Tina Podlodowski elected Washington State Democratic Party Chair; Joe Pakootas elected Vice Chair

Vows to fight for working people in every county and district in the state

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 28th, 2017

OLYMPIA: Tina Podlodowski was elected chair of the Washington State Democratic Party on Saturday afternoon in Olympia with a clear mandate to rebuild the Democratic Party as a vehicle for working families in every county and legislative district in the state. Podlodowski’s running mate Joe Pakootas was elected Vice Chair of the party. Rob Dolin was reelected as Secretary and Habib Habib was reelected as Treasurer.

“It is a new day and we are going to build a new Democratic Party that will organize in every part of our state for working families against the special interests and extremist politicians,” Podlodowski said. “We will immediately begin organizing the grassroots to contest elections everywhere, from school board and city council to the special elections this fall where we will take back the state Senate so we can solve the problems facing Washington families.”

“The grassroots mobilization we saw in the streets is being reflected in our party. Over 65% of our 2017-2018 state committeemembers are newly elected, joining seasoned leaders to bring a new energy and resolve to the Democratic Party,” Podlodowski said. “I want to thank our outgoing chair Jaxon Ravens for a decade of work and service to our party.”

Podlodowski also vowed to immediately resist Donald Trump’s recently announced actions undermining the fabric of American democracy and human rights.

“Donald Trump and his Republican allies here in Washington State have launched an unprecedented, un-American attack on our basic rights and freedoms. We must stand up for refugees and immigrants who are under attack at this very moment from Trump’s horrible executive orders. Washingtonians have already begun organizing to resist that agenda of greed and bigotry, and the Washington State Democratic Party is committed to helping build the resistance,” Podlodowski added. “We will bring together Washingtonians — whether they live in an urban or a rural community, whether they live east or west of the mountains, whether they are longtime Democratic voters or new to the political process.”

“At a time when Republicans are trying to take away healthcare and cut funding for our schools, we will build a strong and effective Democratic Party that includes, respects, and represents the diverse voices across Washington State,” Podlodowski said. “Democrats are the party of voter registration and voting rights. As Trump and his local Republican allies spread falsehoods about ‘illegal voting’, we will not let this stand in Washington State.”

The daughter of two naturalized U.S. citizens who fled Europe as refugees after World War II, Podlodowski has spent her life fighting for civil rights, voting rights, and making government more effective for working families. In addition to working for Microsoft and serving on the Seattle City Council, Podlodowski has held leadership roles in Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Puget Sound, the Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Washington Citizens for Fairness, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Victory Fund. Podlodowski is the first openly LGBT chair and only the second female chair in the history of the Washington State Democratic Party. She lives in Seattle with her wife and three children.

The 2017 reorganization meeting of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee in Olympia also resulted in the election of Podlodowski’s running mate Joe Pakootas of Spokane as Vice Chair. Pakootas is the Chief Executive Officer of the Spokane Tribe of Indians. He grew up in Eastern Washington on the Colville Indian Reservation, serving  as a former sixteen-year council member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, including five years as its CEO.

“I’m excited to help Tina Podlodowski build a Democratic Party that can win across the state, especially in rural communities and in Eastern Washington,” Pakootas said. “Washington voters share our values of an economy that works for everyone and a commitment to racial justice. We will make it clear that Washington Democrats fight for those values on every issue and in every election. That’s how we’ll win across Washington.”