Danni Askini, executive director of the Gender Justice League, announced Tuesday morning that she will run for the 43rd District seat.
“Seattle is experiencing growing economic inequality, the fastest rising rents in the U.S., and the highest concentration of college students living in poverty in the country,” Askini said in her announcement Tuesday. “But instead of addressing these challenges, ultra conservative Republican legislators are busy attacking basic rights, like a woman’s access to healthcare or a transgender person’s ability to use the bathroom.”
In her first race for elected office, Askini, 33, will face a roster of political newcomers vying for the seat left empty by Rep. Brady Walkinshaw as he sets his sights on Washington D.C. Homeless advocate and low income housing expert Nicole Macri was the first to publicly announce her candidacy last month. Political consultant and LGBTQ advocate Thomas Pitchford and Seattle attorney Daniel Shih have also filed for the race. Sameer Ranade, a Capitol Hill resident and campaign associate for the Washington Environmental Council, has also announced his campaign for the 43rd District seat.
UPDATE: Askini says she will file as a Democrat.
Her announcement comes following one of the uglier battles in Olympia in recent years as the State Senate barely voted down anti-transgender bathroom bill in February. Though Seattle is a city where “restrooms are available and safe for all,” transgender issues clearly go beyond the bathroom. Transgender people still face disproportionate levels of violence and homelessness. But awareness — at least in Seattle and on Capitol Hill — is on the upswing. 2015 brought the third annual Trans* Pride Seattle to Cal Anderson and Broadway. Organized since 2013 by Askini’s Gender Justice League, Trans* Pride aims to celebrate and uplift trans and gender non-conforming people. The 2015 march followed this summer’s Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Many LGBTQ leaders saw the ruling as a milestone indicating transgender rights issues should now become a priority.
If she wins, Askini’s campaign says she will be the first transgender person elected to office in Washington State.
You can learn more at danniaskini.com.