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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 I-976 would derail our ability to fix dangerous roads, retrofit outdated bridges and overpasses, complete voter-approved light rail, provide transit for riders with disabilities, and more.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
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
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
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.
Lori K. Smith
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.
Incumbent Lisa Herbold was first elected to the Seattle City Council in 2015 on a platform of affordable housing, paid sick leave, and raising the minimum wage. While on the council, Herbold has passed a slate of reforms, including an anti-discrimination law to protect tenants and a police observer's bill of rights. In the face of a recent spike of hate crimes, Herbold has introduced legislation to increase the penalties for people who commit hate crimes. If re-elected, Herbold will continue working to expand community access to healthy food, support a wage transparency law for companies that have public works contracts with the city, and expand affordable housing.
Herbold is running against video game company co-founder Phil Tavel, who has served as a public defender and judge pro tem. He has served as the vice president of the Morgan Community Association and on the board of Allied Arts. He'd like to see more police hired to deal with property crime but hasn't articulated a detailed plan for increasing affordable housing and reducing homelessness. Tavel has the backing of CASE, the electoral arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, as part of their unprecedented $2 million campaign to flip the Seattle City Council and push their conservative corporate agenda.
Herbold is the best choice for Seattle City Council in District 1 because of her strong track record and broad support from progressive advocates and elected officials.
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU Locals 775, 925, and 1199, Teamsters 117, UFCW 21, Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating: 4.75 stars
Tammy Morales is a longtime community organizer who is running for Seattle City Council in District 2. Morales narrowly lost her 2015 race against Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who is stepping down this year. Morales works at the Rainier Beach Action Coalition mentoring young people and fighting displacement. She supports a housing-first approach to homelessness that provides permanent supportive housing to those most in need. She also wants to do more for the "missing middle" that earn 30 to 60 percent of the median income and are struggling to afford rent. Morales supports a tax on real estate speculation and some form of a payroll tax on large corporations to fund the investments in affordable housing that District 2 and the city of Seattle need.
Morales is running against Mark Solomon, a Crime Prevention Coordinator for the Seattle Police Department and an Air Force veteran. If elected, Solomon's priorities include hiring more police officers, convening a District 2 Mandatory Housing Affordability Evaluation Committee, and marketing District 2 to attract more businesses. Solomon has the backing of CASE, the electoral arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, as part of their unprecedented $2 million campaign to flip the Seattle City Council and push their conservative corporate agenda.
Morales is the clear progressive choice for Seattle City Council in District 2.
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU Locals 775, 925, and 1199, Teamsters 117, UFCW 21, Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating: 4.75 stars
There are two very different candidates running for Seattle City Council in District 3: incumbent Kshama Sawant and challenger Egan Orion. Sawant is the farthest-left member of the council and has been endorsed by many of our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations. Her opponent, Egan Orion, is a moderate Democrat who wants to improve collaboration on the council.
Kshama Sawant is a former economics professor and member of Socialist Alternative running for re-election to the Seattle City Council in District 3. Sawant has played a valuable role in an impressive number of progressive victories on the city council, from the historic $15 minimum wage to blocking rent increases for public low-income housing. Her campaign platform takes aim squarely at Amazon and she pledges to tax large corporations to fund a large investment in social housing and a Green New Deal for Seattle. She has also been an advocate for city-wide rent control and believes the city council must have the courage to pass bold policies at the scale necessary to address our city’s challenges. She has been a consistent voice for low-income families in Seattle who are struggling to get by.
Sawant is also a controversial and polarizing figure. Her uncompromising positions and disregard for collaboration have not made her popular with her peers at City Hall and have reduced her effectiveness as a council member. In addition, Sawant is one of the few candidates who has opted-out of the Democracy Voucher system. She has stated that she needs to raise as much money as possible to fend off campaign attacks from corporate interests.
The electoral arm of the Seattle Chamber is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars against Sawant and in support of her opponent, Egan Orion. This is part of their unprecedented $2 million campaign to flip the Seattle City Council and push their conservative corporate agenda. We believe Sawant is the best choice to maintain a strong progressive majority on the Seattle City Council.
Sawant is facing a challenge from Egan Orion, a moderate small business owner and former director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Broadway Business Improvement area. Orion is a prominent member of Seattle’s LGBTQ community who is best known for taking over Seattle’s struggling PrideFest in 2007 and building it into one of the largest and most popular pride celebrations in the country.
Orion is running a centrist campaign that promises to bring a collaborative approach to the council, in contrast to what he sees as Sawant’s hard-line approach. He has earned the endorsement of Teamsters Local 117 and several other unions. In our interview, he did not take a position on the increased Seattle Police emphasis patrols this summer and is a “maybe” on allowing safe injection sites. While Egan is a moderate Democrat who is an advocate on social issues like LGBTQ rights, it’s unclear if he’s willing to fight to balance our upside tax code by making Seattle’s most successful businesses to pay their share in taxes.
While we have concerns about both candidates, we think it’s important not to let conservative business groups gain undue influence over the council's policymaking. We believe Sawant is the best choice for Seattle City Council in District 3.
Advocacy journalist Shaun Scott is running on a bold progressive platform for Seattle City Council in District 4. One of Scott’s top priorities is to pass a Green New Deal for Seattle. He proposes reforming the city's single-family zoning to allow taller buildings and build a comprehensive bike network paid for by congestion pricing and taxation of wealthy companies like Amazon. Scott also wants to use the city’s debt capacity to borrow money to accelerate the development of affordable public housing. Scott is committed to reforming our upside-down tax structure with proposals like a tax on vacant homes, a progressive real estate excise tax, and a “re-tooled” employee hours tax. If elected, he would maintain a strong grassroots organizing presence to build public support for these policies.
Scott is running against Alex Pedersen, who is running a campaign that leans more conservative in his approach to taxes and relies too much on law enforcement instead of affordable housing and services to reduce homelessness. Pederson has the backing of CASE, the electoral arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, as part of their unprecedented $2 million campaign to flip the Seattle City Council and push their conservative corporate agenda.
Scott is the best choice in this race because of his ambitious progressive platform that will prioritize environmental and racial justice.
Incumbent city council member and attorney Debora Juarez is running for re-election in District 5 on her record of engagement with her district's needs. The first native council member in Seattle, she chairs the Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Committee, one of the nation's first formalized municipal legislative voices for Native governments and leaders. In her time of the council, she helped secure $16 million in funding for the Lake City Community Center and pushed to get the NE 130th Street Light Rail Station, as well as have the station open 7 years early in 2024 instead of in 2031. She also points to $20,000 she secured for the local food bank, as well as her support for funding Clement Place, a 100-unit low-income housing project. If re-elected, Juarez would push for a public development authority that could directly build affordable housing in the city.
Juarez is being challenged by conservative Ann Davidson Sattler, a former Seattle Sonics employee. Unfortunately, Sattler favors a law-enforcement heavy approach to homelessness that ignores the underlying causes of homelessness in our community.
Juarez is the best choice for Seattle City Council in District 5.
Dan Strauss is a senior policy advisor to Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw on transportation, planning, land use, and more. In his former role as a legislative assistant to Senator Dan Frockt, Strauss worked on the Extreme Risk Protection Order, a law that temporarily restricts firearm access for those who are a demonstrated risk to themselves or others. Strauss wants to invest in permanent supportive housing at four times the current rate to match the state of the homelessness crisis and enhanced shelters so that those experiencing homelessness will have access to services. He advocates for dedicated bus lanes and protected bike lanes, incentivizing space for childcare facilities in new developments, passing a tree canopy ordinance, and building income-restricted homes so lower-income people can afford to live in the city.
Strauss is facing Heidi Wills, a former Seattle City Council member. Despite a previous ethics violation from her time on the council in 2003, Wills has proven herself to be a good advocate for the environment. Wills helped create the city's Green Power Programs as well as the first wind contract at Seattle City Light. In her current bid for office, she states that neighborhoods like Ballard are "underpoliced" and that more police officers should be hired and emphasis patrols continued. Wills has the backing of CASE, the electoral arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, as part of their unprecedented $2 million campaign to flip the Seattle City Council and push their conservative corporate agenda.
Strauss is the best choice in this race because of his progressive vision for Seattle, detailed knowledge of city policies, and strong support from our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations.
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU Locals 775, 925, and 1199, Teamsters 117, UFCW 21, Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating: 4 stars
Andrew J. Lewis
Andrew Lewis is a progressive assistant city attorney running for Seattle City Council in District 7. He served on the Seattle Human Rights Commission and managed the 2009 campaign for former City Councilmember Nick Licata. As an assistant city attorney, Lewis has focused on diversion programs, especially the Choose 180 program, which keeps youth out of the criminal justice system. As a candidate, Lewis’s top campaign priority is to build more affordable homes and increase support for tenants struggling to stay in their homes. He’s fully committed to reforming our upside-down tax code that has driven up the cost of living for low-and-middle-income Seattleites. He also supports replacing the Magnolia bridge and pairing it with increased transit service connected to urban villages.
Lewis is facing Jim Pugel, a former assistant chief and interim chief with the Seattle Police Department, as well as a Chief Deputy at the King County Sheriff’s Office. He was also the executive sponsor for the establishment of the LEAD program, which diverts low-level, nonviolent offenders and sex workers away from jail and into other services. Pugel supports a statewide capital gains tax, which would fund needed programs in the city. He has a four pillars approach to addressing homelessness, which is "prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and enforcement." Pugel has the backing of CASE, the electoral arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, as part of their unprecedented $2 million campaign to flip the Seattle City Council and push their conservative corporate agenda.
We believe Lewis is the best choice in this race because of his progressive values, commitment to public service, and detailed policy platform for how to address the challenges facing our city.
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU 775, SEIU Local 925, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, Teamsters 117, UFCW 21, Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating: 3.75 stars
There are two well-qualified candidates in this race who have received broad support from progressive and education advocates: Liza Rankin and Eric Blumhagen. After extensive research and interviews, we believe they are both good choices. Read the full descriptions below to find the candidate which best fits your values and priorities for Seattle School Board.
Liza Rankin is a community organizer and artist running for Seattle School Board in District 1. She serves on the PTA of her children's school as well as on the board of the Seattle Council PTSA and the advisory board at Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange at Magnuson Park. Rankin began her school activism bringing food to teachers walking picket lines during the 2015 strike.
Rankin demonstrated detailed knowledge of the complex issues facing Seattle Public Schools during her in-person interview and highlighted her experience visiting or volunteering at half of the 102 schools in the district. She also shared examples of creative ways she supports students through her PTA work, including working with principals at the beginning of the school year to develop a list of supplies that low-income students need.
Rankin’s top priority would be to support the school board's new Strategic Plan and ensure that every child has equitable access and opportunity to learn. She also supports shifting the focus of PTAs from fundraising for local schools to advocacy for all students.
Eric Blumhagen is a professional engineer running for Seattle School Board in District 1. He has served as legislative chair for his children’s elementary school PTA and as advocacy chair and vice president for their high school PTO. Previously, Blumhagen served as a volunteer spokesperson against I-1240, the ballot measure that legalized charter schools in Washington.
Blumhagen recognizes the importance of reaching out to the community to listen and learn about how to close the opportunity gap. He supports using restorative justice in schools to reduce the disproportionate punishment of students of color. Blumhagen would also expand investments in Ethnic Studies and Since Time Immemorial curricula in Seattle Public Schools. He wants to see flexibility in enrollment and for Seattle to emulate successful programs started elsewhere in the region, like Everett's attendance program.
Blumhagen highlights his support from the past four Seattle School Board presidents as evidence of his relationships and readiness to serve the students of Seattle.
There are two well-qualified candidates in this race who have received broad support from progressive and education advocates: Rebeca Muñiz and Chandra Hampson. After extensive research and interviews, we believe they are both good choices. We lean toward Hampson because of her experience with financial management and work with Seattle Public Schools. Muñiz is a good choice if you're looking for someone with direct experience working with kids and community organizing. Read the full descriptions below to find the candidate which best fits your values and priorities for Seattle School Board.
Chandra Hampson is president of the Seattle Council PTSA and she has served as PTA president and vice president, among other roles. Prior to her involvement in Seattle Public Schools, Hampson worked as a bank examiner at Wells Fargo before becoming an independent consultant. Hampson wants to bring her financial management experience to the Seattle School Board. She is unique among the candidates running for her experience managing large organizational budgets.
Hampson is HoChunk from the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and Anishinaabe from the White Earth Nation. She is very committed to closing the opportunity gap and wants more dual-language training for teachers and staff. She also supports ending in-school suspensions and wants more consistency from staff when it comes to dealing with racial incidents in schools. Like Liza Rankin in District 1, Hampson supports shifting the focus of PTAs from fundraising for local schools to advocacy for all students. Hampson enjoyed strong support during the primary election.
Rebeca Muñiz works for the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy at the University of Washington overseeing budgets and coordinating research projects. She earned a master's degree in Education Policy and Leadership from UW and has volunteered with OneAmerica, the Gender Justice League, and the 43rd District Democrats.
As a first-generation Mexican-American whose mother struggled economically, Muñiz is dedicated to equity and stability for all students. She seeks to reform current disciplinary practices that disproportionately affect students of color, provide dual-language programs starting in Pre-K, hire mental health counselors, and adopt equitable funding by providing more resources to struggling schools. She supports banning out-of-school suspensions and wants to do more to reallocate funding to schools with more low-income students and students of color.
There are two well-qualified candidates in this race who have received broad support from progressive and education advocates: Molly Mitchell and Seattle School Board President Leslie Harris. We lean slightly toward Mitchell because of her experience working to close the opportunity gap and her dedication to improving equity in Seattle Public Schools. Harris is also a good choice if you’re looking for greater continuity on the school board. Read the full descriptions below to find the candidate which best fits your values and priorities for Seattle School Board.
Molly E. Mitchell
Molly Mitchell is the director of Student Support Programs at Seattle Central. She oversees various student support programs there, including the AmeriCorps Benefits Hub, Re-Entry/Prison Education, and Student Veteran Support.
Mitchell is running in District 6 to bring her experience as an educator, parent, and woman of color to the Seattle School Board. She is deeply invested in equity and has a great deal of experience working with marginalized students. She wants to address systemic racism in Seattle schools, including ending the school-to-prison pipeline, closing the opportunity gap, and reducing bullying.
Mitchell supports giving teachers and staff better training on restorative justice and trauma-informed care to support students instead of focusing on punishment. She is concerned that schools are treating the inability to learn as a behavioral issue and wants to see more Individualized Education Programs to give students the opportunity to thrive.
We lean toward Mitchell because we believe she would be an effective force for change to improve equity in Seattle Public Schools.
Leslie S. Harris
Leslie Harris is a litigation paralegal, foster parent, Democratic Party activist, and the current president of the Seattle School Board. Elected in 2015, Harris is currently serving her second term as president.
Harris’s top priority is managing the district’s budget and finding ways to fund the many needs of Seattle Public Schools. She cites many examples of improvement in the district over the last four years but stresses that much work remains. Harris includes among her list of accomplishments the hiring of a new superintendent, passing a five-year racial equity plan, and adopting a capital levy for high-need high schools. Harris is also proud of hosting a monthly public meeting to answer questions and listen to the concerns of parents and students.
The Seattle School Board has suffered from significant turnover in recent years. The seven-member board will see at least three and as many as five new members after this November’s election. Harris is the only incumbent running again and she would be the longest-tenured member of the board if she is re-elected.
Harris earned strong support in the primary election. She is a good choice if you’re looking for continuity on the school board.
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