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Pierce County

General ELECTION: November 7th, 2017

The Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.

Statewide Ballot Measures

Statewide Advisory Ballot Measure #16

Vote Maintained on Advisory Vote 16

MAINTAINED
A bipartisan group of legislators passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1597, which included a small excise tax in order to increase environmental protections for regional fish and wildlife. Because of a Tim Eyman initiative, the Legislature is required to submit any bill it passes that closes tax loopholes or raises revenue to a non-binding advisory vote. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote 16.

Statewide Advisory Ballot Measure #17

Vote Maintained on Advisory Vote 17

MAINTAINED
Our state has been under Supreme Court order to fully fund education for several years. This June, Republicans and Democrats came together to approve a bipartisan package of revenue increases for public schools, including expanding the Business and Occupation tax. While this does not solve the education funding problem, the package goes a long way towards providing a quality education for all students. ...
MAINTAINED
Our state has been under Supreme Court order to fully fund education for several years. This June, Republicans and Democrats came together to approve a bipartisan package of revenue increases for public schools, including expanding the Business and Occupation tax. While this does not solve the education funding problem, the package goes a long way towards providing a quality education for all students. This non-binding advisory vote is required thanks to a Tim Eyman ballot measure. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote 17. ...

Statewide Advisory Ballot Measure #18

Vote Maintained on Advisory Vote 18

MAINTAINED
In addition to the legislation covered by Advisory Vote 17, a strong bipartisan majority of state legislators voted to increase local property taxes to fund schools. We have concerns about raising regressive property taxes that disproportionately impact working families and make our upside-down tax code even worse. However, we are optimistic about retaking the state Senate this fall and working with progressives in Olympia next year to reduce this tax and instead make the wealthy pay their fair share. ...
MAINTAINED
In addition to the business taxes covered in Advisory Vote 17, a strong bipartisan majority of state legislators voted to increase local property taxes to fund schools. We have concerns about raising regressive property taxes that disproportionately impact working families and make our upside-down tax code even worse. However, we are optimistic about retaking the state Senate this fall and working with progressives in Olympia next year to reduce this tax and instead make the wealthy pay their fair share.

Like the other advisory votes, this is a non-binding measure required by a Tim Eyman ballot initiative. Vote “Maintained” on Advisory Vote 18. ...

Pierce County Ballot Measures

Pierce County County Charter Amendment #46

Vote YES on Charter Amendment No. 46

APPROVED
Voters should vote YES on Pierce County Charter Amendment No. 46. This charter amendment clarifies the appointment process by outlining two processes for filing vacancies in Pierce County elected offices. It would enable the County Council to solicit applications for all non partisan vacancies, thereby increasing the pool of qualified applicants. For partisan vacancies, the charter amendment stipulates that the county political party nominates three qualified candidates for the council to pick from. Voters should vote YES on this charter amendment.

Pierce County County Charter Proposition #No. 47

Vote YES on Charter Amendment No. 47

APPROVED
Voters should vote YES on Pierce County Charter Amendment No. 47. Pierce County is one of the few counties in Washington state with term limits for county councilmembers. Charter amendment number 47 would allow councilmembers to serve one additional term for a total of three consecutive 4-year terms in office. The goal is to strike a balance of allowing councilmembers to gain experience so they can better serve their constituents, while maintaining term limits for elected officials.

31st Legislative District

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below districts on your ballot.

State Senator

Michelle Rylands

Democrat
Michelle Rylands photo
Michelle Rylands is an Army veteran and PTA president running against incumbent Senator Phil Fortunato. She is strongly in favor of fully funding K-12 education, and also advocates for fixing our state's upside-down tax code and helping local small businesses.

Fortunato was chosen by Republicans to replace long-time senator Pam Roach. While he is very conservative on many issues, he deserves credit for playing a key role in breaking the final state budget impasse this year by pushing his Republican colleagues to fund the contracts of state employees. Nevertheless, Rylands is the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information

State Representative, Position #2

Nate Lowry

Democrat
Nate Lowry photo
Edgewood City Councilmember Nate Lowry is a landscape architect who has been a strong progressive voice in the community. He's running for the 31st District House seat to fix Washington's upside-down tax code and fund Head Start and STEM education. He is running against Republican Morgan Irwin, who was recently appointed to this seat and has not demonstrated progressive values. Lowry is the better choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Social Justice: Equal Rights Washington

Campaign Information

Port of Tacoma

Port Commissioner, Position #1

John McCarthy

John McCarthy photo
John McCarthy is running for the Tacoma Port Commissioner Position 1 against army veteran and port security specialist Eric Holdman. McCarthy served as a Tacoma Port Commissioner from 1983 to 1992, and a Pierce County District Court judge for 22 years. While McCarthy is not the most progressive candidate, his previous experience and community involvement makes him the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Environment: Sierra Club
Economic Justice: WA Federation of State Employees
Social Justice: Equal Rights Washington
Other: Tacoma - Pierce County Black Collective, Tacoma Firefighters IAFF Local 31, Pierce County Central Labor Council

Campaign Information

City Races and Ballot Measures

Depending on where you live, you may have the below races on your ballot.

City of Auburn

Auburn Mayor

Nancy Backus

Nancy Backus photo
Elected in 2014, financial manager Nancy Backus is the first female mayor of Auburn. Prior to her first term, she served on the city council for 10 years as Chair of the Finance Committee and the Planning & Community Development Committee. Backus' first term is backed by an impressive list of accomplishments. Backus has made economic development a priority, including welcoming new small businesses to the downtown area, launching a downtown facade improvement program, and seeking additional expansion from Boeing. As a result, unemployment in Auburn is among the lowest in the state. In 2016, the mayor led the charge for a homelessness task force and the city is currently working on 40 of the 56 recommendations issued by the task force, including extending availability at the emergency shelter.

Backus is running against city councilmember and deputy mayor Largo Wales. Wales' campaign is focused on public safety and funding local infrastructure, but her platform also includes anti-homeless measures such as moving all care and housing programs away from the central areas and into industrial zones.

Backus' leadership has earned her another term.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Environment: Washington Conservation Voters
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Other: 47th LD Dems

Campaign Information

Auburn City Council, Position #4

Yolanda Trout-Manuel

Yolanda Trout-Manuel  photo
Yolanda Trout-Manuel is running unopposed to retain her seat in Position 4. She serves as Chair of the Finance Committee and she is a well-known advocate for traffic safety and for her domestic violence work. She received a 2015 Outstanding Award from the local Domestic Violence Task Force and an Outstanding Citizen Activist Award for Excellence in Traffic Safety from the Washington Traffic Safety Commissioners for her work on Washington's Highway 12. Trout-Manuel serves on several regional and national boards, including the Puget Sound Latino Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Elective Legislative Officials, and the National League of Cities. She plans to focus the upcoming years on homelessness, public safety, and the economic health of Auburn.

Auburn City Council, Position #6

Larry Brown

Larry Brown  photo
U.S. Navy veteran Larry Brown is the Legislative and Political Director for the Aerospace Machinists District Lodge 751. A strong advocate for workers, Brown has worked on the Governor’s Unemployment Task Force and the labor caucus for the Labor and Industries Workers Comp Advisory Committee. He is running on a jobs agenda that seeks to reduce commute times for workers, emphasize education and workforce training, and bring in more technology jobs.

Brown is opposed by Mike Kahler, a manager at the Auburn Valley Humane Society’s Thrift Store. Kahler promotes an enforcement of the city's anti-loitering and panhandling laws to force the homeless from storefronts.

Brown's experience and commitment to progressive values makes him the clear choice for Auburn City Council Position 6.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Reproductive Freedom: NARAL Pro-Choice Washington
Economic Justice: M. L. King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, SEIU 775, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, UFCW 21
Other: Teamsters 117, 31st Legislative District Democrats

Campaign Information

City of Puyallup

Puyallup City Council, District #2, Council Position #2

Heather Shadko

Heather Shadko photo
Incumbent Heather Shadko is serving her first term on the Puyallup City Council. She is a contracts manager for the Port of Tacoma, and has served as Chair of the Puyallup Library Board, and a member and vice-chair of the Planning Commission. Shadko's time on the council has been positive - fighting for humane treatment of the homeless, supporting Puyallup as Washington's second pollinator-friendly "Bee City," and advocating for public open space.

She is running against Cynthia Jacobsen, a math teacher at Pierce College. A fiscal conservative, her main campaign goals are mitigating population growth issues, fiscal responsibility, and working with charities and regional governments to address homelessness.

Shadko is the experienced, progressive pick for this position.

Campaign Information

Puyallup City Council, District #3, Council Position #2

Julie Door

Julie Door photo
Julie Door is running for reelection to the Puyallup City Council District 3, Position 2 seat. Door was first elected to the city council in 2013. Since then, she has made strengthening the economy on behalf of working families one of her main priorities. On the council, Door supported the purchase of the Van Lierop farm to create a new park, implemented a Safe Routes to Schools initiative, and has worked on securing adequate shelter for the homeless in inclement weather. Door works with the Pierce County Opioid Task Force. She is the community services chair of the Puyallup Kiwanis Club and a board member of the South Sound 911 Board, among other community involvement.

Her opponent, Jeremy Hamel, is a DJ whose campaign focuses on curbing non-local development buyers and mitigating traffic issues. He has no political or community organization experience. Door is the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Economic Justice: SEIU Healthcare 1199NW
Other: Pierce County Central Labor Council, Washington Education Association

Campaign Information

City of Tacoma

Tacoma Mayor

Victoria Woodards

Victoria Woodards photo
Victoria Woodards was a member of the Tacoma City Council for 7 years and resigned her seat to run for mayor late last year. She is a U.S. army veteran and president of the Tacoma Urban League, an organization that supports the local African American community. She is focused on building responsible budgets, supporting local businesses, and creating a lasting solution to the homelessness and mental health crisis. Woodards wants to increase funding for public safety and bring more living-wage jobs to Tacoma while prioritizing affordability for current residents.

Woodards is running against progressive Jim Merritt, who lost to Mayor Strickland in a previous run in 2009. Merritt is an architect and board member of the Northend Neighborhood Council. He has advocated for sustainability initiatives for the city like implementing the use of geothermal energy and wants to improve transit in Tacoma.

Woodards is the best choice in this race because of her experience, knowledge of policy issues, and her broader support from our progressive partner organizations.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

General Progressive: Fuse WA
Reproductive Freedom: NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii
Economic Justice: SEIU Local 925, UFCW 21
Social Justice: Equal Rights Washington
Other: Teamsters Local 117

Campaign Information

Tacoma City Council, Position #6 (At-Large)

There are two progressive candidates in this race: Meredith Neal and Lillian Hunter. We lean toward Meredith Neal because of her broader support from our Progressive Voters Guide partner organizations.

Meredith Neal

Meredith Neal photo
Meredith Neal is running for Tacoma City Council Position 6. She has served on the YWCA Pierce County Board, the City of Tacoma Planning Commission, and the Forterra Regional Leadership Council. Neal is prioritizing both revitalization of the local economy and the environment. She is focused on increasing living wage job opportunities, incentivizing affordable housing development, upgrading Tacoma's stormwater infrastructure to protect the Puget Sound, and increasing the tree canopy.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Environment: Washington Bikes
Reproductive Freedom: NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii
Economic Justice: SEIU Local 925, Teamsters Joint Council 28
Other: Pierce County Democrats, UFCW Local 367

Campaign Information

Lillian Hunter

Lillian Hunter photo
Lillian Hunter is a teacher at Lincoln High School who has garnered support from both sides of the aisle. Her family immigrated to Tacoma from Denmark. Hunter has served two terms on the local library board and was appointed by the Governor to serve as a Trustee for Bates Technical College. If elected, she would focus on collaborative efforts to reduce homelessness, community policing and liaison programs, job training services, and equitable infrastructure development that protects the environment.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Reproductive Freedom: NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii
Other: Pierce County Central Labor Council, Tacoma Firefighters Union, Black Collective, Washington Education Association - Tacoma

Campaign Information

 

Tacoma City Council, District #2

There are two progressive candidates in this race: Robert Thoms and Philip Cowan. We lean toward Cowan because of his stronger positions on environmental issues.

Philip Cowan

Philip Cowan photo
Community leader Philip Cowan is running for Tacoma City Council Position 2. Cowan has worked as the Executive Director of Tacoma's Grand Cinema for more than ten years and is running to make Tacoma a healthier place to live for all residents. He believes that it is necessary to address Tacoma's long history of environmental problems and prioritizes environmentally sustainable solutions regarding future development. Cowan is focused on strengthening workers' rights in the local economy and ensuring that Tacoma remains a great to place to live for residents of all income levels.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Environment: Sierra Club, Washington Bikes, Washington Conservation Voters
Reproductive Freedom: Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii
Other: Tacoma Education Association, Teamsters Local 117

Campaign Information

Robert Thoms

Robert Thoms photo
Deputy Mayor Robert Thoms is running for reelection to Tacoma City Council Position 2. Thoms has an extensive twenty year public service record including several years as a Naval Commander and staffer in Senator Maria Cantwell's office. Since Robert Thoms was first elected to the City Council, he has demonstrated a commitment to policies that improve transportation infrastructure and reinvest in the local community. However, Thoms has been on the wrong side of some issues related to the environment, particularly when it comes to fossil fuel projects in the Tideflats area.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Environment: Washington Bikes
Economic Justice: Teamsters Joint Council 28
Other: Tacoma Professional Firefighters Local 31

Campaign Information

 

Tacoma City Council, District #4

Catherine Ushka

Catherine Ushka photo
Catherine Ushka is the president of the Tacoma School Board and is running for the Tacoma City Council District 4 seat. Ushka has served in the U.S. Navy, and as Vice President of the Tacoma Charter Review, Commissioner for the City of Tacoma Human Services Commission, and on the Executive Team and Steering Committee for the Eastside Community Center. Her campaign is focused on public safety, housing, and sustainable career paths. She advocated against State Initiative 1515, which would repeal non-discrimination protections for transgender people in housing, employment, and schools.

Her opponent, real estate developer Kevin Grossman, is a former Shoreline City Councilmember and former Vice Chair of the Washington State Affordable Housing Advisory Board. His longtime work in affordable housing has put increasing housing density, neighborhood involvement, and supporting small business at the center of his campaign.

Because of her greater support from local progressive organizations, Ushka is the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information

Tacoma City Council, District #5

Chris Beale

Chris Beale photo
Community leader Chris Beale is running for Tacoma City Council Position 5. Beale is Chair of the Planning Commission and has also served as Vice Chair of the South Tacoma Neighborhood Council, as a member of Pierce County Transit’s Citizen Advisory Council, and as Board President of the local non-profit ForeverGreen Trails. Beale is advocating for more affordable housing, storm water quality maintenance, support for Safe Routes to Schools, the Neighborhood Councils, and equitable road improvements. He aims to give specific attention to South Tacoma to "address historic inequality of public investments."

Beale is running against Brian Arnold, a conservative insurance company owner and board member of the South Tacoma Business District. Arnold's campaign is focused on increased policing and community safety. Beale is the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information

University Place

Depending on what school district you live in, you may have one of the below races on your ballot.

University Place School Board Director, Position #2

Marisa Peloquin

Marisa Peloquin photo
Marisa Peloquin is running for University Place School Board Director, Position #2. A retired colonel in the U.S. army and a parent of two children, Peloquin understands the value of a quality education. She is running to ensure that the children of working families are supported academically and have access to the resources they need to build a bright future. She is a local community leader and an outspoken advocate for inclusive communities, safe neighborhoods, and social equality.

Marisa Peloquin is running against Nate Angelo, who has not released a detailed platform that explains his vision for University Place schools. Peloquin is the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Pierce County Young Democrats