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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 I-976 would derail our ability to fix dangerous roads, retrofit outdated bridges and overpasses, complete voter-approved light rail, provide transit for riders with disabilities, and more.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, that extends a business and occupation tax preference for timber companies. In addition, part of HB 1324 raises a small amount of revenue from timber companies for salmon recovery, which is what led to Advisory Vote 21. While the salmon recovery provision is laudable, HB 1324 will primarily serve as an unnecessary tax cut for timber companies at a time when we need to be investing more in affordable housing, education, health care, and other priorities. Vote “Repealed” on Advisory Vote No. 21.
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. 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.
Sen. Liz Lovelett is running to retain her seat in Legislative District 40 after being appointed to the state Senate in February. Lovelett is a fifth-generation Anacortes resident who previously served on the Anacortes City Council. In her first few months in office, Lovelett prioritized environmental conservation and played a key role in passing legislation protecting orcas and the Salish Sea. If elected this November, Lovelett will also prioritize increasing affordable housing and expanding services for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.
Lovelett's opponent, Republican Daniel Miller is a landscaper and perennial local candidate. He wants to hold hearings on "the possibility of certain drugs causing dementia" and keep the Northwest a great place to live but does not offer any substantial policy proposals on how that can be achieved. Lovelett is the clear progressive choice for state Senate in Legislative District 40.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below county races on your ballot.
Satpal Sidhu is a small business owner and former dean of Bellingham Technical College who has called Whatcom County home for 30 years. Sidhu has served on the Whatcom County Council since 2015 and is a current board member on the Whatcom Community College Foundation and the NW Agricultural Business Center. He supports the preservation of farmland, bringing family-wage jobs to the county, improving water quality, and addressing housing shortages for future residents.
Conservative Tony Larson is challenging Sidhu. Larson is the president of the Whatcom Business Alliance, which was one of the strongest proponents of expanding dirty coal exports. A former Whatcom County councilmember, Larson is running as a business candidate and is focused on increasing economic opportunities for businesses.
Sidhu is the progressive choice for Whatcom County Executive.
Natalie McClendon is serving her second term as a Whatcom County Planning Commissioner. She has served as chair of the Whatcom Democrats and has volunteered with the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and other community organizations. If elected to the county council, McClendon says she will tackle issues of land and water use, affordable housing, and lack of job opportunities.
She is running against conservative Ben Elenbaas, a farmer, 18-year employee of BP's Cherry Point Refinery, and president of the WC Farm Bureau. He also served on the Whatcom County Planning Commission. In regards to the moratorium at Cherry Point, Elenbaas has stated that he would "seek to facilitate a regulatory environment in which these companies can continue to improve, upgrade and remain reliable, something our current council has demonstrated they are not willing to do." Elenbaas would push the council to support big corporations over protections for workers and the environment.
McClendon is the best choice for Whatcom County Council in District 5.
Brian Estes, the vice chair of the executive board of the Whatcom County Democrats, is running for District 4 on the County Council. Estes' top priorities include resolving water quantity issues, creating high-wage jobs in business, technology, agriculture, and other industries. He supports working more closely with colleges, workplace development organizations, and high schools to develop STEM education and job training for high-wage tech jobs. Estes wants to see an incarceration reduction strategy implemented that diverts those who need mental health and addiction services out of jail and into sobering and other service centers, reducing the number of prison beds needed.
Estes is running against Kathy Kershner, a former commissioned officer in the Navy and the current chair of the Whatcom County Republican Party. She was a member of the Whatcom Council County from 2010 to 2014. Her campaign focuses include preserving agricultural heritage and ensuring water access.
Estes is the clear progressive choice in this race.
Incumbent Carol Frazey is a small business owner and former teacher who is running for re-election to the Whatcom County Council. Her platform is focused on developing youth health programs in nutrition and the environment, increasing access to treatment programs to reduce incarceration rates, and supporting affordable housing. She is seeking to implement countywide broadband service, create a water protection plan for Lake Whatcom, and build a carbon-negative economy in the county.
Frazey is running against David Ramirez, who has been endorsed by the Whatcom County Republicans. Ramirez is running to reduce regulations on businesses and support individuals' rights to "use, possess, and dispose of private property as they see fit."
Carol Frazey is by far the best candidate for At-Large Position B on the Whatcom County Council.
Anthony Distefano is a Washington State Ferries employee running for Port of Bellingham, Commissioner District 3. He has served as the shop steward for the Inlandboatmen's Union since 2017 and his professional experiences include consulting on effective heating for Alaskan Native villages and serving as an engineer and coordinator of operations for Earthrace, an environmental company. Distefano is running for Port of Bellingham to promote family-wage jobs at the waterfront, hone the balance between industry and environmental preservation, promote good stewardship of the Salish Sea, and provide broadband for all.
Distefano is challenging commercial fisherman and incumbent Bobby Briscoe. He was first elected to the Port of Bellingham in 2016 and wants to prioritize the construction of a container barge terminal on the waterfront, expand the fish hatchery program, and bring new businesses to Whatcom County. While Briscoe has been an ally of workers at the port and has earned several union endorsements, he has fallen short on his commitments to protect the environment.
Distefano's experience, progressive values, and endorsements from community leaders make him the best choice for Port of Bellingham, Commissioner District 3.
Depending on where you live, you may have the below races on your ballot.
There are two progressives running for Bellingham Mayor: April Barker and Seth Fleetwood. We recommend April Barker because of her strong progressive platform and support from local advocates.
April Barker, a Bellingham City Council member, substitute school teacher, and 20-year resident of Bellingham, is now running for mayor. She serves as the Chair of the Planning and Community Development Committee and a member of numerous other committees, including Justice, Finance, Public Works, and Accessible Technologies. As a council member, she has prioritized criminal justice reform, combating climate change, improving transportation options, and offering more affordable housing options. The centerpiece of Barker's campaign is creating more affordable housing. She lays out a detailed plan about how building more housing will strengthen the economy, fight climate change, reduce homelessness, improve transportation, and address historical inequities.
Barker is running against Seth Fleetwood, a lawyer who is co-chair of the Whatcom County Housing Affordability Task Force, a former member of both the Whatcom County Council and Bellingham City Council, and a 2014 state Senate candidate. He is running to bring collaborative solutions to homelessness and housing affordability and help ensure a just transition to a clean energy future.
Barker is the best choice for Mayor of Bellingham because of her strong endorsements and experience on the city council.
There are two great progressives in this race: Hannah Stone and Beth Hartsoch. Stone would place a higher priority on immigration and social justice issues while Hartsoch would focus more on transportation and environmental issues. Read more below to pick the candidate which best fits your values and priorities for Bellingham.
Immigration lawyer Hannah Stone was appointed to the at-large position on the Bellingham City Council in 2018 and is running for the Ward 1 seat. Stone was selected unanimously by the council for her positions on small businesses, education, and affordable housing. She worked in immigration and citizenship law in Bellingham for 11 years in addition to serving as chair of the Whatcom County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and co-chair of Citizens for Bellingham Schools. Though her time on the council has been limited, she has earned the endorsement of many local progressives.
Beth Hartsoch is running for Bellingham City Council on a platform of affordable housing and increasing transportation options in Bellingham. She co-founded the Riveters Collective, a progressive civic action group, in response to the 2016 election. In 2018, the group formed a Political Action Committee and turned out voters in the 42nd Legislative District.
As a 20-year bike commuter, Hartsoch wants to make Bellingham's streets safer and easier for people to walk, bike, roll, and take transit. She also wants to bring her background in data analysis to increase transparency and improve outcomes for the city.
There are two progressives running in this race: Daniel Hammill and Ashanti Monts-Treviska. We lean toward Hammill because of his progressive track record on the council.
Fundraising and development company owner Daniel Hammill was appointed in 2014 and elected in 2015 to represent Bellingham Ward 3 on the city council. He has been a longtime advocate for affordable housing and for people experiencing homelessness, including his work co-founding the Bellingham/Whatcom Project Homeless Connect to engage hundreds of volunteers in providing human services to unhoused people. He is very active with the Whatcom Volunteer Center and Food Bank, local schools, and the bicycle community. We lean toward Hammill because of his impressive work addressing the homelessness crisis facing Bellingham.
Ashanti Monts-Treviska is a community activist running for Bellingham City Council in Ward 3. Monts-Treviska is a current board member of the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (WPJC). As a deaf Black woman of First American descent, she is striving to implement transformative justice and increase community conversation among underserved communities. She supports phasing out single-use plastics and making Bellingham into a stewardship city when it comes to sustainability and the environment. Monts-Treviska also wants to push local colleges to adopt new strategies for their students to graduate debt-free.
There are two progressive candidates running in this race: Lisa Anderson and Chanan Suarez. Anderson would focus on increased affordable housing and reducing homelessness while Suarez has a bold, progressive platform that includes building 3,500 city-owned housing units and a Bellingham Green New Deal. Read more below to pick the candidate which best fits your values and priorities for Bellingham.
Democratic Socialist Chanan Suarez is running for the open seat on the Bellingham City Council, Ward 5, which will be vacated by Terry Bornemann at the end of the year. He is an Iraq War veteran who works for the American Federation of Government Employees. He is running on a bold progressive platform of housing for all, a Green New Deal for Bellingham, workers' rights, sanctuary for all, municipalization of services, funding an expansion of city programs with a progressive income tax and luxury taxes. In particular, he wants to build 3,500 units of city-owned social housing and expand tenants' right across the city. Suarez also wants to increase the Bellingham minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.
Lisa Anderson is an employee of Whatcom Community College and a member of the City of Bellingham's Planning and Development Commission. As a person who experienced homelessness when she was a young single parent, Anderson is uniquely situated to address the housing crisis needs facing Bellingham today. In 2014, she co-founded the Samish Way Task Force to bring attention to crime and drug use at the Aloha Motel, which was later condemned and is now being turned into low-income housing units. She has earned support from several of our progressive partner organizations.
Hollie Huthman is the owner of the Shakedown, a metal bar, and the Racket, a pinball lounge and bar. Huthman is running on a platform of affordable housing, job creation, and criminal justice reform. She is endorsed by current Bellingham City Councilmembers Gene Knutson, Pinky Vargas, and Terry Borneman, in addition to several past council members.
Huthman is running against Dana Briggs, a cook at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital who is running on a platform of combating climate change and protecting the Salish Sea. Briggs also wants to implement housing first policies to reduce homelessness and make Bellingham a sanctuary city.
We believe Huthman's thorough platform, strong campaign presence, and impressive support from progressive advocates makes her the best choice for the at-large seat on Bellingham City Council.
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