Pierce County

Pierce County

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Welcome to the Fuse Progressive Voters Guide to the 2021 primary election! The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. You can learn about our partners and decision-making process here. Please share this guide with your friends and family!

Port of Tacoma

Port of Tacoma, Port Commissioner, Position #2

  • Employment specialist Elizabeth Pew is running for Port of Tacoma, Position 2. Pew serves the community as a legislative district caucus delegate, a precinct committee officer, and a member of the Tacoma Arts Commission. She has pledged not to accept any fossil fuel money during her campaign and has earned an impressive roster of progressive endorsements.

    Pew has a progressive vision that includes responsible environmental stewardship, economic development that doesn’t leave anyone behind, and a collaborative, efficient, and reliable working port. She wants to make sure that the port is responsive to community members and voters first and foremost, as opposed to corporate interests.

    We recommend Pew for new leadership that will prioritize sustainability at the Port of Tacoma.

    Elizabeth Pew

    Submitted by alexwhite on Wed, 07/21/2021 - 13:22

    Employment specialist Elizabeth Pew is running for Port of Tacoma, Position 2. Pew serves the community as a legislative district caucus delegate, a precinct committee officer, and a member of the Tacoma Arts Commission.

  • Incumbent Commissioner Dick Marzano is running to retain Port of Tacoma, Position 2. Marzano was first elected commissioner in 1995 and serves on the executive committee for the Puget Sound Regional Council. Before his career in public service, Marzano spent 52 years working in Tacoma as a longshoreman and was also the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 23.

    If re-elected, Marzano wants to continue prioritizing environmental protection and job creation. With his background as a longshoreman, Marzano knows that the two issues are connected and that those who live and work near the port are directly affected by its environmental impact. However, Marzano has not been supportive of protecting our communities from pollution from the proposed LNG facility. 

    Also in this race is Jeannette Twitty. Twitty has a strong social justice focus, articulating her approach to port responsibilities through the lenses of workers’ rights, equity, and environmental stewardship. If elected, Twitty wants to promote living wage job creation, economic development, environmental health, marine trade through land acquisition, and partnerships with local organizations.

    Dick Marzano

    Submitted by import on Wed, 06/30/2021 - 13:49

    Incumbent Commissioner Dick Marzano is running to retain Port of Tacoma, Position 2. Marzano was first elected commissioner in 1995 and serves on the executive committee for the Puget Sound Regional Council.

  • Endorsed By: Pierce County Central Labor Council

Port of Tacoma, Port Commissioner, Position #4

  • Firefighter and veteran Brian Duthie is running for Port of Tacoma, Position 4. Duthie is a community leader who also serves on the board of Washington State Council of Firefighters Burn Foundation. He is a solid Democrat who has opposed Republican candidates in prior races with the support of progressive organizations.

    Duthie is running to bring progressive values like workers’ rights, environmental stewardship, and community-focused economic investments to the port. Specifically, he wants to advance sustainable infrastructure, care for the local ecosystem and curtail pollution, expand living-wage union jobs, and make the port a destination. If elected, Duthie will make sure that the decisions made by the port will be in the best interest of everyone who lives and works nearby.

    In this crowded race, Duthie is the best choice to bring a strong, progressive voice to the port, and he deserves your vote for Port of Tacoma, Position 4.

    Brian Duthie

    Submitted by import on Wed, 06/30/2021 - 13:49

    Firefighter and veteran Brian Duthie is running for Port of Tacoma, Position 4. Duthie is a community leader who also serves on the board of Washington State Council of Firefighters Burn Foundation.

Port of Tacoma, Position #4

Other Candidates

Duthie faces a long list of opponents in this race. Incumbent commissioner Don Meyer is running to retain the Position 4 seat he assumed after first being elected in 2010. Before that, Meyer served as the deputy director of the Port of Tacoma and the executive director of the Foss Waterway Development Authority. If re-elected, he wants to continue pursuing a more conservative agenda focused on regaining container market share lost to Canada. Meyer states that he wants to modernize terminals and waterways, but also intends to limit revenue, putting many improvements beyond reach.

Also in this race is Mary Bacon, an environmental scientist, health physicist, and veteran. Bacon also served as the elected president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 12. If elected, she hopes to address traffic congestion in and around the port, help foster greater economic growth, and ensure environmental stewardship that protects the unique estuarine ecosystem.

Four candidates in this race lack the community leadership and elected experience to mount a strong campaign. Scott Lewis is a registered nurse and former legal assistant who is running in order to strike a balance between the environmental and economic impact of the port. Nirav Sheth is a local business owner, veteran, and former Lakewood police officer who is running to bring a business perspective to the port in order to create jobs, protect the natural environment, provide greater veteran employment opportunities, and keep the operating budget low. Christian (C.J.) Dylina is a navy veteran and M.R.I. technologist at St. Joseph Hospital. Dylina offered contradictory information in the Pierce County Voters' Guide that draws concern about his commitment to environmental stewardship. Mario Rivera does technical support work and is a former franchise business owner and current Little League Baseball coach. Having worked as a longshoreman briefly, Rivera believes he can offer a fresh perspective to the port in order to achieve environmental protections and create jobs.

There are two final candidates -- Christopher Pierce and c bey el -- who have not provided any information to the Pierce County Voters' Guide and have no real presence in this campaign.

Auburn City Council

Auburn City Council, Position #4

  • Running for Auburn City Council, Position 4 is Hanan Amer, a chemist for an aerospace company. Amer has been volunteering locally for years, including at food banks, the White River Valley Museum, the Auburn and Muckleshoot libraries, and with the police department. She has also volunteered as a tax preparer for United Way of King County in the Auburn and Kent areas. Amer is endorsed by Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus and the 47th Legislative District Democrats and is running to make sure everyone can feel empowered and engaged in their communities. 

    Her opponents in this race are incumbent Councilmember Yolanda Trout and Andrea Niemeyer. Trout has been on the city council for seven years and previously served as the vice-chair of the local Domestic Violence Initiative Regional Task Force from 2014 to 2016 and on Auburn’s Planning Commission from 2010 to 2013. She does not have a campaign website as of mid-July but her re-election platform includes supporting Auburn’s businesses, affordable housing, social justice, and economic growth. Unfortunately, Trout has taken a couple of bad votes including opposing the B&O tax, which would help the city avoid a revenue crisis by 2023, and opposing hazard pay for grocery store workers in the pandemic.

    The last candidate, Niemeyer, has not submitted an official voters' guide statement and does not have any campaign information available as of mid-July.

    Hanan Amer is the best choice for Position 4 on the Auburn City Council.

    Hanan Amer

    Running for Auburn City Council, Position 4 is Hanan Amer, a chemist for an aerospace company. Amer has been volunteering locally for years, including at food banks, the White River Valley Museum, the Auburn and Muckleshoot libraries, and with the police department.

Gig Harbor City Council

Gig Harbor City Council, Position #1

  • Evergreen Future
  • Incumbent Jeni Woock has served on the Gig Harbor City Council since 2018. She has a long volunteer record, especially around the environment, as one of the cofounders of Citizens for the Preservation of Gig Harbor and chair of the Gig Harbor Sustainability Coalition.

    Woock ran for council in 2017 on a promise of slower growth. She advocated for developers to pay their share of traffic impact fees in 2019 and voted for a six-month moratorium on residential development in 2018. Woock is also an advocate for switching from a strong mayor form of government to a council form after tumultuous leadership by Mayor Kit Kuhn.

    Also in this race are Robert Wiles and Scott McCarley. Wiles is a real estate agent and former commercial fisherman. According to his candidate statement, he wants to see less development in the city and more historical preservation, but he does not have any concrete policy proposals or wider campaign plans available. Similarly, Scott McCarley states that he wants to protect the local economy but has no policy proposals or campaign information available.

    While we ultimately can't classify her as a progressive, Woock is an environmentalist and she is the only viable choice in this race.

    Jeni Woock

    Incumbent Jeni Woock has served on the Gig Harbor City Council since 2018. She has a long volunteer record, especially around the environment, as one of the cofounders of Citizens for the Preservation of Gig Harbor and chair of the Gig Harbor Sustainability Coalition.

Gig Harbor City Council, Position #2

  • Roger Henderson is a member of the Gig Harbor Parks Commission and a former civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He states that if elected, he will aim for sustainable growth and to improve community walkability and accessibility to shopping, parks, and more.

    Also in this race are Dave Ozier and John Skansi. Dave Ozier is a former Coast Guard officer and teacher. He states that he is running to expand bike and pedestrian walkways, maintain roads, and complete parks.

    Skansi had originally filed to run for mayor but switched to city council at the last minute. He does not have a detailed platform available as of mid-July. His official voters' guide statement says that he is running to bring more local control to the community and smarter economic development, though he doesn't elaborate on what that entails. Skansi was recently barred from substitute teaching in at least four Seattle schools for a wide range of conduct offenses, including singling out Black students, failing to properly wear a mask, and failing to actually teach in his classes.

    We lean towards Henderson in this race because of his longtime experience in sustainability and environmental work.

    Roger Henderson

    Roger Henderson is a member of the Gig Harbor Parks Commission and a former civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He states that if elected, he will aim for sustainable growth and to improve community walkability and accessibility to shopping, parks, and more.

Lakewood City Council

Lakewood City Council, Position #2

  • Army Special Forces veteran Amelia Escobedo is running for Lakewood City Council, Position 2, to push for a reckoning on police accountability. She cites the still-open civil case of Said Joquin, who was killed by a Lakewood police officer, as an example of the dangers of not holding officers to account. Escobedo's other priorities include expanding affordable housing, especially in areas where low-income housing is being displaced, building no-barrier entry housing for people experiencing homelessness, and respecting tribal treaties.

    Escobedo is facing incumbent Mike Brandstetter and Malcolm Russell. Brandstetter has served on the Lakewood City Council since 2010 and he represents the council on the South Sound 911 policy board. He is a retired Army command sergeant major and former dean at Bates Technical College. He does not have a campaign website available but has stated that his priorities include addressing affordable housing and homelessness, building a new library and senior center, and continuing to expand human services in Lakewood. Malcolm Russell ran for Lakewood City Council in 2019 and has not updated his campaign Facebook as of June 1 of this year. He also ran as a Republican for Legislature in 2012. According to the News Tribune, Russell has suspended his campaign for the position.

    Lakewood is growing rapidly and in the years to come will need to reckon with harsh economic truths. An estimated 17 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, higher than the national average of 13 percent. In addition, the community must address a legacy of excessive use of force by the police department, which has been sued five times since 2021 just for incidents involving police dogs and has been slow to implement body cameras. In this low-information race, we lean slightly towards Escobedo who we hope will provide prospective and progress on these and other issues.

    Amelia Escobedo

    Army Special Forces veteran Amelia Escobedo is running for Lakewood City Council, Position 2, to push for a reckoning on police accountability.

Lakewood City Council, Position #3

  • Siabhon Ayuso is an executive board member for the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee for Legislative District 29. She does not yet have a campaign website as of mid-July but states that as a single mom of four kids, she would focus on bringing economic opportunities for those who live in Lakewood. She states that frontline workers during the pandemic should have been offered hazard pay, which the city council voted down, and that more needs to be done to bring better-paying jobs to Lakewood. On her campaign Facebook, she has posted in support of removing Sheriff Ed Troyer for his racist and potentially criminal endangerment of a Black man in Pierce County, as well as in support of justice for those killed by the police. Overall, Ayuso is looking to represent the community, especially communities of color who she feels have been ignored by the council.

    Ayuso is facing David Howarth and Jason Whalen. Howarth describes himself as a pro-worker carpet cleaner. He states that if elected, he would prioritize street repair and digital infrastructure, as well as pushing for a $15 minimum wage. While he seems to have progressive values, he lacks a detailed policy platform.

    Republican and deputy mayor Jason Whalen has served in Position 3 on the city council since 2010. While we appreciate his support of increasing mental and behavioral health service funding, the rest of his platform skews conservative. His scaremongering ads against Jani Hitchen, who he ran against for Pierce County Council last year, attempted to divide and deceive voters.

    We lean towards Ayuso for her progressive values.

    Siabhon Ayuso

    Siabhon Ayuso is an executive board member for the Pierce County Democratic Central Committee for Legislative District 29.

Lakewood City Council, Position #5

  • Patti Belle was appointed to the Lakewood City Council in January. She previously worked as a communications team manager in the city of Kent's Office of the Mayor. If re-elected, Belle states that she will continue to focus on investing in infrastructure, prioritizing funding for city services, and increasing communications from the council.

    Belle's opponents are Gene Drawhorn, Ria Covington Johnson, and Antonio Calimano Montanez.

    Electrical engineer Drawhorn has no policy agenda or platform agenda and is not running a competitive campaign. Like Drawhorn, real estate broker Antonio Calimano cedes in his voter statement that he has no elected or relevant civic experience. Only his real estate website is available, with no details about his run for city council. Ria Covington previously ran for Lakewood City Council in 2017 and 2019 and her voters' guide statement cites that she has been a VISTA volunteer and worked with Lakewood African American Police Advisory Committee (LAAPAC). She states that if elected she will focus on inclusive policy at the city level, but her campaign website lacks detail or a platform.

    Belle has not yet served long enough to review her record on the council, but she appears to be the only serious contender in this race.

    Patti Belle

    Patti Belle was appointed to the Lakewood City Council in January. She previously worked as a communications team manager in the city of Kent's Office of the Mayor.

Puyallup City Council

Puyallup City Council, District #2, Position #2

  • Davida Haygood is a community leader, mentor, organizer, and educator who is running for Puyallup City Council, District 2, Position 2. Haygood has served with a number of local organizations, namely the Two-Way Racial Healing Project, the City of Puyallup Design Review & Historic Preservation board, and the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR). She works as a professor and interim director of education at Pierce College.

    If elected, Haygood wants to draw on her leadership background to focus on anti-racism and social justice, equitable economic advancement, voter registration, Indigenous self-determination, and environmental justice. She hopes to work closely with the Puyallup Tribal Council on community issues and environmental stewardship. With her extensive and meaningful community involvement, Haygood is committed to the values of inclusion and reconciliation in Puyallup.

    There has been discussion of Haygood's eligibility to run based on her two-year residency less than a mile outside of Puyallup city limits. Haygood stated that attorneys have advised her that she does meet the qualifications since she has lived for twelve years within city limits and temporarily rented for only those two years, while continuing to work in and send her kids to school in the city. The Pierce County Elections committee confirmed that she lived in-district during the time of her filing and that any challenges to her eligibility would occur after the general election. 

    While we continue to monitor any developments on this issue, we still recommend Haygood because of her progressive values and commitment to the community.

    Davida Haygood

    Davida Haygood is a community leader, mentor, organizer, and educator who is running for Puyallup City Council, District 2, Position 2.

  • Joe Colombo is an elected precinct committee officer in Pierce County and the founder of Indivisible Puyallup.

    Colombo serves on the City of Puyallup Design Review & Historic Preservation board and has worked in IT in project management and facilitation. He brings both community leadership and political experience to his campaign. In this race, Colombo is prioritizing pedestrian safety, affordable housing, economic vitality, equity and diversity, disability accommodations, and community-focused government spending. He has stated that his first objective would be to form an equity and ethics commission that brings Puyallup citizens together to work on making the city better for all residents.

    Joe Colombo

    Joe Colombo is an elected precinct committee officer in Pierce County and the founder of Indivisible Puyallup.

Other Candidates

Challenging Haygood and Colombo is Dennis King, a Puyallup Civil Service Commissioner, real estate agent, and business owner. King has yet to release campaign priorities but he emphasizes his business background and boasts one endorsement from the Puyallup Police Association. He seems to have a conservative economic agenda with a critique of both government support systems and new taxes that would help to balance our upside-down tax code.

Tacoma Mayor

Tacoma Mayor

  • Victoria Woodards is running for re-election to be the mayor of Tacoma. She had a long track record of public service before becoming mayor in 2017. Woodards supports working families and is committed to maintaining safe and healthy neighborhoods across Tacoma. She also crucially understands the importance of addressing institutional racism and has a demonstrated history of working within communities of color and building diverse coalitions to address the problems facing Tacoma. In her time on the Tacoma City Council, Woodards worked on establishing Tacoma’s Office of Equity and Human Rights.

    While Woodards previously supported the proposal to build a highly polluting liquefied natural gas facility in Tacoma because it would have created jobs, she has since emphasized she does not support any new fossil fuel facilities in the Tideflats.

    Also in this race are Jamika Scott and Steve Haverly. Scott has worked as a domestic violence advocate at YWCA Pierce County and mentored students with AmeriCorps at Peace Community Center. She is also a co-founder and organizer with the Tacoma Action Collective and a board member with the Tacoma Public Library Foundation Board of Directors. Scott is very progressive and her platform includes advocating for rent control, bringing a restorative justice model to Tacoma, and meeting the transportation and social service needs of people experiencing homelessness. Haverly is a first-time candidate who works in construction and land management. Haverly does not have a strong or progressive campaign platform and while he claims to be non-partisan, what little campaign information he does have available demonstrates his priorities would not align with what Tacoma's communities need as we come together to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Woodards has earned broad support from our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations and numerous elected officials. Woodards is the best choice for mayor of Tacoma.

    Victoria Woodards

    Victoria Woodards is running for re-election to be the mayor of Tacoma. She had a long track record of public service before becoming mayor in 2017. Woodards supports working families and is committed to maintaining safe and healthy neighborhoods across Tacoma.

Tacoma City Council

Tacoma City Council, Position #4

  • Evergreen Future
  • Catherine Ushka is running for re-election to Tacoma City Council, Position 4. Ushka was first elected to the council in 2017 and previously served on the Tacoma School Board for eight years. She chairs the Community Vitality and Safety Committee and is a member of groups including the Parks Policy Board and Opioid Prevention Taskforce.

    In her time on the council, Ushka supported apprenticeship programs by changing labor codes to make these programs more accessible. If she's re-elected, Ushka wants to do more to fight racial inequalities in health, housing, education, employment, and law enforcement. She states that she will continue to work for more flexible federal funding for housing and shelters, including low-barrier shelters with fewer barriers to entry for the city's unhoused population. Ushka also feels the city needs to increase zoning density where suitable to address the housing deficit and provide additional resources for responding to mental health crises. 

    Also in this race are Israel James McKinney and Nolan Hibbard-Pelly. McKinney has worked for Boeing and Xfinity and currently works for Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services. His platform includes prioritizing education, supporting police reform and accountability, and reducing the gap in affordable housing. Hibbard-Pelly is an environmental activist and student at the University of Washington Tacoma whose platform includes bringing a Green New Deal to Tacoma, municipal broadband for everyone in Tacoma, and improving accessibility of neighborhoods through public works.

    Our local council was disappointed with some of Ushka's interview answers, including her support for moving the migrant detention center to the Nalley Valley. However, Ushka’s support from local progressive groups and our partner organizations makes her the best choice in the race for Tacoma City Council, Position 4.

    Catherine Ushka

    Catherine Ushka is running for re-election to Tacoma City Council, Position 4. Ushka was first elected to the council in 2017 and previously served on the Tacoma School Board for eight years.

Tacoma City Council, Position #5

  • Evergreen Future
  • Anne Artman is running for Tacoma City Council, Position 5. She is the founder and executive director of the Tacoma Recovery Center and previously served as the program manager of the Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center.

    Artman's campaign priorities include dealing with the affordable housing and homelessness crises, increasing behavioral health and social services, bringing more women- and Black-, brown-, and Indigenous-owned businesses to the community, and supporting Tacoma’s small businesses. She is also emphasizing social and racial justice and will work for more accountability, transparency, and equitable opportunities for all communities. Artman has been endorsed by progressive leaders like House Speaker Laurie Jinkins and Rep. Melanie Morgan and groups including the Stonewall Democrats and the National Women’s Political Caucus.

    Also in this race are Joe Bushnell and Treyvon Dunbar. Bushnell is a Tacoma Public Utilities board member and Marine Corps veteran. He is running on a platform that focuses on addressing homelessness and creating jobs. However, Bushnell's orientation toward helping downtown businesses has raised concerns among local labor unions. In addition, he is more focused on improving law enforcement response times than making meaningful police reforms that will keep our community safe.

    Dunbar is the sergeant-at-arms and former treasurer for the 29th Legislative District Democrats as well as the treasurer for the Pierce County Young Democrats. His campaign priorities include affordable housing, police accountability including de-escalation training, and ensuring local construction benefits the community instead of a few developers.

    Artman has earned strong support from our Progressive Voters Guide partners, as well as progressive elected and community leaders. Artman is the best choice in the race for Tacoma City Council, Position 5.

    Anne Artman

    Anne Artman is running for Tacoma City Council, Position 5. She is the founder and executive director of the Tacoma Recovery Center and previously served as the program manager of the Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center.

Peninsula School District

Peninsula School Board, Director, District #5

  • Juanita Beard is running a strong campaign for Peninsula School Board Director in District 5. Beard is a therapist, former social worker, and health care case manager. She runs a small business for her counseling services in Gig Harbor. Beard has two school-aged children currently in the Peninsula school system.

    Beard has a progressive vision for the position. Her priorities include diversity, equity, and inclusion in the school system and the board itself, expanded mental health resources for students, making sure the school board is an accessible government body, and supporting teachers and staff. Beard hopes to bring her vast experience in listening and healing to the district as it recovers from the struggles brought by online learning and pandemic pressures. She has earned progressive and Democratic support in this race.

    Beard is challenging incumbent David Olson in this race. Olson is the current president of the Peninsula School Board after being first elected in 2013. He works in the government banking division of U.S. Bank in Tacoma. Last October, when COVID-19 was tearing through Washington communities, Olson criticized local public health officials and expressed frustration that kindergartners weren’t in classrooms already.

    We need leaders who will follow science and public health recommendations to keep our kids safe. Beard is the best choice in this race and deserves your vote to serve Peninsula School District No. 401 as the next District 5 director.

    Juanita Beard

    Juanita Beard is running a strong campaign for Peninsula School Board Director in District 5. Beard is a therapist, former social worker, and health care case manager. She runs a small business for her counseling services in Gig Harbor.