Seattle Subway Endorsements
2020 General Election
We’re excited to continue our first ever cycle of election endorsements for state legislative races! We are focusing on legislative districts touching the city of Seattle, as well other races key to transit funding. As an organization, Seattle Subway focuses on candidates who we feel will best represent environmental values and stand up for progress on transit and land use issues. We sent each candidate a questionnaire concerning their priorities on transit funding and expansion to best inform our endorsement selection process. For incumbents, we also looked at their records on transit issues.
We at Seattle Subway love voting and we hope you do too! If you are eligible to do so, please remember to turn in your ballots by November 3, though we recommend bringing your ballot to a dropbox as soon as possible. You can register here up until October 26 online, or November 3 in person.
Our general election endorsements:
Seattle Transportation Proposition 1: YES
Seattle’s 2014 voter-approved Seattle Transportation Benefit District (TBD) may be the most successful transportation investment in city history. Enacting the TBD dramatically increased bus service hours and created a frequent bus service network that nearly tripled the percent of Seattle households that now live within a 10 minute walk of 10 minute service from 25 to 71 percent. When most American cities across the board saw transit ridership decline annually, our TBD in combination with Sound Transit’s 2016 U-Link opening allowed Seattle to far outstrip the rate of annual ridership growth above every major American city at a stunning rate of two percent growth per year. The Transportation Benefit District is responsible for Seattle’s transit system becoming a success story.
Our success story must not devolve into a cautionary tale. We must maintain our bus system’s reach and frequency of service to remain useful to the people who require it, especially amidst the COVID-19 economic hardship people now face. Currently 1 in 3 essential workers rely on transit. Car ownership on average will cost you nearly $12k/year in Seattle and therefore cannot become a requirement for all people to commute to job centers. As each struggling family navigates their own road to financial recovery, quality alternative transportation options must remain available for people who either cannot afford to drive or simply want to direct their limited resources elsewhere.
Proposition 1 isn’t a silver bullet – it’s less funding than the TBD it replaces, but it’s a critical bridge to the future. Keep our essential buses moving and keep Seattle moving. Vote YES.
President of the United States: Joe Biden
He is both not Donald Trump and likes trains. Vote Biden.
Washington State Governor: Jay Inslee
Jay Inslee ran for president on an environmental platform and he’s running against someone who thinks Democracy is a gateway drug to Communism. It’s really not a hard choice. We hope Inslee does some soul searching about his environmentalism, puts an end to his highway boosterism, and works to finally make funding for transit a priority at the state level. That said, Inslee is a strong voice for environmental policy and deserves your vote. Vote Inslee.
Washington State Lieutenant Governor: Marko Liias
It’s not hard to understand why we are endorsing Marko Liias for Lieutenant Governor. As one of the most savvy politicos in Olympia, Liias and a handful of supporting legislators formulated the authorizing legislation that enabled passage of Sound Transit 3, the largest per capita transit investment in American history right here in the Puget Sound. By deftly assembling the Connecting Washington package as one of the lead senate negotiators, he ensured that Seattle and Central Puget Sound residents could have a say in the future of our transportation system. In 2016, seventy percent of Seattleites chose to go big and audaciously expand our transit system to help stem climate change and improve our quality of life. This would not have been possible without Marko’s negotiations within the transit bill as the leading champion.
Liias’s opponent Denny Heck is a longtime public servant who has been dedicated to our region, for which we have deep respect. However, on the issues that will affect us most in this century—namely climate change driven primarily by the transportation sector in our state—he does not show up as a strong champion. We are not at all sure what he would do to bring progressive solutions for transportation and climate change to our state.
Our greatest concern for this office is always that the Lieutenant Governor takes up space instead of taking action and doing all they can to solve the crises that are bearing down upon us. Marko is moving into this role to take action. We need that in Olympia. Vote Liias.
District 5, Senator (Issaquah, I-90 Corridor): Ingrid Anderson
Although District 5 is outside the city of Seattle, we couldn’t resist tipping our hats to Ingrid Anderson’s progressive campaign. She is running against incumbent Mark Mullet, a moderate Democrat who opposes capital gains taxes and has voted down legislation aimed at addressing climate change. On the other hand, Anderson is running to close corporate tax loopholes, and take immediate action on climate, plus she was endorsed by Governor Inslee. To our friends on the Eastside – Vote Anderson.
District 11, Position 1 (SODO, Georgetown, Tukwila, Renton): David Hackney
David Hackney earned our endorsement in the primary by giving thoughtful pro-transit answers to our questions. He continued that trend in the general and we flat out love his answers to our “ideal transportation bill” mix. Here are the highlights: new highways: 0%, transit: 42.5% (!!!) Also: Hackney’s opponent co-sponsored HB 2123 to cut Sound Transit Funding in 2019. Vote Hackney.
District 11, Position 2 (SODO, Georgetown, Tukwila, Renton): Steve Bergquist
A progressive candidate and the only viable candidate in this race, Steve Berguist receives our endorsement. Bergquist’s Republician challenger, Sean Atchinson, is a non-option. Atchinson wants to pause transit funding, reject any new tax measures, and balance the budget with only budget cuts. While Bergquist is pragmatic enough to consider spending cuts, he also hopes to buttress some of the lost revenue streams with progressive taxation strategies to solve problems, including a capital gains tax to help Seattle weather the economic downturn and a carbon tax to fund transportation improvements. Vote Bergquist.
District 28, Senator (University Place, Pierce County): T’wina Nobles
Like Anderson, Nobles is also running for a Senate seat outside our normal endorsement scope, but her campaign deserves the strongest shout out. Nobles is running against fourth term Republican Senator Steve O’Ban, an unapologetic supporter of I-976 who also happens to sit on the Senate Transportation Committee. As a member of the Pierce County Link stakeholder group, Nobles knows her stuff with transit and has stated strong commitment to green jobs and infrastructure investment. A win for Nobles would be one of the most exciting gains for the State Legislature this year, and we would love to have an ally for housing and transit on our side. Vote Nobles.
District 32, Position 1 (Bitter Lake, Shoreline, Lynnwood): Shirley Sutton
Shirley Sutton is with us on fixing regressive taxes for transit and wants the next transportation bill to allocate 0% to new highways, strongly favoring fixing what we have. Seems like a really good starting point for negotiations that lead towards better transit funding. Plus, her opponent cosponsored HB2123 to cut Sound Transit Funding. Vote Sutton.
District 32, Position 2 (Bitter Lake, Shoreline, Lynnwood): Lauren Davis
Davis co-sponsored HB2123 but supports capital gains taxes, for what it’s worth. That said, she is running against a Republican who did not respond. Vote Davis.
District 34, Position 2 (West Seattle, White Center, Burien): Joe Fitzgibbon
Representative Fitzgibbon is running unopposed for reelection with a clear comprehensive knowledge of potential and innovative sources of transit funding. He stated he will co-sponsor legislation to create a new funding mechanism for Seattle to aggressively expand its rail system independent of the rest of the Sound Transit district, and we are looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish next session in Olympia. Vote Fitzgibbon.
District 36, Position 1 (Lake Union to Magnolia, Downtown to Crown Hill): Noel Frame
Like Representative Fitzgibbon, Representative Noel Frame is running unopposed. She nevertheless took the time to respond to our candidate questionnaire this summer, and supports amending the state constitution so that gas-tax dollars are not as narrowly limited to roads projects, as well as supplementing the gas tax with a new progressive revenue source for transit funding. As a co-chair of the Tax Structure Work Group, we are optimistic about her goals, and are happy to endorse her re-election. Vote Frame.
District 36, Position 2 (Downtown to Magnolia): Liz Berry
The 36th often has great candidates to choose from in the General Election. As the former Legislative Aide to Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, comparative-newcomer Liz Berry’s political expertise really showed in her thoughtful responses to our candidate questionnaire. She demonstrated a thorough understanding of transit’s important role in addressing the climate crisis, the affordability crisis, and the economic fallout of COVID-19. If elected to fill this open seat, she plans to prioritize progressive tax reform and a stimulus including substantial transit funding. She clearly expressed the policy details and the specific legislation she supports to improve both housing and transit and the relationship to our goals.
Sarah Reyneveld, Assistant State Attorney General, long-time community advocate, and 20 year resident of her 36th district, also provided thoughtful responses to our questionnaire. Reyneveld has an impressive understanding of how to rethink equitable revenue solutions (including her support for capital gains tax, air quality surcharge, a phased-in road usage charge, and carbon pricing) and of the transition to clean transportation, likely influenced by her long history as an environmental advocate and her work as a board member of Washington Conservation Voters.
It’s often hard to choose between candidates in the 36th, but overall we are impressed with Liz Berry’s explanations of specific policy in relation to her goals in addition to her work to identify the most progressive legislators in Seattle and champion specific legislation of theirs that we want to see move forward. We’re excited to see what Liz Berry can do for transit and transit-oriented-development as a representative from the 36th District. Vote Berry.
District 37, Position 1: (Madison Valley to Renton): John Stafford
John Stafford supports moving transit funding away from regressive taxes to progressive revenue streams, including high income and capital gains taxes. All good things. We also liked what he had to say about investing in transit *more* when things get tough – an appropriate Keynesian response to rough economic times. His opponent cosponsored HB2123 to cut Sound Transit Funding. Vote Stafford.
District 37, Position 2 (Madison Valley to Renton): Kirsten Harris-Talley
Kirsten Harris-Talley continues to impress. She served a brief interim term on the Seattle City Council in 2017, wherein she worked on progressive revenue reform. Harris-Talley not only shares our vision of a Seattle where every resident has fast and reliable access to transit, she also envisions a fare-free system funded by progressive revenue sources. In her support of increased density and transit-oriented development, she is committed to protecting against gentrification, which is especially important is the 37th District, a district that has historically lost out on funding due to racism and classism.
Chukundi Salisbury is a 21-year employee of the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department and serves as the founding director of the Youth Green Corps, which focuses on forestry restoration. He has a long history of community involvement and leadership, and the list of organizations he is involved in is extensive. A strong advocate for tax reform and environmental justice in communities of color, he believes progressive, stable funding sources for ST3, ST4, and a Cascadia High-Speed Rail system are critical. We’re glad the 37th has people like Salisbury working to improve their community.
Kirsten Harris-Talley is a self-described “policy-nerd” and we (the “transit and policy nerds”) love that. Her experience, her energy, and the specificity of her policy goals separated her from the pack in the primary. We’re still impressed. Vote Harris-Talley.
District 43, Position 1 (Downtown to Greenlake): Nicole Macri
Macri cemented our endorsement years ago when she helped defeat efforts to strip the voter-approved Sound Transit 3 package of hundreds of millions of dollars. But we can keep singing the praises of her work. She is the Deputy Director for the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) in Seattle, where she has worked since 2002, and she is at the forefront of “housing first” nationally. “Housing first” is the macro-economic fact that society actually saves money and resources by treating homelessness and health issues by ensuring housing stability first then treating physical and mental health, and addiction issues.
In her questionnaire Representative Macri expressed dedication to new funding streams for multi-modal transit, and we are excited to endorse her re-election bid. She is willing to cosponsor legislation to create a new mechanism for Washington State to directly fund transit operations and major capital projects like ST4. We have an “urbanism nerd” crush on Nicole Macri for her sponsoring of legislation to allow triplexes on single family residential land. As a member of the Finance Committee we hope she can help achieve legislative victories for grade-separated light rail expansion in Seattle. Vote Macri.
District 43, Position 2 (Downtown to Greenlake): Frank Chopp
This was our toughest decision in these endorsements. Coming into this process, we did not think Chopp had much of a chance of earning our endorsement. His track record on transit has been spotty, as we noted in our primary endorsements. As Speaker of the House his record did not clearly indicate that he was a champion for the State directly funding transit, and he oversaw significant highway expansion in exchange for allowing us the opportunity to tax ourselves for more transit. Then again, Frank Chopp’s entire career has been spent working harder for affordable housing in our state than perhaps any other legislator. His excellent work for low income and homeless people to have housing near transit cannot be understated. And now, Chopp is no longer Speaker of the House. Since the primary, he took the initiative to connect with us to begin an important discussion. He first professed his desire to focus on the needs of the 43rd District rather than an entire caucus and become a huge transit champion for the City of Seattle. He then laid out his concrete action plans to: 1) increase transit funding from the State level; and 2) champion our primary priority, legislation to allow expansion of grade-separated rail within the Seattle city limits, through the State Legislature. Needless to say, he got our attention. As former Speaker of the House who now promises to focus on the needs of the 43rd District and Seattleites more closely, we see this as a clear and very credible opportunity to advance expansion of grade-separated rail first in Seattle and eventually throughout King County as Sound Transit continues its important work connecting the tri-county area.
Sherae Lascelles is a great candidate and their responses to our endorsement questions were well considered and showed their depth of knowledge in regards to housing and transportation issues in the 43rd district.
Frank Chopp clearly understands the nexus between housing affordability and rapid transit, and we gave the edge to Chopp based on his direct support of our goals, his incredible depth of knowledge of how to get it done, and his credible plan to work with us to make it happen. Vote Chopp.
District 46, Position 1 (Northeast Seattle, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore): Gerry Pollet
Gerry Pollet has a long history of leadership on environmental cleanup — some of his biggest achievements have been for toxic site cleanup. Recently Pollet also led efforts which would have required fossil fuel plant projects to be reviewed for their “life-cycle” greenhouse gas emissions in HB 2472 (2020) and HB 1597 (2019).
Unfortunately, however, Pollet also co-sponsored HB 2123 (2019) that would have materially cut Sound Transit’s funding and ability to deliver ST3 projects. Transportation-related emissions are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington State. We know the best way to reduce emissions from transportation is to reduce vehicle miles travelled and replace those trips with light rail. Seattle Subway hopes that Pollet will support funding for rapid transit in the future to combat climate change from all sources.
To his credit, Pollet helped to deliver funding for the Northgate pedestrian and bike bridge that will connect North Seattle College and the Licton Springs neighborhood with the Northgate LINK Station. The bridge will be an important way for communities west of I-5 to access the new station that is planned to open in 2021. Vote Pollet.
District 46, Position 2 (Northeast Seattle, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore): Javier Valdez
Javier Valdez co-sponsored HB 2123 during the 2019 legislative session that would have materially cut Sound Transit funding and he did not return a candidate questionnaire. He is still a much stronger candidate than his opponent, Beth Daranciang. Vote Valdez.
Now get out and vote!