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The Daily's 2017 King County Election Endorsements

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Jenny Durkan

Seattle mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan speaks with the press following a debate.

The Daily's Editorial Board came together to endorse candidates in the 2017 King County election who it believes will do the best in providing King County, Seattle, and the UW community with effective leadership, vision, and experience. The following endorsements are signed by: 

Madelaine VanDerHeyden, Opinion Editor; Rebecca Gross, Editor-in-Chief; Molly Quinton, News Editor; Cameron Eldridge, Arts and Leisure Editor; Mitali Palekar, Web Editor; Alyson Podesta, Special Sections Editor; Hailey Robinson, Social Media Editor; Mira Petrillo, Wellness Editor; Josh Kirshenbaum, Sports Editor; Kellyn Grassel, Co-Copy Chief; Tyler Petrie, Co-Design Editor; Alex Bruell, Development Editor; Timothy Kenney, Science Editor; Niva Ashkenazi, ASUW Beat Reporter; and Devon McBride, UWPD Reporter.  

Mayor: Jenny Durkan

The Daily’s Editorial Board is proud to endorse Jenny Durkan in the race for Mayor of Seattle. Durkan is an innovative leader who has the experience, resilience, and vision to lead Seattle to a more inclusive and prosperous future. While the Board does recognize that opponent Cary Moon has a fresh perspective that could be beneficial to Seattle politics, her reliance on Olympia for funding and lack of political experience have lead the Board to doubt whether Moon has the political savvy to effectively follow-through on her campaign promises. However, if elected, the Board strongly recommends that Durkan work on leading outreach efforts into marginalized communities in order to incorporate their experiences into future policy decisions. Additionally, the Board suggests Durkan needs to learn to reconcile her own experiences as a woman of privilege with the challenges that will present themselves while leading a city as diverse as Seattle. Overall, the Board is confident Durkan is the best choice for the city. 

Proposition 1: Yes 

The Board has absolutely no reservations about voting “yes” on Proposition 1. We feel it is imperative to support marginalized and disadvantaged populations in King County in order to ensure the continued prosperity of our entire county.

King County Attorney: Pete Holmes & Scott Lindsay 

Pete Holmes is the incumbent Seattle City Attorney, serving since 2010. Another win this November would grant Holmes his third term. Before being elected city attorney, Holmes was a member of the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB). 

Holmes is most known for his work regarding marijuana possession cases, whereupon taking office in January 2010, he dismissed all pending cases. Holmes went on to sponsor Initiative 502 which, by the will of Washington voters in 2012, legalized the use, regulation, and taxation of marijuana for adults.

Shortly after taking office, Holmes also had his office deprioritize charging people for driving with a suspended license, or “driving while poor” as opponents of the charge may call it. He has remained an outspoken critic of the War on Drugs and an advocate for police reform.

Holmes received a reluctant endorsement from The Stranger. Critics of Holmes say he has not done enough since taking office. 

At a debate earlier this year, Holmes accused his opponent Scott Lindsay of supporting prison labor, criticizing his role as public safety advisor to former Mayor Ed Murray during a time when convicts were used as a part of controversial homeless encampment sweeps.

Reach reporter Devon McBride at Twitter: @DevonM98

Scott Lindsay is challenging incumbent Pete Holmes to the nonpartisan position of Seattle City Attorney. Lindsay’s campaign site advertises him as an “activist city attorney” for “progressive justice.”

Lindsay has served the last three years as public safety advisor and special assistant for police reform to former Mayor Ed Murray. In this position Lindsay led a team of outreach workers and police officers in an effort to relocate homeless people from unsafe and unhealthy encampments to safer alternatives. Critics of sweeps call them ineffective, and according to mayoral candidate Cary Moon, not respectful of people’s dignity and right to property.

Lindsay’s plan as city attorney would be focused on breaking the “streets-to-jail cycle,” as he calls it. Lindsay hopes to persuade the Seattle public that he would be better than his opponent in addressing the crises of homelessness and opioid addiction.

While Lindsay did not win over the endorsement of The Stranger, primarily because of his work with homeless encampment sweeps, he has been endorsed by the Seattle Times. Lindsay, like his opponent Holmes, has been endorsed by the Young Democrats of the UW and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.

Reach reporter Devon McBride at Twitter: @DevonM98

The Editorial Board holds a similar view of the two candidates as The Stranger, which began its endorsement with, “We hate both these motherf------s.” While the Board strongly disagrees with Pete Holmes’ ideas for criminalizing sex work, Scott Lindsay’s efforts to curb homelessness through sweeps and reduce drug use through arrests are discriminatory, unrealistic, and do more to exacerbate the problems they hope to address. 

Vote Pete Holmes. 

King County Executive: Dow Constantine & Bill Hirt

Dow Constantine once again seeks reelection as King County executive to help immigrants, women, and the light rail expansion. He held a lead of almost 65 percent on his closest opponent Bill Hirt in the August primaries.

In his current term, Constantine has worked to help immigrants and refugees by providing legal support in their journey to security. He recently proposed a $750,000 one-time allocation to cover this.

He also heavily emphasizes environmental protection and lowering local pollution.

Constantine supports health, social, and economic equity. He is a proponent of access to healthcare for women through Planned Parenthood and integrating opportunity in low-income communities and the youth justice system.

Beyond national issues, Constantine’s campaign focuses locally on expanding transportation through the light rail, King County Metro Transit, and he played a large role in redoing the South Park Bridge. He is a current member of the Sound Transit Board.

Currently he’s pushing for more safe injection sites for opioid users, which Initiative 27, recently struck down by a King County judge, sought to ban.

The incumbent has been a long-time figure in Seattle politics, endorsed by both the Seattle Times and The Stranger for the upcoming election. He’s been involved in so many initiatives and measures in the past two decades that breaking it all down would take pages. On top of all that, he grew up locally in West Seattle and is a proud UW alumnus.

Reach reporter Samantha Bushman at news@dailyuw.comTwitter: @sammi_bushman

Bill Hirt enters the King County executive playing field at a sharp disadvantage to two-time incumbent Dow Constantine. He beat out Seattle voters’ pamphlet classic Goodspaceguy by less than 10 percent in August.

His campaign focuses largely on defunding the East Link light rail, which plans on expanding transportation to the Bellevue area across the 520 Bridge. He believes it will drastically increase, not decrease, transportation woes.

Past this, his platform is lacking, as no other initiatives listed on his campaign page. Hirt unsuccessfully ran as a Republican candidate for Washington governor in 2016, losing in the primaries with less than 4 percent of the vote.

“I have no illusions about being elected,” Hirt’s blog said. “My hope is voters from throughout the east side will read of my candidacy and visit this web site. If they don’t find them persuasive I know at least I tried.”

Reach reporter Samantha Bushman at Twitter: @sammi_bushman

Dow Constantine is the obvious choice due to his dedicated service to King County and the excellent strides he has made with the issues of public transit and environmental protection. However, in the case of a victory for opposing candidate Bill Hirt, who seems to have no real interest in the position, The Daily’s Sports Editor Josh Kirshenbaum has said Hirt should “suck it up.”

Vote Dow Constantine. 

King County Sheriff: Mitzi Johanknecht v. John Urquhart

A veteran of the King County Sheriff’s Office for over three decades and the first woman to command the department’s SWAT team, Mitzi Johanknecht currently occupies the rank of major of the southwest precinct in Burien, having served in every division and location in the sheriff’s office throughout the past 19 years. She advocates for community-building through increases in public outreach involvement as well as better implementation of the King County Equity and Social Justice Plan, which proposes a shift in policies toward consciousness and action surrounding issues of inequity. 

Regarding public safety, Johanknecht not only plans to collaborate with other law enforcement and government agencies to address current community crime trends, but also to provide extensive and ongoing training to deputies in de-escalation tactics. Her principles and policies revolve around decreasing crime and increasing the quality of life for all members of the community.

Johanknecht has been endorsed by the Seattle Times, The Stranger, and Representative Pramila Jayapal. Up against the King County Sheriff incumbent John Urquhart in this upcoming election, she intends to lead by example — with transparency, accountability, and integrity — a way in which she argues her opponent has failed to perform.

Reach Contributing writer Ren Nguyen at Twitter: rengrams

John Urquhart has served as King Country Sheriff since 2012. A native of the city, he attended Ingraham High School and the University of Washington, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business in 1971. He has spent over four decades in law enforcement, including 28 years with the King County Sheriff’s Office. 

During the first four years of Urquhart’s administration, the Sheriff’s Office returned $5 million to taxpayers. Urquhart has mandated that all deputies undergo de-escalation training as well as implemented preference points for second-language skills in new recruits. He has also created a Use of Force Review Board to investigate policy and training violations when use-of-force incidents occur. In 2015, Urquhart re-established the Domestic Violence Unit with the goal of increasing prosecution effectiveness. He has worked to outfit all patrol cars with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), raising the number of vehicles equipped with AEDs from 75 in 2012 to 280 in 2017. Urquhart has stated that he plans to equip all of his deputies with body cameras by the end of 2018.

Urquhart has been endorsed by the Young Democrats at the University of Washington.

Reach Contributing writer Marissa Gaston at

The Editorial Board unanimously endorses Mitzi Johanknecht. Her opponent, incumbent Jon Urquhart, is facing multiple investigations concerning allegations of gender discrimination, retaliation, and rape. We take these concerns very seriously, and wish to remove Urquhart from his position to avoid perpetrating any abuses of power that may have occurred. 

Vote Mitzi Johanknecht. 

Seattle City Council position 8: Jon Grant & Teresa Mosqueda 

Jon Grant is running for Seattle City Council Position 8. Grant previously ran to become a councilmember in 2015 but lost to Tim Burgess who took over as mayor of Seattle in September. 

A long-time housing advocate, he was formerly the director of the Tenants Union. Before working at the Tenants Union, he was a housing advocate with the nonprofit organization Solid Ground. Most recently, he successfully worked to pass I-1433 which raised the state minimum wage. 

Grant was arrested earlier this year at a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to the candidate’s website, he has a long list of priorities if elected, including rent control, criminal justice reform, and campaign finance reform. One of his policy demands is that the city require 25 percent of new development be dedicated to affordable housing as a way of challenging the status quo. 

Grant is a strong supporter of creating change through community organizing and pressure. For example, he hopes to organize tenants to collectively bargain with landlords if elected. 

Reach contributing writer Jake Goldstein-Street at development@dailyuw.comTwitter: @GoldsteinStreet

Teresa Mosqueda is running for Seattle City Council Position 8. She has a long track record as a labor leader in the Pacific Northwest where she was born and raised. 

Before becoming the political and strategic campaign director at the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Mosqueda graduated from the University of Washington and earned her master’s degree in public administration from Evergreen State College. 

Mosqueda’s position as a lobbyist gave her connections to big labor unions. In 2016, she was one of the most outspoken advocates of raising the minimum wage. She also has been a strong promoter of environmental justice. 

As a member of the city council, she hopes to advance policies that reduce the wage gap between men and women, support minority-owned, small businesses, and make health care more accessible to immigrants, according to her website. More broadly, she wants to protect the rights of residents by defending workers’ rights and create stable housing by working to prevent displacement. 

Reach Contributing writer Jake Goldstein-Street at development@dailyuw.comTwitter: @GoldsteinStreet

The Editorial Board believes that both Jon Grant and his opponent, Teresa Mosqueda, would be effective leaders in the city council. However, it is inclined to select Grant due to Grant’s history of incorporating constituent opinion while drafting his policies, and his willingness to confront those who perpetrate systemic oppression of the city’s vulnerable populations.

Vote Jon Grant.

Seattle City Council position 9: M. Lorena Gonzalez & Pat Murakami 

Incumbent M. Lorena González is running to return as the representative for Position 9 City Council seat. González is an attorney and President Emeritus of OneAmerica, an immigrant and civil rights organization in Washington state. González grew up in Washington’s lower Yakima Valley as a migrant farm worker. She attended Yakima Valley Community College and Washington State University before enrolling in law school at Seattle University in 2002. 

González supported Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law and has lobbied for statewide paid parental and family leave. González, in partnership with fellow Councilmember Tim Burgess, also created a $1 million taxpayer-funded legal defense fund for immigrants and refugees. 

González has chaired the Gender Equity, Safe Communities & New Americans Committee and passed legislation making the Community Police Commission permanent. González has stated that she will continue to support changes to zoning laws which aim to promote access to affordable housing, as well as support the accelerated construction of permanent housing options for the homeless. 

González has been endorsed by the Young Democrats at the University of Washington. 

Reach Contributing writer Marissa Gaston at

Pat Murakami, candidate for Seattle City Council Position 9, is dedicated to establishing a more inclusive neighborhood planning process “for a livable Seattle.” Central to her campaign is considering the voices of residents when rezoning proposals are introduced. As issues of housing affordability and homelessness also drive her campaign, Murakami wants to establish a unit within the Office of Housing to verify compliance of Mandatory Housing Affordability and the city’s existing policies for inclusionary housing.

With experience as past president of the Mount Baker Community Club, vice president of the Seattle District Council, and president of the Cleveland High School PTSA, Murakami has demonstrated skill sets relevant to city-wide issues. 

For the past 7 years, she has been president of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council (SSCPC) where she publicly opposed the appointment of former Police Chief John Diaz. Murakami believes Diaz’s leadership has permitted unacceptable cases of police brutality, and she heads the SSCPC’s cooperation with the SPD to eliminate related citizen-safety issues. 

In 2006, Murakami also formed a group called Many Cultures, One Message that successfully blocked Mayor Greg Nickels’ attempt to force immigrant property owners in Southeast Seattle to sell their properties at unfair prices.

Reach Contributing writer Devon Fleming at development@dailyuw.comTwitter: @devon_fleming18

Gonzalez received particular praise from the Editorial Board not just in current endorsements, but especially in the immediate aftermath of former Mayor Ed Murray’s abuse allegations, as Gonzalez was one of the first to publicly demand Murray’s resignation. Gonzalez has proved to be a strong team member during her current tenure on city council through acquiring funding for immigration legal aid and advancing pro-worker legislation.

Vote M. Lorena Gonzalez. 

Port of Seattle Commissioner 1: Ryan Calkins & John Creighton 

Ryan Calkins is challenging the four-year incumbent John Creighton for the Port of Seattle Commissioner Position 1. Calkins is a small-business owner focused on progressive values. His priority issues are environmental preservation and living-wage job creation through local businesses at the port. 

Calkins spent a decade running a local, import company and currently works for Ventures, a nonprofit which supports beginning entrepreneurs. He aspires to keep port shipping operations efficient and clean in order to maintain the health of Seattle’s industrial maritime sector. 

Calkins views the port as both an economic asset and a “custodian” of the local environment. His goal is to make decisions that serve Seattle’s economy and long-term environmental health. In response to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Calkins released a short video promoting an environmentally-friendly policy he would implement at the port. 

He would like to electrify port vehicles and port service vehicles in order to reduce diesel emissions and pollution associated with bringing in fossil fuels from outside the area. Calkins’ progressive objectives have earned him endorsements from the Sierra Club, The Stranger, the Young Democrats of the University of Washington, and several Washington state legislators. Calkins resides in Eastlake.

Reach Contributing writer Claire Summa at development@dailyuw.comTwitter: @sumclairvoyance

Commissioner John Creighton returns as an incumbent to defend his Position 1 seat. Having served the Port of Seattle since 2006, Creighton has held several positions with the port alongside involvement with the Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board, the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors, and the Seattle Sports Commission, among others. In 2006, Governor Christine Gregoire appointed Creighton to the State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board.

Previous to his work with the Port of Seattle, Creighton worked as a lawyer on international transactions in port cities such as Singapore and Istanbul. Creighton is a longstanding advocate for environmental protection and social responsibility ethics. In his first term, he worked to unite the business and environmental communities behind the common goal of an environmentally sustainable port. 

However, Creighton has recently been the subject of a lawsuit against the port involving two former employees. The lawsuit states Creighton pushed valuable airport leases in the direction of his campaign donors. Creighton and the port deny the allegations, and Creighton states that he has never promised a vote or offered any special favors for a campaign donation.

Creighton is currently focused on a 25-year plan to expand operations at the airport and cruise terminals with the goal of creating more jobs. He would like to invest in economy-bolstering infrastructure as well as see an increase in the port’s role in supporting family-wage jobs. In 2007, 2008, and 2016, Creighton was selected by his colleagues to hold the position of commission president. 

Reach Contributing writer Shinehah Bogar at development@dailyuw.comTwitter: @shinehahb

Ryan Calkins will bring a fresh perspective to the Port of Seattle, steering away from the status quo set by incumbent John Creighton. Creighton is deep in the pockets of major Seattle-area corporations, and Calkins is more concerned with the well-being and empowerment of Port workers, which the Board believes is more advantageous for the continued development of the city. 

Vote Ryan Calkins.  

Port of Seattle Commissioner 3: Ahmed Abdi & Stephanie Bowman 

Ahmed Abdi is a candidate running for Position 3 on the Port of Seattle Commission. 

Born in Somalia, Abdi’s family fled after the outbreak of civil war in 1991 and spent nearly 20 years in a Kenyan refugee camp. Abdi first came to the United States in 2009, where he worked processing frozen chicken in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2010, he came to Seattle to go to college, and was hired at Working Washington where he campaigned to raise wages in the SeaTac area.

Two years later, he helped pass a $15 minimum wage for hotel and airport workers in the city of SeaTac.

Abdi is currently on the Board of Commissioners for the Seattle Housing Authority. He also works as the outreach manager for the Fair Work Center, providing “Know Your Rights” trainings for low-wage workers as well as immigrant and refugee groups.

Passionate about protecting working people’s rights and improving the lives of those working in the Port of Seattle area, Abdi is endorsed by Representative Pramila Jayapal, State Senator Rebecca Saldana, King County Democrats, and King County Young Democrats.

Reach Contributing writer Maxwell Eberle at Twitter: @MaxwellEberle

Commissioner Stephanie Bowman returns to the race for Position 3 as one of two incumbents running for re-election. Bowman boasts more than 18 years of experience in the fields of transportation and economic development on local, state, and federal levels. Currently, she serves as the executive director for the statewide nonprofit Washington Asset Building Coalition, whose goal is to help economically disadvantaged communities through education, small business development, and homeownership. 

Bowman is concerned about overdevelopment on the Seattle waterfront and hopes to keep Central Seattle an area where everyone can find work — not just people in the technology industry. Bowman does not favor the building of a new NBA arena in SoDo, but would like to seek out other options. 

This year, Bowman looks forward to discussions of a second regional airport. As SeaTac airport continues to grow and has limited ability to expand into the surrounding communities, she wants to start seeking out second locations. She believes that her biggest accomplishment in office was co-leading an effort that merged the ports of Tacoma and Seattle which some say has reduced competition between the two. 

Reach Contributing writer Shinehah Bogar at Twitter: @shinehahb

Similarly to Calkins, Ahmed Abdi is an advocate for workers’ rights, especially those who are marginalized or discriminated against in the current system. Abdi’s dedication to protecting human and labor rights, which is fueled by his own personal experiences, brings a level of authenticity and personality to the commissioner’s race. 

Vote Ahmed Abdi. 

Port of Seattle Commissioner 4: Preeti Shridhar & Peter Steinbrueck

Peter Steinbrueck has a decade of experience on city council, serving from 1997 to 2007, where he helped lead efforts for inclusive housing, transportation improvement, and environmental recognition. Steinbrueck now runs his own consulting firm, using his experience as an architect to advocate for sustainable, community-oriented, environmentally-conscious development. 

Steinbrueck hopes to use the economic stimulus of the Port of Seattle to fight Seattle’s high cost of living. He also recognizes that many port workers are not adequately compensated, which is why he’s a proponent of the $15 minimum wage. Steinbrueck also has advocated for apprenticeship programs among schools and trade programs to help younger individuals become involved with the port.

Like Preeti Shridhar, environmental accountability is a hallmark of Steinbrueck’s campaign. He’s pledged to fight carbon emissions, promote alternative fuel sources, and protect Washington’s tree greenery. 

Steinbrueck draws endorsements from the Seattle Times, Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess, and exiting port commissioner Tom Albro.

Reach writer Max Wasserman at news@dailyuw.comTwitter: @maxandrw1

Preeti Shridhar has been involved in local government for 25 years, starting with a marketing position for Seattle Public Utilities in 1993. Since then, she’s worked for the city of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment and with the city of Renton, where she currently works, as the deputy director of public affairs.

Shridhar’s campaign centers around job creation, accountability, environmental protections, and inclusion. Shidrah immigrated from India where she received a degree in economics from the University of Bombay. She has vowed to represent the city on the national immigrant debate should she be elected to the Position 4 for the Port of Seattle.

Both Shridhar and her opponent, former city Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, share similar beliefs on protecting the natural environment. As commissioner, Shidrah would advocate to protect Seattle’s environment to keep it attractive for residents and visitors. 

Shidrah draws endorsements from The Stranger, the Seattle Weekly, and state congressional Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Reach reporter Max Wasserman at news@dailyuw.comTwitter: @maxandrw1

Preeti Shridhar will continue to fight for cultural competency within the Port of Seattle. While some within The Daily’s Editorial Board hold reservations regarding her ability to follow through on campaign promises, overall, the Board is impressed with her extensive track record of focusing on diversity and inclusion within the workplace. 

Vote Preeti Shridhar.

Seattle School Board dis. 1, dir.  4: Eden Mack & Herbert J. Camet Jr. 

Eden Mack, candidate for Seattle School Board Director for District 4, is an advocate for equity in Seattle schools. Central to her campaign are the issues of supplying necessary resources to Seattle schools to promote equity and ensuring that schools keep up with Seattle’s rapid growth. Mack intends to focus on policies that retain skilled and culturally responsive educators who are more concerned with the genuine success of students than just their test scores.

Having served as Legislative Chair of Seattle Council of Parent, Teacher and Student Associations (SCPTSA), Mack has worked to prioritize the advocacy for parent, teacher, and student associations (PTAs) in legislative processes. 

In light of school funding advocacy, the candidate co-authored and served as Issue Lead for the Washington State PTA’s 2015-16 top two legislative priorities: “Fully Funding McCleary” and “Increasing Capital Funding.” Also in 2016, Mack was recognized as a “Superhero” in ParentMap Magazine for her extensive work in education advocacy. 

Reach Contributing writer Devon Fleming at Twitter: @devon_fleming18

Herbert J. Camet Jr. is running for Seattle School Board Director for District 4. He qualified in the August primary with 7.75 percent of the vote, coming behind Eden Mack, who received over 70 percent. 

Camet’s website, Education Reform Seattle, presents an extensive list of plans and goals for Seattle schools. He wants to reform the public education system in Seattle by taking a hands-on approach to oversight of the district. One proposal he offers is to appoint a school superintendent rather than what he considers ​a K-12 ​schooling system​ bureaucrat. Of a multitude of issues, Camet considers the top three to be expanding arts education, improving college readiness, and maintaining the district’s budget.

He has served as a K-12 school principal in the United States, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iraq.

Camet also served two years in Yemen as a Peace Corps volunteer with ESL programs, and has over 35 years of experience as a principal, ESL specialist, and teacher in 10 countries. 

Camet’s qualifications as a professional educator span internationally, making him a competitive candidate, and he claims the other candidates are “know-nothings” in comparison. He has no official endorsements and refuses to be associated with any political party. 

Reach Contributing writer Melissa Hedwall at Twitter: @MelissaHedwall

Eden Mack is the obvious choice for Seattle School Board, and not just because she declines to use Comic Sans in her emails à la her opponent, Herbert J. Camet Jr. (though The Daily’s Sports Editor Josh Kirshenbaum would like to add he actually endorses the font). Mack is sincerely interested in the development of Seattle curriculum to better reflect the needs and interests of local students, which includes hiring teachers of color, implementing ethnic studies programs, and fighting lawmakers in Olympia for better funding for Seattle schools.  

Vote Eden Mack. 

Seattle School Board dist. 1, dir. 5: Zachary DeWolf & Omar Vasquez

Zachary DeWolf is running for election to the Seattle School Board for District 5. He received 47.36 percent of the primary vote in August, while his competitor Omar Vasquez received 17.53 percent. 

If elected to the school board, DeWolf says he will strive to promote equity and close the opportunity gap in the Seattle schooling system. He plans to pay particular attention to students of color, those in the LGBTQIA+ community, those experiencing homelessness, and undocumented students. Promoting a safe and welcoming environment for all students in Seattle is one of his priorities. Last on his agenda is saving the public school system by opposing board members who push money to private schools. 

DeWolf is a graduate of Western Washington University, served in the Peace Corps, and was program manager of All Home King County. On top of these qualifications, he is a tribal member of Chippewa Cree and a voice for the LGBTQIA+ community as he works closely with the Pride Foundation. His platform focuses on inclusivity and the promotion of educational equity.

Both the King County Young Democrats and The Stranger have officially endorsed DeWolf.

Reach Contributing writer Melissa Hedwall at development@dailyuw.comTwitter: @MelissaHedwall

Receiving almost 18 percent of the vote in the primary election, Omar Vasquez is set to face off against Zachary DeWolf in the general election for District 5 representative on the Seattle Public School Board of Directors for District 5. 

The District 5 seat is one of three open on the board, and Vasquez and DeWolf held off three other opponents in the primary election. 

Although DeWolf won the primary with over 47 percent of the vote, Vasquez has received endorsements from the King County Young Democrats and the Seattle Times Editorial Board.

Vasquez has cited his goals as closing the achievement gap for low-income students and students of color, who disproportionately suffer in academics. This is especially true in Seattle Public Schools, which are ranked fifth in the country when it comes to the worst gaps in opportunity.

A former teacher, Vasquez has stressed that he would like to see the profession achieve greater recognition and compensation and engage more with the parents of students.

Vasquez taught math in high schools and also served as a department chair in the Phoenix area before becoming a lawyer. Vasquez is the only candidate with teaching experience, and in 2016, he served on former Mayor Ed Murrary’s education advisory council.

Vasquez and his opponent would each add to a more diverse board of directors, as DeWolf is Native American and Vasquez is Mexican-American. If Vasquez wins the general election, he will be the first Latino to serve on the Seattle School Board. 

More information on Vasquez’s campaign can be found on his website

Reach reporter Alex Visser at news@dailyuw.comTwitter: @thealexvisser

Vote Zachary DeWolf. 

Seattle School Board dist. 1, dir. 7: Betty Patu & Chelsea Byers

Betty Patu, running under her slogan, “The voice for our children,” seeks re-election for Seattle School Board Director for District 7. First elected in 2009, Patu is running in the by-district, general election Nov. 7.

With 32 years of experience working for Seattle Public Schools and 30 years of experience in education, Patu’s campaign is backed by her “proven experience, leadership, and results.” Being a Seattle resident in the 37th District for over 40 years, Patu has served as both a parent and grandparent to students in the district. Patu plans to continue “working tirelessly to close the achievement gap and to ensure that all children receive the best quality education.”  

She is a recipient of Senator Patty Murray’s “Golden Tennis Shoe Awards” for her community contributions and has been endorsed by publications including, but not limited to, the Seattle Weekly and The Stranger.

“I treated all communities with respect, ensured the safety of all our children and advocated for equitable and quality education,” Patu said. “There is a great deal of work left to accomplish together as I represent the voices of District 7.” 

More information regarding Patu’s platform, accomplishments, and endorsements can be found at

Reach Contributing writer Sarah Archer at Twitter: @saraharcher99

Chelsea Byers will run for Seattle School Board Director for District 7 in the by-district, general election Nov. 7.

With a background in education and a master’s degree in quantitative analysis political science, the South Seattle resident has served as an educator and is currently the vice president of instruction at a technology education organization.

“I became an educator because I believe all students deserve the chance to succeed, and it’s time to have a school board that shares this belief and fights for all kids,” Byers said.

Byers plans to prepare students for the “New Economy,” focus on graduation rates and equal education opportunity, fully fund education in Washington state, and improve early childhood education. She also stresses the importance of a “21st Century Education,” providing students with the means necessary to engage in the technological world.

The Seattle Times, Seattle School Board Director Stephan Blanford, former Seattle Schools Board President Sherry Carr, the King County Young Democrats, and several others have endorsed the candidate. 

According to the Seattle Times, “Voters should retire Betty Patu from the Seattle school board and replace her with Chelsea Byers.”

More information regarding Byers’s platform, accomplishments, and endorsements can be found at

Reach Contributing writer Sarah Archer at Twitter: @saraharcher99

Betty Patu’s history of working to create inclusive school atmospheres makes her a strong candidate for the final position on the Seattle School Board. While the Editorial Board is concerned about the $74 million deficit that accrued during Patu’s tenure on the school board, the direction she is leading the board in will ultimately be more beneficial than opponent Chelsea Byers’ vision (and, the Editorial Board would like to add, it’s not necessarily Patu’s fault the district is so poorly funded — cough, cough, Olympia lawmakers). 

Vote Betty Patu.  

Reach The Daily's Editorial Board at

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