Meeting Minutes – April 24, 2024


Pledge of Allegiance was led by Brian Gunn

APPROVAL OF AGENDA John W. moved and Amber O-W seconded, all approved the agenda

APPROVAL OF PRIOR MEETING MINUTES Sue R. moved and John W. seconded, minutes were approved.

Meeting Minutes – March 27, 2023


  • Judge David Keenan – Pierce Superior Court, Position #26: Running for his 3rd term for King County Superior Court, dept. 26 (every 4 years). Always speaks to groups/people when he runs because only time he can do something like this. He brings a unique perspective to the court as his first encounter with the court was as a juvenile defendant. Volunteers time with Access to Justice and Civil Legal Aid providers.
  • Brian G. asked him to share a story or experience that was pivotal in his realizing he wanted to be a judge. He share a story of jury selection when a potential juror was called and he was blind. By law could have dismissed him but worked with both lawyers to keep him. Led to working with other judges and a Disability Justice Study to help legal system be more accessible to all.
  • Michelle D-B asked him to reflect on the Grants Pass case before the Supreme Court (anti-camping ordinance) and he explained the case too close to home for him to comment because he has a similar case that is on appeal. Does see the courts as having a role to play in protecting the rights of unhoused people
  • John Cummings – Pierce Superior Court, Position #4: Running because he believes he 1) has unmatched breadth (over 100 jury trials) to bring to the position. A backlog of jury trials still exists (Covid) and the court needs someone with jury trial experience, f2) He has a finely honed sense of justice, has worked with/sat with all sides -victim, charged, vulnerable. Hugely supportive of therapeutic courts, prepared to advance this 3) Very well connected in the community, lives with his husband in Fircrest, volunteers with a clinic that assists LBGTQ youth with name changes.

Amber O-W asked same question Brian did, share story/experience that led to knowing he wanted to be a judge. Was a young prosecutor for a domestic violence case that was a slam dunk win (had a confession). At the readiness portion of the process the defendant had no legal representation. Made him dig a little deeper only to find defendant suffered years of abuse at hands of the victim. Ended up dismissing the case.

Julie: are courts making progress on backlog? Yes, but 4 very experienced judges are retiring and Pierce County has half the number of judges King County does (numbers due to population which has increased in Pierce County).

  • Rebecca Reeder – Pierce Superior Court, Position #4: has practiced law for over 30 years, primarily in the Superior Court system, both criminal and civil trials, 22 years experience as pro tem commissioner. Key experience for her in knowing she wanted to be a judge was the 2010 Underwood vs Underwood case (14 and 12 year old children allowed to decide they did not want to spend residential time with their dad)

Tamara S. asked her to talk about judge races frequently uncontested, but this is contested, how handling. She is basically laying out her background for everyone

John G. – voting for judge most mysterious process. How does she suggest we make sense of it. Look at endorsements, read the questionnaire she completed on our site (really took a lot of time with it)

Brian G asked her about her position on therapeutic courts, big supporter, helped put in a program so people do not get stuck in the legal system

  • Camille Schaefer – Pierce Superior Court, Position #10: shared that her first experience in court was as a victim of assault by her pastor and she clearly saw the ability of the courts to give voice to voiceless. She was a single mom when she went back to school and eventually got her law degree. She is a full time judicial officer, has served as a pro tem trial judge, held 2 other judge positions. Presided over a wide variety of cases. Her focus is to be prepared, neutral, fair, and compassionate. Volunteers with WASART (animal protection) and Raising Girls.

Brian G. – do you have an opponent? Expect one by filing week (Sarah E. confirms have received an endorsement request)

Amber O-W – experience or case led to wanting to be a judge. Anti-harrassment case, need interpreters, turned out defendant was hard of hearing and needed assisted listening device. Takes patience, organization, resources to do job well. End of the day important for people to understand the basis of her rulings, some she has ruled against have thanked her because she made sure they understood.

  • Doris Walkins – Pierce Superior Court, Position #9: has a broad swath of experience (family, civil, estate, domestic violence) through both her private practice and her Pierce County commissioner (judicial officer). She has experience as a Title 26 Guardian Ad Litem, always working to keep families together, get them the resources they need. Educated locally, Pierce CC, UW Tacoma, and Seattle University. Volunteers with a UW Tacoma mentorship program, belongs to the Minority Bar Association (Youth and Law specialty) and has served on the Tribal Court Bar. Has a wide variety of endorsements, Speaker Jinkins, Representative Strickland, and many Pierce County judges.

John – experience made you want to be a judge. Not one in particular, but career as a whole, especially dependency court because of so many overlapping issues. Became a lawyer to give voice to the voiceless

Brian G. – do you have an opponent, won’t know for sure til filing week, but thinks there is a prosecuting attorney. Believes she is a more meaningful voice for therapeutic courts and the resources they can provide, how they would help backlog, and restore community


  • Elias Gonzalez – on behalf of Sen. Manka Dhingra’s campaign, not present


  • Endorsement requests: these were candidates whose questionnaire was completed in time for a vote today.
    • Judge David Keenan – King Superior Court: Brian G. moved, John seconded. Brian spoke to how many meetings he has experienced with Judge Keenan and how he has the experience and the compassion needed on the court. Vote was unanimous to endorse.
    • John Cummings – Pierce Superior Court: Michelle D-B moved, Amber seconded. Michelle spoke to his commitment to access to justice, therapeutic courts and how he would be a great ally. Amber agreed. Vote was unanimous to endorse.


  • Mark Dunning – Treasurer’s report: was not here but Sarah E. shared the report with group, mad note that we got a $1000 donation last month and have $215 a month in recurring donations. Brian moved, John W. seconded, report approved.
  • Sarah Edwards – Chair’s report: 17 delegates elected to State Convention and had 13 people at a forum at the Auburn Library April 6. Was first time we have done that and was successful. Less than ½ were from Eboard.

East Pierce fire levy pass with 2/3 vote

Next month have a large slate of those seeking endorsement, mixed state, congressional and county

Filing week is May 6-10. PCOs need to file/refile

  • Brian Gunn – Vice Chair’s report: has stepped in to lead delegation to state convention since Sarah will be in Ireland. 17 delegates, 2 more added, 1 more should be seated. Met for first time on 4/20, scheduled to meet 4/28 to consider amendments to state party platfom. Amber asked if he has heard from Holly Stanton, and yes he has.
  • Amber Olsen-Walker, PCO Chair – reminds PCOs to file/refile between May6-10 ( ), all need to complete the Vote Builder 101 course on the Training Democrats web site approximately 2 hours, by June 7

Planning a breakfast for PCOs first weekend of June, need to get out and knock on at least 10 doors. Also need to “grow our branches” (find others to help us)

Tamara Stramel – bookclub, book is Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong, meeting May 29, most likely the library

Not too late to pay your membership dues for the year (Sarah says if you want to vote in the Congressional endorsement next month need to be a member)

Kirby Pollard – PCDCC holding endorsement meeting in person April 30th


 Still need candidate for State Representative

  Need representative to King County Dems

  Email Sarah if interested

ADJOURNMENT John W. moved, Tamara S. seconded all voted to adjourn the meeting.

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