Editor’s Note: We invited both candidates running for State Senator in the 37th District to make a case for themselves as to why they deserve your vote on or before Election Day (November 4th).
by Pramila Jayapal
We are reaching the final stretch in my campaign to represent you in Olympia as your next State Senator. We have knocked on over 24,000 doors and called over 10,000 voters. We have had over 250 people volunteer their time, including dozens of young people and others who have never been involved in democracy before. We have garnered almost every single endorsement from a broad coalition of groups, from labor unions to environmental groups to women’s groups to community leaders and elected officials. There is only one thing left to do: vote! Today, I want to ask you for your trust and your vote so I can represent you as the next State Senator for this beautiful 37th district.
I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life fighting for justice on numerous fronts. I tutored African-American kids in the Cabrini Green Housing Project in Chicago back when I was getting my MBA, and learned first hand the challenges and critical nature of education, all the way from early learning to higher education. I worked in economic development in the south side of Chicago, understanding how to revitalize urban neighborhoods and bring in jobs. I worked on public health issues across Africa, Latin America and Asia, helping people to address the basic health of their communities. And here in Washington, I founded and served as Executive Director for OneAmerica, now the largest immigrant advocacy organization in the state, where we registered over 25,000 new immigrant citizens to vote and helped push for federal immigration reform and the state Dream Act.
These diverse work experiences have convinced me that our agenda is broad and specific, together. And to achieve it, we need people to engage in democracy, not just for an election but for the long-term. I’ve lived in this district for 19 years and I believe we have so much to teach the rest of the state with our diversity, resilience and creativity. I’ve said from the beginning that this campaign is not just about electing me—it’s about electing us. I’m going to fight for you in Olympia, but I also want your participation to make this the most vibrant democracy we can make it in the 37th. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, black, brown or white—whoever you are, there is a place for your voice in the 37th.
I’ve heard from talking to you that too many people feel like we do need government but for too long, the system has been rigged against working families. As your next State Senator, I will work to level the playing field and help build an economy that works for everyone. This means everyone pays their fair share, women get paid equally to men, we cut outdated tax loopholes and reform our tax structure so we can pay for education, health, transportation and other supports. Our state is slowly crawling its way back from the great recession, but too few people are sharing in the progress. It’s time that we make sure working families, not just the wealthiest few, share in hope and opportunity.
I also know how critical public health and safety are in the district. As a leader on Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s taskforces on the minimum wage increase and Police Chief search, I have worked to responsibly foster environments that are good for small businesses, workers and public safety. Both task force objectives had the potential for divisiveness, but we brought diverse groups together and created the best solutions. I’ve built my career on helping to reach principled compromises on the toughest of issues—from immigration to racial profiling to building alternatives to incarceration—and I do not shy away from fighting to get the best outcome.
The 37th district is also crying out for jobs and economic development. As your Senator, I’ll use my relationships to build partnerships for opportunity, work with business, labor and government to ensure that we address affordable housing, incentivize employers to come to the district with good jobs, and provide assistance to small businesses to grow.
And – most importantly – as a mother of a public school student, I believe our greatest responsibility is the legacy we leave for our children and grandchildren. We have a court-mandated and constitutional responsibility to fully fund our schools—but not through cutting the other supports that kids need. We have to reduce class sizes, pay teachers adequately for the important work that they do and support programs for early childhood education, all the while making sure we continue to invest in healthcare, support and safety net services. That means raising new revenue, and I intend to make sure we do that.
I am so grateful to each one of you who have offered me support over the years for my activism and my campaign. I know that, together, we can make change happen in Olympia! Please vote for me—and join our movement for justice and opportunity!