Why me? Why now?
From 1994 until 2003 I served as the executive director of the Washington State Democratic Party under the longest-serving state party chair, Paul Berendt. During that time I worked to increase annual donor revenue from $350,000 to more than $1.4 million, which helped build the state party into what it has become today. We increased the donor base from 8,400 people to 58,000 and I ran statewide coordinated campaign targeting that pushed aggressive field operations in eleven competitive legislative districts. After leaving the Party, I helped raise millions of dollars for fellow Democratic parties in Missouri and Arizona.
While our campaign accounts have been healthy because of continued support from our allies in the labor movement and others, the money the party raises each year for party building and to run the WSDCC has lagged significantly.
As a fund raiser by profession, there is no other candidate in this race who is better equipped to set an aggressive budget for party building and achieve it. And as we look toward 2014, we must begin banking for the biggest legislative campaign season in nearly eight years! My connections in Olympia are deep and broad, and more than anyone else, I am able to bring new money to the table from special interests, but I am also widely regarded as someone who built the grassroots, low-donor programs that for decades have funded the Party, as well as some of our key elected officials and others.
As Party Development Director, then Executive Director, I created and named the annual Maggie Awards dinner, as well as the Rosellini Dinner in Tacoma. I oversaw the publicity which pumped up the annual Crab Feed from a sleepy event into an annual 750-1000 attendee money maker. We did this by adding the PCO and leadership training, which were instituted during my time at the Party. I also proposed the idea of adding a high-donor dinner to the annual Holiday Party, which has grown into one of the biggest annual sources of event revenue. And I worked side-by-side with Paul Berendt to build an annual business luncheon which at its peak brought in $150,000 a year in party building funds. Sadly, the Rosellini dinner and business luncheon have been abandoned in recent years, and I pledge to bring them back, restoring that desperately needed annual income.
When I left as Party Executive Director our events, low-donor, high-donor and grassroots fundraising prowess were the envy of state parties across the nation, and I will work every day to restore these critical efforts.