Meeting called to order at 7:00 by Chair David Ginsberg
7:01 Pledge of Allegiance.
7:02 Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez addresses the membership. He is running to retain his seat.
7:04 Mayor Durkan has appointed Faye Chess to the bench! Congratulations!
7:05 Minutes and Agenda MSP.
7:06 Chairs Report – Chair David Ginsburg addressed the evenings program, a forum for the candidates for the State Senate. Took care to point out that it was NOT an endorsement meeting.
Candidates Forum began. Present were:
Candidates introduced themselves.
Lois Schipper – Nurse, works with sick refugee children. Past diversity chair for the 34th. Gun issues, education and tax reform will be her key issues.
Sofia Aragon – Works in Governmental Affairs for the WA Nurses Association. Housing and educational opportunities will be her key issues.
Lem Charleston – Machinist at Boeing. Schools and tax reform will be his key issues.
Shannon Braddock – Worked alongside Joe Fitzgibbon and Dow Constantine. She is a working single mom with 3 kids. Taxes, health care and guns will be her key issues.
Joe Nguyen – Builds Job Training resources at Microsoft. Education and income inequality will be his key issues.
Please tell us about your experience and/or ideas about being effective in the legislative process.
Joe – Lots of community involvement, including police accountability.
Shannon – 8 years working alongside Joe and Dow, Legislative Rep for her PTA, working for the
King County Council.
Lem – While working as a minister, he engaged with the disenfranchised. Is an assistant Police
chaplain, and lobbied for his union in Olympia.
Sofia – Worked for 13 years in Olympia on health policy. Executive Director of the Washington
Center for Nursing.
Lois – Worked foe King County Public Health for 25 years. Advised legislators on health care
What unique skills will you bring to Olympia that the other candidates do not have?
Sofia – Understanding what needs to be done. She is worried about educational opportunity.
Lem – Working through adversity.
Shannon – The ability to listen, hone in on the issue and find margins where people can work
together. Patience, listening, and understanding.
Joe – Understanding community, loves getting wonky, can run on very little sleep.
Lois – On the ground experience. Building teams, getting to know the issues and data, and
bringing legislators together using evidence-based answers.
What are your top 2 legislative priorities?
Lem – Taxes, wants corporations to pay their fair share. Education – supporting teachers.
Sofia – Education and workforce development, and equalizing tax reform.
Lois – Gun violence – Supports an assault weapon ban. K-12 education.
Joe – Housing affordability, tax reform and education.
Shannon – Tax reform, because it impacts everything else. Favors a Capitol Gains Tax.
Gun Violence. Proud to be a Moms against Gun Violence Candidate of Distinction.
The Senate Majority leaders has told you the State has a surplus of 100 million dollars, what would you think it should be spent on?
Shannon – Education
Joe – De-escalation training for law enforcement and more non-lethal weapons.
Lois – Early learning. GREAT return on investment.
Sofia – Statewide affordable housing. Can’t leave out rural communities.
Joe – Invest in the future. 70% to kids and 30% to property tax reform.
Climate Change – According to a Yale University study, our district leads the entire country in awareness and concern about climate change. What is your strategy to pass a comprehensive, state-wide measure to put a price on or otherwise regulate carbon pollution?
Joe – Work with pollution burdened communities. Supports I-1631.
Shannon – I-1631 is good, she will continue to fight for it.
Lem – Air is precious. He will work to preserve clean air.
Sofia – Learned from unions how to transition from dirty to clean energy. Will work to reduce
toxins in the environment.
Lois – Her son is an environmental engineer. She will seek advice from him and will work
with the other party to find common ground.
Washington State Tax Structure – WA has one of the most inequitable tax systems in the country. The capital gains tax on high-income individuals has been suggested as one way to help level the burden. Would you support such a tax? Would you support allowing local governments to enact their own income-based tax?
Lois – Favors an income tax. Current sales tax very regressive.
Sofia – Agrees with Loin regarding sales tax. Favors a Capitol Gains tax.
Lem – Favors an income tax.
Shannon – Would support an income tax. Recognizes that it would be a heavy lift.
A lighter lift would be a capital gains tax.
Joe – Favors a capital gains tax. Would limit exemptions, and thinks that Eyman’s initiatives
are a harm.
Elections and Voting – Are you familiar with alternative voting systems? How would you feel about their use?
Shannon – Would not support, thinks would lessen participation.
Lem – Agrees with Shannon.
Sofia – Likes it for the future but not now.
Lois – Not familiar with them. Thinks that everyone should be more engaged.
Joe – Innovation is good. We can do things about this that do not require the legislature.
Universal Health Care – Can you talk about the prospect of universal healthcare in Washington state? Is it possible?
Lem – Yes. With all of our tech, brains and money, we should be able to take care of our citizens.
Shannon – It is possible. It will take a while and will require educating legislators. It saves money
at the end of the day. Preventative care is a good investment.
Joe – People are using GoFundMe for medical care? Terrible. Likes the idea of WA,OR and CA
building our own health system.
Sofia – Yes. Not only is it possible, but it is a right.
Lois – Agrees with Sofia. She works at Children’s Hospital, and they are in a 1 BILLION dollar
drive to pay for uncompensated care. We shouldn’t have to do this.
Housing – What is the State’s responsibility to assist cities in managing homelessness?
Sofia – The state should partner with cities to solve this problem.
Lem – Homelessness is a poison to society. We should be able to fix this.
Shannon – Tax reform. Mental Health reform. More transitional resources are needed.
Joe – Biggest factor in family homelessness is domestic violence. Mental health reform and affordable housing reform needed.
Lois – State should fund more services. It is a crime that kids are being forced to live on the street. No one should be refused help if they want it.
What about tenant rights?
Shannon – Supports them, would talk to Senator Nelson to continue her work.
Joe – Supports banning the box. Everyone deserves housing.
Lem – We will need a lot of affordable and accessible units. Will support the work that Senator Nelson started.
Sofia – Would preserve Senator Nelson’s legacy. There is a need to correct the imbalance of power between tenants and landlords.
Lois – Families and people on fixed incomes are being forced out. This needs to end.
What is the State’s responsibility in helping cities and localities address for housing crisis?
Lois – Depends on revenue. Need to keep in mind that it takes awhile for housing to come
Sofia – Capital budget – Some funds can be used for housing. Look at the root causes – POVERTY.
Lem – Favors the creation of a housing trust fund. Any housing must be affordable AND safe.
Shannon – Look into using surplus properties. Review land use regulations to find ways to make it more efficient.
Joe – Mass transit can help. State can step up and help. Possibly a partnership between the city and state.
Gun Violence – What is the State’s responsibility to ensure school safety and are resource officers in schools the best way to ensure that safety?
Joe – Guns should be stored safely. Should make it harder for abusers to get guns.
Shannon – Resource officers are not effective. Background checks should be streamlined.
High School Health Centers should take a bigger role in teen suicide prevention.
Lem – His son was on lockdown. Found the experience incredibly and uniquely terrifying.
We must do everything we can to prevent school violence.
Sofia – We can and should be doing more to prevent school violence.
Lois – School resource officers are good. No 16-year-old should have a gun. No 18-year-old should have an assault rifle. Safer storage should be emphasized as well.
Has McCleary been settled? – Unanimous NO.
How should educational inequality be addressed?
Joe – Funding McCleary is not enough. Tax reform would help teachers. Right now, zip code
seems to be the determining factor in determining educational opportunity.
Shannon – As a parent of 3 children, she has seen this first hand. ALL kids should have an equal opportunity for education.
Lem – The state has 600 million in tax exemptions. Some of them should be closed and those funds directed to education. Currently, some kids are disenfranchised before they even get out of high school.
Sofia – Worries about educational opportunities. Wants educational equity. K-12 years extremely important.
Lois – Chair of Highline Citizens for schools for the last 10 years. Says that the Highline School District is one of the most challenged districts in the state.
Closing remarks –
Joe – Thanks the membership for attending and participating.
Shannon – Thanks for the invitation, and she wants to use her experience to get things done.
Lem – Thanks to colleagues, wants to preserve Senator Nelson’s legacy.
Sofia – Thanks for coming! Thinks that the 34this a great district to be a part of. She will not
take anything for granted.
Lois – Thank you, and she wants to take her committee and volunteer experience to Olympia.
New Business –
Martha Koester presented a resolution to support VoteBuilder Access for All Democratic Candidates.
Moved, Seconded and Passed.
Appointment of new Committee Chair – Steven Jamieson to the Events committee. Was a great help to Carrie last year. Passed by acclamation.
Judge Willie Gregory addressed the membership. He is running for reelection to Seattle Municipal Court
Position 5. He has been endorsed by the 34thtwice before. He is unopposed as of now.
8:40 – Good of the Order
8:47 – Adjourn to Whiskey West