Crucial time for Washington’s democrats | The Petri Dish

With the curtain all but closed on the fall election, Democrats will turn their attention to filling two jobs critically important for the political party’s future in Olympia and throughout the state.

With the curtain all but closed on the fall election, Democrats will turn their attention to filling two jobs critically important for the political party’s future in Olympia and throughout the state.

First up is a vote for a new leader of the Democratic caucus in the state Senate. Sen. Ed Murray of Seattle is in the seat now but will depart to begin his new gig as mayor of his hometown.

Sens. Sharon Nelson of Maury Island and Karen Keiser of Kent are considered the top contenders to succeed him. Sen. Nick Harper of Everett, the caucus’s deputy leader, had been viewed as a front-runner as well but is no longer pursuing the leadership post.

Then, in February, comes the selection of a new chairman for the state Democratic Party. Dwight Pelz, the current boss, is retiring and will exit once a successor is chosen by those at the helm of the party operations in all 39 counties.

Party veteran Nancy Biery has launched her campaign for the job and former state representative Brendan Williams is said to be considering a bid as well.

Until other candidates surface, Biery, 59, of Quilcene, looks pretty tough to beat. She’s been a precinct committee officer, chairwoman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party and field director for the state party. She’s also worked for former Gov. Gary Locke and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and raised money and organized get-out-the-vote efforts in dozens of campaigns through the years.

Whoever is chosen to lead the Senate caucus and chair the state party must confront the challenge of slowly eroding support for Democratic candidates in suburban communities of Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. It’s a trend which is giving rise to hopes of a Republican resurrection in the Legislature next year and statewide in 2016.

Nowhere is this evolution clearer than in the state Senate where there are 26 Democrats and 23 Republicans but it is the members of the Grand Old Party who are running the show.

That’s because two moderate Democrats — Sen. Rodney Tom of Medina and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch — ambled across the partisan aisle a year ago and united with those Republicans to form the Majority Coalition Caucus.

Biery said if elected she wants to pick up four seats in the state Senate in the 2014 elections. She said she’ll look to win in every corner of the state using a strategy of raising money to reinvest in the county party operations.

“We’ve got to get more people elected in rural places,” she said. “I know how hard it is for the little guys in the hinterland to do what they want and need to do.”

More in Opinion

More information needed on proposed recycling site

We want to bring awareness to your readers about a 34 acre wood recycling center that is in the permitting process with King County.

North neighbors keep a close eye on the U.S.

How much do you know about Canada? If you’re like most Americans, not much.

Trickle-down equation may not add up, Dems say

A tax overhaul plan drawn up by Republicans in Congress will be a good deal for many households, though not every one, or nearly every one, as promised by its authors.

America’s monster

I’m not sure when it happened, but I recently realized I’ve stopped asking myself, “What are we going to do about mass shootings and gun violence in this country?” Instead, I now ask, “When is the carnage going to come to Enumclaw?”

Avoiding loss means more than gaining something else

Some studies have shown that losses are twice as psychologically powerful as gains. American history and our current political situation help reveal a great deal about the American/human psyche.

Congratulations, Jan Molinaro

In every election, one person must win and the other will lose. Now more than ever, it is important to show our children how to be gracious in victory and humble in defeat.

Don’t give into the pressure of driving drowsy

Eleven years ago, a drowsy-driving car wreck left me with injuries that still challenge me today.

Baxley and Young should have showed up at public forum

On Tuesday, October 17th, was the Black Diamond Maple Valley Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum, where the Black Diamond candidates for Mayor and two City Council positions had the opportunity to talk with the citizens of Black Diamond, and to answer questions put to them by these citizens.

Issues to be addressed in Enumclaw elections

Who should I vote for in the Enumclaw City Council and mayoral races?

Enumclaw helped raise $3,500 for Special Olympics

The last couple of weekends the St. Barbara Knights of Columbus have been involved with our annual Tootsie Roll Program.

Court grapples with school funding

When the legal battle on education funding returned to the state Supreme Court Tuesday, the leader of Washington’s public school system was closely monitoring this installment of the McCleary drama from his office down the street.

Baxley is an important choice for Black Diamond mayor

Judy Baxley has been part of our local civics for years, and thank goodness because citizen involvement is critical to monitoring big developers.