34th District Democrats: Endorsements; soapbox speeches; McDermott explains how to survive Colbert

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A visit from U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott was top-billed for Wednesday night’s meeting of our area’s largest political organization, the 34th (Legislative) District Democrats, but endorsements stole the show.

Atop that list, the 34th DDs gave their blessing to the August ballot measure that will seek to set up a Seattle Park District, though one pre-vote speaker warned that elected officials should “explain it better” before ballot-casting time arrives.

They also made endorsement decisions in judicial races, with some of the candidates on hand, even an appearance by newly appointed State Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu, who arrived at the meeting after her endorsement vote, and thanked the group:

Other endorsees included Congressmember McDermott, who spoke for a few minutes shortly after the meeting began. Introducing him, 34th DDs chair Marcee Stone-Vekich suggested everybody go look up the video clip of McDermott “swinging a fish in the halls of Congress” with Stephen Colbert. We found it:

Rep. McDermott told the 34th DDs that to survive an interview with Colbert, you must remember “YOU are not funny – HE is funny – don’t try to get funny or you’ll get killed.”

Turning serious, he said, “These have been the hardest two years that I’ve served … it is an honor to represent you but it is difficult to represent you in … the most unproductive Congress in the history of the country, in terms of number of bills passed,” and major issues.

He cited a U.S. Senator from the Midwest as saying, “I didn’t come here to pass legislation, I came here to destroy the government.”

Rep. McDermott warned that getting rid of safety nets like Social Security and Medicare would put the country on the wrong road. With a non-political background in medicine, he cited the health-insurance changes and said he wants to go back to Congress to “finish the job” of getting more people insured. He said he also hopes the State Legislature will try for a “public option. … Right now the insurance companies are going to decide everything and until we have public options at the state level, we are not going to stop what’s going on in health-care financing.” Now, he says, more people are eligible for insurance, but the question is “can you afford it?”

It was a short speech, ending with a pitch for the 34th Dems’ endorsement, which he subsequently secured.
See more of the endorsements listed on the 34th DD’s home page.

Also at last night’s meeting, the 34th DDs inaugurated a “soapbox” feature, allowing any member up to two minutes to speak about a topic of interest – while being warned that it shouldn’t be something trivial like “your neighbor’s dog,” nor should it be something way out like “tinfoil-hat” topics.

The first round included pitches for/speeches about:

*Supporting public education
*Net neutrality
*More funding for education
*A preference for non-regressive taxation, particularly as it relates to the push for funding to avoid Metro cuts
*Public banking
*Initiative 1329, regarding political/campaign financing, pitched by Ann Martin, who also brought up in the “good of the order” section that fundraising is under way
bank of seattle
*Saving the City Light surplus substations

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition got a few mentions in both the soapbox and “good of the order” sections (here’s our story on the WSTC’s May meeting, one night earlier).

The 34th District Democrats usually meet the second Wednesday of the month, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy. The group’s frequently updated website is at 34dems.org.

3 Replies to "34th District Democrats: Endorsements; soapbox speeches; McDermott explains how to survive Colbert"

  • Jennhx May 15, 2014 (11:52 am)

    Thank goodness for Rep. McDermott. :). Love that clip, but why do people still insist on calling Pike Place Market “Pike’s”? Where did that misnomer come from?

    • WSB May 15, 2014 (12:05 pm)

      Perhaps related to “Boeing’s”? :) We’ve only been here 23 years but perhaps an oldtimer will come by with an explanation. And Nordstrom’s, etc …

  • miws May 15, 2014 (1:01 pm)

    I don’t know how familiar Colbert is with Seattle, and the Market, but considering his Show is satire, I almost wonder if it was intentional?


    That being said, a theory I’ve long had, is that non-locals may be more aware of Pike’s Peak than our Market, and it’s just a bit of a “mis-pronunciation” as opposed to ignorance.



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