Sage Leaders

Sage Leaders

Sage Leaders cultivates deep democracy in Washington state by developing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community leaders for civic and elected leadership. Our long-term goal is to build governments reflective of our communities, with the power to influence, lead, and govern within a Just Transition framework. 

Legislative Races

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

  • Progressive incumbent Rep. David Hackney is running for a second term representing the 11th Legislative District in Position 1. Before joining the Legislature, Hackney spent 25 years as a practicing attorney, including at the U.N., and worked at a handful of progressive organizations that focused on environmental protections and workers' rights. In 2019, he was appointed to the Washington State Human Rights Commission by Gov. Inslee.

    This past session, three of Hackney's bills were signed into law. His legislation protected the sensitive information of currently or formerly incarcerated Washingtonians, created a tax exemption for organizations maintaining affordable housing, and increased access to electricity as a transportation fuel for all Washingtonians. Hackney is running for re-election to continue investing in a clean energy future, tackling the housing crisis, and building safe and economically secure communities.

    His challenger this year is Republican precinct committee officer Stephanie Peters, who is running under the extreme Election Integrity Party mantle. Her main priority is to question election security, echoing the messages of MAGA Republicans who are trying to overturn the will of the people in the last presidential election. As of late October, Peters does not have a functioning campaign website to detail her priorities.

    Rep. Hackney is by far the best choice in this race for his experience and his effective first session as a legislator.

    G. David Hackney

    Progressive incumbent Rep. David Hackney is running for a second term representing the 11th Legislative District in Position 1.

    G. David Hackney

    Progressive incumbent Rep. David Hackney is running for a second term representing the 11th Legislative District in Position 1.

  • Jamila Taylor is running for re-election to the 30th Legislative District, House Position 1. Taylor is an attorney who advocates for crime victims and has an extensive record of volunteer service. She previously served as the statewide advocacy counsel for the Northwest Justice Project, where she managed a network of legal aid attorneys, and has worked on youth intervention programs and other violence reduction efforts. Taylor was elected chair of the state Black Members Caucus this year, where she advocates for racial equity for all Washingtonians.

    In her first term, Taylor sponsored successful bills to restrict the open carry of guns in public places like school board meetings, establish the state's first statewide digital equity plan, and create a system to locate missing Indigenous people. She was the prime sponsor of legislation that will expand scholarships for community and technical college students. She also supported increasing housing options near transit to alleviate the state's housing crisis. If re-elected, Taylor wants to work on crime and violence prevention, affordable housing access, and health care.

    Taylor's opponent Casey Jones states that he is a Federal Way police commander with 23 years in law enforcement who, unsurprisingly, wants to increase prosecution. Unfortunately, law and order is the only campaign agenda point on his website. Aside from a desire to reduce police accountability measures passed recently in the Legislature, Jones offers no further vision for the district. This doesn’t speak to an interest in the majority of work that a legislator needs to do to keep their communities healthy and whole, including protecting our water and air, supporting great schools, addressing the housing crisis, and more.

    The 30th District doesn't need more abrasive and divisive rhetoric. As we continue to recover from the pandemic, the district needs someone who can bring together communities and write legislation that works for everyone. Taylor's standout first term has shown that she is a progressive and capable legislator, and she has earned your vote in the 30th Legislative District.

    Jamila Taylor

    Jamila Taylor is running for re-election to the 30th Legislative District, House Position 1. Taylor is an attorney who advocates for crime victims and has an extensive record of volunteer service.

    Jamila Taylor

    Jamila Taylor is running for re-election to the 30th Legislative District, House Position 1. Taylor is an attorney who advocates for crime victims and has an extensive record of volunteer service.

  • Democrat

    Emily Alvarado

    Evergreen Future
    Evergreen Future
  • Attorney Emily Alvarado has spent five years working at Seattle’s Office of Housing, including two as its director. She was previously an organizer at Planned Parenthood and currently serves on the board of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, among several other leadership roles in community organizations.

    Alvarado's key issue is housing, and she states that her work helping long-standing residents in communities of color stay in their homes is indicative of her ability to build coalitions and have deep relationships with both constituents and elected leaders. In our interview with Alvarado, we found her to be one of the most knowledgeable candidates about housing we spoke with this year. She described very in-depth strategies to increase housing affordability through many means - tenant and homeowner protections, providing more housing types, public housing, and investing in organizations led by communities of color to reduce displacement, to name a few.

    In a time of deepening political divides, we appreciated her ethos - that our biggest problems are solvable, but we will need to take on more complex issues with greater transparency and discussion. For example, she believes homeownership can be a massive crosscutting issue across party lines, and that tackling the state's upside-down tax code and other issues needs more communication from Olympia.

    Since the primary, Alvarado has added several new organizations to her wide range of endorsing partners. We recommend Alvarado for her comprehensive housing plan and her broad support from our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations.

    Emily Alvarado

    Attorney Emily Alvarado has spent five years working at Seattle’s Office of Housing, including two as its director.

    Emily Alvarado

    Attorney Emily Alvarado has spent five years working at Seattle’s Office of Housing, including two as its director.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Progressive Julianne Y. Gale is running for the Washington state Senate in the 35th Legislative District, the seat currently occupied by the retiring Sen. Tim Sheldon. Gale currently manages the Skokomish Indian Tribe’s youth program and has previously worked as a union construction worker, teacher, and grassroots climate advocate. She identifies as a queer, American-Chinese Jew and believes both her personal and work experiences of bringing people together will allow her to represent all the residents in her district if elected.

    As a co-founder of Mason County Climate Justice, one of Gale’s top political priorities is climate action. If elected, she would pursue regenerative foresting and clean water to ensure sustainable environments and jobs for generations to come. Having lost stable housing herself for a time, Gale also wants to make sure that Washington is a place where all people can access housing security and affordable health care.

    Gale is running against Republican Rep. Drew MacEwen, who has represented the 35th Legislative District in the House since 2012. Now, he is running for the state Senate to prioritize the private sector while cutting funding to social services. In the last session, MacEwen voted against commonsense gun safety legislation and opposed a bill to put Washington on track with better energy code standards.

    We strongly recommend Gale to represent residents of the 35th Legislative District in the state Senate with her vision for putting the community first.

    Julianne Y. Gale

    Progressive Julianne Y. Gale is running for the Washington state Senate in the 35th Legislative District, the seat currently occupied by the retiring Sen. Tim Sheldon.

    Julianne Y. Gale

    Progressive Julianne Y. Gale is running for the Washington state Senate in the 35th Legislative District, the seat currently occupied by the retiring Sen. Tim Sheldon.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Julia Reed is running for the open 36th Legislative District, Position 1 seat to strengthen workers' rights, invest in our neighborhoods, and address inequities at every level of the community. Reed has worked in several levels of government, including in the Obama State Department as a Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, as a senior policy advisor for workforce development in the Seattle mayor's office, and most recently as a public policy consultant. Reed is also the former chair of the 36th Legislative District Democrats, a current volunteer board member for the YMCA Social Impact Center, and a board member at Fuse Washington, which produces this guide.

    Reed offers the most comprehensive and detailed policy proposals in this race, covering topics from housing to health. Reed recognizes that appropriate density is a must. Washington has the fewest units of housing per household of any state and market-rate, middle-income, affordable, duplexes, accessory dwelling units, and permanent supportive housing are all needed to alleviate the pressure. While working for the city of Seattle, Reed helped establish an internship program for Seattle Promise community college students. She wants to expand apprenticeship, technical college, and work-based learning opportunities to get students ready for jobs of the future.

    If elected, Reed would advocate for making zero-carbon transportation available in every city, including electrifying buses and ferries and expanding electric car infrastructure, among other climate priorities. Reed is one of the few candidates this year to show interest in a pilot program for universal basic income, which could be a game-changer for struggling families and working people.

    In our interview with Reed, she was thoughtful and informed about the ways that the Legislature could partner with and invest in communities of color, youth, and others to build a more resilient Washington. Since the primary, Reed has garnered even more support from progressive organizations for her forward-thinking priorities. For her deep experience and readiness to bring innovative solutions to Olympia, we recommend Julia Reed for the 36th Legislative District in Position 1.

    Julia Reed

    Julia Reed is running for the open 36th Legislative District, Position 1 seat to strengthen workers' rights, invest in our neighborhoods, and address inequities at every level of the community.

    Julia Reed

    Julia Reed is running for the open 36th Legislative District, Position 1 seat to strengthen workers' rights, invest in our neighborhoods, and address inequities at every level of the community.

  • As a community organizer deeply rooted in the community, Emijah Smith wants to bring the voices and needs of the community to the forefront through investment in small businesses, trauma-informed health care, and racial justice.

    In our interview, she spoke of how the war on drugs in the Central District was her first doorway into being an advocate for her community. After years of working with Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, Smith worked at Solid Ground with those experiencing housing and food insecurity, and spent 11 years organizing in Olympia as a community engagement manager at the Children’s Alliance. As a legislator, she wants to prioritize flexible afterschool programs, access to addiction services, and truly affordable childcare.

    Smith has served as PTSA president and vice president of the Seattle Public Schools PTSA. Unique to her candidacy is her experience advocating for her children in the district, which led to developing better investments for marginalized students. In a point of differentiation between Smith and her opponent Chipalo Street, only Smith spoke of ending gentrification in the Central and International District, Rainier Valley, and Renton by ending predatory real estate development practices. She was also the only candidate to discuss the need to support survivors of domestic violence by unraveling the difficult knot of laws and procedures around getting protection.

    Smith's notable endorsements include King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, Rep. Tarra Simmons, Rep. Jamila Taylor, and former King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, all of whom are outstanding advocates for racial justice and community building.

    Smith is a great choice if you are looking for a candidate with a long record of work in the community who centers Black liberation, self-determination, and using local knowledge to inform policy.

    Emijah Smith

    As a community organizer deeply rooted in the community, Emijah Smith wants to bring the voices and needs of the community to the forefront through investment in small businesses, trauma-informed health care, and racial justice.

    Emijah Smith

    As a community organizer deeply rooted in the community, Emijah Smith wants to bring the voices and needs of the community to the forefront through investment in small businesses, trauma-informed health care, and racial justice.

  • Julio Cortes is a progressive first-time candidate running to fill Position 1 after Rep. Emily Wicks retired. Cortes works for the city of Everett doing communications and marketing work. He is a leader in the community, serving on the board of the Everett Arena Public Facilities District and previously working with Cocoon House to support families and children experiencing housing insecurity.

    Cortes has a strong community-focused platform in this race. If elected, he wants to make the district safer and more resilient so that everyone can have a roof over their head, food on the table, and the opportunity to succeed. Cortes specifically wants to invest in small businesses, create more sustainable, living-wage jobs, and ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay their share for the resources we all use. He believes that a key to addressing the housing crisis is investing in comprehensive wrap-around services for those experiencing homelessness in our communities. Cortes’ campaign has earned the endorsements of community organizations and local progressive leaders, including Rep. Wicks.

    Cortes is running against Gary Kemp, a former union leader who is running on an extreme Trump Republican platform. If elected, he wants to send militarized police forces into our community while stripping back law enforcement accountability measures. His response to addiction in our community is to incarcerate those that are struggling most instead of investing in treatment. Kemp joins far-right Republicans who are fighting to control school curriculums so that Washington students don’t learn accurate history or comprehensive sexual health education.

    We recommend Julio Cortes for House Position 1 because of his widespread community support in this race and his progressive vision for the 38th Legislative District.

    Julio Cortes

    Julio Cortes is a progressive first-time candidate running to fill Position 1 after Rep. Emily Wicks retired. Cortes works for the city of Everett doing communications and marketing work.

    Julio Cortes

    Julio Cortes is a progressive first-time candidate running to fill Position 1 after Rep. Emily Wicks retired. Cortes works for the city of Everett doing communications and marketing work.

  • Incumbent Rep. Brandy Donaghy is running to build on her strong first term serving the 44th District. She was appointed to the House by the Snohomish County Council in late 2021 when former representative John Lovick moved to the Senate.

    Donaghy is a Navy veteran and community organizer who has been involved in emergency preparedness training. She put her professional experience to work during her first term by expanding emergency workers' ability to protect the community. Donaghy sponsored legislation to address safe staffing levels for health care workers, which aimed to improve health and safety for both patients and practitioners. She also supported legislation to allow EMTs to provide vaccines and testing outside of an emergency in response to a public health agency's request.

    Donaghy faces a challenge from former Republican Rep. Mark Harmsworth. He served two terms in the state House before losing to Democrat Jared Mead in the 2018 election. While he was a representative, Harmsworth pushed a very conservative agenda that aimed to reduce access to health care and the freedom to vote. He voted against the Reproductive Parity Act, which required that all insurance plans in Washington that cover maternity care also cover the full range of reproductive health services, and also voted against the Washington Voting Rights Act. In addition, he wasted taxpayer money on a politically driven investigation into Sound Transit. If elected this year, expect Harmsworth to continue fighting against public transportation and the right for everyone to access equal treatment, whether at the doctor's office or the ballot box.

    Voters rejected Harmsworth's regressive agenda in 2018 and should do so again in 2022. Donaghy will fight for our shared values and has earned your vote.

    Brandy Donaghy

    Incumbent Rep. Brandy Donaghy is running to build on her strong first term serving the 44th District. She was appointed to the House by the Snohomish County Council in late 2021 when former representative John Lovick moved to the Senate.

    Brandy Donaghy

    Incumbent Rep. Brandy Donaghy is running to build on her strong first term serving the 44th District. She was appointed to the House by the Snohomish County Council in late 2021 when former representative John Lovick moved to the Senate.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Darya Farivar is running for the 46th Legislative District, Position 2 to bring a keen eye to the intersection of policy and marginalized experiences. She is the public policy director with Disability Rights Washington, an organization that provides free services to people with disabilities and protects the rights of people with disabilities statewide. Farivar has also served as co-chair of the Seattle Women's Commission, policy chair of the State Special Education Advisory Council, and is currently a board member of Peyvand, which supports Iranian students at UW.

    A focus on disability rights runs through Farivar's campaign, from her priorities in housing, criminal justice reform, health care, and more. In our interview, Farivar stated that she wants to build up diversion programs and ensure accessible housing units for people experiencing homelessness, noting that 40 percent of homeless people report having a disability. Farivar also makes the interesting point that disabilities cut across partisan lines and she would be willing to work across the aisle to move forward with legislation that works for everyone. She wants to see investments in robust mass transit, including infrastructure to get people to the district's three light rail stops and would be very supportive of transit-centered housing.

    Farivar states that she would be the first Middle Eastern woman serving in Olympia. As the daughter of refugees, she wants to establish a commission for Middle Eastern affairs to help the Legislature work in unison with Middle Eastern communities. Since the primary, she has solidified broad support from progressive organizations and earned the endorsement of the three leading Democrats who did not advance from the primary.

    Farivar is a good choice if you're looking for a candidate who would center underrepresented voices and ensure truly accessible services and housing for all.

    Darya Farivar

    Darya Farivar is running for the 46th Legislative District, Position 2 to bring a keen eye to the intersection of policy and marginalized experiences.

    Darya Farivar

    Darya Farivar is running for the 46th Legislative District, Position 2 to bring a keen eye to the intersection of policy and marginalized experiences.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Dr. Shukri Olow is running for Position 2 in the 47th Legislative District. As a child, Olow's family fled civil war in Somalia and spent six years in a refugee camp before finally settling in Kent when she was 10 years old. Olow credits the food bank, social workers, and Kent public housing system for helping her find opportunities, and wants to now help meet the needs of those struggling in the district today. She works at King County's Best Starts for Kids Initiative, leads the Youth Development Strategy, and served on multiple community nonprofit boards.

    With House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan retiring this year, Olow wants to bring her commitment to improve the lives of families, working people, and people of color to Olympia with her focus on labor, housing, and health care.

    If elected, some of Olow's top priorities would be addressing the youth mental health crisis with resources that are culturally relevant, increasing affordable housing, and hosting community listening sessions across the district. She wants to see everyone, no matter their race, age, or where they're from, feel safe in their communities. To accomplish that, she wants to make greater investments in social workers, crisis responders, and behavioral health that is not tied to law enforcement. Olow also wants to expand housing vouchers, and work in tandem with the community to develop her agenda as a legislator. She has a strong set of endorsements, especially with labor groups.

    We lean toward Olow in this race because of her strong record of advocacy for youth, families, working people, and communities of color, and her impressive list of endorsements from our partners.

    Shukri Olow

    Dr. Shukri Olow is running for Position 2 in the 47th Legislative District. As a child, Olow's family fled civil war in Somalia and spent six years in a refugee camp before finally settling in Kent when she was 10 years old.

    Shukri Olow

    Dr. Shukri Olow is running for Position 2 in the 47th Legislative District. As a child, Olow's family fled civil war in Somalia and spent six years in a refugee camp before finally settling in Kent when she was 10 years old.

County Races

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

  • Community leader Hector Hinojosa is running to serve District 1 on the Clark County Council. Hinojosa has spent over 40 years in the semiconductor industry and he founded the Community Roots Collaborative, a local organization that built 20 tiny homes for people experiencing housing insecurity. Additionally, he serves on the Clark College Social Equity Advisory Committee and advises the county sheriff’s office.

    Hinojosa is running on a platform that emphasizes keeping people housed, smart development, and making sure law enforcement treats everyone with dignity and respect. If elected, he wants to address climate change, racial inequities at the county level, and aging public transportation infrastructure. In this race, Hinojosa is supported by the local Democrats and progressive elected officials.

    Glen Yung is running against Hinojosa in District 1. After a career in finance, Yung began a local remodeling company and he also serves on the executive board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is running on a vague platform to steward our natural resources, increase affordable housing, and invest in public safety.

    Hinojosa is the best choice in this race and deserves your vote to represent District 1 on the Clark County Council.

    Hector Hinojosa

    Community leader Hector Hinojosa is running to serve District 1 on the Clark County Council. Hinojosa has spent over 40 years in the semiconductor industry and he founded the Community Roots Collaborative, a local organization that built 20 tiny homes for people experiencing housing insecurity.

    Hector Hinojosa

    Community leader Hector Hinojosa is running to serve District 1 on the Clark County Council. Hinojosa has spent over 40 years in the semiconductor industry and he founded the Community Roots Collaborative, a local organization that built 20 tiny homes for people experiencing housing insecurity.

  • Chartisha Roberts is running to be the Clark County Councilor in District 2. Roberts has worked in the health care and transportation sectors working in human resources. She is a community leader with extensive experience working on youth mentoring, equity issues, and food bank services.

    Roberts is running to put her administrative and leadership skills to use making Clark County a safe place to live where all residents have the opportunity to thrive. Her priorities include putting public health first, investing in a resilient local economy, and addressing the affordability crisis to make sure people in Clark County can access stable housing.

    Roberts is running against Michelle Belkot, a veteran and federal procurement manager running on a vague, conservative platform that fails to address the most pressing needs of Clark County residents. Last year, she ran unsuccessfully for Vancouver School Board on a MAGA campaign to oppose masks and COVID safety protocols for our students and promote misinformation in our students’ history books.

    We recommend Chartisha Roberts for District 2 on the Clark County Council because of her community-centric vision and the support she has earned from partner organizations.

    Chartisha Roberts

    Chartisha Roberts is running to be the Clark County Councilor in District 2. Roberts has worked in the health care and transportation sectors working in human resources. She is a community leader with extensive experience working on youth mentoring, equity issues, and food bank services.

    Chartisha Roberts

    Chartisha Roberts is running to be the Clark County Councilor in District 2. Roberts has worked in the health care and transportation sectors working in human resources. She is a community leader with extensive experience working on youth mentoring, equity issues, and food bank services.

  • Democrat Michelle Morales is running for Walla Walla County prosecuting attorney to replace James Nagle, who is retiring this year. Morales is a deputy prosecutor in the county office and a first-time candidate. She had a family member caught in the criminal legal system without supportive services and has pursued a more holistic, community-based definition of justice as a result.

    Morales is running on a platform of change to bring modernized, efficient, and accountable leadership to the prosecutor’s office. If elected, she wants to offer victim support, deliver equal justice, pursue alternatives to incarceration when applicable, and expand mental health, addiction, and housing resources. Her progressive view of community safety involves both holding those who perpetrate harm accountable and making investments in prevention and treatment.

    Gabriel Acosta is Morales’ Republican opponent in this race and Walla Walla’s chief deputy attorney since 1991. He and the outgoing prosecutor represent a more conservative leadership of the office. Acosta is running on a vague platform to put more people behind bars without pursuing alternatives or prevention.

    We recommend Michelle Morales for Walla Walla County prosecutor to bring new leadership to the county office.

    Michelle Morales

    Democrat Michelle Morales is running for Walla Walla County prosecuting attorney to replace James Nagle, who is retiring this year. Morales is a deputy prosecutor in the county office and a first-time candidate.

    Michelle Morales

    Democrat Michelle Morales is running for Walla Walla County prosecuting attorney to replace James Nagle, who is retiring this year. Morales is a deputy prosecutor in the county office and a first-time candidate.

  • Endorsed By: Sage Leaders

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

  • Pooja Vaddadi is currently an adjunct professor of legal writing at Seattle University. Prior to joining the staff, she served as a public defender with the Northwest Defenders Division (NDD) of the King County Department of Public Defense. Vaddadi’s career as a public defender gives her a rare and valuable perspective that most judges - who come from prosecutorial or corporate law - don’t have. She has seen firsthand the deterioration and crisis at our prisons while working with clients who are unhoused or suffering from mental illness. 

    More so than Eisenberg, Vaddadi approaches justice from the angle that there’s no amount of incarceration that’s going to fix crimes of poverty or desperation that she sees daily. Vaddadi is serious about the ways in which she would implement restorative justice from the bench, and speaks of how these efforts need to be sustained carefully over time because there’s no quick fix. If elected, she would be a counterweight to the more heavy-handed and prosecution-friendly judges and city officials in her efforts to treat everyone fairly with respect towards the law. She has a strong set of endorsements from Democratic organizations and progressive elected officials.

    This is a somewhat tricky race, as experienced judges are critical in the post-COVID restrictions courts. But we lean towards Vaddadi because we believe she would add valuable perspectives to the bench, and because of her vision for restorative justice and criminal justice reform.

    Pooja Vaddadi

    Submitted by stephanie on Wed, 11/02/2022 - 10:33

    Pooja Vaddadi is currently an adjunct professor of legal writing at Seattle University. Prior to joining the staff, she served as a public defender with the Northwest Defenders Division (NDD) of the King County Department of Public Defense. Vaddadi’s career as a public defender gives her a rare and valuable perspective that most judges - who come from prosecutorial or corporate law - don’t have.

    Pooja Vaddadi

    Submitted by stephanie on Wed, 11/02/2022 - 10:33

    Pooja Vaddadi is currently an adjunct professor of legal writing at Seattle University. Prior to joining the staff, she served as a public defender with the Northwest Defenders Division (NDD) of the King County Department of Public Defense. Vaddadi’s career as a public defender gives her a rare and valuable perspective that most judges - who come from prosecutorial or corporate law - don’t have.

  • Endorsed By: Sage Leaders, The Stranger

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

  • VOTE YES

    Vote Yes to raise wages for Tukwila workers in large businesses

  • Tukwila Initiative 1 – the “Raise the Wage” initiative – will allow working people to be compensated fairly for their labor, help residents keep pace with the cost of living, and invest in the local economy.

    The initiative would require businesses with more than 500 employees to pay employee wages equivalent to comparable positions in nearby cities that rise with inflation. The measure is meant to address Tukwila’s relatively low wages compared with neighboring cities, which have caused residents to search for jobs outside the city.

    Vote “Yes” on Initiative 1 to support working people and keep Tukwila's economy competitive.
    Tukwila Initiative 1 – the “Raise the Wage” initiative – will allow working people to be compensated fairly for their labor, help residents keep pace with the cost of living, and invest in the local economy.

    The initiative would require businesses with more than 500 employees to pay employee wages equivalent to comparable positions in nearby cities that rise with inflation. The measure is meant to address Tukwila’s relatively low wages compared with neighboring cities, which have caused residents to search for jobs outside the city.

    Vote “Yes” on Initiative 1 to support working people and keep Tukwila's economy competitive.