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Welcome to the 2019 Fuse Progressive Voters Guide! The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Please share this guide with your friends and remember to vote by November 5!
Referendum 88 is a public vote on I-1000, the affirmative action ballot measure signed by nearly 400,000 Washingtonians and approved by the Legislature this spring.
I-1000 would allow affirmative action policies in the areas of public education, public employment, and public contracting. It will restore fairness for veterans, small business owners, women, and people of color seeking to succeed in public employment, contracting, and university admissions – without the use of caps or quotas. Affirmative action, which is legal in 42 other states, will increase business contracts and college enrollment for women and people of color in Washington.
It's long past time to restore affirmative action in Washington. Vote to approve Initiative 1000.
Initiative 976 is Tim Eyman's latest attempt to cut billions of dollars in funding from badly-needed transportation projects across the state. I-976 would derail our ability to fix dangerous roads, retrofit outdated bridges and overpasses, complete voter-approved light rail, provide transit for riders with disabilities, and more. More than $12 billion would be slashed from state and local projects with no plan for replacing any of the funding.
Every city and county in Washington depends on transportation infrastructure that would be impacted by the cuts from I-976. Vote NO on I-976!
Because of a Tim Eyman initiative, the Legislature is required to submit any bill it passes that closes tax loopholes or raises revenue to a non-binding advisory vote. The Legislature had a historically productive 2019 session, resulting in a record number of advisory votes on the ballot. We hope the Legislature will change the law to remove these meaningless measures in the future.
Washington's senior population has doubled since 1980 and will double again by 2040. Most seniors cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for the long-term medical care they need. A bipartisan group of lawmakers moved to build upon the state's Paid Family and Medical Leave program through Second Substitute House Bill 1087. This legislation created a new long-term insurance benefit that will address the looming crisis of seniors who cannot afford the care they need. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 20.
Legislators passed Engrossed Third Substitute House Bill 1324, also known as the Washington Rural Development and Distressed Opportunity Zone Act, which extends a business and occupation tax preference for timber companies. While this bill was intended to create jobs and support investment in rural areas, in practice it will primarily serve as an unnecessary tax cut for timber companies. Vote “Repealed” on Advisory Vote No. 21.
Washington is the latest state to adopt a recycling program for leftover architectural paint. The Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 1652 to add a small recycling fee to the price of paint to fund the program. This law will ensure that hundreds of thousands of gallons of paint will be disposed of responsibly and no longer pollute our environment. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 22.
Manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers of vape products have not been paying regular tobacco taxes. The Legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1873 to remedy this and create the Essential Public Health Services Account. Electronic cigarettes, electronic devices, and vape pens will now be classified and taxed as tobacco products. This account will fund health services, tobacco and vape product control and prevention, and enforcement by the state liquor and cannabis board to prevent the sale of vape products to minors. This legislation is even more important after several reports of lung injuries linked to vaping in Washington state as well as hundreds around the country. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 23.
The Legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 2158 to increase funding for higher education, including financial aid, raises for community college faculty, and a student loan program for middle-class students called the Washington College Grant. The Washington College Grant would replace the State Need Grant, which runs out of money every year and leaves thousands of eligible students without any money. The Workforce Education Investment Act is designed so that businesses that benefit the most from a highly-educated workforce will contribute to the cost of higher education. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 24.
Washington's low-income families pay six times more in taxes than the wealthiest residents. To begin to balance our tax code, the Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 2167 to increase the business and occupation tax on financial institutions that reported a net income of $1 billion or more during the previous calendar year. We think it's reasonable for these extremely profitable companies to pay a little more in taxes to support the services working families rely on. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 25.
Washington legislators have moved to update our tax laws in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that forced internet retailers to charge sales tax in all states. would Among other things, Substitute Senate Bill 5581 eliminates a tax advantage that out-of-state sellers long enjoyed over local companies. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 26.
Washington state has more than 13,000 known or suspected contaminated sites. The Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) became law in 1989 and has supported efforts to clean up more than 7,000 contaminated sites. The MTCA is funded by a voter-approved tax on hazardous substances such as petroleum products and pesticides. This year, the Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5993 to update the law to improve transparency and increase funding for clean air, clean water, and toxic cleanup programs. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 27.
Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5997 closed a longstanding loophole that allowed many out-of-state shoppers to avoid paying sales tax in Washington. Visitors from states without a sales tax can still request a remittance from the Washington Department of Revenue. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 28.
This legislation is one step towards balancing our upside-down tax code by making Washington's real estate excise taxes (REET) progressive. Instead of a flat rate of 1.28 percent, property sales of less than $500,000 are reduced to a 1.1 percent tax rate, sales between $1.5 and $3 million would be taxed at 2.75 percent, and properties sold for more than $3 million would be taxed at 3 percent. All the funding from Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5998 will be dedicated to the Education Legacy Trust Account. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 29.
This legislation eliminates a tax break for travel agents and tour operators for businesses who earn $250,000 or more per year. Businesses that earn less than $250,000 will continue to pay the lower rate. Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6004 will bring more revenue to the state and ensure that large out-of-state and online businesses pay their share. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 30.
This legislation passed Engrossed Senate Bill 6016 to reauthorize and narrow a sales tax exemption for certain international investment management companies. In order to receive the tax exemption, a business must have more than 25 percent of employees in the state, at least 500 full-time employees worldwide, and gross revenue of more than $400 million. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote No. 31.
This measure would allow the Legislature to temporarily fill vacant public offices during an emergency by including "catastrophic incidents" like earthquakes or tsunamis in the definition of emergency powers. As Washington has been on high alert for an earthquake for years, legislators want to ensure governmental continuity in the event of massive damage from a natural disaster. While it is not pleasant to think about, Washington state needs to be prepared for a catastrophic event. This measure passed with bipartisan support. Vote "Approved" on Senate Joint Resolution No. 8200.
King County relies on its Medic One emergency medical system to respond to 268,000 emergency medical calls a year - one every three minutes. Proposition No. 1 would replace an expiring levy of $0.265 on every $1,000 of assessed property value, which would cost a homeowner of a $500,000 property about $133 per year. Supporting the Medic One levy would continue 40 years of crucial medical services that we all rely on in an emergency.
Our rapidly-growing county can't afford to short change the firefighters and EMTs who keep us all safe. Vote Yes on Proposition No. 1 Medic One.
John Wilson is running unopposed for re-election for King County Assessor. He was first elected as county assessor in 2015 after spending four years as the county's chief deputy assessor. Wilson considers himself an "activist assessor" and wants to stop young potential homeowners and seniors from being priced out of King County. In August 2019, the assessor's office released a Taxpayer Transparency Tool, a website that provides taxpayers with a breakdown of where their property tax dollars go, as well as the estimated cost of proposed property taxes.
Wilson's years of experience make him a good choice for King County Assessor.
Julie Wise is running for re-election for King County Director of Elections. Wise has worked in King County Elections for more than 15 years and has held almost every job in the department. During her time as director, Wise has worked to reduce barriers for voters, including adding prepaid postage to ballots and increasing the number of ballot drop boxes. Her office also worked to ensure voting materials are available in additional languages and improved election integrity and security for the county. When concerns about VoteWA, the state's new voting system, were raised before the primary, Wise took steps to make sure the election was not impacted.
Wise is being challenged by Mark Greene, a perennial candidate who supports lowering the voting age to 16-years-old but does not support the current system of pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds. Greene has expressed distrust in vote tabulation machines and would institute random hand counts.
Wise's experience and strong performance during her first term make her the best choice for King County Director for Elections.
Sam Cho, the co-founder of an international export company, is running for Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position 2. He served on Gov. Jay Inslee’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and previously worked on trade issues for a member of Congress. As the son of South Korean immigrants, Cho is running to make the Port of Seattle work better for all people in King County, from reducing congestion at SeaTac Airport to supporting low-income families south of the airport who are impacted by noise and air pollution. He also wants to use the port as an economic engine to create opportunities for the county’s rapidly growing population.
Cho is running against attorney and former Bellevue City Councilmember Grant Degginger. His priorities for the port include balancing investment in clean fuels and carbon reduction with careful growth and ensuring contract equity at the airport for all businesses. As the port expands its construction projects, Degginger states his role as past chair of the Washington Public Disclosure Commission will mean more transparency for voters.
Cho is the best choice in this race because of his strong support from our Progressive Voters Guide partners.
Incumbent Fred Felleman is an environmental consultant and marine biologist. He is running to retain his seat on the Seattle Port Commission to continue fighting climate change and increase the port's green energy jobs. He has been a leader on the commission on protecting orcas, publicly opposing the dangerous Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, and advocating for well-paying jobs. The port faced criticism following Trump's Muslim ban when some protesters on the light rail were forced to skip the airport station. However, Felleman was among numerous leaders who released a statement condemning the ban and calling for an evaluation of the numerous government agencies’ response at the airport.
Felleman is being challenged by attorney Garth Jacobson. His priorities include pausing cruise line terminal growth until pollution cleanup efforts are further along, finding a way to eliminate the bus shuttles from the car rental facility, and installing availability lights in the airport parking structure. According to The Seattle Times, as of the primary election he has never attended a port commission meeting.
Felleman is the best choice for Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position 5.
John H. Chun is running to retain Judge Position 1 on the Court of Appeals, Division 1, District 1. He was appointed to this seat in 2018 by Governor Inslee and was previously a King County Superior Court Judge as well as a private practice attorney and federal law clerk. Chun specializes in criminal, complex civil, and family law cases. He is endorsed by all of the Washington State Supreme Court Justices and many other judges around Washington. Chun is running unopposed and deserves your vote for the Court of Appeals, Division 1, District 1, Judge Position 1.
Judge Lori K. Smith is running to retain Position 2 on the Court of Appeals, Division 1, District 1. She was appointed to this seat by Governor Inslee in 2018 and previously served on the King County Superior Court as a Family Law Court Commissioner and as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. Smith serves on the Minority and Justice Commission as well as co-chairing the Tribal and State Court Consortium. She often mentors young people and over her career has worked to increase access to justice and eliminate bias in the judicial system. Smith is running unopposed and deserves your vote for the Court of Appeals, Division 1, District 1, Position 2.
Zach Hall is a legislative aide in the Washington state House of Representatives who is running for Issaquah City Council, Position 2. Hall is running on a platform of building more affordable housing for people at all income levels, preserving public spaces like parks and forests, and reducing Issaquah's carbon footprint to combat the climate crisis. He is also a lifelong Issaquah resident who understands the struggle of getting around the city and wants to prioritize improvements and expansions to transportation infrastructure.
Hall is running against Michele Kemper, who is retired after working for 30 years in the financial services industry. She serves on the Issaquah Urban Village Development Commission. Kemper is positioning herself to be a conservative voice on the council and wants to focus on local business vitality. She mentions embracing diversity and protecting the environment but does not offer substantive policy ideas.
Zach Hall the best choice for Issaquah City Council, Position 2.
Endorsed By: King County Young Democrats, 5th Legislative District Democrats, 41st Legislative District Democrats
Barbara de Michele is a former King County Department of Transportation community relations planner who is running for Issaquah City Council, Position 3. She previously served on the Issaquah School District Board of Directors, including twice as board president, and spent 12 years on the Issaquah Arts Commission. De Michele's campaign platform is very progressive. It includes a multi-layered approach to affordable housing and community cohesion that includes prioritizing sustainable commutes, increasing mobility options and decreasing traffic, and encouraging a welcoming community with an equity statement from the Issaquah City Council.
Michele is running against Tim Flood, a program manager at Johnson Controls in Redmond. Flood wants to protect natural spaces, find a better balance between development and infrastructure investment where developers pay their share, and navigate the budget shortfall Issaquah is facing.
Based on her strong platform and numerous endorsements from elected officials and progressive partner organizations, de Michele is the best choice for Issaquah City Council, Position 3.
Lindsey Walsh is running unopposed to retain Issaquah City Council, Position 4. She was appointed to the seat in February to replace Councilmember Bill Ramos. Walsh is a small business owner and has served on the Issaquah Planning Policy Committee (PPC) for two years. Walsh serves on the Council Infrastructure Committee as well as the Council Services & Safety Committee. Walsh is running unopposed and is the best choice for Issaquah City Council, Position 4.
Victoria Hunt is the current council member for Position 3 and is now running unopposed to Issaquah City Council, Position 6. She was appointed to the seat in February 2018 after Councilmember Justin Walsh moved outside Issaquah city limits and was no longer eligible to serve. Hunt is a data analyst for Global Good and has served on the Issaquah Planning Policy Commission since 2017. In her time on the council, Hunt has worked to preserve and protect public spaces like the remaining undeveloped areas of Cougar Mountain and has endorsements from numerous progressive elected officials and groups. Hunt is running unopposed and is the best choice for Issaquah City Council, Position 6.
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