Regardless of our political affiliation, most of us living in the rural towns of the 2nd Legislative District (Eatonville, Yelm, Rainier, Graham, Kapowsin and Orting) are discouraged by the state of politics. As our communities struggle with the health and economic challenges of COVID-19, the conversation is dominated by the more extreme voices on social media and in the news. Our differences are reinforced, we are driven apart and we fail to recognize our shared values that must be the foundation for our response in these challenging times.
My sister recently organized a small gathering of primarily Democrats to meet with Ronda Litzenberger to open up a conversation about the issues affecting our community. As a Democrat growing up in and now raising our children in Eatonville, I have always valued the relationships I have with people who differ from me politically. However, in recent years, it has become difficult to have civil political conversations and these relationships are being strained. I was worried this meeting between a Republican candidate for state Senate and a group of Democrats would go poorly. The experience of that night surprised us, leaving us with a new sense of hope and optimism that we wanted to share.
It impressed all of us Democrats that Ronda agreed to meet with us when she appeared to have little to gain in terms of fundraising or votes. By engaging with us at a time when she is busy campaigning and few in politics are talking with “the opposition,” she showed her respect for all people, not just those in her party. Her authenticity and honesty that was evident even when we disagreed, showed the kind of courage we need in our leaders. Ronda did not walk away from her values or promise to vote a certain way when elected. Instead, she gained our trust and support by listening to us and reminding us how many core values unite us.
With widening political divisions, we often refrain from having difficult conversations with our neighbors. As a result, our understanding of the beliefs of people on the other end of the political spectrum has become skewed. We need leadership that can elevate the conversation and bridge this divide. Ronda Litzenberger has the character and passion to do this. As a mother of five, a small business owner, and with a passion for education and the health of our families, Ronda would bring valuable experience, but also a fresh voice to Olympia. If Ronda can convince a group of Democrats to work for her, she can mobilize a coalition of Republicans, Democrats and independents to not only win this election, but advance a movement of civility that we desperately need in our rural communities. If like us, you are starving for this kind of positive change in politics and want to support this movement, please go to neighborsforronda.com to learn more about Ronda, consider donating, then support her with your vote in the upcoming primary.