Submitted by Don Doman
Friday morning breakfast: I’ve known LaTasha for a few years, but just peripherally. We’re in Rotary together and then she was gone for a while and then she came back and changed positions, so today was a sit-down and just get to know each other. Have you ever met someone and just clicked? They are interesting and have similar attitudes and likes? It was like sitting down with an old friend.
LaTasha arrived at the Pine Cone in University Place all pumped up. She loves listening to radio host Michael Smerconish SiriusXM. Smerconish is the Sunday newspaper columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Smerconish has authored six books: five non-fiction works and one novel. I don’t know what he was talking about before she walked in, but we certainly hit the ground running.
LaTasha graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham. She hated the town and the school initially and couldn’t wait to return home and then she began to change. She enjoyed frequent trips to Canada with friends. She appreciated the beauty and pace of the community. She began to love the town, the school and her buddies. An older relative gathered LaTasha and some of her friends together and told them to get out of Dodge. He said Bellingham and Western was under-achiever heaven. For their own good they needed to leave . . . try their wings . . . and welcome challenges elsewhere. LaTasha has done just that.
A good friend recommended that she apply for a W.T.O based internship with the state. She called the office of Ralph Munro, who served as the 13th Secretary of State of Washington for five terms. Whomever answered the phone was blindsided. LaTasha was so insistent and dedicated to what she was looking for they didn’t know how to handle the call nor her request . . . so she wound up with exactly what she was asking for. Through out her life she has had good counsel and has acted on it. She learned from the Seattle W.T.O. riots in 1999. The demonstrators shut down communication instead of opening up discussion, which is what they wanted and needed.
Working with members of congress like Norm Dicks and Denny Heck has given LaTasha insight into organizing programs that promote understanding. As Tacoma Public Utilities regional relations manager – public affairs and communications, she handles everything from Tacoma Rail on down. On her own, she supports organizations that serve diverse populations and especially women’s issues. New challenges are met with optimism and ideas. Although we threw our heads back laughing, raised our eyebrows, and shook our heads alternately, we enjoyed discussing the Tacoma Urban League, Tacoma Community House, and Tacoma Rotary.
Our anecdotes crossed numerous times. I echoed a story about Bellingham and then when she mentioned Missoula, I voiced my concern about a granddaughter attending the rape capitol of U.S. education. Instant help was offered via the University of Montana basketball assistant, her brother Rachi Wortham, “If she ever needs help and doesn’t know who to turn to.”
I smiled the entire day.