Headshot depicting Nimco Bulale wearing a peach-colored blouse.

Meet Nimco Bulale, 37th Legislative District Primary Candidate

by Nura Ahmed

To help our readers make more informed voting decisions ahead of the Aug. 2 primary election, the South Seattle Emerald interviewed all four candidates for Position 2 of the 37th Legislative District. Each candidate’s Q&A portion presents their perspectives in their own words.

In addition to Nimco Bulale, other 37th LD candidates include Andrew Ashiofu, Emijah Smith, and Chipalo Street.

When she was 8 years old, Nimco Bulale migrated from Somalia to Seattle as a refugee. Her family settled initially in the Central District, but due to rising housing prices, they were pushed out to Burien, where she attended the Highline Public Schools. Because Bulale has experienced displacement firsthand, she has spent her whole career advocating for Families of Color to live in safe, healthy, and thriving communities.

Bulale started her career in 2014, as a youth programs director at East African Community Services, where she led efforts to expand its youth programs. Following that, Bulale started to consult for the City of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, which eventually led her to become an education program manager for OneAmerica. During her tenure at OneAmerica, she led policy and advocacy efforts to expand dual-language programs and provide culturally competent early learning services.

Last year, Bulale founded South Sound Strategies, a consultancy that advances racial equity through community learning and advocacy for inclusive DEI policy, and she is an adjunct professor at Western Washington University, where she teaches future teachers to be fluent in more than one language. She serves on the executive board of the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); she is also a commissioner on the King County Immigrant and Refugee Commission, as well as the City of Seattle’s Our Best Advisory Council focused on bridging opportunities for Black boys.

South Seattle Emerald: Describe yourself as a community member of the 37th District, and why your story makes you a unique candidate.

Nimco Bulale: As a community leader and educator, I see the challenges so many face, and as an advocate, I have to act. As state representative, I will build on my lived and professional experience to increase the quality, equity, and accessibility of education, workforce and career training, and work to build partnerships that unite our diverse communities for positive, lasting change.

SSE: What calls you to run for the 37th District?

Bulale: I am running for state representative because I care deeply about the neighborhoods and people of southeast Seattle — the same community that embraced my family years ago when we needed it the most. I am running to continue making a difference back in the only way I know how, through learning, organizing, and advocating for change.

SSE: What are the top three issues that are important to you and why?

Bulale: My top three priorities are in service of equity and opportunity for my district: affordability, equitable investments in schools, and family wage career paths.

  • Affordability: Families up and down the I-5 corridor are being pushed out as they can no longer afford to live in the communities they have built. In Olympia, I will fight for the resources my constituents need: affordable housing, access to health care, investments in public schools, and family wage career paths. I will also work to rebalance our regressive tax code so that wealth in our state cannot continue to accumulate in the hands of the few.
  • Equitable investments in schools: I will work to ensure that students in our state have access to high-quality education and opportunities by reorganizing and expanding our investments in public schools, with an eye towards equity.
  • Family wage career paths: I will bolster funding for and access to apprenticeship, training, and educational opportunities so more young people can have access to union jobs in our communities.

SSE: Why are you the best person to advocate for South Seattle in Olympia?

Bulale: As an equity leader, educator, small-business owner, and community member in South Seattle, I bring a deep understanding of our diverse needs and a commitment to advocating for my neighbors in the legislature.

SSE: Is there anything else you believe that South Seattle Emerald readers should know about you or your campaign?

Bulale: I am a university educator, small-business owner, community organizer, and neighbor working every day to build strong and healthy communities. As a representative of South Seattle, I will put my passion for education, opportunity, and equity to work to advocate tirelessly for every family. I would be honored to receive your vote.

Nimco Bulale lives in Rainier Beach. You can visit her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Support one of the 37th Legislative District candidates by voting in the Aug. 2 primary election. The deadline to register or change your address online is July 25, though you may also register and vote in person through election day. Confirm your voter registration now at VoteWA.gov.

This story was funded in part by a Voter Education Fund grant from King County Elections and the Seattle Foundation. The credit was inadvertently not included with the original publication of this story on July 20, 2022. 

Nura Ahmed is an organizer, writer, and artist based in Seattle and South King County.

📸 Featured Image: Nimco Bulale is running for the 37th Legislative District. Photo courtesy of her campaign.

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