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We had a tremendously successful 2018 election cycle, flipping three Republican seats and growing the Senate Democratic Caucus to a 28-21 majority.  We could not have done this without your generous support. In addition to Emily Randall (26th district), Claire Wilson (30th district), and Mona Das (47th district) winning in Republican-held districts, our caucus welcomed three new Senators from Democratic districts – Jesse Salomon (32nd district), Joe Nguyen (34th district), and Liz Lovelett (40th district).

In 2018, we promised voters that with an expanded Democratic majority, opportunities for significant progress in the 2019 session would open up, allowing us to build lasting prosperity and support our shared values of fairness and opportunity for every resident of our state. I’m proud to say we began delivering on our promise to you and laid the groundwork for even more landmark legislation next session.

This year’s legislative session was perhaps the most productive in state history.  Senate Democrats delivered on the issues voters care about – health care access and affordability, funding our public schools and expanding access to our higher education system, protecting the environment, reducing gun violence, and addressing the affordable housing and homelessness crisis.

On health care, Washington State became the first state in the nation to approve a public option for health insurance, which is called Cascade Care, and first to establish a long-term care program for all workers.

We followed through on our commitment to ample funding of Washington State’s public schools –increasing education spending by $4.5 billion.  We also made a dramatic new investment of $1 billion into the higher education system, including full funding of the Washington College Grant program.  That program, which replaces the state need grant, will offer free college and workforce development programs for families making under $50,000.

We are already feeling the impacts of climate change here in the Pacific Northwest.  We took monumental strides to address the issue in the greenest legislative session in decades. We passed 100% Clean Electricity, Clean Buildings, a ban on super-polluting HFCs, the Solar Fairness Act, EV infrastructure, and a robust orca recovery package.

Following through on the direction that the voters gave us with the passage of Initiative 1639, we passed ten priority bills from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.  These included measures to reduce suicide and to protect victims of domestic violence by taking guns out of the hands of abusers, as well as banning undetectable 3D printed weapons.

To address affordable housing and homelessness, we increased funding for the Housing Trust Fund, passed a suite of eviction reforms, reformed the condominium liability rules, reduced property taxes for seniors and veterans, and provided cities flexibility to accommodate new housing.

Even with the significant legislative progress we’ve achieved, there’s more to accomplish in 2020 and beyond.  A strong Senate Democratic Caucus ensures Washington State will continue to lead the nation in delivering progressive legislative victories.

In 2019, only one State Senate race will be on the ballot, as Sen. Liz Lovelett defends her seat in a special election following her mid-session appointment to the Senate.

We will spend 2019 preparing for the 2020 election cycle, which will see 24 seats (11 Democrats and 13 Republicans) up for election. With Washington State’s redistricting process occurring in 2021, the 2020 Senate races will be our last chance to work toward fair legislative and congressional maps for the next decade.

After picking up Republican-held Senate seats in 2016, 2017, and 2018 without losing any swing district incumbent Senate Democrats, there is very little question that our majority can grow again in 2020. Our incumbents in swing districts are working hard and taking nothing for granted, while we are recruiting top tier candidates in districts across Washington State to challenge incumbent Republicans.

As the Chair of the WSDC, I am honored and excited to build a larger and stronger team for the 2020 election cycle.

I look forward to working with you in the months to come and welcome your thoughts, questions, and comments.

Jamie Pedersen

Chair, Washington Senate Democratic Campaign