As publicized, three of the Birch Bay Democrat PCO’s, Sunny Brown, Pat Jerns and Ruth Higgins, organized a “meet and greet” for Suzan DelBene, the First Congressional District candidate, Sunday, the 28th.
My tasks were to register participants at the door of Via Birch Bay Cafe and Bistro, and to keep free a parking space for the candidate’s vehicle. In addition to one space I had two-thirds of another where a motor cycle was parked. That made enough room for a limo, but what if she had a retinue with two or three cars?
Shortly after one o’clock Sunny and I were startled to look up and see the candidate walking to the door with one assistant. Smiling, more relaxed than most participants.
I waited ’till one thirty to go upstairs to find Ms. DelBene still talking with small groups of people a stranger might assume were old friends.
Campaigners are coached to tell “your story” that will gain emotional appeal from voters. If you know anything about Suzan DelBene, it is that she is rich. That she held management positions with Microsoft and a couple of successful tech start-ups; that her husband is a division president at MSFT and they live in a multimillion dollar house on Lake Washington.
So here’s DelBene’s story: When she was in high school her father, an airline pilot lost his job, and the family moved around as he sought work. She got through college on scholarships, grants and work-study programs. In her first year out of school she was able to take her family into her home. She knows what it’s like for people are suffering now. Here she is in a simple black sweater and slacks that she might have bought at Target. Empathy!
And it gets better when she asks for questions. To a long list she spontaneously renders the progressive’s perfect answers. Asked about the proposed coal pier and more coal trains–“the question that is asked most up this way”–DelBene said she is waiting for answers from the scoping process and environmental impact study, and then went on to enumerate all the issues involved–mostly negative.
When she put her competitor, John Koster, away with, “I believe in science,” the 50 people there broke into applause.
For me the most interesting answer was to the question, “How can you, as a new Congresswoman, expect to make a difference in a body with 435 partisans?” Her answer: Information can be powerful. If one knows a subject she will be sought out even if one’s office is in the basement of the Capitol. “When John Koster voted against an appropriations bill five times in six, he said it was because he hadn’t had time to read the bills–you don’t want to employ someone like that to be your representative.”
Via, the view of the Bay and the people at the meeting who came from Blaine and Custer and elsewhere were just as attractive as the candidate. It is satisfying for our community to make such a good impression on someone whose base is Bellevue.
Standing by the door, I found that as many people were coming to Via to eat as came to meet DelBene. After Suzan left, Ruth and I stayed to split a small salad and eat two appetizers–Steamed Mussles and Seafood Mitkof. When I asked Google about the latter, up came Via Birch Bay and explained it is a seafood saute in a brandy cream finished with a toasted smoked Gouda. With this meal, we drank a nice Pinot Grigio. Via Birch Bay Bar and Bistro is a keeper!