Washington Voting Rights Act a New Dawn for Democracy

Pavan Vangipuram Uncategorized

With the recent signing of the Washington Voting Rights Act, Democracy in Washington is about to get a lot more vibrant! This month, Governor Inslee signed the Washington Voting Rights Act into law, ushering in a new era for democracy in Washington State!

For years, communities across Washington have had to live under unfair voting systems that leave many voices out. Currently, many of Washington’s communities use at-large voting in general elections. So, the same majority of voters can decide the result for every council or school board seat in a town, city, or county.  As a result, some communities do not have a fair chance to elect candidates of their choice – candidates who will advocate for their needs in local government.  In many local jurisdictions, this dynamic has disproportionately impacted lower income communities and communities of color.

The problem has led to successful lawsuits under the federal Voting Rights Act that have changed the election systems in Yakima and Pasco. But such federal litigation is very time-consuming and costly – both for communities seeking fair representation in government and for the jurisdictions that are sued.

OneAmerica Votes community leaders saw this problem and sprang into action more than six years ago when the bill was first introduced in the Washington State Legislature.

Momentum shifted significantly for the WVRA’s enactment following the special election in the 45th legislative district in 2017, when OneAmerica Votes Justice Fund leaders and volunteers helped elect Manka Dhingra to the Washington State Senate, shifting control of the Senate to a           new Democratic majority.  As the 2018 legislative session began, Representative Mia Gregerson and Senator Rebecca Saldana led the charge for the WVRA.  Both Gregerson and Saldana were initially appointed to their seats by the King County Council at the behest of OAV and our allies.  In both cases, the local Democratic Party prioritized a difference candidate, and in both cases community members demanded that these qualified women of color be appointed to the legislature over objections from local Party leaders.

The potential impact of the WVRA cannot be overstated.

“The Washington Voting Rights Act will solve real problems that our communities face in Wenatchee,” said Liliana Fausto, a college student from Wenatchee who traveled to Olympia in January to speak to her legislators about the Washington Voting Rights Act. “Right now, in Wenatchee, community funds are not being equitably distributed. On the south side of town, we see broken roads that go unplowed when it snows, and poorly maintained parks and sidewalks. But in Wenatchee’s upper-end, the streets are plowed immediately and the roads are well-maintained.”

“This is due to a lack of representation on Wenatchee’s city council, where a majority of council members live in Wenatchee’s upper-end. This inequity is why I went to Olympia to fight for the Washington Voting Rights Act. With the WVRA, our communities will have the tools we need to fix our unfair voting systems and ensure that all communities in Wenatchee have a voice.”

Just as grassroots communities led the years-long effort to pass the Washington Voting Rights Act, local leaders will be at the center of the Act’s implementation. We look forward to working with local communities to ensure that election systems are fair and take all voices into account.

This victory, six years in the making, was the result of tireless activism from communities who have a passion for democracy. It just goes to show that when we organize, we win!

2017 Election Endorsements

Pavan Vangipuram Uncategorized

Ballots will be arriving soon in mailboxes across Washington, and we have a fantastic opportunity this year to lift up voices from communities that are under attack from the Trump Administration. Though this year got off to a rough start, Washington communities banded together like never before – and now form the backbone of the resistance to Donald Trump’s harmful, anti-immigrant policies. At the airports, in the streets and at the ballot box, communities have firmly rejected a divisive agenda that seeks to tear communities apart. This November, vote for these champions of the resistance!

Vote Rebecca Saldaña for Washington State Senate, 37th Legislative District. Since her appointment to the Senate in December, Senator Saldana has put her skills as a community organizer and strategic coalition-builder to work passing important legislation to protect victims of human trafficking, fighting for immigrant and refugee communities, and proposing important proposals to counteract the impact of regressive taxes and fees on low-income residents. She has also fought for the residents of the 37th District in Olympia on issues ranging from transportation to housing, voting rights to paid family leave. As a long-time community leader and woman of color, Saldana’s leadership is an inspiration to young people, in her district and across Washington State. There’s no better choice to represent Washington’s most diverse legislative district

Vote Manka Dhingra for Washington State Senate, 45th Legislative District. Manka is a respected prosecuting attorney, an award-winning parent leader, and powerful advocate for women and immigrant communities.  As a member of the Sikh community in Washington State, Manka’s election would also significantly improve the religious, gender and racial diversity of Washington’s legislature, which will be critical to ensuring that all of our communities are represented in Olympia.  On issues ranging from inclusion to the environment, Manka brings a creative, collaborative mind and a genuine grounding in the needs of the families and communities of east King County.

Vote Lorena González for Seattle City Council, Position 9. Lorena González has long fought for the rights of immigrants and refugees in Seattle and Washington State. As a Councilmember, Lorena spearheaded a $1 million legal defense fund for immigrants. This invaluable support will provide a lifeline hundreds of community members who find themselves under attack from the current administration.

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Immigrant Candidates Shine in the August Primary Elections

Eric Shew Uncategorized

The current national political environment is… ugly.  But because of all that’s happened at the national level, a new generation of leaders is emerging in immigrant and refugee communities and running for office.  The August 1st Primary Elections in Washington State point to a better future, one where candidates who represent long-marginalized communities are ready to fight for a more inclusive and equitable community.  OneAmerica Votes is proud to be at the forefront of the resistance, and we’ve thrown our support behind strong candidates of color in communities across our state.

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OneAmerica Votes Endorses Teresa Mosqueda for Seattle City Council, Position 8

Pavan Vangipuram Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes stands with Teresa Mosqueda for Seattle City Council Position 8, because throughout her career Mosqueda has been a fighter for immigrants, refugees, workers and people of color.  A skilled advocate and coalition-builder, Teresa has been at the forefront of important victories for working families, including the statewide ballot measure passed last year that raised the minimum wage and established a paid safe and sick leave program.  Teresa is grounded in the day-to-day experience of working families and understands how to get things done.  When elected, Teresa is ready to lead on affordable housing and renter rights, public health, supporting small businesses including immigrant and refugee owned businesses, and an economy that works for everyone.  Join us in electing Teresa to Seattle City Council, and help us to build our movement for equity in Seattle and across Washington State.

OneAmerica Votes Endorses Satwinder Kaur for Kent City Council, Position 2

Pavan Vangipuram Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes strongly endorses Satwinder Kaur for Kent City Council Position 2.  A powerful and tireless advocate, Kaur has demonstrated her commitment to the diverse residents and neighborhoods of Kent while remaining grounded in a Sikh faith tradition that values service, equity and resilience.  Kaur brings a strong working knowledge of Kent’s government and a deep personal understanding of the challenges facing Kent’s residents.  Her commitment to transparency, inclusiveness and to working across differences to find real solutions will make Kent a more equitable and vibrant community.

OneAmerica Votes Endorses Lorena Gonzáles for Seattle City Council, Position 9

Pavan Vangipuram Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes proudly endorses Seattle City Council Member Lorena González. She has emerged as an effective legislator drafting and shepherding police accountability and paid family leave legislation through City Council. With her leadership, the Seattle City Council has passed bold initiatives establishing Seattle as the center of the resistance against the anti-immigrant, anti-worker policies of the Trump Administration. 

Recently, González successfully guided the City to enact a $1 million immigrant legal defense fund to ensure that low-income immigrants will have access to legal counsel when dealing with federal immigration authorities.  Grounded in her own experience and upbringing in a family of migrant workers in eastern Washington, González is a powerful advocate and inspiration to a generation of young emerging leaders, here in Seattle and across Washington State.

González’s leadership is a testament to the importance of electing our own movement leaders to office, as OAV works to build the power of immigrant, refugee and communities of color to shape the policies, practices and institutions that impact our opportunities, our families and our lives.

OneAmerica Votes Endorses Zak Idan for Tukwila Council, Position 5

Pavan Vangipuram Uncategorized

One America Votes is proud to endorse Zak Idan  for Tukwila City Council, Position 5.  Zak’s story is the American Dream: arriving as a refugee from Somalia as a young child.  His family stressed the importance of education and hard work. Through sheer determination, Zak earned his Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering from the University of Washington, and immediately went to work for King County as a Project Control Engineer. He’s active in the community and volunteers as a youth soccer coach and serves on several boards and commissions. He’s lived in Tukwila for many years and wants to give back by making sure everyone is represented. His slogan “Tukwila For All” promises to create an atmosphere that brings people of all backgrounds together, and encourages everyone to get involved in the issues that impact their lives. His energy, his knowledge of government, and his vision for a Tukwila that embraces all of its residents sets him apart. Vote for Zak Idan for Tukwila City Council.

OneAmerica Votes Endorses Rebecca Saldaña for Washington State Senate – LD 37

Pavan Vangipuram Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes proudly endorses Rebecca Saldaña for State Senate representing the 37th Legislative District.  Since her appointment to the Senate in December, Senator Saldana has put her skills as a community organizer and strategic coalition-builder to work passing important legislation to protect victims of human trafficking, fighting for immigrant and refugee communities, and proposing important proposals to counteract the impact of regressive taxes and fees on low-income residents.  She has also fought for the residents of the 37th District in Olympia on issues ranging from transportation to housing, voting rights to paid family leave.  As a long-time community leader and woman of color, Saldana’s leadership is an inspiration to young people, in her district and across Washington State. There’s no better choice to represent Washington’s most diverse legislative district

OneAmerica Votes Endorses De’Sean Quinn for Tukwila City Council, Position 7

Pavan Vangipuram Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes enthusiastically endorses De’Sean Quinn for Tukwila City Council Position 7. Council Member Quinn has dedicated himself to lifting up the voices of Tukwila’s diverse communities, always making it a point to be accessible and accountable to voters and the broader community.  Quinn has emerged as a critically important voice in the movement for environmental and climate justice, racial equity in governance, and bridging communities across differences.  Quinn’s steady and innovative leadership on Tukwila City Council shows why 2017’s local elections are critical to realizing a vision for inclusive and vibrant communities where everyone deserves to be heard and respected.

2017 Primary Endorsements: Vote for these Champions of the Resistance!

Eric Shew Uncategorized

Ballots are arriving in mailboxes across Washington State for the August 1st primary election. 2017 got off to a rough start for immigrant and refugee communities, but Washington communities banded together like never before – and now form the backbone of the resistance to Donald Trump’s harmful, anti-immigrant policies. At the airports, in the streets and at the ballot box, communities have firmly rejected a divisive agenda that seeks to tear communities apart.

This election, we have a fantastic opportunity to bolster the resistance by electing strong candidates who will fight for our values, our rights, and a Washington where all are welcome. We encourage you to vote for them! And remember to turn in your ballot by August 1st.

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