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Voting Rights Bill

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Thank you to state Senator Kevin Van De Wege, Representative Steve Tharinger , and Representative Mike Chapmanof the 24th Legislative District for supporting HB 1078 for Voting Rights Resolution. It…

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Update from County Commissioner Kate Dean on Hadlock Sewer

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Democratic Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean shared the following thoughts this week on the Port Hadlock Sewer project, and emphasized the valuable contributions that infrastructure projects have long played in helping rural areas.


When I moved to Quilcene in the late 1990’s, talk in the Leader and at the post office revolved around a few predictable topics: spotted owl, Growth Management and the Hadlock sewer.  Our historic dairy farms were selling off their herds due to low milk prices. Rural communities across Washington were facing the loss of familiar jobs amid new environmental regulation.  The future of natural resource-based economies seemed uncertain at best and- depending who you asked- the state’s 1990 Growth Management Act (GMA) was either going to be the nail in the coffin, or provide the key to a better future. Either way, the answer was probably emphatic and strongly-worded. 

Little did I know, over 20 years later, we’d still be arguing over many of the same passionately-held opinions and beliefs about land use.  The most current iteration is about the building of the Port Hadlock sewer.  Will it bring prosperity to all or will it be the demise of rural living?  I’m here to suggest that the answer is neither, but that the cost of doing nothing is highest of all.

Growth Management required counties to determine where (and how much of) different, necessary land uses would go. Port Townsend, an incorporated city, was left to do their own Comprehensive Planning. Rural counties like ours identified commercial forest and farm land and “locked in” zoning to protect those working lands so that they would not be converted and lost to development.  Industrial areas like Glen Cove and the paper mill were identified so that new residential areas were not built too close to them, creating incompatibility issues. And counties were required to decide where, in their unincorporated lands, they would put density and growth in the future.  Jefferson County residents, through public meetings, expensive studies and lawsuits, chose Port Hadlock as the Urban Growth Area (UGA) for this purpose. 

UGAs are intended to prevent sprawl.  When you identify where retail, manufacturing, multi-family housing and services can go, it does not end up spread across the rural landscape.  This development pattern provides an efficient way to provide utilities to businesses and residents.  But density only works where there are the services in place to support it, per GMA, which is why the sewer must be built before the added density is permitted.

Building sewers is nothing new.  In fact, most people on sewer don’t give it much thought.  But at some point, their city or neighborhood decided to invest in this infrastructure for the benefits it provides: density, containment of effluent and potential contaminants, the affordability of monthly service versus septic system installation or replacement.  Building a sewer is not a radical act; it is something that has been done for 200 years, to the betterment of communities served. 

And federal subsidies are usually needed to pull it off.  In fact, it was disagreements about how to fund critical infrastructure that led our country’s founders to establish a constitutional form of government.  FDR used the New Deal to pull the US out of the Great Depression and Eisenhour built the interstate highway system to connect all of America.  Federal investment in infrastructure has, time and again, provided rural areas stability, economic opportunity and improved environmental health. 

The Port Hadlock sewer is also not a new idea; it was a direction set over 20 years ago through an engaged public process.  The new design calls for building it in the core commercial area, where property owners petitioned the Board of County Commissioners to re-ignite the project in 2017.  Affordable housing providers own land in the service area and are waiting for the sewer in order to build at a density that pencils out financially.  Businesses, currently constrained by low-capacity systems or land set-asides for drain fields, want to hire more employees and expand their services.  These outcomes are what infrastructure investments have borne repeatedly.

This project can only be built with state and federal subsidy.  The County knows that it cannot, and will not, be built on the backs of property owners who cannot afford the investment.  But, like rural electrification in the 1930’s, federal support for infrastructure in under-served areas has proven to bring enormous benefits for generations to come.  Providing sewer is a way to bring dignity, equity and opportunity to rural areas that cannot bear the cost alone.

Jefferson County has done a good job of protecting working lands and the environment, but it has arguably failed to provide the necessary infrastructure for our rural communities to innovate and thrive.  Just as people resisted the introduction of the telephone in homes in the 1930’s, change generates fear and speculation.  I urge Jefferson County residents to engage in planning processes, such as the Planning Commission and Comprehensive Planning to learn how carefully and intentionally decision are made, often by their neighbors and friends who volunteer for this hard and often thankless work.

With state and federal stimulus dollars, we have a real shot at getting the Port Hadlock sewer built in the near future.  Let’s rally around this project with our local businesses and housing providers to envision more jobs, more housing and more prosperity. Infrastructure should be the backbone of our communities- not a privilege only for those lucky enough to afford it.

Kate Dean is the Chair of the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners.  She urges people interested in the project to attend a virtual public meeting on April 15th from 5-8pm. For more information:


Consider Running for Office!

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League of Women Voters Jefferson County

Information Sessions on Running for Office

Considering running for public office in Jefferson County 2021? Get advice from six currently serving elected officials who share their thoughts on campaigning and serving. While every elected position is different, the insights below can benefit anyone planning to campaign in 2021.

View the zoom interview on running for and serving as a Port of Port Townsend Port Commissioner here:

Port of Port Townsend Commissioner

View the zoom interview on running for and serving on School Board in Chimacum or Port Townsend here:

Chimacum and Port Townsend School Boards

View the zoom interview on running for and serving on Port Townsend's City Council here:

Port Townsend City Council

Would you rather read transcripts than watch videos? 

Port Commissioner Information Session Transcript.pdf

School Board Information Session Transcript.pdf

City Council Information Session Transcript.pdf

View Jefferson County's 2021 Election Guide:

2021 Election Guide for Jurisdictions.pdf

Town Hall 24th LD

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TONIGHT 3/22 6pm:
Please join Reps. Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger, and Sen. Kevin Van De Wege for the 24th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall.
To join, dial in at 877-229-8493 (PIN 116281). Constituents may also participate by signing up ahead of time at

Bills to watch

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A couple of key bills making their way through the state Legislature

JCD Elections Chair Diane Jones provided this information about legislation affecting internet service and health care in Washington state. The state Legislature is holding hearings on both bills the week of March 15, 2021.

HB 1336 would create and expand unrestricted authority for public entities to provide telecommunications services to end-users. HB 1336 has passed through the state House of Representatives and is waiting to be voted out of a state Senate committee.

SB 5383 is a watered-down version of this bill in the state Senate, but it would at least move us in the right direction. SB 5383 has made it through the Senate and will have a hearing in the House committee at 10 a.m. this Wednesday, March 17. You can watch the hearing here.

The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that having internet access is a necessity like water and electricity. Yet for decades, the internet service providers lobby has blocked even public utility districts from doing so in much of Washington.

If this bill were to become law, PUDs and others could apply for federal money to lay fiber and either directly connect end-users or attract and create competition for service providers to provide the service, which they do not want.

SB 5399 has passed through the state Senate and is now working its way through the House. It has a hearing at 10 a.m. this Thursday, March 18. You can watch it here.

Health Care For All - WA endorses SB 5399, stating that the legislation “builds on the actuarial work done for the UHC Work Group and begins the implementation of the plan favored by a majority of the Work Group: a unified plan for universal health coverage run through a state agency.”

Another organization supporting SB 5399 is Health Care is a Human Right, a coalition of 54 sponsor and allied organizations

JCD Elections Chair Diane Jones, who also serves on the Advocacy Committee for Washington State Democrats, urged people to go here to see these bills and many other key bills making their way through the state Legislature.

Federal Climate Legislation – 2021

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MARCH 10 @ 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Learn about climate action in the 2021 Legislative Session from:

  • Derek Kilmer, U.S. Representative, 6th District
  • Maria Cantwell, U.S. Senator, Washington State (invited)
Video Meeting Link:

By phone:  253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 996 9626 4468

Organized by Climate Action Bainbridge, Sustainable Bainbridge, Citizen’s Climate Lobby Bainbridge, EcoAdapt, Olympic Climate Action, Local 2020.

Ranked Choice Voting Presentation Feb 11

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Are you curious about the voting reform called ranked-choice voting?
FairVote Washington, a group promoting ranked-choice voting in Washington, will provide the featured program at the Thursday, Feb. 11, members meeting of the Jefferson County Democrats. The Zoom meeting, open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
During the presentation, we'll learn what it is and have a practice ranked-choice voting election. We'll learn about some problems with the way we vote now and the benefits of ranked-choice voting.
FairVoteWA volunteers will also discuss HB 1156: Increasing representation and voter participation in local elections, a bill that would allow local jurisdictions to use ranked-choice voting if they choose. Here's a copy of the legislation:
FairVoteWA reps will also answer questions from the audience.
After the presentation, there will be a short JCD Membership business meeting for adopting the annual budget.
FairVoteWA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, volunteer-driven champion of electoral reforms like ranked-choice voting that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a more civil, representative democracy that works for all Americans.

LD24 Elections! Nomination deadline is Jan. 3

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FROM LD24 CHAIR: The Reorganization Meeting of the 24th Legislative District Democrats will be held on Sunday, January 10, 2021 at 2pm on Zoom. The Washington State Democrats gave us authority to meet in virtual space and to develop special rules.

PCOS, please register here so we can vote in this meeting. Only PCOs need register.

On January 10, anyone can enter the meeting and watch without registering.

Correct Link for Reorganization Meeting

24th LD Democrats is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

This is the corrected link.
(A  incorrect link was included in the original call to meeting.)

Topic: Corrected:   LD Reorganization
Time: Jan 10, 2021 02:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 876 9227 0753
Passcode: 391416

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+12532158782,,87692270753#,,,,*391416# US (Tacoma)
+16699006833,,87692270753#,,,,*391416# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
        +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)
Meeting ID: 876 9227 0753
Passcode: 391416
Find your local number:

Our only business will be the election of a Chair, Vice Chair, and two State Committee Members. (The Treasurer and Secretary are appointed.) If possible, the Chair and Vice Chair are to be of different genders (Male, Female, Non-Binary), as are the two State Committee Members.

Nominations are OPEN until January 3
for Chair, Vice Chair, and State Committee Member.

Nominations can be sent to the Chair. Nominees are invited to submit a picture and a statement up to 500 words for the website. (Send to the Chair.)

PCOs are the only voters. These PCOs were elected in 2020 and must be present at the meeting. There are no proxy votes. (If you aren't sure if you are qualified, contact the Chair.)

Technology: Optimally, participants take part by connecting to the internet with a computer or other device and entering the Zoom meeting. Minimally, PCOs will need to be able to listen to the Zoom meeting in progress on a phone and to phone in their vote during the meeting. Other participants can listen by phone also.

Rules: The rules and process will closely resemble those used in Jefferson and Clallam. They are in development. After the Executive Committee approves a draft, they will be posted at and linked in newsletters. To give timely input on the rules, contact anyone on the Executive Committee (see above). The rules will be adopted by the PCOs at the beginning of the meeting.

There will be differences from the meetings in Jefferson and Clallam counties: Only PCOs need register. Candidates for the highest contested offices will be asked to choose observers who can become familiar with the balloting process before the meeting, and who will be able to watch the anonymous ballots being cast in real time. After adjournment we will keep the meeting open so people can catch up with their friends, but the only talk before or during the meeting will be limited to the business of the meeting.

Virtual ballot process: When we meet in person, we can have a perfectly secret ballot. That is not achievable in virtual space, but we'll do our best using googleforms and following procedures recommended by the state party. This process was used in Clallam and Jefferson.

On January 8, PCOs will receive their Unique ID (needed to vote) from   Only the elected PCO is permitted to use this ID.

During the meeting on January 10, after the candidates for an office speak, the Chair will announce that voting is open. The ballot link for that office will be posted in the Zoom Chat window.

By clicking on the link, PCOs can go to a ballot (googleform), enter their code, and vote.
The ballot form will be accessible for ten minutes, and longer if needed.

PCOs without internet access or who encounter difficulty will be able to call a Voteline. They will speak their code and their vote (without giving their name) and it will be entered in the googleform. (Anyone who knows they will need this support should contact the Chair now.)

After voting, PCOs will receive an email from googleforms confirming their vote.

When voting ends, the Tally Team will display a summary of the votes for everyone in the meeting, including the number of votes and the percentage of votes cast for each candidate.
Nominees so far:
The following candidates have been nominated:

Chair: Bruce Cowan (male)
Vice Chair: Julie Johnson (female)
State Committee Member: Diane Jones (female)
State Committee Member: Joe McGimpsey (male)
State Committee Member: David Griffiths (non-binary)

Candidate Statements

FYI: Petition related to expansion of Dabob Bay Natural Area

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FYI: Please sign the petition today to Commissioner of Public Lands and Jefferson County Commissioners asking them to support expansion of the Dabob Bay Natural Area to protect globally rare types of native forest on state land proposed for timber harvest-

Conservation groups, shellfish growers, Tribes, and citizens are working to convince DNR to conserve the largest remaining occurrence of a rare type of native Rhododendron forest left in the world – located along Dabob Bay and Toandos Peninsula - that DNR has plans to log. Dec 9 2020 Port Townsend Leader article–,72526

Kilmer plans telephone town hall Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 6 pm

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Congressman Derek Kilmer plans a telephone town hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday to provide an update on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to answer questions from constituents.

Residents of the 6th District — which includes the North Olympic Peninsula — can call 877-229-8493 to join the town hall. The PIN is 111435. They also can listen over the internet at

Dr. Larry Corey will join the conversation to discuss COVID-19 vaccines and the road ahead, Kilmer’s office said.