Hello Loyal Readers,
Sorry for the delay but here are my picks for this election. First, a few disclaimers. As a political junkie, I wear many hats. I am serving my last few months as vice-chair of the Whatcom Democrats (I’m done in December) and I am a paid consultant with the Joy Monjure campaign.
I’m involved with these groups because I’m deeply passionate about their goals but my recommendations are my own. I don’t speak for the Democrats, I don’t speak for Joy Monjure, I speak for J. Riley Sweeney – that’s why my name is at the top of the page.
Enough preamble, let’s get to the recommendations in ballot order.
Initiative 1351: YES
This ballot measure would direct the legislature to spend funds on hiring additional teachers to reduce class sizes. This will not solve the problems with our educational system but another strong yes vote on funding education will send a clear message to the state legislature to stop screwing around and get serious about helping our kids. After years of brutal cuts to our educational system (Looking at you, Gregoire!!!), let’s do what we can to invest in our classrooms. Vote yes.
Initiative 591: NO
This initiative would forbid Washington state from enacting any gun legislation that is more rigorous than federal regulation. I’m in favor of local control and letting Washingtonians decide what to do with their firearms. Vote no.
Initiative 594: YES
I dug into the details of this earlier, but basically, if you sell a firearm then you must conduct a background check. Opponents of this measure ask, “What if I hand my firearm to my buddy while we are shooting in my backyard?” The FBI directly addressed this earlier this month in the Seattle Times, “The Gun Control Act of 1968 doesn’t specifically define what constitutes a transfer,” FBI spokesman Billy Estok wrote on Aug. 25. “However, it can be clarified that simply handing a gun over to somebody else to try out does not qualify as a ‘transfer.’”
This bill cracks down on craigslist sales and gun show giveaways and works to ensure that guns stay in the hands of good guys. Is it a perfect law? No. But it is a step in the right direction. Vote yes.
Advisory Votes 8 & 9: Vote MAINTAINED
Advisory votes ask voters to approve what the legislature did earlier this year. One has to do with a legal grey area (whether marijuana qualifies for an agricultural tax cut) and the other requires native tribes to follow the same rules for leasing private land. Both are pretty boring, both passed with large bipartisan majorities, both should be maintained.
Congressional District 1: Suzan DelBene
DelBene has been simply fantastic as a representative: a leader in cracking down on NSA spying and fighting for our privacy, a local advocate for farmers, and an accessible legislator voting for a wide range of good legislation.
I wrote about some of her accomplishments here. Pedro Celis should offer no competition but show your support for a job well done. Vote DelBene.
Congressional District 2: Rick Larsen
There are plenty of reasons why some of my readers don’t like Larsen – his support for the Cherry Point Terminal frequently topping the list – but after years of a rather chilly relationship with the local progressive community, Larsen has really made an effort to reach out to his critics and friends alike. He showed up in person to a ton of local events and took some very hard questions head on.
The bottom line: he votes the right way most of the time and he is in a safe district so I want to encourage good behavior when I see it. Also – his opponent is bonkers. Vote Larsen.
Other Congressional Districts in WA: Vote Democratic
I realize I have gained readers from across this state. While I don’t want to spend a lot of inches discussing each district, I do want to make this point: While the Republicans control the House of Representatives, we will still have conspiracy theory investigations into Benghazi, government shutdowns, and climate change ramblings rather than work-sessions on immigration reform, repair of our infrastructure and creation of an energy industry of tomorrow.
While the Democrats may not always be effective or right, they seem to be at least interested in creating legislative solutions to problems in our nation. Which is more than I can say for the Republicans in Congress. Vote Democrat.
State Senator: Seth Fleetwood
Anyone surprised? Seriously, vote Fleetwood. As a reporter following Ericksen’s behavior in the legislature, it is crystal clear who Ericksen works for, and it isn’t us. This vote goes beyond partisanship to just good government.
Control of the state Senate is key for a whole host of reasons (fighting climate change, repairing our infrastructure, fixing our local health care systems) and Fleetwood will make a fine legislator. He is bipartisan, rational and not in anyone’s pocket. The Ericksen campaign has set new lows with the number of lies they have spread about Fleetwood. Show them that it doesn’t work here. Vote Fleetwood.
State Representative, Po. 1: Satpal Sidhu
How often do you get an electrical engineer, business executive and education specialist all in one package? Sidhu is over-qualified, but more than that, he brings a non-partisan perspective to legislative issues – approaching them as problems to be solved rather than political battles to be won.
His opponent, Luanne Van Werven, has spent the last twenty years spending thousands of dollars of her own money trying to block gay people from getting married and women from controlling their own bodies. She is a religious zealot, and yes, I use that term very specifically. She believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, that FDR prolonged the Great Depression and that gays and lesbians are abominations in the eyes of the Lord. Vote for the guy who lives in the real world. Vote Sidhu.
State Representative, Po. 2: Joy Monjure
While I personally like Rep. Vincent Buys, he has not done the work of a state legislator. In the past two years, he has only gotten one bill passed, and that is while his own party controls the Senate. We need a leader who works across party lines to craft meaningful solutions.
Monjure was an Everson City Councilwoman, has worked on sustainable farming for years and understands that the key to improving our schools is fighting poverty. I work on Monjure’s campaign because I believe she will make an incredible and passionate legislator. Vote Monjure.
State Representative, 40th District, Po. 1 & 2: Kris Lytton and Jeff Morris
These guys are great. They propose a wide swath of legislation (take a look at Lytton’s record here and Morris’ here) with a deep interest in crafting effective and meaningful laws in their areas of expertise (education and green energy respectively). Vote for the home team. Vote Lytton and Morris.
State Supreme Court: Charles Johnson and Debra Stephens
Our state Supreme Court has handed down some fantastic decisions that really move our community forward. They’ve put a (metaphorical) gun to the legislature’s head, forcing them to fund our schools and haven’t interfered with legalization of marijuana. Well done, re-elect our current slate.
Whatcom County District Court Judges: Matt Elich, but NOT David Grant
Both of these guys are running unopposed but David Grant, aside from seeking partisan support from the Whatcom Republicans, has severely resisted efforts to reduce our prison population using bail alternatives. It is a wonky issue but here we are, I’m leaving his box blank.
Public Utility District: Bob Burr
My choice is the committed progressive and rabble-rouser, Bob Burr, versus Jeff McClure, the guy who publicly endorsed the Cherry Point Terminal and promised them all the water they need. I was sitting on the fence on this one (stir things up or go with the sell-out who hasn’t ruffled feathers) until the pro-coal PAC from last year, SAVEWhatcom, decided to spend thousands in coal money to prop up McClure. That settled it. Bob Burr is my man for PUD. Vote Burr.
For these races, vote NO MORE than five candidates. For more information about what the heck Charter Review is, read my article here. For more information about who these people are, check out my article here. My main criteria for this race is who will not screw up our county constitution.There are some people running who want to strip the County Council of their ability to block the coal port, or make the sheriff an appointed position by the executive. I want none of that.
This was difficult for me, since there are so many talented people running for these seats, however, I would ask that you please vote these candidates:
That’s all for me, folks. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email by clicking here. I’m always happy to explain more about why I’m voting a certain way in the comments below.