City of Tacoma

City of Tacoma

Not in City of Tacoma? Click here to choose your customized guide.

You are viewing content from a previous election (November 5th, 2019). You can view information for the current election here.

Return Ballots by Tuesday, November 5th

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!

Statewide Ballot Measures

Referendum 88

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.

General Progressive: Fuse
Social Justice: OneAmerica Votes
Other: League of Women Voters of Washington,, Washington Education Association, ACLU of Washington

Initiative 976

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 I-976 would derail our ability to fix dangerous roads, retrofit outdated bridges and overpasses, complete voter-approved light rail, provide transit for riders with disabilities, and more.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!

Advisory Vote 20

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.

Advisory Vote 21

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.

Advisory Vote 22

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.

Advisory Vote 23

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.

Advisory Vote 24

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.

Advisory Vote 25

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.

Advisory Vote 26

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.

Advisory Vote 27

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.

Advisory Vote 28

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.

Advisory Vote 29

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.

Advisory Vote 30

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.

Advisory Vote 31

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.

Constitutional Amendment 8200

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.

Port of Tacoma

Port of Tacoma, Port Commissioner, Position #3

Frank Boykin photo

Frank Boykin is an account manager with United Parcel Service running for Port of Tacoma, Position 3. He has served as vice chair of the University Place Planning Commission as well as a leader in Tacoma's Black Collective, the Annie Wright School, Pierce College Foundation, and Washington’s Commission on African American Affairs. Boykin is running to increase the port's engagement with the community, encourage responsible growth, and protect family-wage jobs.

He is running against Deanna Keller, a Marine Corps veteran who is currently the CEO and President of Kel-Tech Plastics in Tacoma. She is focusing on modernizing facilities at the port, creating family-wage jobs, and keeping the port competitive in the region.

Boykin is the best choice in this race.

Port of Tacoma, Port Commissioner, Position #5

Kristin Ang photo

Attorney Kristin Ang is running for Port of Tacoma Commissioner, Position 5 to build a sustainable vision for industry at the port. She seeks to protect community health and the environment by reducing noise and air pollution, improving water quality, and increasing shore power technology. Ang opposes the port's property tax and supports pressing businesses to clean up their share of pollution, developing a comprehensive public engagement plan, and working with tribes, businesses, and local government to create shared agendas for the port.

Ang is running against Dave Bryant, a Navy veteran who wants to optimize the loading and offloading of goods with surface transportation and update the port's infrastructure. However, he lacks Ang's knowledge and experience when it comes to environmental conservation and creating clean energy jobs.

Ang is the best choice in this race.

General Progressive: Fuse
Other: Pierce County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Pierce County Democrats

Tacoma City Council

Tacoma City Council, Position #7 (At-Large)

First elected in 2015, Deputy Mayor Conor McCarthy has supported important measures like increasing shelter bed capacity at Tacoma Rescue Mission and enacting tenant protections. Along with Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young, McCarthy proposed the Tacoma-Pierce Opioid Task Force, which brought together local stakeholders to present findings and solutions on the opioid epidemic in the county. McCarthy is a politically moderate voice in Tacoma and has been endorsed by all the current members of the city council. However, we were disappointed that McCarthy did not respond to requests to meet with our local recommendation committee to discuss his campaign. 

McCarthy is facing Courtney Love, a lifelong Tacoma resident and a single mother who serves on the board of Whole Washington, an advocacy group for universal single-payer health care in Washington. Our local recommendation committee was very impressed with Love's progressive values and platform, including improving affordability, election transparency, and food and health care security in Tacoma.

We recommend McCarthy because of his support from our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations. 

Other: Tacoma Education Association, Pierce County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Tacoma Firefighters Local #31

Tacoma City Council, Position #8 (At-Large)

Kristina Walker is the executive director of Downtown on the Go, a Tacoma-based transportation advocacy organization that aims to encourage the use of biking, walking, transit, and other forms of non-single occupancy vehicle transportation. Walker's campaign emphasizes improving transportation as one of her main priorities. She also advocates for bringing down the cost of college, protecting the city's green spaces, and affordable housing.

She is running against John O'Loughlin, who worked as the Assistant Director for the Waste Water, Surface Water, and Solid Waste Utilities. He states that he will work to make Tacoma friendly for businesses and manage future growth.

Walker's broad support from the progressive community and her dedication to Tacoma's residents and environment make her the best choice in this race.

Tacoma City Council, District #1

Nathe Lawver photo

Nathe Lawver, the Political Director at Laborers Local 252, is running for Tacoma City Council in District 1. He has served as chair of the Pierce County Human Services Coalition and on the Tacoma Environmental Services Commission, as well as on the boards of the Sweet Hope Foundation, Healthy Tacoma, and United Way. While working at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 367, he helped pass the city's landmark $15 minimum wage and sick leave laws. Lawver's top campaign priorities include affordable housing, updating the city's infrastructure, and working on the city's mental health needs.

Lawver's opponent is John Hines, an instructional facilitator at the Department of Academic Equity and Access for the Tacoma Public School District. Hines states that if elected, he would lead the city "back to the basics" of providing essential services like road work, expanding law enforcement, and "removing blight and increasing security" of neighborhoods.

Lawver has secured an impressive number of endorsements from the progressive community and is the best choice in this race.

Economic Justice: SEIU 775, Teamsters 117, UFCW 21
Other: Pierce County Central Labor Council, Transportation for Washington

Tacoma City Council, District #3

Incumbent Keith Blocker is a managing partner at Archway Consulting Group, a strategy firm that provides political consultation and support for workplace diversity and inclusion. During his time on the council, Blocker has supported immigrants by helping create an Immigrant Legal Defense fund and calling on the public to give to the Deportation Defense Fund, which pays for legal representation for Tacoma residents going through the deportation process. He has also focused on housing and homelessness while on the council, helping establish stronger tenant protections against eviction and supporting the Affordable Housing Trust. Blocker has pledged to continue his work on supportive housing and low-income housing for the community.

Blocker is being challenged by David Combs, the owner of a Tacoma screenprinting shop. Combs points to rising rent as one of the biggest drivers of homelessness in Tacoma. He supports wraparound services that make high-quality education accessible to all, especially low-income students and students of color. Combs also supports demilitarizing the police for a more equitable city, and instead pursuing alternatives like restorative justice and rehabilitation for those with criminalized behaviors.

Blocker has been endorsed by a few of our partners as well as a large number of his fellow Tacoma City Council members. We believe he's the best choice in this race because of his progressive values and strong community support.

Tacoma School District

Tacoma School Board, Director, Position #1

Lisa Keating photo

Lisa Keating is the executive director of My Purple Umbrella, an organization which advocates for LGBTQ students. She was motivated to run because of recent teachers' strikes and is striving to bring more transparency and accountability to the school board.

Keating is challenging 30-year incumbent Debbie Winskill, the longest-serving member on the board. Unfortunately, Winskill was the only member of the board who did not sign a letter condemning the controversial op-ed titled "Diversity education is a divisive education" penned a Tacoma teacher who opposed the incorporation of ethnic studies into Tacoma schools' curricula, saying that she thought he was a good teacher.

It's long past time for fresh leadership on the Tacoma School Board. Lisa Keating is the best choice in this race.

Tacoma School Board, Director, Position #2

Dr. Enrique Leon was chosen to join the school board by the Tacoma School Board of Directors after School Board President Catherine Ushka was elected to the city council. Along with his position on the board, Dr. Leon works at MultiCare Tacoma Family Medicine and is a team physician for Lincoln and Stadium High schools.

Leon notes that last year's teacher strike gave educators a well-deserved raise, but acknowledged rifts in the community between the district leaders and the unions that resulted.

The state Legislature has enacted a cap on levy funding that has contributed to a budget deficit in Tacoma schools. This year the formula was amended, but schools still face consequences such as teacher layoffs. In light of further likely budget cuts in the district, Leon says he is looking at free and open evidence-based curriculum rather than buying a new curriculum. He will also focus on supporting an enhanced elementary reading curriculum, emphasizing kids' emotional and mental health, and creating community-school partnerships.

Leon is running against Kristopher Kerns, the vice president of Point Defiance Elementary's PTA. He supported last September's teacher strike, saying that teachers deserve fair wages, but noted the burden on parents like himself. Kerns would modify hiring timelines and policies for teachers, aggressively recruit new educators, and states that he will ensure no additional layoffs in the district

We lean towards Leon in this race.