We were interviewed by local station KPTZ. Here are the questions and answers. By Dale Jarvis and PJ Harris.
What were the circumstances that led to the forming of the SGGL?
Sequim had an amazingly talented and dedicated city manager in Charlie Bush. When a majority of the council were having him resign stating philosophical differences, Sheena Younger, our founder, put out the word for folks to meet on Zoom to see what we could do to get to the bottom of this and keep our city from making a terrible mistake. The meeting had 100 people there with many more unable to get in due to the room maximum.
Many of us signed up to help. A board, committee leaders and hefty mailing list started soon after. We, also, filed for non-profit status.
A few of SGGL leaders decided to leave their positions and run for city council and one decided to run for school board. The call was strong for them.
By about June, we dissolved the official committees and provided consulting and support to projects with leaders that we kept in touch. The board was then down to four active members.
What does the term “good governance” mean to you and to your organization?
“Good governance is based on, among other things: honesty, integrity, accessibility, inclusiveness, transparency, equity, diversity, competence, accountability, using facts and reason, exhibiting ethical behaviors, and respecting the rule of law.”
I feel that this is a good, rounded definition of the term “good governance.”
I personally would add compassion for it’s citizens.
To me here on the eastern end of the Peninsula, it was appearing that the Sequim Valley was becoming, or already was, a bastion of right wing politics. Do you believe that to be the case?
I believe far right-wing politics gets more attention because it has this strong element of outrageousness which seems to drive media these days. Far right wing politics have big yard signs and appears to be everywhere all the time, not just during elections. Most people don’t shout their beliefs like this.
The high margin of success that our endorsed candidates experienced is showing a good chance I’m correct.
You recruited candidates for the Sequim City Council and chose incumbents to support. What criteria did you use to screen candidates?
For the 2021 election, we solicited nominations from the membership and board and asked each nominated candidate if they could commit to the SGGL vision statement of supporting good governance including serving the needs and interests of the entire community, using that section in our mission statement (I am going to reiterate this because I think it is important) that reads (honesty, integrity, accessibility, inclusiveness, transparency, equity, diversity, competence, accountability, using facts and reason, exhibiting ethical behaviors, and respecting the rule of law). The board then discussed the candidates and voted to approve the 5-person slate at our June 3rd board meeting. At that meeting we also voted to develop a more thorough endorsement process within 6 months after the November 2021 election.
This process was repeated for our hospital commissioner, school board and fire district endorsements.
You were 100% successful in helping your candidates be elected or re-elected. What was your strategy and why was it so successful?
We had two objectives to support the goal of getting our endorsed candidates elected:
1) Create the reputation of SGGL as a good governance organization that is concerned about ALL residents of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley;
2) Historically, there is less turnout for local elections. So, we believed we needed to do as much as possible to connect with as many people as possible in a community with few public gathering places and COVID restrictions.
Our little train that could worked toward this through the following strategies.
1. Membership: SGGL never formalized a membership. We have over 600 people who have joined our Facebook group and 300+ people on our email list.
2. “Membership Meetings”: Open to the public.
4. Facebook Page:
5. Facebook Group:
7. Postcards Round 1: 58 people hand wrote and mailed 3,100 postcards in early August 2021
8. Postcards Round 2: 86 people hand wrote and mailed 4,400 postcards during the week of October 11 when the ballots came out.
9. SGGL Events: We co-sponsored a Sequim City Staff Appreciation event in July, two Candidate Meet and Greet and Help Out events around Labor Day, a Virtual Candidate Panel in early October, and our Election Night Zoom Event.
10. Canvassing: We supported the door to door canvassing that was organized by Chris Walker, Lowell Rathbun and a handful of others who hit most of the residences in the city.
11. Phone Banking: Lisa Dekker worked with Betsy Robins to organize and carry out three rounds of phone calling.
12. Newspaper Ads: We ran five ads promoting our city council candidates in the local papers including three full color, quarter-page ads in October.
13. Yard Sign Distribution: We helped distribute zillions of candidate yard signs around town.
14. Rallies: We promoted and supported the numerous rallies organized by Tim Wheeler.
15. Letters to the Editor: Our supporters had over a dozen letters published in the local newspapers.
16. Rack Cards: We printed up 2,500 rack cards with candidate information that we handed out at the farmers market, the first Friday art walk, and then distributed to the canvassers.
17. Big Signs: We put up three large 4’x8’ signs on busy streets asking folks to vote for our city council candidates.
18. Facebook Advertising: We ran ads on Facebook for three weeks, reaching over 2,000 people in and near Sequim who expressed an interest in progressive issues and media.
19. Candidate Consultation: Our nonprofit board member and former city councilor and mayor, Candace Pratt, and Bruce Cowan met with the city council candidates on a weekly basis to provide consultation, problem solve, and build cohesion among the group.
That is 19 different projects in ALL with so many volunteers that love Sequim!!
I believe one of the things that made a difference is that before even elected the candidates were working together and showed the voters that they are united and ready to get things done for the good of our town.
What’s next for the Sequim Good Governance League?
We are looking at working on three things in 2022:
1. Pulling together a new board of directors and clarifying the membership requirements
2. Interviewing community leaders to gather ideas about what SGGL should be doing over the next two years to support good governance in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley
3. Organizing a realistic set of priority activities that the board and membership will work on in 2022 and 2023, including preparing for the November 2023 election.