Caitlin Lee Candidate Questionnaire

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Nominated For: Treasurer

What is your organizing experience? What is your plan for growing power in 2019 should you be elected to your position?

I began my organizing experience in college as a member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and began acting as a delegate for the 1st Congressional District, which was represented by the ghoul Paul Ryan. After witnessing inaction from leaders inside the Dems, I began to search for politics that truly inspired me and supported a real vision for the working class.

In the wake of the 2011 public employee strikes in Madison, I became engaged with a group of activists through Wisconsin Jobs Now, a community-labor organizing partnership in Southeast Wisconsin, where I worked to mobilize students against the anti-union Walker administration. After moving to Milwaukee in 2012, I became a member of the grocery workers union UFCW (Local 1473), and successfully organized my shop to reject an unjust contract.

After moving to Seattle in 2013, I started to become more vocal about my socialist intentions, but didn’t know how to engage in widespread socialist actions. When Bernie Sanders began his campaign, I, like many in the DSA, was excited to finally have my beliefs represented and caucused for Bernie here in Seattle. Soon after, I joined DSA officially. In the Summer of 2017, I had the pleasure of representing Seattle at the National DSA convention in Chicago with my fellow comrades.

As a minimum wage service worker in the city, I feel the exploitation inherent in capitalism every day. Workers like me are taken advantage of by our bosses and the system simultaneously, which is why I fight to organize other workers like us and why I ran for Seattle DSA Treasurer in 2018.

In 2019, as Treasurer, I plan to continue record-setting fundraising, to streamline the process for getting money to organizers, committees, and caucuses doing our chapter’s work, and to continue to build on the legal and accounting safeguards we’ve put in place as a chapter so that we can’t be attacked from the outside. Without those resources, we won’t be able to take on the fights we need to win and build socialist power on the regional level.

Why are you running? What do you want to accomplish, create, or change should you be elected?

As Treasurer throughout 2018, I oversaw the largest increase in donations and fundraising in our chapter’s history, and in 2019 I plan to work with leadership to sustain and increase our donations, continue funding our members great work with streamlined processes, and implement stronger policies to keep our accounting transparent, in compliance, and easily understandable for all members.

I’m running this year to continue building on the successes and growth that we’ve achieved. The work of the Treasurer has a steep learning curve and involves everything from maintaining our state incorporation and federal tax exempt status to collecting cash donations at meetings and everything in between. Now that I have that experience, I want to spend 2019 streamlining our entire operation and facilitate the work that needs to be done.

2019 Goals

  • Create and maintain the first-ever annual chapter budget
  • Make it easier to donate (Venmo will be ready by the convention!)
  • Create a process for political spending that keeps our chapter in compliance
  • Ensure guaranteed funds for South King County, Eastside, and Northside branches
  • Streamline the disbursement and reimbursement process by working directly with organizers and working group chairs on what they need for purchasing, receipt collection, and getting paid back
  • Increase fundraising revenue, retain members, and grow the chapter

There’s a lot to do, and we’re up for the challenge. I believe the best way to do it is together, and that’s why I’m standing with the candidates in Solidarity 2019. See the commitments we’re making to Seattle DSA here: solidarity2019.org

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