Return Ballots by Tuesday, August 6th
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Justin Camarata is a software program manager who previously served as an interim member of the Tacoma City Council. He has also served the community in numerous organizations, including the Center for Urban Waters, Puget Sound Regional Council’s Transportation Policy Board, and the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center Executive Board. Camarata is running for the Port of Tacoma Commissioner, Position 3 to create an equity strategy for the Port, partner with the Puyallup Tribe on port issues, and move the Port away from fossil fuels and towards green jobs. He recognizes the environmental disparities that low-income people face and wants to focus on hiring locally for port jobs and getting young people and new communities involved in port affairs.
Camarata is facing Frank Boykin and Deanna Keller. Boykin is an account manager with United Parcel Service. He has served as vice chair of the University Place Planning Commission as well as a leader in Tacoma's Black Collective, the Annie Wright School, Pierce College Foundation, and Washington’s Commission on African American Affairs. Boykin is running to increase the Port's engagement with the community, encourage responsible growth, and protect family-wage jobs. Keller is a Marine Corps veteran who is currently the CEO and President of Kel-Tech Plastics in Tacoma. She is focusing on modernizing facilities at the Port, creating family-wage jobs, and keeping the Port competitive in the region.
Camarata received the most support from our Progressive Voters Guide partners, impressed our local volunteer council during his interview, and has the most progressive campaign platform among the three candidates. Camarata is the best choice for Port of Tacoma Commissioner, Position 3.
Attorney Kristin Ang is running for the Port of Tacoma Commissioner, Position 5 to build a sustainable vision for industry at the Port alongside the sub-area plan. She seeks to protect community health and the environment by reducing noise and air pollution, improving water quality, and increasing shore power technology. Ang opposes the Port's property tax and supports pressing businesses to clean up their share of pollution, developing a comprehensive public engagement plan, and working with tribes, businesses, and local government to create shared agendas for the Port.
Ang is running against Dave Bryant and Shelly Schlumpf. Bryant is a Navy veteran who wants to optimize the loading and offloading of goods with surface transportation, update infrastructure, and take measurable steps to clean the environment in alignment with shipping companies. Schlumpf is the former president and CEO of the Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce; she currently runs a consulting business. She ran as a Republican for Representative of the 25th District in 2012. Schlumpf's campaign is centered on business retention and job creation.
Ang is the best choice in this race.
First elected in 2015, Deputy Mayor McCarthy has supported important measures like increasing shelter bed capacity at Tacoma Rescue Mission and enacting tenant protections. Along with Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young, McCarthy proposed the Tacoma-Pierce Opioid Task Force, which brought together local stakeholders to present findings and solutions on the opioid epidemic in the county. McCarthy is a politically moderate voice in Tacoma and has been endorsed by all the current members of the city council. However, we were disappointed that McCarthy did not respond to requests to meet with our local recommendation committee to discuss his campaign.
McCarthy is facing Brett Johnson and Courtney Love. Love is a lifelong Tacoma resident and a single mother who serves on the board of Whole Washington, an advocacy group for universal single-payer health care in Washington. Love is running on a progressive platform of improving affordability, improving election transparency, and increasing food and health care security in the Tacoma. Our local recommendation committee was very impressed with Love's progressive values and we hope she runs for office again soon. Johnson is a U.S. Air Force veteran and a sales manager at a wood shop who does not appear to be running a competitive campaign.
We recommend McCarthy because of his support from our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations.
Dr. Enrique Leon was chosen to join the school board by the Tacoma School Board of Directors after School Board President Catherine Ushka was elected to the city council. Along with his position on the board, Dr. Leon works at MultiCare Tacoma Family Medicine and is a team physician for Lincoln and Stadium High schools.
Leon notes that last year's teacher strike gave educators a well-deserved raise, but acknowledged rifts in the community between the district leaders and the unions that resulted.
The state Legislature has enacted a cap on levy funding that has contributed to a budget deficit in Tacoma schools. This year the formula was amended, but schools still face consequences such as teacher layoffs. In light of further likely budget cuts in the district, Leon says he is looking at free and open evidence-based curriculum rather than buying a new curriculum. He will also focus on supporting an enhanced elementary reading curriculum, emphasizing kids' emotional and mental health, and creating community-school partnerships.
Leon is running against Kristopher Kerns and John Marsden. Kristopher Kerns is the vice president of Point Defiance Elementary's PTA. He supported last September's teacher strike, saying that teachers deserve fair wages, but noted the burden on parents like himself. Kerns would modify hiring timelines and policies for teachers, aggressively recruit new educators, and states that he will ensure no additional layoffs in the district. A single father of two with one child in the district, John Marsden works for a hardware company. He advocated for a grant to help clean up the park at Whitman Elementary. He does not have detailed campaign information available as of mid-July.
We lean towards Leon in this race.