The Washington Bus

The Washington Bus

The Washington Bus engages tomorrow's leaders on their own terms, and empowers them through education, civic and cultural engagement, and hands-on democracy. We take control of, and responsibility for, our own future by making sure our friends and peers are registered to vote, know the issues, and fill out their ballots.

City Races

Depending on where you live, you may have the below city races on your ballot.

  • Hugo Garcia

    Evergreen Future
    Evergreen Future
  • Hugo Garcia is running for Burien City Council, Position 1. Garcia, whose family immigrated from Mexico more than 30 years ago, states that he learned the values of resilience and tenacity at an early age by watching his father wait tables to support their family of five. If elected, he intends to bring the experience of working families to the forefront.

    Garcia is a member of the Burien Planning Commission and chair of the Burien Economic Development Partnership (BEDP). His platform includes housing for all and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that will equitably and sustainably lift up all Burien residents and help local businesses come back stronger. In addition, Garcia is committed to keeping Burien affordable so that working families can continue to live in the community and thrive.

    Garcia is facing Martin Barrett, who owns a corporate gift supplier. Barrett is vilifying community members who want to discuss community-based alternatives to public safety. He states that he wants Burien to be a “wealth generator" without providing details. While Barrett's platform does address the need for more affordable housing, he wants to rely on developers to solve the problem rather than making changes to zoning laws and seeking other innovative solutions.

    Garcia is the clear choice for Burien City Council, Position 1.

    Hugo Garcia

    Hugo Garcia is running for Burien City Council, Position 1. Garcia, whose family immigrated from Mexico more than 30 years ago, states that he learned the values of resilience and tenacity at an early age by watching his father wait tables to support their family of five.

    Hugo Garcia

    Hugo Garcia is running for Burien City Council, Position 1. Garcia, whose family immigrated from Mexico more than 30 years ago, states that he learned the values of resilience and tenacity at an early age by watching his father wait tables to support their family of five.

  • Dawn Bennett is an education advocate and the vice president of Paramount Duty, a grassroots group which seeks to fully fund education in Washington. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Multicultural Education Rights Alliance. She has also served families and children in the community as a gang prevention specialist and caseworker in Seattle and as the liaison for African-American families for Seattle Public Schools. In addition, she has been a board member of several organizations, including the Rainier Valley Food Bank and the UW School of Social Work Communities in Action Initiative.

    If she is elected, Bennett will bring the same energy she has for community service to the council. She has a long list of priorities, including supporting businesses as they recover from the pandemic, subsidizing child care, and providing options for elder care. On housing, Bennett's policies include providing wraparound services and transitional housing for those struggling with homelessness, addressing the legacy of redlining, and incentivizing housing for residents with middle-to-low incomes. She wants to redefine the role of law enforcement, providing more accountability for bad actors and hiring unarmed public workers who can provide social services for mental health calls.

    Bennett is challenging Mayor Dana Ralph, who has served on the city council since 2012 and as mayor of Kent since 2018. She has served in many regional organizations, including as past president of the Sound Cities Association Transportation Policy Board and as vice chair of the South King Housing & Homelessness Partners Board. Ralph points to many completed and ongoing projects in Kent as signs of her and the council's leadership, including securing funding for the light rail expansion to Kent, continuing the trash-clearing Mill Creek Canyon Revitalization Project, and investing in pandemic relief, from vaccination sites to employment retention programs.

    However, Ralph has also fought against measures to help the homeless. She sued the county when a temporary shelter was set up in a former Kent motel, which was aimed at helping houseless people recover from sickness. In addition, Ralph joined with Police Chief Rafael Padilla to raise concerns about recently passed laws that increase accountability for law enforcement. At a forum in August, community members accused Ralph of stoking fear in the community by making false claims about the impact of the new laws.

    Bennett is the best choice in this race to bring new progressive leadership to Kent.

    Dawn Bennett

    Dawn Bennett is an education advocate and the vice president of Paramount Duty, a grassroots group which seeks to fully fund education in Washington. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Multicultural Education Rights Alliance.

    Dawn Bennett

    Dawn Bennett is an education advocate and the vice president of Paramount Duty, a grassroots group which seeks to fully fund education in Washington. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Multicultural Education Rights Alliance.

  • Clifford Cawthon is an activist, educator, and freelance journalist who has advocated for years for progressive causes. He works as an adjunct professor at Bellevue College and as the pro-housing coalition strategy manager at the Sightline Institute. In line with his history as a social justice advocate, Cawthon has organized and led campaigns for low-wage workers and for funding the Kent-Des Moines light rail station. He has also served on the Renters Commission in Seattle.

    Cawthon wants to bring his years of experience to city hall to improve life for everyone in Kent. He wants to start by strengthening renter protections and expanding low-income and "missing middle" housing options. He also wants to provide more security for residents by expanding the city's food banks and creating year-round farmers markets. Cawthon believes the city could do more to develop its infrastructure and would advocate for public broadband and transit centers in each neighborhood. He rounds out his progressive vision for the city by promising that residents, especially those from communities of color who are often left out of planning decisions, will be able to provide more input in city issues, including the creation of a civilian oversight committee for law enforcement.

    Cawthon is challenging incumbent Toni Troutner, who also serves as chair of the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority Governance board. Troutner was also elected council president in 2019.

    One of the biggest differences between the candidates is in the handling of the budget and law enforcement. Troutner supported the 2018 proposal to increase utility taxes to hire more police officers, which voters solidly rejected. In addition, she was satisfied with this year's budgeting process, which devoted 60 percent of the city budget to law enforcement. Cawthon, on the other hand, believes that the city needs to invest more in community needs rather than reactive and punitive policing. Cawthon wants to fund more mental health and behavioral specialists to help address mental crises and domestic violence incidents, while Troutner falsely stated that crime happens because there isn't enough prosecution.

    We recommend Cawthon for a progressive vision for Kent.

    Clifford Cawthon

    Clifford Cawthon is an activist, educator, and freelance journalist who has advocated for years for progressive causes. He works as an adjunct professor at Bellevue College and as the pro-housing coalition strategy manager at the Sightline Institute.

    Clifford Cawthon

    Clifford Cawthon is an activist, educator, and freelance journalist who has advocated for years for progressive causes. He works as an adjunct professor at Bellevue College and as the pro-housing coalition strategy manager at the Sightline Institute.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Joe Todd is running for Renton City Council, Position 1 to bring new solutions and community perspectives to city hall. He currently works as the King County Deputy Chief Technology Officer.

    In our interview with Todd, we were impressed by his thorough knowledge of city affairs and his dedication to serving the community. Todd pointed out that the city cannot reasonably solve the issue of homelessness on its own, and that a regional approach and improved relationship with the county would create better outcomes for all residents. He wants to use his technological expertise to help law enforcement track the issues they are responding to so the city can allocate resources most effectively. Todd also wants to launch something similar to the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, OR, which can dispatch trained caseworkers instead of police officers to help those experiencing mental health challenges. He supports both thorough police training and redirecting some funding from policing to human services to build stronger communities and prevent crime.

    Todd is running against James Alberson. Alberson has served as a Renton planning commissioner since April 2020 and is a former board chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. Alberson states that if elected, he will prioritize ensuring a strong business climate, reducing homelessness, and increasing housing affordability, among other priorities. However, in our interview with Alberson, we were disappointed that part of this proposal to address homelessness was mandatory participation in city programs. This focus on putting people in jail or building a new regional facility is a costly proposal that fails to address the root causes of homelessness and further isolates people from their support networks.

    Todd's in-depth insight and commitment to Renton would be an incredible benefit to the city. We enthusiastically recommend Joe Todd for Renton City Council, Position 1.

    Joe Todd

    Joe Todd is running for Renton City Council, Position 1 to bring new solutions and community perspectives to city hall. He currently works as the King County Deputy Chief Technology Officer.

    Joe Todd

    Joe Todd is running for Renton City Council, Position 1 to bring new solutions and community perspectives to city hall. He currently works as the King County Deputy Chief Technology Officer.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Carmen Rivera is running for Renton City Council, Position 2 to leverage her professional background in social services for the people of Renton. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University's Criminal Justice Department, where her coursework incorporates a racial equity lens. Previously, she worked at the state's Department of Children, Youth, and Families at Echo Glen's Children's Center, counseling and providing treatment plans for struggling youth. She has also worked at Youthsource, where she engaged young people who had dropped out of school.

    As a social services advocate, Rivera wants to prioritize updating Renton's Community Needs Assessment for Human Services, which would help provide the community access to food, shelter, and living wage jobs. She also wants to update Renton's 2011 Clean Economy Strategy, bringing it in line with today's standards on clean water, air, and reduced pollution. Additionally, Rivera will work hard to provide low-cost job training and emphasize the need for affordable and mixed-income housing.

    Her opponent, Ben Johnson, runs a small IT business and has worked with the North Renton streets project, as well as serving on the City of Renton Airport Committee. His priorities include funding the police and fire departments, making neighborhoods attractive, and ensuring that Renton expands its transportation options through Sound Transit and the state department of transportation.

    Rivera has overwhelming support from progressive organizations across the spectrum, from unions to housing advocates to educators. Her dedication to the community and progressive and bold vision for the city earns her our recommendation for Renton City Council, Position 2.

    Carmen Rivera

    Carmen Rivera is running for Renton City Council, Position 2 to leverage her professional background in social services for the people of Renton.

    Carmen Rivera

    Carmen Rivera is running for Renton City Council, Position 2 to leverage her professional background in social services for the people of Renton.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Naghmana Sherazi is running for Spokane City Council, District 1, Position 2. Since immigrating from Pakistan, Sherazi has become very active in the local community. She is a member of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, Refugee Connections of Spokane, and Greater Spokane Progress.

    Sherazi is running to increase representation and investment in Northeast Spokane and to push for stronger police reform. She wants to empower the city's Ombudsman's Office to hold police officers accountable and improve safety for all residents. In addition, she would like to shift some 911 responses to mental health crisis responders instead of armed police officers. Sherazi supports extending the eviction moratorium and increasing affordable housing options in Spokane. 

    Sherazi is facing Jonathan Bingle, a small business owner running on a conservative platform. Conservative developers and realtors are spending record amounts to elect him and he is endorsed by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and other local Republicans. His campaign priorities are focused on helping businesses and supporting the police, instead of looking at investing in community services that would be more effective and keep our community safer.

    Sherazi would be a strong addition to the city council and is the best choice for Spokane City Council, District 1, Position 2.

    Naghmana Sherazi

    Naghmana Sherazi is running for Spokane City Council, District 1, Position 2. Since immigrating from Pakistan, Sherazi has become very active in the local community.

    Naghmana Sherazi

    Naghmana Sherazi is running for Spokane City Council, District 1, Position 2. Since immigrating from Pakistan, Sherazi has become very active in the local community.

  • Armen Papyan is a board member of several community organizations, including the Tukwila Children's Foundation, Friends of the Tukwila Library and the Tukwila Public Safety Bond. Papyan is also the former student government president at UW Tacoma.

    After experiencing homelessness in his first year of school, he went on to help build a program to secure affordable housing for other homeless and housing-insecure students at UW Tacoma. Part of his campaign is now centered on bridging the gap between his experience and city government. If elected, he pledges to help bring homeownership within reach of residents and expand bus service and sidewalks. He would also promote community policing and address residents' noise and air pollution concerns.

    Armen Papyan

    Armen Papyan is a board member of several community organizations, including the Tukwila Children's Foundation, Friends of the Tukwila Library and the Tukwila Public Safety Bond. Papyan is also the former student government president at UW Tacoma.

    Armen Papyan

    Armen Papyan is a board member of several community organizations, including the Tukwila Children's Foundation, Friends of the Tukwila Library and the Tukwila Public Safety Bond. Papyan is also the former student government president at UW Tacoma.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Kim Harless is a program manager at a paint recycling nonprofit and a Clark County Review commissioner. She has served in several roles oriented towards feeding the community, including as the president of Slow Food Southwest Washington, vice president of Urban Abundance, and treasurer of Clark County Food System. She also worked for nearly a decade as an environmental operations specialist with Clark County planning recycling systems, providing oversight on contracts.

    Harless states that as an Indigenous and Chicana single mother, she intends to center equity in both her campaign and her tenure on council if elected. She will lead with housing-first solutions to the homelessness crisis, which means securing shelter for people so that they can safely address any health, social, or economic issues they may be facing. In our interview with Harless, she said she wanted to provide technical expertise on creating a much more robust climate action plan. She believes police reform should be intentional and focused, and that emergency services should evolve so that a more diverse suite of services is available for residents who call 911 for disputes or mental health crises. Harless emphasized that, overall, city government must address the needs of marginalized communities so that Vancouver is truly welcoming and healthy for all.

    Her opponent is John Blom, a real estate broker and former Clark County council member from District 3. On the county council, Blom served as a fairly moderate voice in his first term, which he ran for as a Republican; he later ran with no party preference. He serves on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington and The Historic Trust.

    Blom acknowledges that the homelessness crisis is entangled with many other issues, including lack of mental health services, surging costs of living, medical emergencies, and job loss. He also states that law enforcement should provide more options for alternative responses for those who need help with behavioral or mental health. While Blom mentions that the best way to ensure public safety is to provide educational and economic opportunities for people to thrive, he is not specific about whether that would include shifting funding into community-based services.

    Harless has worked hard to bring together the government and public to work on issues that the community cares about most. Harless' forward-thinking agenda and support from a wide range of organizations make her the best choice in this race. We recommend Harless in this race for her fresh perspective, strong progressive values, and the technical expertise she could bring to the city council.

    Kim Harless

    Kim Harless is a program manager at a paint recycling nonprofit and a Clark County Review commissioner.

    Kim Harless

    Kim Harless is a program manager at a paint recycling nonprofit and a Clark County Review commissioner.

  • Endorsed By: The Washington Bus, SEIU 775, SEIU Local 925, Sierra Club, Washington Conservation Voters , League of United Latin American Citizens SW WA Council 4713, Sunrise Movement of SW WA