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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!
Vote "Approved" on Referendum 88
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.
Vote NO on I-976
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 I-976 would derail our ability to fix dangerous roads, retrofit outdated bridges and overpasses, complete voter-approved light rail, provide transit for riders with disabilities, and more.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.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 20
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.
Vote "Repealed" on Advisory Vote 21
Legislators passed Engrossed Third Substitute House Bill 1324, also known as the Washington Rural Development and Distressed Opportunity Zone Act, that extends a business and occupation tax preference for timber companies. In addition, part of HB 1324 raises a small amount of revenue from timber companies for salmon recovery, which is what led to Advisory Vote 21. While the salmon recovery provision is laudable, HB 1324 will primarily serve as an unnecessary tax cut for timber companies at a time when we need to be investing more in affordable housing, education, health care, and other priorities. Vote “Repealed” on Advisory Vote No. 21.
Vote "Maintained" On Advisory Vote 22
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.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 23
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.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 24
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.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 25
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.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 26
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. 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.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 27
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.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 28
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.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 29
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.
Vote "Maintained" for Advisory Vote 30
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.
Vote "Maintained" on Advisory Vote 31
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.
Vote "Approved" on Senate Joint Resolution 8200
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.
Vote YES on Proposition No. 1
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 of Elections.
There are two impressive candidates running for King County Council in District 2: Councilmember Larry Gossett and Girmay Zahilay. Gossett has earned the endorsement of most of our Progressive Voters Guide partners.
Longtime King County Council member and civil rights legend Larry Gossett is running for re-election in District 2. Gossett is a progressive stalwart on the council. Recently, Gossett was the prime sponsor of legislation establishing King County as a sanctuary for immigrants and refugees. He also led the effort to block King County jails from honoring ICE detainer requests.
Gossett began his career by founding the Black Student Union at the University of Washington and joined leaders from other communities of color in a high-profile series of protests for justice and equality in the 1960s and 1970s. He is now running for a seventh term focused on expanding affordable housing, reducing racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system, and improving transit access.
Gossett is a great choice if you're looking for a progressive council member with a demonstrated track record of fighting for civil rights.
Attorney and nonprofit founder Girmay Zahilay is challenging Councilmember Larry Gossett in King County, District 2. Zahilay, who is the child of Ethiopian refugees, is prioritizing making systemic changes to alleviate homelessness, improving access to transit, and tackling environmental justice. He has made it clear he’s not running to criticize Gossett but to carry on his legacy. Zahilay supports a housing-first approach to homelessness and wants to create a central authority to coordinate the response across agencies and locations. As the co-founder of Rising Leaders, a group that provides mentorship and leadership development to underserved middle school students, Zahilay believes that a stronger mentorship system in Seattle Public Schools could help alleviate the achievement gap.
Zahilay earned strong support in the primary election. He is a great choice if you’re looking for new leadership on the King County Council.
Economic Justice: Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating: 4 stars
There are two impressive candidates running for King County Council in District 4: incumbent Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Abigail Doerr. Kohl-Welles has earned the endorsements of nearly all of our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations in this race.
Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles is running for re-election to continue her work on homelessness and expanding access to childcare. Previously, Kohl-Welles served in the state Legislature from 1992 until she ran for council in 2015. Throughout her career, Kohl-Welles has been a progressive leader in the fight against human trafficking and has long championed gun safety measures. In addition, she was an early proponent of reforming our state's drug laws to expand access to medical marijuana and reduce incarceration for low-level drug possession. Recently, Kohl-Welles sponsored long-overdue legislation to align and streamline homeless services between the City of Seattle and King County.
Kohl-Welles is a great choice if you're looking for an experienced council member with a demonstrated track record of fighting for progressive causes.
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU Locals 6, 775, 925, and 1199, Teamsters 117, Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating: 4.25 stars
Social Justice: Housing Action Fund
Abigail Doerr is a transportation and environmental advocate who is running to bring new energy to the King County Council. Doerr is a former staff member of the Transportation Choices Coalition who led the successful campaign to expand Sound Transit in 2016 as well as the campaign for a carbon tax in 2018.
Doerr thinks King County Council members should be more engaged in the community and should provide stronger leadership on progressive issues, especially transportation and homelessness. As such, she has proposed an ambitious 20-year plan to dramatically increase the availability of both low-and-middle-income housing. She also wants to expand the Best Starts For Kids initiative to support young people and end the school-to-prison pipeline.
Doerr is a great choice if you’re looking for new leadership on the King County Council.
Economic Justice: Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating: 4.25 stars
Claudia Balducci is running for re-election to King County Council, District 6. Balducci previously served as the mayor of Bellevue and on the Bellevue City Council. She is running a strong campaign on a platform of affordable housing, transportation options that fit the way we live, keeping the environment healthy, and education for all King County students. Balducci was unanimously elected to be the council’s Vice Chair of Policy Development and Review in 2019.
Balducci's opponent, Bill Hirt, is a perennial candidate who opposes light rail and doesn't have much more of a campaign platform beyond that.
Balducci has been a strong and effective leader on the King County Council and deserves your vote.
Incumbent Joe McDermott first joined the council in 2010 and in 2016 was chosen to be council chair. He has advocated for civil rights, safe communities, and transportation. In the last few years on the council, he has introduced the King County Gun Safety Action Plan to address the public health crisis of gun violence, supported county efforts to increase shelter capacity and build more affordable housing, and is working to address racial disproportionality in King County’s juvenile justice system.
McDermott is running against Michael Robert Neher, who is not running a viable campaign. McDermott is the clear choice in this race.
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 and co-chairs 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.
Angela Birney is president of the Redmond City Council and a former chair of the Redmond Parks and Trails Commission. She is a progressive former school teacher and longtime local volunteer who is active in the community. Birney is running to increase affordable housing and transportation options, ensure that everyone feels welcome in Redmond, and address challenges such as opioid addiction and homelessness.
Birney is running against City Councilmember Steve Fields. Fields is an outspoken progressive on the council and a local business owner who formerly worked in the budget offices of the city of Seattle and King County. He is running to prepare the city for its future changes, including light rail, the growing diversity of the region, and upcoming climate impacts. He also strongly supports reforming our upside-down tax code.
While Fields is progressive, we believe Birney is the best choice in this race due to her deep knowledge of city issues and strong support from advocates and elected officials across the region.
Varisha Khan is a community organizer and former communications coordinator for the Washington Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She has published journalistic work about and advocated for immigrant issues and American Muslims in the Seattle area. Khan is running on a platform of equity and inclusion, striving to power the city with zero carbon emissions, expanding and evaluating the bus system, and connecting the city's diverse communities.
Khan is running against conservative transportation economist and incumbent Hank Myers. Myers has served on the city council since 2008, and has served in several leadership positions in the region, including on the advisory board for Metro Transit and the Bellevue School District and as the the former board chair for the Together Center, a nonprofit multi-tenant center. Unfortunately, Myers was a vocal opponent of expanding light rail service to Redmond, which voters approved in 2016.
Khan has been backed by a number of progressive groups and is the clear choice in this race.
Jessica Forsythe is the owner and creator director of a design studio. She has served in several leadership roles in the community, including as a treasurer on the board of the League of Women Voters Seattle-King County and as an elected precinct committee officer and executive board member for the 48th Legislative District. Forsythe wants to enact a single-use plastics ban, expand walking and biking paths, address aging infrastructure, and ensure that small businesses have a voice during the city's growth.
Forsythe is running against incumbent Hank Margeson, who is serving his third term on the council. Margeson represents the city at the Sound Cities Association Public Issues Committee, has served as Vice President of the Puget Sound Regional Council's Growth Management Policy Board, and on the City on Redmond’s Disability Board. If re-elected, he will continue to prioritize building new development near transit centers, preserving affordable business space, and committing to fiscal responsibility.
Forsythe is the most progressive candidate in this race.
Redmond planning commissioner and Microsoft employee Vanessa Kritzer is running for Remond City Council, Position 5. Kritzer, a former Director of Digital Strategy for the League of Conservation Voters and a current board member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, is running to build more affordable housing, provide transit options that meet everyone’s needs, protect the environment, and ensure data-driven decision making on the council.
Kritzer's opponent in this race is software developer Eugene Zakhareyev, who ran for Redmond City Council, Position 4 in 2017. He was a vocal opponent of the building of a new mosque in 2018 across from the Microsoft campus, citing traffic concerns. Zakhareyev's campaign platform is not particularly progressive and includes "gentle density" as a solution for lack of affordable housing.
Kritzer is the best choice in this race.
Carlos Jimenez, the Executive Director and founder of Centro Cultural Mexicano, is running for Redmond City Council, Position 7. Jimenez is a former executive board member of the Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council, where he was a strong advocate for working families. Jimenez's campaign is focused on social, racial, and economic justice, and he seeks to build a more inclusive Redmond through affordable housing policies, better transportation, and environmental protections.
Jimenez is running against incumbent city council member David Carson, who serves as Redmond's Council Vice President. Carson is a business-oriented candidate running to promote and reduce regulation on businesses and wants to see through the completion of projects downtown. Carson has an antagonistic approach to homelessness in Redmond, stating that he wants to prosecute people found with shopping carts off-premises. He has been cited in the Washington Post and elsewhere stating that those suffering from addiction must hit "rock bottom" before seeking treatment.
Jimenez is the best choice in this race.
Endorsed By: King County Democrats, 45th and 48th Legislative District Democrats
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