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.
As OAV Board President Sudha Nandagopal explains in this interview:
“This is a change that we have been laying the groundwork for for many, many years,” said Sudha Nandagopal with OneAmerica Votes. That group supports the role of immigrants and minorities in politics. Identity and policy can work together, she says. “We need those who are most affected by the issues to be leading and making sure our democracy is truly inclusive,” said Nandagopal.
In Seattle, former OAV Board Member and incumbent City Council Member Lorena Gonzalez won a commanding majority in her race for re-election in Position 9, a city-wide race. In Seattle’s other city-wide City Council race for Position 8, former OAV Board Member Teresa Mosqueda won her primary to replace outgoing Council Member Tim Burgess. In Kent, Sikh community leader Satwinder Kaur won her four-way primary for City Council Position 2 with a healthy margin. And in Tukwila, OneAmerica Board Member Zak Idan won the majority of votes cast in a four-way primary for City Council position 5. And State Senator and long-time community leader Rebecca Saldana ran uncontested in her bid for election to the 37th Legislative District after OAV and allies successfully fought for her appointment to that position to replace former OneAmerica Executive Director and Founder Pramila Jayapal, who now represents the 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.
In this national political moment, voters in communities of color are finding their voice and fighting back. The words and actions of the President and his attacks on our communities and our families bring into focus what’s at stake and why voting matters. Community members are running for office, door knocking, calling and voting to take back our Democracy, and beginning the movement our nation and our communities need to restore what we stand for as a country, where all of us belong. At the heart of this movement is a clear understanding that equal representation, deep community relationships and claiming a role in decision-making at all levels of government is the path to a more welcoming, just society.