OneAmerica Votes Announce their 2019 Candidate Endorsements

Magaly Smith Uncategorized

Relentless attacks on immigrant and refugee communities under the Trump Administration are energizing a movement to create change at the ballot box in Washington State.  Immigrants, refugees, and people of color are stepping up to run for office at record levels, and in communities across Washington State, grassroots community members are looking ahead to this fall’s elections.

We are proud to endorse the candidates below who we believe will be a voice for their community and for immigrant rights across Washington state. 

OneAmerica Votes’ endorsement process is led by grassroots leaders from immigrant and refugee communities across Washington State interviewing dozens of candidates seeking office. Leaders directly asked candidates questions on issues important to their communities while learning more about different municipal offices from school boards to port commissions. OAV leaders evaluated the responses and made recommendations to the OneAmerica Votes Board of Directors for review and affirmation.

“It’s vital that we vote our values. I enjoyed interviewing the different candidates to search for an effective advocate for social justice, voting rights, acceptance, economic opportunity and gender and racial equity,” said OneAmerica leader, Mahamoud Djama, about his experience. “As a OneAmerica leader, our aim is to identify candidates who desire to make a positive difference in the community through true public service.”

“Elections matter, and recent history shows just how much of a difference communities can make when they vote in force,” said Rich Stolz, Chief Executive Officer of OneAmerica Votes. “It’s inspiring to see so many people of color and first and second generation Americans stepping up to run for office. Together, we’re changing our communities for the better, bringing new hope to communities under attack in so many ways under the current federal administration. OneAmerica Votes proudly announces our 2019 primary election candidate endorsements.”

OUR 2019 ENDORSEMENTS

YAKIMA
Yakima City Council District 1 – Matthew Sagen
Yakima City Council District 1- Eliana Macias
Yakima City Council District 3 – Berenice Ponce

VANCOUVER
Vancouver School District Director, Position No. 1 – Caressa Milgrove
Vancouver School District Director, Position No. 4 – Lindsey Luis
Vancouver School District Director, Position No. 5 – Tracie Barrows
Evergreen School District Director, District No. 2 – Bethany Rivard
Evergreen School District Director, District No. 4 – Divya Jain

SEATAC
SeaTac Council Position No. 1 – Senayet Negusse
SeaTac Council Position No. 5 – Takele Gobena
SeaTac Council Position No. 7 – Mohamed Ali Egal

TUKWILA
Tukwila City Council Position No. 2 – Nancy J. Manos
Tukwila City Council Position No. 4 – Cynthia Delostrinos Johnson
Tukwila City Council Position No. 6 – Tosh Sharp

KENT
Kent City Council Position No. 3 – Hira Singh Bhullar
Kent City Council Position No. 3 – Sara Franklin
Kent City Council Position No. 5 – Mizan Rahman
Kent City Council Position No. 7 – Awale A. Farah

BURIEN
Burien City Council Position No. 6 – Sofia Aragon
Highline School District Director District No. 1 – Aaron Garcia

RENTON
Renton Mayor – Ruth Perez
Renton Mayor – Marcie Maxwell

SEATTLE
Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 2 – Sam Cho
Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 2 – Preeti Shridhar
Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 5 – Fred Felleman
Seattle School District Director District No. 3 – Rebeca Muniz
Seattle School District Director District No. 3 – Chandra Hampson
Seattle School District Director District No. 6 – Molly E. Mitchell

REDMOND
Redmond City Council Position No. 1 – Varisha M. Khan

PUYALLUP
Puyallup School District Director Pos. 5 – Turan Kayaoglu

ISSAQUAH
Issaquah School District Director District No. 3 – Minal Kode Ghassemieh

SAMMAMISH
Sammamish City Council Position No. 6 – Rituja Indapure

OneAmerica Votes joins CAPE, Swooping in With 2019 Candidate Ratings

Magaly Smith Uncategorized

Anticipating a crowded primary election in August, and reviewing news reports that big businesses are already pouring a lot of money into the City Council elections, OneAmerica Votes decided to partner with Civic Ventures and Working Washington to launch the Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE). We need a Seattle City Council committed to doing all that they can to ensure that Seattle is for everyone!

Together, we rated the primary candidates to provide a basis for voters to understand their positions on worker protections, immigration and racial equity, and housing issues. Candidates were invited to submit written questionnaires and a brief video responding to the prompt: “What makes the economy grow?” Candidates were evaluated on whether they will champion the interests of no-, low-, and middle-income people or powerful business interests.

Please check out the ratings for Seattle City Council, King County Council, and Spokane Mayoral candidates below or it can be found online on CAPE’s website here, along with questionnaires and videos from candidates who submitted them.

The highest-scoring candidates were Lisa Herbold (Seattle – District 1), Tammy Morales (Seattle – District 2), and Emily Myers (Seattle – District 4). All candidates who qualified were rated whether they participated in CAPE’s process or not. All submitted materials and available candidate information, as well as demonstrated leadership, were used to evaluate candidates for office.

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1

Lisa Herbold — 4.75 stars
Phil Tavel — 2.5 stars
Brendan Kolding — 1 star

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2

Tammy Morales — 4.75 stars
Phyllis Porter — 4.25 stars
Christopher Peguero — 4 stars
Mark Solomon — 2.5 stars
Ari Hoffman — 1 star

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 3

Kshama Sawant — 4.5 stars
Zachary DeWolf — 4.25 stars
Ami Nguyen — 3.5 stars
Egan Orion — 3.5 stars
Logan Bowers — 3.25 stars
Pat Murakami — 2.75 stars

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 4

Emily Myers — 4.75 stars
Shaun Scott — 4.5 stars
Sasha Anderson — 3 stars
Cathy Tuttle — 3 stars
Alex Pedersen — 1.25 stars

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 5

Debora Juarez — 4 stars
John Lombard — 2.75 stars

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 6

Dan Strauss — 4 stars
Jay Fathi — 4 stars
John Lisbin — 3 stars
Heidi Wills — 3 stars
Terry Rice — 2.5 stars
Sergio Garcia — 1.25 stars

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 7

Andrew Lewis — 3.75 stars
Jim Pugel — 3.25 stars
Jason Williams — 3 stars
Michael George — 2.75 stars
Daniela Lipscomb-Eng — 1 star

KING COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2

Giramay Zahilay — 4 stars
Larry Gossett — 4 stars

KING COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 4

Abigail Doerr — 4.25 stars
Jeanne Kohl-Welles — 4.25 stars

KING COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 6

Claudia Balducci — 3.75 stars

KING COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 8

Joe McDermott — 3.75 stars

SPOKANE MAYOR

Ben Stuckart — 4.25 stars
Nadine Woodward — 1.25 stars

Ready to Lead®: Training Immigrants and People of Color to Embrace their Political Power in Washington State

Magaly Smith Uncategorized

All participants of our Ready to Lead training held from April 12-14, 2019.

In 2018, OneAmerica established a new partnership with New American Leaders to host the Ready to Lead® candidate training program in Washington. This training program is specifically designed for first and second generation immigrants and people of color who want to run for office or work in politics. It identifies the immigrant experience as an asset in civic leadership. The curriculum, specifically designed by immigrants for immigrants, shows trainees how to message, target, fundraise, embrace one’s heritage and become a successful candidate.

Since 2018 we have trained 44 individuals who hope to create change in their communities! Eight Ready to Lead® alumni are currently running for local offices across Washington State.

Here is what some of the folks who went through the Ready to Lead® program this past April had to say about their experience:

“New American Leaders made me realize that I have the ability and what it takes to run for office. It provided me with the skills and knowledge I will need to run and win a race.” —Susana Roman

“Seeing elected officials that look like me and hearing them sound like me empowered me to a new level to be more politically engaged. Most importantly, I feel more prepared and confident making my announcement.” –Rocio Carrion

“My participation in New American Leaders has been transformative. It validated my experience as a proud Latinx woman of color and a proud American.” –Suzette Cruz

Going through this training experience has been an inspiration to me. I have learned more than I thought was possible in just a few short days. I have met amazing people with vision and stories that give you faith in the human spirit and who should be our leaders, law makers, judges and representatives. This program has also given me a new perspective about myself. I can see myself running and winning. — Karama Calloway

I attended Ready to Lead training as merely an exploratory exercise. After completing the training, I leave more reassured than ever that I am ready to seriously consider running for an elected position. This training gave me the opportunity to delve deep within myself and find the courage to accept that our democracy needs more people like myself in office. I feel empowered. –Anonymous

We will be holding another training early next year. Be on the lookout for the application link this Fall on our Facebook page.

Community and Business Leader Prevented from Filing to Run in Yakima’s 1st City Council District Due to Inaction on DACA, Broken Immigration System

Magaly Smith Uncategorized

Carrión along with a group of campaign supports on May 16 in front of the Yakima County office

On May 16, 2019 Yakima resident, community leader and DACA recipient, Rocío Carrión, along with a group of campaign supporters, symbolically filed to run for office Yakima City Council, District 1.

“I believe it’s time for me to run for local office. I am a DACA recipient who is passionate about representing the people in my community as the council member for Yakima City Council District 1,” said Carrión. “But sadly, because of our country’s broken immigration system and local laws prohibiting people like me from running for office, that dream cannot become a reality right now. It is time for someone to step up and challenge the policies that prohibit me from filing for elected office,” she continued. “That is why I went to the Auditor’s Office today to announce my intention to run for Yakima City Council despite my citizenship status.”

A proven community advocate and local leader, Carrión’s qualifications for office include running a local business, I AM Empowerment LLC; serving as Vice-Chair of the Yakima Community Integration Committee; sitting on the board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness; and working to reduce gang violence in her community.

“It’s past time that Congress granted Carrión and hundreds of thousands of other Americans their civil rights to vote and run for office,” stated OneAmerica’s Deputy Director Roxana Norouzi. “Our broken immigration system is preventing a generation of new youth leaders from stepping up to serve their communities by running for office.”

Carrión is unable to exercise her civil rights to vote or run for office due to Congressional inaction on finding a pathway to citizenship for DACA youth like Carrión, who arrived in the United States when she was only 6 years old. Recent polls show that providing status to DACA youth is supported by 70% of Americans.

Current Yakima City Councilmember Dulce Gutiérrez supports Carrión saying, “I think Ms. Carrión would make a stellar candidate for Yakima City Council’s District 1 if she were eligible. She has demonstrated over the years a passion and desire to serve our community. She has a great vision for improving Yakima and I support Ms. Carrión’s protest of state/city laws that exclude the immigrant community from our democracy. All residents are contributing members of society and our democracy should represent the public as such. Ms. Carrión is a reflection of Yakima’s interwoven community.”

“Rocío Carrión is the kind of public servant we need, but because of our nation’s broken immigration system, both Rocío and her community are denied the benefits of her leadership in elected office,” Sayu Bhojwani, President and Founder of New American Leaders, said. “In Washington and across the country, we have seen other DACA recipients and immigrants like Rocío participating and prospering within their communities but stopped from representing their community in public office, simply because of their immigration status. This is un-American and goes against the very nature of our democracy. If we want to have a government that is truly of, by and for the people, we need Congress to pass the Dream and Promise Act now and pave the way for comprehensive immigration reform.”

Despite this setback, Carrión remains positive about her ability to give back and serve in office in the future. “I want to continue encouraging more civic engagement among the youth and constituents of my district so that their voices are heard,” she said. “As a city councilwomxn I would work with my city council team to put our youth at the top of the city’s priority list.”

How the Working Families Tax Credit Fights Poverty

Eric Shew Uncategorized

A state’s tax code is a representation of its values. Unfortunately, our state’s tax code reveals an ugly truth: immigrant and refugee communities and low to middle-income communities like ours are not a priority.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy published a comprehensive report on tax fairness in all 50 states. They found that Washington is number one: our state has the most unfair tax code in the nation. This means Washington residents who earn the least pay the largest percentage of their income in taxes, up to 18%, while the wealthiest 1% of Washingtonians pay only 3% of their income. Low and moderate-income Washingtonians pay up to six times more as a share of income compared to the wealthiest residents.

This year we can take a step to balance out our upside-down tax code by passing the Working Families Tax Credit. The two Working Families Tax Credit bills (HB 1527/SB 1580) are both in committee. HB 1527 was introduced by OAV-endorsed State Representative Debra Entenman, and has more than 30 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. The companion bill in the Senate, SB1580, was introduced by OAV-endorsed State Senator Joe Nguyen, the first Vietnamese-American elected to that Chamber, and has 18 co-sponsors as of February 10.

The credit would put an average of $350 back into the pocket of nearly 1 million Washington residents. It would recognize the important contributions of immigrants, caregivers and young workers without children.  And it would mark an important step in reforming our upside-down tax system, reducing how regressive our tax system is.

Image from Washington State Budget and Policy Center

Maggie Humphreys of Momsrising described the tax credit as, “one of the strongest tools we have for combating poverty.”

The legislation builds off of the federal earned income tax credit, a critical policy to help families with lower incomes pull themselves out of poverty. Eligible participants include working parents with children, childless individuals between the age of 19 and 64, caregivers of disabled or elderly relatives, students enrolled in higher education who do not receive state financial aid, and people who file their taxes using an ITIN number.  Just as important, it recognizes the important contributions that these workers and caregivers make to the economy.

Martin Negrete from All In For Washington said, “Funding a modernized WFTC is a critical first step to balancing our tax code and breaking down barriers of racial justice. Our state budget should reflect Washington’s progressive spirit and booming economy, but too many of us are only one paycheck away from poverty.”

Not only is this legislation right for combating poverty, but it closes critical gaps that disproportionately affect immigrant communities.

Louie Tan Vital, a master’s candidate at The UW Evans School, pointed out that many immigrant families live in multi-generational households. In communities where it is taboo to place elderly parents in care facilities, many immigrants are caregivers. This bill expands eligibility of the tax credit, providing relief to these hardworking individuals. Tan Vital, who comes from an immigrant family herself, closed her testimony with a simple statement, “This is culturally-competent legislation that we can all celebrate.”

OneAmerica urges our legislators to vote yes on the Working Families Tax Credit, key legislation that will help people of color, immigrants, and all low-income Washingtonians.

Audio source missing

What Happens Next? A Post Election Conversation with Rich Stolz and Steve Phillips

Robin Engle Uncategorized

It’s been an exciting election season where we saw candidates of color, immigrants and women win big! It may have also left you with questions… What does this mean going forward, and how can we recreate these results in future elections?

To learn more, listen to our 30 minute recorded phone briefing with our Executive Director Rich Stolz and Steve Phillips, the Founder of Democracy In Color, a political organization dedicated to race, politics and the multicultural progressive New American Majority. Steve is the bestselling author of the book, “Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority“.

2018 Midterm Elections: People Like Us Claim Our Power

Eric Shew Uncategorized

With OneAmerica Votes leading the way, people like us are creating a movement to claim our power at the ballot at the local, state, and federal level. We knocked on 9,800 doors. We made 8,700 calls. We registered 1,200 voters. We elected 22 out of 29 OAV-endorsed candidates.

Victories for OAV-endorsed people like us – pro-immigrant, progressive legislators like Debra Entenman, My-Linh Thai, Joe Nguyen, Bill Ramos, Claire Wilson and Dr. Kim Schrier who is leading in the 8th Congressional District – signal the power of the immigrant rights movement and the energy and commitment of our grassroots leaders and volunteers.

New American and infrequent voters turned out in immigrant communities across Washington State, because people like us from our communities reached out to our communities. Our grassroots leaders turned out at least 5,700 voters as of Tuesday afternoon. In the end, 23 out of 29 OAV-endorsed candidates won in the general election. Read our press release and watch the video of our press conference here. Read our press release and watch the video of our press conference here.’

Click here for the news story by Q13 Fox.

OneAmerica Votes’ work was led every step of the way by our immigrant and refugee grassroots leaders rooted in the immigrant rights movement. Community leaders led a rigorous endorsement process to interview, ask tough questions, decide on key strategic and values-aligned endorsements, and hold candidates accountable.

With meaningful gains by pro-immigrant legislators in Washington State, our state is ready with a progressive agenda driven by our leaders focused on improving education for dual-language learners and protecting our neighbors from Trump’s harmful federal policies.

With a Democratic House of Representatives in Washington, DC, we’re ready to stand strong against harmful policies coming from the administration that seek to divide or scapegoat our communities. We can confidently move forward with permanent protections for DACA youth and effective oversight over unaccountable deportation agencies charged by the President to tear our families apart.

OneAmerica Votes proved wrong the disempowering narratives that our communities don’t vote and aren’t engaged, and rejected the harmful rhetoric and actions of the administration. Our communities proved that when we claim our power, we #UniteTheVote, we show up, and we win real victories for our communities.

And for the record number of people of color candidates and for the progressive allies who ran but lost in their election bids, Thank You!  Your courage and leadership are clearing the path for future candidates of color.  Just by running for office and challenging stereotypes, building connections with voters, registering new voters and fighting for issues important to our communities, you already won!

A Deeper Dive

On Tuesday night, Congressional Democrats reclaimed the majority in the United States House of Representatives, but we saw significant gains in our state as well.

US House of Representatives
  • Kim Schrier is poised to join the new Democratic, pro-immigrant majority with nearly 53% of the vote in the 8th congressional district.
  • In southwestern Washington, Carolyn Long challenged Republican incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler, taking nearly 48% of the vote at this point in the vote count. Even if Long fails to close the gap, she is already succeeding in forcing Herrera Beutler to moderate her positions on issues important to immigrant and refugee communities.
State Legislature
  • OAV-endorsed candidates Debra Entenman, Debra Lekanoff, My-Linh ThaiBill Ramos, and Mona Das are poised to significantly increase the number of Representatives from communities of color in the House of Representatives.
  • With 49.35% of the vote in the 17th Legislative District of the votes counted thus far, Tanisha Harris has a shot at joining them.
  • Joe Nguyen (34th Legislative District) and My-Linh Thai are the first Vietnamese Americans to serve in the State Legislature.
  • With just under 50% of the vote in their races, Mona Das and Pinky Vargas are two powerful women of color within striking distance of defeating incumbent Republican Senators.
  • OneAmerica Votes friend and ally Claire Wilson captured the Republican-controlled Senate seat in the 30th Legislative District, and Emily Randall holds a narrow lead in her bid to capture another Senate seat in the 26th Legislative District.
  • With just under 50% of the vote in her race, Pinky Vargas is within striking distance of defeating the incumbent Republican Senator in the 42nd Legislative District.
  • And in the judiciary, Supreme Court Justice Steve Gonzalez won his re-election campaign against an unqualified challenger, affirming that credentials, experience and voter contact matter in judicial contests.
Ballot Measures
  • Washington voters approved Initiative 940, which will require de-escalation training for law enforcement officers, change the standard for the prosecution of police involved in unjustified homicides, and require the provision of first aid for injured individuals in police custody
  • On the other hand, Initiative 1631 is currently down by more than 10 percentage points due to a massive barrage of misleading campaign ads bought by the out-of-state oil industry that broke records for spending in Washington elections. The “no” campaign even mailed a false list of Latino-owned businesses it claimed opposed the initiative.  If enacted, I-1631 would put a fee on carbon to discourage the burning of pollution-causing fossil fuels contributing to climate change and invest revenue from the fee into initiatives to boost the clean energy economy, offset the financial impact of the fee on lower-income households, and support workers transitioning out of the fossil fuel industry.  As the vote count continues, it’s clear that oil companies are desperately afraid of I-1631 and the unprecedented coalition and campaign that came together behind it.
  • At the local level, our friends from Everett Districts Now, in a bid to expand democracy, forced the City of Everett to put a measure on the ballot to shift the City’s election system from at large elections to single-member district elections, and the campaign’s preferred option (5 districts, 2 at large seats) garnered the most votes.
  • In the City of Seattle, voters passed the Families and Education Levy, which will invest property tax revenue into initiatives to close the opportunity gap for lower-income students of color, including initiatives long-advocated by OneAmerica.

Collectively, OneAmerica Votes worked in conjunction with national networks of organizations to lift up the voices of under-represented communities.  Through FIRM Action, OAV was part of a nationally-coordinated strategy that reached a total of 2.2 million voters in 17 states that sought to flip 15 House Seats, including Washington’s 8th Congressional District, six governors races and six senate races.  Through People’s Action, OAV and our national partners knocked on more than 1 million doors and had more than 334,000 conversations with voters in targeted communities across the United States, including in the 3rd and 8th Congressional Districts.

Thank You! to the OneAmerica Votes staff who organized 225 canvass shifts, 198 phone-banking shifts, organized 5 ballot parties, texted 3,400 voters, mailed 12,200 mail-pieces, attempted nearly 20,000 voter contacts, and registered 1,200 new voters.  Special thanks go to the grassroots leaders and volunteers who made this work possible.

In Yakima alone, we knocked on more than 4,000 doors, made 1,500 calls, texted 1,131 voters and organized 112 phone bank and canvass shifts in support of Initiative 1631.

In Vancouver, we knocked on 2,200 doors, made 1,000 calls, and organized 99 phone bank and canvass shifts in support of Carolyn Long in the 3rd Congressional District and Tanisha Harris in the 17th Legislative District.

And thank you to the donors and partners who contributed to our efforts to elect people like us to office and to advance critical policy initiatives at the state and local level.

Below data as of 6:30pm 11/9/18

Position Candidate Standing %
CD 1, US Representative Suzan DelBene Winning 59.22%
CD 3, US Representative Carolyn Long Losing 47.14%
CD 5, US Representative Lisa Brown Losing 44.82%
CD 7, US Representative Pramila Jayapal Winning 83.43%
CD 8, US Representative Kim Schrier Winning 52.68%
CD 9, US Representative Adam Smith Winning 68.34%
LD 5, Representative, Position 1 Bill Ramos Winning 51.40%
LD 5, Representative, Position 2 Lisa Callan Winning 52.12%
LD 17, Representative, Position 1 Tanisha Harris Losing 49.07%
LD 21, Representative, Position 2 Lilian Ortiz-Self Winning 65.21%
LD 26, Senator Emily Randall Losing 49.83%
LD 30, Representative, Position 1 Mike Pellicciotti Winning 61.03%
LD 30, Representative, Position 2 Kristine Reeves Winning 64.10%
LD 30, Senator Claire Wilson Winning 53.97%
LD 31, Senator Immaculate Ferreira Losing 40.19%
LD 31, Representative, Position 1 Victoria Mena Losing 41.10%
LD 32, Representative, Position 1 Cindy Ryu Winning 75.83%
LD 33, Representative, Position 2 Mia Gregerson Winning 67.73%
LD 34, Senator Joe Nguyen Winning 58.14%
LD 37, Senator Rebecca Saldana Winning 88.98%
LD 40, Representative, Position 1 Debra Lekanoff Winning 69.31%
LD 41, Representative, Position 2 My-Linh Thai Winning 65.34%
LD 42, Senator Pinky Vargas Losing 49.95%
LD 45, Senator Manka Dhingra Winning 63.21%
LD 47, Senator Mona Das Winning 50.51%
LD 47, Representative, Position 1 Debra Entenman Winning 53.17%
LD 49, Representative, Position 2 Monica Stonier Winning 100.00%
State Supreme Court, Position 8 Steve Gonzalez Winning 67.88%
State Supreme Court, Position 9 Sheryl McCloud Winning 100.00%
Initiative Recommendation
Initiative 940 Recommend YES Passing 59.54%
Initiative 1631 Recommend YES Not Passing 43.51%
Initiative 1634 Recommend NO Passing 44.56%
Initiative 1639 Recommend YES Passing 59.83%
Everett Proposition 1 Recommend: Vote to Approve Districts Approved 53.75%
Everett Proposition 2 Recommend: Vote for 5 Districts, 2 Citywide Option A Selected 53.99%
Seattle Families & Education Levy Recommend YES Passing 68.69%

Recent Developments in Federal Immigration Policy Underscore the Importance of the 2018 Elections for Immigrants and Refugees in Washington State

Robin Engle Uncategorized

In the last 24 hours, there were two major developments in immigration policy.  Yesterday a federal district court in California blocked implementation of the Trump administration’s termination of Temporary Protected Status for legal immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan as the lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security challenging the termination, Ramos v. Nielsen, is being litigated.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a humanitarian designation assigned to nations that have experienced significant disruption, for example natural disasters or civil strife, that allows their citizens living in the United States to remain here.  And last night, President Trump officially announced that the federal government’s cap on refugee admissions for fiscal year 2019 will be 30,000, a decline of 33 percent from the cap set for fiscal year 2018 and a decline of nearly 65% from the cap set in fiscal year 2016.  Refugees are individuals identified and vetted by the United States who are fleeing violence or persecution in their home countries and resettled through an orderly process in the United States.

Statement by Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica Votes:

“We are heartened by the decision of a federal district court to temporarily block the deportation of immigrants with Temporary Protected Status.  This is a significant, though temporary, legal victory.  The case is still to be decided in the Courts, but for the moment hundreds of thousands of individuals who have built deep roots in our nation for years will not be ripped away from their families and returned to nations still recovering from disasters, averting a family separation crisis.

Hours later, the Trump Administration announced yet another significant decline in the number of refugees that can be admitted to the United States.  The cap of 30,000 is the lowest number in the history of the nation’s refugee resettlement program.  At a time when the world is facing a refugee crisis – more people are in motion than at any time in human history, driven by armed conflict, climate change and economic dislocation – we condemn the President’s decision to effectively turn our nation’s back on its own history as a refuge for the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Taken together, the President’s actions on both TPS and refugee resettlement are extreme, anti-immigrant and un-American.  These decisions are consistent with the President’s racist remarks aimed at non-European nations and immigrants and refugees of color.  The actions underscore in so many ways that elections matter and have real consequences on our lives and families.  This fall, OneAmerica Votes is organizing and mobilizing voters and potential voters in communities across Washington State to elect candidates who are willing to stand up to immigrant scapegoating and race baiting and to fight for an inclusive vision for our communities and our democracy.  The only path to repairing the damage caused by this President is through the ballot box.”

Tanisha Harris for State Representative in the 17th Legislative District, Position 1

Robin Engle Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes proudly endorses Tanisha Harris to Represent the 17th Legislative District in Clark County, Washington.  Harris is one of an impressive slate of women of color running for the state legislature in 2018.

Harris was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington. After graduating from Evergreen High School, Tanisha attended Clark College and Washington State University-Vancouver, earning an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s of Social Science with concentrations in Human Development, Psychology and Sociology. Tanisha spent 10 years working for the Evergreen School District in the field of multicultural and diversity education both at Heritage High School and at the District Office. Tanisha now works as a CASA Program Specialist for the YWCA Clark County, where she advocates for children in the Dependency/Foster Care system and supervises CASA volunteers.  Today, Tanisha serves as a member of LICWAC (Local Indian Child Welfare Advisory Committee) and is Co-Chair of Evergreen Citizens for Schools for the 2018 Evergreen Public Schools Facilities Bond.

Tanisha’s Father’s family was one of first African American Families here in Vancouver in the early 1940s. Tanisha is proud to be “Aunt Nesha” to Natalie, Amara, Maya, Asa and Isla.

Harris is a strong advocate for children and families. If elected, we know she will make education a priority and work to close the opportunity gap facing students of color and English language learners in our school system.  She also understands the challenges faced by families striving to create a better balance between making ends meet and spending quality time with their children, the need for affordable child care, and creating jobs in our communities.

On civil and human rights, Harris is an outspoken leader for racial justice and equity.  In her own words: “We cannot have economic justice without racial justice in our nation. Even now, as anti-union forces try to break the strength of working people across Washington State and our country, the roots of so-called right-to-work legislation are steeped in a history of racism as a thinly-veiled attempts to drive a wedge between workers of color and their white brothers and sisters. I will continue to speak up, stand up and advocate for our communities of color, LGBTQ+ community and immigrant community. Simply put: Hate is not allowed in our 17th Legislative District.”

Don Steinke, OneAmerica Votes volunteer, had this to say about Harris: “Being a women, a person of color, and a thoughtful Democrat, Tanisha Harris offers a frame of mind that seeks to solve problems and improve economic outcomes for all, making sure no one is left out.  Tanisha also understands the seriousness of climate change, the urgency of doing our part to transition to clean energy, and the economic benefit to all for doing so.”

In her own words, Harris states: “Climate Change is real and the science behind it is real. We must prevent and address the human and economic threats and invest in policies to grow the production of clean energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean manufacturing and infrastructure upgrades that create family wage jobs.”

Let’s send Tanisha Harris to Olympia to represent our communities this November!

Kristine Reeves for Representative in the 30th Legislative District

Robin Engle Uncategorized

Earlier this summer, OneAmerica Votes proudly endorsed Kristine Reeves for re-election as State Representative for Washington’s 30th Legislative District, which covers much of Federal Way.

When not in the legislature, Kristine currently serves as the Director of Economic Development for the Military and Defense sector for the state of Washington, focusing on the public and private elements of economic development as it relates to infrastructure, suppliers and contractors and community advocacy and public support organizations for the US Military in our state.  As such she has been an active leader on veterans issues, and has a deep understanding of Washington’s military-related industries.

She grew up in Moses Lake, Washington, and overcome significant adversity in her early years to eventually graduate from Washington State University, and eventually earned a masters from Gonzaga University.  Kristine is the mother of two young children.

While in the legislature, Kristine has been an important voice advocating for improved educational opportunities for all of Washington’s children, comprehensive transportation systems, and a family-friendly economy.  She has perhaps been most vocal in efforts to make child care more affordable, lifting up the voices of workers in her district struggling to cover the cost of care, and the difficult choices they’ve been forced to make.

The OneAmerica Votes Justice Fund is currently organizing canvasses and phone banks in support of Kristine’s re-election to the Washington House of Representatives.  For more information, contact us here.

Statement by Rich Stolz, CEO of OneAmerica Votes on its endorsement of Kristine Reeves: 

“In her first two years in the legislature, Kristine emerged as an important leader, effectively representing her district and strategically engaging her colleagues on a range of issues important to immigrant and refugee communities across Washington State.  Kristine brings a truly compelling and powerful personal story, and an important perspective as a woman of color in the State House.  Her inspiration has encouraged others, regardless of their background or whatever obstacles they have overcome in their lives, to consider their own runs for office.”