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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 I-976 would derail our ability to fix dangerous roads, retrofit outdated bridges and overpasses, complete voter-approved light rail, provide transit for riders with disabilities, and more.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.
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
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 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.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below races on your ballot.
Chris Stearns is running for Auburn City Council, Position 1. He has a comprehensive record of leadership, including serving as a previous chair of the Seattle Human Rights Commission, Democratic counsel for the Committee of Natural Resources in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first director of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy. He currently serves as the Board President for the Seattle Indian Health Board, which is a community clinic that serves 6,000 patients and operates the Thunderbird Treatment Center. He has been endorsed by a large number of labor unions. Stearns is running unopposed in this race and deserves your vote.
Parks and Recreation board member James Jeyaraj is running for Auburn City Council, Position 3. Jeyaraj's top priority is helping vulnerable residents by providing additional shelters and shelter expansions. He wants to improve housing affordability by giving tax incentives to developers for a number of years and holding them accountable for creating multi-level apartment buildings to serve as affordable housing for young families. He also wants to partner with small businesses to promote local spending and create a clean, welcoming, safe city for all. However, he takes a more fiscally conservative approach to taxes and local government spending.
Jeyaraj is running against Ken Pearson, a reverend who as of late August has yet to post detailed campaign information on his site. However, in his candidate questionnaire to the Auburn Examiner, Pearson stated that he had no plan on affordable housing, as he believes that's not the city council's job, saying, "For all you ‘woke progressives’, that’s the cost of progress. In the near future, you’ll need to earn six figures a year in order to afford to live here." On public safety, Pearson asserts the need for "broken windows" policing, an incredibly damaging policy that leads to aggressive over-policing of communities of color and low-income communities. Pearson also states that a sanctuary city policy would "import poverty and the criminal element."
While he's not progressive on every issue, Jeyaraj is by far the best choice in this race.
Robyn Mulenga, the District 2 Director of the Auburn School Board, is now running for Auburn City Council, Position 5. During her time on the school board, Mulenga worked on the voter-supported bond that will fund the construction of new and replacement schools in the district, helped introduce racial equity policies, and supported building out the district's 5-year strategic plan. If elected to the city council, Mulenga says she will focus on reducing homelessness and its impacts, including building rest areas for the homeless for laundry and showering, as well as continue to focus on improving community engagement in education.
Mulenga is running against Ryan Burnett, a chef and restaurant manager who is concerned about family displacement, community safety, the opioid crisis, and improving business opportunities. He is a member of the mayor’s new jobs task force, which seeks to connect people with job training opportunities.
Mulenga is the best choice in this race because of her record of public service and experience working on important issues in Auburn.
Incumbent John Stokes is running for re-election to Bellevue City Council, Position 1. Stokes was first elected to the council in 2011 and served as mayor from 2016 through 2017. He is a leading advocate for housing affordability and has pushed Bellevue to offer additional services to people experiencing instability and homelessness. Stokes is also a strong proponent of expanding transit options, led the passage of the Downtown Livability Initiative, and is committed to protecting the region's clean drinking water.
Holly Zhang is challenging Stokes for Position 1. Zhang runs Holly Zhang Pearl Gallery in downtown Bellevue. Zhang's campaign leans conservative and emphasizes fiscal responsibility and crime prevention. However, she has not laid out a detailed campaign platform or clear vision for Bellevue.
John Stokes is the clear choice in this race because of his progressive values, detailed knowledge of Bellevue issues, and commitment to serving his community.
Jeremy Barksdale is running for Bellevue City Council, Position 3, currently held by John Chelminiak, who is retiring this year. Barksdale is a user experience researcher with a strong background in tech and computer sciences. He currently serves as Chair of the Planning Commission for the City of Bellevue and on the board of Fuse. Barksdale is running on a progressive platform focused on creating vibrant neighborhoods, supporting economic development, and promoting job growth in the City of Bellevue. Barksdale's background in technology and business combined with his roles in the community give him the right perspective to help navigate Bellevue's rapid growth.
Barksdale is running against East Bellevue Community Councilmember Stephanie Walter. Walter has opposed efforts to improve housing affordability and has been an obstacle to addressing homelessness in Bellevue, including taking unnecessary steps to "clarify the meaning of single family housing."
Barksdale is the best choice for Bellevue City Council, Position 3.
Incumbent Janice Zahn is running for re-election to Bellevue City Council, Position 5. Zahn brings years of experience in transportation, infrastructure, emergency management, and public policy to the city council. She has proposed innovative policies like low-interest loans to cope with Bellevue's expanding transportation needs and she wants to increase affordable housing. Before being elected, Zahn was an active community volunteer, including serving four years on the Bellevue Transportation Commission.
Zahn is facing T-Mobile engineer JD Yu in her re-election campaign. Yu is running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and neighborhood safety. Zahn's numerous endorsements, deep roots in the community, and volunteer and elected experience make her the strongest choice in this race.
James Bible, a civil rights attorney and the former president of the King County NAACP, is running for Bellevue City Council, Position 7. Bible was a public defender with the King County Public Defender's Office while serving on a task force with the Minority Executive Director's Coalition. Bible wants to focus on affordable housing, increasing wages for service workers, and improving education for kids like his 6-year-old son, who is a student in Bellevue public schools.
Bible is challenging conservative incumbent Jennifer Robertson after she opposed the expansion of homelessness services last year. Robertson was part of the conservative block on the city council that sought to block the expansion of light rail to Bellevue, and she opposed strengthening the city's ethics code. Robertson is often mentioned by Republicans as a potential candidate for higher office.
We recommend Bible for Bellevue City Council, Position 7.
Mason Thompson is a City of Bothell Parks and Recreation board member running to replace retiring Position 2 council member Andy Rheaume. Thompson is running to create Complete Neighborhoods, a concept which puts all basic amenities within walking distance to downtown and Canyon Park. He also wants to bring a dog park and mountain bike trails to Bothell. Thompson has been endorsed by a number of Democratic local leaders as well as six of seven current city council members.
Thompson is running against Leigh Henderson, a small business owner of Alexa’s Cafe and member of the Bothell-Kenmore Chamber of Commerce. According to her website, she is running to preserve the city’s character, be a good steward of local tax dollars, and be accountable to the people.
We recommend Thompson for Bothell City Council, Position 2 for his progressive values and community support.
James McNeal is a construction manager who is running for re-election to the Bothell City Council Position 4. McNeal was one of the founders of One Bothell, a grassroots effort to protect the 89-acre Wayne Golf Course, which was purchased by the council through a unanimous vote in 2017. During his time on the council, he has advocated for preserving parkland, increasing transit options, and supporting public safety officers.
McNeal is running against Matt Seymour, who ran as a Libertarian in 2018 for Legislative District 1. He does not appear to have a political or civic record and states on his Facebook page he says that his main focus is to fight against taxes.
McNeal is the better choice for Bothell City Council, Position 4.
Endorsed By: 1st Legislative District Democrats
Davina Duerr is an architect running for re-election to Bothell City Council, Position 6. Duerr currently serves as deputy mayor and was formerly the chair of the Landmark Preservation Board in Bothell and as well as a board member of the Northshore Schools Foundation. During her first term, she served on the Puget Sound Regional Council's transportation policy board and focused on transportation issues facing the city, including advocating for bus rapid transit options for Bothell residents. Duerr has advocated for environmental protections with her vote to approve the acquisition of North Creek Forest and the 89-acre Wayne Golf Course, which will become a park. She has also voted for a local affordable housing ordinance for workforce housing.
Duerr is running against Sean Palermo, a business development representative who has worked as an activist for Inslee for America and Friends of Bernie Sanders. Palermo, who is 24, states that he's running to bring a younger perspective to the city council and address affordable housing, the cost of education, infrastructure, and protecting the environment. Palermo wants to see rent control, stricter environmental protections, and a bolder progressive agenda instituted in the city council.
Duerr's experience and community support make her the best choice in this race.
Community organizer and Burien Arts Association board member Cydney Moore is running for Burien City Council, Position 2. Moore has been actively working to make Burien a better place for all as the local People Power ACLU organizer. She also serves as an ICE rapid response team member pushing back against the Trump administration’s harmful anti-immigrant policies. If elected, she wants to establish a $16 minimum wage, tenants' rights and rent control, and low-barrier shelters. Moore would also look for ways to make the city more sustainable and explore implementing municipal broadband.
Moore's opponent in this race is Joel Manning, who is running to push back against progressive politics in Burien. He frames efforts to alleviate the homelessness crisis in as "misguided" and states that he will oppose "low/no barrier shelters," leaving members of the community to suffer the consequences. In addition, Manning does not support a $16 minimum wage.
Moore is by far the best choice in this race for Burien City Council, Position 2.
Kevin Schilling is a third-generation Burienite running for Position 4 on the Burien City Council. Having worked on a number of local civic issues, including his time as a legislative intern in Governor Inslee’s office, Schilling is currently finishing up his dual master’s degree from Columbia University and the London School of Economics. He is running to increase public safety, support local businesses, empower union workers, and to "bring an end to divisive politics."
Schilling's opponent in this race is conservative incumbent and former mayor Lucy Krakowiak. When she was mayor, Krakowiak spent $5,000 of her own money for anti-Seattle scare tactic postcards designed to promote her fellow conservative members. In 2017, she signed a petition to repeal her own city council's sanctuary city policy.
Schilling is the best choice for Burien City Council, Position 4.
Sofia Aragon is a progressive running for the open Position 6 seat on the Burien City Council that was vacated by Austin Bell. Aragon is a registered nurse and the Executive Director of the Washington Center for Nursing. Aragon serves on the boards of the WA Low Income Housing Alliance and Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment (APACE). Aragon is running to ensure Burien is a safe, healthy, and inclusive place for all residents. She is also passionate about creating more affordable housing and reducing homelessness in our communities.
Aragon is facing conservative Debi Wagner, a former Burien City Council member who lost her seat in 2017 to Mayor Jimmy Matta. Wagner was a previous supporter of Respect Washington, a group she was forced to disavow after they sent mailers to Burien residents with the names and addresses of allegedly undocumented immigrants. Her previous campaign platforms included distractions like fighting socialism.
Aragon is the best choice in this race because of her decades of community service and commitment to healthier communities for all.
Incumbent Luisa Bangs was first elected to the Des Moines City Council in 2015. She serves on several boards and commissions on the council, including the Public Safety/Emergency Management Committee, the Municipal Facilities Committee, and the Des Moines Arts Commission. Bangs states that she's proud of her work on fiscal responsibility, public safety, and economic diversity, and will continue to work on noise pollution, economic development in the downtown core, and more. She points to the city's solvent long term budget and contingencies, fully-funded police department, and doubling of the budget for human resources as proof of her and the current council's success.
Bangs is running against JC Harris, a retired professional musician and engineer. He previously ran for city council in 2017 on a platform of transparency and stronger code enforcement. He's running again on those issues, as well as reducing air traffic and making Des Moines more business-friendly.
Bangs' endorsements by local progressive organizations make her the best choice in this race.
Community activist Anthony Martinelli is running for Des Moines City Council, Position 6 on a platform of increased public safety funds, raising the Des Moines minimum wage, and focusing greater attention on homelessness and mental health. Previously, he served as the Communications Director for Sensible Washington, a nonprofit political committee for the reformation of state drug laws. In addition, he managed the campaign of King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove.
Martinelli is challenging incumbent Rob Back. Back spoke in favor of creating the Aviation Advisory Committee back in 2017 to address noise pollution over Des Moines. In his campaign video, Back points to the city budget and the fully staffed police department and new police substation for the Redondo neighborhood as one of the council's successes since his election in 2015.
Martinelli is the best choice in this race because of his strong support of working families and endorsements from progressive community leaders.
Councilmember Lydia Assefa-Dawson is running for re-election to Federal Way City Council, Position 1. She has served in the community through several avenues, including as a board member for Puget Sound Access, a language interpreter for the American Red Cross, the Community Relations Board President for the Federal Way Detention Center, as a PTA president, and on the Washington State Advisory Council on Homelessness, among other roles. She is running unopposed and has earned your vote.
There are no good choices for Federal Way City Council, Position 3. Sharry Edwards is a nurse who has volunteered to help people experiencing homelessness in several capacities, including serving as co-chair of the city's Homeless Mothers and Children's Initiative along with fellow candidate Susan Honda. However, Edwards has been censured by a local Democratic organization, of which she was a former member, for making perceived threats against another member and accusing other Federal Way candidates of accepting "bribes."
Edwards is running against Susan Honda, the current deputy mayor of Federal Way. Honda serves on the Finance, Economic Development & Regional Affairs Committee, and is the president of women's organization Soroptimists International and as well as incoming co-president of the local Kiwanis Club. However, she is more conservative than Edwards.
Write in a candidate of your choice for Position 3.
Jamila Taylor is an attorney for domestic violence survivors. She has served in several leadership positions in the community, including on the Federal Way Human Services Commission, and on the boards for the Highline College Foundation and the Girl Scouts of Western Washington. Taylor's top priorities include affordable housing, inclusive and equitable economic development, and sustainable public transit. On housing, Taylor wants to provide opportunities for additional low- and middle-income housing, first time home buyers programs, and education for tenants on their rights. She wants to see Federal Way attract more labor-friendly businesses, better access to local safety net programs, and increased investment in youth development.
Taylor's opponent in this race is incumbent Mark Koppang. As a former chair of the 30th District Republicans, Koppang is clearly more conservative. Koppang's campaign is focused on downtown development, public safety, and looking for local solutions for homelessness.
Jamila Taylor is the best choice for Federal Way City Council, Position 5.
There are no progressive choices in this race. Incumbent Linda Kochmar has served on the Federal Way City Council for 14 years. She has also been mayor, deputy mayor, and is a former Republican state representative. Kochmar is focused on fiscal responsibility, homelessness, and public safety.
Tony Pagliocco works at Boeing as a product management leader. He is looking to build up the police force and "clean up the decay that is happening on our street corners." He wants to "clean up the city" to make it more attractive to businesses, and to enact ordinances against panhandling.
Federal Way Citizen Initiative No 19-001, also known as the Stable Homes Federal Way initiative, would prohibit retaliatory and discriminatory evictions by requiring landlords to have good-cause to evict a renter. Currently, landlords can evict a renter with a 20-day no-cause notice or refuse to renew their lease, making it easy for landlords to retaliate against tenants. This policy would help protect all renters from bad-faith evictions by predatory landlords and ensure families can stay together. This initiative was organized by local renters and our partners at Washington CAN. Vote yes on the Stable Homes Federal Way Initiative.
Advisory Proposition No. 1 is a non-binding advisory vote that will inform the Federal Way City Council about whether or not to allow marijuana-related businesses locating within the city. A yes vote has the potential to bring in large amounts of revenue for the city, assist those who use medicinal marijuana for pain relief, and bring family-wage jobs. Elsewhere in Washington state, thanks to strict ID laws and regulation, allowing the sale of marijuana has not raised crime rates or underage usage. Vote Yes on Federal Way Advisory Proposition No. 1.
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.
Melanie O'Cain is running for Kenmore City Council, Position 1. She is running on a platform of environmental stewardship and sustainable development, and is committed to serving her community. She has earned endorsements from many progressive groups and elected officials.
O'Cain is running against former AT&T Executive Suzanne Greathouse. Greathouse wants Kenmore to welcome new businesses while retaining a "hometown feel" and lists police support as one of her top priorities.
O'Cain is the clear choice in this race for Kenmore City Council, Position 1.
There are no progressive choices in this race. Incumbent Milton Curtis is running unopposed for re-election to Kenmore City Council, Position 3. He worked as a doctor for 35 years before retiring to start a senior care company emphasizing safety and fall prevention. Curtis is socially conservative and has taken votes against equality and justice for all on the council.
We recommend writing in a more progressive candidate for Kenmore City Council, Position 3.
David Baker is the current mayor of Kenmore and is running for re-election to City Council, Position 5. He owns two local businesses and has served as a council member since 2003. Baker wants to invest in transportation, improve relationships with community businesses, and preserve green spaces. However, Baker is more conservative on issues related to taxes and budgeting.
While Baker is not extremely progressive, he is running unopposed for Kenmore City Council, Position 5.
Corina Pfeil is running for Kenmore City Council, Position 7. Pfeil is a community leader, legislative advocate, and PTA participant whose two children attend public school in Kenmore. She is running a strong campaign on building a strong economy that works for all, addressing affordable housing with equitable solutions, and protecting and preserving parks and the Kenmore Tree Canopy.
Pfeil is running against Van Sperry, a retired nurse whose platform focuses on public safety and "tax transparency" around Kenmore's property taxes. Pfeil is a strong progressive and deserves your vote.
Appointed to the City Council in 2018 to replace Tina Buddell, Marli Larimer is running with a focus on economic development, public safety, and affordable housing. She is a senior content editor at Amazon with an extensive history of volunteering on community councils, local PTAs, and other organizations. She also serves on the King County Affordable Housing Committee as well as the King County Advisory Council on Aging and Disabilities Services. Unfortunately, Larimer hired Bailey Stober, the former King County Democrats chair who resigned after being accused of harassment, to work on her campaign.
Larimer is facing Todd Minor, a director at Microsoft and a member of Kent's Police Diversity Task Force and a commissioner on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission. He is running on a platform of public safety and fiscal and environmental stewardship. He plans to advocate for police officers and create non-tax revenue sources, though he does not have details about the latter.
Larimer's support from local progressive organizations makes her the best choice in this race.
Hira Singh Bhullar is a senior software developer for Starbucks who is running for Kent City Council, Position 3 on a progressive platform. Bhullar is a board member of several nonprofits, including Kent Youth and Family Services, the Khalsa Gurmat Center, the Kent Schools Foundation, and the Kent YMCA. His campaign is centered on job creation that supports families, improving transportation, creative revenue generation, and transparency in city government. As an immigrant himself, Bhullar supports immigration reform and embraces diversity in the community. He wants to increase funding for the police department and reduce traffic congestion in Kent.
Bhullar is facing 16-year incumbent Les Thomas, who has missed time on the council recently for health reasons. A former Republican and independent candidate in the early 2000s, Thomas is a more moderate voice on the council. Thomas does not have a detailed re-election platform available, but states that he will focus on traffic congestion, homelessness, and budget constraints. In 2016, he referred to Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shooting victim from Ferguson, MO, as a "thief" and objected to a moment of silence for his killing in the Kent City Council.
Bhullar is the best choice in this race.
Mizan Rahman is currently the Senior Capital Project Manager for the King County Wastewater Division. He has deep connections in Kent and is active with the local Muslim community. Rahman has a very detailed plan available on his website, including his priorities of balancing the budget, improving infrastructure, helping the homeless, public safety, and immigration. He wants to ensure that zoning accommodates a variety of affordable housing types, advocate for community-based policing, provide rehab and transitioning homes for the homeless, and streamline department budgets in the city's general fund, among other policies.
Rahman is running against Bill Boyce, the Kent City Council president. Boyce was appointed last year to the King County Children and Youth Advisory Board, serves on the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, and chairs the council's Economic & Community Development Committee, among other leadership roles. However, he hasn't released a detailed progressive platform like Rahman.
Rahman is the best choice for Kent City Council, Position 5 because of his broad support in the progressive community and thoughtful plans to improve the city.
Awale Farah is currently pursuing a master's degree in Innovative Leadership from Saybrook University. Farah's campaign is focused on increasing access to public transportation, affordable housing, and more well-paid jobs for families. As a passionate learner about food security and access to healthy foods in Kent, he has served as a volunteer at the Living Well Kent greenhouse and the Kent Farmer’s Market.
Farah is running against Zandria Michaud, a student at UW Tacoma. Michaud, along with Larimer and Bhullar in Positions 1 and 3, was among 8 candidates shortlisted from a pool of 36 candidates to fill the vacancy in Position 1 in 2018 after Tina Budell's departure from the city council. Disappointingly, Michaud is pushing hard for more policing of homeless people rather than addressing the root causes of the issue. In addition, Michaud been stoking fear and division in the community through her exaggerated claims about crime in Kent.
Farah is the best choice for Kent City Council, Position 7 because of his broad endorsements by local progressive organizations.
Kelli Curtis is running for Kirkland City Council, Position 2 after she was appointed to fill Amy Walen's seat in 2019. Curtis has served on the City of Kirkland Park Board since 2015 and joined the Houghton Community Council in 2016 before her appointment to Kirkland City Council, where she serves on the Planning and Economic Development Committee and Legislative Work Group. Curtis is focusing her campaign on sustainable smart planning, inclusivity, and expansion of parks and natural spaces. She is running unopposed and is a strong choice for Kirkland City Council, Position 2.
There are no good choices for Kirkland City Council, Position 4.
Libertarian incumbent Toby Nixon is the most conservative member of the Kirkland City Council. Nixon's campaign is emphasizing “individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government.” Unfortunately, he has been rigid and uncompromising on important environmental, low-income housing, and regional transit issues. Nixon also denies the science behind climate change.
David Schwartz is a former Microsoft employee who is challenging Nixon. Unfortunately, he is also not progressive and is not mounting a credible challenge to Nixon.
Write in a candidate of your choice for Kirkland City Council, Position 4.
Neal Black is a Houghton Community Council member running for Kirkland City Council, Position 5. Black was one of the five finalists interviewed to fill this seat when Amy Walen vacated it in 2019, but Kelli Curtis (now running for Position 2) was chosen. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the King County Bar Association and chaired their Public Policy Committee for four years. His campaign is emphasizing affordable housing, inclusiveness, planning for sustainability, more diverse transportation options, and stewardship over Kirkland’s current assets.
Black is running against Martin Morgan, a perennial candidate who served a one-year probationary sentence for fourth degree assault and resisting arrest in 2009. The city of Kirkland sued him twice, resulting in a $20,000 fine for Morgan.
Black is the clear choice for Kirkland City Council, Position 5.
Amy Falcone is a Kirkland Human Services Commission co-chair and Thoreau Elementary School PTA president running for Kirkland City Council, Position 6. She is a member of the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance Board and the Neighborhood Safety Program Panel. Falcone is emphasizing inclusivity, “smart growth,” community safety, and fiscal responsibility in her campaign. She has been endorsed by numerous legislators including former Kirkland mayor and state representative Joan McBride and State Representative Amy Walen.
Falcone is running against Jory Hamilton. In 2017, he ran for Position 5 and lost to Amy Walen. He is a UW graduate and his current campaign presence is very thin. Hamilton's voter guide statement says he believes the average person in Kirkland does not know when city council meetings are held or even who their mayor is. He also wants to support the firefighters.
Falcone is the clear choice in this race.
Dave Rosenbaum is a public relations manager at a pet-focused technology company running for Mercer Island City Council, Position 1. His top priorities are protecting the island's natural spaces, replacing aging water and sewer infrastructure, and connecting the "last mile" in the Town Center to get residents to and from the upcoming light rail station.
Rosenbaum is running against the more conservative Daniel Thompson, an attorney who is running to protect parks, encourage more transparency from the council, and preserve residential neighborhood character. He objects to the expanded ridership of transit on the island, calling the off-island passengers "security risks."
While Rosenbaum isn't very progressive, he is the best choice in the race for Mercer Island City Council, Position 1 because of his support from some of our progressive partners and community leaders.
Moderate Wendy Weiker, a community outreach manager at Puget Sound Energy, is running for re-election to Mercer Island City Council, Position 3. She has served in a multitude of community leadership roles, including as a board member of EarthShare, an active member of three PTAs on the island, and as a liaison to the Sound Cities Association. If re-elected, she will maintain her focus on public safety, protecting the community from gun violence, investing in infrastructure, and supporting the Mercer Island Center for the Arts and rapidly changing Town Center.
Weiker is running against Amazon manager Jon Hanlon, whose primary priorities are transportation, public safety, and budget issues. He states that he will not allow Sound Transit operations beyond what is explicitly established by the settlement and connects additional transit with increases in crime.
While Weiker is not the most progressive candidate on Mercer Island, she is the clear choice over the more conservative Hanlon.
Patrick Allcorn is a food tour company manager who also serves as an elected representative to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee on the Affirmative Action Committee. Allcorn is focused on funding mental health counselors in Mercer Island schools, funding police and fire services, and promoting small business development on the island.
Allcorn is challenging incumbent Lisa Anderl, who is running to find savings in the city budget and support law enforcement. She does not support the current bus intercept proposal, and prefers a limited configuration, which would lead to more traffic and fewer transportation options for Mercer Island residents.
Allcorn is the best choice in this race.
Craig Reynolds is a business executive and a member of last year’s Community Advisory Group. He worked to pass Proposition 1 last year to fund public safety services, mental health counseling, and parks and public spaces. He is running to focus on the city’s financial challenges as well as transportation, growth, and land use and is endorsed by a number of local progressives.
Reynolds is facing Heather Jordan Cartwright, the VP of Operations for the Islander Middle School PTSA. Cartwright believes the current council is not listening to islanders' concerns when it comes to the proposed bus intercept on the north end, light rail's impact on parking and traffic, and budgetary accountability.
Reynolds is the best choice for Position 5 to keep Mercer Island moving forward.
Mercer Island Mayor Debbie Bertlin was first elected in 2011 and has served as deputy mayor from 2016 to 2018. She was selected by her fellow council members to be mayor in 2018. Bertlin has been an exceptional leader on the council, helping usher in the South End Fire Station, advocating for the shuttle that moves central Islanders to the Park and Ride, and supporting the island's first accessible and inclusive playground. She is also supportive of the transit station to increase access and mobility for all island residents.
Bertlin is being challenged by Jake Jacobson, the vice president of a construction company. He is focused on making sure that Aubrey Davis Park does not become a transportation corridor, preventing spot zoning in single-family neighborhoods, and fiscal sustainability.
Mayor Bertlin in the best and most progressive choice in this race.
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 an 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's 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
Former state representative and Renton School Board member Marcie Maxwell's effective leadership and strong policy background have served Renton well. She has advocated for K-12 funding, invested in infrastructure, and protected the environment while creating green jobs. Now, the former Senior Education Policy Advisor for Gov. Jay Inslee is running to work with state and local officials to effectively lead the growing city so that both residents and businesses can thrive where they live.
Maxwell is running against small business owner and current Renton City Councilmember Armondo Pavone. He is prioritizing supporting police, fire, park, and other city services to promote public safety as well as improving the local economy and building public and private partnerships. Pavone has also been active with the Renton Chamber of Commerce and the Renton Hill Neighborhood Association.
Maxwell has numerous endorsements from progressive partner organizations and elected officials and is the best choice in this race.
Renton Regional Community Foundation member Valerie O’Halloran is running for the open Renton City Council, Position 3 seat, which was vacated by Carol Ann Witschi. O’Halloran is running to improve transportation infrastructure and to build a city that is welcoming and affordable for veterans and low-income families. She has earned endorsements from numerous progressive leaders and groups.
O'Halloran is running against James Alberson, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Renton Chamber of Commerce. He's running a more conservative campaign focused on creating jobs and improving business opportunities. We recommend O'Halloran because of her strong support from progressive advocates.
Ryan McIrvin is running for re-election to Renton City Council, Position 4. McIrvin, who works for the University of Washington in government relations, has been a leader in bringing affordable housing options to East King County, serving on the King County Regional Affordable Housing Task Force and voting in favor of Renton’s five-year affordable housing action plan. Prior to being elected, he served as the Vice-Chair of the City of Renton Human Services Advisory Committee. McIrvin is running against Maria Spasikova, a businesswoman who does not have a strong campaign presence or website as of mid-October. McIrvin is the best choice in this race.
Council President Ed Prince is running unopposed for re-election to Renton City Council, Position 5. Prince was unanimously elected Chair of the Public Issues Committee of the Sound Cities Association Board in February, an important role that helps build consensus on policies among all 38 of King County's cities. He also serves as board chair of the Renton Planning Commission and is the Executive Director of the Washington State Commission on African American Affairs. Prince is known for bringing people together to get things done and is a great choice for Renton City Council, Position 5.
Kim-Khanh Van is a community activist running for Renton City Council, Position 7. She is a member of the Renton Mayor's Inclusion Task Force, Renton Rotary, and Northwest Immigrants Rights Project. She came to Washington state as a child after spending seven months in a refugee camp in the Philippines after her family fled Vietnam. Van's campaign is focused on small businesses, appreciating the cultural diversity of Renton, public safety (she refers to Renton as "in the burglary belt") and fiscal responsibility. While her platform is not the most progressive, she is supportive of unions and her perspective would aid Renton as it grows and continues to become more diverse.
Her opponent in this race is Thomas Trautmann, who is running a campaign around public safety, fiscal responsibility, and economic growth.
Van is the better choice for Renton City Council, Position 7.
Karen McKnight is running for Sammamish City Council, Position 2. She has previously served as president of a PTSA and the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce, the CEO of a Keller Williams franchise, and a junior high school teacher. McKnight wants to increase public transportation, protect the environment, and bring more affordable housing to Sammamish. She has earned the endorsement of numerous progressive groups and elected officials.
McKnight is running against incumbent Christie Malchow, whose re-election campaign is focused on conservative ideals like fiscal prudence and prioritizing public safety. Malchow originally announced she would not run for re-election before changing her mind. Malchow has opposed some efforts to increase affordable housing that would allow people like teachers, firefighters, and nurses to live in the community they serve.
Karen McKnight is the best choice in this race for Sammamish City Council, Position 2.
Karen Howe is running for Sammamish City Council, Position 4, which is being vacated by Councilmember Ramiro Valderrama. She is the president of nonprofit SammamishFriends.org, which is dedicated to promoting local conservation and sustainability efforts. Howe has also worked as a director at Microsoft, a VP at AOL, and was recently appointed to the Children and Youth Advisory Board for King County. Howe wants to enhance public transportation options, ensure funds are managed with prudence and transparency, and use her experience as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to serve the young people of Sammamish.
Howe is running against Kent Treen, a teacher who works with at-risk students. While he supports environmental preservation, he has stated is opposition to increasing affordable housing to keep Sammamish affordable.
Howe's numerous progressive endorsements combined with her commitment to serving her community make her the best choice for Sammamish City Council, Position 4.
Rituja Indapure is running for Sammamish City Council, Position 6, which is being vacated by Councilmember Tom Hornish. Indapure serves on the City of Sammamish Planning Commission, Sammamish YMCA Advisory Board, and was recently appointed to the Washington State Women's Commission by Governor Jay Inslee. She also works at Costco in systems management. Her campaign is focused on improving roads and sidewalks, reducing energy consumption on the individual and city levels, and conserving environmentally sensitive areas. Indapure has numerous endorsements from progressive groups and elected officials.
Indapure is running against Ken Gamblin, who owns a local publishing company and is a moderator of the Facebook group Save Sammamish. Gamblin's campaign issues include concern that new apartments in Sammamish will bring too many children to the area and rapidly overload the schools. His website states, "In reality, every new home built in Sammamish puts us all further into debt."
Indapure's progressive values and impressive support from the community make her the best choice for Sammamish City Council, Position 6.
Senayet Negusse is running for SeaTac City Council, Position 1. She is an educator, dual-language coach for immigrant and refugee communities, and a commissioner on the King County Immigrant and Refugee Commission. She is running on a platform of improving infrastructure, making transportation more accessible, and community safety. Negusse wants the city council to reflect the diversity and interests of the residents of SeaTac and has been spending time in different community spaces to learn what matters to them.
Negusse is running against Tony Anderson, who previously served as the mayor and as a city council member in SeaTac. During his time on the council, Anderson was known to Skype into some council meetings instead of attending in person. He does not have a robust campaign presence this time around.
Senayet Negusse is the best choice for fresh leadership on the SeaTac City Council.
Damiana Merryweather is a small business owner running for SeaTac City Council, Position 3. Merryweather is running to rectify the division and disenfranchisement being carried out by SeaTac's current conservative council. She believes that promoting the value of diverse communities is key to weathering change and growth, and wants to use her skills as a business owner on the council. Merryweather was inspired to run after the current council continued to promote large commercial interests over local residents and small businesses.
Merryweather is challenging incumbent SeaTac Councilmember Peter Kwon. He previously supported a diversity resolution and the creation of an arts and culture committee. Unfortunately, those efforts are outweighed by the consistently conservative actions of Kwon and the rest of the incumbents on the council.
The SeaTac City Council is badly in need of fresh progressive leadership. Merryweather is the best choice for SeaTac City Council, Position 3.
Takele Gobena is a labor organizer who is running for SeaTac City Council, Position 5. Gobena helped lead the fight to raise the minimum wage in SeaTac to $15 an hour. He works with the Teamsters and has been organizing Lyft and Uber drivers. As the only renter in the race, Gobena is emphasizing affordable housing as well as addressing public safety, including working with King County to bring more diversity to the police force.
Gobena is running against Stan Tombs, who was appointed to fill Position 5 earlier this year. Tombs is a retired lawyer and real estate developer, and is running on a conservative platform that would short-change essential city services.
Gobena is the best choice for SeaTac City Council, Position 5 because of his progressive values and strong community support.
Mohamed Ali Egal is a job developer with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) who is running for SeaTac City Council, Position 7. Egal immigrated to the United States decades ago and has lived in SeaTac for more than 10 years. He served as a job developer at Hopelink before transitioning into similar work with the Somali community at Career Path Services (which operates within the DSHS).
Egal's campaign is focused on expanding affordable, multi-family housing, increasing employment, and improving human services. He was also one of the many community members who expressed frustration when Stan Tombs was appointed to replace former SeaTac Councilmember Amina Ahmed after her death. Egal reminded the council that a majority of SeaTac's residents are people of color and he called for representation from those with shared life experiences with the community.
Egal is challenging the current conservative mayor of SeaTac, Councilmember Erin Sitterley. She is infamous for being a far-right Trump supporter who posted a photo of herself in a hat with "infidel" in phony Arabic script. SeaTac deserves better, and Mohamed Ali Egal is the best choice for SeaTac City Council, Position 7.
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 Phil Tavel, the co-founder of a video game company, 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 $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 $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 $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 $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 Councilmember 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 $2 million campaign to flip the Seattle City Council and push their conservative corporate agenda.
Strauss its 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 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 $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
Keith Scully is running for re-election to Shoreline City Council, Position 2. He was first elected in 2015, and in his time on the council, he has secured funding for sidewalk repair and new sidewalk construction, increased tree protections, and supported transportation improvements around the city. Scully is a former King County deputy prosecutor and currently works as an intellectual property attorney. If re-elected, Scully wants to work on approaching homelessness with services and opportunities that work and funding a new aquatics center while keeping costs low.
Scully is being challenged by Vivian Collica, who does not have a robust campaign presence. Scully has strong support from progressive advocates and is the best choice for Shoreline City Council, Position 2.
There are two strong candidates in this race: incumbent Councilmember Doris McConnell and David Chen. We lean towards McConnell because of her strong record on the council.
Shoreline City Councilmember Doris McConnell was named president of the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials from 2015 through 2016 and has been very active in Shoreline schools, including serving in multiple positions on the Shoreline PTA. While on the Shoreline City Council, McConnell has served as deputy mayor and on the Regional Water Quality Commission. McConnell is running for another term to continue revitalizing Shoreline Place and reduce homelessness using supportive housing and other policies that prioritize efficiency and dignity. Chen and McConnell are both good candidates for Shoreline City Council but we lean towards McConnell because of her support from our progressive partners.
David Chen is running a strong campaign for Shoreline City Council, Position 4. He is emphasizing tackling homelessness, developing the economy, and improving the sidewalks and public gathering spaces in the community. His plan to address affordable housing for seniors and workers is based on his experience serving on the board of Vision House, a homelessness nonprofit. Chen also wants to create more living-wage jobs by developing training programs at Shoreline Community College and bring new businesses to the city.
Chen recently resigned as vice president and general counsel to CRISTA Ministries due to accusations by parents and teachers that the parent organization was running a Christian school with an anti-gay stance both on campus and in the ministry. After trying to advocate for LGBTQ+ students at the school, he stated that the anti-LGBTQ+ beliefs held by CRISTA Ministries made working for them "untenable".
Betsy Robertson is running to retain Shoreline City Council, Position 6, the seat she was unanimously appointed to in January. Robertson is the Communications Program Manager for the American Red Cross Northwest Region and previously worked at KING 5 and Northwest Cable News. Robertson's campaign is prioritizing preserving green spaces, building more transportation and affordable housing infrastructure, and projects like expanding neighborhood mini-grants to support more local events and opportunities for the community.
Robertson is being challenged by Luis Berbesi, who does not have a robust campaign presence and was vocally opposed to I-1639, a gun violence prevention initiative that Washington voters overwhelmingly approved in 2018. Robertson is the best choice for Shoreline City Council, Position 6.
Nancy Manos is a union leader and renter running for Tukwila City Council, Position 2. Her top priorities are affordable housing, financial accountability, and public safety. She is calling for more public engagement on issues like infrastructure and investment in first responders and is dedicated to supporting immigrant businesses facing eviction and gentrification.
Manos is running against longtime Tukwila City Council member and Vice-Chair of the King County Regional Transportation Committee Kathy Hougardy. Hougardy served on the Tukwila Equity and Diversity Commission in addition to being the current chair on both the economic development board and the tax advisory committee.
Her wide support from our Progressive Voters Guide partners and dedication to keeping Tukwila affordable to all make Manos the best choice in this race.
Cynthia Johnson Delostrinos is a lawyer who focuses on identifying and addressing racial and ethnic bias, gender bias, and language access in the justice system. Her priorities include making the justice system equally accessible to all, increasing accessibility of public transportation, balancing the needs of small and large businesses, and supporting affordable housing and the homeless.
She is running against retired steamfitter Dennis Martinez. Martinez's top priorities focus on labor. He seeks to promote trade schools, help establish pre-training programs for labor apprenticeships, and enact a Small Contractor and Supplier List to promote local businesses.
Johnson Delostrinos is the best choice in this race.
There are two good choices for Tukwila City Council, Position 6: Tosh Sharp and Kate Kruller. We lean toward Sharp because of his progressive values and support from community leaders.
Sharp is a lineman at Seattle City Light and a proud union member of PTE 17 and IBEW 77. As a member of the Community Oriented Policing Citizen's Advisory Board, Sharp is seeking a balance between public safety and positive relationships with the police by supporting community policing and halting police militarization. He is concerned about the displacement of immigrant families with the construction of the new justice center and, if elected, intends to increase engagement with communities when large projects are proposed. Sharp is determined to create accountable budgets and support new homes and eviction protections to ameliorate the crisis of homelessness and prevent people from becoming unsheltered in the first place.
Incumbent Kate Kruller works in IT for the City of Seattle and as a volunteer for the Tukwila Pantry and other local organizations. She points to the completion of Tukwila Village, the Sullivan Center, and the King County Library as landmarks of her successful term. If re-elected, Kruller states that she will continue to improve transportation options, steward pedestrian and street improvements, and encourage a healthy budget.
Vashon’s health clinic has been in operation for the last 50 years. The last two providers left because of financial losses, and the current clinic operator, Neighborcare Health, is facing the same challenges.
Proposition No. 1 would create Public Hospital District No. 5 across the Vashon-Maury Island area. This does not mean a hospital will be built on the island, but rather a commissioner-run district will be set up to allow the negotiation and management of providers on the island. A yes vote would make Vashon one of the many communities in Washington with such a district, and help provide sustainable funding, enabling the maintenance of basic health services on the island. If passed, the rate would be determined by the elected commissioners; the state's maximum rate is $0.75 of $1,000 of assessed property value. If the proposition fails, the provider will likely no longer be able to provide services, which would hurt the elderly, working families, and children who rely most on these services.
Vote yes on Proposition No. 1 for sustainable and accessible health care.
There are no progressive choices in this race. Les Rubstello is running unopposed for re-election to Woodinville City Council, Position 2. His campaign website and social media have not been updated since 2015. In 2012, Rubstello issued an apology to Mayor Bernie Talmas and the community after an outburst during a council meeting. Woodinville deserves better from their elected officials. We suggest writing in a more progressive choice for Woodinville City Council, Position 2.
Elaine Cook is running unopposed for re-election to Woodinville City Council, Position 4. Her campaign is emphasizing her success with and continued commitment to preservation of the Sammamish Valley and Woodinville's tree canopy, as well as her values of compromise and thoughtful growth. Cook is a supporter of the King County Parks Levy. As she is running unopposed, Cook is the only choice for Woodinville City Council, Position 4.
Nicolas Duchastel is a software engineer and member of the Planning Commission who is running for Woodinville City Council, Position 6. The main points of Duchastel's campaign are protecting the environment, stewarding growth in the city including maintaining infrastructure, more transparency in local government.
He is challenging current City Councilmember Al Taylor, who does not have a robust campaign presence but has previously campaigned on a more conservative platform. Nicolas Duchastel has numerous endorsements from progressive leaders and groups, and is the best choice for Woodinville City Council, Position 6.
Paul Hagen is running for Woodinville City Council, Position 7 on a platform of sustainable growth, protecting the environment, and responsive government. Hagen has 4 children and cites them as his main inspiration for running for this seat.
Hagen is challenging incumbent city council member Gary Harris, who serves as the deputy mayor of Woodinville. He is the owner of the Hideaway Lodge Bed and Breakfast and has also worked as a pharmacist. Harris is not particularly progressive and does not have a robust campaign presence. Hagen is the best choice for Woodinville City Council, Position 7.
School District Races
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below school board races on your ballot.
Jane Aras is running for Bellevue School District Board of Directors, District 5. She wants to prioritize the social and emotional development of students and make access to high quality education more equitable. Aras has 17 years of experience working with students as a special education teacher and through the local PTSA. She created a math and reading club for students and introduced before-school computer programming for 4th and 5th grade students. Aras has numerous endorsements from progressive partner organizations and elected officials.
Aras is running against Dr. Francine Wiest, who is running to retain her seat after she was appointed to this position in January 2019. She was the president at Somerset Elementary and active in the PTSA before her appointment.
Aras's years of experience combined with her strong platform and endorsements make her the best choice for Bellevue School District Board of Directors, District 5.
Tam Dinh is a social work professor at Saint Martin’s University as well as a licensed independent clinical social worker who works with children struggling with educational, mental health, and addiction issues. She serves on the Washington State Commission for Asian Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA)’s Education and Health and Mental Health Committees. As a refugee who learned English in elementary school, Dinh credits a strong network of teachers for both her educational development and for her future interest in teaching. Dinh is running to fold social, emotional, and mental health into education. She supports diversity in education, from diverse teachers in classrooms to students with different learning needs, and promotes safe, equitable learning environments.
Dinh's opponent is John Rivera-Dirks, a former U.S. diplomat to India, Amazon executive, and a volunteer in the school district's Technology Advisory Group. Rivera-Dinks wants to increase student well-being with programs such as bullying prevention and over-scheduling management, support professional development, and update the elementary school buildings.
We recommend Dinh for Mercer Island School Board, Position 5 because of her progressive values and experience improving the lives of young people.
Renton School District No. 403's Proposition No. 1, the Building for Excellence School Building Construction Bond, will provide critical resources for the district. It would fund the construction of an elementary school in the quickly-growing northeastern part of the district, improved safety and security measures, renovations, additional science classrooms in high schools, and more. Because a greater number of families have moved into the district, the average homeowner will actually pay a lower tax rate under this levy, which will cost $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value through 2025. At this rate, the owner of a median-priced $400,000 home would pay $116 per month.
Our students deserve the best possible resources to kickstart their educations and secure their futures. Vote yes on the Building for Excellence School Building Construction Bond!
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 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 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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