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Musings from a Political Junkie in Quarantine

• Topics: Whatcom County, Elections,

Dianne Foster, guest writer and political junkie in quarantine

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Once again it’s that time of year, and I’m compiling my personal recommendations about this year’s primary. Overall, I must say I feel sad; there are so many right-wing Libertarians running in this Voter’s Guide, yet I see no Green Party progressive candidates. Has the whole country shifted to the right, or am I just an old radical hippie yearning for a better world? Often I found the choice was between bad and worse, with a few highly talented people here and there. I sincerely recommend reading the entire Voter’s Guide, as laborious as it is, just to see what’s out there. It wouldn’t hurt to check out some of the candidates’ webpages as well.

In the 2nd Congressional District race, I’m working for Jason Call for Congress. He is the Bernie-crat and former math teacher who is also a former member of the WA Democrats Central Committee. Jason Call is from Marysville, he favors the Green New Deal and Medicare for All; he opposes endless wars. His website details re-organizing the police to eliminate the racist aspects of that agency.

Jason Call is running against incumbent, Rick Larsen, who has voted with Trump on too many issues: Larsen voted for the biggest Defense budget ever - $738 billion, which is three times greater than China’s military budget and 10 times greater than Russia’s. That budget includes funding for a complete rebuild of our nuclear stockpile, and funding for the multi-billion-dollar boondoggle of the F-35 fighter jets. Even Michael Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George W. Bush, wanted to decrease the military budget. But the “New Dems” on the House Armed Services Committee, like Larsen and Adam Smith, are aligned with Republicans and are pushing for more money for the military.

In addition to adding seven new deafening Growler jets to the Navy fleet that has converted the Olympic Peninsula into a permanent “electronic warfare range” over the protests of local residents, Larsen is now proposing a bill to convert the Nevada Wildlife Refuge into a bombing range that threatens 850,000 acres of pristine wilderness and endangered desert tortoises.

Further, Rick Larsen has never met an oil pipeline he didn’t like. He opposes the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. (My question for Rick is: Who decides who doesn’t get health insurance?)

Larsen supports the worst “free trade” agreements: giving power to Fortune 500 companies, offshore jobs, and cheap-labor countries. Though he claims there are labor and environmental protections, we in the Trade Justice Alliance know these are not enforceable, as a TJA conference call this week confirms that five Mexican labor leaders have been assassinated in the last two months, since passage of the USCMA (TrumpTrade). Many of us in the Washington Fair Trade Coalition have argued with Larsen (and DelBene) in the past about these issues, but they both stand with corporate money against their constituents’ interests. Is it any wonder Larsen has a $500,000 election fund from defense contractors and big business PAC’s? (

For Whatcom Superior Court Position 2, I favor COB attorney James Erb. I was impressed with his previous campaign for Whatcom County prosecutor and his dedication to restorative justice instead of incarceration for nonviolent offenders.

Whatcom Superior Court Position 4: Jim Nelson is highly qualified and experienced, as well as a member of the Community Food Co-op and Community Theater Bellingham. (And, he is not endorsed by certain right-wing, local law enforcement officials, whom I won’t name.)

PUD: Christine Grant is part of a movement to make utilities, like PSE, public again, instead of privately owned by foreign corporations.

Governor: Jay Inslee, for obvious reasons. If you have time, read all the gubernatorial candidate statements. One very right-wing religious guy from Bothell blames Inslee for the pandemic. (Like, really? Where do these guys get their ideas anyway?)

Lieutenant Governor: Michelle Jasmer. She is an amazing superwoman from Orting who is of Portuguese, African, and Irish heritage. She raised three daughters and put herself through college, earning a BA, MA and Ph.D. She advocates for tuition-free college, and believes when it is easier for women to own their homes, it reduces domestic violence and child abuse. She is not another neo-liberal like Denny Heck, who is a “free trader,” in spite of his progressive-appearing statement.

Commissioner of Public Land: Hilary Franz. She has wisely managed wildfire prevention and conservation, (though I do like her strange opponent’s position on 5G networks - Steve Sharon - as I believe he is right about the danger to animals, insects, and people from 5G/EMF.)

Superintendent of Public Schools: Chris Reykdal. I’m recommending Reykdal even though I argued with him at the last Democratic Convention over his outsourcing of the GED program to a computer company, (Pearson). Sadly, all the other candidates are worse!

State Treasurer: Mike Pellicciotti. He is simply so much more qualified than the corrupt incumbent.

Secretary of State: Gentry Lange. He wants to get private corporations like Diebold out of the vote counting business. Hurray!

40th Legislative District State Senate: Liz Lovelett.

40th Legislative District State House: Alex Ramel.

42nd Legislative District State House: Alicia Rule.

Insurance Commissioner: Mike Kreidler. He’s been great at holding insurance companies’ “feet to the fire” for consumers.

Attorney General: Bob Ferguson has done an awesome job of suing the Trump administration over their backing of powerful corporate interests, like drug companies, while never taking PAC money.

Congressional District-1 – I have no recommendation for this U.S. House position. I am not a fan of “free trader” DelBene, who votes for corporate interests while being “liberal” on the easy cultural issues. There are no good challengers though, and it’s not my district.

What are the rest of you thinking?

Comments by Readers

Tim Surratt

Jul 24, 2020

So why do I see Nelson signs along with the trump party governor candidates - gives me pause.

James Erb is a fine choice!


Dianne Foster

Jul 24, 2020

Most of those places where you see Repug governor signs were spots I started out with Jason Call signs,  then everyone else saw the space as opportunity for theirs.    My Call sign got stollen from the northbound freeway onramp,  and replaced with a humungous expensive Freed sign,   so I got another Call sign and put it in front of the Freed one.   Now there are a few others there as well.   I don’t like it that Freeman was endorsed by Elfo and Richey,  who are not progressives.  But can’t say I’ve heard any of the judge candidates besides Erb actually speak in public.   More shall be revealed along this path to November,  and I’m open to other opinions.


Tim Surratt

Jul 24, 2020

The places I have seen the Nelson signs have been on individuals property.  I am concerned that we get decent candidates through the primary so the there is a chance in November.  That Richey and Elfo support Freed speaks very loudly to the (apparently false) promices Richey made in PA race last year.  Thank you for your essay.


Dianne Foster

Jul 24, 2020

Well I’m certainly open to re-evaluating the Judge 4 position.;  do you have any idea if any of the three are less conservative than the others?   They all seem qualified,  but of course flowery language can cover ideologies.   I notice Nelson is a “member” of the Co-op,  not the board,  and it doesn’t necessarily mean he shops there.   (Since I shop exclusively there,  I think of members as my “tribe.”)    Are the yard signs you’re seeing from him in conservative households?   I’ll check out their websites as well.   I’m sure Freeman will make it to the general,  as he has support across the board,  and was appointed by Inslee,  who is a centrist.   The question will be who else makes it to November.   (BTW,  this is why I like vote-by-mail -   I don’t vote until the last few days after I’ve had a chance to scope out the field.).  


Ray Kamada

Jul 27, 2020

The Nelson yard signs invariably cluster with the RWs. The Riverters, Whatcom Dems, and Fuse Progressives are endorsing Freeman.


Dianne Foster

Jul 28, 2020

(Is RW right-wing?)   I’m not a fan of the Riveters or Fuse,  who represent the right-wing of the Dem party in my opinion.   That Larsen supports all of Trump’s worst policies,   and is endorsed by Fuse,  (who have the audacity to call themselves progressive),  irritates the hell out of me.   This is not the first time FUSE has endorsed a neoliberal under that label,    I don’t use their “progressive voter guide”  as any more than a red flag for “corporate” .     I don’t like hypocrisy,  and wrote to Fuse about it.    I won’t vote with Elfo and Richey,  so I may leave that race blank.   I do like that Nelson has been a Public Defender,  not just a prosecutor,   which makes me think he can see both sides.    Maybe reading some of his arguments would be useful.


Dianne Foster

Jul 29, 2020

Thanks to NW Citizen readers for the feedback on election pics.   Since my last post,   I have changed my mind about the Superior Court position 4 judge.  I do see that Nelson may be a right-winger (dressed in hippy Co-op camoflauge).  I have subsequently met and bonded with Judge Freeman’s wife and dog,   who are neighbors,  and I’m impressed with their values.   I’ll be voting for David Freeman.


Ray Kamada

Aug 01, 2020

BTW, I found Ms. Foster’s claim that the  Fuse Progressive Voters Guide had, in the past, endorsed “Tea Party” Tony Larson alarming,  but couldn’t find any direct evidence of that on the web.. So, I asked Fuse about that. Their response was that that may or may not have occurred years ago, but that they were in full support of Satpal Sidhu for last year’s election for County Executive.


John Servais

Aug 01, 2020

Indeed, I also endorsed Tony Larson years ago - in 2011 for county executive.  On Oct 11, 2011, I wrote, “... Just as Hamilton cast the deciding vote for Jefferson as president because Jefferson had integrity and Burr did not, so also I will be voting for Tony Larson and not Pete Kremen. Pete is a corrupt and mean politician. It is sad to see my liberal and Democratic Party friends backing him and it shows me their moral compass has gone awry.”  This was for county executive. 

Who we endorse in any election is 50% based on who the choice is between.  I want to vote progressive and liberal but there are as many corrput Ds as Rs - and I’ll vote for an R with integrity over a corrupt D every time. 


Dianne Foster

Aug 01, 2020

Ray,   I don’t remember saying that FUSE endorsed Larson;   what I was referring to was the mayor’s race,  and they endorsed April Barker.   She was financed by construction companies due to her interest in stuffing multifamily housing types,  (like the Infill Toolkit) into already dense neighborhoods.   They saw that as somehow promoting racial desegregation.  (hoot!)

Oh,   just realized you were confusing Larsen and Larson (haha);   They did endorse Rick Larsen this year for U.S. Congress,  not to be confused with Tony Larson for county exec. last year.    What bugged me the most about that race was the Riveters’ recruiting Karen Burke to run against Satpal,  and how much money they made from that doomed campaign.   Not that Satpal is any great progressive,  but he was the best of the lot in my opinion.

In both cases,  I would like FUSE to stay out of our local politics,  as they don’t know the ground like we do.



Erik Thomas

Aug 02, 2020

FUSE’s “Progressive” Voters Guide endorsed Rick Larsen over Jason Call. It’s a reminder with flashing neon signs which reminds me not to blindly accept who they endorse without more homework.  At least FUSE didn’t diss Jason; here is the 4th paragraph after they dismiss the fruitatious Republican opposition:

“The one progressive challenger to Larsen is Jason Call. He’s running on a platform that includes Medicare for All, free college, ending student debt, a Green New Deal, and a housing guarantee to help end our housing insecurity crisis.
He is endorsed by progressive groups including Sunrise Bellingham and Our Revolution, as well as some legislative districts and county Democratic organizations.
While Call faces a very challenging race against a longtime incumbent, he provides an alternative for those looking for bolder progressive leadership than Larsen.” (emphasis mine)

I believe there are many voters looking for just that.


Dianne Foster

Aug 02, 2020


Thanks for your input;  and yes,  I was grateful that at least they didn’t diss Jason Call,  and were accurate,  though superficial,  about his positions.   I did look up who funds FUSE,  and wasn’t surprised that they receive corporate funding.  like some tech companies.   (I can’t remember all the details -  would have to look it up again).

BTW,  I love the word “fruitatious”;   I’ll have to look that one up too.!


Kurt Sperry

Aug 20, 2020

I had a conversation years ago with Rick Larson in front of what is now the Whole Foods store on Lakeway. He was clearly a right-wing Reagan Democrat then, and I’ve not seen any indication he has changed. What a horrible waste it is to have quasi-Republican Blue Dogs like Larson squatting on blue district Congessional positions that cry out for and would elect actual progressive voices. He needs to go, even if it means suffering through a term with a Republican to do it.


Dianne Foster

Aug 20, 2020


Agree.   I do wonder,  though, about workers who make good wages at Boeing while building drones to bomb Palestinians,  whether enough of the working class is bought off and doesn’t want to know what the results of their work is,  and Larsen is their waterboy.   I plan to write in Jason Call’s name,   just as I will write in Bernie’s name in November.


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