Exhaling … from the emotional exhaustion of the past four years. Saturday evening, after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris spoke as president and vice president elect, I joined the thousands, if not millions of Americans who finally slept through the night and woke up refreshed.
I had written commentary before the election, waiting only to insert a paragraph with the exact results. It was a get-this-out-of-my-system litany of the dishonest, disgusting, and death-causing policies of the current president. Writing was a good release as my fingers flew over the keyboard. But I realized Emerald readers have already lived through enough political trauma.
Nationally, Tuesday’s election pretty much went as polls suggested they would. With Democrats and Republicans highly motivated to vote this year, 2018’s midterms have shattered all kinds of national election turnout records for a non-presidential year. In Washington State, however, the 1970 record, which topped a whopping 70 percent, remains unchallenged. But with that enthusiasm, far more people than usual voted early: Almost half of the state’s 4.3 million registered voters had their ballots counted with the state’s first release of election totals on Tuesday night. That will likely be at least two-thirds of the final total of voters. That means that candidates with a significant first-night lead in key races will be difficult to overcome as more ballots are counted.
More than a thousand people crowded into Temple De Hirsch Sinai while at least as many filled the street outside the synagogue during a vigil for the 11 people killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, October 27.
Despite what most in the left- leaning 37th District saw as a devastating and traumatic Presidential result, the 2016 election did bring some key wins down the ballot. Progressives such as State Senator Pramila Jayapal, representing the 37th Legislative District (LD), came away with a victory in the race for the 7th Congressional District position—leaving open her seat in the most diverse and progressive district in the state of Washington. Or, as we at the Emerald call it, the “most eclectic place on earth.”Continue reading Who Will Be The 37th District’s Next State Senator?→
The debate over immigration policy in our country has long been among the most contentious topics of this year’s presidential and congressional elections, but yesterday morning it took center stage when the starkly polarized Supreme Court deadlocked in a 4-4 vote on President Obama’s immigration plan. The executive action would have provided relief to millions of undocumented parents and children across the country. Continue reading Local Immigrant Rights Leaders Reflect on SCOTUS Ruling→
Editor’s Note: These are remarks the 37th District Senate-Elect gave during a press conference directly following the announcement that Darren Wilson- the Ferguson, MO police officer who fatally shot Mike Brown- would not be charged in the death of the 18 year year old.
by Pramila Jayapal
To the parents of Michael Brown, we send love, strength, solidarity, and a cushion for your heartbreak. I am the mother of a 17-year old boy. I cannot imagine the pain of Mr. and Mrs. Brown and I am so grateful for the leadership they have shown in spite of the pain and outrage they are feeling in this moment. Continue reading Pramila Jayapal: We Are All Mike Brown→
In an outcome that many anticipated from the moment she announced her intentions to run, 37th District voters crowned Pramila Jayapal their new State Senator Tuesday night.
Jayapal, primarily known for her activism on immigration and police accountability issues, took nearly 67% of the vote to business professor and entrepreneur Louis Watanabe’s 33%.
“I’m proud to represent the most racially and economically diverse district in Washington State,” Jayapal told a packed room of supporters at her campaign party at the Royal Room in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle. “Our district represents the future of this state and country. As I’ve said all along, this campaign isn’t about electing me, it’s about electing us. Given the scale of the change we seek we have to prepare ourselves to what amounts to a permanent campaign. And this is just the beginning.”
The 37th District’s two other races played out predictably as both incumbents Sharon Tomiko Santos (State Representative Position 1) and Eric Pettigrew (State Representative Position 2)- who are both Democrats- overwhelmingly defeated their Republican challengers- Daniel Bretzke and Tamra Smilanich respectively. Both victors received over 84% of casts votes.
In other election night developments Initiative 594- which would require background checks for firearm sales and purchases- was passed by over 60% of Washington State voters. The initiative was of particular concern to South Seattle residents as gun violence has increased steeply in the area within the last few months.
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!
As the November 4th election draws ever closer and freshly mailed ballots face the likely probability of becoming indistinguishable from junk mail, Pramila Jayapal and Louis Watanabe – both vying to replace the outgoing Adam Kline as the 37th District’s next state senator – have been making their rounds across several district neighborhoods in hopes of convincing the undecided amongst the electorate as to just why they are worthy of a vote come election day.
The next stop on the campaign trail is tonight’s West Hill Community Association meeting. The quarterly community affair gets underway at 7:00pm in the cafeteria of Campbell Hill Elementary School (6418 S 124th St, Seattle, WA 98178) and will feature both candidates taking questions directly from audience members.
The meeting will also include Rich Brooks from RAYS (Renton Area Youth Services) discussing the various services offered to the community at the Cynthia A. Green Family Center in West Hill and Michael Davie from Youth Source, who will be sharing an overview of programs offered by the organization.
The meeting is open to the public and scheduled to conclude at 9:00pm.