A judiciously timed political donation sometimes reaps big rewards. I had just made my annual donation to our Senator Patty Murray when Louise and I decided to attend Patty’s annual Golden Sneaker luncheon. The event is to honor people from Washington state — what we call “the functional Washington” — who have done something exemplary to make life better for a vulnerable section of the community. This year’s awards were heavily focused on health care advocates — the young mother of a baby with several physical challenges, including Down’s syndrome, who is being treated in a community health center under threat from the Trump administration budget, and the survivor of three different cancers who relies on the Affordable Care Act for every ongoing day of her life. The third recipient, a survivor of sexual abuse, has lobbied for rape kits to be available in second and third tier hospitals in Washington state — apparently fewer than 20% of such facilities had them previously. This young woman is working with Patty’s office to take that legislation national.
The event is also to raise money for Democrats throughout the state. Since I had maxed out my gift to Patty, Louise and I simply bought $150 tickets.
Senator Corey Booker was the keynote speaker, and to my complete astonishment, we were seated at his table right up front, along with Amazon’s general counsel, the ambassador to Luxembourg during the Obama administration, and several other distinguished guests. I was seated right next to Senator Booker. He’s the Senator from New Jersey, former mayor of Newark. I told him I was sure I’d gotten the seat next to him because I’m a Jersey girl, from Kearny. He told me he thinks it’s a great town.
Booker is a passionate speaker, and a physically imposing man — both things that I think will be needed to go up against Trump or Pence in 2020. Senator Murray is senior to Booker and a powerful member of the Senate, but she doesn’t look the part. She’s short, and she looks like a mom in tennis shoes — which is how she started her career in politics, as a mom in tennis shoes. I’d love to see a Murray-Booker ticket, with Murray at the top, but there is such a thing as perception. Part of what we learned from Hillary’s campaign, and from Trump’s hulking presence on stage during the debates, is that you have to look the part.