Protect Vashon Health Care, the island campaign working to get out the vote in favor of a proposed hospital district, has raised close to $60,000 — surpassing its fundraising goal — and has hired one of the state’s top political consultants to get its message out.
According to figures provided this month to Public Disclosure Commission’s website, Protect Vashon Health Care has raised $59,711.68 — almost $20,000 above the $40,000 goal it set for itself — and spent $42,190.91, including for the help of Northwest Passage Consulting.
The Seattle-based firm is run by Christian Sinderman, described in a 2010 Seattle Times article as the “hottest political consultant” in Washington who is “a little-known figure with a big hand in molding policy — even changing the way we live and die.”
Sinderman’s firm has also been involved in the campaigns of Sen. Maria Cantwell, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, King County Councilman Joe McDermott and County Executive Dow Constantine.
Beth Lindsay, campaign manager for Protect Vashon Health Care, said Northwest Passage Consulting — a firm she used to work for — was hired by the campaign because she and others supporting a hospital district realize the stakes are high.
“This effort has not been successful in the past and we wanted the advice of an expert to help guide the campaign — and we thought we found that in him and his team,” Lindsay said. “I think it says we’re very serious about winning. We feel like we have one shot at this, the island is at a crossroads. This is the time when we are asking voters to decide about the future of health care here and whether or not we’re going to have a clinic on the island.”
Contacted by The Beachcomber, Sinderman said his involvement in Protect Vashon Health Care’s campaign for a hospital district is, in part, “rooted broadly in a commonsense belief that everyone deserves access to quality, local health care.”
Sinderman noted that he has friends on Vashon-Maury Island and “I’m always happy to help out, regardless of the size of the effort.”
“A volunteer-driven campaign like this is pretty much self-sustaining, but if I can be of help with messaging or some design work, I’m happy to do what I can,” he wrote.
Lindsay argued hiring Sinderman was not an overblown idea.
“Christian, he’s just over in Seattle; it’s not like we’re calling in some big D.C. shop,” she said. “He’s someone I’ve worked with for the last 20 years. … And I respect his judgment.”
Lindsay declined to say exactly how Northwest Passage Consulting is helping Protect Vashon Health Care.
“It is not appropriate for me to discuss details of Northwest Passage’s advice during the course of an ongoing campaign,” she wrote in an email. “But I can say that they have provided strategic guidance and helped to coordinate the tireless work of many different islanders.”
The Beachcomber reached out to residents who oppose the proposed hospital district for comment on Protect Vashon Health Care’s efforts, but they either were unresponsive or declined to be interviewed.
Meanwhile, Lindsay touched on the number of campaign contributions that have come in so far, saying it’s a positive response from islanders.
“Voters on Vashon like the idea of a public hospital district and want to support it and they’re backing it with their checkbooks,” She said.
With just weeks to go before election day, Lindsay said, Protect Vashon Health Care hopes to “build that drumbeat” of its campaign timeline “to a crescendo.”
“We want to be very visible in the community,” she said. “You’ll be seeing more of us.”