2017 Results of the 24th LD Reorganization Meeting

The 24th Legislative District Democrats met on Saturday January 14th, 2017 to elect officers to the organization’s central committee. When outgoing Chair Connie Gallant called the meeting to order, the Quilcene Community Center was already packed with Precinct Committee Officers from Clallam, Jefferson and the northern half of Grays Harbor County, some PCOs traveling for several hours to attend the meeting.

Former 24th LD Chair Matt Sircely of Jefferson County was elected again to the position of Chair. Julie Sa’Leit’Sa’ Kwina Johnson won election to the position of Vice Chair. The 24th LD will be represented on the Washington State Democrats Central Committee by newly elected State Committee Members Diane Jones and Jeff Engels.

Organizing across jurisdictional lines has long been a priority for local Democrats. During his bid for the chairmanship, Sircely emphasized his work as Olympic Peninsula Outreach Coordinator for Bernie 2016. Upon his election, Sircely immediately reappointed Kris Grier of Clallam County who has served the 24th LD for many years as treasurer.

Sircely also appointed Secretary Patrick Wadsworth of Grays Harbor County, a post he had previously held under Sircely’s chairmanship. “This will be the second time both Matt and I have served as Chair and Secretary of the 24th LD, the last time being 2011 to 2013,” said Wadsworth. “I am looking forward to working with all our elected officers and everyone involved in public affairs across the district. In representing the 24th LD, we also intend to reach out to our friends in the 19th LD.”

Julie Johnson has volunteered as an organizer for decades, receiving awards and accolades for her work on subjects including education, civil rights, and Native American issues. “I’m excited to work with the 24th LD as the Vice Chair to continue to build our Democratic Party at the ground level in all three counties,” says Johnson, a member of the Lummi Nation and longtime resident of Neah Bay.

Johnson is currently Vice Chair of the Northwest Indian College Foundation and the Chair of the Native American Caucus in the WA State Democrats. In 2016, Johnson received an appreciation award from the Affiliated Tribes of NW Indians (56 Tribes) for her work in supporting Native American candidates and community services for all people.

Also in 2016, Johnson received an award from the Clallam County Democrats and, in recognition of work as Clallam County State Committeewoman, Johnson received a distinguished 2016 Warren G. Magnuson Award from the Washington State Democrats. As a national delegate supporting Clinton, she was elected by Clinton and Sanders supporters alike to serve as the 2016 Electoral College Representative for the 6th Congressional District.  On December 19, 2016 in Olympia, Johnson was elected Chair by the Electoral College Representatives.

The new 24th LD state committee members also bring a depth of experience to the executive board. State Committeeman Jeff Engels has spent his entire life on the waterfront, and the last two decades working as a union official. For thirteen years, he has organized and represented seafarers from around the world as West Coast Coordinator for the International Transport Workers Federation.

State Committeewoman Diane Jones recently served as Campaign Chair for the signature gathering effort for Initiative 735 to ‘Get Big Money out of Politics’, as well as the effort to place Initiative 1433 on the ballot to raise the minimum wage statewide. Both initiatives passed. A member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 46, Diane Jones received the 2016 Power to the People Award form the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Following the reorganization meeting, the new executive committee agreed to increase regular meetings, communication, and organizing across the district. “This is a serious time for Democrats to stick together,” said Sircely. “I’m excited to work with such a capable group of individuals from across the district, and I’m confident that, by working together, we will be ready to advance the Democratic values we cherish and work to protect the most vulnerable communities and individuals in our district.”