TAKE A LOOK INSIDE!

One of the most powerful ways to affect change is by voting.

We know that one of the most powerful ways to affect change is by voting, especially in local elections. The 2021 First Time Voter Guide was designed to help you learn how to activate one of your most important super powers by becoming the most confident voter you can be! That means: knowing which candidates and issues will be on the ballot, where you can go to find accurate information about them, and how to vote! Our hope is that this guide and webpage will answer any questions you have regarding the upcoming King County elections, and be a useful road map too guide you as you navigate your ballot — especially if this is your first time!  

On behalf of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, thank you for reclaiming your right to vote! Whether it’s your first time casting a ballot or your twentieth, your vote and your voice matter.  

Not registered to vote? Start here!

CALENDAR

Important Dates

16

Jul 2021

Start of the Primary Election 18-day voting period. Ballots are mailed out & voting centers open.  

3

Aug 2021

Primary Election: Deposit your ballot in an official drop box by 8:00 P.M. on Election Day

15

Oct 2021

Start of the General Election 18-day voting period. Ballots are mailed out & voting centers open.  

25

Oct 2021

LAST DAY to register to vote online or by mail.

2

Nov 2021

Election Day: LAST DAY to register in-person at a voting center.

Which elected offices will be on the ballot?

This year, King County voters will be choosing new officers for the following positions:  

The city attorney advises the city authorities and officers in all legal matters pertaining to the business of the city. Represents the city in all actions brought by or against the city or against city officials in their official capacity. 

Members of council represent city citizens. They are responsible for approving the city’s budget, and develops laws and policies intended to promote the health and safety of city residents.  

King County City Council oversees the second largest government and the most populous county. As the legislative branch of county government, the Council sets policies, enacts laws, and adopts budgets that guide an array of services, including:  The criminal justice system, The King County Sheriff’s Office, and Metro Transit bus service. Members of the council serve for 4 years.

 

The chief executive officer of the county. Supervises all administrative offices and executive departments established by the county charter or created by the county council. The county executive serves for 4 years.

Chief executive and administrative officer of the cityOversees all departments and employees, and reports to the council concerning the affairs of the city and its financial 

Municipal Court Judges’ time is dedicated to jury trials and pretrial hearings. They also hear sentencings, arraignments, reviews, non-jury (bench) trials 

The person ultimately responsible for setting policies ensuring quality in the content and extent of educational programs.  

MEET THE CANDIDATES

Who will be on the ballot?

To help you make informed choices on your election ballot this season, we conducted a brief survey and asked several candidates about their stances on community issues relevant to their office of choice. View their responses below!  

City Attorney & Municipal Court Judge Candidates

Jessica Giner

Municipal Judge - Renton

QUESTION: Fines and fees from traffic violations or city ordinance violations criminalize poverty and can inhibit a person from being self-sufficient. How would you use your discretion towards assigning fines and fees?

RESPONSE

“While some fines and fees are mandatory under state law or city ordinance, I provide alternatives to fines and court costs in the form of community service, low-cost educational programs, and extended payment deadlines, where appropriate, to minimize the impact of these requirements on those with limited ability to pay.” 

QUESTION: You have the discretion to file or dismiss charges on certain offenses. How will you handle offenses of minor petty theft and/or minor drug use that are a result of homelessness and/or substance abuse disorders?

RESPONSE:

“While the filing of criminal charges arises from the discretion of a prosecuting attorney and is therefore not within my discretion as a judge, I do have discretion regarding the types of rehabilitative programs offered in  sentencing determinations for those convicted of crime.  I recognize that criminal conduct is often a symptom of a greater issue such as lack of stable housing or a substance use disorder.  I strongly support therapeutic courts, such as Renton’s developing community court program, to provide alternatives to incarceration that support rehabilitation and stability.  I also frequently authorize release to treatment facilities in lieu of continued incarceration to encourage opportunities for recovery.  I am committed to using my discretion to address root causes of crime.”

Nicole Thomas-Kennedy

City Attorney - Seattle

QUESTION: Fines and fees from traffic violations or city ordinance violations criminalize poverty and can inhibit a person from being self-sufficient. How would you use your discretion towards assigning fines and fees?

RESPONSE:

“I would immediately implement a graduated income based percentage scale to calculate fines and fees. While some may think that it’s only fair that everyone pay the same, in reality it is not because 1) we know some communities are over policed, and 2) even if policed equally, the effect is not the same. Wealthy people can afford to commit traffic and ordinance violations. Poorer people cannot, and they often suffer massively outsized consequences (boots, impounds, garnishments, etc.) as a result. This is not in the interest of public safety or justice. An income based scale would cut off the easy revenue stream flowing for poor neighborhoods to City coffers, and would work against the common practice of heavier policing in lower income neighborhoods.”

QUESTION: You have the discretion to file or dismiss charges on certain offenses. How will you handle offenses of minor petty theft and/or minor drug use that are a result of homelessness and/or substance abuse disorders?

RESPONSE:

“The current City Attorney’s office spends thousands of dollars prosecuting people in crisis for stealing grapes, or hungry people living in shelters for stealing food. It’s ineffective, expensive, and wholly unjust. Nothing about criminalizing this behavior makes it less likely to happen in the future. I would not file these cases to begin with, and I would dismiss most of what is outstanding. Drug possession has now become a misdemeanor (low level) crime, which means it falls under the purview of the City Attorney’s office. Addiction is a public health crisis and should be dealt with as such. The War on Drugs is a proxy for racism and a means of enriching police departments through civil asset forfeiture. I would not file drug possession cases. Ever.”

City Council Candidates

Sara Nelson

seattle

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“I’ve been speaking with leaders like Reverend Harriett Walden about what police accountability and transparency means to them and I’ve learned it’s not a percentage-based budget cut. Rather, it’s implementation of 26% of the Accountability Ordinance provisions that are not yet or are partially implemented as listed in the Tracker.

I’ll strengthen the community policing model (cut by Council) which also builds trust between the community and police by elevating the voices of people impacted most by violence in the reform process.  To reduce cultural barriers and improve accountability, SPD should recruit officers from the communities they’ll serve.

Finally, I’ll make sure that SPD staffing levels are sufficient to ensure that everyone gets a fast response when they call 911. Everyone deserves to feel safe.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“I will not be a gatekeeper. My job will be to represent everyone which means that policy investments will be the product of community priorities. I won’t just represent community by providing a check-the-box “seat at the table,” I’ll include community while crafting legislation that advances their investment priorities and then build a coalition to get them funded by Council.

The current relationship between Council and the Mayor prevents the implementation of policy on both sides and community is usually the loser. I’ll overcome this by building positive relationships with the Mayor’s Office, department staff, Council colleagues and collaborate with them on policy initiatives so they don’t get lost in the Executive-Legislative turf war. That’s how good government works and that’s the way I’ll lead.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“1) To attain long-term, equitable economic recovery, we must retain existing jobs by supporting small businesses and create jobs through infrastructure investments, recruiting businesses to downtown, and expanding workforce opportunities. Improved public safety and getting unsheltered people into stable housing and providing the mental health and addiction services they need are also critical to our economic recovery.

2) I will address wealth inequality by implementing Cory Booker’s “baby bonds” proposal. The City will deposit $1,000 annually into an account for every baby born to a low-income family residing in Seattle and annual $1,000 until 18 at which point it can be withdrawn and used for things like tuition, rent, or paying debt.

3) Restore adequate funding for our basic Charter services: libraries, parks, public safety, and transportation infrastructure. “

Jake Simpson

Seatac

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“It is beholden to our elected officials to provide strong oversight of the folks who police our streets everyday. I am proud to support policies that provide more citizen oversight and direct mitigation on police conduct, while also investing directly into our community through social services to reduce the need for police entering a situation in the first place.

As a councilmember, I will amplify the voices of those demanding change, vote for policies that provide community oversight of conduct, and invest in a social services team that will be on call to attend to issues instead of police officers. We need more services that address the root issues of structural racism, rather than over-policing BIPOC and low-income neighborhoods.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“As a union organizer, I have direct experience with meeting with other policy makers and administrators to collaborate on a set of demands, my work as a councilmember will be no different. We have multiple crises on our plate, while also emerging from a pandemic – our community needs direct investments by a city council that has engaged with leaders to know where it’d be most effective.

I walk the streets of SeaTac, ride public transit, eat at small businesses everyday, our community needs a social and physical infrastructure that meets the present moment and plans for a strong future. I am unwavering in my support for community leadership and directing funds towards programs that will benefit our community, instead of for-profit investors.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“Goal 1: Create a community housing system that returns the profits of housing back into community investments. We can do this through working with community land trusts to acquire land and begin development on housing models that help low-income renters move to ownership through condos or townhomes.

Goal 2: Expand job programs with community colleges that give young and old professionals the skills to bolster our community with innovative and staple jobs. A comprehensive jobs program will not only provide citizens the social mobility to try new positions that fit them, but provide economic diversity in our city that brings stability during downturns.

Goal 3: Address the inequitable infrastructure our city faces. Low-income neighborhoods needs safe places to walk and parks to enjoy as well.”

Armen Papyan

Tukwila

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“There are many ways to promote police accountability and transparency that operates in the best interests of our residents and community. First, provide more training to police officers on de-escalation when confronting a suspect. Continue the use of body cameras, which will show interactions between law enforcement officers and the public. The police department needs to reflect the demographic of the city’s residents. Last, but not least we should not forget that the police are serving the people and we need hold city responsible.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“I’m eager to bring my work ethic and vision to the Tukwila City Council to address the issues such as public safety, homelessness, transportation, education and housing that concern people in the community. I will champion the policies that serve both new and long-term members of the community, making our common humanity the driving principle of every decision.

I am someone who acknowledges past mistakes and strives to lead people with civility into a brighter future. I believe in listening and taking action on behalf of unheard voices. I am proud to say that I have been endorsed by 5 out of the 7 Tukwila councilmembers and many community members. I am honest and strategic, that is why I am the trusted leader.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“I will be prioritizing investments in affordable housing so all residents can live, work and retire in the city they call home. I will continue to promote public safety, community policing and police accountability to ensure the well being of the Tukwila community. I will bridge and maintain a strong relationship with the Tukwila School Board to promote quality education in our district.

In all these goals I want to bring an equitable lens to all decision making to ensure that all member of the community are properly served.”

James Alberson

renton

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“I believe that police departments should make available to the public the records of complaints of abuse or excessive force against each of their officers, along with the disposition of each complaint filed.

It’s understandable that officers will have these complaints levied against them on a regular basis, but what should be highlighted are the individuals with a disproportionate number of complaints and sufficient explanation should be given regarding why they are still in their position.

As far as innovation, I would like to see a monthly or quarterly “report card” be made available for public consumption to ensure full accountability.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“The mayor and I have a good relationship, with mutual respect.  As in any situation, I will approach it with facts and data to support what is requested. 

Additionally, I believe it’s important to make requests that can actually be met, given the resources available.  Grandstanding with a position that sounds good, but has little chance of success is not only wasted effort, but is a poor representation of the constituents for whom I’d be serving.

It’s important to approach these conversations with well-thought-out solutions that allow for multiple approaches to ultimately achieve the end result.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“1. Establish a truly effective comprehensive plan and approach to create a path out of homelessness.

2. Facilitate the creation of an effective plan to ensure sustainable affordable housing options for lower income Renton residents (current and future).

3.Create a vibrant business community that effectively employs and serves the diverse community of Renton.”

Brenda Fincher

kent

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“I’m in the voting minority bloc of our council, so I’ve worked hard to create change. I ensure community members, especially within the Black community, are included in meetings and on boards, commissions, and task forces related to policing. I led on instituting a requirement to collect detailed data from all stops made by KPD (not just use-of-force data) to help determine how the police department practices result in discriminatory enforcement. I instituted the first requirement in the state for every KPD officer to undergo bias and cultural competency training.

This doesn’t solve every problem with every officer, but does ensure that we provide a base of knowledge to interact with all members in our community in respectful ways, and makes exceptions more actionable.”

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“Council serves a primary role in funding and coordinating front-line service delivery, so I have experience acquiring funding. As a response to the pandemic’s effects on mental health, I worked to have $200,000 allocated to support youth counseling programs that particularly target BIPOC youth, and assist the city in partnering with BIPOC-led agencies and organizations to deliver culturally relevant counseling and mental health support.

I have been committed to including the community in conversations about policy and budgeting. In the past I have worked to empower women, BIPOC, disabled people, immigrants and refugees to apply for committees and commissions and run for political office. People with lived experience need to inform the funding decisions that will affect them.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“1. Eviction prevention and housing affordability: Not only through an eviction moratorium, but by addressing the back-rent issue for both renters and owners so no one winds up without a home or in financial ruin. I also want to increase home ownership within BIPOC communities.

2. Family-wage jobs for all: Apprenticeships can offer opportunities to those who are not college bound to learning a trade or craft that allows them to support themselves and a family without working three jobs. I want to increase the number of apprenticeship positions on city projects.

3. I will continue working for racial equity and justice within our city government. “

Carmen Rivera

renton

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“As a criminal justice educator, it is imperative that municipalities hold their police departments accountable for their budgets. I do not support the department using general funds to pay for settlement lawsuits. Furthermore, overtime caps need to be put into place for law enforcement officers.

Trevor Davidson, an active police officer with the Renton Police Department (RPD), was secretly in business with a known Proud Boy leader, twice. After the internal investigation conducted by RPD leaders, he was given a written reprimand. My campaign released a public statement denouncing the shallow investigation and demanding an independent investigation be done, which was shared with multiple media outlets.

I support the development of an independent body to investigate all allegations of police misconduct and use of force.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“As an educator and facilitator, I have a strong skill set to collaborate with others. I will educate our mayor and fellow council members on the important need to invest in our communities, recreations, and neighborhoods, as well as human services. I am capable and ready to navigate difficult conversations, lead with compassion, practice perseverance, and engage in civil discourse to ensure we can work to invest in our communities.

I will encourage the immediate review and update of Renton’s Community Needs Assessment, not updated since 2014, so we can equitably invest in our communities. My direct social services experience is invaluable to Renton City Council, so our city leaders can better understand the long-term results and overall effectiveness in allocating funds to community services/programs.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“Funding BIPOC communities, neighborhoods, recreation, and develop human services.

I will prioritize updating Renton’s Community Needs Assessment for Human Services and work with Renton’s AntiRacism Coalition to ensure their #Stand4Justice demands are met.  Develop our workforce and support small businesses. As someone who worked as a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) case manager for King County, I value and want to prioritize workforce development to include access to apprenticeships, supported through the City of Renton. Proactively address the housing market, increasing the cost of living, and support our houseless community.

The City of Renton has the most residential zoning to have developed in all of King County. We need to ensure we develop affordable, low-income, and multifamily housing. We need a homeless shelter in Renton.”

Chris Roberts

shoreline

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“I support funding more mental health services and to work with surrounding cities to implement a CAHOOTS model of response. I support the work the Washington legislature about police accountability and transparency and will push my legislators to complete those efforts. I look forward to seeing what I can learn from other jurisdictions.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“Shoreline is a council-manager form of government. Our budget comes from our discussion and adoption of council goals. I believe we must continue to advocate for prioritizing equity in our funding decisions.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“1. Affordable housing, 2. moving toward becoming an anti-racist city, and 3. protecting our environment.”

Gregory Baruso

federal way

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“In Federal Way our Police Department has some facets of accountability but not as comprehensive as I would like to see. These are:

The Chief’s Call – Group of designated citizens that meet with the Police Chief quarterly to discuss issues that are of concern but without, as I understand, meeting minutes. I’d like to expand and change the objectives of the group to become more inclusive and transparent.

CALEA Accreditation – Yes, not many city’s have this certification that is reviewed annually, but what are the standards that are being met – how are we exceeding?

I’d like to see an “Advisory Committee” put together. Ask the rank and file how the new laws affect their job performance and thoughts on them for the coming year.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“As a former member of my Local’s Executive Board for 23 years, I will work with our Mayor in the both a strategic and collaborative manner as possible. Bringing any and all items within the lens of equity and diversity is my goal.

I requested an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in our last budget and received funding for that position through working with my colleagues and the Mayor to make this happen. Also, with myself having Labor experience, this will assist my decision making in prioritizing our needs and goals.

The Mayor knows that I can negotiate and I will use my experience to garner his support for issues and needs.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“1. COVID-19 Recovery – Making sure that our residents and businesses have what they need to get themselves and our economy back on track.

2. Comprehensive Land Use – As the current Chair for the Land Use and Transportation Committee I’d like to see our Comprehensive Land Use plan both updated and prioritized for housing. With the addition of the Light Rail to our city, it is imperative that we create housing and room for a vital downtown core to include walkability of our city.

3. Responsible Policing –  Not about defunding by rather giving our police department tools to help bring the highest service to our residents and visitors. This would include transparency and vital training. This also includes Police Body Cams and supporting their use.”

De'Sean Quinn

tukwila

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“This is my life’s work, in 2015 I served on the Governor’s Taskforce to end deadly force.  I worked with community advocates to support I-940 initiative all the way to the ballot.  I serve Criminal Justice Training commission being a voice for reimagining, proposed amendments to WAC rule changes based on I-940 cultural competency with history, implicit bias, de-escalation training all became new rule.

Simultaneously as councilmember implementation of body cams, stopped purchasing of military equipment, worked directly with Chief of police to implement  implementing 8 cant weight, setting up our LETSCA I-940 oversight boards, other de-escalation policies, data collection and practices in law enforcement.  I also led the charge to create a new chief of police recruitment instituting a community partner process.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“As a councilmember I’ve leaned on my ability to build and maintain my relationships and understanding the fiduciary responsibility of being a legislator.  I had to use the mastery of relationships to build a majority amongst other council members.  Data, data collection and community voice has always been effective at moving policy that is community led.  I also use the strategy of inside outside tactics to highlight the value of decisions that move the needle for community.

I have had to use these strategies because I ran against the current Mayor, so he was not inclined to support the things that I would propose but because he was over the administration I needed his buy in. I also have leveraged colleagues to be the messenger.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“Protecting, enhancing and improving the quality of life for residents in our community. Tukwila has one of lowest median incomes in King County, one of lowest health outcomes, one of the highest free and reduced lunch and we are leading in disparities.

However, we are so much more than that, Tukwila is diverse, ethnically, culturally, resilient, and resourceful community.  In our schools 84 different languages we our a international school without the tuition.  Reimaging law enforcement has already begun,

Second economic development where all in the community can benefit from the economic prosperity of the region which calls for innovative and creative economic policies.

Third is addressing the need for creating attainable housing for the residents who live here now and in the future.”

Nikkita Oliver

seattle

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“Our approach with SPD must reflect a deep value for protecting the lives and rights of residents. The next CBA cannot impede the Council’s ability to continue the work of divestment from an ineffective model of “public safety” and funding one works for everyone. It cannot allow officers to evade accountability (including firing). This contract must be negotiated publicly with impacted communities and regular report outs.

We need the consent decree to end. It was hard fought for and has brought some reforms but didn’t get to the root causes of the problem. We are in a different place in acknowledging that policing does not promote safety for everyone. It is time to get root causes, meet basic needs, and focus on prevention and intervention.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“My priority is to remain anchored in the communities that elect me–communities that understand the importance of our City addressing the major crises we are facing with bold progressive solutions. The best way I can work with the Mayor is to lean into legislative powers and do what is most needed to organize my council colleagues to vote with urgency to meet the needs of residents.

As a citywide representative I represent the same constituents as the Mayor. I will work with my council colleagues to ensure that our legislative priorities and balanced budget are in line with the city’s most pressing needs. A Mayor who refuses to allocate resources as prioritized by the legislative branch should be held accountable by those who elected them.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“1. AFFORDABLE, GREEN HOUSING: Housing is the greatest crisis presently facing our City–impacting all facets of life. A lack of quality, affordable, green housing impacts health, education, economic opportunity, longevity of life, access to other supportive structures. Providing affordable housing (and specifically building social green housing) is a public health and safety strategy as well as a key strategy for us to meet our climate coals.

2. PUBLIC HEALTH & SAFETY INVESTMENTS: When people’s basic needs are met, we build safety. Meeting basic needs is a baseline for community safety. Our city deserves better options than violent policing and mass incarceration as our only choices for public safety.

3. PROGRESSIVE TAXATION: Our City relies on regressive taxation placing the highest burden upon those always ready the most burdened in our City.”

Tosh Sharp

tukwila

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“I was unfairly treated by police, I heard similar stories from my neighbors, predominantly immigrants, except worse. I joined two citizen boards to make our department more transparent and accountable. If elected, I can go further.

  • Ensure the Chief and Mayor understand their responsibility for actions of bad officers and work to remove them from the force.
  • Increase the standards demanded by the city and department for new and existing officers.
  • Increase the background checking and push to have a national database that identifies substandard officers.
  • Increase focus on community policing, reward officers who live within city limits and get to know the community they serve.
  • Strengthen community oversight, so boards like the ones I serve on can ensure police are accountable when our community’s safety is violated.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“No single representative can be as diverse as their consistency – Tukwila is a great example with significant populations of immigrants, refugees, communities of color, and working families.

Leadership that listens– and seeks out input– is absolutely essential. To ensure that is the case, I will drive outreach to neighbors and community to understand their perspective; I will strive to always be available to my constituents – through meetings, town-halls, social media, more.

When they have questions I will work to provide answers. When they have problems, I will seek solutions. When they have ideas, I will work to implement them. As a worker and person of color, I know representation matters – on the City Council I will be a strong voice for underrepresented communities.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“In addition to the public safety reforms mentioned above three goals I have are, –

Creating a cutting edge city government with quality services that are easily accessible to all by putting local needs first and ensuring Tukwila adopts a customer-service oriented approach, centers community needs in our budgets, and smartly invests in public projects that benefit our city.

Advocating for development of affordable housing to keep neighbors in homes and prevent gentrification, along with tenant protections and regional action on homelessness.

Improving healthy communities and economic and educational opportunity by expanding access to parks and public transit and driving an equitable COVID-19 recovery that puts workers, small businesses, and underrepresented communities first.”

Renae Seam

federal way

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“Data is a great way to provide holistic transparency that can be utilized to build out data-driven solutions and to establish police accountability. Data transparency can also empower communities to feel aware of police actions, budget distribution, and misconduct.

When data is utilized, cities can hold police forces accountability by bringing the statistics to the forefront and in cases where police reform or accountability measures have been implemented, data can be used to compare to previous years to ensure effective change. Coupled with data, community oversight boards or commissions is another way to promote police accountability and data transparency can aid the commission in demanding concrete and effective change.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“As the youngest person of color who will be on Council and someone who belongs to a marginalized community, I will advocate for the complex needs of our residents that includes those who have not otherwise had a voice at the table. I am currently a financial risk analyst and because of my work in finance, I am well-equipped to ensure fiscal responsibility and effective budgeting to ensure we are funding necessary community programs and services that help our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities instead of reducing support.

Working with the mayor, I will eliminate wasteful spending and promote effective utilization of our resources to guarantee we are spending smart and keeping in mind the needs of the community that have often gone unheard.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“My first goal is to enforce the need for affordable housing units and to focus on budget reconciliation to ensure a fully funded mental health program throughout the city that can aid in the chronic factors that cause homelessness.

Second, I want to expand pathways to success for our graduating high school students to include the trades and vocational schools.

Third, I want to aid small business recovery from COVID, remove barriers to opening a small business in our city for BIPOC business owners such as streamlining the permit process and creating a BIPOC business database to be housed on the city website, and building partnerships with other companies to expand into our city and bring careers/jobs to effectively boost our local economy.”

Iris Guzman

seatac

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“As a future councilmember of the SeaTac City Council, I will hold the police accountable and promote transparency by trimming their budget, taking away military-grade weapons and other gear, mandating anti-racist and de-escalation training upon hire and twice yearly thereafter, creating an outside oversight review board concerning violent and/or deadly encounters and creating a citizen advisory board to provide oversight and feedback for the police. This citizen advisory board will comprise of community members, particularly from the BIPOC, refugee, and immigrants communities.

Also,  for far too long, the police department has received funding that far exceeds their needs and cuts from other programs such as education, mental and physical health, and human/social services. As a councilmember, I will prioritize moving funding to needed services.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“Since SeaTac has a mayor who is selected by the council and not voted for by the people, I will work with the mayor and councilmembers on prioritizing housing, social services, access to education, mental health services, healthcare, and reducing the budget of the police force.

It is important to look at how much is being spent, how much is needed and where we can reallocate funding for services our residents need. Basic needs such as housing and rental support, access to food and working with a police department that is accountable to the community are top priorities at this time and must be brought forward to the mayor and other councilmembers.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“My top three goals are as follows:

1. To fully fund the Human Services Department in order to provide direct access to resources and services needed in the community.

2. Provide housing and rental support for families and residents so that they can stay in our city. This will include rental assistance, courses on homeownership, utility assistance, and building and/or rebuilding credit as needed.

3. Reduce the funding for the police department, mandate anti-racist and de-escalation training upon hire and twice a year thereafter and reinvest this funding into other departments. I will also work to create a citizen advisory board and an oversight committee to provide direct feedback to police officers who have caused harm to residents.”

Laura Mork

shoreline

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“Policing is part of Society. Law Enforcement is part of Society, and, therefore, should also be policed. This begins with making sure that they know they must follow laws and do the right thing, and extends into data analysis to understand what they are actually doing, as opposed to say they are doing.

Having an independent commission, where the citizenry feels they have a representative(s) and a voice is a crucial part of this analysis and process. It is incumbent upon the City leadership to make sure that this independent commission’s recommendations are carefully considered, and actions do result from them.  It is also important for Police to be part of the community to understand the needs.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“Step 1 is community engagement – and making sure that you fully understand the investments that the community would like to have. Part of that exercise is an honest  discussion of possibilities; with all parties understanding that possibilities change over time.

To speak with the voice of the community, you must have their support, and votes. The mayor will be interested in feedback from councilmembers that are perceived to be the voice of the community. The effort then, in step 2 is convincing the mayor that you represent the community, and that it is to their advantage to include you in decisions, in order to obtain their votes.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“Infrastructure – safe and walkable sidewalks, bike paths, and parks are essential to all parts of the city, just as roads, utilities, and police and fire stations are. It is imperative that infrastructure that encourages walkability, and the mitigation of climate change is prioritized and funded

Community Engagement – Not only is it the responsibility of the city council to listen to citizen input, and include it in their decision-making, it is also important to set up conditions for the different neighborhoods and groups to engage with each other

Fairness and Equity – all neighborhoods and citizens should expect conditions where they can thrive. The equity lens should be applied as part of all decision making. “

Mohamed Egal

seatac

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“I strongly support for H.R. 7120 the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. This bill addresses a wide range of policies and issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability. It increases accountability for law enforcement misconduct, restricts the use of certain policing practices, enhances transparency and data collection, and establishes best practices and training requirements.” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“I will work with mayor and other council members to invest community of color and small business owners, which hire most of our residents here in SeaTac. Here is my plan: 

  • Assisted sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support from Federal and state sources by providing technical supports.
  • Work with SBA through the City and mayor in eliminating an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions. And lastly,
  • Ensuring access for non-citizen and immigrant small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for City’s financial supports and services.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“1. Community Policing and public safety that reflective city residents that they serve.

2. Small business recovery assistances

3. Affordable housing for low income and working class residents.”

Teressa Mosqueda

seattle

QUESTION: To ensure transparency with police accountability, many in the community are demanding change. What are your innovative ways to promote police accountability and transparency?

RESPONSE

“The Seattle Police Department is still under Federal consent decree, there still haven’t been proven changes to address the over use of overtime, and there are a number of lawsuits alleging excessive force. The contract could be a tool which we use to reign in the repeated overuse of overtime for SPD officers to double dip and receive more pay. Residents of Seattle were gassed in their homes, SPD bikes were rammed into bodies, reporters hit by projectiles, and legal observers and medics targeted. That was all in just the last year.

As part of the management side, in the next contract we will have the ability to have accountability partners providing technical feedback, which means that there will be additional oversight about the components of the contract that affect everyday people. Outside of the contract, through our work to divest from policing last year, many of the provisos we put into place to reign in SPD funding were ignored. Those actions cannot be given a pass in the budget or the contract. The police budget has grown by almost 45% in the last decade. No other department has seen that level of increase.

Last year, when I chaired the budget committee in the wake of the uprising for Black Lives, it was the first year the police budget didn’t grow, and in fact shrunk. I am committed to downsizing SPD and investing in alternatives that emphasize community health and safety so fewer folks ever have to interact with armed officers.

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Seattle, like many cities across the country, rose up and demanded better to ensure that EVERY member of our community is safe. Our over-investment into the criminal legal system has resulted in less investments into what keeps Black and Brown communities safe: housing, childcare, good living wage jobs, and access to healthy foods. We must pursue a holistic approach to re-envisioning our communities’ safety while reducing the police budget so that violence against marginalized populations does not continue. I will continue to work towards scoping the SPD budget to reduce their responsibilities where an armed officer isn’t needed, and redistribute essential revenue toward improving the safety, prosperity, and well-being of our Seattle community.

To invest in our community’s health and safety, we must work to expand the capacity of community solutions that move us away from past harmful policing and a reliance on the criminal legal system. It requires deep investments in upstream restorative community-health oriented solutions, and away from our reliance on the criminal legal system. We must decriminalize poverty, homelessness and addiction. We have made some important improvements, but there is much more to be done.

Here are some actions I have taken and supported in defense of Black lives:

  • Redirected $14 million from SPD to community investments to increase capacity for youth-focused diversion programs and community-led public safety programs.
  • Allocated over $60 million for black-led organizations and community of color representatives to allocate to upstream investments through Participatory Budgeting and community-driven directives to address violence, housing insecurity, mental health, education and income security.
  • Redirecting funding to programs that decriminalize poverty, homelessness and addiction, and invest in policies that promote healing through community-oriented policing solutions.
  • Funded additional outreach workers, case managers, and firefighter first-responder teams through Health One to shift social services away from armed law enforcement, creating now 3 units across the city” 

QUESTION: As a councilmember, you must work with the mayor to ensure that our community receives necessary investments. How will you go about working with the mayor and being the person at the table for community making these decisions?

RESPONSE:

“I believe that the key to success in this role on City Council is collaboration. Working with the mayor’s office to uncover shared Seattle values to bring us forward together has led to great gains prior to the pandemic and especially for COVID relief. At the end of the day, we’ve achieved many collaborative successes in my time on City Council but that does not make the Mayor exempt from criticism.

At some point we must find the line where you stop building dialogue and hold someone accountable– this line being at the intersection of health and safety. When the values of the city aren’t being reflected in policy or action, that’s when I must speak up and draw the line. I will work diligently on City Council to collaborate with the mayor’s office to build effective policy but I will not sacrifice accountability to do so. Amidst this pandemic, where communities have been hit hardest by a respiratory virus, chemical agents were sprayed and affected people in their homes and on the streets.

Unsheltered folks were swept with no alternative place to go– further straining shelter capacity already under substantial CDC guidelines. Constituents held me and my colleagues accountable and it’s my job to do the same for the mayor’s office. I will continue to be a collaborative and accountable Councilmember working with the Mayor’s office so that communities most affected by policies made in City Hall receive necessary investments.”

QUESTION: As a city resident, you know what your city needs. What are the three goals you have when you become a councilmember?

RESPONSE:

“My top three issues are building affordable housing and housing the homeless, creating a more equitable resilient economy, and promoting public safety and livability for all.

All of these issues can relate back to a more healthy and stable economy for a more resilient Seattle.

In housing – we must build more housing in the city so fewer people are getting displaced and pushed out of the city limits. The lack of affordable housing is causing more workers, and high numbers of workers of color specifically, to be pushed further away from their place of employment and community, causing Seattle to be the third highest mega commuter city in the country. To address this I am proud that JumpStart secured an additional $135 million per year for affordable housing, shelters, homeownership opportunities and more to address the housing and homelessness declared states of emergency by building more housing, preventing displacement, improving access to services, and protecting public land for public good.

In housing I have also championed legislation allowing Seattle to collect a portion of existing sales tax revenue for housing, building on our State legislative champions’ good work. Passed legislation securing an additional $20 million for shovel-ready affordable housing creating the largest-ever round of affordable housing funding in Seattle. Passed the Land Disposition Bill to tell the city to stop selling underutilized public land to the highest bidder and instead use it for public goods like housing.

Passed Racial Equity Toolkit to evaluate current zoning policies and see impact on communities of color and lower wage workers. Included Community Preference and Affirmative Marketing requirements in our City’s Administration and Finance housing policies to allow for more affordable housing options especially for communities at highest risk of displacement.

Something I am particularly proud of as I’ve stood with workers, immigrants and refugees, our unhoused neighbors, parents, and small business owners is that we’ve done so on progressive revenue resources. Being able to create community-driven and progressive policy through progressive tax means is how we keep our communities safe. This progressive tax has staved off austerity measures that otherwise would have set us up for an arduous recovery tainted by an even stronger scarcity mindset.”

King County Council Candidates

Dave Upthegrove

King County Council

QUESTION: Last November, King County voters passed Charter Amendment 5 & 6 to make the sheriff an appointed position and to limit their duties and power. How would you use this discretion to ensure that sheriffs are held accountable and everyone in the public feels safe? 

RESPONSE

“I voted to put these on the ballot & sponsored Amendment 6 & campaigned for it because it knocked down a systemic barrier. We’re now partnering with community to develop changes to the King County Sheriff’s Office. Community voices will be at the center. I hope they bring forward a new approach that doesn’t require a militarized commissioned Sheriff’s deputy to respond to every call, but instead uses trained behavioral health specialists to respond in more cases, and includes increased training in de-escalation & cultural competency. I’ll use my confirmation power to ensure the next Chief is reform-oriented & reflects the values of the community. I’ll use the power of the purse to continue to push the union to accept reforms.” 

QUESTION: In June 2020, King County declared racism is a public health crisis. How will you hold the Executive and the county accountable to racial equity?

RESPONSE:

“We need to put our money where our mouth is. The recent $25 million community-led investment in economic resiliency in the Black, Indigenous and People of Color community is a good start. We need to recognize the impact of the historic structural & system inequities on the Black community and be affirmatively anti-racist; This doesn’t simply mean “equality.” It means disrupting systems and changing long-held ways of doing things. One example: we need to support the community recommendations to change the way we allocate bus service to better center equity. We need to provide capital funds from the Best Starts for Kids levy to community-led and Black owned equitable community development projects. We need to keep reforming a racist criminal justice system.”

QUESTION: Within the last year King County and Seattle built a collaborative regional agency to address homelessness. How will you ensure this agency will increase housing affordability and end chronic homelessness?

RESPONSE:

“I can’t ensure that. The whole concept was to get us politicians out of the decision-making. I believe housing is a human right & we have a responsibility to help the chronically homeless get into housing with services. I was proud to champion a big bold new housing proposal. And the housing already exists; we don’t need to build it. We’re investing $350 million to purchase available hotels & group living facilities in cities that are willing. No more bureaucratic plans or years of slow expensive construction. It is action now. With this funding, we will move almost 2000 chronically homeless individuals into stable long-term housing with onsite behavioral health services. We now need to build support for these investments in South King County cities.”

Shukri Olow

King County Council

QUESTION: Last November, King County voters passed Charter Amendment 5 & 6 to make the sheriff an appointed position and to limit their duties and power. How would you use this discretion to ensure that sheriffs are held accountable and everyone in the public feels safe? 

RESPONSE

“Charter Amendments 5 and 6 are a start to ensuring that we have processes in place for holding police officers and departments accountable to the public through both the appointment and legislative processes. I will be looking for Sheriffs candidates that are committed to anti-racism, have experience in successfully implementing anti-bias and de-escalation training, are unafraid of challenging the King County Police Officers’ Guild, will focus on establishing trusting relationships with BIPOC and immigrant communities, are committed to reducing overtime abuses, and have successfully reduced the use of force in their previous experiences. With recent bills passed in the legislature, we need leaders who are ready to hold their peers accountable through prosecution, decertification, or termination to ensure change in the culture of policing.” 

QUESTION: In June 2020, King County declared racism is a public health crisis. How will you hold the Executive and the county accountable to racial equity?

RESPONSE:

“As a black mother, immigrant and former refugee, and a community organizer with a human services background I have worked to help communities access the services that are vital to them and to give them a better voice at the policy making table. From refugee resettlement, housing, workforce development, school partnerships, and managing prenatal to five program strategies, I have experienced personally and seen first-hand the impact these types of upstream investments make – especially when resources are allocated with the direct input of impacted communities.Prioritizing needs of communities through anti-displacement policies, small business resilience, and increased partnerships with BIPOC led CBOs. We need to focus on mental health support and utilizing a public health response to replacing our criminal legal system with restorative models.”

QUESTION: Within the last year King County and Seattle built a collaborative regional agency to address homelessness. How will you ensure this agency will increase housing affordability and end chronic homelessness?

RESPONSE:

“As a former refugee who grew up in King County public housing, I have felt the stabilizing impact that public investment in housing can have for communities.We need solutions that approach the scale of the problem. Recent reports show we need to build at minimum 37,000 units. We need Sound Transit-scale, billion dollar funding strategies from all of our partners at the federal, state, and local levels.

We also need to understand the inequity among BIPOC communities in regard to housing instability that has been built on racist policies such as redlining, blockbusting, and exclusionary zoning – in addition to current waves of displacement. We need transit-oriented development, increased tenant protections and rent stabilization measures, and ensuring that cities across the County pull their own weight.”

King County Executive Candidates

Dow Constantine

QUESTION: On June 11, 2020, King County declared racism a public health crisis. What racially equitable responses would you implement for the current crisis?

RESPONSE

“Prompted by the Urban League and others, I joined Public Health Director Patty Hayes in declaring racism a public health crisis, and working with a core team of predominantly Black, Brown, and Indigenous employees, proposed an Anti-Racist Policy Agenda, funding community groups to share expertise and hone the agenda to ensure we were prioritizing the right actions. My seventh COVID supplemental budget includes tens of millions of dollars of investment supporting that agenda.

We’re working to address long standing disparities by funding new economic opportunities for underrepresented and BIPOC communities and businesses; putting millions into affordable housing specifically intended for marginalized communities; and transforming the criminal legal system to co-create new systems of true community safety. There’s more to do and our work must continue.” 

QUESTION: Many are currently in jail awaiting trial for or convicted of a low-level offense, and this makes it difficult to maintain employment and housing. How would you ensure that there are other pathways other than incarceration for our community?

RESPONSE:

“Through prevention, alternatives and booking restrictions we have reduced adult detention from around 1,900 to 1,300, and in doing so reduced the number being held for low-level offenses. We have been able to reduce the number of people held on youth charges from about 90 when I took office to just nine this past week. There were no low-level offenses among the nine.

To close centralized youth detention and the downtown Seattle adult jail we need an all-community effort, including continued success in bringing community-based alternatives to scale. Our Restorative Community Pathways program will divert 800 youth away from the system completely. Our public health-based gun violence prevention initiative will seek to intervene and defuse violence before it starts.”

QUESTION: Many individuals and families are without work and cannot return due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What ways are you going to ensure everyone in King County has a chance to recover from the pandemic?

RESPONSE:

“By leading one of the nation’s strongest COVID-19 public health responses, we’re prepared to drive a stronger economic recovery for all communities. Developed with community input, we’re funding: $25million for BIPOC businesses and economic resiliency; $20million supporting creative economy organizations and $11million for an arts recovery fund; over $10million for new construction apprenticeships and job training; $9million for unincorporated King County small business grants and permitting; $1million creating economic pathways for young people involved in gun violence; among other critical investments.

We’re funding hundreds of county jobs for homeless residents, including housing vouchers and benefits needed to get them back on their feet. King County is catalyzing an economic recovery for our entire region, starting with those who have faced the pandemic’s most significant burdens.”

Joe Nguyen

QUESTION: On June 11, 2020, King County declared racism a public health crisis. What racially equitable responses would you implement for the current crisis?

RESPONSE

“The current crisis proves the deadly consequences of failing to address systemic racism in our public institutions: infection and death rates from COVID-19 for communities in south King County are more than double than those of central Seattle and Bellevue.

Actions matter much more than empty promises. The racially disparate impacts of the pandemic were well-documented when the declaration of racism as a public health crisis was made, yet strategies to ensure equity in vaccinations like mobile pop-up clinics in communities of color weren’t stood up until months into the mass vaccination effort.

In my administration, programs to address racial disparities in homeownership, income, and education will be developed in partnership with community from the start to show that the County actually values their lives.” 

QUESTION: Many are currently in jail awaiting trial for or convicted of a low-level offense, and this makes it difficult to maintain employment and housing. How would you ensure that there are other pathways other than incarceration for our community?

RESPONSE:

“The issue of criminal justice reform is the outcropping of rampant inequality and decades of underinvestment in communities like the one I grew up in. Half of the King County budget goes to jails and courts, and we’re using that to criminalize poverty, Blackness, mental health crises, and addiction. True reform requires community-centered leaders to think beyond our self-fulfilling cycles of punishment and invest in preventative solutions, with the political courage to build a new status quo.

Some of those alternatives will require investing substantial resources and time with trusted community organizations to scale up violence prevention and other diversion programs, but the County could do simple things like ending cash bail today to stop criminalizing poverty. Under my leadership, we will.”

QUESTION: Many individuals and families are without work and cannot return due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What ways are you going to ensure everyone in King County has a chance to recover from the pandemic?

RESPONSE:

“Before this legislative session, I gathered public support for a “no austerity budget”, demanding we invest in people instead of trying to cut our way out of this crisis, and we largely succeeded. We delivered a budget with record increases in TANF, a Capital Gains Tax, a Working Families Tax Credit, and avoided big cuts to social services that struggling families depend on.

As Executive, I will double down on my ongoing commitment to working people. This means investing in social services, education, transportation, and community resources. My values have always been clear, and I’ve made it my mission to govern with urgency when it comes to putting those values into action. That won’t change when it comes to leading the people of King County.”

Mayoral Candidates

Lorena Gonzalez

Seattle

QUESTION: In nearly every city through King County there is a homelessness and housing affordability emergency. As the Mayor, how would you address this crisis? 

RESPONSE

“There is no one size fits all approach that will solve this problem – we need to improve our crisis response systems, build more temporary and permanent housing paired with individualized wrap-around services, reform our racist exclusionary zoning policies, improve behavioral health services, and improve access to jobs and stable incomes. Scaling these solutions to be effective long term is the challenge the next mayor faces. This will require leadership, listening to communities, collaboration, tenacity and a deep belief in the people of Seattle. I am the candidate who can bring the council, business, labor, county, state, federal officials, and other stakeholders together to find additional resources to fund these solutions at a scale that meets the challenge, without cutting other essential city services.” 

QUESTION: As the mayor, you will lead the conversation on police accountability. How will you ensure that the police agency in your city will be transparent and held accountable to the community?

RESPONSE:

“I’ve expanded civilian oversight of the police department, making it easier to sue the police for wrongdoing, and started demilitarizing the police force and shifting resources into critical social and human services, including supporting participatory budgeting. The next Mayor will be responsible for appointing a new police chief, negotiating a new contract with the Police Officers’ Guild, fulfilling a commitment to participatory budgeting and further reducing the size of the police department and laying out a vision for how we re-imagine policing in our city. My experience not only as an elected official, but also as a civil rights attorney, who fought for victims of police abuse, will guide how I approach these critical decisions.”

QUESTION: You would build the city budget as the mayor. What are the first three areas of investment you want to make in your city?

RESPONSE:

“Homelessness, Housing, and Equitable Economic Recovery.”

Bruce Harrell

seattle

QUESTION: In nearly every city through King County there is a homelessness and housing affordability emergency. As the Mayor, how would you address this crisis? 

RESPONSE

“My family was able to afford a redlined Central Area house on my dad’s union salary, one of the first Black lineman at Seattle City Light. Today, that wouldn’t be possible. Let’s address the housing crisis by building more housing and exploring new methods of homeownership equity and anti-displacement policies. I’ll bring real accountability to the homelessness issue—no more delays, finger pointing, or passing the buck—just real solutions to urgently move people into permanent supportive housing with onsite services—and out of tents and cars. I’ll immediately invest millions in federal funds to build, acquire, and refurbish housing, clean up parks and shared spaces, and coordinate with regional partners, nonprofits, and community members, so everyone can track our progress and be a part of the solution.” 

QUESTION: As the mayor, you will lead the conversation on police accountability. How will you ensure that the police agency in your city will be transparent and held accountable to the community?

RESPONSE:

“I led the charge on body cameras, sponsored and passed Seattle’s first anti-bias policing laws, and ensured every Seattle policy was reviewed through the lens of our Race and Social Justice Initiative. Now, I’m the only candidate promising to reform SPD at its core by changing the tactics—and also the culture—of the organization, working with leaders within the department to expunge racism, champion de-escalation, and fire bad cops who can’t get with the program. I will launch an extensive search for Seattle’s next Chief of Police, ensuring we hire someone who shares our values and priorities. I’ll negotiate a strong contract that puts transparency and accountability at the center. My administration will re-imagine public safety and build a system where every Seattleite feels safe.”

QUESTION: You would build the city budget as the mayor. What are the first three areas of investment you want to make in your city?

RESPONSE:

“COVID Recovery—Working families and small businesses need support. Important investment priorities include increasing access to capital especially for BIPOC, women, and minority-owned businesses; expanding childcare options; transit and transportation infrastructure; preserving and revitalizing arts, culture, and nightlife. Homelessness—We must urgently invest federal recovery dollars and city resources to move people out of parks, school grounds, and streets and into hotels, tiny houses, and other supportive housing with services. Bold New Initiatives—Universal Health Care Program: providing access to those at risk of losing care; Race and Data Initiative: daylighting and organizing behavioral data to address institutional and historic racism; Districted Budgeting: $10 million for each council district to address community priorities; Seattle Jobs Center: connecting job seekers with new opportunities, career paths, retraining and job skills.”

Dana Ralph

Kent

QUESTION: In nearly every city through King County there is a homelessness and housing affordability emergency. As the Mayor, how would you address this crisis? 

RESPONSE

“I am supportive of both a local and regional approach to addressing homelessness. As mayor, I serve as vice-chair of the South King Housing and Homelessness Partnership. SKHHP is a collaboration of South Couty cities working together to develop policy that is supportive to addressing this crisis. We are also currently developing a capital fund to build supportive housing projects in South County. Additionally, I worked with council to establish a rental housing inspection program in Kent which helps preserve existing affordable housing stock as well as ensure all residents live in safe, healthy housing. It is imperative we provide access to services including mental health and substance abuse treatment to help transition our homeless residents into stable, long term housing.” 

QUESTION: As the mayor, you will lead the conversation on police accountability. How will you ensure that the police agency in your city will be transparent and held accountable to the community?

RESPONSE:

“After becoming mayor, I worked to establish a body-worn camera program in Kent. Body cameras are an important tool that provides transparency in policing. I have also worked with our Chief to establish the Race and Equity committee which works directly with our department on issues of transparency and trust. We have recently updated policies regarding use of force and duty to intervene. Kent, working with the Valley Investigative Team, was one of the first cities to adopt an independent investigation protocol, include members of the community for all deadly uses of force.”

QUESTION: You would build the city budget as the mayor. What are the first three areas of investment you want to make in your city?

RESPONSE:

“As I develop the budget, my priorities will continue to be providing service to our residents. All programs and projects we fund are focused on the needs of Kent residents. My goal is to provide improved access, sustainability and quality of life for our residents. I will continue to focus funding on infrastructure development and maintenance, parks maintenance and programming including investment in human services, and community safety and crime prevention.”

School Board Director Candidates

Emily Williams

Shoreline School District

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you will have the task to ensure that every student has the chance to succeed. How will you ensure that success will be racially equitable in the school district?

RESPONSE

“I currently serve as a school board director for Shoreline School District and was appointed in December 2020. If elected, I would ensure success will be racially equitable by centering the voices and collective power of communities of color in my district and co-designing plans that change policy and resource allocation to better meet the needs of those furthest from educational justice. One way our board plans to start this work is through community listening sessions.” 

QUESTION: The needs for students to be successful are ever changing with the demands of technology and distant learning. What investments does your school district need and how will you go about obtaining them?

RESPONSE:

“The Shoreline School District has a technology funding that’s currently covering 1:1 laptops for every student and wifi hotspots for students and families who need internet access. During the pandemic, our district worked diligently to provide these resources to implement distance learning for all students. These technology services are still in place today and my goal, if elected, would be to advocate for the continuation of these technology services and have remote learning as an option moving forward. I will learn more about our technology and distance learning needs by getting more information about the technology budget and infrastructure and embed questions about technology in our community listening sessions to ensure we’re meeting the needs of students and families.”

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you can influence the curriculum in the school district. What areas in the current curriculum would you recommend transforming or adapting and why?

RESPONSE:

“We recently voted to implement ethnic studies curriculum in schools, which includes the curriculum for Black Lives Matter and Since Time Immemorial. I’m proud to support the work of our superintendent, department of equity and family engagement, and broader district in the implementation of a curriculum that will help students of color see themselves in their education and help all students learn about different people and cultures. Because our district is in the early stages of implementing ethnic studies, I would like to learn more from students and their families and educators about the successes and areas for improvement in curriculum options and curriculum delivery. I support the ethnic studies curriculum in schools because it helps students feel included in their education.”

Vivian Song Maritz

Seattle school district

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you will have the task to ensure that every student has the chance to succeed. How will you ensure that success will be racially equitable in the school district?

RESPONSE

“I will seek to limit high-stakes standardized testing. Standardized testing assumes equality; that all students are learning in the same conditions. We know this is simply not true and assessments must reflect the diversity of our student population and should not be punitive. The object of assessments should be to learn about our students’ strengths and needs and for teachers to receive feedback on their teaching methods.

A high percentage of our special education students are BIPOC and yet special education is woefully underfunded by the state, by $70M last year. I will use my position to advocate for the funding we need to fulfill our obligations to our special education students.” 

QUESTION: The needs for students to be successful are ever changing with the demands of technology and distant learning. What investments does your school district need and how will you go about obtaining them?

RESPONSE:

“We must ensure that students continue to have access to Internet service. I will advocate to City leaders to get widespread Internet access in our marginalized communities. Not only does it matter how we are doing the teacher, it also matters WHO is doing the teacher. We need more teachers and staff of color.

Research shows all students benefit from having teachers of color, reporting they cared for and academically challenged by teachers of color, and that Black teachers are less likely to perceive Black students’ behavior as negative and more likely to have higher opinion of Black students’ academic abilities. I will identify funding for a scholarship program to recruit teachers of color and invest in professional development for our principals on inclusive work environments.”

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you can influence the curriculum in the school district. What areas in the current curriculum would you recommend transforming or adapting and why?

RESPONSE:

“We need to adopt Ethnic Studies K-12 curriculum in all 105 school buildings. The school board has approved a resolution in 2017 but my children’s school is one of a small number of elementary schools currently teaching ethnic studies, or content areas focused on the experiences of people and communities of color. Research confirms that students that study ethnic studies are more engaged, and have a strong sense of personal empowerment. They have better academic outcomes and graduate at higher rates.

Research shows that reading at grade level by 3rd grade is a predictor of future academic outcomes. SPS does not have a reading curriculum. We must teach children the “science of reading,” matching phonics to letters.”

Michelle Sarju

seattle school district

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you will have the task to ensure that every student has the chance to succeed. How will you ensure that success will be racially equitable in the school district?

RESPONSE

“Focus on development of policies and strategies to eliminate the opportunity gap. We need to equip teachers to teach a diverse student population. Our schools should be relationship focused, understand the social-emotional and mental health needs of all students, as well as the barriers and challenges marginalized students face.

We can begin to do this by:  Increased focus on K-3rd grade support, which data shows is the most foundational educational period of a child’s life, influencing their future trajectories. Re-imagine our child-school relationships. Instead of suspensions and expulsions, utilize trauma-informed, healing centered, and evidence-based approaches to mitigate harm. Continue to invest in K-12 anti-racist curriculum. Eliminate and replace and standardized testing assessments with evidence and strengths-based assessments.” 

QUESTION: The needs for students to be successful are ever changing with the demands of technology and distant learning. What investments does your school district need and how will you go about obtaining them?

RESPONSE:

“SPS needs to have a clear and robust plan for returning students in the fall. If families choose remote learning, SPS should ensure that students have high functioning laptops, real-time tech support, and reliable hotspot access. SPS must prioritize supporting all students.”

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you can influence the curriculum in the school district. What areas in the current curriculum would you recommend transforming or adapting and why?

RESPONSE:

“We need to fully invest in K-12 anti-racist curriculum. Curriculum of this nature should not be a single, optional class in high school, it should be interwoven into the whole of our students’ education. Without full integration with our curriculum, one-off ethnic studies courses can only hope to unwind what will be years of courses that fail to address racism and oppression.”

Dan Harder

seattle School District

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you will have the task to ensure that every student has the chance to succeed. How will you ensure that success will be racially equitable in the school district?

RESPONSE

“I will work to make sure every student is equally valued for their individual identity and humanity, not based on any racial or identity group.  I will enact policy that maximizes educational flexibility and freedom. I will work to implement policies that allow funding to follow students to whatever school they choose.  I will fight to make sure every student has full opportunity for an excellent education which is the true social equalizer.” 

QUESTION: The needs for students to be successful are ever changing with the demands of technology and distant learning. What investments does your school district need and how will you go about obtaining them?

RESPONSE:

“While the Seattle School district has been spending about $20,000 per student in recent years, one of the highest spending rates in the country and well above what many private schools charge, there is a significant budget shortfall expected this next biennium.

This is an opportunity to re-prioritize spending to focus on instruction. In particular admin staff should be reduced and funding reallocated to higher priority items. This includes funding laptops if they are required by the school for learning.”

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you can influence the curriculum in the school district. What areas in the current curriculum would you recommend transforming or adapting and why?

RESPONSE:

“I will refocus SPS on individual academic excellence, and turn away from an identity based educational lens that reduces children to a stereotype. Civic education must be reinvigorated, with a focus on common interest, freedom and unity. All of American history must be taught, the bad and the good, including the massive importance of the invention of constitutional democracy and recognition of individual inalienable civil rights.

SEL content is a broad over-reach of the school system into the parent-child relationship, politically motivated and racially biased content must be removed. Younger children must not be taught that they might be in the wrong body, maturity is learning to accept reality and schools exist to help students do that.”

Quentin Morris

federal way school district

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you will have the task to ensure that every student has the chance to succeed. How will you ensure that success will be racially equitable in the school district?

RESPONSE

“Success is defined by the capabilities learned and reinforces in the classroom. Equality of opportunity is achieved by implementing a curriculum that addresses and reinforces the student’s abilities in meeting life challenges, thereafter. I will work with all others to ensure administrative transparency while assuring the community, especially parents, has a seat at the table.” 

QUESTION: The needs for students to be successful are ever changing with the demands of technology and distant learning. What investments does your school district need and how will you go about obtaining them?

RESPONSE:

“As a recently retired business executive with international, cross-cultural experience, my intentions are to build programs supported by local and global industries to facilitate student interests and skills in transition into their specific choice of vocation or profession after high school.”

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you can influence the curriculum in the school district. What areas in the current curriculum would you recommend transforming or adapting and why?

RESPONSE:

“Student need to understand how our government works and how they participate:  informed by working knowledge of reading,  mathematics, written and oral communication, civics, history, arts, and sciences.

The global language of commerce is English.  Multiple languages are an advantage, but English should be mandatory for participating in the world as well as being the bridge to understanding in our local communities.”

Shelby Scovel

Renton School District

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you will have the task to ensure that every student has the chance to succeed. How will you ensure that success will be racially equitable in the school district?

RESPONSE

“Equity is one of our district’s three core values. We need to commit to the ABAR journey as a district and as individuals and engage with our community in an intentional discovery process.

We need to listen to what supports folks need and meet them where they are (not one-size fits all). We should engage local thought leaders to help move our district forward through this adaptive process.” 

QUESTION: The needs for students to be successful are ever changing with the demands of technology and distant learning. What investments does your school district need and how will you go about obtaining them?

RESPONSE:

“During remote learning, our district quickly surmised that not every student had the technology and internet bandwidth connectivity needed to thrive in an online learning environment. We partnered with the Renton Schools Foundation and outside grants (such as $100,000 from Amazon) to get our students the devices and bandwidth they needed. In terms of on-going operating costs, there will absolutely be a need to invest in connectivity as a utility, so we will work with city and county leaders to prioritize investments from their budgets as well.”

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you can influence the curriculum in the school district. What areas in the current curriculum would you recommend transforming or adapting and why?

RESPONSE:

“We need to continue focusing on injecting Social Emotional Learning into how we learn and interact as scholars and humans. We need to teach critical thinking skills (and RE-thinking skills) so that our students can grow up to be contributing members of society and push back against misinformation campaigns. Our fundamentals and math and reading need to be sound, but typing should outpace focus on hand-writing to keep up with our future society needs — although the content of both is more important now than ever.”

Joseph Bento

Kent school district

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you will have the task to ensure that every student has the chance to succeed. How will you ensure that success will be racially equitable in the school district?

RESPONSE

“I am a core Team member of the Rainier Educators of Color Network and was on a planning committee that created resources to support teaching Black Lives Matter at School Week for all Grade Levels.We also planned the RECN Equity Conference for Educators and Community leaders for the last 2 years. In my position I was appointed to, I am addressing the racial inequities in my school district. I am advocating for ant-racist teaching practices and looking at our entire system to make sure that we recruiting and retaining educators of color.

My goal is to continue to address racial inequities and to have student, staff, and community forums to learn more about what is going on in our schools and how we can address racism.” 

QUESTION: The needs for students to be successful are ever changing with the demands of technology and distant learning. What investments does your school district need and how will you go about obtaining them?

RESPONSE:

“As a classroom teacher, I have seen first-hand how that pandemic has affected students. My perspective changed a lot when I talked with students about challenges to functional computers, wifi/hotspots, knowledge of programs/applications. As an appointed school board director, I have already started conversations about educational equity in the school district. Students need access to functional equipment, access to hotspots that don’t have data limits, etc.

The digital divide is real and now that we have done this for a year, we now need to work on making sure that students have access to the proper equipment. I think that districts need to think out of the box and partner with internet companies to be able to provide low cost/free internet service for students and staff.”

QUESTION: As a School Board Director, you can influence the curriculum in the school district. What areas in the current curriculum would you recommend transforming or adapting and why?

RESPONSE:

“I think that doing an equity audit is important in looking at what is being taught. Once this happens, action needs to occur. We need to look at curriculum in depth. Who is in the curriculum? Who is being left out? How are people being portrayed? Are there positive representations of all students reflected in the curriculum?

We need to make sure that we use the “windows and mirrors” approach to curriculum. Students need to be able to see a variety of people represented in the curriculum (windows) but also be able to see themselves (mirrors). I think adopting Ethnic Studies and LGBTQ+ people should be included. I think that all educators need to receive anti-racist training.”