one of their members to any group in order to give their slide presentation. Great for a local chapter GP meeting!

Boot Camp was great, too. The rest of the program was interesting and informative as well, including the Green Party National Women’s Caucus plan to lobby for public funding of all campaigns.

The food was good and the service was great. The restaurant itself was crowded; it is obviously a popular place in Ellensburg.

The room was perfect for our size group, and the restaurant even had a good film screen. I was surprised that with the day being so beautiful, more didn’t attend. We will have to talk frankly about whether to stay with one or try again to have two state-wide meetings per year. The location, being central, was to me a perfect choice, easily accessible; two members came from The Mid-Columbia, and one from Spokane, along with others who attended from Whatcom County, Snohomish County, Seattle, Tahoma (Pierce County), and South Puget Sound.

Read our summary evaluation of the Gathering here.

Summary of Renata Rollins’ First Year on the Olympia City Council

Renata Rollins, Olympia City Council member, successfully ran for her position as a Green in 2017. This is what Green leadership looks like:

Renata summed up the state of Olympia during her first year on the Olympia City Council as: “We’ve had hard times in the community, but a lot of good groundwork has been done.”

The primary issue that Renata ran on was homelessness. The current Council, thanks to Renata and her alliances with other progressive members, has taken a 180 degree turn in their thinking about homeless issues. City priorities have dramatically changed in the past year, with much more attention to homelessness.

In May, the Council had a retreat to brainstorm policies around reducing the harmful impacts of homelessness. They came out with a new harm-reduction approach: support camping, daytime places to gather, and broaden focus from affordable housing construction to include more immediate housing solutions.

Renata said, “We can’t keep having a whack-a-mole response to homelessness. We need to get in place the basics like sanitation and safe places to camp and stay, and then work on the more difficult issues.”

A tiny-home village is in the works, with 40 dwelling units. Access will be based on an individual’s vulnerability. Renata is also involved with asking Thurston County to move to more evidence-based projects. In addition, there are many in the faith community who want to host encampments who could work with the city.

The 2019 budget cycle is about over. Renata has taken the opportunity this first cycle to learn more about the process. She requested that a Police Auditor be added to the 2019 budget, a contracted position that had been part of the budget years ago. This request has gained support from other council members. Like all local governments, Olympia struggles with revenue – especially from decreasing sales tax revenue. Renata advocated for the city to file an amicus brief supporting Seattle’s income tax case with the WA Supreme Court, which the legal department successfully filed. Hopefully in the future our cities and state will have more progressive tax structures available rather than regressive sales tax and property taxes.

In 2019, Renata will be looking at inclusionary zoning and market-based incentives as currently available tools to encourage affordable housing. For example, city fees could be reduced in exchange for creating units affordable for people earning 50-80% of the average local income. The previous Council approved, and an initiative was passed in February 2018, for a “Home Fund” 0.1% sales and use tax that will be used to create permanent supportive housing for the most vulnerable homeless individuals. So far, the City has purchased some property for affordable housing with funds from this levy.

Renata is also working with a community group on a regional social housing proposal, common in Europe, where public housing is more broadly available to people regardless of income. Social housing essentially is proportional rent – the cost of rent in a building may vary family to family, but the percentage of each family’s income going toward rent would be the same.

Renata has been participating in forming a subgroup of local policymakers to study sea-level rise issues and consider alternatives to the mainstream response that was proposed by hired consultants. Downtown Olympia may need a change in development patterns, as it is built on fill close to the waterline. Additionally, city staff are working closely with the Thurston Regional Planning Council to develop a regional climate change response plan for both mitigation and adaptation.

Renata said that many city department planning processes are currently isolated or siloed. For example, the Parks Plan process has historically asked residents what amenities they want to see in their city parks without regard to how that may impact other important areas such as affordable housing, cost of living, or climate change mitigation and adaptation. With the Parks Plan update commencing in 2019 Renata has been advocating for a more integrated approach to department planning.

Olympia government has a new department: The Office of Performance and Integration (OPI). It happens to be completely staffed by women, who serve as internal consultants for other city departments. They provide a model for community conversations and encourage changing the typical government decision processes to community-driven policies rather than relying on a top-down approach. Renata is meeting with OPI to see how this new process template can be applied to homelessness policy, parks planning and other processes.

Renata serves as Council liaison to the Olympia Heritage Commission. She and a subgroup of the Commission have been meeting to brainstorm ideas, for example, how to honor the area’s traditional stewards, the tribes, by choosing more appropriate place names and posting informative murals or plaques to reflect heritage.

Finally, in 2019 Renata will be working on creating a Human Rights Commission as well as an ordinance for gender-neutral restrooms throughout the city. She will also support work toward getting renters protections such as requiring “just cause” for evictions, and longer notice requirements.

 

Connecting with the Green Party of the United States

The Green Party of the United States is a federation of state Green Parties and caucuses – and the Green Party of Washington State is a member of that federation.

A great deal of information is available on the GPUS website at www.gp.org and you are encouraged to take a look.

For information on proposals currently under consideration by delegates from states and caucuses to GPUS, see http://gp.org/cgi-bin/vote/index.

GPWA members may comment on current proposals by emailing us at hello@greenpartywashington.org with the subject line GPUS Proposal Comment.

 

Meet Stonewall “Stoney” Bird and Jennifer “Gigi” Ferguson

Tired of the same old choices you’ve always had? Looking for a better future for our communities and our country?

Please come join us and meet:

 Stonewall Jackson “Stoney” Bird, Green Party candidate for Congress in CD 2!

AND

Jennifer “Gigi” Ferguson, our preferred candidate for US Senate!

Hadley Hall at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 from 6-8PM

18513-59th Ave NE

Arlington, WA  98223

In our broken democracy, both Democratic and Republican voters find that the people they vote for do not stand up for them. This is why both Stoney and Gigi are running for office!

Stoney is running for Congress as a Green in Washington’s Second Congressional District and is endorsed by the Green Party of Washington. His aim is to bring the four Green Party pillars of ecology, democracy, peace, and social justice to Congress.

Gigi is running for US Senate as an Independent and is our Green Party preferred candidate. She stands for justice, dignity, equality, and community development. Gigi is willing to take on any corporations or established political interests in service to the people.

Both Stoney and Gigi are committed to cure the plague of gerrymandering and campaign bribes that mean the people we elect can ignore us. Both vow to work to overturn “corporate personhood” and “money is speech”.

In addition, Stoney is active in promoting ranked choice voting and proportional representation, making our votes count and the politicians accountable.

With these changes we will get representatives who represent us, and we will be able to achieve:

  • universal, single-payer healthcare
  • debt-free college
  • fair trade instead of free trade
  • a path to citizenship for all immigrants
  • strongly progressive taxes
  • expanded Social Security benefits
  • living wages and easy union membership
  • a universal basic income
  • a decent place to live for everyone
  • an end to the endless wars – and their endless costs
  • internet neutrality
  • government and corporate spies out of the internet
  • the big banks broken up
  • public control of the money system
  • Post Office banking and state and local government banks
  • no discrimination against anyone
  • voting rights
  • criminal justice reform
  • ending for-profit prisons
  • a Green New Deal
  • clean water, clean land, clean air, and clean electromagnetic space
  • nature treated with respect and gratitude, not as a thing to exploit

Stoney and Gigi both refuse to take corporate money. Moreover, if elected Stoney intends to donate 2/5 of his salary to causes that support Green values.

We hope you will come meet Stoney and Gigi on Tuesday – Please invite your friends!

If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation: 

____________________

Support Gigi’s Senate campaign for the people!

____________________

Donate to Stoney’s grassroots-powered campaign for Congress!

____________________

RSVP on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/667467520274308/

 

GPWA Spring Gathering Update

The Green Party of Washington held our annual Spring Gathering on Saturday, April 14th in Fife, WA.

At our meeting, we heard reports from Green Party officeholders EJ Zita – Thurston County Port Commissioner, and Renata Rollins – Olympia City Councilmember. Live videos of Zita and Renata are posted on our Green Party FB page.

Green Party member and Congressional candidate Stoney Bird gave a short overview on Camp Wellstone, a training program for organizers, campaign workers, and candidates.

Green Party organizer Kathryn Lewandowsky gave a detailed presentation on Initiative 1600 – Healthcare for All – Whole Washington. Volunteers are needed to gather signatures to get this Universal Healthcare initiative on the ballot!

Initiative 1631 – Clean Air and Clean Energy is also gathering signatures!

Candidates for US Congress and for local offices also spoke:

All candidate statements can be found here.

We heard updates from our local Green Party chapters, including Whatcom, Snohomish, Seattle, Tahoma (Pierce County), South Puget Sound, and Mid-Columbia (our newest chapter).

Finally, we took nominations for GPWA Coordinating Council (CC) and GPUS national delegates and alternates.

The following members were nominated to the GPWA CC:

  • Chris Govella – Treasurer
    • Update: Our nominee for Treasurer has since declined, and this position is currently open for nomination.
  • Noah Martin – Deputy Treasurer
  • Jody Grage
  • Kathryn Lewandowsky
  • Maricela Sanchez
  • Mary Ellen Knoop
  • Scott Thompson

The following members were nominated for GPUS delegates:

  • Jody Grage
  • Kathryn Lewandowsky
  • Lisa Canar – alternate
  • Noah Martin – alternate

Short bios for GPWA nominees can be found here.

_________________________________________________

For Green Party members:

We request your input on the qualification of our nominees, as well as the endorsement / preference of candidates for Congressional and local elected offices, including consideration of three candidates for US Senate. All candidate statements can be found here.

To check your GPWA membership status, see http://www.gp-wa.org/membership_status. If your membership has lapsed click here to join or renew.

Send an email by May 5th, 2018 to hello@greenpartywashington.org to provide your input on GPWA candidate endorsement and GPWA coordinator / leadership positions.

Universal Healthcare for Washington State!

The Green Party of Washington has endorsed Initiative 1600, a ballot measure written and submitted by Whole Washington. Whole Washington is a grassroots group of citizens and healthcare professionals determined to bring single-payer universal healthcare to Washington State.

I-1600 has been certified by the WA Secretary of State, and the signature drive has begun with a goal of over 300,000 signatures by July 1, 2018!

This is our chance.

Universal Health Care is an essential human right. This initiative guarantees healthcare as a fundamental right to all citizens of Washington State. With your help, I-1600 will be presented to the voters of Washington State in the November 2018 General Election. In order to make this happen, I-1600 URGENTLY needs financial support and signature gathering volunteers at upcoming events. If you want to collect signatures, but cannot attend an event, sign up here to receive petitions by mail.

Every signature gathered by a volunteer will save the campaign ~$3!

Initiative campaigns are terribly expensive, but so too are out-of-control health care costs. Together, we the citizens of Washington State have the power to take control of our healthcare and save billions of dollars in the process.

To make this a reality, funds are immediately needed and will be applied to the hard costs of doing everything possible to deliver sufficient numbers of valid signatures to put I-1600 Universal Health Care on the ballot in Washington State for the November 2018 general election. Contributions can be made here. All donations go directly to the I-1600 initiative campaign.

Please sign up to collect signatures today!

For questions see I-1600 FAQs or contact Whole Washington at: outreach@wholewashington.org.

2018 Starts Now!

The recent wins for Greens and other progressive candidates have been very exciting, and we realize that it is important for us to keep working hard and set our sights on the 2018 elections!

We need some volunteers who would be willing to work on a fundraising committee in order for us to financially support more Green Party candidates in 2018 and develop the infrastructure we need to provide campaign assistance to more endorsed Green candidates and non-Greens who have been given preferred candidate status. We are hoping to have 1-2 volunteers from each local Green Party chapter to assist with this project.

Some ideas for fundraising events we might organize: bicycle rallies, scavenger hunts, rummage sales, auctions, etc. And we are looking for more ideas for fundraising activities. Please get involved and share your ideas!

If you would be interested in helping on this committee please send your info to Kathryn at skyranch12805@gmail.com.

Thank you!

Coordinating Council,
Green Party of Washington

Congratulations to our elected Greens!

Congratulations to our endorsed candidates Renata Rollins and E.J. Zita for winning election to Olympia City Council and Port Commission!

Get involved with supporting their work in office today!

For example, check out the activist blockade of fracking supplies at the Port of Olympia:

“For the second time in the past year, Washington activists blocked a train carrying oil fracking supplies from leaving the Port of Olympia on the Salish Sea. The blockade camp prevented a possible shipment of ceramic proppants from being shipped to the Bakken oil shale basin in North Dakota, and possibly other fracking operations….[T]hey are part of a larger regional movement taking responsibility to act in the face of the climate crisis, and using their strong geographical position to literally stand in the way of the fossil fuel industry.”

Blockade of train tracks on November 20, 2017, at 7th and Jefferson streets in downtown Olympia, Washington, to prevent a train carrying oil fracking sands (ceramic proppants) from the Port of Olympia. (Photo; Zoltán Grossman)