The Stranger Endorses Mia Su-Ling Gregerson for Legislative District No. 33

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Nothing scares Republicans more than a big, stuffed ballot box. Lolli Morlock

We’ll take a moment to fantasize about the end of the Trump regime in a moment, but first we need to let you in on a little secret.

Donald Trump will not win Washington state.

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But you know who might? Our very own version of Betsy DeVos, who wants to privatize our public schools and keep kids in the dark about their health. A Secretary of State who refused to condemn Trump’s attacks on our democracy. A bunch of churchy homophobes who want to trick you into voting the wrong way on a bill designed to reduce sexual assaults and LGBTQ bashing. A racist criminal justice system full of psychopaths who resist all reform. Two fucking mediocre white guys challenging the first Black woman and the first Native American ever to serve on the Washington State Supreme Court. And of course, some Republicans (and Democrats!) who live to block progressive policy and impose austerity measures that will put our state on the path to another long, slow, miserable economic recovery.

We could go on, and we will! But the point here is that Trump’s party hopes you rush to fill out that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris bubble, grow bored or discouraged halfway down the ballot, and then ship it off to King County Elections without voting in all the races. That’s their great hope. This is how they win.

We know this November ballot is long, complicated, and kinda confusing. And we know you want to send Trump to a quarantine facility, and then through a car wash (just in case), and then back to Mar-a-Lago as quickly as possible. But we need you to fill out the whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooole ballot. (That’s 35 Os for approximately 35 races on the ballot, depending on where you live.)

To make your life easier, we’ve noticed a theme to the Stranger Election Control Board’s endorsements this year: We’re saying yes.

We’re saying yes to all seven amendments to the King County Charter. We’re approving Referendum 90. We’re approving the proposed constitutional amendment. We’re maintaining every one of those stupid, inane, time-wasting Advisory Votes. We’re saying yes to transit, and yes to improving Harborview in the middle of a pandemic and a statewide mental health crisis. We’re disobeying the explicit instructions of our therapists and saying yes to everything. We’re a posi-vibes publication now, and that’s how we’re rolling from here on out! (JK, it just sort of worked out that way.)

And to make things even easier on you, we’ve whipped up a CHEAT SHEET with all the right answers on it. Check that out if you don’t want to savor all the fruits of our labor, which involved sitting through two months of Zoom calls with slippery politicians and “stakeholders” who couldn’t find it in their poll-tested little hearts this year to try and bribe us with cookies and weed and weed lube and that extra-strength bedtime CBD cream we love to huff.

So dust off your Yes records, screen a copy of Peyton Reed’s 2008 smash-hit rom-com Yes Man, grab your ballot out of your mailbox (it was mailed out on Oct 14), find a black pen, keep this tab open, and start filling out your WHOLE ballot.

Just think of each little bubble we tell you to fill out as a big old FUCK YOU to the cretins who separate children at the border, who steal from the poor and give to Steve Mnuchin’s friends while they watch the planet melt, who want to keep a boot on the neck of Black people and people of color, who back a dissembling, mendacious, pussy-grabbing, xenophobic, white supremacist super-spreader hell-bent on ensuring you never get to vote for another President again.

Once you’re finished sticking it to our wannabe dictator and his sycophantic goons by filling out the ENTIRE ballot, either slip it in a mailbox before November 3, or, better yet, drop it off in a drop box near you.

That last point is worth stressing. We know you’re practically harassing your mail carrier for your ballot so you can vote right away. Voting early is great, especially when you rely on the SECB’s legally binding endorsements. But if you vote last-minute for some reason, use King County’s ballot drop boxes to make sure your vote counts. We’ve been doing this for years, and We’ve Got This, Seattle. 🌟

The Stranger Election Control Board is Matt Baume, Chase Burns, Nathalie Graham, Jasmyne Keimig, Charles Mudede, Rich Smith, and a mid-level Antifa bureaucrat who requested anonymity for fear of doxxing himself. The Stranger does not endorse in uncontested races or in races we forgot.

If you find our endorsements helpful—or even if you don’t, motherfucker—please consider becoming a monthly contributor. We couldn’t do this shit without your support.


Approved

Twenty-nine states (plus Washington D.C.!) require schools to teach comprehensive sexual health education statewide. Until this year, Washington state wasn’t one of them.

That was a problem. As The Stranger reported last year, one-third of Washington’s girls said someone sexually assaulted them by the time they graduated high school, and one-sixth of boys said the same thing. Before the pandemic tied everybody to a laptop, we saw Sexually Transmitted Infection rates skyrocket among teens. Nationwide, large majorities of LGBTQ kids faced vicious bullying.

Scores of studies show that inclusive sex ed brings down these numbers, but, according to survey data from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), 40% of school districts in Washington don’t teach sex ed at all.

To fix these problems, last session the State Legislature passed a bill that would mandate medically accurate, age-appropriate, LGBTQ-inclusive sexual health education statewide. Though the law allows parents to opt their kids out of this instruction if they don’t want Johnny to learn that he should ask permission before hugging people, state Republicans predictably flipped shit. They’ve since dumped a bunch of money into this Referendum 90 campaign, which asks voters to approve or reject the law their democratically elected leaders already passed.

Opponents of Washington’s gay marriage law used the same strategy in 2012, hoping to confuse voters with a tricky referendum. We didn’t fall for it then, and we’re not falling for it now. But because there IS a lot of misinformation about this measure out there (thanks Mark Zuckerberg!!! you fucking fuck!!!) let’s run through the arguments.

The “family values” dorks who want you to reject this referendum argue that sex ed classes will somehow distract schools from teaching other subjects such as Math, English, and Science. Newsflash: sex ed is science! And the law only requires districts to provide sexual health education a grand total of six times between kindergarten and 12th grade. We’re not talking about a new course here.

The biggest lie these people tell is that the bill requires schools to teach sex positions to 4th graders. Newsflash: It doesn’t! The K-3 class can only involve “socio-emotional learning,” which teaches kids stuff like asking permission before hugging and identifying healthy adults in their lives. Grades 4-12 start learning age-appropriate content about the body’s developmental processes, establishing healthy relationships, affirmative consent, bystander training, and the existence of gay and trans people. That’s it!

The only thing this bill does is make our schools and our communities safer and healthier for everybody. Vote approve.


Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5323

Maintained

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, and we’ll keep saying it until the Legislature gets its act together and passes a bill to remove these idiotic, manipulative push polls from the ballot: advisory votes don’t matter. They’re a fucking CURSE from sticker enthusiast and arch conservative Tim Eyman, who decided to troll the people of Washington every year with these nonbinding measures that appear on the ballot every time our representatives do something that might affect revenues. No matter how you vote on this, nothing will change. But if you vote “repealed,” then Republicans will have one more meaningless data point they can use when they tell their annual lie about Washingtonians not wanting their government to tax the fucking rich to pay for fucking services that everybody fucking uses. ANYWAY. To the non-matter at hand, Engrossed Substitute Bill 5323 regulated single-use plastic bags that decapitate precious turtles and pile up in landfills forever. This law also imposed a $0.08 cent sales tax on big, reusable plastic bags while exempting people on welfare and food stamps. It was a good bill! Vote maintained.


Substitute Senate Bill 5628

Maintained

Again, this is nothing. You know Immanuel Kant’s thesis on the four “nothings?” We don’t have to get into it, but suffice it to say that these advisory votes don’t even fit into the four kinds of nothing that exist in Kant’s universe. Advisory votes actually create nothingness, rather than being a nothingness that makes things possible, such as, for instance, the boundaries of experience that allow for a specific experience to occur. Vote maintained.


Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6492

Maintained

There is more substance in the space between a molecule’s nucleus and its electron cloud than there is in this advisory vote, which asks you to weigh in on your legislature’s decision to pass a bill that taxes multibillion-dollar companies to pay the state for training its workforce in institutions of higher education. Those multibillion-dollar companies blessed this bill, as it was the least they could fucking do. Vote maintained.


Engrossed Senate Bill 6690

Maintained

Last one! The last of the nothings. Remember in The Neverending Story, when that wolf emerges from the darkness and claims to be The Nothing, even though he’s clearly a wolf? These advisory votes are exactly like that wolf. A Nothing that’s really a wolf sent to destroy Fantastica. Anyhow, Boeing basically demanded the Legislature pass Engrossed Senate Bill 6690 to avoid tariffs the World Trade Organization threatened to impose because the tax breaks we give that company are so good the rest of the world thinks they’re literally legally unfair. Vote maintained.


Approved

A tsunami is coming. The silver tsunami. Old people, gray-haired, hard candies in their pockets, are about to crash down on the system in droves. Of the adults over 65 doggy-paddling around in this tsunami, approximately 70% will need long-term care, and 90% of them aren’t insured for it.

And just what the fuck are we going to do about it? Well, last year the Legislature passed a 0.58% payroll tax starting in January 2022. Those taxes will go into the Long Term Care Trust fund to pay for long-term benefits for eligible Washingtonians. The Legislature amended the state constitution to allow the government to invest the money in the same way they invest pension and ABLE funds. The idea is: more money, more long term care. Voters must approve these sorts of amendments, and so here we are talking to you.

This amendment has a rare thing in Washington politics: bipartisan support. The only opposition, written by Democratic Sen. Bob Hasegawa, argues that this is a “fiscally irresponsible use of tax dollars.” Buddy, it would be fiscally irresponsible to not provide long-term care for our elderly, who are increasingly likely to end up homeless without proper care. Vote approved.


Yes

This change to the King County Charter, a document that operates like the county’s constitution, codifies a couple policies the County Executive and the Council added to the inquest process a few years ago. (In case you’re unfamiliar with the process, an “inquest” is a quasi-judicial hearing that merely establishes the facts in cases where cops kill people.)

The first part of the amendment requires the Executive to launch an inquest if someone dies in the state’s hands. We already require inquests when a cop kills someone, but FoR sOmE rEaSoN we grant the Executive discretion when someone dies in jail, or on the way to jail, or whenever police have someone in custody.

As of two years ago, the county also didn’t guarantee a lawyer for the family of the person who the cop killed, which is manifestly unfair. Law enforcement agencies always lawyer up for inquests, and a lot of times the families of the dead don’t have the money to hire attorneys. As a result, “At least 22 families have sat through inquest hearings since 2012 without having an attorney present,” according to The Stranger. The second part of this amendment would require the county to provide an attorney for families and clear up whether such a policy lay within the scope of the county’s Department of Public Defense.

Even the bipartisan King County Charter Review Commission, which meets once every decade to recommend charter amendments, agrees that we should launch inquests for in-custody deaths and give the family of the dead a lawyer. That body, which included everyone from Joe Fain to Nikkita Oliver, supported this amendment so much they labeled it an “early action item,” and determined that “learning from each death, and using information to make positive changes to the system, outweighed any concern about cost or about having too many inquests.” Cementing these changes in the charter will prevent some freaky future conservative government from swooping in and repealing these good adjustments to an already unfair and pretty toothless police accountability system. Vote yes.


Disposition of Real Property for Affordable Housing

Yes

In the long and hard struggle to obtain affordable housing for the wage-earning classes, the best thing going during this election period is King County Charter Amendment 2. What it does is basically this: it de-commodifies property owned by the county. As a consequence, the county can sell some of its land to nonprofit developers at a value that’s considerably lower than the prevailing market rate. When land is de-commodified in this way, we can actually get some affordable housing built. Vote yes.


References to Citizens

Yes

While King County has passed policies specifically prohibiting discrimination based on immigration status—besides, erm, voting rights and the ability to run for office—the language in the King County Charter doesn’t necessarily reflect those policy changes.

Throughout the charter, the term “citizen” is generally used to mean “person who lives in King County.” Citizenship is not and should not be a requirement to access government services and institutions of county government. As such, it’s about freakin’ time for the county to update the way it officially refers to the people who live here.

This amendment changes references to “citizenship” in the charter to either “public” or “resident.” So phrases like “citizen participation” would change to “public participation.” The amendment also changes the “Office of Citizen Complaints” to the “Office of Public Complaints,” which would prompt a change to the county code if approved by voters.

This amendment would not, however, change the charter’s reference to “citizenship” when it defines who can run for office. So passing this amendment will not grant noncitizens the right to hold public office in Washington. Indeed, another fight for another election.

At a time when the Trump administration has consistently assailed citizenship for immigrants, these seemingly small changes to the charter preserve the rights of all of our neighbors and friends to access services they have a right to. This one is a no-brainer. Vote yes.


Office of Law Enforcement Oversight – Subpoena Authority

Yes

The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) is the civilian committee that investigates the King County Sheriff’s Office when its cops or employees fuck up. This amendment would codify in the charter subpoena powers the county code already grants OLEO, but that the King County Police Officer’s Guild wrestled away during bargaining.

So even after you vote “yes” on this amendment, which you should, OLEO still won’t have much in the way of teeth. They’ll still be able to request documents from the Sheriff’s Office, but they won’t be able to acquire them legally. They’ll still be able to request an interview with an officer, but they won’t be able to force that officer to show up.

It’s ridiculous. But you should vote “yes” anyway to send a strong message to the county. As Creative Justice co-director and attorney Nikkita Oliver told the SECB, “This is a constitutional right of residents who are subjected to policing. This is a common sense addition to allow the office of oversight to do their job.” Vote Yes.


Making the King County Sheriff an Appointed Position

Yes

There’s no getting around it: switching the Sheriff from an elected position back to an appointed position strips voters of their direct power over the office—to the extent that they have it, anyway.

The fact is, Sheriffs run once every four years in off-year elections, which tend to have much lower turnouts than even-year elections, so lots of people aren’t even voting for Sheriff in the first place. It’s also a down-ballot race, so even fewer people are likely to vote.

And when we do vote on a Sheriff, it’s not like we’re getting to pick between a progressive reformer and an obvious psychopath, if we even get to choose at all. Here’s the recent electoral history, briefly: Republican Dave Reichert was appointed in 1997 and ran unopposed until he appointed conservative Sue Rahr, who ran unopposed until she appointed Republican Steve Strachan, who lost a race to John Urquhart, who was touted as a reformer but who was ousted after “allegations of bias, retaliation, and rape,” which he denied. And now we have Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht, who let police reforms “die on the vine,” according to a report from the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight.

Electing a Sheriff also grants the Department of Public Safety more autonomy, which is nice if you’re the Department of Public Safety, but not nice if you’re interested in checks and balances. The Sheriff, for instance, doesn’t have to come before the King County Council to explain what the hell is going on over there if she doesn’t want to. Sheriff Johanknecht ghosts the Council and its committees “enough that it’s noticeable,” Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles told the SECB.

“Summer Taylor was killed in early July. We had a deputy that mocked that,” King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski added. “I wrote to the Sheriff that weekend and said we wanted an investigation. There’s still been no announcement, there’s still been no discipline. It’s the middle of October. It’s time and time again with that stuff, because they can.” A few days after the SECB’s interview with Dembowski, King County Undersheriff Patti Cole-Tindall recommended firing the deputy in question, but how it took the Sheriff’s Office three months to finish this investigation and issue a memo is beyond us.

Returning power to a democratically elected King County Executive and County Council to appoint and approve a Sheriff might help fix these accountability issues. Appointing the Sheriff would allow the county to perform a nationwide search, which would expand the pool of applicants to include Sheriffs who have had the least harmful impacts on marginalized communities and who have instituted the strongest accountability measures.

And if an appointed Sheriff fucks up big-time, we wouldn’t have to wait four years or endure a tedious recall process to get them out of there. The Exec could just fire them. And if the Exec doesn’t fire the bad Sheriff, then we can fire the Exec.

If you ask the “Save Our Sheriff” campaign, who just threw in $150,000 to defeat this amendment and Charter Amendment 6, they’ll say that a government-appointed Sheriff makes the role political, and that the Council doesn’t have the bandwidth to manage the Sheriff. Dembowski and Kohl-Welles laughed when we told them this. The Exec and the Council appointed the Sheriff before voters changed the law back in 1996, and they’re more than capable of overseeing the Sheriff again. Also, what the fuck? A position someone has to campaign for in order to get elected is literally already political.

Of course, standing in the way of any reform is the Sheriff’s union, which can treat accountability measures as bargaining chips in contracts. Until we fix that, we won’t really get true reforms. Until then, let’s at least increase the size of the applicant pool for the job. Vote yes.


Structure and Duties of the Department of Public Safety

Yes

As you may have gleaned from the title, this amendment would allow the King County Executive and the Council to change the structure and duties of the Department of Public Safety. We’re not talking about tasking the Council and the Exec with micromanaging day-to-day operations at the Sheriff’s Office here. We’re talking about granting them the power to change broad policy.

Right now, for example, even if they wanted to, the county couldn’t dispatch social workers and paramedics instead of armed police officers to mental health crisis calls. But if we pass this amendment, which we should, then they could.

Cops argue we shouldn’t put the Council and the Exec in charge of setting broad public safety policy because they’re too busy overseeing the policy of… literally every other part of the criminal legal system, plus housing and parks, etc. Their tiny little pea brains couldn’t possibly focus on something as important as public safety on top of all that other stuff.

These powers, however, would be nothing new for the county electeds. After the birth of the current county government system in 1968, the council changed around the duties of the Department of Public Safety a bunch of times. The Sheriff’s Office, for instance, used to run our disaster preparedness response, but now the Department of Emergency Management does that.

But in 1996, when America was snorting pure, uncut, racist “tough on crime” laws, Republicans came along and stripped that power from the Council. King County voters went along with it, and now we’re watching the largest movement in U.S. history rise up against a recalcitrant and unaccountable “public safety” system run by cop guilds who refuse all reform. It’s time for a change.

Cops also argue this amendment amounts to a “thinly veiled” attempt to abolish the police. But the amendment specifically says the Sheriff’s Office “shall not be abolished,” so they can just shut the fuck up with that fear-mongering nonsense.

As King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay put it after passing the ordinance that put this amendment on the ballot, “We only get one shot every ten years to update the charter, and this amendment gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make significant, effective, innovative changes to our system of public safety. We jumped at that opportunity, and I think we’ll all be better off because of it. The alternative would be to wait another ten years, and that’s not an option.” Vote yes.


Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Family Caregiver, Military or Veteran Status

Yes

This amendment would prohibit the county from discriminating against family caregivers and veterans when hiring or contracting for county jobs. So if you spent a few years caring for a parent or child because you couldn’t afford a professional caregiver, the county can’t use that experience against you. Ditto for veterans who were honorably discharged, or discharged solely based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Given how hard COVID-19 has hit families across the county, there’s no doubt that more people will need to take time off to care for relatives. They shouldn’t fear discrimination when returning to work. Vote yes.


Harborview Medical Center Health and Safety Improvement Bonds

Approved

If approved, Prop 1 will fund a $1.74 billion expansion and modernization of Harborview Medical Center, the only Level 1 trauma center in the region, which includes Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana.

And the hospital could use some serious modernization. Right now, Harborview doesn’t have enough beds for everyone, and not near enough to avoid cross-contamination when certain deadly respiratory viruses break out. As it is, some patients wind up in hallways to avoid infectious diseases.

This bond measure—which replaces an expiring bond measure and costs the median homeowner $75 a year (or about $6 a month) in property taxes—funds a brand new tower, an expanded emergency room, 150 respite beds for people needing behavioral health treatment, an expanded behavioral health department, and seismic reinforcements, which will keep the place standing long enough to help your sorry ass after The Big One hits. Not only that, but the construction project will add 7,700 good jobs plus 2,300 apprentice or local-hire positions that will be critical for economic recovery in the post-COVID world.

We know all you overtaxed property owners out there are going to groan about “property tax fatigue,” but are you seriously going to vote against expanding a hospital in the middle of a pandemic AND in the middle of a mental health crisis? No. You’re not, because we’re telling you not to, and because everyone—even those freaky little Safe Seattle activists—agrees we need more mental health treatment space, more hospital beds, and better hospitals.

But the important thing to keep in mind is this: Prop 1 needs 60% of the vote to pass. King County Executive Dow Constantine came to the SECB absolutely panicked that this critical measure won’t pass with a high enough share of the votes. He’s convinced young people won’t fill out the whole ballot after voting for Trump to go fuck himself. We suggested he should do a shirtless Tik Tok dance and simp for your votes, but he said he was too busy for that. But now you’re imagining it, aren’t you? And so technically he’s kinda doing it, huh? Look, Harborview needs you, and you need Harborview. Vote approved.


President and Vice President of the United States

Drew Angerer / GETTY

Here we are again.

Now is the time for the center-left to predictably warn the far-left not to squander votes on far-left presidential candidates, and for the far-left to predictably equate the center-left with the right, and for the two sides to bark at each other ad nauseam until politics becomes people on the internet puking on each other forever. If the election goes the wrong way, the center-left will blame the far-left for the loss, and then everyone will loudly lick their wounds until the next election.

Except this time, there really might not be a next election. So now we must come together and agree on this point: Vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, because they’re the better enemies to have.

No, Joe Biden does not support the policies we need to save this country from the brink. He does not support universal health care, he does not support the Green New Deal, and he does the best he can to remain on the friendly side of law enforcement. He will also never check the power of banks, nor will he rein in the bloody expansion of the military-industrial complex. But you can work on Biden. You can’t work on Trump.

Trump’s presidency forces the left to spend too much time and energy putting out unnecessary fires. The Muslim ban is one such fire, and so is the White House’s open support of white supremacist organizations. Four more years of Trump will only lock the left in struggles that were long-settled for the most part, such as reproductive rights, rather than present and pressing ones, such as climate change and deep police reform. Voting for Biden is voting to move on to the battles we need to fight right now.

So, yes, Biden is bought. But he is also the better enemy. Also, if he doesn’t win and the Democrats don’t take the Senate, then the federal government won’t bail out broke states (including ours!), which will ruin any chance of advancing progressive legislation in Washington for the foreseeable future, which means our bright blue urban archipelago will sink into the boiling sea. Vote Biden.


United States Representative
Congressional District No. 7

Aside from wanting to avoid the total collapse of our Democratic Republic, voting for Seattle Rep. and Squad mom Pramila Jayapal makes it a little easier to vote for Joe Biden. She was elected the same year Trump was elected, and she’s since used the full force of her office to fight every single racist, xenophobic, immiserating policy that has spewed forth from that Covid-infested tar pit. When Trump imposed the Muslim ban, she rushed to SeaTac. When Trump started tearing children from the arms of their parents at the border, she interviewed asylum-seekers at the Federal Detention Center. When Trump installed a goon as Postmaster General to steal the election, she held a hearing to figure out what the hell was going on. You get the idea. But she’s not just fighting back, she’s also fighting to push progressive policy forward. She fought for a paycheck guarantee plan to truly support families during this pandemic, a deep reduction of student debt, a Green New Deal, and she wrote the damn House version of Medicare for All. Jayapal will also continue to push Biden left on the issues. As she told him earlier this year, “It was centrist politics that made Trump possible, and centrist politics will only bring him or someone like him back into power.” Vote Jayapal.


United States Representative
Congressional District No. 8

One thing to always keep in mind in matters concerning the political future of first-term Rep. Kim Schrier is that she is the only woman physician in Congress. This is significant because in past elections health care always took a backseat to the economy. And there was some justification for this: In the US, affordable health insurance, for the most part, has been tied to jobs. Because it is very difficult to have one without the other, the state of the other, the economy, is of central concern to voters. This is why the US still does not provide universal protection from the accidents of life, and also why Obamacare has never not been in peril.

But coronavirus made nonsense of the job/health care order by crashing the economy. In 2020, we saw for the first time the economy subordinated to a public health crisis. The effort to reassert the primacy of jobs is called “reopening the economy,” and it’s not working. Schrier understands that the choice between opening the economy and addressing COVID-19 has been a false one, which is why you must vote for her and dump her opponent, a Republican named Jesse Jensen, into the same dustbin of history that unscientific Trump is heading to.

Schrier, who feels she has a “proven track record” that shows her support for “health care, a public option, universal preschool, labor unions,” and who has helped pass six pieces of legislation in her two years in Congress, understands the next two years, the post-Covid years, will decide the fate of the US in the 21st century. Will we take science seriously or not? “The arching theme of 2020 is we have failed,” says Schrier, “We have 4% of the world’s population and 22% of the world’s death. We have failed.” If we continue to say no to science, to those who know science, we will continue to fail. Vote Schrier.


United States Representative
Congressional District No. 9

Ah yes, Rep. Adam Smith. The guy who likes to tell us how lucky we are to have a progressive like him as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee while simultaneously dismissing plans to make meaningful cuts to Trump’s bloated $740 billion defense budget as “extremist.” What would we do without a champion like Smith? Ugh. UGH. Though Smith isn’t perfect, he does try to slip Democratic priorities into the annual defense bill, and he does support “improving” Obamacare, pushing through comprehensive immigration reform, fixing “glaring holes” in gun laws around background checks, “totally reexamining the way we do law enforcement,” the Green New Deal, and progressive taxation. And he’s running against perennial Republican challenger Doug Basler, a “pro-life, pro-Trump constiutional conservative” who apparently loves wasting money running for office. This one’s easy, mostly because no one is running to the left of him this time. Vote Smith.


United States Representative
Congressional District No. 10

The August primaries whittled down this race to Washington State House Rep. Beth Doglio and former Seattle Chamber of Commerce CEO Marilyn Strickland. Electing either candidate would mark an achievement for representation in local politics, with Strickland becoming the first Black member of Congress from Washington and Doglio becoming the first openly LGBTQ member of Congress from Washington. But on the issues, the answer is clear.

Doglio is a longtime climate activist who rejects corporate PAC money, and who spent her time in Olympia trying to pass decent-to-very good legislation, including a bill that would tax CEOs based on the income gap within their companies.

Meanwhile, as the CEO of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Strickland spent much of 2018 fighting Seattle’s head tax. She also oversaw the Chamber when Amazon filled its political arm’s coffers with $1.45 million in donations to crush the progressive candidates running for Seattle City Council. As Mayor of Tacoma, Strickland partnered with businesses to oppose a $15 minimum wage, and she “presided over a controversial [police] department with a history of excessive force and failed to implement even marginal promised reforms like body cameras,” according to The Intercept. Both Doglio and Strickland supported Initiative 940, which made it easier to prosecute cops who kill, but Doglio used the power of her office to actively boost the initiative while Strickland “had little involvement in the campaign.”

Right now, Washington’s Congressional Delegation contains exactly one progressive Democrat, or two if you catch Rep. Adam Smith on a good day. The rest of them are “fiscally conservative” New Democrats or Republicans. Don’t send Jayapal back to D.C. without a partner in taxing the holy fuck out of the rich. Vote Doglio.


Assuming he doesn’t take a job in Joe Biden’s cabinet, Jay Inslee will continue doing about as well as a standard-issue corporate Democrat can do as governor. With four more years, he’ll likely push some green energy legislation through Olympia to keep us on pace with California and Oregon, allow for some moderate tax increases on the super-wealthy (though he thinks “we may not need new progressive taxes” to fill the state’s $4.5 billion budget hole), and continue shepherding Washington through the COVID-19 crisis better than almost every other governor in the U.S.

And at least Inslee believes in the legitimacy of democratic rule, unlike his competition, Loren Culp, the creepy little virus party planner who crawled out of a Facebook comment thread and captured the imagination of the state’s batshit Republicans. Seriously. This guy literally believes “Democracy is a step toward socialism, which is a step towards communism.” The shit this man has said and done is so laughably insane the SECB takes little joy in dunking on him. The basket is too low.

He’s a small-town cop who initially made headlines after refusing to enforce a modest voter-approved gun safety law. *Rimshot.*

He self-published a book about the experience called American Cop, which began with a forward from Ted Nugent. Ha ha.

About one-third of the book, Crosscut reports, is just the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Lol.

For his efforts to oppose state law, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, whose “worldview is dangerously aligned with views held by domestic terrorists and violent white supremacists,” according to the Daily Kos, dubbed Culp “Police Chief of the Decade.” Um, guys this isn’t funny anymore.

Three years ago he was “accused in a lawsuit of botching a child sexual-abuse investigation and intimidating the victim with threats of a false-claims charge,” according to the Seattle Times. Okay, stop.

Let’s leave it at this: Culp is a knock-off Trump whose campaign survives on steroid injections of Facebook-fueled lies and experimental cocktails of QAnon innuendo. All of which means, of course, that he could win if you don’t take him seriously. Vote Inslee.


Lt. Governor

State Sen. Marko Liias bills himself as the progressive in this race. And he is. But mostly because the other option is retiring U.S. House Rep Denny Heck.

If we could take Rep. Heck at his word, his name wouldn’t even be on the ballot. In the introduction to his 2015 memoir, Lucky Bounce, Heck wrote: “I am not running for another office as long as I live. Period.” He then tells a self-deprecating joke and reaffirms his stance: “But this time, all I can say is ‘trust me.’ And if you don’t believe me, feel free to call my wife, Paula, whose nickname is She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed.” We thought about calling She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, but we didn’t have her number, so we endorsed Liias instead.

During his time in the Senate, Liias floated a bad car tab fix, voted along with the rest of his colleagues to create a giant premium tax loophole for big business, and sponsored a bill to enrich predatory payday lenders. But we forgive him these trespasses, as he’s since offered reasonable replies/excuses/apologies. And he’s done some great stuff, too. He created real and lasting structural change for the LGBTQ community by helping to draft the LGBTQ Commission legislation, he supported good health care bills, and he promises to throw his weight around to FINALLY pass the clean fuel standard and a state-based or regional single-payer bill.

Meanwhile, Heck wouldn’t say if he supported just-cause legislation, he thinks cops can be hate-crimed, and his primary ambition is to be a steadfast champion of “civility.” None for us, thanks!

This will be an uphill battle for Liias. Heck established a significant lead after the primary, and the last time Liias ran for statewide office he didn’t even make it through the primary. This time, he has. Now it’s time to take him all the way. Vote Liias.


Secretary of State

We know some of you are out there voting for incumbent Secretary of State Kim Wyman because you find some sort of elemental wisdom in the idea of a Republican overseeing the electoral policy of a largely Democratic state. Somehow, you believe this dynamic maintains some balance in the force, and achieving that balance is so seductive it causes you to overlook the fact that she opposed the Washington Voting Rights Act in 2012. To the extent you fit that description, we hope the last few months have disabused you of that notion.

In an attempt to steal the election, the President has spent a lot of his time attacking mail-in voting, the system we’ve used here in Washington for years. In response, our Secretary of State has refused to use the power of her office to condemn him for it. She argues that issuing such a condemnation would politicize her role and thus undermine faith in the state’s electoral process, and so she’ll continue to dance around Trump’s nonsense and just restate Washington’s experience with vote-by-mail instead. But condemning the President for directly attacking our democracy isn’t partisan, it’s the right thing for the state’s chief elections officer to do.

Though Wyman isn’t up to the task, State House Rep. Gael Tarleton is more than willing. Tarleton came up as a senior defense analyst for the Pentagon. She brought that knowledge to bear as Majority Floor Leader in the House, where she passed laws to beef up cybersecurity in our elections, improve voter outreach and education, and expand voter access across the state. Though she lacks direct experience administering elections, she’s written the damn bills on elections, and she’s fired up about defending democracy. Vote Tarleton.


State Treasurer

Back in 2016, the SECB held our noses and endorsed current Washington State Treasurer and fucking Republican Duane Davidson to avoid getting stuck with another candidate we described as “the evil human version of the Geico Gecko.” It was a dark time, and we were in a dark place. But we’re in a much better place now that we can support former Democratic Washington State House Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, who we’ll describe as “the law school version of Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard.”

Though Pellicciotti did try to strip money from Sound Transit in a misguided attempt to route Tim Eyman’s idiotic $30 car tab initiative, his refusal to take corporate PAC money and his career-long emphasis on transparency make up for that. In the Legislature, he stood out as one of the few Democratic lawmakers to oppose a bill designed to hide public records, and he’s led the way on good campaign finance bills. Before that he prosecuted Medicare fraud in the Attorney General’s office.

As Treasurer, Pellicciotti plans to bring more transparency to the office, maintain the state’s good credit rating, and, unlike the incumbent, work closely with lawmakers without the aid of an expensive corporate lobbyist. Though we’d prefer a Treasurer who supports establishing a state bank, Pellicciotti is at least “open to a study” of the issue, whereas Davidson is over here calling it Socialism.

And oh by the way, FUUUUUUUCK Davidson. Let’s just start with the obvious shit. At a GOP meeting last summer, Davidson patted himself on the back for bravely telling the SECB he planned to vote for Donald Trump in 2016. “I’m not going to lie,” he told the Bothell/North King County GOP Women’s Club, “Somebody asks me who I’m going to vote for, I’m going to tell them the truth. And I did!”

Ooo! Look at the spine on Davidson! And yet, when we put the question to him again this year, his spine disintegrated. He wouldn’t tell us, no matter how much poking and prodding and ego-stroking we did.

Davidson argues his choice for president is irrelevant to his role as Treasurer. The fuck it is!!! Last summer Trump’s DOJ threatened to withhold federal funds to Seattle for protesting against police brutality, which put the financial security of the entire state at risk. And here we have that state’s Treasurer playing cute with his allegiances.

On top of that, it just fucking sucks to have a Republican treasurer. Case in point: Davidson refused to sign a bipartisan letter in support of legislation that would have allowed the cannabis industry to bank money instead of only using cash. Why? Because the U.S. House planned to include the bill in the first CARES Act package, which was somehow too liberal for him. The fucking Republican fucking State fucking Treasurer of North Dakota signed this fucking thing, but not the State Treasurer of Washington. Meanwhile, Davidson has spent his tenure staffing out important board meetings while he’s off attending “Treasurer Talks” with bank lobbyists and other GOP booster events. This guy has been milking it for four years, and it’s time we ushered him into retirement. Vote Pellicciotti.


State Auditor

The entire Employment Securities Department is still underwater from the scam on unemployment benefits earlier this year. Most recently, it came out that the ESD paid out claims to the stolen identities of its own employees. Yikes. Pat McCarthy, the Washington State Auditor, is the only woman who can get to the bottom of the mess ESD created for itself.

McCarthy took up the helm of the auditor’s office back in 2017, and she’s killing it. Well, she’s doing fine. We don’t really know what “killing it” as an auditor means. But we like McCarthy. We like her silly little auditor jokes, but we don’t like her competitor, a man named Chris Leyba. Not pronounced “labia” :(.

Leyba, a Republican and former cop, claims to have more “hands on experience with government auditing” than McCarthy. He doesn’t. He lists “3 years as a law enforcement performance auditor,” whereas McCarthy spent four years as the state auditor and four years as the Pierce County auditor. She’s spent her whole life in local government, auditing city budgets and now state budgets. Vote McCarthy.


Attorney General

The only way you can become the Attorney General of Washington is to defeat Bob Ferguson in a game of chess. Republican Matt Larkin, who opposes safe-injection sites and who thinks the state did too much to fight COVID-19, has yet to beat him or even to challenge him to a game, so far as we know. Therefore, we’re sticking with Ferg.

Kidding! Fuck Matt Larkin! We like Ferguson because he has sued the Trump administration to protect our civil liberties 80 times since 2017. His record so far is 22-0 on cases where a judge has given a final ruling. When he’s not fighting Trump in court, he’s suing Facebook for breaking our state’s strong campaign finance laws, and running one of the best consumer protection shops in the country.

Ferguson isn’t perfect. He tossed around “reimagining” the police instead of defunding, and he brought the culvert case against Native tribes all the way up to the Supreme Court (and lost via tie) when he could have dropped it. But he’s open to decriminalizing sex work! And Ferguson, if re-elected, wants to focus on tackling opioid abuse and expanding litigation around civil rights and environmental issues. Vote Ferguson.


Commissioner of Public Lands

Even though Hilary Franz broke well-established SECB law when she called her Seattle Times endorsement “the biggest newspaper recommendation in the state,” we still have no choice but to stan. We’re not happy. We’re not pleased. But we also couldn’t imagine a better person to fight Washington’s horrific climate fires.

In her first term as head of the Department of Natural Resources, Franz improved the agency’s reputation by emphasizing quick responses to fire and by traveling around the state to meet with county commissioners and electeds who hated the previous head of the DNR. She developed a good plan to create a dedicated fund for new equipment and firefighters, which includes a plan to remove dead trees and brush from 2.7 million acres of forest in Central and Eastern Washington while also reforesting a million acres that have already burned—so all you conservatives out here screaming about “forest management” can stuff it down your climate-denying pieholes. That includes Franz’s competition, Sue Pederson, who says she believes in climate change, but who is running for elected office with a party that does not. This former Grays Harbor Republican Party chair said she “never thought of logging as a bad thing.” Look, the SECB understands that the 1970s forest preservationist-purist impulse wasn’t great, but, holy shit, she’s NEVER thought of logging as a bad thing? Did she never see FernGully? Regardless, it sounds like someone can’t wait to jump into the pockets of the timber lobby. Vote Franz.


Superintendent of Public Instruction

We never thought it could come down to this, but the biggest, most consequential, most up-in-the-air race on the ballot is this battle between incumbent Superintendent of Public Schools Chris Reykdal and conservative “nonprofit” director Maia Espinoza, aka Washington’s Betsy DeVos.

We’re here because Reykdal performed poorly in the August primaries. Though he led the crowded field with 40% of the vote share, the race’s collective conservative votes outnumbered his own, which is bad news. But Reykdal didn’t perform poorly because he’s a bad campaigner or because he’s bad at his job. He’s great at his job. Reykdal has been responsibly closing schools, navigating remote learning when 735,000 Washingtonians don’t have internet access, providing meals for the kids who relied on school for getting them, and doing everything he can to close the achievement gap.

He performed poorly partly because he asked the Legislature to pass the state’s comprehensive sexual health education bill, and there’s a fucking INFURIATING and large misinformation campaign about that bill swirling around social media that’s infecting even the bluest parts of King County.

Espinoza gleefully spreads these lies. You can find the lie about Reykdal supporting a bill that teaches 4th graders sexual positions, for instance, in your very own voters’ pamphlet. Just to be absolutely clear: the bill doesn’t do that, and Reykdal doesn’t support that. It’s such a huge lie that a Thurston County judge actually officially declared it a false statement from the bench. But Espinoza spreads it anyway because she can.

She appears unable, actually, to stop herself from lying. Espinoza claimed to run a “nonprofit” called the Center for Latino Leadership, but that organization never had 501(c)3 status. On the primary voters’ pamphlet, she claimed she had a master’s degree from a one-year program at an online university, but she didn’t. (She expects to graduate this month.) She claimed she’s “not a politician,” but she ran a failed campaign for a Washington State House seat in 2018. Piling up lies for a year isn’t exactly setting a good example for our kids, and it’s utterly disqualifying for this office.

Vote for Chris Reykdal with the same speed and enthusiasm that you conjure when you vote for Joe Biden. Or um, actually, vote with way more enthusiasm than you conjure when you vote for Biden. Just, whatever you do, vote Reykdal.


Insurance Commissioner

Mike Kreidler has served as Washington’s Insurance Commissioner for 20 years, and we hope he serves for another 20. He’s a no-nonsense technocrat who seems to run a tight ship that actually does some big shit you don’t hear about too often. In the last four years, his office has flagged and fought against opening massive insurance tax loopholes for big businesses, pushed through legislation to basically end surprise medical billing, banned scammy health care sharing companies, and attracted a couple new insurance companies to play in Washington’s health care exchange. If we send him back, he promises to work to ban credit scoring, a practice that’s racist as hell. Vote Kreidler.


Legislative District No. 5
State Senator

The only thing more exciting than seeing “Democratic” State Sen. Mark Mullet booted from office is knowing that Ingrid Anderson will be the one wearing the boot. Unlike the DINO incumbent she’s running against, Anderson, a psychiatric nurse at Overlake Hospital, wants to fight climate change, fix our unfair tax structure, and tap her experience as an essential worker battling on the frontlines of the pandemic to improve our scammy health care system. That means exploring a small tax on health insurance companies to fund our public health departments, capping the cost of insulin at $100, and creating incentives for hospitals to treat mental health emergencies the way they treat other health care emergencies. Though they don’t offer an explanation, King County Republicans probably endorsed Mullet this cycle because of his vote against affirmative action, his efforts to open up multi-million-dollar tax loopholes for big businesses, his attempt to limit collective bargaining for teachers, his vote to water down a bill ensuring rest breaks for health care workers, his vote against a 2019 update to bill that prevented employees from asking applicants how much they’ve made in the past, his opposition to moderate proposals designed to fight climate change, and his allergy to taxing the rich—but honestly, what else would you expect form a former Bank of America executive? Vote Anderson.


Legislative District No. 5
Representative Position No. 1

Look, Rep. Bill Ramos isn’t going to go over well among the blood-red socialists in the anarchist jurisdictions of our fine state. The former Issaquah City Councilmember and transportation consultant seeking his second term in this Eastside seat made one thing clear during our meeting: He knows where the Devil is, and that’s in the details. He’s skeptical of legalizing apartments everywhere, he’s skeptical of issuing a moratorium on highway expansions, and his major accomplishment during his first term amounted to a bill recognizing the timber industry’s potential as an important partner in the fight against climate change. Uh huh. But whatever. He likes progressive taxation so long as we can use it to replace regressive taxation, he voted the right way on modest climate change legislation, and he’s quick to admit when he hasn’t done his homework on a topic, which is kinda refreshing.

If re-elected, Ramos promises to work with other lawmakers in the Members of Color caucus to champion legislation that brings greater transparency and accountability to policing. He said he’s especially interested in changing the culture of policing, and he wants more transparency around police misconduct. He came alive when talking about police reform, and we did, too. Ramos is running against a Republican goatee named Ken Moninski. Moninski, who’s never held elected office, naturally opposes taxes on the rich, “policies from Seattle,” and mask mandates. In a recent “episode” of his snoozy Facebook live series called “Ken Moninski: Unmasked,” he called Loren Culp Washington’s “great Republican candidate.” No thanks! Vote Ramos.


Legislative District No. 11
Representative Position No. 1

We’re not thrilled to have to pick between a landlord who racked up a handful of complaints and a longtime prosecutor who recently left his job as an HR guy at Amazon, but until we start paying people decent money to represent us in Olympia, it’s going to keep being like this. In this case, however, David Hackney, the prosecutor who used to work at Amazon, promises to actually use the large majority Democrats already have to get shit done, unlike 18-year incumbent Rep. Zack Hudgins, an incrementalist Democrat who promises to work to “bring Republicans along.” Trying to “bring Republicans along” is code for watering down progressive legislation, or trading votes on progressive bills for promises from Republicans not to obstruct other bills a little less than they plan to, and we don’t have time for that shit anymore. On top of that, while Hudgins voted against modest eviction reforms, Hackney plans to champion tenant protections, including just cause and rent stabilization measures. (Hudgins has admitted to supporting those policies too, now that he has a primary challenger.) Hackney also backs single-payer health care, requiring independent authorities to investigate and prosecute cops who kill, and he vows to bring the energy of an organizer to this office. And as a Black man representing one of the most diversely populated districts in the state, Hackney would better reflect the demographics of the neighborhoods he wants to serve. Vote Hackney.


Legislative District No. 11
Representative Position No. 2

Steve Bergquist was nearly late to our phone interview because he was at a meeting for the state’s Core Plus program, which connects students with career training opportunities. That pretty much sums up his unflagging devotion to education. A social studies teacher, Bergquist fixed inequalities in state extracurricular programs, established a voter pre-registration system for teens, and improved job training to help paraeducators become credentialed teachers.

And while education is a top concern, he’s also heavily involved in the state budgeting process. He helped wrangle significant cost savings this year, chiefly from a freeze on hiring and travel, which made coronavirus-related budget constraints far less painful. His favorite book: Charlotte’s Web, which he’s currently reading to his daughter.

Steve’s opponent is Sean Atchison, a Republican (and that a person could identify as a member of that party without shame is already disqualifying) who says he opposes letting young people pre-register to vote because “this country started by only allowing property owners to vote because they owned a piece of the country.” For some reason he left out the words “white” and “male” in that sentence. Atchison also opposes the state’s comprehensive sex education bill because it would “prescribe” new parents for children. What??? No. Vote Bergquist.


Legislative District No. 30
Representative Position No. 1

Jamila Taylor, an attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases, wasn’t particularly inspiring in our endorsement interview. Clearly, she’s a suburban Democrat. But as a caregiver for her ill family members, Taylor’s heart’s in the right place around health care. She’s also good on renter’s issues, since she’s been fucked over from rent hikes for years just like the rest of us. She’s running against Republican Federal Way City Councilmember Martin Moore, whose whole thing is that he’s tired of putting politics over people. Literally, the only thing listed on his issues page is that Democrats and Republicans should stop making things Democrat or Republican issues. Martin, now is not the time for this posturing. Now is past time, however, to send more Black women to the state Legislature. Vote Taylor.


Legislative District No. 30
Representative Position No. 2

Former Federal Way City Councilmember Jesse Johnson was appointed to fill the 30th Legislative District seat earlier this year. Despite the short session, Johnson passed bills to expand access to dental care and mental health services and to establish an environmental education program in high schools across the state. He’ll continue focusing on health care, education, affordable housing, and supporting small businesses if he’s re-elected. All things we can get behind. Johnson also served on the Black Caucus last session, and he’s going to work with other members on police reform (but not on defunding). His opponent, Mormon ice cream shop owner Jack Walsh, is running on a platform that just seems to be “don’t allow pot stores in Federal Way.” Harsh vibes, Jack. Vote Johnson.


Legislative District No. 32
Representative Position No. 1

Rep. Cindy Ryu is frank in a way other legislators aren’t when she levels with the SECB about the problems of trying to pass progressive taxes. Sure, we’d love a rosier outlook, but we’re all for Ryu telling us like it is.

Ryu says she’s down for a capital gains tax. She’s as good on housing as a commercial landlord could be, which means she wants to chip away at single-family zoning, believes in just-cause protections for tenants, but isn’t on board with rent control. Ryu also wants us to be able to light up a J filled with greens we grew in our own window planter boxes. A vote for Ryu is a vote for homegrown weed.

The biggest thing for us is her commitment to police reform. Ryu’s record on policing is superb. She helped pass I-940, was part of the leadership team that established a joint legislative task force on community policing standards, and we’re confident she’ll add a necessary voice to the conversations around law enforcement next session. Vote Ryu.


Legislative District No. 32
Representative Position No. 2

In her second term, Lauren Davis has big plans to plug state budget holes by passing legislation that would close tax preferences for the opioid industry, and by adding an opioid impact fee, which sound like good big plans to us. She also favors a capital gains tax, and she’s hypothetically in favor of an income tax but pretty much only hypothetically. We’re going to look past the fact that Davis still thinks marijuana is a gateway drug, and instead rest our blood-shot eyes on Davis’s “non partisan party” opponent, Tamra Smilanich. Smilanich is a realtor and a perennial losing candidate who wants to “avoid a state income tax.” Though she claims to prefer whatever the fuck a “non partisan party” is, in the past she’s filed as a precinct committee officer for the GOP. Vote Davis.


Legislative District No. 33
Representative Position No. 1

We’re (still) excited about Rep. Tina Orwall. She’s a former social worker who has been representing the 33rd Legislative District for 11 years. During that time she shed light on the state’s rape kit backlog, where around 10,000 rape kits sat in storage, untested and gathering dust until she passed legislation to address the problem. After years of fighting for change, Orwall said around 5,000 of the 10,000 kits have been tested. She’s also passed legislation to make suicide prevention trainings mandatory for all health care professionals (even veterinarians!), she’s passed gun safety and safe storage laws as well as workplace protections for strippers.

Currently, Orwall is working on implementing a program in South King County where new police officers will intern for social workers. The social workers will mentor the new cops about mental health and help integrate them into the fabric of communities the officers will serve. We’ll see how well that works, but Orwall’s optimistic. She’s also committed to reshaping the structure of policing and investing in different models that prioritize mental and behavioral health. Social workers are ready and willing for this work, Orwall said, and they have been for a while. The funding just hasn’t been there.

Orwall’s got a lot more in the works, such as addressing airplane fuel pollution and air quality in communities around airports. She’s down for a capital gains tax, exploring expanding the estate tax, and making corporations pay their fair share.

However, while she’s open to the idea of decriminalizing sex work, Orwall wants to discuss the problem more. She’s concerned about child sex trafficking going up if sex work is decriminalized, and cited some concerning child pornography stats in Washington. However, studies show that decriminalization actually brings down sex trafficking. Laws that limit sex work like FOSTA/SESTA passed in 2018 showed increases in trafficking after their passage. Buuuttttt, moving on.

We’re still team Orwall. She’s way better than her opponent, Republican Kerry French, who wants to send people back to work in unsafe conditions ASAP. Vote Orwall.


Legislative District No. 33
Representative Position No. 2

Rep. Gregerson is where you want her to be on just about any topic you can think of: transportation, education, decriminalizing poverty, and particularly equality. This year she took a lead role in establishing the country’s first state Office of Equity, which coordinates efforts across state agencies to make sure nobody’s getting left behind. (One of her top priorities for the office: Making sure every agency always provides resources in multiple languages, rather than the “if we remember to” approach currently employed.) She’s also known for her roll-up-our-sleeves and get-to-work approach to tough local issues, such as ensuring that the residents of a SeaTac mobile home park will be compensated and assisted in their efforts to find new housing when the property is sold for redevelopment. In her next term, she has plans to tackle the digital divide, and to get more online resources into constituents’ hands. Her opponent is Libertarian Marliza Melzer, who posts bullshit memes on Facebook about human trafficking and Bill Gates causing COVID-19. No thank you! Vote Gregerson.


Legislative District No. 36
Representative Position No. 2

This race asks the people of the Ballard-area to choose between a lawyer (managing assistant attorney general Sarah Reyneveld), or the director of a lawyer’s association (Liz Berry). In keeping with the theme, both Reyneveld and Berry basically agree on all the big stuff: championing progressive taxation, voting for meaningful climate change legislation, defunding the police, helping to end cash bail, backing the right housing bills, increasing tenant protections, and naming and shaming in the press Democratic colleagues who block any of that legislation. The biggest difference between them, so far as we can tell, lies in their approaches to budget cuts. Berry’s position has been plain: NO CUTS, outside of “reducing funding to law enforcement and putting that money toward social and intervention programs.” Reyneveld’s position is less plain: “If after fighting tooth and nail for new revenue and using the rainy day fund there was still a budget gap I would favor applying an equity lens to budget discussions to preserve and prioritize education and services for our most vulnerable, even if that meant examining potential cuts to agency budgets or nonessential services that wouldn’t adversely impact vulnerable communities.” Of course, one incoming State House Rep likely won’t have much influence on whether the Legislature cuts services, shrinks eligibility, or cuts state employee jobs next session, and so here we are again back at the beginning. But Berry’s commitment to lead on gun safety legislation stands out, as does her hard and clear line against cuts. Vote Berry.

Reserve your spot to hear Berry and Reyneveld debate the issues in a Stranger Debate on Monday, October 19.


Legislative District No. 37
Representative Position No. 1

We’re thoroughly underwhelmed by Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos’s dedication to incrementalism, and by how little she’s done with her 20 years of experience. She’s middling on police reform, she defended her vote for a predatory payday lending bill as if it was good for people of color, and she openly admits to knowing jack about climate change. “I’m not a science person,” she said.

But she’s not all bad. She refused to vote for the big Boeing tax break, she ultimately voted for a comprehensive sexual health bill this year (despite some setbacks we blamed her for last year), and she’s sponsored bills to help ex-cons reintegrate into society—but don’t ask her to recall them, she literally cannot. And she’s better than political hobbyist John Stafford, the windbag running against her. We’re voting for Santos if only to save the lawmakers in Olympia from Stafford’s patronizing tirades. Vote Santos. We guess.


Legislative District No. 37
Representative Position No. 2

Both NARAL Pro-Choice Washington executive director Kirsten Harris-Talley and Seattle Parks engagement manager Chukundi Salisbury would make great State House Reps. In fact, if the Legislature was just 30 KHTs, 30 Salisburys, 30 Nicole Macris, and 8 random Republicans operating mostly as spies, we might actually fix the shit we need to fix in this broke-ass state! But we can’t live in that dreamworld, and so we must decide. In this contest, KHT brings the specifics, and she’s better on tenant issues than Salisbury.

Harris-Talley supports a capital gains tax, an income tax, and she’s passionate about addressing the air quality inequity that constituents in her district face. Salisbury also supports these measures, but Harris-Talley was naming off bills. She wants to get the HEAL Act passed, support a carbon tax and a clean fuel standard, invest in transit… and she called Tim Eyman “this fuckin’ guy” in the process. Salisbury is also more conservative on tenant issues, and he thinks that you can gouge rents in a patchwork fashion on high-income neighborhoods. How about just no gouging anywhere? Vote Harris-Talley.

Reserve your spot to hear KHT and Salisbury debate the issues in a Stranger Debate on Monday, October 26.


Legislative District No. 41
Representative Position No. 2

Rep. My-Linh Thai is a trained pharmacist, a Vietnamese refugee, and a pragmatic leftist seeking to represent Mercer Island for at least another two years. In the Legislature she plans to continue her focus on education, which involves following up on a bill to mandate 20-minute sit-down school lunches statewide (thanks for making it hard, “local control” freaks!), getting cops out of schools, and getting the state to fund rooms near schools where homeless kids can crash. She’s running against Republican Al Rosenthal, a commercial landlord with an AOL email account and a general disdain for Seattle. Well fuck you right back, bud! Vote Thai.


Legislative District No. 41
State Senator

Lisa Wellman accomplished a lot in her four years in the State Senate. Most significantly, she passed the Keep Washington Working Act, which prohibits law enforcement from questioning workers’ immigration status. She also recreated the Governor’s Statewide Broadband Office to improve broadband statewide. Going into her next term, Wellman plans to focus on improving broadband access and affordability, and transforming the state’s education system. The two go hand-in-hand during this hell year.

Wellman, a teacher and then an Apple executive for a quarter-century, favors progressive taxation, she told the SECB. However, she wants to be cautious that those progressive taxes are “actually progressive.” Alright, we get it Lisa, you represent Mercer Island. The only specific tax she said she’d support was a capital gains tax, though it depends on the capital gains tax. Eyeroll. She’s in favor of a carbon tax but isn’t willing to say no to big highway projects. Overall, we like Wellman. Plus, she was on Jeopardy! She only finished with $100 after the Final Jeopardy, but that’s a win in our book (plus the broadband and education stuff, obviously). She also said the COVID-19 situation and Trump’s leadership were “fucked up,” which gave us a little thrill. Say fuck again, Lisa. Vote Wellman.


Legislative District No. 43
Representative Position No. 1

Every time the SECB asked candidates about housing, they always referred us to two-term incumbent Rep. Nicole Macri’s work. Asking about just cause protections? “Oh, I think Rep. Macri has a bill like that,” was the response. Rent control? “Well, I liked Macri’s bill.” Washington state renters have few allies like Macri, who has repeatedly introduced bills to repeal our statewide ban on rent control. The bills haven’t passed because other lawmakers have consistently stood in the way. (Spoiler alert: some of them are landlords!) Still, Macri has sway, she’s got pull, and, if the answers candidates gave us during meetings are anything to go by, then Macri will have more than enough support to easily usher her bills through the House. (Unless these assholes are bullshitting, which they probably are.)

The only problem we currently have with Macri is that there’s only one of her. Washington needs a State House full of Macris, but until we can get some undertaxed tech giant to build us a cloning machine, we suggest you re-elect the one Macri we have. Vote Macri.


Legislative District No. 43
Representative Position No. 2

Uhhh, so, in the August primary endorsements the SECB claimed there was “no way” former longtime House Speaker Frank Chopp was going to lose the seat he’s held for 25 years. He’s too powerful, we said. Too connected, we said. Too mustachioed, we said. He’s personally walked too many people around the gayborhood and showed them affordable housing for which he’s secured funding, we said. But when the final primary results were tallied, it turned out Chopp didn’t crack 50% of the vote share. (He ended up with 49.78%, which is pretty close, but still!) This means a little bit more than 50% of the 43rd LD (or the primary electorate in the 43rd LD) is looking for a change. Seattle Peoples Party candidate Sherae Lascelles is exactly the kind of change they should be looking for.

As Lascelles made clear more than once during our endorsement meeting, Democrats like Chopp talk about bringing marginalized and vulnerable communities to “the table,” but they so rarely get out of the way so that someone from those communities can run the fucking table.

“I’m told people who don’t look like me know better how to represent me. It’s gaslighting. It’s a literal mindfuck,” Lascelles said. Lascelles, who is gender nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, has lived in teen homeless shelters east of the mountains. They’ve been through the foster care system. They’ve rented in Seattle as prices have skyrocketed. They’ve endured institutional racism and survived life as a sex worker. And in response, they’ve dedicated their career to reforming a system designed to jail or to kill them.

That work included founding two nonprofits focused on sex work: People of Color Sex Worker Outreach Program and Green Light Project, which built a hand sanitizer factory for sex workers during COVID and pushed the Seattle City Council to repeal its drug traffic and prostitution loitering laws. They want to take that success to the state level, where they support taxing the holy fuck out of the rich, investing massive dollars in housing, and ending the homelessness crisis.

During his eons in this seat, Chopp has consistently—to borrow a phrase from his fellow lawmakers—”Chopped” pieces of progressive legislation to build and preserve a majority that Democrats then refuse to use to its fullest extent. He takes a slow, business-friendly, incremental approach to policy change, which has yielded some tangible success over the course of over two decades. But the people of the 43rd deserve someone who will demand more. Vote Lascelles.

Reserve your spot to hear Lascelles and Chopp debate the issues in a Stranger Debate on Thursday, October 29.


Legislative District No. 45
Representative Position No. 1

Rep. Roger Goodman fucking suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks on a lot of stuff, and we can’t wait for someone to primary him, but he’s decent on police reform, which is good because he chairs the public safety committee. He backed I-940, the initiative that made it easier to prosecute cops who kill, and he’s brewing more police reform bills for this session that will cancel chokeholds and keep body cameras on. He’s also trying to reform the criminal sentencing system, which hasn’t changed in 40 years.

But when we asked him about progressive taxes, Goodman said he wanted to make sure the hypothetical taxes were “fair” for all income levels. That made us scratch our heads even harder about the bill Goodman proposed last session that would have given a tax break to people selling private planes out of state. Siiiigh. Goodman also sucks on housing. He watered down Rep. Marci’s just cause bill in committee last session, and he plays cute on rent control. “Rent control is another one of those phrases of what does that actually mean?” he said when we asked him if he supported rent control. Fuck offfffff. But Goodman’s challenger is some Republican whose platform includes this plank: “Violent Felons in Jail should be given to ICE.” So vote Goodman.


Legislative District No. 45
Representative Position No. 2

Larry Spring is whatever. He did that thing we hate where he voted against tenant protections and then also sponsored a bill to give a tax break to people selling private planes out of state. Seriously, Larry? A tax break for private planes??? But, we’ll take a middling suburban Democrat over his competition, Amber Krabach, a QAnon Republican who keeps posting antifa conspiracies on her Facebook page. She supports Rep. Matt Shea, who “engaged in domestic terrorism,” according to an independent investigation, and who promoted a group that trains child soldiers for Holy War and other normal Republican stuff like that. We can’t wait for some progressive to primary this guy. But until then, we’re stuck with him. Vote Springer.


Legislative District No. 46
Representative Position No. 1

The SECB has called Gerry Pollet an “abrasive liberal dickhead” for as long as our pot-addled brains can remember, and that’s a term of endearment around here. Pollet sponsored a fuckton of bills this session, and he was the primary sponsor on bills that addressed sexual misconduct in colleges and improved the transparency around special districts. Still, we’re grudge-holding folks, and we’d be remiss if we missed the opportunity to bring up how two years ago Pollet voted for a bill that would’ve shielded members of the Legislature from disclosing their public records. He backed that bill even though he was a board member of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. Come the fuck on, Gerry! Still, Pollet’s one of our favorite abrasive liberal dickheads, and who the fuck else are you gonna vote for? The Republican? Vote Pollet.


Legislative District No. 46
Representative Position No. 2

Javier Valdez has been around the block. First off, he founded the fucking King County Young Democrats, and we love those nerds. Remember when they came out swinging against failed Seattle City Council candidate Ari Hoffman? Those were simpler times. Anyhow, in the short legislative session this year, Valdez managed to pass an anti-swatting measure, which increases punishments for swatting, that thing where horrible people report fake emergencies so that SWAT teams will descend on people they don’t like. That heinous practice is disproportionately used on communities of color, the LGBTQ community, and religious communities, and Valdez increased the punishment for that crime. He’s also one of the few Latino members of the Legislature, and the son of immigrant farm workers. Washington state’s response to COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted our Latino communities, and particularly farmworkers in Yakima. We trust Valdez to continue to advocate for those communities in 2021, a year when we’ll inevitably face austerity measures that will disproportionately impact people of color. Vote Valdez.


Legislative District No. 47
Representative Position No. 1



In her first term, Rep. Debra Entenman, who is only one of two Black women in the state legislature, fought to limit facial recognition technology and provide aid to low-income families. Next session she plans to pass bills to improve broadband access to help bridge the education equity divide that the COVID-19 pandemic amplified.

Entenman’s competition, Kyle Lyebyedyev, is a smug-looking young Republic who wants to keep students in the dark about their health. Vote Entenman.


Legislative District No. 47
Representative Position No. 2

Moderate House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan halted his retirement plan to see the Legislature through next session’s budgeting nightmare. Sullivan has negotiated the last 11 budgets. He’s confident that with a Democratic majority he’ll be able to preserve the social safety net and protect services to vulnerable populations. It’s no secret we’re lukewarm on Sullivan and his lifetime “A” rating from the NRA, but the Alliance for Gun Responsibility gives him an A rating, too. And at least he’s not his Republican challenger, Ted Cook, who thinks trans people don’t exist. Vote Sullivan.


Legislative District No. 48
Representative Position No. 1

Though her Republican opponent Vic Bishop won the SECB’s contest for Best Campaign Photo 2020, he ironically quotes Obama campaign slogans in his bio and describes himself as a “roads guy.” As a crew of non-roads guys, we’re backing Rep. Slatter, who has passed modest but useful legislation to reset Washington’s emissions limit for greenhouses gasses to the appropriate level, secure a dedicated funding source for telemedicine programs, improve the data we have on homeless youth, and limit the ability of universities to hold transcripts when students owe library fees. Slatter is also ready and willing to vote for demilitarizing the cops and instituting a wealth tax. Vote Slatter.


Legislative District No. 48
Representative Position No. 2

Rep. Walen is your classic moderate suburban Democrat. She’s a landlord who doesn’t want to defund the police, but who does support gun safety. We must vote for her because her opponent is a Republican with a shit-eating grin who vows never to raise taxes. Vote Walen.


Justice Position No. 3

When Governor Inslee appointed Raquel Montoya-Lewis to the bench last year, she became the first Native American ever to serve as a Washington State Supreme Court Justice. She also became the only justice in the history of the world who has ever rocked a sweet-ass tattoo of a gavel with a feather on it that reads, “Be Kind, Do Justice.”

Historic achievement and cool tattoo aside, Justice Montoya-Lewis brings 20 years of trial experience to the role. She headed up tribal courts for several years, serving as chief judge for the Lummi Nation before eventually taking a seat on the Whatcom County Superior Court bench, where she ruled the right way on an important abortion case.

Most of her work centers on juvenile justice. She thinks locking up kids “should be very rare,” reserved only for “extreme cases of kids who are risks to themselves or the community,” and argues for deep systemic change to break the school-to-prison pipeline. Drawing on her own personal history with the legal system—her father was sent to Indian boarding schools, beaten for speaking his own language, and had his hair forcibly cut— Montoya-Lewis said she “understands what it means to say we need to address racial inequities in this country, in this legal system, and in the state of Washington.”

When she wasn’t adjudicating stuff, she taught law classes at Western Washington University for over 15 years. Full disclosure, she once taught a class about policing to a young philosopher named Charles Mudede, who sits on the SECB.

During her time on the Supreme Court, she did side with justices who overturned a $2.9 million award to nurses “who said they were pressured to work unpaid overtime and miss meal breaks,” according to the Associated Press. She ruled that way not because she believed the nurses claims were without merit, but because she thought they didn’t have standing.

Her opponent, Doug Larsen, represents himself as the “change candidate.” While elevating to the state’s highest court a small-time Federal Way judge who really only has experience in municipal court, Larsen isn’t half the judge Montoya-Lewis is, and he espoused conservative positions about the way the Court handled the McCleary decision. Vote Montoya-Lewis.


Justice Position No. 6

The choice here is between an opportunistic white guy with exactly zero legal experience who suspended his campaign several months ago, and an exceptionally well qualified Washington State Supreme Court Justice with years of experience in a broad range of court systems who became the first Black LGBTQ woman to serve on the Court when Gov. Inslee appointed her to the bench earlier this year. Tough one, but we’re going with Justice Whitener. Thanks for playing! Oh wait, did you need to hear more? Whitener spends most of her nonjudgemental time mentoring students of all ages and building groundbreaking programs such as The Color of Justice, a daylong networking event designed to encourage young women of color to go into the legal system. If voters put her back on the bench, she plans to move the Court beyond simply recognizing that implicit bias is an issue to actually dealing with the impacts of it, which she’s in a great position to do as co-chair of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission. Again we say, Vote Whitener.


Judge Position No. 13

Let’s just get this out of the way: Hillary Madsen’s mom is Washington State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Madsen, who fucking sucks for ruling against marriage equality in 2006. Fuck Barbara Madsen. Fuuuuuuuck Barbra Madsen. But Hillary isn’t Barbara. She’s Hillary. And Hillary disagreed with her mom’s ruling in that case, adding she was “challenged by the legal analysis in that ruling,” which makes her the better Madsen.

But Madsen (the Hillary one) isn’t running against her mother. She’s running against Andrea Robertson, a trial lawyer who boasts over 50 jury trials (many of them DUI cases) in her 20-year career as an attorney. Though Robertson has tried more cases than Madsen, and though bar associations generally rate Robertson higher than Madsen, and though Robertson can dead-lift 300 pounds (and readily produces the photos to prove it), we’re going with Madsen.

Yes, Robertson has more experience as a trial lawyer. But Madsen said she knows her way around a courtroom, too. She said she’s tried “at least a dozen” cases, though she’s including some cases where she served as co-counsel during her trial fellowship with the King County Prosecutor’s office. And Madsen also has broad experience in the judicial system, which exposed her to the system’s rank inequities.

During her time at Columbia Legal Services, Madsen represented children and youth in tough situations and fought against using solitary confinement against kids at the youth jail. Her pro-bono and volunteer work included helping pregnant women access legal help, mentoring incarcerated women with the If Project, and mentoring non-English-speaking prisoners at Monroe. Madsen said these experiences revealed the wide gaps in the justice system, giving her “visceral” knowledge she’ll use to inform her work as a judge.

Robertson’s outside-the-courtroom activities mostly revolve around teaching youth, teaching CrossFit, and doing improv—bringing a “Yes, and” mentality to the bench! When describing how she approaches her pro bono work, Robertson said, “When someone comes before me and needs legal services, I don’t specifically try to target only giving pro bono services to people of color, but almost every person who I’ve given reduced or low-cost or no-cost services is a person of color because their causes seem more righteous,” which sounds to us like a color-blind approach. Though when she referenced her time mentoring students for the Street Law Program, she pointed out that she and her teaching partner were “the only white people in the room.” She pointed to one girl from that program she inspired to take up law, but she suggested that more people of color have benefited from her teachings. While we appreciate her work educating youth, we want someone more dedicated to righting systemic injustices. Vote Madsen.

This endorsement has been updated to 1) correct an error and 2) clarify and contextualize Robertson’s description of her work. The SECB wrote, “Robertson described her teaching work as color-blind.” First, Robertson was describing her pro bono work, not her teaching work. Second, she didn’t say her work was color-blind. The SECB is, however, judging Robertson’s comments on her approach to her pro bono work as color-blind.


Judge Position No. 30

Ughhghghghhg. The choice between incumbent Superior Court Judge Doug North and Boeing lawyer Carolyn Ladd is a tough one.

With 20 years on the Superior Court bench and “well qualified” and “exceedingly well qualified” ratings from bar associations, North clearly has more experience in the role. Lawyers who have worked with him generally respect him. He’s affable, reasonable, and loves Washington rivers so much he wrote two books about them, which he displays prominently in his office library. But he’s got blemishes on his record, and at least one that’s just flat-out, clear-as-day bad.

During a 2015 evidentiary hearing related to a murder trial, North said a racist thing about whether to accept a text from someone named “Charisma” as evidence: “We don’t know whether he’s some white guy like me making a threat or somebody who’s actually, you know, more likely to be a gangster.” A year and a half later, someone rightfully filed a complaint to the Commission on Judicial Conduct, who then decided to admonish him for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct.

North told the SECB he was “horrified to realize that I’d made a statement that manifested implicit bias,” but added he’s since embraced the opportunity to learn from his mistake. He completed the required training after the admonishment, said he took two other additional trainings at conferences, read additional materials from the National Center for State Courts on how to overcome implicit bias, and has since incorporated all of those lessons into his rulings, “regularly” asking himself whether his sentencing decisions would be different if the race or gender of the defendant were different.

He also says he recognizes that institutional racism pervades the court system, and he’s been trying to use his role on the court’s Local Rules Committee to address that. Right now, he’s working to change some incredibly tedious but important rules around pre-trial release. Basically, he’s pushing for emergency implementation of a rule that would require Superior Court judges to release people on personal recognizance if they’re charged with a nonviolent crime (plus some other caveats). The rule would also force judges to articulate why they ask for bail when they do, and to give them an option to set a lower bail that would essentially give defendants a rebate if they show up to all their hearings. Until the state gets its act together and makes these sorts of changes statewide, we’re not going to adequately address systemic racism at the necessary scale, but this is a good start.

Carolyn Ladd spent most of her career as in-house counsel at Boeing, which the Boeing machinists union apparently didn’t find too impressive—they endorsed North over Ladd. She’s also served as pro tem judge for a couple years, hearing both civil and criminal cases. Bar associations also rate her “well qualified” and “exceptionally well qualified.”

It’s easier to see the full scope of North’s record as a judge than it is to see the full scope of Ladd’s work “managing employment-related litigation” for Boeing and making sure the company complies with federal labor laws, but she said she worked on transgender issues, including instituting gender neutral bathrooms. And outside of her day job, she’s a fierce advocate for increasing gender equity in law. After the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of her mentees sent her an RGB doll as a token of thanks, which nearly warmed the shriveled cockles of the SECB’s cold dead heart. Like North, she agrees that the court system is racist, but she didn’t seem to have as firm of a grasp on which policies to change at the Superior Court level.

Though we waffled back and forth, we ultimately settled on North. He’s got more (and way more transparent) experience on the bench, and he’s an expert on the Superior Court’s particular little arcane rules. He’s also in a better position to change those rules in order to root out systemic racism, and to help steer the court through the changes it needs to prevent miscarriages of justice during the COVID crisis. Vote North.


Funding for Transit and Related Transportation Needs

Yes

Do you like the bus? Do you like it when the bus comes on time? We do too. That’s why we’re voting a big fat YES on City of Seattle Proposition 1. This funds Seattle’s Transit Benefit District (STBD), which funds bus service in the city (and 8% of King County Metro routes!), free ORCA cards for high school students, and low-income ORCA card programs. This year’s STBD will also fund transportation options on our new favorite island, West Seattle, since they’re dealing with that whole bridge thing (sorry, West Seattle). The funding is vital. And, thanks to the pandemic and to unsuccessful chair liberator Tim Eyman’s car tab tax cap, the STBD is going to be a whole lot smaller in 2020 than the last version we passed in 2014.

What you’re voting on is a 0.15% sales tax—a small increase to the existing 0.1% tax that expires this year—in order to preserve those pro-transit programs and buses that come every 15 minutes around the city. It’ll raise $42 million a year. This could have been a 0.2% tax but city officials didn’t want to impose a bigger regressive tax on people in the wake of an economic recession. Unfortunately, sales tax is pretty much the only way we can fund transit right now. We just *clenches fist* l o v e our state’s regressive tax system and the hoops it makes us jump through to fund things that matter!!!!!

Now, this new STBD isn’t going to give us as much transit service as we’d like to have because we can’t boost the funds with car tab fees (because fuck Tim Eyman), and because we have to spread that money thinner. Everything is a mess. We’ll need our state representatives to come up with more progressive funding options like congestion pricing so that we can keep transit and stay away from regressive fees. In the meantime, vote yes.

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