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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!
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.
Official District Info: https://www.kingcounty.gov/services/parks-recreation/parks/about/levy.aspx
Official District Info: https://www.kingcounty.gov/services/parks-recreation/parks/about/levy.aspx
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.
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.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below races on your ballot.
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 has 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 as well as continue to focus on improving education.
Mulenga is running against Anthony Ase and Ryan Burnett. Ase is a math teacher running as an "everyday man." He is running to expand bus service to better serve neighborhoods in his district, increase affordable housing, and bring in more businesses. Burnett is a chef and restaurant manager who is running because of his concerns 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.
Stokes is running against Martin Acevedo and Holly Zhang. Acevedo is a member of the Bellevue Civil Service Commission but does not have a robust campaign presence. Zhang runs Holly Zhang Pearl Gallery in downtown Bellevue. Zhang's campaign leans conservative and emphasizes fiscal responsibility and prioritizing family.
John Stokes is the progressive choice in this race and deserves your support.
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 a board member 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 and Kya Michael Aati. Walter has opposed efforts to improve housing affordability and has been an obstacle to addressing homelessness in Bellevue. Aati is a real estate developer who does not have a strong campaign presence but wants to prioritize affordable housing, foster responsible growth, and preserve the character of Bellevue.
Barksdale is the clear choice for Bellevue City Council, Position 3.
Incumbent Janice Zahn is running for re-election to the Bellevue City Council, Position 5. Zahn is a strong progressive who 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 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 JD Yu and Mark Wilson in her re-election campaign. Yu is a T-Mobile engineer running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and neighborhood safety. Wilson is the Managing Director of Wilson Accounting & Consulting whose platform includes "combating the unfortunate increase in criminal activity that the city is experiencing" and managing the city's growing financial demands.
Zahn's numerous endorsements, deep roots in the community, and volunteer and elected experience make her the strongest choice for this seat.
There are two leading progressives in this race: James Bible and Marguerite Ye. We lean toward Bible because of his track record on civil rights and support from local progressives.
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.
Marguerite "Margie" Ye is a faculty member at Youthlink University who was appointed to the Bellevue Diversity Advisory Board. She believes her professional experience as a project manager has prepared her for tackling the challenges associated with growth by bringing together stakeholders to find common ground.
Bible and Ye are running against Randy Grein and Jennifer Robertson. Grein, the chair of the 48th Legislative District Democrats Rules Committee, was running a very progressive campaign. In late June, Grein suspended his campaign and endorsed Bible.
Conservative incumbent Jennifer Robertson is running for re-election after opposing 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 lean toward Bible for Bellevue City Council, Position 7.
Davina Duerr is an architect running for re-election to Bothell City Council Position 6, where she is currently deputy mayor. Duerr formerly served as Chair of the Landmark Preservation Board in Bothell and as a board member of the Northshore Schools Foundation. During her first term, she focused on transportation issues facing the city, including advocating for bus rapid transit options that work for Bothell residents, and voted to approve the acquisition of 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 Tiger Budbill and Sean Palermo. Budbill is a professional singer. As of July 1st, he has no campaign information available. Palermo is a business development representative. Palermo states that he's running to address affordable housing, cost of education, infrastructure, and protecting the environment. He also does not have detailed plans available as of early July.
Duerr is the best choice in this race.
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 main 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.
Also running are libertarian Charles Schaefer and Omaha Sternberg. Schaefer ran in 2017 for Burien City Council Position #1 on a platform of increasing the police force, transparency, and being an advocate for increasing "freedom." He has stated that he would bring back the youth council, but also espoused anti-government philosophies on his Facebook page. Omaha Sternberg has been active with the King County Democrats.
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 board of the WA Low Income Housing Alliance and on the board of 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. Wagener 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 include fighting socialism, reducing airport pollution, and smart growth. Also in this race is Robert L Richmond III, a renewable energy enthusiast who also ran in 2013 and 2017.
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 and Brianne Mattson. JC Harris is 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, marketing Des Moines to families and businesses, and renovating downtown. Brianne Mattson is in the real estate business. She is prioritizing budgeting and fiscal responsibility.
Bangs' endorsements by local progressive organizations make her the best choice in this race.
Lamont Styles, a veteran and owner of a Federal Way barber school, is running for Federal Way City Council, Position 4. He has volunteered with organizations like his local PTSA and the Federal Way Youth Action Team. Styles' priorities include supporting youth mentorship, investing in entrepreneurship opportunities for local business owners, and addressing homelessness. He supports a housing-first approach to helping the unhoused followed by providing wraparound services like mental health counseling and chemical dependency treatment. He also supports developing a small-business incubation program and bringing a trade school to Federal Way to help community businesses thrive.
Styles is running against Deputy Mayor Susan Honda and Sharry Edwards. Elected in 2011, Honda currently serves on the Finance, Economic Development & Regional Affairs Committee, and is president of the women's organization Soroptimists International and incoming co-president of the local Kiwanis Club. Honda is focused on hiring a city administrator to run the day-to-day governmental needs of Federal Way. Edwards is a licensed practical nurse. Her platform includes creating more I-5 access points, fully staffing the police department, enacting business-friendly tax policies, and protecting parks.
While Edwards has earned the support of several prominent labor unions in this race, we believe Styles is the best choice for Position 3 because of his progressive platform and his commitment to improving community engagement with the Federal Way City Council.
Katherine Festa has worked as a Housing and Outreach Coordinator in the Department of Community and Human Services/Developmental Disabilities Division for 20 years. She is a founding member of the King County Native American Leadership Council. Her priorities including making sure that displaced businesses in Federal Way are relocated, updating city infrastructure, and ensuring that supportive housing with wraparound needs are available for those who need it, including veterans.
Festa's opponents in this race are incumbent Linda Kochmar and Tony Pagliocco. Kochmar has served on the Federal Way City Council for 14 years. She has also been mayor and 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.
Festa is the best choice in this race.
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 in 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 and Elizabeth T. Peang. Minor is 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, fiscal and environmental stewardship, and service, though he does not have detailed information available for those goals. Peang, who also ran for Kent City Council in 2017, is a social worker running to make sure that citizens have a voice in City Hall. She has also worked in behavioral health, affordable care enrollment, and housing advocacy for families, though she also does not have detailed campaign information available.
Larimer's support from local progressive organizations makes her the best choice in this race.
Sara Franklin volunteers with numerous organizations around the city, including the Diversity Task Force, and serves on the boards of Kent Cultural Communities and the Greater Kent Historical Society. As an employee of the King County Assessor's office, Franklin works with senior citizens and disabled veterans and wants to increase affordability in the city. Her campaign pledges to improve access to well-paying jobs, provide safe neighborhoods, and expand and improve the police department.
Hira Singh Bhullar is a senior software developer for Starbucks who is running 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 is a leader in the Sikh community and supports immigration reform and embracing diversity in the community. He wants to work on more funding for the police department as well as solutions to issues of traffic and congestion.
Bhullar and Franklin are facing off against 16-year incumbent Les Thomas, who has missed time on the council recently for serious health reasons. A former Republican and independent candidate in the early 2000s, Thomas is a more moderate voice on the council.
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 Barry Fudenski, Ron Johnson, and Zandria Michaud. Fudenski is an Air Force veteran who states that he wants to address public transportation to Seattle and Tacoma, support homeless and veteran assistance programs, and address fair taxation, but he has few platform details available about how he would tackle these issues. Johnson is an information security professional who is focusing on increasing community involvement and managing a prioritized budget, but his campaign also lacks details. Michaud is a student at UW Tacoma, a U.S. Army veteran, a park steward for Green Kent, and a member of the Kent Parks and Recreation Commission. Michaud, along with Bhullar and Larimer, was among 8 candidates shortlisted from a pool of 36 candidates for the vacancy in Position 1 in 2018 after Tina Budell's departure from the city council. Michaud would seek funding for funding additional police officers and sustainable parks funding.
Farah is the best choice for Kent City Council, Position 7 because of his broad endorsements by local progressive organizations.
Mercer Island Mayor Debbie Bertlin was first elected in 2011 and has served as deputy mayor since 2016. 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 and Robin Russell. Russell is a private wealth advisor who is a member of Concerned Citizens for Mercer Island Parks and has advocated against private development in Mercerdale Park. Her campaign is primarily concerned with fiscal responsibility and transparency. Jacobson is 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 and Andrew Koeppen. 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. Fields 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. Koeppen, the chair of the Public Safety Advisory Board, is running as an independent.
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.
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 City Council Vice President David Carson, Dr. Shad Ansari, and Osama Hamdan. Carson is a business-oriented candidate who has used his time in office to reduce regulation on businesses. Ansari is a former Microsoft employee and current holistic practitioner in functional and Eastern medicine. Hamdan came to the U.S. as a young refugee with his parents and is seeking to foster a sense of community in Redmond. While Hamdan is progressive, he failed to lay out a specific policy agenda or vision for Redmond in his interview with our council.
Jimenez is the best choice for Redmond City Council, Position 7.
There are two good progressives in this race with a track record of public service: Ruth Perez and Marcie Maxwell. Perez has earned the support of more of our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations.
Two-term city council member Ruth Pérez is running to be the next mayor of Renton. Previously, Pérez worked in state government for Governor Gary Locke promoting trade and economic development. Pérez also helped expand Spanish-language education programs during her 10 years working for the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle. Her campaign platform is focused on expanding access to affordable housing, continuing to build a strong economy, reducing crime and homelessness, and tackling the city’s transportation issues. As to her successes on the council, Pérez points to her efforts as a council member to lobby legislators on including Renton projects in the 2015 transportation package.
Former state representative and former Renton School Board member Marcie Maxwell's effective leadership and strong policy background have served Renton well. She has advocated strongly for K-12 funding, invested in infrastructure, and protected the environment while creating green jobs. Now, the 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.
Perez and Maxwell are facing Randy Corman and Armando Pavone. Corman is a seven-term Renton City Council member who spent 33 years working at Boeing. He characterizes his time on city council as a success because of numerous expansions in their retail spaces. He wants Renton to become a tech hub and suggests reducing the minimum size for a house and developing or redeveloping land to address housing issues.
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 numerous endorsements from progressive leaders and groups.
O'Halloran is facing Max J. Heller III, James Alberson, and Rev. Dr. Linda Smith. Heller is a security guard and former Democratic precinct committee officer. He hasn't updated his campaign page since 2017 and does not appear to be running a competitive campaign. Alberson is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Renton Chamber of Commerce and is running to create jobs and improve business opportunities. Smith, the Executive Director and Senior Pastor at S.K.Y. Urban Empowerment and Transformation, is prioritizing helping those who cannot help themselves via affordable housing and investing in mental health and addiction-focused case management. She is extraordinarily active in the church community and with homeless and youth advocacy organizations. She has been dual endorsed with O'Halloran by two Renton city councilmembers.
We lean towards O'Halloran because she swept sole endorsements from seven local Democrat organizations.
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 ensuring strong infrastructure, making transportation accessible, community safety, and community representation. 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, as well as Rita Palomino Marlow, who is running on a platform of lowering taxes, advocating for law enforcement, and public safety.
Senayet Negusse is the best choice for fresh leadership on the SeaTac City Council.
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.
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU 775, SEIU Local 925, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, UFCW 21
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.
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU 775, SEIU Local 925, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, Teamsters 117, UFCW 21
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.
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU Local 925, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, Teamsters 117
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.
Official District Info: https://www.spl.org/about-us/the-organization/budget-and-operations/library-levy/2019-library-levy-proposal
Official District Info: https://www.spl.org/about-us/the-organization/budget-and-operations/library-levy/2019-library-levy-proposal
There are two strong candidates in this race: incumbent Councilmember Doris McConnell and CRISTA Ministries General Counsel 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 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. While Chen is running a strong campaign, McConnell's endorsements from current Shoreline council members and her strong record on the council give her a slight edge.
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.
Also in this race is Virginia "Ginny" Scantlebury who is running on a platform of "tough love" for addicts, reducing property taxes, and making sure people in Shoreline feel heard.
Chen and McConnell are the best choices in this race. We lean towards McConnell because of her strong record on the council.
School District Races
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below school board races on your ballot.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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