After the 2008 election, pundits wrote off the Republican Party.  Time Magazine’s May 18, 2009, cover pictured the outline of a red, white and blue elephant with the caption “Endangered Species.”  Pennsylvania’s United States Senator Arlen Specter, one of a few remaining moderate Republicans, switched parties to better position himself for a 2010 reelection victory.  But Democratic complacency, an onslaught of Republican prevarications, and a tsunami of corporate money returned the Republican Party to a share of power in 2010.

After the 2010 election, a short sighted media fixated on a 24-hour news cycle preached the decline of the Democratic Party.  But union busting in state capitals, the stench of corporate greed, and overreaching of United States House of Representatives Republicans is reinvigorating the youth and Democrats for an aggressive 2012 campaign cycle.  I sense at least double the energy amongst Democrats in Central Washington that I felt in 2009.

The full Fourth Congressional District Democratic Committee met in a special meeting yesterday afternoon at the Yakima County Democratic Party headquarters.  Since the meeting was a special meeting, the committee was limited to addressing the only issue for which it was called – a recommendation from the Executive Committee to hire a professional organization to update and maintain our Fourth Congressional District website and expand the website to Facebook, a You Tube channel, and Twitter.

I was hoping just for a quorum – ten individuals – at the meeting, but was delighted that twenty-nine people showed.  The attendance illustrates the dedication and energy of the party as we begin the 2012 election cycle.  The attendees had a lengthy and lively discussion concerning the content to be placed on the cyberspace locations.

With one or two dissenters, the committee approved the recommendation to hire LeadGenix to organize and maintain the website, including a Facebook page, You Tube channel, and Twitter.  The dissenter(s) were not necessarily opposed to hiring an entity to construct and maintain the sites, but expressed concern about potential content on the sites.

The committee will now enter a written contract with LeadGenix and the Executive Committee will work with LeadGenix to build the content for our cyberspace.  The initial cost is about $1,000, with a monthly maintenance fee of $500.  The committee may cancel the contract at any time.

We plan to sponsor a “Best Doc Commercial” for people to produce short spots about Doc Hastings to be aired on the You Tube sight.  Please also send us photographs of Democratic functions and historic events to place on our Facebook and Website.

The Website will contain an area for blogging.

Thanks again to Ralph Crowl and Margie Van Cleve for developing a plan to promote the values of the Democratic Party throughout Central Washington and educate our territory about the shortcomings of our congressman.  Additional thanks to Ralph for serving as the contact with LeadGenix.


Doug Woods has joined the Executive Committee as the Young Democrats coordinator.  Doug is a City of Richland firefighter.


Please mark your calendar for the April 16 regular meeting at Central Washington University, in Ellensburg, beginning at 2 p.m.  The building and room number will be announced later.  On April 16, 2011, the Fourth Congressional District Democratic Committee will address the tabled motion to recommend to the Fourth Congressional District Caucus of the Washington State Democratic Party that Jay Clough be endorsed as the Democratic Party candidate for Congress in the Fourth Congressional District in 2012.  The full proposed agenda is pasted below.

After voting at the April 16 meeting, please attend the Yakima County Democrats annual Roosevelt Dinner, beginning at 6 p.m.  The headline speaker is Central Washington’s former Congressman and future Washington Governor Jay Inslee.  Attached is a flyer for the dinner.


In this short era of union busting, we focus on the success of labor unions in raising and maintaining a family wage for workers and creating the middle class.  Please also remember unions’ promotion of worker safety, particularly in view of recent coal mine disasters and the explosion at the Gulf of Mexico BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform.

Eighth Legislative District State Committeewoman Barbara O’Brien reports that her father was a coal miner and avid supporter of mines labor leader John L. Lewis.  During her childhood, Barbara learned about the importance of unions for miners.  Unions fought long and hard for mine safety.

Barbara O’Brien’s father began work at age 14 as a Bony Picker in the coal mines.  Bony Pickers removed rock, slate, and other non-burnable debris from coal as it passed on a conveyor to the coal breaker.  Coal mining practices of the early 20th century included the widespread use of child labor.  A miner might start his career as young as seven years of age, especially if his family needed another breadwinner to survive the injury or death of an adult.

Barbara O’Brien’s dad came home from work with his body covered with soot and dirt.  Her mother met the father at the door to gather his clothes.  The family wringer washing machine never completely cleaned the clothes.

Barbara reports that accidents in the mines were common because of poor ventilation, inadequate equipment, and the unsafe distancing of support beams to cut costs.  Miners were severely injured, killed, or burned due to working conditions.  Barbara’s father developed black lung in the mines.

My boyhood hero Mickey Mantle drank to excess at an early age and eventually died prematurely from alcohol.  Mantle had expected to die at an early age in the coal mines of Oklahoma and so, like other miners who imbibed heavily, Mantle saw no need to care for his body.  Mickey Mantle’s father, a coal miner, died from Hodgkins disease at age 39, without knowing of Mickey’s success.  Mickey’s grandfather, who also worked the mines, died from the same disease at a young age.

~ by wa4thcddems on March 21, 2011.

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