Do you have your ballot? No, seriously. Grab your ballot, a pen, a beverage and settle in for a rundown of our critical races across Seattle and South King County. If you're in a hurry or you don't live in Seattle or South King County take a look at our General Endorsements here.
The Seattle Slate
Teresa Mosqueda for Seattle City Council, Position 8
Teresa is one of us. She comes from a family of union educators and is a proud member of OPEIU Local 8. Teresa has a passion for the
principles sacred to union members, our freedom to negotiate a fair return on our work, our right to quality, affordable health care, and
expanding protections for workers to retire with dignity. Teresa's vast experience and innovative ideas include:
• Serving on the Washington State Healthcare Exchange Board, negotiating healthcare for all Washingtonians.
• Implementing Apple Health for Kids for our state's children.
• Helping to author and leading the campaign on the statewide paid leave and $13.50 minimum wage increase, I-1433.
• Investing in more "Housing First" models to get those experiencing homelessness into homes immediately.
• Expanding investments in community land trusts, affordable co-housing, co-ops and subsidized housing models.
Lorena González for Seattle City Council, Position 9
Councilwoman González is running for her second term. Seattle residents and the state have Councilwoman González to thank for the paid leave legislation that came out of Olympia in 2017. González's efforts to enact a city-wide ordinance forced state officials to finally act.
Lorena led the effort to protect the right of workers to live balanced lives by ushering the cities Secure Scheduling law through City
Council. The ordinance provides:
• Two-week advance notice of schedule changes.
• Flexibility for workers to swap shifts to keep the workplace in balance when life calls.
• Access to additional hours for part-time workers before additional part-timers are brought on.
• Minimum 10 hours between shifts, ending the abusive use of clopenings (close at 2 a.m. and open at 6 a.m.
Jenny Durkan for Mayor of Seattle
Jenny has a long history of representing unions and workers in their fight for justice. She’s taken on the Freedom Foundation hindering
their efforts to destroy unions. She’s represented workers who were exposed to asbestos and contracted asbestos-related illnesses.
Durkan's "Seattle Promise" initiative tackles key issues that move the needle towards creating equity within our city, they include:
• Free college tuition to attend Washington's community and technical colleges for Seattle public high school students.
• Strengthening apprenticeship training and utilization, and expanding the priority hire ordinance.
• Enacting a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights that establishes minimum pay and benefit standards across the industry, protecting one of the most precarious workforces in our city.
• Protections for gig economy workers that secure their right to collectively bargain and takes an in-depth look at mechanisms for retirement savings and portable benefits.
King County, Veterans, Seniors & Human Services Levy
First adopted in 2005, this levy has served more people in each year, averaging more than 35,000 per year since 2012. The current levy has provided more than 15,000 counseling hours to veterans and their families, and essential services to at-risk members of the community. With the renewal of Prop. 1, King County voters can count on the continuation of the following services:
• Connecting military veterans, active duty, and their family members to housing, healthcare, and employment assistance programs.
• Empowering seniors to stay in their homes by expanding housing programs and providing tax relief to low-income seniors.
• Serving the whole community by providing housing, health care resources to domestic violence survivors, new mothers, young families, and those looking to get back on their feet.
Auburn is the 4th largest city in the state with a population of over 70,000. The largest parts manufacturing plant in the world is located within the city limits (guess who?) and it's only fitting that a member of the Aerospace Machinists 751 would be running for City Council. For those who don't know, Larry Brown (Auburn City Council, Pos. 6) has been in the aerospace industry for more than 40 years and is a staple in the labor movement. Currently, he serves as the Legislative and Political Director of IAM District Lodge 751, and his work in this area has allowed him to develop strong relationships with state and federal lawmakers which will go a long way towards benefiting the people of Auburn. Read more.
As an Organizing Coordinator for Teamsters Local 117, Pedro Olguin (Burien City Council, Pos. 1) is no stranger to politics, he is a Delegate of the MLKCLC and a leader in one of the largest unions in the state. Olguin characterizes the role that council members should play in facilitating workers freedom to join in union like this, "our elected officials need to push policies at every level of government that advances workers' right to organize such as labor peace agreements in new community benefit agreements, especially at the local municipal level." To Pedro, it's important for union members to become candidates because for too long we have put our hope into "lukewarm candidates who pass as allies."
Jimmy Matta (Burien City Council, Pos. 3) is a member of Carpenters Local 41 and a Project Manager for Alcantar and Associates, a union general contractor. On the job, he manages budgets, people, and personalities, which are excellent skills for a councilman. Small minority business procurement and smart development are important to Matta, "when we give public land away at market rate; we'd better have family sustaining jobs as a trade off. That is how we bring balance to Burien; this imbalance has created fear." Matta has fond memories of what joining the union meant for his life trajectory, "when I had the chance to join I was so proud of the money I was making and wanted to open doors for those who perhaps didn't speak English," Matta said. Read more.
Krystal Marx (Burien City Council, Pos. 7) spends her days cultivating relationships, researching opportunities for engagement, and bringing people together– all skills that should translate well into the role of councilwoman. "My years of project management and coalition building will be a huge asset on the Burien City Council," said Marx. "We need Council Members who will serve on local committees, forge relationships with neighboring municipalities, and be able to think outside the box to accomplish our goals while also tracking initiatives to make sure they come to completion and are in alignment with the City's vision." Read more.
Chad Harper (Des Moines City Council, Pos. 7) feels the current City Council hasn't done enough to engage citizens, "People feel like they don't have a voice in the decisions being made," he said. It should come as no surprise that his biggest issue is rethinking citizen engagement. "We don’t accomplish anything just by sitting in a chair in city hall. We do it by engaging citizen and advocacy groups." As an aspiring teacher, currently working towards his Masters in Elementary Education, Harper feels that teaching and politics are similar. "You have to explain things to people who don’t always want to hear what you have to say, but at the end of the day you have to trust you’re doing the right thing," Harper stated. Read more.
"Do nothing for us, without us," is a message that resonates for Jesse Johnson (Federal Way City Council, Pos. 2) it means that city leadership should be working with residents to address the issues. Raised in Federal Way and a product of Federal Way High School, Jesse (pictured at right with Congressman Adam Smith) has been in the city most of his life and knows firsthand what's needed. According to Jesse, "There is a difference between surviving and living. Far too many of our residents are struggling to survive. If we are truly a city 'centered on opportunity' we must deliver on that promise by becoming more aware of the barriers that all our communities face including youth, seniors, and families." Read more.
Dana Ralph (Mayor of Kent) wants to take the helm. She has been on the City Council for the past six years, two of them as Council president. Her experience has her ready to lead the city over the next four years. Ralph finds her greatest strength is in working collaboratively to find the best solutions, “We have had an unsustainable budget for several years now,” Ralph explains. “I will start immediately working with the community to define the services they demand and what they are willing to let go. These are conversations that must occur quickly to [have] a plan developed.” Read more.
For Satwinder Kaur (Kent City Council, Position 2)service is integral to who she is, a board member of Living Well Kent, an organization focused on creating a healthier, more equitable and sustainable city; treasurer of the Greater Kent Historical Society; and rank-and-file of many organizations across South King. Being a daughter of immigrants, and living all but one year of her life as a Kent resident, gives her an insiders view on the needs of Kent residents. From Kaur's point of view, the council doesn't take into account the needs and concerns of all residents, only those who can vote, and she wants to change that. Satwinder wants all of Kent's residents to feel safe and will do her part to ensure police officers are trained to work with the community to gain their trust. Read more
SEIU 775 member Tye Whitfield (Kent City Council, Position 4) further answers the question about organizing, “I think we need to expand and strengthen our enforcement, worker education, and oversight programs in King County. Retaliation and the lack of penalties for employers make it increasingly difficult for workers to stand up for themselves and their peers. The uberization of our economy has left workers without a lot of options, often stuck in a cycle of being underpaid and under-valued when they cannot afford to quit or strike.” Read more.
General Election Endorsements
Looking for more local labor news? You can count on the Washington State Labor Council’s online publication, The Stand, to keep you informed.