• VOTE MAINTAINED

    Vote Maintained to strengthen mental health crisis support

  • This spring, lawmakers passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1477 to expand the state’s crisis response system to include a new hotline dealing exclusively with mental health emergencies.

    Sponsored by Democratic legislators, the law will divert some calls away from 911 so that Washingtonians can get more specialized crisis responses. In addition, law enforcement officers no longer need to take on responsibilities associated with social workers. This will be funded by a tax of 30 cents a month on most phone services in October 2021 until a bump to 75 cents a month starting in July 2024. All revenue generated by the tax will go to crisis line-related expenses, including expanding hotline personnel during the community mental health crisis associated with the pandemic.

    Vote “Maintained” on State Advisory Vote 36.

    This spring, lawmakers passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1477 to expand the state’s crisis response system to include a new hotline dealing exclusively with mental health emergencies.

    Sponsored by Democratic legislators, the law will divert some calls away from 911 so that Washingtonians can get more specialized crisis responses. In addition, law enforcement officers no longer need to take on responsibilities associated with social workers. This will be funded by a tax of 30 cents a month on most phone services in October 2021 until a bump to 75 cents a month starting in July 2024. All revenue generated by the tax will go to crisis line-related expenses, including expanding hotline personnel during the community mental health crisis associated with the pandemic.

    Vote “Maintained” on State Advisory Vote 36.

  • Endorsed By: The Stranger
  • VOTE MAINTAINED

    Vote Maintained to balance our tax code

  • Washingtonians deserve an economy that works for us all. An essential part of that is a balanced tax code where everyone pays their share. Yet, Washington boasts the most upside-down system in the nation, where the state’s lowest-income earners pay 17% of their income in taxes while the wealthiest few pay just 3% of their income.

    This legislative session, Democratic lawmakers wrote and passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5096, which created a 7% capital gains tax on the sale of assets like stocks valued above $250,000. The tax is estimated to raise about $415 million primarily for child care and early learning - both services that became clearly essential to Washingtonians during the coronavirus pandemic.

    We know that good public schools, beautiful parks, and strong social services make Washington a great place to live. This long-overdue capital gains tax will go towards making sure that all Washingtonians pay their share in taxes and have the opportunity to thrive.

    Vote "Maintained" on State Advisory Vote 37.

    Washingtonians deserve an economy that works for us all. An essential part of that is a balanced tax code where everyone pays their share. Yet, Washington boasts the most upside-down system in the nation, where the state’s lowest-income earners pay 17% of their income in taxes while the wealthiest few pay just 3% of their income.

    This legislative session, Democratic lawmakers wrote and passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5096, which created a 7% capital gains tax on the sale of assets like stocks valued above $250,000. The tax is estimated to raise about $415 million primarily for child care and early learning - both services that became clearly essential to Washingtonians during the coronavirus pandemic.

    We know that good public schools, beautiful parks, and strong social services make Washington a great place to live. This long-overdue capital gains tax will go towards making sure that all Washingtonians pay their share in taxes and have the opportunity to thrive.

    Vote "Maintained" on State Advisory Vote 37.

  • Endorsed By: The Stranger
  • VOTE MAINTAINED

    Vote Maintained to close a tax loophole for insurance companies

  • In the most recent legislative session, lawmakers passed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5315, which creates a 2% tax on certain insurance premiums. In effect, the law would close a tax loophole for corporations with their own insurance policies, known as captive insurers, so that all insurance companies pay premiums taxes. It is estimated to generate around $53 million over the next decade.

    SB 5315 had bipartisan sponsorship and was passed nearly unanimously with only one vote of opposition between both houses. The legislation was requested by Democratic Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who wants to make sure that all insurance companies pay their share of taxes.

    Ensuring big corporations pay their share is an important step toward balancing our state's tax code. Vote “Maintained” on State Advisory Vote 38.

    In the most recent legislative session, lawmakers passed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5315, which creates a 2% tax on certain insurance premiums. In effect, the law would close a tax loophole for corporations with their own insurance policies, known as captive insurers, so that all insurance companies pay premiums taxes. It is estimated to generate around $53 million over the next decade.

    SB 5315 had bipartisan sponsorship and was passed nearly unanimously with only one vote of opposition between both houses. The legislation was requested by Democratic Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who wants to make sure that all insurance companies pay their share of taxes.

    Ensuring big corporations pay their share is an important step toward balancing our state's tax code. Vote “Maintained” on State Advisory Vote 38.

  • Endorsed By: The Stranger

City Races

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

  • Paleontologist Jacquelyn Belock is running for Cheney City Council, Position 3. Belock is a professor at Spokane Falls Community College, and she also works as a precinct committee officer. She moved back to the area to raise her kids and is now running to represent working families and small businesses.

    Belock wants to center community and environmental concerns in city council decision making. Her platform is focused on COVID recovery, getting schools safely back in person, expanding green space, updating infrastructure, preventing wildfires, and investing in affordable housing. In this race, she has earned the endorsements of her local Democrats and a regional labor council.

    Mark Posthuma, a pastor, nonprofit board member, and avid local volunteer, is also in this race. Posthuma does not have any specific campaign priorities listed in the local voters' guide pamphlet or a website as of mid-October, saying simply that it would be an honor to work on the council.

    Belock is the best choice for Position 3 on the Cheney City Council.

    Jacquelyn Belock

    Paleontologist Jacquelyn Belock is running for Cheney City Council, Position 3. Belock is a professor at Spokane Falls Community College, and she also works as a precinct committee officer.

    Jacquelyn Belock

    Paleontologist Jacquelyn Belock is running for Cheney City Council, Position 3. Belock is a professor at Spokane Falls Community College, and she also works as a precinct committee officer.

  • 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.

  • Betsy Wilkerson is running unopposed for re-election to Spokane City Council, District 2, Position 2. She was appointed to the city council in 2019 and has been a champion for progressive causes from the Spokane housing levy to police reform. Wilkerson brings to the council more than 20 years of experience in leadership roles at nonprofits and as a business owner. She is also the only Black woman serving on the council and is the first to do so in almost 20 years. Wilkerson's platform emphasizes making Spokane a place where everyone gets the tools and opportunities they need to thrive.

    Wilkerson is the best choice for Spokane City Council, District 2, Position 2, and deserves your vote.

    Betsy Wilkerson

    Betsy Wilkerson is running unopposed for re-election to Spokane City Council, District 2, Position 2. She was appointed to the city council in 2019 and has been a champion for progressive causes from the Spokane housing levy to police reform.

    Betsy Wilkerson

    Betsy Wilkerson is running unopposed for re-election to Spokane City Council, District 2, Position 2. She was appointed to the city council in 2019 and has been a champion for progressive causes from the Spokane housing levy to police reform.

  • Endorsed By: Fuse, SEIU Locals 6, 775, 925, and 1199, Housing Action Fund , Spokane Community Against Racism, Spokane Regional Labor Council
  • Evergreen Future
  • Zack Zappone is running for Spokane City Council, District 3, Position 2. Zappone is a local high school English teacher. He previously challenged Republican Rep. Mike Volz in the 6th Legislative District and narrowly lost.

    Zappone's campaign priorities include ensuring everyone has the training they need to enter the workforce, a housing-first approach to homelessness, worker protections, and creating a more equitable tax system for lower-income residents. He highlights his experience in logistics through his volunteer work with the Spokane Food Fighters, who are delivering meals during the coronavirus crisis. He supports expanded protections for renters, incentivizing more housing density, and demilitarizing the police.

    His opponent in this race is Mike Lish, a conservative fast food restaurant owner. Notably, conservative developers and realtors are pouring lots of money into this race to get Lish elected. Lish's campaign platform is not detailed but is focused on supporting funding for police officers instead of looking at investing in effective community services that make our community safer for everyone. While he claims he wants to address the affordable housing crisis, Lish does not have a detailed strategy to bring more housing to Spokane.

    Zappone is the best choice for Spokane City Council, District 3, Position 2.

    Zack Zappone

    Zack Zappone is running for Spokane City Council, District 3, Position 2. Zappone is a local high school English teacher. He previously challenged Republican Rep. Mike Volz in the 6th Legislative District and narrowly lost.

    Zack Zappone

    Zack Zappone is running for Spokane City Council, District 3, Position 2. Zappone is a local high school English teacher. He previously challenged Republican Rep. Mike Volz in the 6th Legislative District and narrowly lost.

  • Voters for Position 4 this year will find themselves picking between a Republican incumbent and a far-right challenger. Incumbent Ben Wick describes himself as conservative but has taken some solid votes while in this position. Wick served on the council from 2012 to 2015, was elected again in 2017, and was then chosen as mayor by the council in 2020. Wick points to the hiring of a housing and homeless coordinator, as well as increasing regional cooperation with the county on homelessness, as big steps forward for dealing with the housing crisis. He also supported buying 45 acres of parkland in support of resident feedback during the last city master-plan process.

    His opponent, Brandon Fenton, wants to roll back that progress. He states that the city should spend fewer resources helping people experiencing homelessness, and should not have hired a housing coordinator. The bar owner, who is the son of fellow city council candidate Wayne Fenton, describes himself as a Trump Republican. He lept into the public spotlight last year when he refused to close his bar during the pandemic, endangering the very residents he's running to represent.

    While progressive voters may not find a perfect choice for this seat, Fenton is even more conservative than Wick, who has at least made several good votes that support the residents of Spokane Valley and is not an extremist. Voters should choose the more moderate Wick for Spokane Valley City Council, Position 4.

    Ben Wick

    Voters for Position 4 this year will find themselves picking between a Republican incumbent and a far-right challenger. Incumbent Ben Wick describes himself as conservative but has taken some solid votes while in this position.

    Ben Wick

    Voters for Position 4 this year will find themselves picking between a Republican incumbent and a far-right challenger. Incumbent Ben Wick describes himself as conservative but has taken some solid votes while in this position.

No Good Choices

There are no good choices for Spokane Valley City Council, Position 5.

Wayne Fenton is the father of fellow candidate and Trump Republican Brandon Fenton. Their decision to keep their bar open during the pandemic, in spite of potentially fatal consequences and state law requirements, doesn't speak to protecting or serving the people of Spokane Valley. Fenton's platform is focused on decreasing regulations "wherever and whenever," a wide approach that leaves people, the environment, and livelihoods open to harm.

Incumbent Republican Pamela Haley is endorsed by a slate of Republican officials, including Sen. Mike Padden and Sen. Jeff Holy. She is running on a conservative platform that seeks to pull back reproductive rights for families, block public health efforts to fight the pandemic, and oppose marriage equality.

Write in a progressive candidate of your choice for Position 5.

  • Incumbent Linda (Hatcher) Thompson was elected in 2017 as part of a more moderate shift on the council. She works as a nonprofit executive director for the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council. Thompson states that she is running to continue to make infrastructure upgrades, add parks, and enhance community engagement in crime prevention. Like fellow incumbent and candidate Wick, Thompson has made several good votes on the council, including hiring a housing and homeless coordinator to address the city's housing crisis and supporting parks and trails expansion.

    Like the voters in Position 4, voters looking at Position 7 will find themselves picking between a more moderate incumbent and Thompson's far-right opponent, Republican Laura Padden. Padden has stated in a candidate questionnaire that she believes reproductive health funding, equity measures, and environmental regulations should be cut. Padden, a web developer who is the wife of far-right Sen. Mike Padden, is running on a conservative agenda to pour more money into policing and reducing regulations. Unlike Thompson, who has directly addressed the housing crisis to assist residents, Padden says that it should be mostly addressed at the state level.

    Thompson represents some solid votes on the council and a more moderate view than her opponent, who has offered a divisive agenda that will drive the city's progress backward. Voters should choose Linda Thompson for Spokane Valley City Council, Position 7.

    Linda (Hatcher) Thompson

    Incumbent Linda (Hatcher) Thompson was elected in 2017 as part of a more moderate shift on the council. She works as a nonprofit executive director for the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council.

    Linda (Hatcher) Thompson

    Incumbent Linda (Hatcher) Thompson was elected in 2017 as part of a more moderate shift on the council. She works as a nonprofit executive director for the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council.

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

  • Educator Melissa Bedford is running for Spokane School Board, Director Position 3. Bedford currently works as an assistant professor at Eastern Washington University and has previously served both as a public school teacher and in institutional leadership positions. Outside of teaching, Bedford volunteers with a number of after-school programs and local organizations like the Spokane Public Library.

    Bedford is running to make education more accessible, equitable, and inclusive. She believes that the pandemic showcased the existing inequities within the state’s school system. If elected, Bedford wants to work to get broadband internet and other technology to all students, to promote the social and emotional health of students, and to make sure that all students feel welcome in the classroom. She has written about teaching civic engagement in the classroom and wants to bring the voice of an educator to the school board.

    Bedford is facing Daryl Geffken, a financial advisor and parent of two children in the district. If elected, Geffken would bring conservative values to the school board including opposing historically accurate curriculums about race. He also opposes same-sex marriage, inclusive classrooms, and multicultural programs.

    Melissa Bedford is by far the most qualified and progressive choice in this race and she deserves your vote for Spokane School Board, Director Position 3.

    Melissa Bedford

    Educator Melissa Bedford is running for Spokane School Board, Director Position 3. Bedford currently works as an assistant professor at Eastern Washington University and has previously served both as a public school teacher and in institutional leadership positions.

    Melissa Bedford

    Educator Melissa Bedford is running for Spokane School Board, Director Position 3. Bedford currently works as an assistant professor at Eastern Washington University and has previously served both as a public school teacher and in institutional leadership positions.

  • Endorsed By: Fuse , Spokane Education Association, Spokane Community Against Racism, Spokane Regional Labor Council.
  • Riley Smith, an operations coordinator at Feeding Washington, is running for Position 4 on the Spokane School Board. He grew up in Spokane and spent 13 years in the Spokane public school system. Aside from his nonprofit work, Smith works as a precinct committee officer and has previously aided a number of progressive campaigns. In his free time, he volunteers with Native Project COVAX Vaccination Clinic and Spokane Food Fighters.

    If elected, Smith has two main focuses: expanding student mental health resources and investing in support for alternative career paths like apprenticeships and trade schools. A pre-pandemic study from the Washington State Department of Health showed that nearly 40% of Spokane students struggle with their mental health. As a result, Smith argues that access to mental health resources, services, and support is fundamental to achieving student success and building a stronger school system. Additionally, he believes that skill training for blue-collar jobs would ultimately expand student opportunity and success.

    Life coach and mother of five Kata Dean is running to bring right-wing policy to the school board. She supports repealing meal programs, daycare support, and multicultural curriculums. Dean would also push for Christian doctrine to be taught alongside evolutionary biology in public schools. She is not only anti-choice and against same-sex marriage, but she believes her views should dictate the policy of the school board.

    Smith is the clear choice in this race. He deserves your vote for Spokane School Board, Director Position 4.

    Riley Smith

    Riley Smith, an operations coordinator at Feeding Washington, is running for Position 4 on the Spokane School Board. He grew up in Spokane and spent 13 years in the Spokane public school system.

    Riley Smith

    Riley Smith, an operations coordinator at Feeding Washington, is running for Position 4 on the Spokane School Board. He grew up in Spokane and spent 13 years in the Spokane public school system.

  • Endorsed By: Fuse, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates , Spokane County Young Democrats, Spokane Regional Labor Council