JeffCo Democrats to hear about orca protection at annual Fish Feast Aug. 19

It is one of the beauties of small town living that you can actually get to know politicians and them know you. This year, the Jefferson County Democrats will be holding their annual Fish Feast at the County Fairgrounds as usual. Having been at these in the past, they are a great way to meet like minded neighbors, pigeonhole politicians and present a short bit about issues you care about, have some good locally made food, and hear from State politicians on what they are doing with your tax dollars. Additionally, there will be discussions on the upcoming election, along with the efforts of the state Democratic party to win key seats in such districts as the 8th (East Side King County to Wenatchee), Spokane’s 5th, and the Vancouver WA district. All are going to be very close battles given the outcomes of the primaries. 

Hilary Franz, Washington’s commissioner of public lands, is expected to update Jefferson County Democrats about actions by her department to protect southern-resident orca in Puget Sound. Recent pictures and videos of a mother orca carrying her dead calf for days have captured public attention around the world.


Franz will be the keynote speaker during the JeffCo Democrats’ 24th annual Fish Feast at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Erickson Building, 4907 Landes St. Doors open at 4 p.m. for refreshments and socializing, followed by dinner at 5:30 p.m., and speeches by Franz and others.

The Department of Natural Resources headed by Franz is part of a task force on orca recovery that Gov. Jay Inslee established in March. The task force is charged with examining the threats and conditions that have depleted the southern-resident killer whales and then recommending a recovery program.

(Also, I am board chairman of the non-profit Sound Action that is also represented on one of the task force subcommittees by our Executive Director, Amy Carey.)

The state DNR manages and protects nearly 6 million acres of forest, range, agricultural, aquatic, and commercial lands for more than $200 million in annual financial benefit for public schools, state institutions, and county services. Jefferson County is in DNR’s Orca-Straits District for protecting habitat and providing public access in state-owned aquatic lands.

Also scheduled to speak are state Rep. Noel Frame of Seattle, vice chair of the House Finance Committee, discussing her work on behalf of labor, unions, small business and tax reform with a focus on the business and occupation tax. Other speakers will be the two state representatives for the 24th District (including Jefferson County), Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger, and the Washington State Democrats chair, Tina Podlodowski.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has committed to the fundraiser with her financial sponsorship of a table for 20 Young Democrats. She had hoped to attend the Fish Feast but can’t because there is no August recess for the U.S. Senate.

Claire Roney, Fish Feast organizer, said the Fish Feast is the JeffCo Democrats’ major fundraiser of the year. The cost per ticket is $50. Ticket contributions support party work for Democratic causes and candidates. One dollar of each ticket is donated to the Jefferson County Fair Board. If you want cannot afford the tickets, but want to volunteer to work on the event in the kitchen or serving, there is a limited set of tickets for volunteers. Contact the number below for more information.

Tickets may be purchased online at For more information, call or text 360-379-5655.

The menu includes sockeye salmon from Key City Fish, BBQ by Dos Okies’ Larry Dennison, shellfish courtesy of Taylor Shellfish, Port Townsend Brewing Co. beers, Pane d’Amore rolls, greens and veggies from local farms, wine from the Wine Cellar, and cake.





3 Responses

  1. As long as these organizations accept free “shellfish dinners” from Taylor Shellfish, they are screwed–beholden to the shellfish industry. If you have any guts, tell Taylor to “go fish” and refuse to accept these free shellfish dinners unless Taylor agrees to stop planting monoculture geoduck and clam farms, using PVC and plastic netting on the tidelands. Otherwise, you are complicit in the decimation of Puget Sound tidelands–the nurseries of the food chain that impact Orcas. This is all about money, not about saving Puget Sound.

    • Yes I’ve heard this tired refrain for over a decade from some folks. The fact that Taylor gives free shellfish to all sorts of events around Puget Sound does not mean that people that take them are somehow complicit. There has never been a quid pro quo from Taylor about what it means when they donate shellfish. Taylor shellfish works with a variety of organizations to help protect water quality in Puget Sound. They are a major employer in most of these rural counties. While the environmental community certainly has issues with the problems that you describe with Taylor’s business model, as well as others in the shellfish industry, we try to come together at times and not exclude them unnecessarily. The issues with Taylor are certainly set aside on an evening like this where we all get together to hear the work that’s being done by DNR and others. I have never shied away from being highly critical of certain practices of Taylor’s in the shellfish industry but sometimes it’s better to be part of the party and talk to them rather than constantly act like they are your enemy. That is one of the beauties of being in a small community like this. A more creative thing to do is ask the Dems if you can have a booth educating the people that come on the problems that the shellfish industry is creating in the Sound.

  2. Thank you for the article, Al! Gary

    *Gary B. Larson* Port Townsend, Washington

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