43rd District leaders on health care, homelessness — and what it’s like working with Washington Republicans

By Tim Kukes for CHS

What is it like working with Washington’s Republicans?

“We tried everything we could have. Cajoling, complaining, amending, making procedural motions, protesting and acting out in various ways,” State Senator Jamie Pedersen said Saturday at a town hall meeting with the 43rd District’s leaders.

Pedersen’s story of the state’s education “levy cliff” battle had a happy ending Saturday. Instead of, they lived happily ever, Pedersen’s happy conclusion went like this: “… finally senate Republicans agreed on Wednesday at the very last bill before the cutoff to pass the levy extension.”

Constituents of the state’s 43rd legislative district filled the Seattle First Baptist Church sanctuary, on Harvard Ave on First Hill just above the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Organizers said it may have been the largest 43rd town hall gathering yet as the old church’s pews were filled. Yes, the town hall has officially outgrown the church’s basement. Continue reading

March town halls with Jayapal, 43rd District reps Chopp, Pedersen, and Macri

In some other parts of the country, the elected are shying away from town halls and meeting their constituents in person. The politicians serving Capitol Hill don’t have anything to be ashamed of, apparently. You can visit with a few of them coming up this month.

On Monday, March 6th, 7th District Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, the first Indian-American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, will be at First Hill’s Town Hall to talk about her work in D.C. and take questions. “Town halls are an important way for constituents to connect with their representatives in government and hold them accountable,” Jayapal’s office writes. Take note, GOP. Continue reading

Seattle educators head to Olympia to fight ‘levy cliff,’ $74M district shortfall

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(Image: Seattle Education Association)

While thousands will march through the city to mark the important day, many Seattle educators, students, and parents will be on the road to Olympia this MLK Day Monday to make a stand for education spending in the state as Seattle Public Schools faces a $74 million shortfall.

The Seattle Council of Parent, Teacher and Student Associations has put out a call for action:

Unless the Washington State Legislature takes action quickly, this budget shortfall will cause significant damage by necessitating cuts in staff at schools and to needed central services, disrupting the stability of school communities and support of the whole child, and impacting our most vulnerable populations in greater proportion.

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Capitol Hill’s new representative in Olympia set to work on housing, school funding, Trump worries

The big tent -- Macri talks with Capitol Hill Community Council's Zachary DeWolf (Image: CHS)

The big tent — Macri talks with Capitol Hill Community Council’s Zachary DeWolf in the early days of her campaign (Image: CHS)

First Nicole Macri won the primary election for the 43rd District House seat.

Then she won the general election over lawyer Dan Shih, taking about 65% of the vote.

Now she’s preparing for her start in a seat in the legislature that she says comes with a lot of responsibility.

“I’m excited and I feel like we ran a great campaign and I had a lot of great engagement with voters in the 43rd District,” Macri told CHS in an interview before the Thanksgiving holiday.

As she prepares for the session beginning on January 9th, 2017, Macri knows there’s a learning curve for newcomers, but she’s excited to work. Continue reading

With continued gridlock in Olympia, City of Seattle prepares its 2017 lobbying strategy

The City of Seattle’s lobbying power in Olympia in 2017 will be focused on homelessness, housing, and what City Hall staff is calling the “safety net” — money for health and public services. Mayor Ed Murray’s city also plans to lobby Olympia regarding public records requests reform, the Voting Rights Act, continued “electrification” of transportation, and, as usual, education funding.

The initial lobbying framework for the 2017 session was presented last week to the City Council and is being shaped with feedback to be finalized before Thanksgiving, well ahead of the start of the 2017 session in Olympia on January 9th. Continue reading

Olympia comes to 12th Ave in Inslee-Bryant debate

debateFollowing a presidential debate where the most shocking moment wasn’t one candidate calling the other a racist liar and that candidate not bothering to defend himself, a Capitol Hill tilt pitting candidates in the 2016 battle for governor of Washington played out mostly shock free inside Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium. The biggest revelations might have been the gap between progressive Democrats in Seattle and the man many are likely to ultimately back, incumbent Jay Inslee.

On the night, Inslee failed to endorse safe injection sites, said he would never support a state income tax, and the best he could offer on helping to close the divide between police and communities of color was touting the state’s criminal justice training center. But challenger Bill Bryant, vying to become the first Republican to lead the state in 30 years, brought even more alien politics to the stage of the 12th Ave college campus Monday night. Continue reading

Mail your primary ballot then attend one of these Capitol Hill election parties

All eight candidates running in the 43rd.

All eight candidates running in the 43rd stand with a forum organizer (middle) from a recent event. (Image: CHS)

If you’re just tuning in, there is a primary election tomorrow, meaning you have one more day to get your ballot in the mail. You can also bring it to a drop-box location, though you will have to wait until November to find one on Capitol Hill.

The top-two primary will whittle the field of candidates in a handful of important state and local elections, including those seeking to represent Capitol Hill in Olympia and in Congress. Many of those candidates are also holding election night parties around the neighborhood.

Tuesday’s primary will narrow the crowded 43rd District race, where eight candidates are seeking to join longtime 43rd rep House Speaker Frank Chopp in the State Legislature. The race features an unusually deep field of candidates for the open seat. CHS recently spoke with each candidate about what they would do to address housing affordability and civil rights issues in Seattle. Read CHS’s past coverage of the race here. Capitol Hill’s Rep. Brady Walkinshaw left the post to run for Congress this year. The race for the 7th Congressional District also includes Pramila Jayapal and Joe McDermott.  Continue reading

What can the new 43rd rep do about gun violence?

IMG_7318-2 (1)The response to last week’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando remains very much reactive. On Seattle’s Capitol Hill there have been vigils and marches. LGBTQ venues in the neighborhood are participating in active shooter trainings ahead of next week’s Pride celebration. As attention turns toward what can be done to prevent future atrocities, CHS asked candidates running to represent the 43rd District what they would do in Olympia on the issue of gun violence.

Most of the eight candidates expressed their support for stricter gun laws at the federal level, including a ban on assault weapons. At the state level, several candidates said they would like to expand background checks and make it harder for people with a history of mental illness to acquire firearms.

Washington voters may also have a chance to do something in November as a signature gathering campaign is underway to put a gun control initiative on this year’s ballot. I-1491 would “temporarily prevent individuals who are at high risk of harming themselves or others from accessing firearms by allowing family, household members, and police to obtain a court order.”

Support for the measure was strong among the 43rd District candidates. Here is what they had to say.

Continue reading

After spring spraying, state deploys gypsy moth traps around Capitol Hill

(Image: Washington State Department of Agriculture)

(Image: Washington State Department of Agriculture)

Following its aerial eradication efforts this spring, the Washington State Department of Agriculture is setting up gypsy moth traps on Capitol Hill.

The Capitol Hill deployment is just one of many regions across Washington state receiving the bright orange traps. WSDA estimates that 34,000 traps will be set up across the state this season, a 70% increase from the 20,000 typically set.

WSDA spokesman Hector Castro said this is due in part to the fact that some regions of the state, such as Eastern Washington, did not receive any trapping at all in 2015 and thus are being focused on in 2016. Additionally, regions that were treated with the bacteria Btk to eradicate the moths are receiving “intensive trapping.” The area around Miller Park was sprayed with Btk in April, and Castro says the results of the trapping this summer will help the WSDA determine if that treatment was effective.

“On Capitol Hill we are going to have more traps than in previous years to make sure that that eradication was effective,” said Castro. “It will likely be September before we know if we were effective.” Continue reading

12+ things CHS heard at the first 43rd District debate

(Image: King County Young Democrats)

From the left, Shih, Pitchford, Macri, Sameer, Forbes, and Courtney (Image: King County Young Democrats)

The candidates running to represent the 43rd Legislative District agree. When it comes to specific policy positions, there are few notable differences between them. While the first debate of the race was hardly confrontational, it did offer a chance to see candidates respond to questions on the fly and under pressure.

Seven candidates are vying to represent the 43rd district in Olympia, which includes Capitol Hill north of Madison. The six Democrats in the race gathered Sunday evening for a Democrat-sponsored debate at Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum (the seventh candidate, John Eddy, was not invited as he is running as an independent).

Prior to last week, the race was perhaps most notable outside the 43rd for the possibility of electing the first trans woman to public office in Washington state. Since Danni Askini dropped out Friday, the field of candidates remains refreshingly diverse. Still, there is only one woman in the race, which prompted co-moderator Michael Maddux to ask the men how they would add diversity in the Legislature.

The “two straight white dudes” in the race, Scott Forbes and Marcus Courtney, said the race should come down to values and both said they have long supported LGBTQ and women’s rights issues. As the former chair of the 43rd District Democrats, Forbes positioned himself as a well seasoned political insider and the candidate who would do the most to build Democratic party power. In a candidate field filled with progressives, Courtney, a longtime tech industry labor organizer, struck a more populist tone when calling for an end to corporate loopholes and decrying income inequality in the state.

Nicole Macri, the only female candidate in the race, was asked about the importance of electing women to public office, particularly when the 43rd District has not had a female representative in a decade. “It’s more than just the experience of being a woman,” said the long time advocate for the homeless and low income housing. “It’s the experience of being marginalized by the dominant society that is relevant.” Continue reading