Dispatches, Education, Local Politics

The Seattle DSA 2017 Candidate Survey

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UPDATE: During the May general meeting, Seattle DSA members voted to endorse housing activist Jon Grant for at-large City Council Pos. 8. Read more about the endorsement here. At the June general meeting, members voted to endorse educator and lawyer Nikkita Oliver for mayor of Seattle.

Seattle is fortunate to have an active political climate that produces several candidates competing for leadership positions. This upcoming November, Seattleites will vote on candidates competing for Mayor of Seattle as well as at-large city council positions 8 and 9. All three positions serve four-year terms.

Recognizing that voters run the risk of becoming mired in evaluating candidates based solely on resumes, media appearances or vague associations of one’s own, the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America’s Activism and Communications Committees produced a 13-query survey to help cleave local candidates’ views into discernible positions on issues that are vital to socialists and, we believe, the public at large in 2017.

Candidates who filed earlier than March 8 received their questionnaires that same day and were asked for answers by April 8. We contacted the campaigns of those filing later — usually on the day of announcement — and asked for their participation as well. For non-respondents, a Seattle DSA working group sought to determine the candidate’s position based upon public statements.

Here’s who we reached out to, and who responded:

Mayoral candidates (incumbent is Ed Murray):

Mike McGinn — Responded
Nikkita Oliver — Responded
Jason Roberts — Responded
Casey Carlisle — Responded
Keith Whiteman — Responded
Harley Lever — Did not respond
Mary Juanita Martin — Did not respond
Cary Moon — Responded May 19
Alex Tsimerman — Did not respond
David Ishii — Unable to contact
Bob Hasegawa — Did not respond
Jenny Durkan — Did not respond
Jessyn Farrell — Did not respond
Michael Harris — Did not respond

Position 8 (incumbent is Tim Burgess):

Jon Grant — Responded
Sheley Secrest — Responded
Charlene Strong — Responded
Ryan Asbert — Responded; withdrawn
Sara Nelson — Responded
Teresa Mosqueda — Responded May 9
Hisam Goueli — Did not respond
Mac McGregor — Did not return answers
Rudy Pantoja — Refused questionnaire

Position 9 (incumbent is Lorena González):

Lorena González — Did not respond
Marguerite Richard — Did not respond
David Preston — Refused questionnaire
Eric Smiley — Refused questionnaire
Ian Affleck-Asch — Responded May 16
Pat Murakami — Has not returned answers
Amanda Carter — Did not respond

Each week, we’ll post candidates’ responses to the questions. For links to answers we’ve already posted, see the list of questions below.

Here’s what we asked:

  1. Why did you decide to run for office? [See responses]
  2. Seattle city employees will soon have the right to 12 weeks of paid parental leave and four weeks of paid family leave, following an 8-0 city council decision. How will you extend these benefits to all workers in the city? [See responses]
  3. How do you plan to use the city’s regulatory capacity to enforce recent minimum wage gains and prevent wage theft by employers? What do you think the minimum wage should be? [See responses]
  4. In response to Trump’s threats to cut federal funding for cities that oppose his policies, Seattle activists, led by the Transit Riders Union, are advocating for wealth taxation to “Trump-proof” the Seattle budget. Do you support this effort? Will you support further progressive reforms to our regressive tax system? [See responses]
  5. The new youth jail planned for the Central District (also referred to as the “Children and Family Justice Center”) is now running over budget at $225 million prior to its construction. Do you support this facility? What is your plan for disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline and using common resources to produce better outcomes for marginalized youth? [See responses]
  6. What is your plan for addressing the city’s ongoing housing crisis and the criminalization of our homeless population? Do you support the city’s sweeps of homeless encampments? [See responses]
  7. Do you oppose state laws preventing Seattle from enacting rent control legislation and other forms of rent stabilization? [See responses]
  8. Soaring rents are forcing people of color out of their historic communities in neighborhoods like the Central District and South Seattle. How do you plan to address the needs of communities being displaced by gentrification? [See responses]
  9. Seattle plans to open a safe-consumption site, implementing a harm-reduction strategy for drug users. Do you support this initiative? If so, how will you handle possible objections from neighborhood associations and other groups opposed to having safe-consumption sites in their “backyards”? [See responses]
  10. In 2011, the the Department of Justice found that the Seattle Police Department engaged in patterns of excessive force, violating both the Constitution and federal law. How will you address SPD’s ongoing pattern of violence, particularly in communities of color? Do you support the use of independent prosecutors in cases of alleged police misconduct? What steps will you take to strengthen civilian oversight of SPD? [See responses]
  11. Do you support the construction of the proposed police precinct in North Seattle? [See responses]
  12. In the wake of the city council’s vote to divest from Wells Fargo in support of climate justice and indigenous rights, do you support divestment of Seattle’s pension funds from companies that invest in fossil fuels? [See responses]
  13. The recent arrest and detention of Seattle resident Daniel Ramirez Medina, a DACA recipient, shows that the Trump administration is willing to harass and deport even legal immigrants. Without a plan for enforcement, Seattle’s status as a sanctuary city is merely a title. What is your proposed protocol for upholding the rights of DACA recipients and other immigrants (including those who are undocumented), and enforcing Seattle’s status as a sanctuary city? [See responses]

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