Why states matter | Editorial

The Islands' Weekly: Why states matter | Editorial
By Colleen Armstrong

We’ve never been so proud to be a Washingtonian.

Our home state has become a poster child for the resistance to President Donald Trump’s agenda.

According to the Washington Post, “Leaders from the Evergreen State have marshaled a powerful resistance to Trump’s administration – the combination of a left-leaning populace, outspoken Democratic lawmakers, legal efforts spearheaded by a resolute attorney general and support from several Seattle-area tech companies wary of Trump’s policies.”

Within days of Trump’s ban on refugees entering the United States, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit in federal court, challenging Trump’s executive order, calling it unconstitutional. Microsoft, Amazon.com and Expedia – all Seattle companies – publicly backed the lawsuit. In mid-February, a state federal judge granted the temporary restraining order, blocking nationwide enforcement of Trump’s immigrant and refugee ban On Feb. 9, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously against the Trump administration, continuing to block the travel ban. It is now in the appeals process. On Feb. 24, Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order that prohibits state agencies from demanding documents regarding a person’s immigration status or religion, and they are not allowed to enforce or assist in the enforcement of any religion-based registry.

That’s right. We have some formidable elected officials. And there is more.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has labeled the city a sanctuary, where undocumented residents will be protected. The CEO of Seattle-based company Starbucks vowed to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in 75 countries. Inslee, Senators Patty Murray and Kevin Ranker and Representative Rick Larsen have been very vocal about their shock and disgust over Trump’s policies on healthcare, education and the environment.

Here at home, during the first meeting of the San Juan County Council in 2017, the county’s top law enforcement officers and the council members talked about immigrants in the community without proper papers or who have overstayed their visa. Council member Jamie Stephens said, “Our immigrant residents are valued contributors to our community and the local economy. We feel that it is necessary at this time to reaffirm existing policies on protecting immigrants – access to police protection and public services.” Stephens said that after talking to the sheriff and prosecuting attorney he realized that San Juan County officials were already doing what many other communities hoped to do: treat immigrants like everyone else.

Last week, Ranker, D-Orcas, spoke to a full house at Orcas Center about turning fear and sorrow into action. One of his main messages was that states matter. Even in the face of Trump administration decisions in regards to health care, women’s rights and education, each state can pass its own bills and be its own driving force for change – as Washington is already doing. Ranker listed these six agencies as key for Democrats to support: the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Legal Voice, One America and the Sierra Club.

He urged citizens to not fall asleep at the wheel. Being on the right side of history requires diligence; calling elected officials; canvassing; and inspiring others to action.

Ranker is willing to give his talk as many times as he is asked, and we hope our schools invite him to speak with their students.

It is gratifying to live in a state and a community where we stand up to bullies and can lead others by example.

To learn more about how you can make a difference, email Ranker at kevin@kevinranker.com or samantha@senatedemocrats.org.