In the run-up to the August 2 primary election, the Stranger Election Control Board endorsed Erin Jones in the race for superintendent of public instruction—the top education office in this state.
Members of the SECB were impressed by Jones’s powerful comments about being the mother of black children and her commitment to fighting for equity. We were also excited about the groundbreaking potential of her candidacy, since Jones, if elected, would be the first African American woman to hold statewide office.
But it has since become very clear that Jones is dangerously behind the curve when it comes to understanding LGBTQ issues—and how educational leaders should respond to new state curriculum guidelines related to gender and sexuality.
In addition, during an August 25 interview with The Stranger, Jones declined to answer directly when asked whether she thinks being gay is a sin. And in a late August endorsement interview with Equal Rights Washington (ERW), the largest group advocating for LGBTQ rights in this state, Jones reportedly talked about LGBTQ identity as a “lifestyle.”
Because she has shown such a high degree of unacceptable, harmful ignorance when it comes to the intersection of LGBTQ equality and education policy, we rescind our endorsement of Jones and will be backing her opponent, Chris Reykdal, in the general election.
Reykdal is a former educator and Tumwater school board member, and he's an unambiguous champion of LGBTQ equality in public education.
Vote Reykdal this November, and look for our full endorsement of his candidacy on October 19, when the Stranger Election Control Board will release all of our picks (plus a handy cheat sheet!) for the general election.