Our quality of life begins with our quality of discourse in Olympia

If you want better dialogue in Olympia, you have to elect better people. Let’s start by electing Democrat Gael Tarleton to the 36th Legislative District.

Gael was recently endorsed by The Seattle Times: “Gael Tarleton, Democrat, is by far the most qualified candidate for state representative in the 36th District for the seat being vacated by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson.” Tarleton also earned the highest rating of any candidate in her race by The Municipal League of King County which rated her “outstanding.”

I have the good fortune of working for people and organizations I believe in. One of those people is Gael Tarleton. She is the only candidate in the 36th Legislative District race who has demonstrated an ability to bridge the divide between our quality of life and our quality of discourse about critical issues that will shape our lives over the next 20 years.

I’ve been in politics since 1993. I met my husband on Nov. 3, 1992, the night Bill Clinton was elected.

My view of politics has changed with my professional and personal commitments along the way. I have a unique perspective. I have been a journalist, a politico and a professional media advocate over the past three decades. I spent 12 years inside Olympia. I’ve spent the rest of my life outside of Olympia in the private sector trying to reshape it as a constituent or an advocate for progressive causes. I have dedicated my life to telling other peoples’ stories as a reporter, a lobbyist, a communications director and a public relations professional. I know what moves me and I know baloney when I see it.

In 2007, I met Gael Tarleton. She wanted to run for the Port of Seattle Commission and reform the Port. She successfully beat an incumbent Republican. As a former reporter who covered the 33rd District and as a former legislative aide to Rep. Greg Fisher and Rep. Karen Keiser, D-33 (Karen is now the senator), I was amused and intrigued. This would be my first chance to work with an ally on the Port of Seattle Commission, an institution I was previously paid to despise and thwart on behalf of 33rd District constituents. Gael brought both private sector and public sector experience to the job.

(Left to right) Gael Tarleton and State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-36th.

Gael was elected in 2007 and is now the Port of Seattle Commission President. She is now running for the 36th District House seat, Position 2, being vacated by powerhouse Democrat State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson. Mary Lou has endorsed Gael.

Gael kept her promise to reform the Port and hold it accountable to the public. She did that by ensuring the Port spends public money in public. She also transformed the competitive-bidding process to ensure more businesses had a shot at the contracts and more workers had a shot at the jobs. She launched a clean-trade initiative at the Port by cleaning up the air, building clean-green infrastructure and mandating the use of clean fuels.

Gael’s private sector experience began with reaching across continents and cultures to make the world safer. As a national security expert, she was the first U.S. business woman to testify before the Russian parliament – speaking in Russian. Her reach and deep understanding of our global economy is critical for our trade-dependent state of Washington.

Gael has also translated the rhetoric around clean trade into reality and real job creation, leveraging taxpayer dollars for critical infrastructure. Here’s what Gael got done:

  • Helped create more than 7,000 jobs
  • Advocated for and helped find the money for the Viaduct Replacement Project, the South Park Bridge, E. Marginal Way Overpass and the Sea-Tac Car Rental Facility.
  • Secured and developed an aviation biofuels market based in Washington with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
  • Fought for the best-paying, middle-class jobs on Seattle’s working waterfront.
  • Advocated for alternative urban transportation projects: bikes, buses, trains and pedestrians.
  • Prioritized cleaning up the lower Duwamish as the Port’s No. 1 environmental project in the next 20 years.

Progressives often invoke people like Van Jones, who is credited for jump-starting our national conversation about a green-collar economy, when they want to merge the environment with jobs. But when leaders like Gael translate that dream into reality – inside the industry tent – some progressives default to polarizing rhetoric that diminishes the efforts they claim to exalt. It’s time to honor the work, the truth and the proof of real results in Olympia with people who can deliver it.

The 36th District is blessed with candidates who promise to bring “progressive values” to the job. Apart from Gael, none of these candidates have been tested in public office. Gael has been tested in public office while facing a dire economy. Still, Gael delivered more than 5,000 union jobs, watch-dogged taxpayer dollars, jump-started clean trade, and helped outlaw human trafficking. Professionally, she has secured critical funding for higher education while working for the University of Washington.

Gael has been a voting resident of the 36th District for 18 years. She owns a home in Ballard with her husband Bob. She knows the District.

Two of Gael’s senior campaign consultants were instrumental in the passage of Referendum 71  to secure domestic partnerships for the state’s LGBT citizens – Jason Bennett and myself. Jason Bennett is an openly gay political consultant who helped Gael launch her career in politics. Gael has advocated for the passage of marriage equality under the Approve 74 campaign.

When we all suffer greatly, as we do now, we care less about the rhetoric and more about the results. The race for the 36th District should ultimately be decided by the candidate most capable of delivering proven results. That candidate is clearly Gael Tarleton.

If you don’t believe my rhetoric, listen to what other people who know Gael have to say.


Visualizing the world we want

I posted a photo on Pinterest of a salad I made. The photo of the salad lied to my tastebuds. Nobody on Pinterest cared. It was too pretty.

The salad was visually stunning. The caption read: “Strawberries (substituting for a bad watermelon), Feta, red onion, toasted almonds on a bed of crunchy Romaine.”

Sue's beautiful salad that tasted bad

The salad was beautiful to look at, but sucked when I ate it. That did not stop Pinterest followers from re-pinning it. On Pinterest, beauty trumps truth.

Pinterest is not about foodies and fashionistas. Pinterest is really about social-streaming a message visually. The human brain is wired to receive 90 percent of all messages visually first. We believe what we see. That’s why my bad salad is still popular. Feta and strawberries do not agree on the tongue, but they agree on the eyeballs.

I’ve spent the past week on Pinterest to see how easily family, clients, friends and strangers are manipulated by its beautiful pictures.

A view of Mt. Rainier from Puyallup River.

Pinterest allows users to create board themes with visual proof points uploaded by users like you and me. It’s the ultimate “love it or hate it” message board. If you love tattoos, horses, macaroni, Obama, Paris, French-country flowers and savvy quotes, Pinterest allows you to define your brand, style and life philosophy in a visually compelling palette of images and photos organized by the boards. You can re-pin images from followers and friends or upload your own and define a new trend. It’s fun, easy and addictive.

In one afternoon, I created a spectrum of images that define my business, my life, the life I don’t have and want, and the life I fight for.

Cannon Beach

High notes:

1. All pictures of my two German Shepherds taken by my cousin MollyDillphotography.com are getting re-pinned by the hour.

2. None of my client’s political opposition has caught on to this trend. This is short-lived because they are reading this blog.

3. I also discovered through my uploads that I’m not the only person who loves whales, German Shepherds, Obama, Cannon Beach, Absolutely Fabulous and earthy, weather-beaten housewares.

Mut and Brinx running on the beach.

Pinterest requires you to be connected to Facebook and conversely allows you to “like” your pins to Facebook to broaden your reach. It’s where the poster boards of witty quotes and vibrant photos on Facebook are now born.

I am mostly amazed at how much the foodies dominate the stream. If you were born on another planet, you’d think we all are starving for pretty food.

People like me are coming to Pinterest with bigger motives and agendas. We are plotting and planning to fill your brain with our ideas and our vision for the world. Consider this visual plug for my friend Gael Tarleton, a standout Democratic candidate for state representative in the 36th Legislative District.

Learn more about Democrat Gael Tarleton at voteforgael.org

My vision for the world has lots of critters, good food and pocket reviews of my favorite movies, TV shows and preferred political candidates. It also includes signage and images for a better world that can be realized through progressive engagement, voting and thinking.

Pinterest is destined to become deeper and more philosophical as more people catch on to its power. Pinterest will compel all of us to visualize the world we want with the images in our brains or on Pinterest. I can visualize my children’s future on Pinterest. And that makes me happy.


My kids at Yellow Stone parÂ

Owning 2012 – Mapping measured success

Happy New Year!

As we launch 2012, I am reminded of just how important our allegiance to transparency and the truth is to public relations. When you make truth your friend, you have to answer for less. It’s a great resolution to follow in all things politics, friends and family. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Most of public relations is the art of managing what we mean to say to the world. A lot of people spend big checks and time on trying to reinvent what comes out of their mouths when it’s simply too late. So why not create a plan to say what you really mean when you first say it? It’s a simple strategy.

Here’s the truth I know for most clients and businesses: Times are tough. We have more work to do with less money. We have less people who have money to buy things. We have more people with problems and troubles than time. We still have big dreams for our children, but small resources. Our challenge is hard, but not insurmountable. We need more smart people doing more quickly. We need to be inspired to face these odds. Who and what can inspire us to tackle what lies ahead?

What inspires you? Who inspires you? Share that with the world in 2012. Make that the foundation of your public relations plan. Here’s 12 ways to make that resolution a reality:

1) Tackle one new technology that frightens you – Iphone, Ipad, Android, laptop, social media, software, etc. Make a point of mastering something in technology that keeps you current with the world.

2) Make a commitment to change the way you do business  – Pick something that is not working and change it. If you know your customer relations is bogging down your business, make improving customer relations your No. 1 goal for 2012.

3) Dare to be different – Adopt a new marketing tactic to solidify and grow your referrals. Launch a social media program, schedule more lunches, critically evaluate your existing client base, develop a creative ad strategy, walk at lunch, get up early, go home early, eat better, live better, work smarter.

4) Research and read about people who are smarter than you each week. Invite them to breakfast or lunch.

5) Review your biggest accounts and successes in 2011 and examine why they worked.

6) Don’t forget to look at the numbers. The numbers don’t lie. Look at how much you spent and how much you earned and embrace it truthfully. Know your client base.

7) Celebrate and honor your top referrals. They love and trust you best.

8) Celebrate and honor your top disasters. They will tell you what you need to know about your business.

9) Create 2012 goals that are achievable based on measurable outcomes. Measure this: Increased referrals, diversified client base, higher income, steadier income, stronger brand identity, higher client/customer satisfaction, and/or better return on investment, more time to walk the dog.

10) Create a strategic plan for the future. Decide who you want to be in five years and map the path to achieve that end game.

11) Connect with people who matter. Identify 10 people who you admire and invite them to lunch to discuss your plan for your future. And be honest about what terrifies you the most and see what they say.

12) Identify your worst habit that negatively affects your productivity and eliminate it.

Our commitment to transparency and truth will always set us free to succeed. The answers to 2012 are already there.