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Return Ballots by Tuesday, August 6th
Welcome to the Fuse Progressive Voters Guide to the 2019 primary election! The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information you need to make decisions about the races on your ballot based on your values.
Remember to return your ballot by Tuesday, August 6, and share this guide with your friends!
Vote YES For Parks For All
The King County Council is seeking approval of Proposition No. 1, which would provide funding for local parks, open spaces, trails, recreation, public pools, zoo operations, and an aquarium capital project. Renewing and replacing the County Parks levy is crucial for protecting thousands of acres of forest, investing in parks of all sizes, and expanding access to recreation and learning for underserved communities.
All children in King County deserve fun and safe places to play, and preserving our open spaces now will help combat climate change as well as protect air and water quality for generations to come. Proposition No. 1: Parks for All will cost the average homeowner less than $8 per month and will ensure King County's parks and other open spaces will continue to thrive. Vote yes on Proposition No. 1.
Endorsed By: Cascade Bicycle Club, SEIU Local 925, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, The Stranger, The Urbanist, Washington Bikes, Washington Conservation Voters , Washington Trails Association, The Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Lands, Seattle Parks Foundation, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and many local Democratic district organizations.
There are two impressive candidates running for King County Council 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.
Endorsed By: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU 775, SEIU Local 925, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, Washington Conservation Voters , <a href="https://www.capecampaigns.com/about" target="_blank">Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating</a>: 4 stars <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25"> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25"> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25"> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25">
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 is a great choice if you’re looking for new leadership on the King County Council.
Endorsed By: The Stranger, Washington Conservation Voters , King County Democrats, Transportation for Washington, <a href="https://www.capecampaigns.com/about" target="_blank">Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating</a>: 4 stars <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25"> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25"> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25"> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25">
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 and perennial candidate Goodspaceguy. Goodspaceguy has run for various offices more than a dozen times and is not a serious candidate. Neher has no campaign information available as of early July and is not running a viable campaign. McDermott is the clear choice in this race.
Endorsed By: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU 775, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, The Stranger, Washington Conservation Voters , <a href="https://www.capecampaigns.com/about" target="_blank">Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) Rating</a>: 3.75 stars <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25"> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25"> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-1.png" width="25"> <img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.fusewashington.org/images/star-75.png" width="25">
There are several good progressives in this race, including Preeti Shridhar, Sam Cho, Dominic Barrera, and Grant Degginger. Shridhar and Cho have earned the most support from our progressive partners.
Preeti Shridhar is a devoted environmental advocate who would bring decades of public affairs experience to the Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position 2. Shridhar has worked in a variety of relevant government positions throughout King County and is passionate about ensuring that the interests of all King County communities are represented. She helped launch the City of Seattle’s Climate Protection Initiative and worked to improve relations between immigrant communities and the City of Renton, where she now works. Shridhar is focused on building regional partnerships and creating good jobs at the port while protecting the environment.
Sam Cho, the co-founder of an international export company, is now 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.
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 increasing the port's green energy jobs. He has been a leader on the commission in protecting orcas, publicly opposing the dangerous Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, and promoting transparency at the port while advocating for well-paying jobs. The port faced criticism following the Trump 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 Garth Jacobson and Jordan Lemmon. Attorney Jacobson's 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. Lemmon is a theatre supervisor who was inspired to run to encourage voting and is using his campaign to engage the voter base prior to the 2020 election. He has no detailed campaign information available.
Felleman is the best choice for Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position 5.
Vote YES for Seattle Libraries
While Seattle continues to change and grow, public libraries remain centers where all people can learn and benefit from educational resources and classes. The City of Seattle's Proposition 1 is a renewal and expansion of the 2012 Seattle Public Library Levy. It would maintain existing services and increase the library hours of operation, materials, technology, and youth programming. In addition, it would fund crucial building maintenance, including earthquake retrofits, and add support for the changing needs and interests of communities served by libraries.
This levy would cost the average household approximately $7 a month, making the 2019 Library Levy renewal an excellent value for the community. Vote Yes on the City of Seattle's Proposition 1.
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.
Endorsed By: The Stranger , Seattle Education Association, Alliance for Gun Responsibility
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.
Endorsed By: King County Democrats
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 slightly 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.
Rebeca Muñiz works for the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy at UW overseeing budgets and coordinating research projects. She earned a master's degree in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Washington 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.
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.
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 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.
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 in 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 is a good choice if you’re looking for continuity on the 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.
Endorsed By: OneAmerica Votes , Seattle Education Association, Womxn of Color in Education
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