Whatcom County

Whatcom County

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The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. This is a preview version of the guide. We will continue adding recommendations and adding details until ballots are mailed out.

Congress

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.

1st Congressional District

U.S. Representative

Suzan DelBene photo
Democrat


Rep. Suzan DelBene is running for re-election in the 1st Congressional District. DelBene is a former executive at Microsoft who has used her technology background to become a leader in protecting privacy rights against government surveillance. She was first elected in 2012 and has been an advocate for creating family-wage jobs in industries like aerospace, sustainable agriculture, and clean energy as well as advocating for reproductive justice. She also supports raising the federal minimum wage and passing comprehensive tax reform to ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay their share. This year, DelBene urged the Trump administration to send Washingtonians resources and use science to combat the coronavirus crisis and has pushed for relief for workers and small businesses.

DelBene is running against Republicans Derek Chartrand and Jeffrey Beeler, Sr., Libertarian Steven Skelton, Robert Dean Mair, Matthew Heines, and Justin Smoak. Chartrand considers himself a "Compassionate Capitalist" and wants to cut costs but has no other ideas for generating revenue. Beeler is a conservative running on a platform of term limits for elected officials and pushing our state to re-open unsafely in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Skelton is a consultant who believes that Democrats and Republicans "agree on just about everything that matters" and is not qualified for Congress. Heines ran for state Senate in 2018 as a New Republican. Mair has no policy ideas available as of mid-July and Smoak is running to quickly re-open the state in light of the "sensationalism" of COVID.

Rep. DelBene is the clear choice in this race and deserves your vote for her re-election.



2nd Congressional District

U.S. Representative

Rick Larsen photo
Democrat


Rep. Rick Larsen is a moderate Democrat who has been a strong advocate for jobs, transportation, and infrastructure projects in the 2nd District. Before serving in Congress, he served on the Snohomish County Council and worked on economic development for the City of Everett.

In Congress, Larsen supported the Lower Drug Costs Now Act to give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies and pass the lower drug prices to all Americans. He also voted for the Voting Rights Advancement Act, supported the coronavirus pandemic relief packages, and sought to reform student loans. Unfortunately, Larsen does not support a Green New Deal in its current form and has accepted political contributions from corporations including Exxon Mobil as recently as last year.

Also in this race are Democrat Jason Call, Republicans Timothy Hazelo, Kari Ilonummi, James Dean Golder, Carrie Kennedy, and Cody Hart, and Trump Republican Tim Uy. Hazelo's platform includes opening health insurance across state lines to help free up the "capitalist marketplace" and he uses racist language in his voter pamphlet statement about immigrants. Ilonummi is a perennial Republican candidate who has previously challenged Rep. Larsen as well as Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Kennedy has promoted far-right views including the movement for Eastern Washington to secede from the state and is not a serious candidate. Hart is running on a conservative platform of reducing taxes and believes America needs leaders who will "confront Chinese Aggression." Golder is running because he believes it is time to a more conservative approach to government. Uy's Trump Republican platform includes praise of Donald Trump, he is not a serious candidate.

The one progressive challenger to Larsen is Jason Call. He's running on a platform that includes Medicare for All, free college, ending student debt, a Green New Deal, and a housing guarantee to help end our housing insecurity crisis. He is endorsed by progressive groups including Sunrise Bellingham and Our Revolution, as well as some legislative districts and county Democratic organizations. While Call faces a very challenging race against a longtime incumbent, he provides an alternative for those looking for bolder progressive leadership than Larsen.

Larsen is a solid Democratic vote and has the support of all our progressive partner organizations who chose to endorse in this race.



Statewide

Governor

Jay Inslee photo
Democrat


Governor Jay Inslee has been a strong, principled leader on the important challenges facing Washington. Before he was elected as governor in 2012, Inslee represented both sides of the Cascades in Congress, opposed the Iraq war, and worked to increase accountability and oversight for Wall Street banks.

Inslee has established himself as a national leader on fighting climate change. He has invested more than $170 million into clean energy and energy efficiency projects, implemented the Clean Air Rule, and pushed for legislation that reduces pollution in Washington. In his 2020 bid for the presidency, Inslee brought a climate-centered focus to the race. Outside of his work on climate, Inslee has signed into law Washington's public option for health care, paid family leave, and the Equal Pay Opportunity Act.

Recently, Inslee has been a national leader in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. His proactive, decisive, science-driven efforts have saved countless Washingtonians from getting sick. Unfortunately, we've seen the flip side recently where states with governors who were slow or failed to act have seen dramatic increases in cases.

Inslee is facing 35 opponents this year, the most prominent of which are Republicans Sen. Phil Fortunato, Tim Eyman, and Bothell Mayor Joshua Freed. Fortunato is a social conservative who has abandoned working families while in the office. In past legislative sessions, he voted against protections for LGBTQ school children and against expanding access to reproductive health care for women. Freed believes we should be less cautious about COVID-19 protections and rapidly re-open the state, a faulty strategy in the face of death and difficult recoveries even for previously healthy coronavirus patients.

Eyman is one of the worst candidates for governor the state has ever seen. Eyman's legal problems range from fraudulently diverting funds from his ill-conceived initiatives into his personal bank accounts to wide-ranging campaign finance violations to stealing a chair from Office Depot. He is the face behind many of Washington's most damaging initiatives, including the most recent disaster that has cut tens of billions of dollars from state transportation projects. Eyman has lately been doubling down on his cringeworthy antics by comparing Gov. Inslee's COVID policies to George Floyd's murder.

As the coronavirus crisis continues and the gap in the state budget persists, we need real, experienced leadership at the helm of the state. Inslee is the clear choice for governor.



Lt. Governor

Marko Liias photo
Democrat


State Senate Floor Leader Marko Liias was first elected to the Mukilteo City Council in 2005 before being appointed to the state House in 2007 and finally the state Senate in 2014.

In the Legislature, Liias has been a strong progressive advocate for all families. As the Democratic Senate Floor Leader, Liias has led the fight on LGBTQ equality and created a student loan bill of rights. His past legislation includes a ban on the inhumane practice of conversion therapy. This year, Liias sponsored legislation requiring informed consent to perform a pelvic exam and creating a new state financial aid program for undocumented students.

In his interview with Fuse, Liias said he would use the bully pulpit of the office to connect with voters across the state about progressive issues, including fixing our upside-down tax code. In addition, he laid out a strong set of proposals for how to increase police accountability. If elected, Liias would be the first openly gay statewide official in Washington history.



Denny Heck photo
Democrat


Rep. Denny Heck is retiring from Congress and running for Lt. Governor. Heck has had a long, effective career in both the private and public sectors, most notably as a five-term state representative, House majority leader, chief of staff to former Gov. Booth Gardner, and TVW co-founder.

In Congress, Heck has fought to make college more affordable, worked to lower health care costs, ensure veterans get the benefits they deserve, and create middle-class jobs. He supports immigration policies that create a path to citizenship and worked to help prevent health care premium increases due to Trump's policies. Heck was elected to represent the 10th Congressional District after it was created in 2012 and decided to retire after the impeachment hearings in December 2019.

His top priorities as Lt. Governor would be reforming our regressive tax system, investing in infrastructure to rebuild the economy as well as the roads and bridges, and helping people "skill up". In his Fuse interview, he expressed support for police reform and wants to expand on the Electeds For Justice pledge to eliminate qualified immunity for police officers. In addition, Heck said he wants to use the office and his extensive experience to lobby swing senators on progressive issues.



Other Candidates

This open seat has attracted a large number of candidates, including Democrats James Rafferty and Michelle Jasmer, Libertarians Jared Frerichs and Matt Seymour, and Republicans Ann Davison Sattler, Joseph Brumbles, and Marty McClendon.

Neither Rafferty nor Jasmer has a strong campaign presence. Frerich's top three campaign priorities are reducing economic barriers, reforming red-flag laws, and decriminalizing sex work. Seymour's main focus is preventing any tax increases, but he is also not open to options for progressive revenue. Davison Sattler is an attorney who ran for Seattle City Council as a Democrat against Debora Juarez in 2019 with the support of conservative groups like Safe Seattle. She officially declared herself a Republican early this year. Her platform includes turning unused commercial and civic structures into field hospitals, temporary housing, or disaster relief centers. Davison Sattler is endorsed by Republican elected officials and is not progressive. McClendon ran for Lt. Governor in 2016 and claimed then-Senator Cyrus Habib (who is not running for re-election to this position because he decided to enter the Society of Jesus) was not Christian, but "anti-God."

Secretary of State

Gael Tarleton photo
Democrat


Former port commissioner and progressive state Rep. Gael Tarleton is now running for Secretary of State, who serves as the state's chief elections officer, among other roles. First elected to the Legislature in 2012, Tarleton has been a strong advocate for environmental causes such as Governor Jay Inslee's initiative to reduce carbon pollution. She sponsored bills during her first term in the House to strengthen the maritime industry, improve access to health care, and ensure gender pay equity.

Tarleton is running for Secretary of State to expand access to voting in Washington while safeguarding our elections against attacks "foreign and domestic." She wants to improve digital security and increase funding for county auditors to safeguard local elections from hacking attempts in the wake of the 2016 election. She would also expand audits of the state and local systems to identify any weaknesses that could be exploited.

Tarleton is challenging incumbent Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who has faced a bumpy road during her time in office. Last year, Wyman's office released a new $9.5 million voter registration database that was riddled with errors and led to a backlog of tens of thousands of registrations. King County elections director Julie Wise described the release as "irresponsible" and "not even functioning." In addition, Wyman was slow to support the Washington Voting Rights Act, same-day voter registration, and postage-paid ballots, and she has failed to condemn the president's relentless attacks on voting by mail.

Also in this race are Independent Ed Minger and Progressive Party candidate Gentry Lange. Minger wants to prohibit candidates from running paid ads, which is blatantly unconstitutional, and Lange wants to end voting by mail in Washington, a particularly confounding position during a pandemic.

We need a progressive leader in the Secretary of State's office who is fully committed to protecting our elections and removing every barrier to participation in our democracy. Tarleton is the clear progressive choice in this race.



State Treasurer

Mike Pellicciotti photo


Mike Pellicciotti has served in the Washington state House representing the 30th Legislative District since 2016 and is now running for Treasurer. Pellicciotti has never accepted corporate campaign donations and has led efforts to make the Legislature's records open for public view. He also wrote the Corporate Crime Act, which increases financial penalties for corporate crimes by 100 times, and has successfully supported laws reducing property taxes.

Pellicciotti is challenging incumbent Republican Duane Davidson. In 2016, incumbent Jim McIntire retired, leaving the seat open. Because of the crowded primary, two Republicans made it through to the general election, giving them control of the Treasurer's office for the first time since 1957. Davidson previously served as the Benton County Treasurer from 2003 to 2016. In his term, he has been a traditional Republican and has referred to the state Legislature "raiding" the Rainy Day Fund. He has also only attended 3 of 18 critical pension meetings since fall 2017.

Pellicciotti has been a solid legislator and is the best choice in the race for Washington State Treasurer.



State Auditor

Pat McCarthy photo
Democrat


Washington Auditor Pat McCarthy has been a consistent advocate for government transparency and accountability during her first term in office. Previously, she served as Pierce County Executive and Pierce County Auditor, where she was honored as the 2006 Washington State Auditor of the Year.

Recently, McCarthy announced that her office has opened two independent audits of the Employment Security Department. The first will investigate the delay in unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second audit will look into how criminals stole hundreds of millions of dollars through a sophisticated fraud scheme.

McCarthy is facing a challenge from Democrat Joshua Casey and Republican Chris Leyba. Casey is a CPA who wants to bring his financial expertise to the auditor's office. Leyba is a former police detective who currently runs an animal rescue on his farm. If elected, he would prioritize buying from Washington businesses and saving taxpayer dollars.

McCarthy's experience and commitment to oversight will be valuable as the state works to emerge from the pandemic and the recession. McCarthy is the best choice in this race.



Attorney General

Bob Ferguson photo
Democrat


Attorney General Bob Ferguson's accomplishments during his two terms in office are impressive. From delivering millions of dollars back to consumers who were wronged by fraudulent corporations and his ongoing battle with the federal government to clean up the Hanford nuclear waste site to successfully fighting two Tim Eyman initiatives, Ferguson has been a strong and effective advocate for people in Washington. He has sued the Trump administration 50 times as of October 2019 and won every completed case (22 by his own count). Some of Ferguson's biggest accomplishments from the past few years include protecting consumer medical data, protecting statewide water quality from Trump's erosive environmental policies, and fighting back against the Trump administration's child detention laws.

Ferguson is running against Republicans Brett Rogers, Mike Vaska, and Matt Larkin. Rogers states that with over 20 years of law enforcement experience, including time with the Seattle Police Department, he would be well-suited to research and set criminal justice policy. A member of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Vaska's priorities include reducing regulations for business and streamlining the permitting process. Larkin states that he's running to prioritize "the homeless situation" that "no one is doing anything about," and promises to empower law enforcement while making Washington more business-friendly.

Ferguson is the clear progressive choice for Attorney General of Washington.



Commissioner of Public Lands

Hilary Franz photo
Democrat


Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz has been a proactive force for protecting our communities from climate change. As the head of the Washington Department of Natural Resources, she has focused on wildfire management and climate action.

This year, Franz released a climate resilience plan for rural Washington that includes expanding wind and solar farms and massive reforestation. Given the statewide threat and impact of wildfires with recent record-setting fire seasons, she has also worked on a 20-year forest health plan and a 10-year fire protection plan.

Franz is running against six other candidates: Republicans Cameron Whitney, Steve Sharon, Maryam Abasbarzy, and Sue Kuehl Pederson, Democrat Frank Wallbrown, and Libertarian Kelsey Reyes. Wallbrown and Abasbarzy have no campaign details available. Pederson is the former chair of the Grays Harbor Republican Party and says she's running to bring new leadership to the office and to balance the state's economy and ecology. Reyes works in the restaurant industry and has no concrete campaign details or website available. Finally, Sharon is running to investigate the effects of 5G towers and Whitney is running to follow Trump's suggestion of raking forests to stop forest fires.

Franz has the experience we need to guide and protect our state from increasingly dangerous fire seasons to the rising threat of climate inaction. Vote Franz for Commissioner of Public Lands.



Superintendent of Public Instruction

Chris Reykdal photo
Non-Partisan


Chris Reykdal is running for re-election to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to continue his leadership of our state's public schools through this challenging time. Previously, Reykdal spent 14 years serving on local school boards and in leadership positions at community and technical colleges, as well as serving 6 years in the Legislature. In the state House, Reykdal had a strong progressive voting record and was a consistent champion for public schools.

In his first term as Superintendent, Reykdal has pushed the Legislature to fully fund K-12 education, increase teacher pay, and close the opportunity gap for students of color. More recently, Reykdal has worked closely with Gov. Inslee to help Washington's schools navigate the pandemic. He made the tough decision early to close schools for the year to keep kids and families safe and slow the spread of COVID-19. If re-elected, Reykdal will continue to advocate for these priorities and work with schools across the state as they make the transition back to in-person education.

Reykdal is facing a handful of opponents in this non-partisan race: conservative Ron Higgins, former Republican legislative candidate Maia Espinoza, Dennis Wick, Stan Lippman, and David Spring. Espinoza has garnered attention by publishing a false and inflammatory voters pamphlet statement attacking Reykdal. Lippman is a disbarred lawyer and anti-vaccination advocate, Spring doesn't think we should have closed schools during the pandemic, and Higgins wants to inject religious teachings into public education. Wick is a former member of the Snohomish School District Board of Directors who wants to modernize our school system.

Reykdal is the clear choice for Superintendent of Public Instruction.



Insurance Commissioner

Mike Kreidler photo
Democrat


Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has spent his entire career serving the people of Washington. Prior to running for statewide office, Kreidler was a doctor of optometry, state legislator, and member of Congress.

As Insurance Commissioner, Kreidler has been a consistent advocate for consumers and patients in overseeing insurance companies in Washington. Kreidler set up one of the first and most effective Obamacare exchanges in the country, helping expand access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians. More recently, Kreidler moved quickly to issue an emergency order requiring insurance companies to waive copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 testing and office visits. In addition, he forced insurance companies to allow consumers to access other health providers if they did not have an in-network option for testing.

Kreidler is running against Republican Chirayu Avinash Patel and Libertarian Anthony Welti. Patel wants to model the office of the insurance commissioner based on a hybrid of the Ronald Reagan and Thomas Jefferson administrations, though he gives few details on what this would mean. Welti is running on a vaguely anti-corruption platform and wants to allow insurance companies to offer cheaper plans with fewer protections for consumers.

Kreidler has earned your vote for re-election to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.



Legislative Races

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below legislative races on your ballot.

40th Legislative District

State Senator

Elizabeth 'Liz' Lovelett photo

Electeds For Justice
Evergreen Future


Sen. Liz Lovelett is running for re-election in the 40th Legislative District. She was appointed to the state Senate last year and successfully ran to retain the seat. Lovelett is a fifth-generation Anacortes resident who previously served on the Anacortes City Council. Lovelett has prioritized environmental conservation and played a key role in passing legislation protecting orcas and the Salish Sea. She sponsored legislation requiring schools to incorporate curriculum on local tribal history and establishing regulations for facial-recognition technology. Lovelett is running for re-election on a strong platform that includes prioritizing increasing affordable housing and expanding services for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

Also in the race is Republican Charles Carrell, whose website is not working. He does not have a strong campaign presence.

Lovelett is the best choice in this race and has earned your vote.



State Representative, Position #1

Debra Lekanoff photo
Democrat

Evergreen Future


Rep. Debra Lekanoff is running for re-election to the 40th Legislative District, House Position 1. Lekanoff has spent more than two decades as a public servant in the 40th Legislative District and Washington state, including her work as the Government Affairs Director for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. She has spent her career working with various levels of government on complex policies and having conversations about what’s important for local families.

Lekanoff is running on a re-election platform of protecting the Salish Sea for future generations, improving educational opportunities, and sustainably rebuilding the economy. This year, she sponsored legislation to strengthen safety requirements for oil tankers, which is particularly important for protecting the Salish Sea. Lekanoff is the only Native woman in the state Legislature and has numerous endorsements from our progressive partner organizations and elected officials.

Lekanoff is running unopposed for re-election and deserves your vote.



State Representative, Position #2

Alex Ramel photo
Democrat

Electeds For Justice
Evergreen Future


Rep. Alex Ramel is running for re-election to the 40th Legislative District, House Position 2. Ramel is an environmental organizer who played an important role in the campaign to reject the Cherry Point coal export terminal. He also helped found the “Community Energy Challenge” that has created jobs and helped homeowners and local businesses save money through energy efficiency improvements. As the former President of the Kulshan Community Land Trust, Ramel understands the need to prioritize affordable housing funding in Olympia. This year, he sponsored bills to prohibit race-based hair discrimination, increase incentives for building affordable housing, and establish a scenic bikeways program across the state. 

Also in this race is Republican Russ Dzialo, the former treasurer of the Whatcom County Republican Party. He is an unorthodox candidate who has expressed concerns about redirecting police funding to social services. He does not have a strong campaign presence.

Ramel is the clear choice in this race and deserves your vote.



42nd Legislative District

State Representative, Position #1

Alicia Rule photo
Democrat

Evergreen Future


Alicia Rule is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Luanne Van Werven for the 42nd Legislative District, House Position 1 seat. Rule serves on Blaine City Council, launched and served as president of the Blaine Downtown Development Association, and owns a therapy practice. She is running on a platform that includes tackling the affordable housing crisis by building more housing, bringing more living-wage jobs to Whatcom County, and providing support and services to veterans. Her top priority in the Legislature would be to keep local families safe, healthy, and secure. Rule will support our mental health system as well as agriculture and has numerous endorsements including from local nurses and teachers.

Van Werven is a conservative who this year voted against gun safety legislation, a much-needed Clean Fuel Standard, and prohibiting LGBTQ conversion therapy. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Van Werven has been spending her time criticizing Gov. Inslee for keeping Washingtonians safe and promoting the initiative designed to repeal comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education.

Rule would be a much stronger and more progressive representative than Van Werven and deserves your vote.



State Representative, Position #2

Sharon Shewmake photo
Democrat

Evergreen Future


Rep. Sharon Shewmake running for re-election to the 42nd Legislative District, House Position 2. Shewmake is an economics professor specializing in environmental and urban economics at Western Washington University. She is a member of several community organizations, including the Whatcom County Climate Change Impacts Committee and Walk Bike Bus Bellingham. She is running to ensure that Washington can be a leader on climate change by cutting carbon while growing the economy. This year, Rep. Shewmake sponsored legislation to increase funding for the coronavirus response and supported legislation establishing the Washington State Office of Equity.

Also in this race is Republican Jennifer Sefzik. She is a small business owner and high school debate coach who is running on a very conservative platform. If elected, Sefzik would support knee-jerk budget cuts in response to the economic downturn instead of investing in Washington's communities and rebuilding our economy.

Rep. Shewmake is the clear choice in this race and has earned your vote.



Whatcom County Superior Court

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge, Position #2

James Erb photo


James Erb is running for Whatcom Superior Court, Position 2. He has spent the last 10 years in the Bellingham City Attorney's Office and tried nearly 50 jury trials as a prosecutor. Erb also represented the Nooksack Indian Tribe in both state and tribal court. He is focusing his campaign on finding ways to safely reduce and prevent incarceration and provide equal access to justice to everyone. 

Also in this race are Lisa Keeler and Evan Jones. Jones has worked in the Bellingham City Attorney's Office as well as in the District, Juvenile, and Superior Court systems. He is the training deputy for the Whatcom County Prosecutor's Office. Jones is endorsed by the Whatcom County Prosecutor Eric Richey. Keeler served as an Assistant Attorney General in Washington state and now works in private practice. She has served as an arbitrator and pro tem commissioner for Whatcom County Superior Court.

Erb's experience and support from local progressive advocates make him the best choice in this race.


Endorsed By: Whatcom County Democrats
Bar Association Ratings: Latina/o Bar Association: Well Qualified, QLaw (The LGBTQ+ Bar Association): Well Qualified, Joint Asian Judicial Evaluations Committee: Well Qualified


Whatcom County Superior Court Judge, Position #4



David Freeman is running to retain Whatcom Superior Court, Judge Position 4. He was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee in January of this year and previously served as a review judge in the Commissioner's Review Office for the Washington State Employee Security Department. Freeman was selected to serve as a pro tem judge in every municipality in Whatcom County and served as a judicial officer in several courts throughout Western Washington. He previously worked as a deputy prosecuting attorney for the Whatcom County.

Also in this race are Carl Munson and Jim Nelson. Nelson worked as a Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor and has worked in various Washington Municipal, District, and Superior Courts. He believes judges are public servants and must be impartial and independent. Munson started his law career as a prosecutor in Yakima. He worked as a deputy prosecutor before leaving to practice as a criminal defense attorney. Munson has also served as a judge pro tem for 10 years and volunteers with the Bellingham Community Meal Program.

Judge Freeman has earned your vote for his retention.


Bar Association Ratings: Whatcom County Bar Association: Exceptionally Well Qualified, Loren Miller Bar Association: Exceptionally Well Qualified, the Latina/o Bar Association Of Washington: Exceptionally Well Qualified, and QLaw Association of Washington: Exceptionally Well Qualified