In an email to MLK Labor Council staff and the executive board, Seattle Police Officer Guild (SPOG) President Kevin Stuckey gave his "full support" to Zachary DeWolf, the Seattle School Board member challenging Kshama Sawant in District 3. SPOG is a member of the labor council, and Stuckey is one of its five elected trustees.
Stuckey also urged the labor council to give DeWolf their full endorsement in the race. Though the email was sent last week, Stuckey's support may go some way in explaining the "split" that prevented the labor organization from reaching the 2/3 support from its members that it needed to make an endorsement in the race back in May.
Charlie Lapham, communications director for the labor council, told me that the race in District 3 has been competitive for the union's members. "A number of different unions have weighed in—a few on the side of Sawant and a few on the side DeWolf," he said, adding, "every union is independent, and every board member is independent, and they make their own decisions." The council will hold their endorsement vote for District 3 later tonight, following its District 6 candidate forum. I'll update this post when I learn more on that.
Update: Sawant did not get an endorsement from MLK Labor Council, the Stranger has learned. DeWolf got it with 74% percent voting for the motion to endorse.
Though Stuckey claimed he only met with DeWolf six months before he ran for the school board in 2017, he was effusive in his support:
I met Zachary about six months before he ran for the school board. I can tell you that he is a person of character. I said once during his school board campaign that I trusted him to guide my children. That particular sentiment has not changed. He’s the right person for this position. I believe it’s time to have a council person in District 3 that will represent all of the workers who live and work in this city. I believe that if elected Zachary Dewolf will not only represent us all, but he will also make all proud that we endorsed him. Zachary has my full support I would like you all to consider giving your full support as well.
We'll see if that ringing endorsement influences the council's vote tonight.
Stuckey also endorsed Sergio Garcia, the Seattle Police Department officer running for Councilmember Mike O'Brien's old seat in District 6. "Sergio felt the angst and displeasure that the community of Ballard felt towards the current District 4 [sic] Councilman," he wrote. "I believe that Sergio can and will make a difference when he’s elected."
DeWolf didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but I'll update if I hear back. Update: "Thanks for the support!" DeWolf said when I asked for his response to Stuckey's endorsement, emphasizing the fact that he did not seek their endorsement.
"A lot of our communities have been hurt by police violence and systems violence," DeWolf added. "Addressing that requires coming to the table with some resolve, some leadership, and not being scared in the face of an institution that has hurt many of our communities for a long time. We need to work together on some deep shit, and it's time for new leadership."
In an endorsement interview with the Stranger, DeWolf answered "yes" when asked if he would only approve police contracts in the future if they contained the officer accountability ordinance that SPOG and the city "abandoned" during collective bargaining. A federal judge recently ruled that the contract's officer-appeals process violated the consent decree, and that court oversight will continue until the city fixes the contract to make officers more accountable.
Stuckey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Though it remains unclear whether all of SPOG endorses DeWolf or just its president, the police union has ardently resisted major police accountability measures. When former Mayor Ed Murray issued an executive order requiring police officers to wear body cams, the union filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the city. They also took out a full-page ad in the Seattle Times against Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes for telling Murray it was legal.
SPOG endorsed Pamela Banks, who ran against Sawant in 2015, but the union largely stayed out of the 2017 council elections. "No one has really asked for our endorsement," Stuckey told the Stranger at the time.
On Wednesday evening, DeWolf announced endorsements from other unions, including Teamsters 117, Teamsters 174, Teamsters 763, SEIU 775, Ironworkers Local 86, and UA Local 32.