Condado de Thurston

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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 Olympia

Port Commissioner, District #3, Port of Olympia

  • Joel Hansen is running a progressive campaign for Port of Olympia commissioner in District 3. He works at a solar energy company, and serves on both the Port of Olympia Citizens Advisory Committee and Tumwater Planning Commission and as a precinct committee officer. He is running to put his expertise in finance and environmental science to use in order to strengthen the port economy without compromising on climate action.

    If elected, Hansen wants to take a holistic approach to the commissioner position in order to generate living wage jobs, attract local eco-friendly business, and engage an equity lens for port policy making. He says he will listen to constituents about port issues and seek to better the communications between commissioners and those who live and work near the port. Further, Hansen wants to advance environmental justice, and social justice broadly. He is supported by a number of local progressives and community leaders in this race, and he is a good choice if you are looking for strong progressive leadership and a new perspective on the port.

    Joel Hansen

    Enviado por alexwhite el Mié, 21/07/2021 - 13:23

    Joel Hansen is running a progressive campaign for Port of Olympia commissioner in District 3. He works at a solar energy company, and serves on both the Port of Olympia Citizens Advisory Committee and Tumwater Planning Commission and as a precinct committee officer.

  • Apoyadas Por: Sierra Club , Thurston Environmental Voters, AFSCME Local 443, Thurston County Young Democrats
  • Family lawyer and small business owner Melissa Denton is another good candidate in this race. Denton serves on a number of boards including for the League of Women Voters and the Neighborhood Association. Additionally, she volunteers with the Tumwater Planning Commission and works as a local precinct committee officer. If elected, Denton wants to bring the values of integrity, diversity, and representational government to the commissioner role.

    Denton’s campaign platform includes prioritizing clean air and water, expanding economic opportunities, supporting diversity at all levels of port operations, and remaining trustworthy and accountable to the public. With her background in law and business, she hopes to bring a practical, community-minded approach to the port. Denton has earned Democratic support from local elected officials and organizations. She is a good choice if you want a candidate with a more established reputation for leadership and climate progress.

    Melissa Denton

    Enviado por alexwhite el Mié, 21/07/2021 - 13:23

    Family lawyer and small business owner Melissa Denton is another good candidate in this race. Denton serves on a number of boards including for the League of Women Voters and the Neighborhood Association.

Consejo de la Ciudad de Olympia

Consejo de la Ciudad de Olympia, Position #2

  • Incumbent Yến Huỳnh was appointed to the Position 2 seat in January 2021 after Jessica Bateman left the council to join the state Legislature. She is a former equity and social justice coordinator at the Washington State Department of Corrections, where she aimed to reduce recidivism and is a former Olympia planning commissioner. She is the only person of color currently serving on the council as well as the youngest member of the council.

    Huỳnh's priorities include helping small businesses recover from the pandemic, working with local arts organizations, expanding affordable housing, and improving transportation for all. She is endorsed by a wide slate of state senators, elected officials, city council members, unions, and other progressive organizations.

    Huỳnh is running against Robbi Kesler and Bruce Wilkinson Jr. Kesler is the former general counsel for the Confederated Tribes of Chehalis and a member of the Skokomish Tribe in Mason County.

    Kesler does not have a plan for homelessness or housing affordability on her website, but her answers in local interviews did not point to an effective strategy. She states that she wants to consider "plan[s] to remove trespassers from private property," but does not expand on critical affordable housing needs, instead of saying that the city should focus on rapid rehousing. She also wants to increase law enforcement funding, which she states may or may not go to more police, instead of mental health funding.

    While Kesler's government service is impressive, we're disappointed with her decision to not address the city's housing crisis and her lacking commitment to meaningful police reform.

    Wilkinson Jr. has served on the board of the Northwest Alliance for Alternative Media and Education for 8 years and previously worked as a coordinator for Jill Stein for President and Charlie Hardy for U.S. Congress. He is a clear progressive with a long list of issues for the city to tackle, including implementing low-barrier housing and preserving more green space in the city. However, Huỳnh has broader community support from elected officials and unions.

    Huỳnh is the best choice in this race.

    Yến Huỳnh

    Incumbent Yến Huỳnh was appointed to the Position 2 seat in January 2021 after Jessica Bateman left the council to join the state Legislature.

Consejo de la Ciudad de Olympia, Position #5

  • Elected in 2017, incumbent and veterinary oncologist Lisa Parshley is running for re-election to Olympia City Council, Position 2. She is a board member of LOTT Clean Water Alliance.

    Parshley is looking for a second term on the council to continue her work on climate, economic recovery, and more. During her time on the council, Parshley has supported the council's vote for grocery stores with over 250 employees to provide hazard pay to workers during the pandemic. Parshley sponsored an ordinance banning the retail sale of dogs and cats in the city limits. She also joined the unanimous vote of her colleagues on the council in the ban of chemical weapons on demonstrators last summer.

    Parshley has earned strong support from our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations and local elected leaders in Thurston County. 

    Lisa Parshley

    Elected in 2017, incumbent and veterinary oncologist Lisa Parshley is running for re-election to Olympia City Council, Position 2. She is a board member of LOTT Clean Water Alliance.

  • Apoyadas Por: Sierra Club, Teamsters Joint Council 28, UFCW 21, Housing Action Fund , Olympia Firefighters (IAFF L468), UFCW Local 367, Boeing Machinists IAM District 751
  • Talauna Reed has dedicated herself to racial justice in Olympia. She is the founder of Justice for Yvonne, and an organizer with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and Black Leaders in Action and Solidarity in Thurston County (BLAST). She states that if elected, she would be the first Black woman serving on the Olympia City Council in over 30 years.

    Her platform focuses on authentic engagement with marginalized Olympians. She wants to see the city defund the police department, create a citizen oversight committee, and reallocate the money to solutions such as crisis response teams, addiction health programs, and mental health programs. Reed also wants the city to institute rental discrimination protections, focus on dense growth, and support a housing authority to address the housing crisis. She emphasizes an urgent desire to see the city be more responsive and transparent to residents.

    The two leading candidates in this race represent a philosophical divide in local and national politics on the left. Reed feels a serious urgency to shake up the council and address issues like police violence immediately that some leaders have called unrealistic. On the other side, Parshley has led a steady response to community demands that some activists have decried as incrementalism.

    Talauna Reed

    Talauna Reed has dedicated herself to racial justice in Olympia. She is the founder of Justice for Yvonne, and an organizer with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and Black Leaders in Action and Solidarity in Thurston County (BLAST).

Otros Candidatos

Wendy Carlson is a retired community corrections officer. Carlson joins the slate of candidates this year who believe that the city's actions towards houseless people have been too tolerant. While acknowledging that the houseless consist of a vast array of people, including families and veterans, she wants to increase the usage of court-mandated community court, drug court, and mental health court, as well as increase confidence in the police. She also states in a local interview that other, smaller cities like Gainesville, Illinois have "curbed their homeless population," though on further inspection there is no city by that name.

Consejo de la Ciudad de Olympia, Position #6

  • Evergreen Future
  • Dontae Payne is a U.S. Army veteran and currently works as the deputy district director to Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland. Payne has also worked as the regional representative for the Olympic Peninsula and South Puget Sound in Governor Jay Inslee's office.

    Payne wants to see the city acknowledge systemic racism and he supports the use of an equity lens in its policymaking. On housing and homelessness, Payne states that expanded transitional and permanent supportive housing will help alleviate the crisis while providing COVID relief for small businesses and rent stabilization for commercial tenants will aid the city's economic recovery.

    Payne and challenger Sarah DeStasio have different views of what law enforcement should look like in Olympia. Payne supports funding body cameras, funding social services, mental health, and addiction programs, and expanding the city's crisis response unit. In his interview, he stated that his opinion on defunding the police was nuanced and that the city should focus on true reform, justice, and accountability.

    He states that his experience as a gay, Black, former military member would bring the voice of marginalized people to the table. If elected, he believes he would be the first Black man ever to serve on the Olympia City Council. Payne is the best choice for Olympia City Council, Position 6.

    Dontae Derrell Payne

    Dontae Payne is a U.S. Army veteran and currently works as the deputy district director to Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland. Payne has also worked as the regional representative for the Olympic Peninsula and South Puget Sound in Governor Jay Inslee's office.

  • Apoyadas Por: Sierra Club, UFCW 21 , Alliance for Gun Responsibility
  • Sarah DeStasio is a Democratic Socialist and the co-founder of a home care co-op. Much of DeStasio's policies focus on helping workers not only recover from the pandemic but also broaden their opportunities. She wants to usher in a $15 minimum wage (up from the current state minimum wage of $13.69). DeStasio emphasizes the need to stand with labor unions on hazard pay for essential workers, prioritized contracts with worker-owned and union businesses, and passing the Washington State Labor Council's 2021 Workers' Recovery Agenda.

    On law enforcement and police reform, DeStasio supports redirecting funding to programs such as the peer support program for people with mental illnesses. She considers herself a police abolitionist, though she acknowledges that it may take generations to get there. In the meantime, she wants to see police officers be considered for job replacement or job retraining. On housing, DeStasio states that with 1,500 people on the streets right now in Olympia, the city needs to consider both emergency housing and increasing revenue for affordable housing. She also wants the city to ban sweeps and allow the city to provide sanitation at encampments.

    Also in this race is retired Air Force member and former firefighter Corey Gauny, who works as a management analyst for the Washington State Department of Licensing. The only issue listed in detail on his site is around homelessness. Gauny says that he would tackle the issues by providing resources around behavioral health, but does not address key issues like affordable housing or the need to provide shelter for the hundreds of people who sleep on the streets every night. He also mentions that he wants to focus on a vision of the city that centers businesses. Gauny is part of a slate of moderate to conservative candidates running together to push the Olympia City Council to the right.

    Sarah DeStasio

    Sarah DeStasio is a Democratic Socialist and the co-founder of a home care co-op. Much of DeStasio's policies focus on helping workers not only recover from the pandemic but also broaden their opportunities.

  • Apoyadas Por: Thurston County Progressives

Consejo de la Ciudad de Olympia, Position #7

  • On the council since 2011, veteran and incumbent Jim Cooper is the CEO of United Ways of the Pacific Northwest. He is also deeply involved in the community as president of the Olympia Metropolitan Parks District, chair of the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency Board, and chair of the Regional Housing Council.

    Cooper and the city council have passed several significant pieces of legislation that benefit the community. Notably, he supported the Olympia Home Fund to build new supportive permanent housing, provided funding for struggling businesses and families during the pandemic, and created a regional climate plan with neighboring cities. If re-elected, Cooper states that he will focus on housing and economic recovery, twin crises that affect everyone in the community, as well as continuing conversations on criminal justice reform.

    Cooper is backed by a significant number of unions, including the Lacey and Olympia firefighters' unions and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 367, as well as by Lt. Gov. Denny Heck and a large number of county and city elected officials.

    Cooper's track record on the council and strong support from our partners and local leaders make him the best choice in this race.

    Jim Cooper

    On the council since 2011, veteran and incumbent Jim Cooper is the CEO of United Ways of the Pacific Northwest.

Otros Candidatos

Cooper is running against Spence Weigand Jr. and Tyrone Brown. Weigand is an Olympia-based realtor who is part of the more conservative slate of candidates running in Olympia this year. His three listed campaign priorities include addressing homelessness, housing, and improving the business climate. While his site doesn't go into specifics on these as of June 7, he states that Olympia's social services are bringing in the needy from out of the area, though a majority of people accessing services are indeed from the county. He states that efforts to clean up and supply sanitation at encampments are "enabling" and says that while no one solution will fix the problem, he wants to see increased law enforcement presence and new mental health facilities. 

Tyrone Brown is an organizer for the Tenants Union of Washington State. He also works with Black Leaders in Action and Solidarity (BLAST), which is focused on building community for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in Thurston County and as well as countering white supremacy. Brown wants to bridge the gap between policymaking and the people affected by it, especially for Black and other communities of color. He wants the city to make life better for residents with additional renter protections, including restrictions on application fees, passing local Tenant Opportunity to Purchase legislation, and further strengthening "just cause" eviction protections.

Brown states that he is not running against Cooper specifically, but wants to shift the dynamics of power at the council. Unfortunately, neither policy proposals nor a campaign site was available for Brown as of early June.

Olympia School District

Director, Position #3, Junta Escolar Olympia

  • Darcy Huffman, a communications and resource director for her church, is running for Olympia School Board director in District 3. The former finance professional challenged an incumbent Republican in the state’s 35th Legislative District last year. Huffman currently also works on the Affordable Housing Taskforce for a coalition of Washington churches, and as a member of the Quixote Communities board, which works to provide permanent supportive housing for people struggling with homelessness.

    If elected, Huffman wants to make sure that Olympia’s public schools are supportive learning environments for all students. Her platform includes strengthening lines of communications with parents, prioritizing the emotional and social wellbeing of students, funding essential skills learning, and closing the opportunity gap. Huffman’s vision to create a more equitable school system is supported by a large number of local progressive and Democratic organizations and leaders in this race.

    Incumbent School Board Director Jennifer S. Thomas is running to retain her seat serving District 3 to which she was appointed this March when Melissa “Mel” Hartley resigned. Thomas is a faculty member at Pacific Lutheran University School of Nursing. Unfortunately, she has yet to submit a voters’ guide statement, launch a campaign website, or publicize any campaign priorities as of mid-July.

    Asuka Conyer would be the youngest person to serve on the school board having just graduated from high school with an impressive background in organizing, leadership, and advocacy. Conyer has a bold, progressive platform that focuses on institutional reform, equitable representation, and building lines of communication to include students at higher-level decision making.

    Wealth advisor Mark Boyer is also in this race. He is running on a vague platform that highlights no priorities or policy and states his campaign’s purpose as bringing a new perspective and leadership to the school board. Boyer has been involved in a number of community organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Olympia Rotary Club.

    Gary Landis is an Army veteran running a conservative, conspiracy-based campaign against critical race theory, communism, and mandatory masking in public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. He has stated that he wants to “bring God…back into our schools.”

    In this crowded race, we recommend Darcy Huffman because of her progressive background, strong community support, and clear vision for the District 3 director position.

    Darcy Huffman

    Darcy Huffman, a communications and resource director for her church, is running for Olympia School Board director in District 3. The former finance professional challenged an incumbent Republican in the state’s 35th Legislative District last year.

Director, Position #5, Junta Escolar Olympia

  • Incumbent Director Scott Clifthorne is running to retain his seat serving District 5 on the Olympia School Board, which he was first elected to in 2017, and where he now serves as president. Clifthorne works as a negotiator for Teamster 117 and was formerly the president of the Lincoln Community Council. Previously, he was a member of the City of Olympia Community Workgroup on Homelessness.

    During Clifthorne’s time on the board, Olympia was able to secure PE, art, and music teachers in all elementary schools beginning in Fall 2021. In this race, Clifthorne wants to continue expanding student opportunities, deepen lines of communication for families and schools, and address system inequities particularly relating to race, disability, and socio-economic status. With three kids enrolled in Olympia public schools and ample support from community leaders, Clifthorne will continue to bring progressive values to the board.

    PTA member Rebecca Cornelius is also in this race. Cornelius works for an insurance broker agency and has no campaign website as of mid-July. Her voters’ guide statement emphasizes her focus on dismantling educational inequities and providing life skills learning, though she doesn’t offer detailed policy suggestions to accomplish these goals.

    Don Mitchell is a nurse and assistant professor of nursing, who is running to utilize his expertise in child health to better his local school district, where his children are also enrolled. Mitchell is running to expand parental sway, defend standardized testing to identify and address opportunity gaps, and promote student health that includes attention to both physical and mental health.

    We recommend Scott Clifthorne in this race because of his school board experience and inclusive plan for the school district.

    Scott Clifthorne

    Incumbent Director Scott Clifthorne is running to retain his seat serving District 5 on the Olympia School Board, which he was first elected to in 2017, and where he now serves as president.