Return Ballots by Tuesday, August 6th
Remember to return your ballot by Tuesday, August 6, and share this guide with your friends!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Herbold is being challenged by Brendan Kolding and Phil Tavel. Kolding is a former police lieutenant in the North Precinct. He wants to increase support on the council for the Seattle Police Department and make the city more business-friendly. In July, internal investigators in the Seattle Police Department uncovered Kolding's workplace harassment of other officers. Investigators have sustained misconduct violations against him, including dishonesty.
Tavel co-founded a video game company and has served as a public defender and judge pro tem. He has the backing of CASE, the electoral arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
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. She 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 facing a crowded field in District 2, including Chris Peguero, Phyllis Porter, Henry Dennison, Mark Solomon, Omari Tahir-Garrett, and Ari Hoffman. Peguero is a thoughtful progressive who has spent many years working on equity issues at Seattle City Light. He wants to use his knowledge of city government to make progress on homelessness and affordable housing. He believes housing is a human right and wants to increase multi-family housing through the city. He believes the Seattle Police Officer's Guild is the biggest obstacle to reforms and wants to increase implicit bias training for officers.
Porter is a progressive bike and transit advocate who has served on many community organizations, including as a member of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and as vice president of the Rainier Riders Cycling Club.
On the other side, Mark Solomon founded a security company and has the backing of CASE, the electoral arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Ari Hoffman is running on a hard-line conservative platform. He regularly demonizes people experiencing homelessness and has repeatedly sought the Seattle Police Department's help to harass his political opponents. Hoffman has no place on the Seattle City Council.
There are two leading progressives in this race who would bring different styles to the city council: Seattle School Board Member Zachary DeWolf and Councilmember Kshama Sawant. Both have earned the support of progressive advocates and community leaders. We recommend DeWolf for a fresh start on the council from District 3.
Zachary DeWolf was elected to the Board of Directors for Seattle Public Schools in 2017 and is now running for City Council in District 3. He is a member of the Chippewa Cree Nation and has become a leader in the local LGBTQ community. In addition to his work with Seattle Public Schools, DeWolf is a program manager with All Home King County working to reduce youth homelessness.
DeWolf believes that some of the most important work in government is the least glamorous and has said he will focus on effective solutions over “rallies and speeches.” DeWolf has a detailed campaign platform addressing Seattle’s challenges. He wants to invest more in counselors than police officers at schools and implement a mentorship program to support high school students. He also wants to expand childcare to give kids a strong start and support working parents. DeWolf believes the city should be more aggressive about taxing the wealthy and supports a local estate tax and a progressive real estate excise tax. Notably, he has been endorsed by incumbent progressive Councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena Gonzalez.
We believe DeWolf would be a more effective council member because of his willingness to build diverse coalitions and collaborate with his colleagues.
Incumbent Kshama Sawant is an 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 a consistent 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.
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 expected opposition from corporate interests.
Sawant is a controversial figure. Her uncompromising positions and disregard for collaboration has not made her popular with her peers at City Hall and has reduced her effectiveness as a council member. However, Sawant has been a consistent voice for low-income families in Seattle who are struggling to get by, particularly at a time when many residents express frustration about not feeling heard by the council.
DeWolf and Sawant face four other candidates in this race: Logan Bowers, Pat Murakami, Egan Orion, Ami Nguyen. Bowers is the owner of Hashtag Cannabis. Nguyen is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees and a public defender running on a platform of criminal justice reform. She wants to improve eviction protections and tenants' rights and increase upzones and more affordable housing. Murakami is running on a more conservative platform and has defended some of the most virulent anti-homeless organizations in Seattle. Orion is a prominent member of the LGBTQ community who has the backing of CASE, the electoral arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
There are two outstanding progressive candidates in District 4: Emily Myers and Shaun Scott. We lean toward Myers because of her strong support from our Progressive Voters Guide partners.
Emily Myers is a pharmacology Ph.D. student at the University of Washington who is running for Seattle City Council in District 4. She wants to utilize her scientific background to implement evidence-based progressive policies on the council. Her top priority is to support working people by expanding access to childcare, investing in early childhood education, supporting union organizing, and improving job training programs. Myers supports a housing-first approach to homelessness that prioritizes wraparound services and includes building more affordable homes and improving transit access. She would work to improve trust in local government by increasing the transparency of council decisions and access to data about city services.
Myers is a great choice if you’re looking for an advocate for working families who will bring a collaborative, data-driven approach to city hall.
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 to reform 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 a great choice if you’re looking for councilmember with ambitious plans who will prioritize environmental and racial justice.
Myers and Scott are facing eight other candidates: Beth Mountsier, Alex Pedersen, Cathy Tuttle, Frank A. Krueger, Ethan Hunter, Sasha Anderson, Joshua Newman, and Heidi Stuber. Tuttle is the foremost progressive in this group and was endorsed by The Urbanist. She founded Seattle Neighborhood Greenways in 2011 and has been a reliable advocate for expanding transit options, building out more bike lanes, and reducing speed limits on residential streets to 20 MPH. On the other side, Alex Pedersen 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.
Attorney and incumbent City Council member Debora Juarez is running for re-election in District 5 on her record of engagement with the district's needs. As the first Native American 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 on 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 and 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 facing a large number of candidates in this crowded field: John Lombard, Tayla Mahoney, Mark Mendez, Alex Tsimerman, and Ann Davison Sattler.
Environmental consultant John Lombard served as co-chair of the North District Council in 2016. He would allow more authorized homeless encampments to reduce the number of unauthorized camps, including city-sanctioned industrial, “FEMA-style” tent shelters and vehicle camps. He also wants to fully staff the Seattle Police Department while ensuring that we meet our constitutional obligation to avoid excessive force and racial profiling.
Tayla Mahoney is an electrical administrator and attorney running to empower law enforcement and increase transparency on the council.
Alex Tsimerman is best known for verbally abusing city council members at public hearings. He has no place in elected office.
Mark Mendez has served as the co-chair of the North District Council, on the board of Lake City Neighborhood Alliance, and on the board of Meadowbrook Community Care, and in 2017, he served on the City of Seattle’s Community Involvement Commission (CIC), which was created to help the city implement equitable strategies. Mendez is taking a housing-first policy when it comes to homelessness, including offering wraparound services and homelessness prevention policies. He wants to see more resources going to underserved Lake City, Bitter Lake, and Aurora-Licton, more career training programs for youth, and solarization for the district.
Ann Davison Sattler is a former Seattle Sonics employee who supports a rapid response to the homelessness crisis by immediately implementing "FEMA-style" tents with access to specialized medical care, as well as daytime access to shelters, safe places to store homeless people's items, same-day access to detox centers and transportation to get there. She is supported by the conservative anti-homeless group Speak Out Seattle.
Juarez is the best choice in this race.
There are several progressive candidates in this race. We lean toward Dr. Jay Fathi because he has received the most support from our Progressive Voters Guide partners, followed by Dan Strauss.
Dr. Jay Fathi is a family physician and the son of an Iranian immigrant who is running for Seattle City Council in District 6. Fathi spent 12 years working at the 45th Street Clinic, a community health care center that primarily serves low-income and uninsured people. Fathi also served as President and CEO of Coordinated Care, an Obamacare startup that he grew from 34,000 members to a state-wide plan with more than 250,000 members. Fathi’s experience at the 45th Street Clinic makes him uniquely qualified to address our region’s homelessness and affordable housing crisis. His top priorities would be to increase permanent supportive housing and streamline the permitting process for low-income housing to reduce costs and build more quickly. Fathi also supports reforming our city’s outdated zoning laws to increase density around transit hubs.
Dan Strauss is a policy advisor to current Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. Strauss grew up in Ballard and worked at the Alliance for Gun Responsibility to pass I-1491, an important gun safety initiative. As a renter, Strauss is committed to building a city that accommodates growth while maintaining affordability. He believes his time working at City Hall allowed him to build strong relationships with city, county, and state leaders that will enable him to push for regional solutions to homelessness. If elected, Strauss has also committed to opening a district office to listen to the suggestions and concerns of his constituents.
Fathi and Strauss are facing 11 other candidates in this crowded primary field: Joey Massa, Sergio García, Heidi Wills, John Peeples, Terry Rice, Jon Lisbin, Kara Ceriello, Ed Pottharst, Jeremy Cook, Melissa Hall, and Kate Martin.
Foremost among them is progressive former Seattle City Councilmember Heidi Wills, who earned the endorsement of the Seattle Sierra Club. During her previous term on the council, Wills distinguished herself as the leading voice for the environment and increased transportation options. She pushed the city to invest in wind energy, advocated for removals of the Snake River dams, and led efforts to provide a transit pass for UW students. Sergio Garcia is a first-generation American and Seattle police officer who has earned the endorsement of our partners at Teamsters 117.
There are several good progressives in this crowded field. Lewis is the best choice because of his clear platform and strong support from our Progressive Voters Guide partners.
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.
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.
Lewis is facing nine candidates in this extremely crowded primary: Jim Pugel, Michael George, Naveed Jamali, James Donaldson, Gene Burrus, Daniela Lipscomb-Eng, Isabelle J. Kerner, Don Harper, and Jason Williams. Foremost among these is former Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel, who is running on a progressive platform and earned widespread praise for his advocacy for I-940 last year that increased accountability for law enforcement. Michael George is a senior project manager at a real estate firm who has earned the support of the Sierra Club and The Urbanist.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.