Welcome to your monthly update from Friends of Washington!
WA state elections are heating up with plenty of Republican money flooding into key races, and we need to keep the pressure on to win this fall. In this newsletter, a profile of Michelle Rylands, who is aiming to steal a second WA State Senate seat from the GOP this November in the 31st district special election. Read about her below, but first, your action assignments!
Action item #1: Start phone-banking! Let's mobilize! Sign up with SisterDistrict.com and volunteer to help elect Manka Dhingra in the 45th. Join a local Sister District team here. Many are calling this the most important state race in the nation. Get involved!
Action item #2: Connect with Michelle Rylands’ campaign (District 31) Michelle’s education-first message and longtime community leadership makes her a great candidate (see info about her below.) Donations now will help her create a strong campaign. This is a winnable race, so donate today.
Action item #3: Get out and canvas! Fuse WA is working to mobilize new voters and engage those who don’t normally turn out for down-ballot elections through their #actionsummer program. Their next outing is June 3 with ongoing events throughout the summer. Sign up here to join their canvassing campaign.
Michelle Rylands: Running to Win the 31st
"I used to joke to my friends, 'If you run into Pam Roach, tell her I’m going to take her job!" says Michelle Rylands, who fully intends to make good on that promise. Michelle is running to win the special election for District 31 (Auburn, Sumner, Enumclaw, Lake Tapps,) aiming to fill the seat vacated by Republican Roach when Roach joined the Pierce County Council.
Michelle is up against the extremely conservative Republican Phil Fortunato, who was appointed to the seat last December. Even though the district went 55% for Trump, Rylands is the kind of Democrat who can get her message heard. And her most urgent message is funding education.
Rylands is the president of the Auburn Council of PTA’s, a member of the Region 9 Service Delivery Team that overseas all South King country PTA’s, and a member of the WA state PTA. Her leadership in these roles has given her a depth of hands-on experience fighting for our kids, including helping to craft legislation to reduce classroom size.
In addition to education, Rylands sees the region’s explosive growth as another major challenge. Poor bus service, crushing traffic on SR 167, and a lack of affordable housing will all be questions she'll address after we get her to Olympia.
Rylands served as a Military Police officer in the Army, and currently works as a 911 dispatcher. She's tough when she needs to be and has experience bringing people together to get things done. “When you present to the PTA, it’s an emotional and visceral thing: you have to speak to all kinds of people. I know how to be persuasive,” she says.
Michelle’s opponent , Phil Fortunato, is an anti-government, anti-choice, zealot who you can bet will be part of the Republican roadblock to fully fund education. His regressive plan for how the Washington state senate should operate are backed by his questionable business dealings, including being fined $19,000 by the State Attorney General and being investigated for “unfair or deceptive acts” in 2009. This is NOT the quality of leadership that residents of the 31st deserve.
Help Michelle Today
You might think a district that went 55% for Trump is a long shot, but democratic candidates across the country are shaking up once-solid red strongholds. Michelle will be in a close, but winnable race, so volunteer and contribute today to help take this seat away from the GOP. Connect with her campaign here.
Also consider signing up (no matter where you live) to help the 31st Democrats, who are phone-banking to identify democratic voters in that area for this important upcoming election. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for a link and instructions on how to phone-bank, from anywhere!
The action's only going to get more exciting from here: More critical state-wide races are on the way. Invite your friends to also sign up with us at Friends of Washington, so that they can get updates too, about state races which have the potential to solve our school crisis, support clean energy, and more. Forward this. Spread the word. Explain why November 2017 and November 2018 are so important for our state!
Friend-to-friend word of mouth is the key to victory.
Think especially of people in Kirkland, Woodinville, Sammamish, Redmond, Duvall, Auburn, Enumclaw, and Sumner. People who live there are especially important for raising awareness, since they and their neighbors will be making the difference by mailing in their ballots.
So all hands on deck! Let's raise awareness, make some noise. Donate some money and sign up to help today.