IMPORTANT UPDATE

Voting Rights Expansion

Voter eligibility is constantly evolving and expanding access to the ballot box is a never-ending process. We are happy to celebrate two victories that are steps towards a just and inclusive political system.

Washington is one step closer to full voting rights restoration. As of 2022, any Washington state citizen with a felony conviction will have their voting rights restored automatically upon release from prison—even while in community custody. Over 26,000 people are now able to vote. If this expansion applies to you register to vote today.

If a Washington state citizen will be 18 by the November General Election, they can vote in the August primary. If you are 16 and 17 years old, pre-register to vote through the Future Voters Program. This will put you on a private waiting list, once you turn 18, you will be registered to vote and receive a ballot at the address you registered. If this applies to you pre-register today! It is the same form used to register to vote.

“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.” — Thurgood Marshall

UPCOMING

Check each date for specific library branch locations and times:

  • Sunday, July 17, 2022
  • 12:00PM – 4:00PM
  • 6531 NE 181st St, Kenmore, WA 98028
  • Monday, July 18th, 2022
  • 10:00AM – 3:00PM
  • 34200 1st Way S, Federal Way, WA 98003
  • Tuesday, July 19th, 2022
  • 2:00PM – 7:00PM
  • 26809 Pacific Hwy S, Des Moines, WA 98198
  • Wednesday, July 20th, 2022
  • 3:00PM – 7:00PM
  • 345 NE 175th St, Shoreline, WA 98155
  • Thursday, July 21st, 2022
  • 12:00PM – 4:00PM
  • 400 SW 152nd Street Burien, WA 98166
  • Monday, July 25th, 2022
  • 10:00AM – 3:00PM
  • 848 S 320th St, Federal Way, WA 98003
  • Tuesday, July 26th, 2022
  • 1:00PM – 5:00PM
  • 1409 SW 107th St, Seattle, WA 98146
  • Wednesday, July 27th, 2022
  • 3:00PM – 7:00PM
  • 14380 Tukwila International Blvd, Tukwila, WA 98168
  • Thursday, July 28th, 2022
  • 12:00PM – 5:00PM
  • 12601 76th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98178
  • Friday, July 29th, 2022
  • 12:00PM – 5:00PM
  • 100 Mill Ave S, Renton, WA 98057
  • Saturday, July 30th, 2022
  • 12:00PM – 4:00PM
  • 14380 Tukwila International Blvd, Tukwila, WA 98168
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Your Signature Matters!

When completing your voter registration form or signing for your Driver’s License at the DOL, know that your signature is very important. 

For your vote to be counted, it must be signed and dated on the ballot envelope. Election workers verify your identity using the signature on the envelope and matching it to the signature that is on file with your voter registration. If there is a challenge with identifying your signature, you will be notified.

To update your signature, click any of the buttons to download the paper voter registration form in your preferred language. Once completed, you can mail it to your county election’s office.

 

“When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don’t speak out ain’t nobody going to speak out for you.” — Fannie Lou Hamer

Important Dates

16-20

May 2022

Candidate Filing Week

Candidate filing period opens for general election. Start paying attention to candidate campaigns for elected office! If you are interested in running for office, the filing must be completed that week. As a voter, keep an eye out for candidate campaigns, town halls, and voter guides.

15

JuLY 2022

August Primary 18-day Voting Period Begins

Voting centers open and ballots are mailed out to registered voters. Ballots should be in the registered voter’s mailbox the following Wednesday at the latest.*

25

July 2022

Last day to register to vote online or by mail, to vote in the primary.

2

AUG 2022

Primary Election Day

Last day to register to vote in person. Ballots must be returned by 8:00PM via ballot drop box.

21

OCT 2022

November General Election 18-day Voting Period Begins.

Voting centers open and ballots are mailed out to registered voters. Ballots should be in the registered voter’s mailbox the following Wednesday at the latest.*

31

OCT 2022

Last day to register to vote online or by mail to vote in the general election.

8

NOV 2022

General Election Day

Last day to register to vote in person. Ballots must be returned by 8:00PM via ballot drop box.

*If you do not receive your ballots by the start of the voting period, use VoteWA.gov to check your registration and make sure your mailing address is current. You can also contact your local Elections office or visit a voting center. You can find the contact information and address of your County’s Election office here.

NEXT STEPS

Voter Checklist

Here’s a simple check list to help you plan for this year’s election, so when the time comes, you can say “This Person Votes!”

Check your voter registration status.

Make sure your mailing address is correct and up to date.

Set voting reminders.

Put the Election days aelection days and the start of the voting period in your calendar.

Keep an eye out for your voter pamphlet and ballot.

"Youth in particular, should be at the forefront of the civil rights struggle and have its voice heard in improving its own plight." - Juanita Jackson

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project

We believe in the power of our history to inspire and galvanize our communities to drive political change. It’s easy to forget that our civil rights and voting rights were fought for right here at home, not just in Washington D.C. and the southern states.

The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is a multimedia website that dives into the history of Seattle’s civil rights movements through video oral histories, hundreds of rare photographs, documents, movement histories, and personal biographies. You can learn about the Black organizations, leaders, and student unions who challenged segregation and racial discrimination — and the strategies they used to build political power in our home.

Subscribe

Make the Pledge to Vote!

Subscribe to receive real-time updates and alerts about voting resources and more!

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Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle 2022 Candidate Questionnaire

We created a candidate questionnaire to educate our communities on the upcoming local elections and the candidates campaigning for your vote. In tandem with our Future Voters Guide, we aim to empower members of the community to get out and vote with everything you need to know to be a confident and proud voter.

We sent three questions to EVERY candidate in King County. These questions speak directly to the issues of our community and were developed with help from our staff at the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. If you do not see a candidate included in this questionnaire, it means they did not provide a complete response to our questionnaire.

Check the button below to find your district and learn more about the current elected officials.

U.S. Senator Candidates

John Guenther

STATEWIDE

QUESTION: Should the U.S. have an obligation to provide military or economic aid to certain countries over others? How do you define that criterion?

RESPONSE:

“We need to assist our allies, the problem is, is if we accidentally get involved in an incursion because we are trying to assist a friend.  We should not be the police of the world.  We are sinking in debt, we have more than 30 trillion in debt and we are giving countries billions of dollars.  We can’t be an isolationist country, but we are currently not in a place where we can give out the aid that we are giving out.  We have to be more calculating as to the advantage the involvement brings to the U.S.  We have acted too much on misplaced values and not enough on strategic involvement.  We cannot save the world.  www.johnguenther4senate.com.”

QUESTION: What needs to be done at the Senate level to adequately address the student loan crisis?

RESPONSE:

“We are sinking in debt and inflation.  We cannot have people flipping burgers pay off the debt of Dr’s. and engineers.  People need to be responsible for their own debt, we are not being wise by saying, that we owe people, who went into debt to the degree that they did.  What about the person that got a trade instead?  What about the person that payed off their debt?  This is classism; if you take out the money, you do need to pay it back.  www.johnguenther4senate.com.”

 

QUESTION: What have you learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic that you will use to address long term national issues on healthcare affordability and access?

RESPONSE:

“What I learned was the most vaccinated countries, like the U.S., faired the worst.  The most closed States did not do better than the free States.  We should have protected our most vulnerable, and then allow others to make decisions for themselves.  We cannot give control over to the WHO, we need to make wise and calculated decisions.  We cannot live in fear but that is exactly what we did.  We grew more and more fearful as we had more difficulty.  We should have been about results, how did the free State of Florida have less deaths than New York had?  We were unwise.  www.johnguenther4senate.com.”

Leon Lawson

STATEWIDE

QUESTION: Should the U.S. have an obligation to provide military or economic aid to certain countries over others? How do you define that criterion?

RESPONSE:

“I do not believe that we should be obligated to help any country with military aid, however, if we were to decide to provide such assistance we should make sure the home front is secured. I do not believe we should in any way weaken our country to aid allies, I also believe the definition of Allie should be closely examined, if we were energy independent we would have a proper show of strength to mitigate with diplomacy. however, this leverage is weekend when we rely on certain countries for keystone Items of Industry and logistics. If I am elected I will focus on placing the United states in a position to tell the cow how its going to eat the cabbage, Military assistance should not be needed if properly governed. What does NATO do if we are providing all the assistance to them?”

QUESTION: What needs to be done at the Senate level to adequately address the student loan crisis?

RESPONSE:

“This is an example of a common sense problem that is easy to fix, I think the student loans should be forgiven, and I think we should give a form of reparation to those that did pay them off.  I have drafted a Merritt based system for loan forgiveness moving forward.  as well as the approved schools that are to receive the loans will rigorously comply with all records and book keeping, High priced Indoctrination scams and weaponization of the big colleges on the tax payers and students backs days are numbered. many were victims of bad over sight and miss management, many were abused and punished but did nothing wrong. The reason this topic is aggravated, is the common sense answers fix the problem, but they stop the money to people funding your leaders, in that dynamic It is toxic to enact my type of legislation as it threatens their survival.” 

 

QUESTION: What have you learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic that you will use to address long term national issues on healthcare affordability and access?

RESPONSE:

“That the WHO has too much power. It showed me that our rights were put on the back burner by our leaders. I watched the country I grew up in start down a dangerous path of totalitarian ideas and government control in the matter of 6 months. I watched our government and state leaders strip us of our rights over a virus with a minimal death rate compared to fentanyl you can not go outside without meeting a person whose family died of fentanyl, coke or meth laced with it, many in our society spreading it, no lockdowns, no trackers, no testing, no explanation, no press conferences or masks, and people are dying from it right now as I type this, simple truth, but it requires you to see it. They are either complacent with it or don’t care, so knowing this I plan to hold accountability hearings to figure out what is going on. Remember as a candidate I have to assume there is information behind the curtain that I am not privy to, I can only promise as much as I understand.”

Ravin Pierre

STATEWIDE

QUESTION: Should the U.S. have an obligation to provide military or economic aid to certain countries over others? How do you define that criterion?

RESPONSE:

“Citizen support for U.S. Foreign Aid positive impact is deeply under appreciated, as compared to the size of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) budget. (Especially in conservative circles.) Yet U.S. Foreign Aid, as miniscule it is in comparison, has a higher impact to cost ratio than DOD. Thus it would behoove to continue U.S. Foreign Aid.

U.S. Foreign Policy is a confusing complicated mess, determining which foreign country receives how much money, for what reasons and conditions, and when is a nightmare. As an American BIPOC, I’m personally biased for U.S. Foreign Aid to mitigate oppression rooted in past Europe and Western-modern (U.S.A) colonialism. Also, I don’t favor U.S. Foreign Aid that perpetuates America’s failed drug war, i.e. weapons.”

QUESTION: What needs to be done at the Senate level to adequately address the student loan crisis?

RESPONSE:

“U.S. Senate is problematically oversaturated with senior citizens, average age ~77 years old. They are un-relatable to the plight of modern students and their loans debt problem. The foul Corporate Democrats & Corporate Republican, are entrenched with Student Loan Lobbyists. (I worry Corporate Democrats, like Biden, will use last minute partial student loan forgiveness/relief as a rapid ploy to get votes in closely contested election races).

I can empathize with the importance of student debt loan relief, because I  had college loans. We need new blood & energy elected to the Senate in order to make a difference and properly address the student loan crisis. I want 100% student loan relief to revitalize our economy. (Ref. “See Jane Default” – http://content.newsbound.com/public/tcf/tcf_debt/index.html)

 

QUESTION: What have you learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic that you will use to address long term national issues on healthcare affordability and access?

RESPONSE:

“Today, 1,000,000,+ dead Americans…

(Or imagine a 9-11 attack occurring every 2.5 [days] within the past  2+ [years].)

Overall, America’s awful behavioral response to COVID-19 Pandemic solidified the death of “rugged individualism.” That trusting individuals to do the basic minimum steps of personal responsibility in flattening the curve: masking & vaccination, a failure.

I’m highly impressed that the President was able to negotiate and secure access the adequate amount of vaccines from the HealthCare Industry for herd immunity, but poorly implemented without a strong vaccine mandate. I believe U.S. Government should expand negotiating powers to all other medical needs of the people. #Medicare4All. 

Negatively, we’re already paying too-much at a lower median life expectancy compared to other world governments, with better controls on medical expenditures.”

U.S. Representative Candidates

Sea M. Chan

9th Congressional District

QUESTION: As climate change and political instability continue to create migration pressures into the foreseeable future, what will you do to advance equitable immigration policies?

RESPONSE:

“I hold a masters in Environmental Policy, spent the past 20 years of my life researching global environmental remediation, and have written national policy that will not only mitigate but engender sustained prosperity for communities and biomes. The science shows that the pessimistic outcomes pushed by career politicians are by no means inevitable. We will be launching our environmental initiative soon at www.TheGreatRefund.com.

I am a child of immigrants, my wife is an immigrant. I will do more than any of our elected officials have done to date, and bring to justice to those in both parties that have normalized putting kids in cages for crimes against humanity. “

QUESTION: Do cap and invest strategies, such as those in the Climate Commitment Act, go far enough to directly reduce the emissions of America’s greatest polluters and prioritize communities of color? Why or why not?

RESPONSE:

“No because all CAP & trade policies that I have studied over past 20 years disproportionately HURT vulnerable communities and do NOT actually empower BIPOC communities in any meaningful way towards eliminating food deserts and insecurity. We need to empower our communities with the $, knowledge, and resources our country has in abundance that is needed to alleviate poverty, not accept empty promises and tired talking points.”

QUESTION: What is needed to address local gun violence and the national issue of racially motivated mass gun violence? What do you think is realistic, and what is needed to bridge that gap?

RESPONSE:

“I grew up around gun violence of NY/NJ/Philly metro areas as a native of Atlantic City, and am no stranger to gun violence. Realistic solutions require empowering our communities and building social capital, as well as economic capital in BIPOC communities. Unfortunately, career politicians divide rather than lead on this issue, which is why I am in this race to represent all of us. It not unrealistic to demand leaders that offer solutions that don’t pit us against one another, which is why other minority and immigrant veterans and me have formed a national bipartisan grassroots candidate coalition. We can choose a better path forward, and can be a part of it at: www.ChanForCongress.com”

Suzan DelBene

1ST Congressional District

QUESTION: As climate change and political instability continue to create migration pressures into the foreseeable future, what will you do to advance equitable immigration policies?

RESPONSE:

“We face a moral and economic imperative to mend our immigration system so that it is humane and works for families and our economy. The House of Representatives has passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 (H.R. 6) and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) with my support to provide Dreamers and farmworkers with a pathway to citizenship. However, we must do more. Congressional action on comprehensive immigration reform is a priority of mine, which is why I am a cosponsor of the U.S. Citizenship Act. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass common sense immigration reform.”

QUESTION: Do cap and invest strategies, such as those in the Climate Commitment Act, go far enough to directly reduce the emissions of America’s greatest polluters and prioritize communities of color? Why or why not?

RESPONSE:

“I believe climate change is one of the most serious threats we face, and that we need to take the necessary steps to build a green economy based on clean and renewable energy sources. Doing so will require using every tool available to reduce emissions, including the provisions within Washington state’s Climate Commitment Act that set aggressive emissions reductions targets and prioritize environmental justice efforts.

At the federal level, I voted for the Build Back Better Act, which would mark the largest-ever federal investment in combatting climate change. This bill would invest over $550 billion dollars in combatting climate change, and includes legislation I introduced that would provide tax incentives for renewable energy development, clean hydrogen production, and carbon oxide sequestration.”

QUESTION: What is needed to address local gun violence and the national issue of racially motivated mass gun violence? What do you think is realistic, and what is needed to bridge that gap?

RESPONSE:

“While there is no one law or set of laws that will prevent every senseless shooting, we must take action to hinder the tragic cycle of gun violence. The House of Representatives has already passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8) and the Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R. 1446) with my support. Poll after poll shows that the vast majority of Americans support universal background checks and there is no reason these bills should not pass in the Senate. I also support additional common-sense legislation such as red flag laws and regulating ghost guns. I am a member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and remain committed to finding solutions to end gun violence in our communities.”

Seth Pedersen

9th Congressional District

QUESTION: As climate change and political instability continue to create migration pressures into the foreseeable future, what will you do to advance equitable immigration policies?

“I have known many people who have legally immigrated to the US, as I see it one of the greatest obstacles to legal immigration is the lengthy approval process. Vetting new citizens is important but the inefficiency of our government offices can create disturbing delays. In regards to illegal immigration, there is still a humanitarian crisis at our southern border. The influx of illegal immigration has lead to countless deaths and inhumane living conditions due to a lack of government resources. We as a nation have the wealth, resources, and ability to correct these humanitarian issues and I will pursue in good faith any policy that will reduce suffering at the border and streamline our legal immigration process.”

QUESTION: Do cap and invest strategies, such as those in the Climate Commitment Act, go far enough to directly reduce the emissions of America’s greatest polluters and prioritize communities of color? Why or why not?

RESPONSE:

“The climate commitment act does not go far enough, in the past 2 years CO2 levels have once again began to rise after a two year drop. There is a disturbing tendency in the environmental community to hyper focus on CO2 emissions, while CO2levels should be monitored our oceans face a much more immediate crisis. Sea life is dying off like never before, as we continue to pollute our water ways and oceans we are ever increasing the chances of a runaway ecological disaster that could limit the oxygen available to us. Clean air should be a matter close to every Washingtonians heart and I’d like to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy some of the cleanest air in the union.”

QUESTION: What is needed to address local gun violence and the national issue of racially motivated mass gun violence? What do you think is realistic, and what is needed to bridge that gap?

RESPONSE:

“One of the the biggest problems with our government is the inability to focus on effective solutions. While our politicians who make insane amounts of money on gun violence tragedies try to appease us by passing baby step firearm possession restrictions I am prepared to get to the heart of the issue and push to finally solve this problem that has been on my mind since childhood. I am prepared to increase the criteria for the approval of a firearms background checks to prevent anyone with a history or diagnosis of mental instability from obtaining a firearm. A woman should be able to protect herself from a group of men but a schizophrenic should never posses a firearm.”

Adam Smith

9th Congressional District

QUESTION: As climate change and political instability continue to create migration pressures into the foreseeable future, what will you do to advance equitable immigration policies?

RESPONSE:

“It is crucial that we ensure our immigration system is efficient and equitable. I am committed to enacting comprehensive reforms to our immigration laws that improve our current system by keeping families together, promoting legal immigration, establishing a pathway to citizenship, and addressing national priorities. It is vital that we comprehensively reform our nation’s immigration laws in order to create jobs, grow the American economy, and enrich the country with new perspectives and cultural diversity.” 

QUESTION: Do cap and invest strategies, such as those in the Climate Commitment Act, go far enough to directly reduce the emissions of America’s greatest polluters and prioritize communities of color? Why or why not?

RESPONSE:

“I am a cosponsor of the Green New Deal and support bold action to combat the climate crisis. I believe that we need to take big steps to reach carbon neutrality as soon as possible. I support the climate measures in the Build Back Better Act. I also support implementing a carbon tax and using the money gained through that tax to invest in low income neighborhoods and communities of color across the country.”

QUESTION: What is needed to address local gun violence and the national issue of racially motivated mass gun violence? What do you think is realistic, and what is needed to bridge that gap?

RESPONSE:

“It is crucial that we work to reduce gun violence and support victims of gun violence throughout all of our communities – especially communities of color and other minority groups who face a disproportionate amount of gun violence. I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 3929, the Disarm Hate Act, which will prohibit people who have been convicted of hate crimes from accessing firearms. Finally, it is important that all Americans are treated equally by the law and our law enforcement. I’m an original co-sponsor of H.R. 1280, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This bill may prevent deaths and injury by firearms in ensuring that, among other things, law enforcement has training and best practices for de-escalation.”

Thomas Wylie Spears

1st Congressional District

QUESTION: Do cap and invest strategies, such as those in the Climate Commitment Act, go far enough to directly reduce the emissions of America’s greatest polluters and prioritize communities of color? Why or why not?

RESPONSE:

“Currently, there are existing laws that govern immigration.  We must abide by these laws until Congress decides to do their job and create an immigration policy that will be agreeable to a majority of Americans.  We can serve the needs of the citizens of this country and at the same time we can direct reasonable attention to others desiring to legally become productive Americans.  The policy of this administration, breaking immigration laws set by prior lawmakers, must stop.  If we don’t like the laws as they exist, change them.  Being complicit in causing illegal immigration is not the answer.  Being lawless is not correcting the issue; it only divides us and creates poor relationships between legal and illegal citizens.  We have enough division!”  

QUESTION: Do cap and invest strategies, such as those in the Climate Commitment Act, go far enough to directly reduce the emissions of America’s greatest polluters and prioritize communities of color? Why or why not?

RESPONSE:

“I’ll start with the most egregious statement in this question; “prioritize communities of color”.  It seems some issues often boil down to race.  Why must we continue to pit one race against another?  Maybe the question should be: How do we prioritize the health of the world?  Cap and invest is a noble idea; however, it appears to only penalize those who pollute.  We have seen that “lines in the sand” seem to only infuriate those trying to do the right thing.  Maybe a combination of incentives and penalties would cause companies to do more to solve the problem than imposing only a penalty.  Before companies are asked to do something unreasonably fast, maybe giving them an incentive would help in accomplishing the goal quicker.”

QUESTION: What is needed to address local gun violence and the national issue of racially motivated mass gun violence? What do you think is realistic, and what is needed to bridge that gap?

RESPONSE:

“Violence, whether it is with a gun, knife or a fist, it’s violence.  Our elected officials must stop racially charging issues to the point that it causes people of different races to feel they are being treated unfairly.  Racism is learned, it is not an instinct.  Educate children to understand racism and to embrace and accept others as they are.  Don’t separate them by using silly made-up slogans.  Critical Race Theory, who thought of this?  These types of people are the problem, not the solution.  This “slogan” should infuriate all races.  Political parties seem only to be concerned with “how can we create animosity between races to the point that it helps us get votes”.  What’s realistic?  Don’t vote for them again; send them home!”

Washington State Senator Candidates

Amber Bennett

34th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“I think the eviction moratorium was disastrous for this region.  A lot of people (many that I actually knew) took advantage of this.  Small landlords were overly rigorous when screening new renters.  This often hurt those that had bad credit but were able to prove they had jobs.  Additionally, small landlords sold their property thus taking less rentals off the market. Less rental units drive up rental rates.”

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“I think we need to get back to policing.  Crimes have risen exponentially and unfortunately this has impacted Black and Brown community members.  We need to listen to Black and Brown “victim’s” voices.  We need to teach our youth to respect police officers.  I think the amount of officers lost is heart breaking.  We need to hold them accountable, but we have lost a record amount of good cops, experienced cops, and detectives.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“I want to expand our facilities for mental health and substance abuse. I want to criminalize hard drugs again.  We can’t continue to enable drug addicts to destroy their lives.  I have a family member that is missing after failing to stay in rehab. I know it requires many tries to battle addiction and I wish this family member would get arrested so that we can know where this person is.  We can have another chance to help. I am not alone. I have talked with many constituents that have family members addicted, and unable to reach them.”

Matt Gross

46th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“We have a moral obligation to ensure everyone has a safe, clean place to live regardless of income. I support a state housing choice voucher so that no resident would need to pay more than 30% of their income towards rent. The federal government offers housing choice vouchers to residents under a specific income threshold. However, only about 1 in 4 residents eligible for those vouchers actually receives one. There is a literal lottery system that determines who gets a safe, clean place to live and who ends up on the streets. We need to change that. I also support back rental assistance for people already in an apartment who are struggling to make ends meet.”

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“Police officers should be held responsible for abuse of power, misconduct and unlawful use of force. The newly created Office of Independent Investigations is a key step forward for police accountability in our state. The office should be adequately funded to do the important job of investigating police use of deadly force. Over time, its authority should be expanded to include investigation of other types of potential police misconduct such as non-deadly force. The office must conduct thorough, unbiased investigations and be transparent with the public about the results. It needs to be accountable to the advisory board which shall include representatives of families impacted by police violence and other community leaders. I am optimistic that this office will make a significant difference.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“Everyone should have access to mental health care and drug treatment regardless of income. The Office of Supportive housing has made clear that there is a severe shortage of housing options for people struggling with addiction or chronic mental illness. Because of that gap, many people suffering end up in jails, prisons or homeless. We need to increase funding for affordable housing in general and supportive housing specifically. When we fail to proactively help people get stable, we end up spending more money on costly criminal prosecutions and crisis response. Ensuring access to treatment and care for everyone is essential for maintaining safe, clean neighborhoods.”

Claudia Kauffman

47th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“I would support more housing choices including homeownership through increases to the Washington State Housing Trust Fund and to increase housing resources within the Washington Housing Finance Commission. These would increase homeownership and provide assistance with first-time homeowners, rental assistance, and services and resources for renters. Economic wealth for our community is grounded in home ownership. I would increase housing assistance and incentives to owners for home improvement, rental housing improvements. Increases in housing development and preservation of communities that are threatened with gentrification with community development which is community led and community driven priorities and grounded in the racial and cultural values of community lives, families and structure through collective power.”

 

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“I believe that true equity cannot be achieved without the meaningful and direct inclusion and engagement of community. Communities that are most impacted by systemic barriers need to be in the decision making power of change for informed wisdom and insight to ensure society-wide transformation and change. Police accountability reforms have brought this into clear focus and each step we take towards righting the wrongs and healing the trauma and harm we make progress. This requires comprehensive and wide ranging review of systems, data, and policies to ensure meaningful action and correction is made to create a strong public safety network and adequate and appropriate and healthy response that meets the needs of community is provided.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“As our population ages, there is need for additional state resources, services, and policies that support our communities in most need of assisted living.  As a mother of an adult daughter with a disability I know first hand the importance of state assistance and support and the importance of having wrap around services to help the entire person.  The struggles of complex and often confusing systems that often create barriers, it is vital that we as parents, and I as a State Senator are fierce advocates and policy makers that make system changes, to respond to needs in a manner that works with community, care workers, facilities, and individuals.  Increase resources that meet the true needs and costs of taking care of our most vulnerable.”

Clifford Knopik

31ST LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“Much of the high cost-of-living is being created by government policies and programs. I will work with groups like the Urban League to identify the policies and programs causing problems, and support removing them. I will help decrease taxes on individuals, so they keep more money that they earn which will help increase their standard of living. I would encourage landlords and tenants to create contracts with each other that requires enough notice before moving. Taxes on businesses should be lowered and barriers of entry for people to start small businesses should be removed so people can have better access to jobs and create wealth for themselves and their employees. We need more creative entrepreneurs from communities to become successful so they can employ others.”

 

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“No human should be treated differently by law enforcement. Anywhere such discrimination is happening it should be rectified and stopped. If a law is causing this discrimination, it should be revoked. Funding police properly and requiring them to focus on violent crimes, property crimes and safety, rather than criminalizing actions that adults are doing that do not infringe on other people’s liberties will help reduce unnecessary conflict. Similar to how it is preferred to have members of the legislature live in and represent their communities, I think law enforcement should be made up of members of the community being policed so they will have a vested interest in helping the community to thrive. Community members should have more of a say in community law enforcement.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“I support removing laws that are making it difficult for charities and private businesses to create affordable, quality assisted living facilities that specialize in mental health and substance abuse care. I would support funding state run facilities if they could be funded without raising taxes. The current Pandemic Response in Washington State is exacerbating substance abuse and mental health. The State of Emergency and all mandates need to be ended. Per public requests to the WA Department of Health, the government appears to be using misleading COVID-19 data to justify the state of emergency, and to falsely create division and discrimination between people based on their medical decisions. You can view a detailed video analysis of this misuse of COVID-19 data on my website http://www.DrCliffordForSenate.com”

John Lovick

44th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“In the legislature I was proud to work to provide our most vulnerable residents with stronger protections against the tragedy of eviction. Additionally, we were able to use rescue funds to provide support for tenants in the form of rental assistance. These policies saved lives and kept thousands of Washington families in their homes. During the 2023 session I hope to further strengthen the stability of housing for renters.”

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“Community relations and accountability must be central to our policing efforts. In 2020, I served on the Policing Policy Leadership Team after George Floyd was murdered. We met with some of the leading scholars across the country. We ended up passing 13 bills to hold police officers accountable. After the bills were signed, I met with mayors and community leaders across the state. Almost all said police reform was necessary. The law enforcement community voiced concerns with the Involuntary Treatment Act, pursuits, less-lethal weapons, and probable cause. We made those adjustments during the 2022 legislative session. The law enforcement community wasn’t satisfied with our work on pursuits. I’ve noticed throughout this that regardless of circumstances or people involved, community safety is the number one concern.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“I believe that these kinds of supportive housing solutions are key to helping community members who deal with the problems of chronic homelessness. I worked with community leaders, both as Snohomish County Executive and Snohomish County Sheriff to build supportive housing programs in Snohomish County. In the senate, I will continue to support supportive housing policies like those we did in Snohomish County. We need to do not just one thing but everything we can to assist those living in our community dealing with homelessness and substance abuse.”

Tony Mitchum

34th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“Using state bonds, we could fund a payment plan to cover the costs to the landlords. We also need new living complexes designed for people to work and study from home. we need way to connect ourselves to each other, and more family time will help with that.”

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“With law enforcement specializations. When we ask to much of one person, those people break. We need to have a system where the team train for the situation is there to manage it. Traffic officers should only need to issue traffic citations and warnings, not try to make the bust of the year. We can also use drones as the first interaction with a person suspected of a crime. This would help to lessen fatalities.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“I would work to bring free education to people pursuing a career as a personal caretaker. We need as many people who care as we can get.”

Jamie Pedersen

43RD LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“The 2021-22 legislature made strong progress on preventing evictions.  The key bill helps tenants who have been adversely affected by the public health crisis pay their rent and also help landlords pay their bills so they don’t lose their investments. It creates a first-in-the-nation statewide right to counsel, ensuring that low-income tenants have access to a free court-appointed attorney to help them navigate the complex legal process.  A second bill requires landlords to provide a good cause for evicting a tenant. We know that evictions disproportionately affect families of color in our state, many of whom rely on rental housing to keep a roof over their heads. While one-third of white households rent, more than two-thirds of Black households and well over half of Latino households are renters. A third bill establishes a dedicated funding source for housing and eviction prevention services to strengthen Washington’s housing safety net.”

 

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“In the 2021 session, after the killings of George Floyd, Manny Ellis, and many others, the legislature passed more than a dozen new laws to help rebuild trust between police and the communities that they serve.  I worked closely with the Coalition for Police Accountability as the prime sponsor of the bill to revamp the Criminal Justice Training Commission and allow the state to decertify officers who abuse the public trust and should not have access to a badge and gun.   As those bills went into effect this past summer, we learned that we needed to clarify or correct some provisions in the bills regarding police use of force and police tactics. This session, the legislature passed a bill to ensure that police may use force to place someone in crisis into involuntary treatment, to place minors in protective custody, to execute a court order, or otherwise to exercise community caretaking functions. I helped to stop a bill that would have undone last year’s restrictions on vehicular pursuits.  I believe that those restrictions have saved lives and opposed undoing them.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“Easing the hurt and anguish caused by mental and behavioral health issues is one of my top priorities. We know that the pandemic has only increased the need for treatment, and we see the evidence of untreated behavioral health issues all around us in the homelessness crisis around the state. The legislature has made steady progress since the Democrats took control of the Senate in 2018 in trying to transform our state’s system of care.  In the 2022 legislative session, we invested nearly $100 million for behavioral health, including $72 million for crisis triage and stabilization facilities. Another $100 million will be used to address workforce shortages. Finally, an additional $10 million will help continue the work on a new UW Behavioral Health Teaching Facility.”

Javier Valdez

46th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“There are clear steps that we need to take, we must end the statewide ban on rent control and ensure that as we expand the housing stock we protect the communities that currently live in those communities through anti-displacement and low income housing provisions. Our regressive tax structure also puts far too much weight on our low income families, by making our tax system more fair we can increase support for the families that need it the most while reducing their tax burden.”

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“I opposed the rollbacks in police accountability that were pushed by reactionist law enforcement groups last legislative session. I will continue to advocate for policies that make our police forces more reflective of the communities that they police like I did last session when I worked with the State Patrol to end their racist hiring practices that led to an overwhelmingly white force. I am deeply committed to working with community groups to find new accountability tools that will ensure that the people in those communities feel safe and are able to be active members of the accountability processes.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“In my time in the House I advocated for expanding mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities including the new behavioral health wing at Northwest Hospital. I will continue to advocate for long term and assisted living facilities to help meet the dramatic shortage that we are currently facing. Last year I was a sponsor of HB 1865 which would have helped address the behavioral health workforce shortage and unfortunately died in the Senate, next session I will work to ensure that we pass it out of both chambers.”

Chris Vance

31ST LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“We need to strengthen laws that protect tenants from being treated unfairly, and we should use tax incentives to protect existing affordable rental housing.”

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“Accountability is the key. Communities need to know that police misconduct will not be tolerated.  The new state level investigation program is a huge step in the right direction.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“To meet this need we need to provide robust levels of funding, and deal with local opposition to siting. I will support both.”

Patricia Weber

32ND LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“Washington needs more housing built, managed by the state itself, not privatized housing programs that transfer public assets to private equity developers that become profit centers as they then build high-end housing. A fully funded Section 8 program could solve the problem with no family paying more than 33% of their income and the government picking up the rest of the rent. An unfunded housing program with a waiting list of several years is no program at all. The failure of the private housing market to meet the market demand for supply is demonstrated when we see homeless people on our streets. There needs to be more information regarding units and houses owned by corporations left vacant either for temporary vacation rentals or speculative ventures.”

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“Policies should be written that consider a police officers’ earlier military training in the use of deadly force and their proclivity to maintain that mindset. Personal views such as White Christian Nationalism grounded in racist ideology need to be uncovered. These individuals have no place on a police force funded by tax dollars. Police training would benefit, in my view, by a framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Regular review of incidents by a panel of both civilian and police members to teach and refine actions and attitudes.”

 

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“Mental health issues have reached a crisis in our communities. The COVID-19 epidemic coupled with economic anxiety has generated anger, distrust, and despair.  We need more residential beds to provide acute respite for mental health crisis situations. We need more psychiatrists and mental health specialists in our area. Only psychiatrists can prescribe and adjust medications. Mental health issues should not be hidden in the prisons just because they have bed space.  Specialized facilities with qualified doctors leading teams in treatment will return people to their communities much faster and save the taxpayers large sums of money. Those teams include direct care staff that need to have more support in training so they feel confident in their approach.”

Claire Wilson

30th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: Increases in the cost-of-living dramatically affect the ability of families to rent. What will you do to prevent more evictions and keep more families from losing their homes?

RESPONSE:

“I believe that housing is a human right. To make sure that all Washingtonians can afford to live comfortably without the fear of eviction, I will continue to pursue zoning reform and provide funding for the construction of low cost housing. I will also continue to fight for the rights of workers to earn family wages and access comprehensive benefits, which in turn will help people get and keep homes.”

QUESTION: How will you create a resilient policy in increase police accountability that still centers impacted Black and Brown voices?

RESPONSE:

“It is my firm belief that the best legislation comes from, centers, and uplifts the voices and experiences of those who are most impacted by the issues at hand. There is no issue where this is more true than in ensuring police accountability. In order to craft resilient policy to hold our law enforcement officials accountable, I will take a data driven approach in tackling the issues that we know exist, while also attempting to create buy-in and foster conversation with all parties involved, as the most steadfast policies are those that are mutually understood. Throughout this process, I will never lose sight of the realities that Black and Brown communities are experiencing.”

QUESTION: What would you do or what have you done as a Senator to expand assisted living facilities specializing mental health and substance abuse care in Washington?

RESPONSE:

“Especially in the wake of the pandemic, supporting our friends and neighbors who experience mental and behavioral health challenges and substance use disorder is of the utmost importance. Last session, I was proud to bring in over two million dollars in funding for behavioral health supports in youth shelters and out-of-school programs in the 30th LD. I also helped to bring about $11 dollars in grants to fund therapeutic interventions for drug related offenses in our courts. I plan to continue this critical work–putting our money where it matters– when I am reelected to the Senate.”

Washington State Representative

Emily Alvarado

34th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I’m committed to building resources, power, and self-determination for BIPOC community members. I support investing in affordable housing, cultural spaces and community anchors owned by Black and BIPOC-led organizations; expanding homeownership for Black households; stabilizing homeowners so they can pass assets to future generations; and implementing anti-displacement policies to ensure long-standing residents and small businesses can stay/return. This is the work I have supported for over a decade as an affordable housing leader in Seattle, working in partnership with communities of color to push for quality affordable housing for all. As a legislator, I’ll invest in strategies designed by Black communities, and support policies to generate generational wealth, including options like baby bonds, access to higher education, workforce development, and pathways to high wage jobs.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“I will be responsive to BIPOC communities and open to accountability if I get things wrong. The bills designed in 2021 at the state level came out of a collective call to action– we need meaningful police accountability. We should not water down legislative attempts to eradicate excessive force and racial targeting. I will support deep investments in BIPOC communities and criminal legal reforms that address the policies that lead to the overrepresentation of Black community members in our carceral system. In addition, I will fight hard to ensure that formerly incarcerated people have access to housing, education, and employment including through expanding conviction clearance and expungement. If elected, I will follow the lead of the Black caucus on how to make continued, meaningful progress.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“This is absolutely unacceptable. As we work to undo racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, we also need to protect people currently impacted. I support the Urban League’s efforts in this year’s Legislative session to end cruel and unsafe solitary confinement practices that further cause harm and trauma to people who are currently incarcerated. I support investment in mental health counselors, conflict resolution, and other efforts that connect people in crisis with the resources they need, and restorative justice programs, which reduce violence and incarceration. I support significant investment in our behavioral health system to ensure that people have the adequate, culturally responsive preventative and crisis services they deserve.”

Carey Anderson

30th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I fully support President Biden’s announcement during the centennial anniversary of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK to build black wealth and narrow the racial wealth gap.  The strategies consisted of expanding access to homeownership and small business ownership.  Through interagency efforts, inequity in home appraisals and housing discrimination matters can be  addressed with greater intensity.  Other initiatives include: Expanding federal contracting with small minority businesses. funding community-led revitalization  initiatives, creating neighborhood home tax credit programs that invest in rehabilitating homes for low and moderate homebuyers.  Lastly, increase access to capital for small businesses and provide mentoring networking and technical assistance for economically disadvantaged businesses seeking to access federal contracts and participate in federal research and development projects.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“Developing relationships are important building blocks to achieve success.  As a legislator, I will work hard in fostering honest relationships with colleagues in the chamber.  I will assess the number of votes that are needed and will begin working to build consensus on bills that address racial equity in the judicial system.  I will focus my policy pursuits on tasks that are special to me and will seek out colleagues who have similar bill sensitivities that I also share.  I will explain the value of a bill with colleagues with honest transparency to get the job done to pass bills having to do with racial equity in the judicial system.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“As a legislator, I would support funding to hire the amount of mental health workers and social workers needed to provide care and treatment for those incarcerated within the county jail system. I would also advocate for greater accessibility to healthcare for inmates while in jail and more drug and alcohol counselors.  For low level crimes committed, I would support issuing tickets rather than jail time for low level offenders. This measure would ease jail overcrowding and would deescalate the propensity of violent behavior within the county jail system.”

Nimco Bulale

37th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“As an immigrant and child of a single mother of nine, I know the importance of education, opportunity, and being supported by a strong, safe, and nurturing community. I am running to fight for equitable opportunity for communities of color, to combat displacement, and the racial wealth gap. I believe that access to affordable home ownership will help communities of color to create generational wealth and community longevity – and it is something that we as legislators have the capacity to address. By dramatically expanding affordable housing programs, we can improve the welfare of so many families in our community. I also support investments in accessible healthcare and transportation, and educational and job opportunities for all and will work to rebalance our regressive tax code.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“Racial inequity is baked into every step of our criminal justice system. From systemic police misconduct and over policing of communities of color to courtroom bias and inaccessibility. I will support policies which combat this systemic inequity including ending cash bail, holding police accountable for misconduct and dispatching social workers and other professionals where appropriate, and investing in rehabilitative programs that offer resources to steer people out of the criminal justice system instead of forcing them back in. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow legislators and other experts to create creative solutions to this horrific problem.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“These deaths are horrific and unacceptable. I will support policies that create humane and rehabilitative jail environments where people can access the resources, care, and safety they need to rejoin society resourced instead of retraumatized. Right now, this couldn’t be further from the case. I support investments in mental healthcare, education, joy, and dignity for people in jail and I look forward to collaborating with legislators to make these investments expeditiously.”

Jeanette Burrage

11th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“One factor in the high price of land in our cities is the urban growth boundaries required by the State.  When we expand those boundaries then the price of land in the cities will come down, assisting current communities in being able to maintain their people.

Targeting resources to distressed communities may be helpful, but would need to be designed to create sustained improvements.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“I will work with fellow legislators whether they are Democrats or Republicans.  I was a judge in King County from 1995-2001.  There was a study done by the Court Minority and Justice Commission then that showed almost no difference in sentencing of black offenders and white offenders.  That may have been partially because of the Sentencing Reform Act, which passed the legislature in 1981. I voted for it as a House member at that time, and served on the committee it went through.  That law requires judges to sentence within a range so offenders will get the same sentence no matter their color or ethnicity and no matter in which part of the state they are being sentenced. I am open to other workable solutions.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“My brother was in jail once and needed medications.  He did receive them, but after some difficulty.  That was a long time ago.  I do not know the process now, but I do know the importance of getting medical care in jail.  I will listen to ideas on how to improve conditions, but as a state legislator my options may be limited in solving a county problem.  Of course, government officials have access to other government officials more than most people, so I could work with others to figure out how to accomplish what needs to be done.”

Frank Chopp

43rd LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I am working on a specific proposal for state legislation, to create a major investment in down-payment assistance for first-time home buyers, primarily reserved for low-income Black families and individuals.  For many decades, they were systemically discriminated against by racist restrictive real estate covenants, where certain people were banned from owning or renting properties.  For now, I call it the Covenant Corrections Account, and I propose that we increase the state fee on the recording of real estate documents, to pay for it.  This will help address the racist legacy in the real estate industry, and advance racial and economic equity, as well as help counter-act displacement. I propose that this new program be implemented by non-profit organizations led by Black community leaders.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“As I have for several years as a State Representative, I will continue to work with fellow legislators and leaders in BIPOC communities, to develop and enact laws to promote racial equity in the judicial system.  We are building on the successful Initiative 940 that was approved by the legislature and then the voters across the state.  In the 2021 legislative session, we promoted and I voted for several laws mandating police reforms. And in the 2022 session, I voted against efforts to pull back and partially repeal those laws. Despite opposition, we must keep moving forward for racial justice.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“Mental illness and substance abuse disorders are a major focus of my work, which intersects with other issues like health care and housing.  For example, I enacted a new program, Apple Health and Homes, to help those who are chronically homeless, 70% of whom are homeless because of their mental illness or drug disorders.  Many cycle into the county jail and hospital emergency rooms.  Apple Health and Homes is based on a simple premise: if you are homeless because of your medical condition, then you will have a home as part of your medical treatment. Having supportive housing with treatment services will help keep people out of jail and save lives. At the same time, I will push the County Executive to improve jail conditions.”

Janis Meneatrice Clark

3oth LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“As the Founder of Safe Homes, a BIPOC-Led organization for 27 years, we support all strategies to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity. It is anticipated that Safe Homes Board of Directors will officially launch in the summer of 2022; “Winning At The Highest Level (WHL) On-line Financial Literacy Academy” with EPIC Trading International, LLC as the signature sponsor that will provide the “EPIC University” as the learning model in FOREX (Foreign Exchange) Financial Market, Cryptocurrencies, Binary Options, NADEX and other currencies pairs. Visit www.safehomesint.org for more information.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“Janis will bring 30 years of professional experience and leadership to Olympia to represent the will of the voters of the 30th LD.

 “Without gathering facts, we cannot blanketly make policy.  Without laws that increase public safety in our communities, crime rates will continue to increase.”  

Former Governor Gary Locke appointed me to the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission and I was confirmed by the State Senate, I understand fully the need for criminal legal reforms, especially within the black communities.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

As a Legislator, I will fight for the truth, look at the facts, determine the common-sense solution, and be results oriented.  

Nancy Connolly

46th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I support the Black Homeownership Initiative and would advocate for state funding to assist with mortgage rate guarantees as well as pre and post purchase counseling and support.  I support Governor Inslee’s recently released Pro-Equity, Anti-Racist Playbook and Plan. I support robust governmental support for public sector jobs as well as preferential hiring to offset centuries of discrimination.  I support postal banking which would decrease the dependence on predatory lenders by historically underserved communities among other benefits. I would also support the creation of a reparations fund which would be largely funded by the state and administered by a board composed of members also eligible for reparations.”

 

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“I will work with like minded legislators toward elimination of cash bail; ensuring that all arrestees are referred to Community Court and connected with services rather than being weighed down with a criminal record.  I will work to end the “war on drugs” replacing this with a regulation of drugs rather than a prohibition strategy. I believe in many cases, with adequate services including safe discharge and counseling that we can proceed with essential transformative changes like stopping re-imprisonment for technical parole violations.  We also need to ensure that parole hearings are predictable and that everyone eligible for parole has the opportunity to be heard before a judge and that there are transparent and consistent criteria for release from prison.”

 

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“Unacceptable.  As the parent of a transgender child, I am deeply alarmed to read the Seattle Times sharing the story of a trans woman who had endured violence and homelessness to die by suicide in a King County Jail cell.  I want to know what is happening inside this system – I want to see the review of deaths – and I want to understand how we have so failed the most vulnerable such that they die by suicide in our jails.  Understaffing stretched thin by COVID-19 appears critical in the failure to provide basic care, alongside increases in population.  With background and training in law and public health – I see a failure of accountability, transparency, and the very basic duty of care.”

Elizabeth Tyler Crone

36th LEGISLAtive District

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“Thriving communities with community land stewardship is top of mind.  I look to the roadmap that the Washington Build Back Black Alliance developed in 2020 with a focus on attainable home ownership; expanding density; and multi-year core funding from the State.  This also includes attention to and investment in black businesses and black communities.  I would look to learn from the partners and leaders behind this initiative – and the community stakeholders most impacted by gentrification and displacement – to more deeply understand the strategies and approaches to prioritize.  Seattle and Washington State have a housing crisis where we do not have the housing stock that we need creating a situation where housing insecurity and homelessness are becoming middle class realities.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“I plan to center affected communities and collaborate with the Black caucus to ensure that this work continues.  I believe that we need to learn from, listen to, and support the leadership of those who are directly impacted by our judicial system, and those who carry the burden of our racist systems and laws.  I applaud the leadership of the Washington State Supreme Court in leading to open a conversation around the harmful impact of racism in how our laws have been developed and how they are applied.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“Unacceptable.  As the parent of a transgender child, I am deeply alarmed to read the Seattle Times sharing the story of a trans woman who had endured violence and homelessness to die by suicide in a King County Jail cell.  I want to know what is happening inside this system – I want to see the review of deaths – and I want to understand how we have so failed the most vulnerable such that they die by suicide in our jails.  Understaffing stretched thin by COVID-19 appears critical in the failure to provide basic care, alongside increases in population.  With background and training in law and public health – I see a failure of accountability, transparency, and the very basic duty of care.”

John Dickinson

30th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“This is a very tough question that has no easy fix. I have watched, and experienced systemic private and State sponsored racism. I have filed Federal complaints against our Cannabis Board for their blatant racism when the closed fifty or more Medical Cannabis Access Points in the Rainier Valley that revitalized the brown fields of this area. Still to this day there are no Government franchised stores in this area. They destroyed the investment and livelihood of all these access points owned and for  people of color, and have forced their patients to travel miles away to get their medicine. My homepage explains and illustrates this and more State initiated and sponsored racism. http://johndickinson.info/”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“The crack versus powder cocaine sentencing discrepancy is just one very obvious among many that must be studied and corrected.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“Surveillance to prevent, and transparency to correct the cause of fatality. Taking the time during intake to place the inmate in appropriate housing group with friends, race, crime, etc. The main thing it to take the time during the intake process, the most traumatic moments of incarceration. “

Darya Farivar

46th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I support strategies such as the creation of equitable development zones, the establishment of non-solicitation and cease and desist zones, and the enactment of a Tenant/Community Opportunity to Purchase Act. These combat displacement of BIPOC communities and help to deter investors and developers from taking advantage of underserved communities. 

I’m also interested in measures that allow collective ownership of land. An example of this would be through investing in and creating opportunities for land acquisition and preservation. By making these investments, we can protect BIPOC communities from gentrification and displacement, prioritize prosperity over profit through the preservation of affordable housing, small businesses, and important cultural centers, and create spaces to build up community power.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“As Public Policy Director at Disability Rights Washington I’ve learned what it takes to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle. It comes down to meaningful communication and taking the time to hear each other out. I am guided by disability and racial justice principles which lead me down this path frequently. This is why my priority is addressing the intersection of homelessness, behavioral health crisis, and the criminal legal system. 

My colleagues across the aisle sometimes have different ideas on how to address this intersection. And while we don’t always agree, I can genuinely say that bills I’ve passed have become stronger because of conversations with the opposition. Sometimes, we’ve even been able to change their minds. Everyone wants to be heard.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“Working as the Trueblood class member liaison at Washington’s designated protection and advocacy system, I have seen the conditions that incarcerated people with serious psychiatric disabilities experience in King County jails. We need better conditions while prioritizing diversion from the criminal legal system all together. 

Reducing the amount of people going into jail is the best way to support those already incarcerated. This way, the little resources available can go to folks most in need. Mass incarceration of people with psychiatric disabilities does not work- the Trueblood lawsuit demonstrated this. The King County Executive wants to close the downtown jail by 2025, I fully support this. At the minimum, we need to support programs that provide independent oversight and advocate for those who are incarcerated.”

Leah Griffin

34th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“We must implement policies which redistribute resources and wealth to Black and Indigenous communities statewide. We need investments in access to startup capital- in areas such as housing- which prioritizes communities of color. We must combat the history of redlining that continues to impact our school funding. I support establishing workforce apprenticeship programs in historically underinvested communities and I support a wealth tax and Universal Basic Income policies which will redistribute resources to marginalized communities. If elected, one of my priorities will be ensuring abortion access for all Washingtonians- especially low-income Women of Color who face a disproportionate lack of access to abortion healthcare. I will create policies through intersectional lenses which recognize and work to combat the continued displacement of communities of color statewide.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“I will work to create a criminal justice system which combats the systemic racism within its institutions. We must fund mental and behavioral health specialists who can be called to situations that don’t require armed police officers. I will work to craft policies like the appointment of an independent prosecutor in cases of police use of deadly force, creation of standards for police contracts, and formation of a civil right of action by victims for excessive use of force. We must implement policies which address implicit racial biases within all criminal justice officials and strike down laws which maintain inherent racial impacts. Our public safety system must provide access to behavioral health services, job or job training programs, and access to social support systems.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“The best way to keep people safe is to decrease the likelihood that people go to jail. I would advocate for the elimination of pre-trial detention. People considered a danger to themselves or others should have the mental health services and the appropriate therapeutic setting to ensure recovery. Everyone who is admitted to jail must, prior to booking, be evaluated by a mental health provider. Should the individual be deemed at risk for mental health deterioration, they must be placed in a therapeutic environment designed to ensure safety and recovery.”

 

Barry Knowles

47th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I don’t displace anyone. Stop making generalizations. What you call underserved I called failed. They have failed because of community lack of education and not because they are underserved. The lack of education starts at home with the parents. People are getting wise to these racial division tactics.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“I will not. The justice system is not ever going to be “equitable.” If the 13 percent of black population commits 50 percent of the homicides then there will always be an in balance of color according to crime. This is a made up political cause to cause racial friction.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“I have not heard of this before. I would need to see the study and interview people to confirm we actually have a problem.”

Chad Magendanz

5th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“For the past few years I’ve been teaching computer science for a Title 1 high school in a majority-minority school district, and my focus has been in providing the opportunity and skills that underrepresented students need to pursue lucrative careers in the technology sector.

From a policy perspective, I was co-chair of the joint committee tasked with bringing equity back to our system of funding public education in Washington state.  We ended up more than doubling state funding for our schools over eight years and our remedy was validated by the State Supreme Court in 2018.  I was also prime sponsor for the House bill to remedy funding for charter schools, which disproportionally serve communities of color in our state.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“I will work across the aisle to find common ground and build consensus in another era where political control will likely be divided between the chambers.  During my two terms, I was the most popular Republican co-sponsor of Democrat bills, earning a reputation for building bridges and fighting for progressive causes in both conservative caucuses. I formed bipartisan coalitions passing landmark legislation on computer science education, innovative schools, electric vehicles, and cybercrime.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“Frankly, my focus has been in education policy and we’re struggling with similar challenges advocating for access to survival and mental health resources for our K-12 students.  I’m hardly an expert on criminal justice reform, but I did work successfully with the ACLU of WA on cybercrime reform.  I would take a similar approach here, with a focus on listening to stakeholder input and implementing proven policies that will truly move the needle.”

Jeff Manson

36th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I believe all policies should be viewed through an equity lens, and this includes investing in historically-underserved communities.  In particular, a “baby bond” program (such as HB 1861 or something similar) would help narrow the inequitable wealth gap.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“As a state administrative law judge, I see our legal system up close.  Although I adjudicate civil cases, the effects of our racially inequitable criminal justice system permeate society.  We must reform the system from bottom to top, from law enforcement, to prosecutors, to judges and juries.  Paying jurors a living wage for their time (instead of a token $10 per day) would result in more representative jury pools.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“We have a legal and moral obligation to protect the life and basic needs of those in our jails and prisons. Our criminal justice system is chronically underfunded and the legislature must be willing to provide the resources necessary for mental health services in jail and oversight of conditions.”

Elle Nguyen

41st LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“Local issues on land use planning belong at the local level; will support community based reviews at planning commissions.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“I would seek advice from local bar associations before assuming there is injustice.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“Medical care in incarceration settings are governed by medical professionals; thus, would seek their advice before assuming inappropriate conditions.”

Gerry Pollet

46th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I’ve been the leading legislator insisting that new “upzoning/middle housing” legislation include anti-displacement protections. I sponsored the amendment to fund community based organizations to participate in developing local anti-displacement programs. Communities of color and low income persons are repeatedly displaced by upzones and new infrastructure. As Local Government Committee Chair, I’ve insisted that new tax incentives for developments must not displace communities of color and must INCREASE affordable housing. 

As Local Government Committee Chair, I’m ensuring that changes to increase bid limits and procurement practices include enforceable commitments to minority contractors. I’ve  met with Black and Minority Contractors to develop such reforms. I’m a champion for restoring affirmative action (repeal I-200) and social equity licenses and support for Black owned cannabis businesses.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“As a teacher at the UW School of Public Health, the most important thing I share with students is that the “social determinants of health” start with racism and poverty. These are two sides of the same coin. To undo systemic racism, we have to end the prison pipeline and keep hard-won policing reform legislation. 

The proportion of Black mem with felony convictions has tripled since the War on Drugs began. Convictions are a tremendous obstacle to housing and jobs. To addressing systemic racism I am a strong supporter of decriminalizing mere drug possession, rather than keeping the  “Blake decision compromise” making drug possession a misdemeanor. Keeping drug possession as a crime is a pretext for racially motivated stops and searches leading to arrests.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“As a public health advocate, first and foremost I discuss that we should not incarcerate or jail people who have behavioral health problems. We need to build up our non-police behavioral health response teams statewide with State funding and dramatically increase State support for training crisis responders and behavioral health specialists. I share this perspective and expertise with fellow legislators, constituents, and the public. We need to meet our moral and constitutional duty to speedily provide mental health evaluations rather than having people in crisis sit in jail. This requires investing in far more residential treatment beds. The public health intervention is to ensure people do not go into crisis by rebuilding our community based behavioral health services.”

Lelach Rave

46th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“We must generate progressive revenue and ensure that every investment of tax dollars is done with an equity lens and community voices at the table. We must invest in children. High quality, affordable childcare allows low-resource families to fully engage in the workforce and generate generational wealth. Childcare also prepares children to enter school ready to learn. Currently, about half of all kindergarteners are not ready when they enter the school system. Investments in K-12 education and alternative pathways, such as apprenticeships, curb the dropout rate and school to prison pipeline. About 48% of the prison population has dyslexia. Kids failed by our schools are often “knocked up or locked up” (WA is $300 million behind in our federal obligation for special education).”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“Reforms are needed to create a system that has justice and rehabilitation at its core instead of punishment and retaliation. As a physician, I am trained in the sciences and driven by data. There are plenty of data supported alternatives to the current criminal model, including Restorative Justice and Individualized Justice programs, Victim-Offender Reconciliation and Peace Circle models. Our system must account for the generational transmission of trauma and legacy of racial disparities. In order to shape those reforms I will look to colleagues in the Black Members Caucus and the communities in my district most impacted by any policy and do whatever is in my capacity to support essential changes as a pediatrician, parent, and legislator.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“Again, if the goal of the system is justice and rehabilitation, instead of punishment and retaliation, it is obvious that, like every Washington resident, inmates deserve to be physically, psychologically, and emotionally safe. This is far from the case. In public office I will fight for mental health resources, safe and humane living conditions, and entrenched protections for inmates. I believe that investing in the health and safety of Washingtonians living in prison, we will be able to move away from a punitive system that traumatizes vulnerable members of our community towards a rehabilitative space.” 

Julia Reed

36th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I have committed my personal and professional life to building the more just, prosperous, and equitable world that every community deserves. We need massive investments in affordable housing, expansion of inclusionary zoning and protection and advancement of renters’ rights statewide. We need to help Black communities connect to pathways to home ownership, expand affordable commercial spaces for Black businesses in historically Black neighborhoods, and increase cooperative business models helping Black employees own the businesses where they work. We must build a workforce and economy that is truly equitable, starting at the root by fully funding education and workforce development programs that result in good paying jobs. I am committed to developing the skilled workforce our region needs, always with a focus on lifting underrepresented communities.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“This is a personal issue for me. I have a Black brother, a Black father, and a Black boyfriend and I know what it feels like to have them go out the door and worry about their safety. I know what it’s like to worry about my own safety as a Black woman. As a board member and advocacy chair for the YMCA Social Impact Center, I support community-based safety solutions like the Alive and Free program and have the experience of listening to the community about what they need to feel safe. Communities of color are telling us what they need, we just need the courage and conviction to act on it, even when it later may become politically unpopular to back the solution.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“While ultimately, I would like our society to move away from incarceration as our main tool to respond to crime, I will advocate in the strongest possible terms for transparency and accountability for conditions in jails today, including heavy restrictions on solitary confinement. I will prioritize funding for mental health care, services, counseling, and mental health responders who can support those already inside or at risk of entering the criminal justice system. I will advocate for reforms to legal fines and obligations and increased funding and services for job training and reentry support for incarcerated people and addressing the scarcity and poverty that is at the root of so much crime, like lack of access to jobs, education, housing, mental and physical healthcare, and food.”

Kristine Reeves

30th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“1. ECONOMIC WELL-BEING: Black Small Business Set-asides that actually infuse government spending into black businesses rather than creating additional hurdles and red-tape – this can include opt-out behavioral science practices that automatically add black-owned businesses to all government contracting notifications at the state, federal, and local levels once certified at one level; create Black business tax incentives (just like we would for Boeing or Microsoft) that incentivize people to spend money with black-owned businesses and provide tax relief for Black businesses.

2. FINANCIAL REPARATIONS: Can be facilitated in the form of government investments in Black-owned banks and financial institutions with added tax benefits through these institutions in the form of government backed loans and benefit packages for investors.

3. HOUSING EQUITY: address redlining & gentrification.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“While representation matters, majorities matter more when operating in institutions not built for us, by us, or with out inclusion in mind.  Understanding that until the state legislature is all Black and brown folks, building majority coalitions to pass necessary legal reforms is key to the path to successfully accomplishing the goal at hand.  I have a proven track record of building majority coalitions to create systemic reforms, my example being childcare access. Using the same strategies targeted at criminal legal reforms requires coalition building, power-base building, confronting our history, collecting compelling personal narratives and lived experiences that create alignment or external political pressure to accomplish the task.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“Access to survival, mental health, and humane conditions requires the continued work of addressing systemic racism, systemic devaluation of Black and brown bodies, & the historically racist policies that are baked into our criminal justice system that allow these conditions to exist in the first place.  Addressing these issues requires resources – investments in mental & behavioral health provider access, refining legal fines & obligations, addressing solitary confinement rules, & continuing to call out inequities in a legal system designed to destroy us as Black people. That’s the power I bring to this office, as an Afro-Latina woman, a mother, is knowing that I am operating in institutions not built for me, by me, or with my inclusion in mind, and reforming them anyway.”

Sharon Tomiko Santos

37th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I champion education, job training, and affirmative action as foundational strategies to secure economic opportunity for historically underserved communities of color.  My work focuses on eliminating the K12 school-to-prison pipeline as well as the educational opportunity gap.  I have led efforts to repeal I-200, expand public contracts for minority contractors, and fund job training programs such as the MLK-Gandhi Empowerment Initiative that upskill Black workers into high-paid high-tech industries.  I created the Central District Community Preservation and Development Authority and returned the former SOIC/SVI building – now McKinney Center for Community and Economic Development – to the rightful stewardship of the African American community.  I am also working to require the Growth Management Act to better protect the historical and cultural communities of color.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“Although I do not serve on the committees with direct policy oversight of the criminal justice system, I have been vocal in raising concerns in Caucus and on the floor of the House about the lack of racial justice in the development and implementation of these policies from the beginning of my tenure in the Legislature. As an example, when a bill to eliminate cannabis from the state’s Three Strikes provisions came to the floor, I was the legislator who publicly raised the question about giving those already imprisoned under Three Strikes the opportunity to benefit from the new policy retroactively.  I will continue to use my voice and common sense to ensure that necessary reforms are fair and equitable in both development and outcomes.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“I have and will continue to advocate for humane conditions and critical services for persons residing in prisons and other correctional facilities throughout Washington state.  Some of the strategies I have previously employed include inspecting facilities and visiting with residents to identify their health and service needs and to hold administrators accountable for maintaining humane treatment of residents; meeting with elected and administrative policymakers to lobby for specific services and for operational or policy changes; securing funding from the state or local government to enhance or expand critical services; and, working with community-based organizations and families to ensure adequate access to residents for programmatic participation (such as education or community re-entry) as well as for public transparency and accountability.” 

Chipalo Street

37th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“We need to stop the displacement of Black homeowners by funding programs which address the underlying reasons people sell their homes. For example, giving low-income households, and seniors on fixed income, a break on taxes or providing them low interest rate loans to access equity in their homes. Displacement of renters can be reduced by funding temporary rental assistance so that short term hardships do not result in a person losing their home.

Closing the digital divide is important. Folks with high paying tech jobs are causing displacement, yet we aren’t training our youth to take part in this industry which is changing our region. I’m dedicated to digital equity, which is why I volunteer taught computer science at a school in south Seattle.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“As a victim of police brutality, I know firsthand that sometimes those in the justice system see criminal activity in behaviors that are rooted in issues including racism, poverty, health and mental health issues, lack of education, substance abuse and other forms of the human condition. I support police accountability, rehabilitation and system reform, not inhumane punishment.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“The reported deaths in King County jails are a tragic result of healthcare and jail systems that fail to address serious health problems among the jail population. These situations can start inside and out of the jail setting, result from trauma of incarceration, is sometimes self-inflicted, or the cause of illegal actions. I will advocate for bills and initiatives that provide safety and humane conditions from initial contact, through booking, and while being held in the jail. This will require a commitment to create and enhance humane rehabilitation for our communities through training for first responders and jail resources, funding for mental health and healthcare, enhancements to jail safety and conditions, and appropriate oversight and reporting of jail fatalities, injuries, and complaints.”

Jamila Taylor

30th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“Social and racial justice are two of my core values. As the Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus (LBC), I am deeply committed to investing in the wealth and longevity of Black communities in our state and closing the disparities caused by systemic oppression of Black and people of color. I am fighting to address these systemic issues which impact housing, health, employment, education, and opportunity for Black people in our state. Recent LBC wins include expanded access to: renter protections and rental/utility assistance; scholarship & apprenticeship opportunities; the working families tax credit; school lunch without co-pays; DEI training for school staff; affordable childcare options; and more inclusive economic recovery options for BIPOC-owned small businesses; the establishment of the $200 million Community Reinvestment Fund.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“Prior to my election to the legislature, I was a statewide advocacy council for Northwest Justice Project where I assisted with the development of practices that confront racism and racial bias in the criminal justice system through the lens of inter-connected civil matters, such as victims’ rights, family law, and civil protection orders. I brought that expertise to the legislature where I am working to build a racially equitable judicial system. I was proud to support the historic police reform legislation of 2021, and I will continue to support legislation that addresses the systemic violence against and incarceration of people of color. I believe we must end the war on drugs and stop sending overwhelming proportions of BIPOC communities to prison for non-violent offenses.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“The best way to keep people safe is to decrease the likelihood that people go to jail. I would advocate for the elimination of pre-trial detention. People considered a danger to themselves or others should have the mental health services and the appropriate therapeutic setting to ensure recovery. Everyone who is admitted to jail must, prior to booking, be evaluated by a mental health provider. Should the individual be deemed at risk for mental health deterioration, they must be placed in a therapeutic environment designed to ensure safety and recovery.”

 

Melissa Taylor

37th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“I support the following strategies:

– Invest in inclusive zoning and increased density, allowing for more affordable housing stock

– Incentives for well-designed, livable, and affordable neighborhoods that reduce the need for commuting

– Invest and incentivize investment in BIPOC-owned small businesses

– Pass HB 2009 to establish an Evergreen Basic Income Trust

– Generate progressive revenue via both a capital gains tax and a wealth tax, as proposed by HB 1406 

– Invest those taxes in child care infrastructure; sustaining the Fair Starts for Kids cap of the cost of child care at 7% of a family’s income; passing laws to ensure there are more child care options and facilities available in every community; and incentivizing employers to offer on-site child care.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“Many legislators worked to pass police reform measures such as HB1054, SB5066, and HB 1267, during the 2021 session. I will listen to, learn from, and work with those fellow legislators who are criminal justice reform champions, as well as community leaders who have been working on these issues for many years. I will work with them to craft legislation that addresses/supports:

– Recidivism by ensuring that formerly incarcerated persons have access to housing, healthcare, and employment,

– Diversion and restorative justice programs,

– Sentencing reform measures,

– How youth are treated in the criminal justice system,

– Public health approaches rather than criminal legal system approaches to behavioral health needs,

– Emergency responses and interventions that don’t include armed police officers, like Health One.”

 

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“The number of deaths in King County jails is tragic. To address this crisis, I will: 

– Work with local government and reform advocates to understand what is needed

– Look into whether the required fatality reviews within 120 days of unexpected deaths in jail custody are happening 

– Address the lack of staffing through legislative funding and oversight

– Assess/learn about impacts from repurposing $16 million in jail operations funding and put that revenue toward community-based health and housing programs that promote upstream safety and health

– Continue ongoing work to treat racism as a public health crisis and to decrease the population of the jail.”

My-Linh Thai

41st LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

QUESTION: What strategies do you support to ensure that investments into Black communities and other underserved communities of color generate generational wealth and community longevity as opposed to displacement?

RESPONSE:

“As a refugee, I experienced firsthand what it is like staying in the survival mode for rather…a long time. To get to a thriving mentality, it takes much effort to do it alone. As a community, we can change the narrative and move us toward a future where we are all thrived. That means an equitable system in all aspects got to be our goal. An equitable educational system is only achievable when people are housed, healthcare are covered, food security, living wage jobs; and most importantly…a society, a community where one can see themselves belong.”

QUESTION: How do you plan to work with your fellow legislators to pass the necessary criminal legal reforms to achieve a racially equitable judicial system?

RESPONSE:

“Speak up and share my personal experience. Make space for impacted communities.”

QUESTION: There have been numerous reported-on deaths in King County Jails. How will you utilize your political office to advocate for access to survival and mental health resources and humane conditions?

RESPONSE:

“I would prefer working toward a more just judicial system. In the meantime, because of the upside-down tax structure in our state, we are limited to much needed programs that provide services to many who need them, especially the mental and behavioral health and well-being. I hope your organization will continue working with us on restructuring our state tax.”

Secretary of State Candidates

Julie Anderson

STATEWIDE

QUESTION: In 2022, the Secretary of State has been responsible for distributing $2.5 million in one-time grant funding for the express purpose of increasing voter turnout in jails. How will you take this opportunity to establish lasting direct voter services to those serving jail time?

RESPONSE:

“As Secretary, I will:

• Form a work group comprised of people formerly incarcerated, community re-entry specialists, jail command and community corrections staff, homeless coalitions, and county auditors to:

a. Identify barriers to voting while detained.
b. Design an array of possible interventions appropriate for different facilities and inmate needs.
c. Create an evaluation program to help determine which tactics are effective.

• Meet with Sheriffs – via WASPC and WACO – to persuade these elected officials to embrace the jail voting project, facilitate jail access, and cooperate with election officials.

• If the legislature reauthorizes these funds, I will lobby to expand the proviso’s scope to include:

a. Municipal jails.
b. Tribal jails.
c. Alternative sentencing programs.
d. Juvenile detention.”

QUESTION: Are you open to working with the community to research, tailor, and implement alternative electoral systems in Washington State elections?

RESPONSE:

“Yes. I enjoy working with the community to make changes in response to new information, voter needs, and changing technology. 

Most Americans say that they are dissatisfied with the way that our democracy is working and 85% say our political system needs significant reform. New electoral systems will undoubtedly be part of the solution. 

I know from experience that good decisions are made with public participation. But technical knowledge is important, too. I’m the only candidate for Secretary of State with professional experience in election administration. My years of practical experience will help ensure the success of any new program. That’s why I’m strongly supported by election professionals across the state.”

QUESTION: The Secretary of State is an important voice in the policy process of voting rights legislation. What expansions of Washington State Voting rights will you prioritize if elected?

RESPONSE:

“I supported the passage of Washington’s 2018 Voting Rights Act, as well as its proposed expansion in 2022. I am fully committed to the prevention of intentional and unintentional discriminatory practices.

I will work with communities of interest, election officials, and the University of Washington to methodically identify vulnerable populations and design effective protections. I look forward to evaluating with you the updated Census counts, geospatial mapping, and election data.  

While that evaluation is underway, my top initiatives to make Washington’s elections more equitable include:

  • Commonsense expansion of language assistance.
  • Options for voters who are unable to vote by mail independently and privately. 
  • Expanded in-person assistance on Election Day.
  • Alternatives to signatures for voter verification. The Secretary of State is an important voice in the policy process of voting rights legislation. What expansions of Washington State Voting rights will you prioritize if elected?”

Steve Hobbs

STATEWIDE

QUESTION: In 2022, the Secretary of State has been responsible for distributing $2.5 million in one-time grant funding for the express purpose of increasing voter turnout in jails. How will you take this opportunity to establish lasting direct voter services to those serving jail time?

RESPONSE:

The right to vote is an integral part of our democracy, and my office will fight to make sure every eligible voter has access to this right. During this past legislative session, my office recommended changes to this proviso. These changes would have provided even more flexibility to reach voters in municipal, as well as county, jails and to reach out to felons who are getting their voting rights restored and youth aging out of the juvenile justice system. I was disappointed those changes were not included, but my office will continue working closely with county leaders that accepted these grants to see what works best. It is critical that everyone who is eligible to vote is provided the opportunity to do so.”

QUESTION: Are you open to working with the community to research, tailor, and implement alternative electoral systems in Washington State elections?

RESPONSE:

“As your chief elections officer, I recognize our state has a duty to ensure equitable access to the ballot box for all Washingtonians. A report published by Washington Auditor Pat McCarthy identified mixed results based on a statistical analysis of mail-in ballots cast in the 2020 General Election. While the overall ballot-rejection rate was extremely low, certain voter groups were likely to have significantly higher rates of rejection. Auditor McCarthy found no evidence of bias, but correctly stated that “disparities in rejection rates for different racial and ethnic groups are unacceptable.” I could not agree more, which is why my office has formally requested a study to test and implement the State Auditor’s recommendations and support viable solutions to expand voter outreach and participation.”

QUESTION: The Secretary of State is an important voice in the policy process of voting rights legislation. What expansions of Washington State Voting rights will you prioritize if elected?

RESPONSE:

“Working as the Trueblood class member liaison at Washington’s designated protection and advocacy system, I have seen the conditions that incarcerated people with serious psychiatric disabilities experience in King County jails. We need better conditions while prioritizing diversion from the criminal legal system all together. 

Reducing the amount of people going into jail is the best way to support those already incarcerated. This way, the little resources available can go to folks most in need. Mass incarceration of people with psychiatric disabilities does not work- the Trueblood lawsuit demonstrated this. The King County Executive wants to close the downtown jail by 2025, I fully support this. At the minimum, we need to support programs that provide independent oversight and advocate for those who are incarcerated.

State Supreme Court Justice Candidate

Mary Yu

Statewide

QUESTION: What changes will you make as a court justice to fight against racially disproportionate outcomes within the criminal legal system? How will you hold the court accountable?

RESPONSE:

“I have a record of addressing racial disproportionality in our cases and in our administrative work.  As co-chair of the Minority and Justice Commission we have sponsored initiatives that have resulted in change in legal financial obligations, pre-trial procedures, juvenile justice, and jury diversity. In June of 2020, our Court issued a letter to the broader legal community calling upon those who work in our branch, to take on the work necessary to eradicate racism in our lifetime.  I am proud to have authored the letter which was signed by all nine Justices. The letter has been a source of inspiration for judges and court staff to become engaged in helping our system of justice become a more fair and bias free entity.”

 

QUESTION: What path do you envision the court can take to guarantee women’s rights and healthcare access? How committed to this vision are you willing to be?

RESPONSE:

“As a judge, I cannot commit to any single issue or promise the guarantee of a particular outcome on any case.  I am committed to protecting individual liberties under our state constitution.”

QUESTION: What is your analysis for when to review a case de novo, or from the beginning, often challenging or changing historic precedent.

RESPONSE:

“There are different standards of review for different cases and reviewing a case de novo is not a standard that an individual justice can determine.  But a de novo review standard requires a fresh look at the case. In regard to changing precedent, we are obligated to follow precedent, unless we make a finding that a prior holding is both incorrect and harmful. Our court has reversed precedent when counsel makes such a showing.  By way of example we recently made such a finding in State v. Blake where we held that the crime of drug possession required the State to prove the state of mind (intent) and found the existing law unconstitutional.”

Court of Appeals Judge Candidate

Ian Birk

WA - DIV. I, poS.2

QUESTION: What reforms do you support to increase access to justice for all? How will you fight for them?

RESPONSE:

“This answer must be limited by the limitations of the Code of Judicial Conduct on taking positions on matters that could come before the court. However, I believe a major priority is addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system. The most comprehensive discussion I have seen on possible measures is set forth the report of the Sentencing Project to the United Nations on disparities in criminal justice. Reform in this area likely cannot be accomplished by either the judicial or legislative branch alone, but rather requires the branches to work in tandem. I believe judges can, subject to and within constitutional requirements, be resources to legislators on how our system works and how to think about it.”

QUESTION: Please summarize your judicial philosophy on the role of the courts in language that the community can easily understand.

RESPONSE:

“I sought to be a judge to help our courts meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and increasingly complex society. In my law practice of 20 years representing consumers and people who had been injured, we turned to the courts where the normal safeguards had failed to protect our clients from significant, life-altering consequences. The courts play a critical role in making sure that society is just for all, not merely in theory but in actuality. I aspire to be a judge before whom all are welcome and who will show respect to, and have compassion and empathy for, the people affected in the real world by the courts’ work.”

QUESTION: To what extent has your judicial training or lived experience prepared you to confront bias in the judicial process and facilitate culturally competent due process?

RESPONSE:

“In my career as a lawyer, I represented people from across the entire spectrum of society. I frequently encountered bias affecting my clients in the legal system, including that women and persons of color often experienced greater difficulty in having their claims accepted and settled and we had heightened concerns about having truly representative juries. Within the legal profession, I have worked to open opportunities to women and lawyers of color. When I chaired the AAJ Insurance Section, I recruited the first two women who went on to serve as chair of that section. Likewise, I worked to recruit a new, diverse generation of trial lawyers as I believe the bar must reflect the society it needs to serve.”

 

Superior Court Judge Candidate

Haydee Vargas

KING COUNTY

QUESTION: What would you do to reduce the amount of fines and fees one must pay as they navigate the court process?

RESPONSE:

“A person’s ability to pay needs to be considered on an individual basis.  Inability to pay should never be a reason a person cannot access the courts.  There should be a simple online form a person can sign attesting to their income and submit it via ex parte for consideration.  I would making this process more accessible and visible to the public, but also, I would consider people’s current outstanding debts on legal financial obligations and set hearings for consideration of their reduction/elimination, if the parties are not in agreement.”

QUESTION: What criteria would you use for deciding whether to impose or lessen sentences outside of standard ranges?

RESPONSE:

“Mitigation evidence is crucial to making this decision.  I would need to have a more complete picture of the person I am sentencing before deciding. People come to the Courts with varied levels of untreated trauma.  If a person being sentenced shows insight about their traumas and shows an interest in receiving services to help them address the issues that have brought them before a judge on a criminal sentence, then that would factor heavily towards a lessened sentence. The type of crime they are being sentenced on is an important factor as well.  Violent crime needs a different approach, but with careful supervision, a lessened sentence could be warranted – it depends on their ability to recognize the harm they caused.”

QUESTION: What role do you envision the bench will play in creating an effective system for zero youth detention?

RESPONSE:

“Kids need to see that the adults believe in them and haven’t given up on them.  Kids need more supervision and community based treatment providers play an important role in holding them accountable while also seeing their humanity and treating them as whole human beings. The approach to youth who are alleged to commit crimes should be more inclusive of voices of people involved with the youth. It should be a team approach, involving the parents, treatment providers, pretrial release services, community partners, school advocates if they are involved, lawyers for the defense and prosecution, and the judge.  I would work to effectuate that approach and would ensure that kids who have not committed a violent crime are released with services in place.”

County Prosecutor Candidate

Leesa Manion

KING COUNTY

QUESTION: What policies would you put in place to ensure fair and unbiased use of prosecutorial discretion for Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members?

RESPONSE:

“I am committed to building a fair and transparent criminal legal system that dismantles racial inequity and other forms of oppression, respects human dignity, protects constitutional rights, and maintains community trust by:

Requiring mandatory implicit bias training for all employees and using checklists and other equity screening tools to ensure neutrality and fairness in our decision-making;

Requiring mandatory cultural competency training to increase racial understanding;

Publishing case filing and disposition criteria/standards, maintaining conservative filing practices, and offering fair and appropriate case dispositions;

Identifying nonviolent crimes that are more effectively addressed with diversion to community-based resources and services that better address root causes of crime and offer opportunities to lift individuals out of crisis and poor decision-making.”

QUESTION: How will you fight for the success and expansion of King County’s Zero Youth Detention Pilot Program?

RESPONSE:

“Diversion works. Research and data show that connecting youth to structure and opportunities, such as employment, job mentorship and training, educational supports, and behavioral interventions is an effective and data-driven upstream crime prevention strategy.    

Community and prosecutors can work together to  improve youth well-being and reduce violence by diverting non-violent cases out of the criminal legal system and more effectively address youth violence by strengthening pro-social norms and protective factors in youth while also decreasing risk factors.  

For young people who commit very serious violent crimes, including murder and sexual assault, we can isolate these individuals in a secure and therapeutic environment to protect public safety and offer immediate and continued services by qualified therapeutic professionals.  As Prosecuting Attorney, I would advocate for these reforms.”

QUESTION: As King County Prosecutor, how will you handle a fatal use of force incident involving local police?

RESPONSE:

“Police are tasked with the important job of protecting our communities, but historically have failed to ensure that communities of color are safe and feel safe. There is no question that police shootings disproportionately impact persons and communities of color.

 
I am committed to a thorough and impartial review process for police violence. That is why, as Chief of Staff of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, I successfully fought for resources to create a new Public Integrity Unit to review police shooting and use of force cases after I-940. As Prosecuting Attorney, I will protect public safety by holding police accountable for misconduct and for inflicting unauthorized violence on our communities in accordance with I-940.”

District Court Judge Candidates

Joe Campagna

Shoreline - Pos. 1

QUESTION: How will you deal with injustice when you confront it in your courtroom?

RESPONSE:

“District Court judges have a great deal of discretion in most cases. I apply that discretion to do reach a fair result, to treat every person in my courtroom with respect and dignity, to apply the law fairly, and to reach an outcome that takes into consideration a person’s circumstances. As judges, we must apply the law as it is written, taking constitutional limits into consideration. But we can do so in a way that promotes fairness and justice.”

QUESTION: What areas of reform will you lend your bench expertise and support to?

RESPONSE:

“I have been and will continue to be a leader in bringing innovative solutions to the criminal justice system. I helped bring the community court model to the court in Shoreline and am working to expand it to other jurisdictions. This model helps break the cycle of substance abuse, homelessness and jail by providing defendants with services and supportive accountability. I am also working to reorient our probation services in this direction — to ensure accountability while also giving people the tools to change their lives for the better.”

QUESTION: Do you believe that all citizens have adequate access to legal help and the legal system? If not, what can be done to provide broader and better access?

RESPONSE:

“Our legal system is very complicated. Those without resources are often at a loss about how to deal with a legal matter. We clearly need more resources help people file protection orders, to respond to a civil suit, or to otherwise represent themselves in court. Frequently, a creditor or landlord will have skilled counsel, while a defendant in a collection or eviction matter will be unrepresented and unfamiliar with the legal system. Our system presumes that a just result is reached through adversaries presenting their cases to a neutral judge. With unequally matched adversaries, the system does not work very well. Our state has taken some bold steps in addressing these problems. I support continued expansion of access to counsel in these type of cases.”

Kuljinder Dhillon

West Division - POS. 2

QUESTION: How will you deal with injustice when you confront it in your courtroom?

RESPONSE:

“It is the judge’s responsibility to set the tone of respect in the courtroom. In my courtroom, I strive always to treat people who appear before me with respect and dignity. It is my responsibility as a steward of justice to confront injustice and bias immediately — either through talking to individuals or making written findings of the bias whether it is implicit or explicit.”

QUESTION: What areas of reform will you lend your bench expertise and support to?

RESPONSE:

“I believe strongly in addressing structural racism in our courts processes and rules, so the court can be truly open for everyone. I look forward to working with the other judges to address our court’s processes.
I currently serve as the judge in the King County Regional Domestic Violence Court. It is my hope that through working with various stakeholders and the community the court can provide treatment services to those who are unable to afford needed treatment.”

QUESTION: Do you believe that all citizens have adequate access to legal help and the legal system? If not, what can be done to provide broader and better access?

RESPONSE:

“Unfortunately, the statistics show that low-income citizens have inadequate access to legal help and the legal system. Our civil legal aid system and criminal justice system is grossly underfunded. The Washington State Civil Legal Needs Study found that nearly 50 percent of low-income households are not aware that the problems they are facing have a legal component; and they do not seek legal help. We must continue to provide legal education about an individual’s legal rights and responsibilities. We also need to bridge the technology divide in low-income and rural communities so the door to justice remains open.”

Michael Finke

NE DIVISION - POS. 6

QUESTION: How will you deal with injustice when you confront it in your courtroom?

RESPONSE:

“Injustice can be obvious or subtle.   The law provides many tools to counter obvious injustice.  Subtle injustice is more difficult.  Many unrepresented litigants face injustice because they are unfamiliar with the court system, or speak only limited or no English, or come from different cultures.  They might feel intimidated by the system.  Judges must be patient, explain the process in plain terms, arrange for an interpreter when appropriate, and ensure that the hearing is fair to both sides.  Judges must also be mindful of how such litigants feel so that they can provide both sides full and fair justice.  Finally, simple things such as pronouncing a name correctly or being sensitive to people’s preferred pronouns can place people at ease when they access the courts.”

QUESTION: What areas of reform will you lend your bench expertise and support to?

RESPONSE:

“I have been recommending changing language in forensic mental health laws from “incompetency” and “mental defect” to “inability to proceed” and “mental illness”  The current language is demeaning to people who have mental illness and to their families. I would like to see a complete overhaul of the forensic mental health statute similar to the recent overhaul of the protection order laws.  It should be more consistent and treatment timelines should be based on clinical outcomes, not budgetary ones.  I would also like to increase access to justice by simple things like pronouncing names correctly.  That often makes people who are unfamiliar with the court system, or speak limited or no English, or come from different cultures, comfortable enough to participate more actively.”

QUESTION: Do you believe that all citizens have adequate access to legal help and the legal system? If not, what can be done to provide broader and better access?

RESPONSE:

“No. I would like to focus on issues less grand in scope but that nevertheless contribute to the problem.  Unrepresented litigants, who are unfamiliar with the court system, or who speak little or no English, or who are from different cultures may have difficulty navigating the system.  They would benefit from extra time on their cases and a judge who takes that into account.  Some judges, court staff, and attorneys are already sensitive to this; others might benefit from training.  Indigent criminal defendants have a constitutional right to a public defender.  Indigent civil litigants could use more help obtaining counsel.  That would require more public interest attorneys, but most public interest firms are non-profits, dependent upon donations. Dedicated public funding could help reduce the problem.”

Michelle Gehlsen

NE DIVISION - POS. 2

QUESTION: How will you deal with injustice when you confront it in your courtroom?

RESPONSE:

“To be able to confront injustice, one must be aware it is occurring. To be aware it is occurring, I must understand historically how injustice took root, how it continues and understand that different cultures perceive justice differently. I deal with injustice in my courtroom by acknowledgement and
analyze how to make changes so it does not occur again, discuss it with my colleagues so it will not happen in their courtroom and change my practice. For example, I recently changed my practice in addressing pronouns in the courtroom.”

QUESTION: What areas of reform will you lend your bench expertise and support to?

RESPONSE:

“I will continue to lend my bench expertise and support to creating, enhancing, and fine-tuning therapeutic courts. I have been the Redmond Community Court Judge for the last three years and as the District Municipal Court Judges’ Association President, we were able to obtain funding from the legislature for the first time for district and municipal therapeutic courts. I

have worked this year on the racial justice consortium, helping to create an action plan which gives specific and concrete steps to eradicate racism in our courts. I will continue to volunteer in the community at our middle schools and high schools on civic education, YMCA mock trial and youth court.”

QUESTION: Do you believe that all citizens have adequate access to legal help and the legal system? If not, what can be done to provide broader and better access?

RESPONSE:

“No, I do not believe citizens have adequate access to legal help and the legal system. The cost of legal representation is not viable to many people. We need increased funding for legal aid services, an automatic right to counsel in some civil actions instead of only criminal and education in our high schools on legal rights, services and procedures.”

Karama Hawkins

SHORELINE - POS. 2

QUESTION: How will you deal with injustice when you confront it in your courtroom?

RESPONSE:

“Implicit bias, racism and sexism are real and persistent problems within the courts. While recently there has been some acknowledgment of these issues, and some improvements had been made, it is imperative that we do more. Every instance where bias in the court occurs serves to weaken faith in our justice system. It is crucial to understand that donning a black robe does nothing to address internal, implicit bias. As a judge, I will work to implement and expand equity and anti-bias training for all members of the bench. If I see bias in my courtroom I will address it by calling it out, naming it, and making it clear that in our court, bias is not allowed.” 

QUESTION: What areas of reform will you lend your bench expertise and support to?

RESPONSE:

“Because I believe in equity, restorative justice, social justice and accountability, as King County District Court Judge, I will work to expand access to justice for all litigants and participants in our Court. I will work to further implement processes and programs that facilitate access to the courts and the tools and resources to help those in the system be successful within the court process. I will work to open up and expand restorative justice programs that ensure accountability. In order to reach the goals of access, rehabilitation and accountability I will work to empower those who are in the system to take control of their lives while requiring and ensuring that everyone has a voice that is listened to and heard.” 

QUESTION: Do you believe that all citizens have adequate access to legal help and the legal system? If not, what can be done to provide broader and better access?

RESPONSE:

“We can always do better. COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the need to ensure that more people have access to the courts and help, but we can do more. I would like to see collaborative work done with local public libraries as a point of court access to attend hearings by Zoom or telephonically because not everyone has access to reliable transportation, internet, or telephone service. Expansion of therapeutic courts to address to provide tools for success whether attached to a case or not would help disadvantaged members of the community gain stability and opportunity. Encouraging community participation and involvement in the Court to obtain an understanding of its purpose and what it does to contribute in a positive way to the community.”

Lisa Paglisotti

WEST DIVISION - POS. 1

QUESTION: How will you deal with injustice when you confront it in your courtroom?

RESPONSE:

“Judges are in a unique position to address injustices that come before us.  When confronted with what I perceive to be an injustice, I apply the law to correct that injustice.  I have had the opportunity to confront a party in a case who I believed to be treating two similarly situated individuals differently based upon racial differences.  I identified the injustice, questioned the party, and resolved the issue in a manner that I believe corrected the injustice.  I will continue to do so.”

QUESTION: What areas of reform will you lend your bench expertise and support to?

RESPONSE:

“I have had the honor and privilege to preside over a variety of therapeutic courts (Community Court, Veterans Court, and Mental Health Court) While I do not proclaim to be an expert in the area of therapeutic courts, I believe that my hands on experience combined with my 37 plus years of experience in the criminal justice field has given me a unique perspective.  I will continue to work with stakeholders in exploring innovative ways to address the needs of those who appear before us while addressing community safety needs.”

QUESTION: Do you believe that all citizens have adequate access to legal help and the legal system? If not, what can be done to provide broader and better access?

RESPONSE:

“Access to justice for all members of our community is a priority for our courts.  There is a need for the continued development of court forms, instructions, and signage for those individuals whose primary language is not English and for family members whose primary language is not English and who appear in court to observe court proceedings of their loved ones. There is not currently a statutory mechanism to provide interpreter services for these individuals. There is also a need for continued development of civil legal aid for indigent individuals to assist them in navigating a complicated process. Another issue that sustains institutional racism is the inability of an individual who does not have a command of the English language to serve on jury duty.”

Kevin Peck

NE DISTRICT - Pos. 4

QUESTION: How will you deal with injustice when you confront it in your courtroom?

RESPONSE:

“As a judge I make certain each person who appears in my courtroom is afforded full due process to prevent injustice from occurring. I work to root out and rectify any injustice which may include violations of our constitution and laws. 

As a judge I value transparency, integrity and fairness. I worked to ensure that all persons receive equal protection under the law while also valuing the court systems role in preserving public safety. I strive to protect the independence of our court system so that each person receives a day in court on a fair and equitable basis.

I am honored to be able to pursue and provide justice to persons in King County on a daily basis.”

QUESTION: What areas of reform will you lend your bench expertise and support to?

RESPONSE:

“I use my bench expertise to continue to make it easier for persons to appear in court. The pandemic brought to us many persons appearing remotely in court by zoom. These zoom appearances help eliminate persons missing work, school, childcare or senior care duties to attend court. The remote appearances also save unnecessary travel related expenses.

As a court we are continuing to learn how to make court appearances easier and less time consuming for persons to appear and participate. We also continue to adapt to changing conditions by allowing parties to appear through attorneys with the party’s not having to appear themselves.

As a “People’s Court” we are continually striving to make court as accessible, respectful and transparent to the parties as possible.”

QUESTION: Do you believe that all citizens have adequate access to legal help and the legal system? If not, what can be done to provide broader and better access?

RESPONSE:

“Most citizens do not have adequate access to legal help in our system. It is our duty as judges to continue to make the courts more accessible.

More access to justice includes operating our courts as accessible, understandable and efficient as possible. Court accessibility includes providing methods for customers to file paperwork and participate in hearings remotely. Court forms must be easily understood and available in numerous languages. Efficient hearings result in less lost work or school time and potentially lower legal costs.

We must continue to work with bar associations and legal foundations to provide low or no cost representation to individuals so any person who wishes representation can be represented. Equal access to justice requires all participants have equal access to legal help.”

Joshua Schaer

NE DIVISION - POS. 6

QUESTION: How will you deal with injustice when you confront it in your courtroom?

RESPONSE:

“I will confront injustice by further educating myself about the issues perpetuating a justice gap.  For example, being mindful of the fact that young Black men are stopped and searched, arrested, and incarcerated at levels much higher than their representation in the general population highlights the discriminatory consequences of inequitable decision making.”

QUESTION: What areas of reform will you lend your bench expertise and support to?

RESPONSE:

“First, I will encourage legislators to continue budgetary support for court programs that benefit disadvantaged individuals.  Additionally, I will advocate for greater funding toward legal aid and mediation services that can assist litigants in civil cases.

Second, reform must also occur in the area of fines, fees, and costs.  In the past, judges have often imposed mandatory financial obligations that have little connection to the administration of justice and only serve to unduly cause harm by leading to the loss of a job or housing.

Third, changes to court operations can benefit all participants.  This includes having interpreter-only calendars, fewer cases per docket to allow more time for people to be heard, and seeking out cutting-edge technological improvements to make hearing attendance easier for everyone.”

QUESTION: Do you believe that all citizens have adequate access to legal help and the legal system? If not, what can be done to provide broader and better access?

RESPONSE:

“Access to justice is hindered by the nature of the legal system itself, which affords wealthy, privileged individuals an advantage in representation and a favorable bias in rulings and/or penalties. I have seen low-income BIPOC clients face barriers such as disproportionate and excessive criminal charges, unreceptive prosecutors and judges, and failures to provide necessary language translation services.  

I am committed to: 1) working harder to move cases forward and connect individuals with necessary services, 2) contributing judicial salary to support organizations that promote improved access to justice, and 3) engaging with groups and schools to foster transparency and faith in the local judiciary.

On the bench, I will acknowledge the efforts that individuals make, rather than be like judges who routinely emphasize punishment over recognition.”

Municipal Court Judge Candidates

Faye Chess

MUNICIPAL COURT - SEATTLE

QUESTION: Describe your philosophy of public involvement and community service. How do you anticipate your service experience would translate to your service as judge?

RESPONSE:

“Judges should be culturally competent.   Culturally competent has been defined as individual or organization “having various levels of awareness, knowledge and skill of the others’ ability, age, beliefs, ethnicity, experience, gender, gender identity, linguistic background, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status” of others.  When judges are culturally competent, they can discern more accurately the programs and/or processes the court is able to institute that will ensure meaningful access to the judicial system with competent legal representation, properly trained interpreters, placement of reasonable accommodations, and disseminate information on the availability of community resources such as housing, clothing, and healthcare especially for those facing economic hardships. Community service and public involvement is  instrumental in obtaining cultural competency.”

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the cost burden of fees on low level violations such as traffic or red-light tickets?

RESPONSE:

“Studies have shown the imposition of legal financial obligations (“LFOs”) which include but not limited to traffic tickets fines and fees disproportionality impacts people of color and people who are indigent. I am a member of the Minority and Justice Commission (MJC) and Governor appointed member on the Office of Civil Legal Aids Oversight Committee.  Both organizations are focused on changing policies and practices in Washington State that have caused LFOs to criminalize poverty, especially for those of color.”

QUESTION: How will you utilize your discretion in sentencing individuals particularly affected by poverty, mental illness, or basic needs insecurity?

RESPONSE:

“I bring my experience as a former public defender, attorney for a public housing authority and two urban school districts, and as a HR professional for nonprofit health care organizations to the bench. Suffering from physical and/or mental health conditions and lacking access to adequate health care, there are individuals who engage in anti-social behavior which eventually places them in the criminal justice system.  Studies have shown punishment alone may not be effective at reducing the recidivism rate or lowering the level of crime.  Court programs that address these social issues permits the justice system be more accessible to the public.  There is a definitive benefit of linking individuals to services and holding them accountable not only for them but the community and court system.”

Adam Eisenberg

MUNICIPAL COURT - SEATTLE

QUESTION: Describe your philosophy of public involvement and community service. How do you anticipate your service experience would translate to your service as judge?

RESPONSE:

“Judges need to be involved in volunteer work and other public service activities so they can stay in touch with the greater community in which they live. Community/volunteer organizations I have engaged with include Leadership Tomorrow (1998 grad), QLaw—the LGBTQIA+ Bar Association of Washington, and the District and Municipal Court Judges Association.  Between 2017 and 2020, I also participated in two state-wide domestic violence-focused work groups convened by the Legislature and the state Supreme Court’s Gender & Justice Commission. Off the bench, I teach art & cultural property law at the University of Washington, practice the martial art of aikido, and I wrote the nonfiction book, “A Different Shade of Blue: How Women Changed the Face of Police Work.””

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the cost burden of fees on low level violations such as traffic or red-light tickets?

RESPONSE:

“Legal financial obligations (LFOs) imposed by courts often have devastating impacts for folks who cannot afford them. These include fees for traffic tickets. In Seattle Municipal Court, we reduce or waive these fees if the person is indigent. We also allow them to be converted to community service hours.  As one of the sitting judges, I supported our bench’s decision in 2020 to suspend all non-mandatory fines and fees in criminal cases, and to permanently suspend probations fees in all cases.  In addition, in my October 2021 Op-Ed for The Seattle Times, “Help Heal Families: Fund Domestic Violence Intervention Programs,” I urged our state legislature to pay the costs for court-ordered domestic violence treatment. Currently, the burden falls on the offender and their families.”

QUESTIONHow will you utilize your discretion in sentencing individuals particularly affected by poverty, mental illness, or basic needs insecurity?

RESPONSE:

“I treat each person who comes before me for sentencing as an individual, and I always consider their personal life circumstances and other issues that may have contributed to them being charged in court.  Poverty, mental health and substance abuse issues account for a many of the crimes we see in Seattle. That’s why I’m a strong advocate for our Mental Health Court, Veteran’s Court and Community Court for the folks for whom these alternatives are appropriate. They are therapeutic courts designed to connect people with the services and interventions they need so they can successfully complete their court obligations as quickly as possible and stop cycling through our system.”

Nyjat Rose-Akins

MUNICIPAL COURT - SEATTLE

QUESTION: Describe your philosophy of public involvement and community service. How do you anticipate your service experience would translate to your service as judge?

RESPONSE:

“Involvement in public and community life takes many forms, from participating in organized volunteer work, to helping neighbors with projects, to offering to serve in a citywide leadership position. Acting in servitude of the community is a chance to more fully appreciate the varying experiences and challenges of community members. 

I am fortunate to have had a wide breadth of service experiences, but the experience that forms a framework for my judicial philosophy was gained by participating as an assistant city attorney in community meetings throughout Seattle. This role required hard listening and even harder problem solving. Through this direct engagement, I learned the invaluable skill of how to identify, appreciate, and consider the collection of concerns and experiences that motivate behavior.”

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the cost burden of fees on low level violations such as traffic or red-light tickets?

RESPONSE:

“Working to ensure each person can safely make use of public land, including city streets, is a critical component of municipal responsibility. However, financial penalties intended to deter traffic safety violations too often have consequences that outweigh good intentions.  When feasible, non-monetary consequences should be considered, as well as individualized payment arrangements, sliding scale payments, or community service options. Government entities, including the courts, should move away from over reliance on funds from traffic fines and a more financially neutral penalty should be identified.”

QUESTION: How will you utilize your discretion in sentencing individuals particularly affected by poverty, mental illness, or basic needs insecurity?

RESPONSE:

“I am drawn to serving as a municipal judge, where judicial discretion is not tied to often ineffective and arbitrary sentencing standards.  There is no precise sentencing formula that is guaranteed to meet the goals of the criminal legal system. 

When behavior is driven by factors outside of a person’s immediate control, that must be considered when anticipating the effectiveness of a particular sentence or its conditions. It should never be assumed that poverty, mental illness, or basic needs insecurity inevitably leads to criminal behavior, but through an individualized approach to judicial decision making, I will compassionately give due consideration to a person’s circumstances when determining an appropriate sentence.”

Damon Shadid

MUNICIPAL COURT - SEATTLE

QUESTION: Describe your philosophy of public involvement and community service. How do you anticipate your service experience would translate to your service as judge?

RESPONSE:

“Public involvement has been an integral part of life since before becoming a lawyer. I have always felt it is my duty to give back to the community that gave me so many opportunities growing up. This philosophy extends to the bench in my role as a judge. I have created a new Community Court that allows low level defendants to give back to their community through community service and rehabilitation instead of a jail based prosecution, I have expanded the Mental Health Court to better work with community partners to connect defendants with mental health services, and I have created a “consolidated calendar” that allows defendants to appear with their community case workers once per week in court.”

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the cost burden of fees on low level violations such as traffic or red-light tickets?

RESPONSE:

“Any monetary fine is going to have a disproportionate impact on poor people and BIPOC people. The government therefore needs to be keenly aware of economic and racial impacts when creating policies around monetary fees. The fees should be applied to people on a “sliding scale” based on income, as well as having options for people to perform community service work. The government could also expand the availability of deferred findings to allow people to show through good behavior that they are not a danger to the public.”

QUESTION: How will you utilize your discretion in sentencing individuals particularly affected by poverty, mental illness, or basic needs insecurity?

RESPONSE:

“For four years I have presided over the majority of the therapeutic courts at Seattle Municipal Court. My therapeutic courts center around discretion when these types of people become court involved. The goal of the misdemeanor court should be rehabilitation and connection to services first, with punishment only being used as a last resort when no other interventions are successful in protecting the community. We have built structures in Community Court, Mental Health Court, and the “consolidated calendar” to ensure that each individual who comes through that court is connected with social services in the community to help them stabilize and exit the criminal legal system for good.”