Attend a forum tonight to learn more about the candidates hoping to replace Pramila Jayapal representing the 37th District in the state senate.
Attend a forum tonight to learn more about the candidates hoping to replace Pramila Jayapal in Olympia. courtesy of pramila jayapal

With Pramila Jayapal's election to Congress last month—a small bright spot on an otherwise completely fucked election night—her seat in the Washington State Senate is up for grabs.

Jayapal's district, the 37th, is a majority-minority district that includes the Central District, Chinatown-International District, a large swath of South Seattle, and Renton. On Monday, the 37th District Democrats will appoint Jayapal's replacement. At a forum tonight, most of the candidates in the running will outline their priorities for the district.

Nine candidates are in the running (two others recently said they're no longer seeking the appointment). A few particularly notable names:

• Rebecca Saldaña, executive director of Puget Sound Sage

• Rory O'Sullivan, an attorney with the Housing Justice Project and current chair of the 37th LD Democrats

• Sheley Secrest, a vice president and chair of economic development at the Seattle King County NAACP

• Juan Cotto, manager of community outreach at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and El Centro de La Raza board president

• Jesse Wineberry, a former state rep who this year unsuccessfully ran for congress

Also in the running are Shasti Conrad, John Stafford, Chukundi Salisbury, and Jessica McKercher.

During her time in the Republican-controlled state senate, Jayapal found ways to get things done outside of the legislative process when Republicans blocked her legislative efforts. With Republicans still holding control of the state senate, her replacement will need to be able to do the same to deliver for South Seattle. Jayapal was also the only woman of color in the state senate.

Over at the South Seattle Emerald, Cliff Cawthon has a good overview of the district and the importance of the appointment:

King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, the last living member of the legendary “Gang of Four” civil rights leaders shared his perspective on how important this appointment is:

“In being an activist and a member of the 37th LD Democrats since 1973, I don’t see the major issues that confront the constituents of the 37th having changed much, but the constituencies of the 37th are changing…issues in the 80s and 90s are still going,” he noted.

“Whoever gets elected will have to deal with these issues, particularly the school to prison pipeline. According to Mayor Murray, 55 percent of Black youngsters under the age of 18 live below the poverty level. They are at extreme risk for being cannon fodder, expelled and jailed within the criminal justice system.”

Hear more from the candidates vying for the seat tonight at 7 pm at the Rainier Arts Center.

This post has been updated to include the names of all nine candidates.