If you think living in bright blue Washington keeps you safe from theocratic Republican fuckery, then congratulations! You really have successfully checked out of the news cycle and started prioritizing yourself and your needs after a long period of isolation. Love that for you.

But if you didn’t have to set down your “Abort the Court” protest sign to read this, then it’s time to check back in. We have some news. 

If this year’s elections go the way election nerds think they could go, a red wave will crash over the Cascades and give the GOP one more seat in Congress, control of the Washington State House, and near parity in the state Senate. 

Goodbye, expanded abortion access and more LGBTQ+ rights! Hello, police state, drug war, election deniers, anti-vaxxers, corporate tax cuts, loud prudes, recalcitrant trolls, and the general stampede of nightmares that our state’s Democratic majorities barely keep at bay. 

But we do not have to bring back that much of the early aughts. We can have boot-cut jeans, bucket hats, and our civil liberties. All we have to do is pick the strongest candidates to advance through the upcoming August 2 primaries. If we do that, then we can actually slightly increase progressive majorities in Olympia and stop the Congressional bleeding ... a little. We'll at least be doing our part. 

Luckily for you, the Stranger Election Control Board has already done 99.9% of that work. We’ve grilled all the serious candidates running for state and federal offices, dug into their records, endlessly debated amongst ourselves, and produced the list of the candidates who can halt this red wave and start to turn the tide in favor of justice, bodily autonomy, and lower fucking rents.

All we ask in return is that you vote precisely the way we tell you to, donate to an abortion fund, and, if you have any money left over, contribute to our efforts to save you enough time to vote and pound a khachapuri in a single afternoon. (Sure, it's a lot of cheese for lunch. But live a little!)

Below, you’ll find all our arguments in favor of each candidate. But if you’re in a hurry, consult our trusty Cheat Sheet.

If you are registered to vote in King County, then your ballot should be in the mail at this very moment! Look for it to arrive by Monday, July 18. If it doesn’t arrive, then call King County Elections at 206-296-VOTE (8683) to see what’s up. If you’re not registered to vote for some reason, then register here. If you’re uncertain, then check your status on VoteWA. 

When the mail carrier drops the ballot in your mailbox, rip open the envelope, fill out the ballot with a pen, stuff it in its little envelope, and then mail it back ASAP — no need for a stamp. If you’d like to stretch your legs, then drop it in a nearby dropbox no later than 8 pm on August 2. 

And if your friends are black-pilled on voting because blah blah blah, then pump their fucking stomachs. Tell them we’ve never had the democratic system they’ve already lost faith in – we’re still building it. Tell them voting isn’t the only way to fix society’s problems, but it is one VERY EASY way to help — thanks mostly to people VOTING for politicians who fight to expand ballot access. And tell them their silence only helps the status quo that they hold responsible for ruining everything in the first place. And if they’ve got a problem with any of that, tell them they can talk to us. 

The Stranger Election Control Board is Matt Baume, Will Casey, Jas Keimig, Hannah Krieg, Charles Mudede, the tide pool that Jenny Durkan dropped her phone in, and Rich Smith. The SECB does not endorse in uncontested races, in races where only two candidates filed (those go straight to the general election! we’ll endorse in those races in October!!), or in races we forgot. 

By reading our endorsements, you accept the SECB’s terms of service. SECB endorsements are legally binding.

United States Senator 
Patty Murray

Long-time incumbent Democrat Sen. Patty Murray and her Republican challenger, Tiffany Smiley, have been engaging in some mom-on-mom crime. Smiley claims to be the “new mom in town,” an obvious jab at Murray for constantly calling herself a “mom in tennis shoes” to relate to the peasantry. 

At least here in Seattle, we know that being a mom with a “couple of kiddos” is really powerful stuff. But we ask that you refrain from voting strictly based on your mommy issues. This race is not about who is more mommy – the mommy dommy, if you will – but rather which one of these candidates will protect your right not to become one. 

Smiley is proudly anti-choice. After the Supreme Court pursued its forced-birth agenda, Smiley seemed glad that the states would get to decide how much they should deprive people with uteruses of essential health care. She also tried to paint Murray as some radical, pro-abortion extremist. 

We wish Murray was the extremist that Republicans believe she is. The senator has been in office since the 1990s. Though she’s defended abortion at the highest levels the whole time, Democratic majorities never codified Roe.

Murray did help pass the American Rescue Plan, though, which, among other things, gave Americans the third stimulus check. That vote brought the total direct aid to a whopping $3,200, which, as we all know, has kept everyone afloat to this very day.

If we elect her, she’ll continue to defend the right to choose, even if a red wave overtakes the Senate. She’s a little dependent on this idea of “voting harder” to keep abortion rights, but she said if we elect her and a bunch of other Democrats, we can worry a little less about defending abortion from Republicans, and she’d have a better chance at getting her bill to expand access to childcare off the ground. Vote Murray.

United States Representative

Congressional District 1
Suzan DelBene

As chair of the conservative New Democrat Coalition, Rep. Suzan DelBene leads the party’s corporate drones down the path of mealy-mouth centrism and inefficient incrementalism. That bloc has yet to find a universal program it didn’t want to means-test to death, nor a civility norm it didn’t cling to. 

For instance, the GOP already packed the Supreme Court, and DelBene is over here with this brave take on Court expansion: “You could expand the Court, but so could the Republicans if they’re in the White House….What happens if one side does and the other side does, too, how does that play out?” Good question! We said we’d call her after the Republicans take the Senate and do whatever the fuck they want anyway. 

That said, it’s not like DelBene has done nothing good during her decade in office. Last session, she led the charge to cut child poverty by increasing and expanding the child tax credit in one of the COVID relief bills. In 2020, she pushed through a landslide preparedness bill that shoveled more money into early detection systems and better topographical maps. With another two years, she’ll work with the probable Republican majority to stop insurance companies from delaying care to seniors on Medicare and to expand a tax credit to help build more affordable housing. 

Of course, as the Representative from Microsoft, we expect DelBene to continue fighting to slow down good anti-trust bills and to protect tech companies from civil lawsuits when they violate our rights. But she’s leaps and bounds better than all her challengers — insane Republicans to a man. The guy with the most money in the race is a culture war cop who writes pissy blog posts about the importance of upholding the gender binary. Vote DelBene.

United States Representative 
Congressional District 7
Pramila Jayapal

As chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, it’s up to Seattle Rep. Pramila Jayapal to save the Democrats from themselves. Since she clearly has much more work to do, we need to send her back to DC to keep building the progressive caucus — which swelled to more than 100 members during her tenure — and to keep pushing power players to change. 

We need her to keep pressing President Biden to enact his own agenda via executive order, so long as he refuses to play hardball with President Manchin. We also need her to keep pressing Biden to cancel student debt. And we need her to keep the ball rolling on Medicare for All, as she did when she convinced her colleagues to hold the first-ever hearing on the bill.

But we also need her to keep winning for Washingtonians and other people across the country. In the last few years, she got Biden to sign a bill that freed upwards of 60 million workers from contract language forcing them into arbitration to settle complaints of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. Along with Sen. Patty Murray and Leah Griffin, who happens to be running for a State House seat in the 34th Legislative District this year, she also got Biden to sign legislation that increases access to sexual assault examiners. 

Locally, she hounded Transportation Secretary Booty-Judge Judy Buttigieg to secure $11.2 million for the West Seattle Bridge, and she got $20 million for other transportation improvements in the infrastructure package. Not a bad haul alongside the $4 million in porkcommunity project funding” she brought back last year from the appropriations store. That money will help turn the Pacific Apartments into actual apartments for the homeless, fund restorative justice programs in south King County, and build a community center for the Coast Salish, among other things. 

And unlike SOME members of the progressive caucus, Jayapal doesn’t just play a progressive on TV. She uses her clout and her fundraising skills to fund progressive races in open seats across the country, and she’s even boosting moderates on the ropes. A no-brainer: Vote Jayapal.

United States Representative 
Congressional District 8
Kim Schrier 

Those who aim to stop the red wave in Washington should start knocking doors for Rep. Kim Schrier.

She decisively snatched the central WA district from the clutches of commercial real estate robot Dino Rossi back in 2018, but the place still looks purple as ever. Her support slipped by a point in 2020, and all forecasting bodies rate this year’s race a tossup. With that much blood in the water, the contest for the 8th has drawn the most “serious” Republican challengers of all the other races. 

Anti-choice Republican King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn leads the red team in terms of name recognition and nepotism; his mom used to represent the district in Congress. Jesse Jensen and Matt Larkin, a doof and a kook, respectively, are neck-and-neck in fundraising. Recently, Jensen spread false information on his YouTube page about the state’s capacity to “detain you or your family for anything regarding the Covid vaccine.” Larkin wouldn’t tell the Seattle Times whether he believed Joe Biden won the election. 

Meanwhile, Schrier is a pro-choice pediatrician who bends over backwards to work across the aisle. She’s hosted “almost” 100 town halls to hear concerns from all over the district. Trump and Biden have signed measures she’s worked on – mostly moderate tweaks on health care issues. 

To direct her pork-barrel spending requests, she said she convened an advisory board that included “Democrats, Republicans, business owners, environmentalists, and former mayors.” That bipartisan process returned $11 million to the district in the form of funding for water treatment facilities, repairs to a senior center in Enumclaw, and $700,000 for a treatment and mental health resource center in Auburn. 

No matter who’s holding the gavel next year, Schrier wants to focus her energies on creating sustainable forests and making relatively small but important changes to our broken health care system. We might not love Schrier’s slow, bipartisan approach, but we like it a hell of a lot more than Republican goonery. Vote Schrier.

United States Representative 
Congressional District 9
Adam Smith

Before you burn down our office building, hear us out. Yes, we are endorsing Adam Smith’s 14 millionth term in office. No, we are not happy about it. 

In fact, after we finalized the initial vote, chaos reigned. One member of the SECB threatened to remove their name from the entire endorsement package. Another did something worse: he convened a follow-up meeting.

Though we ideologically aligned with Smith’s lefty challenger, teacher and union leader Stephanie Gallardo, she did not demonstrate a strong command of the policies that get us up in the morning, nor did she produce realistic plans for navigating Congressional gridlock. After more than a year on the campaign trail, we were looking for a little more than bromides about needing to build the movement.

And though it makes us cringe to say this, we think that cutting off the head of the powerful House Armed Services Committee at this particular moment would probably make American foreign policy more hawkish. 

Assuming Rep. Rick Larsen continues his bid for leadership on the Transportation Committee, Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney would probably take Smith’s place as the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee due to seniority. Courtney is known regionally as “Two-Sub Joe” for bringing home two submarines to the base in his district. Unlike Smith, Two-Sub Joe is not even nominally in the Congressional Progressive Caucus. And unlike Smith, Two-Sub Joe voted for the unconscionable $23.9 billion increase to the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, the defense spending authorization bill that “must pass” every year. 

If 2022 looked to be the year progressives finally rose to power in Congress, giving them the ability to shake-up committees and move legislation, then encouraging you to vote Gallardo would be worth the risk of Two Sub Joe. But right now, we’re looking at an 87% chance of a red wave crashing into Congress, so we’d rather back an experienced negotiator to run interference in a powerful committee than a green dove starting up the ladder in some other committee.

So, vote Smith this year. But let’s make one thing clear: Adam Smith is a weasel.

In his capacity as chair of Armed Services, every year he leads negotiations on that defense package, and every year he finds some way to evade responsibility for the death and destruction it authorizes.

Though its price tag has risen by $30 billion during his tenure as chair, Smith only wants to take credit for the good stuff in the packages, including policies to reduce sexual assault in the military, to rechristen bases named for Confederate traitors, to create a paid family leave program for federal employees, and so forth. 

This weaselly disposition finds its purest expression in his foreign policy philosophy. He draws a nonexistent distinction between “domination” and “deterrence” when it comes to increasing the size of our arsenal. He agrees that we use sanctions “way too much” but believes they’ll work on Russia, who continues to grind Ukraine to a pulp each day despite heavy sanctions. He supports strong policy to end U.S. complicity with the Saudi war on Yemen when that policy is doomed to fail, but he hems and haws when quick action could be decisive. 

His weasel mode also extends to domestic policy. Though he’s a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he’s also been a member of the conservative New Democrat Coalition. Sure, he sponsors the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, but he does nothing meaningful to move those bills.  

Unlike his colleague, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, he fails to use his influence to build a progressive majority in Congress that would actually pass those bills. Roe’s death? Don’t blame him — he’s only been in Congress the last 25 years. Right-wing extremists taking over elections? He’s got nothing but a penchant for tone policing.

Ultimately, Smith is a standard Democrat in “progressive” clothing, but he knows which levers to pull to get some good stuff out of that miserable chamber. Vote Smith.

Secretary of State
Steve Hobbs

We want Steve Hobbs to keep his job as Secretary of State because we want him as far away as humanly possible from the Senate Transportation Committee. His decision to hold up key climate legislation in that committee slowed the state’s attempts to hit emissions reduction targets, which hurt Mother Nature!!! 

Luckily for the state’s election infrastructure, Hobbs actually has relevant experience to fill this role effectively. As a lieutenant colonel in the Washington State National Guard, he’s got experience running large operations and combating security threats. As someone who studied at the Department of Defense’s information school, he’s equipped with the skills to squash misinformation and disinformation circulated by GOP nutjobs and Russian trolls with cute usernames. And as an extremely centrist lawmaker, he knows how to move legislation through Olympia and who to call when it stops. 

Though he’s only held the job for a little while, he’s already acted on some good ideas to improve turnout, including a text messaging program that contacts people with rejected ballots and a trusted-messenger program to increase voter outreach statewide. He says he’s also mostly defused a Republican conspiracy theory about Albert sensors, tools counties use to track election data. 

The other candidates are far-right Republicans, but nonpartisan candidate Julie Anderson’s years of experience overseeing elections as Pierce County’s auditor showed through in her thorough answers to our questions. However, we part ways when she starts stumping for the biggest plank in her platform: creating more nonpartisan races for election offices.* 

Though her emphasis on creating more “nonpartisan” races sounds like a smart way to reduce tribalism, it’s not. A 2007 study found nonpartisan races benefit the minority party. Since Republicans represent a minority in WA, switching couple one statewide race to “nonpartisan” and working to increase nonpartisan prevalence down-ballot the number of nonpartisan county auditors, as Anderson says she wants to do, would effectively help the GOP. 

And when people don’t see a D or an R next to a candidate’s name, white supremacy fills the information gap. Just ask WA State Supreme Court Justice Steven González. In 2012, 43% of voters in his ~nonpartisan~ race chose a totally unqualified opponent just because he had a white-sounding name. 

You know what else helps the GOP? Testifying against a bill to add ballot drop boxes to college campuses, which Anderson did back in 2013. Suddenly, Anderson doesn’t seem so “nonpartisan” to us. Vote Hobbs.

* This endorsement originally misstated Anderson's view on increasing the number of statewide nonpartisan races. She only wants to make the Secretary of State nonpartisan. We regret the error. 

Legislative District No. 5
Representative Position No. 1
Bill Ramos

Many expect this year to hurt for down-ballot Dems, but Rep. Bill Ramos plans to overcome with the strategy that landed him in this east King County seat during 2018’s blue wave: knocking as many doors as possible.

Ramos could probably win support at the doors simply by standing there and projecting the Boy-Scout-Troop-Leader energy that beams out of him, but he won’t. He’ll point to his support for some suburban-friendly transportation measures, including pushing for funding to expand Highway 18 (yuck) and pushing for pedestrian safety improvements on Maple Valley’s Highway 169 (nice).

He may not be a dyed-in-the-wool Seattle progressive, but this one’s not complicated–especially because he’s running against a Loren Culp stan, a Dino Rossi acolyte, and a guy who besmirches the good name of elves by identifying as a member of “The Elven Way Party” and calling for us to “coagulate into well regulated communities of fervent character growth.” No thanks! Vote Ramos.

Legislative District No. 30
State Senator
Claire Wilson

While she portrays herself as a common sense-oriented consensus-builder, Claire Wilson isn’t afraid to draw a line in the sand against the increasingly deranged assaults on basic human decency coming from today’s Republican party. She absolutely refuses to tolerate any attempts to roll back abortion rights or villainize the LGBTQ+ community, which seems like a low bar to clear, but this is the world we live in. 

Wilson understands that one reasonable reaction to a housing crisis is to repair the social safety net to meet people’s basic needs, not throw them away because visible poverty makes homeowners uncomfortable. To that end, she wants to double down on investing in crisis recovery centers. She also wants to prioritize funding for a public health approach to people with substance use disorders instead of returning to the failed policies of the War on Drugs. Plus, if you check out her personal Facebook page, she documents her door-belling trips across her district with idyllic pictures of yonic rocks and landscaping, which is pretty cool. 

And all of that is certainly more than we can say for her opponents. One of them wants to turn people without housing into scapegoats for Federal Way’s perceived increase in crime, and the other blames the teachers in Uvalde for failing to secure their school. We’ll take a Senator with some basic human decency any day of the week–and twice on Election Day. Vote Wilson.

Legislative District No. 30
Representative Position No. 1
Jamila E. Taylor

House Rep. Jamila Taylor has only worked in the Legislature for two years, but she’s quickly risen up the ranks. 

Last year, her colleagues elected her chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, where she helped organize legislative victories while also steering her colleagues through the Legislature’s “toxic” work environment, to borrow a phrase from former Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley, who declined to run for reelection this year due to the bullshit she faced from a system built for people with gobs of time and/or money.

In light of all that, Taylor aims to leverage her burgeoning clout to pass progressive taxes that balance our tax code on the backs of the wealthy rather than the poor, restore the safety net she says the pandemic “set on fire,” and build more housing to give people in marginalized communities a foothold in the market.

We trust her to deliver on some of that stuff because she’s already made a habit of keeping her promises. In 2020, she promised to protect renters in the Legislature, and in 2021 she supported bills to extend just-cause protections statewide and to provide rental assistance and mediation programs to hold off an eviction tsunami. She also spearheaded a couple common-sense bills to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

A handful of doofuses have challenged her, including a Republican veteran who implies that he’s afraid to go shopping “after dark,” a cop who apparently wants to contribute to the woeful shortage by spending his winters in Olympia, and someone who has raised zero dollars. Big yawns all around. Vote Taylor. 

Legislative District No. 30
Representative Position No. 2
Kristine Reeves

Kristine Reeves should return to her post in the State House as a representative of Federal Way because she boasts the most experience in this race, and because her views on tenant protections have finally come into alignment with her district’s views–or so it appears. 

Though Reeves couldn’t be bothered to back modest eviction protections during her 2.5 terms in the House, she’s since changed her tune. She now supports bills that would lift the statewide ban on rent control and cut down on rent-gouging, which makes sense given Federal Way’s overwhelming support for renter protections. 

As for increasing housing supply and therefore housing affordability: She wants to sanction cities that consistently fail to meet affordable housing targets, but she’s only “open to the concept” of legalizing more housing within 1/2 mile of rapid transit. Not exactly the line we were looking for, but not a flat-out denial. 

First AME Church Pastor Carey Anderson, on the other hand, supported legalizing apartments everywhere statewide, and he convinced us that he’d stand up for the district’s working poor. However, he struggled to think of concrete policies that would actually expand and protect abortion rights. Reeves quickly ticked off a handful. She wants to close scammy “crisis pregnancy” clinics across the state and push for guaranteed universal Plan B access. We want that, too. Vote Reeves. 

Legislative District No. 32
State Senator
Jesse Salomon 

Shoreline progressives, set your calendar reminders for January 2026. Do it now, we’ll wait.

Back? Great. You’ve got four years to find a better butt to fill your Senate seat than Jesse Salomon. Hell, if you’re a candidate from a neighboring district who sees an opportunity here, send the SECB an email and at least one of us will help you move. Jesse Salomon sucks, and he’s only getting the nod because his opponent came across as wholly unprepared for the job during our endorsement interview. 

Aside from protecting salmon habitats, Salomon doesn’t have much to point to as proof of his effectiveness in Olympia. He sponsored a pretty good psychedelic mushroom legalization bill that got turned into a task force. He also sponsored a decent bill that would set some statewide standards for how police departments investigate serious misconduct. HOWEVER. He didn’t do the work to calm the nerves of uneasy organized labor groups who perceived that bill as a threat to collective bargaining, so it died in committee. If he gets that thing passed, we’ll repent. But we’re skeptical. After all, he’s the only former public defender we’ve ever heard begin a sentence with the phrase “When I talk to police officers…” and not end it with a profanity-laced tirade. Vote Salomon, but only because the SECB doesn’t believe in leaving any race on your ballot blank.

Legislative District No. 34
State Senator
Joe Nguyen 

The State Legislature should be overjoyed that Joe Nguyen lost to Silver Fox Dow Constantine in the race for King County Executive. After all, he’s proven himself to be a pretty progressive lawmaker, and he’s one of the few elected officials at the Capitol who knows how computers work, which was clutch during the remote sessions.

In office, Nguyen passed a bill to make the state’s welfare program slightly more generous when unemployment is bad, signed onto the Working Families Tax Credit, and helped push the capital gains tax. If reelected, he hopes to pick up where he left off. Name any progressive cause–eliminating single-family zoning, moving to even-year elections, decriminalizing simple possession of all drugs–and he’s supported the bill to do it! 

Those of you who question his commitment to the district after his unsuccessful run for King County Executive should know his competition is pretty weak. Freshy's Cafe owner Amber Bennett put her name in the hat for the position as a fiscally conservative, socially liberal independent. When we spoke with her, she didn’t take a clear stance on almost any question, and said she needed to do more research. The competition only gets worse from there. No offense, Goodspaceguy. Vote Nguyen.

Legislative District No. 34
Representative Position No. 1
Emily Alvarado

The endorsement meeting for this West Seattle seat got pretty heated. No two candidates approached the SECB meeting with as much intensity and expertise as former Seattle Office of Housing Director Emily Alvarado and librarian and advocate Leah Griffin. Not much separates the two candidates on the issues, but they occupy different niches. 

Griffin is a longtime advocate for survivors of sexual violence. She helped Rep. Tina Orwall address the state’s rape kit backlog, and she inspired Sen. Patty Murray to introduce the Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act. Parts of that bill got slipped into the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which President Biden signed in March.

She brings a unique, near-abolition approach to combatting sexual violence, which would serve as a strong counter to Republicans constantly using rape victims as a pawn in their never-ending quest to put more people in jail. 

Alvarado demonstrates a keen focus on housing, and though at times she slipped into bureaucratic nothingspeak to describe her policy ideas, she impressively got down to brass tacks real quick when pressed. 

Sure, she worked for Durkan, but she played an active role in pushing Seattle and the state to ban evictions during the pandemic. The SECB has previously demanded that Washington voters transform one-third of the Legislature into Rep. Nicole Macri clones, and Alvarado has the potential to be another Macri.

While Griffin said she would champion the same housing policies Alvarado proposed, Alvarado said she would champion the same survivor policies Griffin proposed. Washington’s housing crisis pushed us over the edge. Vote Alvarado.

Legislative District No. 36
Representative Position No. 1
Julia G. Reed

The Ballard-area Democrats could not get their shit together before the filing deadline, and so the SECB had to choose between four Pod Save America types with nearly identical policy positions–and also Waylon Robert, a gay union booster with an unplaceable drawl and the vibe of a guy who is one personal tragedy away from packing up his bindle and hopping on the next freight train to god knows where for god knows how long, but, man, sometimes, when that railroad calls you answer. 

Robert loves the cops and cop unions, so we passed. (But god bless and keep rollin’, brother.) Jeff Manson and Tyler Crone opposed eliminating single-family zoning statewide, so we eliminated them from consideration. (Crone: We mustn't “disrupt the fabric of our neighborhoods.” Yuck.) 

Of the remaining candidates, Julia G. Reed, an equity consultant who worked in Durkan’s policy shop (before the war), won out.

Like Nicole Gomez, a Universal Health Care Commissioner who’s lobbied on good health care bills in Olympia, Reed wants to tax the rich, lift the ban on rent control, pass anti-rent-gouging legislation, decriminalize simple possession of all drugs, decriminalize sex work, protect abortion access, and set up a universal health care system yesterday. But Reed sold her support of those policies with more gusto, and we think that skill will (hopefully) help her garner more sponsors in the House.

Unlike Gomez, however, Reed apparently sold herself to the Seattle Times Editorial Board as a legislator who would make “business a part of the solution,” and who wished the Democratic party didn’t beat up on the Catholic church so much, according to her opponents. In a follow-up interview, she assured the SECB that she wanted to include businesses in the solution but also tax them. She added that her defense of the Church did not extend to all the child rape and anti-abortion stuff. That explanation was enough for most of us. 

At the end of the day, we need more people in the Legislature like Reed, who is not afraid to draw attention to her own burp at an endorsement meeting. Vote Reed. 

Legislative District No. 37
Representative Position No. 2
Chipalo Street

Chipalo Street is a Microsoft tech manager and landlord who drew an endorsement from former seat-warmer Rep. Eric Pettigrew. So, uh, yeah, no one is more surprised about this pick than we are. But during our endorsement meeting, Street wouldn’t stop giving us the best answers to our questions. 

Though he’s a landlord, he supports lifting the statewide ban on rent control and passing anti-rent-gouging legislation. One of his properties drew a complaint from the City of Bonney Lake, but when we looked into the issue we ended up blaming the City for its lazy code enforcement. (The City stopped by 1.5 months after Street bought a trashed place and cited him for the previous owner’s shit.) Moreover, the legal fallout from that complaint only revealed to Street the difficulties of adding units to a home, which reaffirmed his stance on increasing density statewide and thus our faith in him. 

Though he’s now a tech manager, he says he’s also been a union member who once participated in a work stoppage.

And though he’s not an abolitionist like former Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley, who held this seat last year, he grounds his support for more police accountability in his experience of getting beaten by the cops in college for not showing them his ID. 

The other candidates have lived and learned experience that would serve the Legislature well, too. Andrew Ashiofu is an HIV+ Nigerian immigrant who has experienced homelessness and who now serves as chair of Seattle’s LGBTQ Commission when he’s not working as a flight attendant. Then there’s instructor and consultant Nimco Bulale. She said her mother and eight siblings came to Seattle as refugees and experienced the housing affordability crisis firsthand as disaster gentrification pushed them out of the city to Burien. We also admired King County Equity Now’s Emijah Smith, a longtime advocate for the community who wants to tax the rich.

The fact that we have four good candidates running in this district but have to settle for the Larry Springers of the world elsewhere (see below) makes us feel bad on the inside, but Street edges out the others. Adding another House Democrat who knows how computers work will help that creaky institution function more efficiently. We also expect his experience to add to non-tech policy conversations in meaningful ways. During our discussion, for example, he proposed passing legislation to secure data privacy for users of period-tracking apps.

Vote Street, but if he slips up and starts working in his own class interest, then any of his competitors would be worthy of knocking him out in a couple years.

Legislative District No. 41
Representative Position No. 2
My-Linh T. Thai

You wouldn’t expect a Bellevuer representing Mercer Island to be a lefty, but Rep. My-Linh Thai has given the 41st Legislative District a good name for the past four years. 

Since the last time we endorsed her, Thai has been busy becoming the U.S. Supreme Court's worst nightmare. Before the Democrats started begging for our vote by promising to protect and expand abortion access post-Roe, Thai passed a bill requiring student health plans to cover abortion if they already cover maternity care. She also led the charge on the Affirm Washington Abortion Access Act, which extended the right to abortion to people of all genders and incentivized trained, qualified health care workers to offer abortion care. But she’s far from a one-trick pony. Thai also sponsored the Working Families Tax Credit, a law returning between $300 and $1,200 in taxes to very low-income residents. That bill passed after over a decade of hard work from her and her predecessors. 

If elected, Thai wants to expand health care access and mental health coverage, address behavioral health problems in school, and help renters afford to live where they want to live. Vote Thai. 

Legislative District No. 45
Representative Position No. 2
Larry Springer 

Rep. Larry Springer suuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. Since he first started representing Kirkland in 2004, he has consistently served the interests of corporations and the landed gentry. Remember that time he sponsored a bill to give tax breaks to people selling private planes? We’ll never forget. And we’re still waiting for our invitation to drink at his wine bar, “The Grape Choice.” 

During his (understandably) reluctant interview with the SECB, he argued his case for reelection by declaring himself the most bipartisan legislator in the state. Not exactly a winning argument for us, especially when the other partisans want to force pregnancy, watch the acid seas rise, read bad novels constantly, etc. 

It’s not like he’s done nothing good in a bipartisan fashion, though. With unanimous ~bipartisan support~ last session, he passed a bill to spend $125 million every two years in perpetuity for wildfire suppression, mitigation, recovery and forest health. That’s good! However, he also told Rep. Jessica Bateman to chill out on her “missing middle” housing bill to avoid causing a “civil war” with critics in rural areas. That’s not good. 

If we elect him, he’ll work with Bateman to pass a compromise housing bill, do something about our regressive tax system (he was lukewarm on the wealth tax and gave a firm "no" on raising the estate tax, lol, but he suggested cutting sales taxes in half), and he’ll do something to protect salmon. 

Still, he’s SOMEHOW better than his competition. One challenger is a no-name Republican with no funding, and the other is QAnoner Amber Krabach, who received her greatest political honor when Daily Kos named her “Crazy/Stupid Republican of the Day” last July. 

Springer said Stranger readers should vote for him because he’s not them. Compelling stuff. Vote Springer.

Legislative District No. 46
State Senator
Javier Valdez 

Rep. Javier Valdez is a Democrat with a sunny disposition, an earnest commitment to racial justice, and a love of Ezell’s fried chicken that matches the SECB’s own. 

But that’s about all the nice stuff we have to say about him. 

The big legislative accomplishments he bragged about took carceral approaches to fighting hate crimes, preventing swatting, banning high capacity magazine production, and attempting to ban assault weapons. While he doesn’t regret backing that legislation, he’s since found religion on restorative justice approaches, and he agrees that increasing jail time for crimes doesn’t do much to deter them. We hope he keeps the faith, but we’ll see.

He’s also wishy-washy on hard decisions he’ll have to make as a senator. He made incomprehensible mouth noises when asked how to address the state’s 200,000-unit affordable housing deficit, and while he was generally amenable to taxing the rich, he deferred all details to work groups.

While he doesn’t want to legalize apartments on all lots statewide “yet,” he would vote for the “missing middle” bill to expand housing options near transit, which is a start.

All that said, Valdez boasts more relevant experience and qualifications for the position than his challenger, Matt Gross, a King County Prosecutor who is singularly focused on housing policy. We agreed with most of Gross’s positions, but his ideas for funding sources were half-baked, he was a little too cautious on anti-rent-gouging legislation, and we didn’t love his Nordic model leanings on sex work decriminalization. Vote Valdez.

Legislative District No. 46
Representative Position No. 2
Darya Farivar 

You know that feeling you get when you flip your pillow to the cold side in the middle of the night? That’s how we feel about Darya Farivar. Refreshed. Rejuvenated. Relieved. 

The competition in the 46th Legislative District, which covers northeast Seattle, was stiff. The candidates agreed on most issues. But Lelach Rave, a pediatrician who boasts an endorsement from the disaster that is Seattle City Councilmember Sara Nelson, lost us when she started sympathizing with “mom-and-pop landlords” and asking for “more nuance” on legalizing all housing options statewide. On the other end of the spectrum, Melissa Taylor impressed us with her deep knowledge of the issues, especially when it came to addressing the state’s affordable housing deficit. We also liked Nancy Connolly, a doctor who expressed real frustration with the Legislature’s lack of urgency on fixing the very fixable issue of homelessness. 

But Farivar, the director of public policy for Disability Rights Washington and the daughter of Iranian immigrants who fled to the US during the revolution, rose above the other candidates when the SECB asked if the state should ban assault weapons. In our previous endorsement meetings, Democrats usually gave an easy “yes,” but Farivar pushed our question further, adding that this type of gun control policy shouldn’t make exceptions for police. We agreed. The other candidates jumped on board with Farivar’s proposal, but her willingness to push milquetoast Democrat policies further spoke to how she would legislate in Olympia. Vote Farivar.

Legislative District No. 47
State Senator
Claudia Kauffman

Back in 2006, this south King County district elected Claudia Kauffman to serve as the first Native American woman in the state Senate. We want her back in Olympia because she proved herself to be more knowledgeable on the issues than her Democratic competition, Kent City Councilmember Satwinder Kaur.

We also think Kauffman’s positions on those issues will make the 47th a greener, more affordable place to live. Unlike Kaur, Kauffman supported ending new highway construction and lifting the statewide ban on rent control.

Kauffman also managed to refrain from apparently lying to our faces, which was a nice touch! 

During an interview, Kaur tried to evade responsibility for voting to put cops back in Kent schools. At first, she twice told us that the Kent City Council did not have any “jurisdiction” over that decision. When a slightly baffled Kauffman pointed out that the council did, in fact, have jurisdiction over the decision, and that they did, in fact, decide to use that power to unanimously approve a contract that would return cops to the classroom, Kaur walked back her statement and confirmed the obvious and widely reported truth.

Kaur added that she wasn’t “100% in support of” cops in schools, but she voted for the contract anyway because “it’s something that parents and families here in the 47th have asked for.” That statement may be true, but more than 1,000 participants—including “parents, students, teachers, district staff and community residents,” according to the Kent Reporter—responded to a school survey asking for input on the matter. Most of the “eight themes that emerged” from that survey supported alternatives to police when dealing with disciplinary action in schools. So some “parents and families” in the 47th asked the district not to spend money cuffing their kids in the lunchroom, too–Kaur just did not want to represent those voices. Which is fine! But there’s no need to suggest those other parents didn't exist. 

Now, the contest in this purple district will be tough. Republican Bill Boyce is a compelling candidate. He rose up from segregated schools in North Carolina, and now he works as the first Black man elected to the Kent City Council. He is also very conservative. He loves cops and he hates WA Cares, a first-in-the-nation benefit that helps the elderly afford nursing homes and at-home caregivers. With plenty of money and GOP establishment backing, he’ll likely advance through the primary. To defeat his campaign, the 47th will need a strong challenger who doesn’t mince words. Vote Kauffman.

Legislative District No. 47
Representative Position No. 1
Debra Jean Entenman

Rep. Debra Entenman said her votes in support of comprehensive sex education and gun safety were “difficult” to take in her arguably swingy district, but she took them anyway because she believed they were right. That’s the kind of courage we want to see walking the halls of the Capitol.

We also want her to finish the work she started on police accountability. After a cop murdered George Floyd, she sponsored the bill to create the state’s Office of Independent Investigations. That agency will deploy independent investigators to check out deadly force incidents, preventing (recent or current) cops from covering for their comrades. 

Though constitutionality concerns slowed her roll on a bill to create an independent prosecutor to go after cops who kill, she plans to propose legislation that passes legal muster soon. 

While we strongly disagree with Entenman’s support for charter schools, her Republican opponents suck on that score and every other. On his truly demented website, Jessie Ramsey calls Entenman a “Democrat potato.” What? Meanwhile, the Republican establishment is throwing burgeoning perennial candidate Kyle Lyebyedyev at the wall again to see if he sticks. Don’t let him. Vote Entenman.

Legislative District No. 47
Representative Position No. 2
Shukri Olow

Shukri Olow, who runs the Seattle Human Services Department’s youth and family empowerment division, comes out ahead of her major competitor, Auburn City Councilmember Chris Stearns, mostly because of her commitment to a moratorium on climate-killing highway expansions. Though Stearns also impressed us with his green bona fides, we must stop adding highway miles to this state, and Olow promises to stand against that. 

But our choice didn't hinge on that threshold question alone. Her emphasis on creating more affordable housing, fully funding public education, and cutting childcare costs are all rooted in personal and professional experience, and the Legislature desperately needs the expertise she’s developed while working on those issues within city and county departments. 

Plus, if Democrats want to hold this district, they’ll need to knock on as many doors as possible. Republican banker Carmen Goers currently leads the fundraising in this race by a mile, thanks to major contributions from the state House Republicans, commercial landlords, landlord-landlords, banks, and other groups who profit from the exploitation of the poor. Olow’s current campaign operation outshines Stearns’s, giving us the confidence that she’ll have the stronger campaign going into the general. Vote Olow.