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This year we have the opportunity to elect candidates who deeply understand our experience, because they share it. Candidates who are proven community leaders that are ready to lead with power and a progressive, pro-immigrant vision. We can’t leave any power on the table this year - it’s time to vote, turn out our neighbors and our communities and lift these champions into local offices that will directly impact our lives. It’s our time.

Our Grassroots Leadership (GRLC), a group of immigrant, refugee, and POC leaders from across the state, and OAV Board, virtually interviewed candidates, asked tough questions, and made key decisions on whether to endorse and how to work with these candidates in the future.

We are excited to announce our 2021 endorsements which are a key way that we can elect people of color and allies committed to co-governance, educate legislators on our issues, and hold them accountable to co-governing with our communities.

WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US TO LIFT THESE POWERFUL CANDIDATES WE HAVE ENDORSED TO ELECTED LEADERSHIP BY SUPPORTING THEIR CAMPAIGNS WITH YOUR VOICES, YOUR DOLLARS, YOUR TIME, AND YOUR VOTE.


OUR 2021 ENDORSEMENTS

*Click/hover on photos for more information

KEY ENDORSEMENTS

Photo of Shukri OlowDR. SHUKRI OLOW
KING COUNTY COUNCIL,
DISTRICT 5

Shukri Olow is mother, a community organizer, and a pivotal member of our OneAmerica Votes community.

For the last 14 years, she has worked directly in service to the residents of South King County working on a variety of issues including housing, education and human services. She mentors youth through several programs, pushing the systems from the outside so that we can all get to collective liberation.

Shukri understands and aligns with the values of immigrant communities as she is herself a refugee from Somalia. She has been a long time leader in the Somali community in South King County and has organized in solidarity with the movement for Black Lives.

If Shukri is elected, she would be the first Black woman to win a County Council seat in WA state. Shukri is committed to fighting for expanded access to early learning and childcare for immigrants and families of color, reimagining public safety that centers the needs of community, and ensuring resources are allocated for pivotal programs that would allow our communities to flourish.

Shukri is committed to governing with OneAmerica Votes leaders. Putting us at the decision-making table alongside her.

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HAMDI MOHAMED
PORT OF SEATTLE COMMISSON,
POSITION 3

Hamdi Mohamed is a dedicated community leader who has organized with OneAmerica for more than 10 years. She has a deep passion for serving on the Seattle Port as the daughter of port workers. None of the current Seattle Port Commissioners live in S. King County. If elected, Hamdi would be representing the people of her community.

Hamdi immigrated to the U.S. from Somalia with her family at 3 years old after the outbreak of civil war. She grew up in South King County and currently currently works as the Policy Advisor for King County Executive Office of Equity and Social Justice, where she led $1.5 million investment in a new market and cooperative housing development in Tukwila, alongside managing a $3 million COVID-19 Community Response Fund that went directly to community based organizations working with frontline workers. She was also previously a Deputy Director for Rep. Jayapal.

If Hamdi is elected, she would be one of the the first woman of color to be elected to the Port of Seattle Commission. We're excited for Hamdi's leadership because of her passion for immigrant rights, workers rights and racial equity. She has pledged to work alongside OAV Leaders to fight for justice for immigrants.

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TOSHIKO GRACE HASAGAWA
PORT OF SEATTLE COMMISSION,
POSITION 4

Toshiko Hasegawa is a fourth-generation Japanese American and lifelong Seattle resident. She is a daughter of the labor movement and was shaped by her parents and community to value working in service to others, and to feel a strong sense of civic duty. In 2018, Toshiko was appointed Executive Director of the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA) - becoming the youngest member of Governor Inslee’s cabinet, and the youngest ED in CAPAA’s history. With CAPAA, she advised the Governor, State Legislature and other agencies on issues impacting marginalized communities in our state.

We have worked directly with Toshiko and her team at CAPAA on legislation and she has committed to continuing to work with our immigrant communities to advance issues that our most important to us.

If Toshiko is elected, she would be the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the Port of Seattle Commission. Toshiko's top issues she will be advocating for is economic justice, improving structures of accountability, language access at the port, and environmental justice.

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CLARK COUNTY

DIANA PEREZ
VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 3

Diana Perez is not only a first-generation college graduate, but the first in her family to receive an advanced graduate degree. She founded the area’s local council of League of United Latin American Citizens and was appointed by former Mayor of Vancouver Tim Leavitt to serve on Stronger Vancouver, an effort to align tax codes with the values of the city. She was also honored with Dr. Anita Del Rio Award for Latina Leadership and Women’s Advocacy from the National President of League of United Latin American Citizens. As a member of the Vancouver City Council, she will step up for ALL of the people in Vancouver.

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SANDRA ZAVALA-ORTEGA
VANCOUVER SCHOOL BOARD,
POSITION 2

Ms. Zavala-Ortega, the current Public Schools Director, is running to retain her seat on the Vancouver Public Schools Board. She is a VPS graduate who started kindergarten knowing no English and went on to college. As a mother of a child with special needs and deep ties to the immigrant community, she is committed to extending opportunities to all as her district continues to diversify.

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KING COUNTY

KIM-KHANH VAN
KING COUNTY COUNCIL,
DISTRICT 9

Van arrived in the United States by way of a refugee camp in the Philippines, having fled violence in Vietnam. Acting as her family’s translator led her to an interest in law and government, and she became the first in her family to attend and graduate college and law school. She is an active immigration attorney and currently serves on the Renton City Council. She has received awards from prominent local organizations for her work and pro bono services, including Goodwill, OneAmerica, King County Legal Clinics, and several law associations. As a member of the King County Council, she will focus on access to economic opportunity, innovative public safety improvements, and support for seniors, veterans, and immigrants.

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AUBURN

HANAN AMER
AUBURN CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 4

Hanan Amer was born in Oklahoma and raised in Benghazi, Libya, making her Arabic, African, and American. She has a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry from Benghazi University and has lived in Auburn since 2008, when she began volunteering in her local community. A long-time volunteer for Girl Scouts of Western Washington, White River Valley Museum, and United way of King County, she is dedicated to serving her neighbors. On the Auburn City Council, she will focus on homelessness, the opioid crisis, and supporting small businesses.

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BELLEVUE

JANE ARAS
BELLEVUE SCHOOL BOARD,
POSITION 5

When Ms. Aras arrived in the United States at the age of 8, she didn’t know a word of English. Her third-grade teacher inspired a dedication to education, and she went on to earn her master’s degree in special education. Jane’s life crosses a range of experiences that many children across Bellevue schools are having: a new country, a new language, bi-racial families, educational needs that fall outside the norm. Having lived these experiences and having been a teacher for many years, Jane believes that she can bring a unique and much-needed perspective to the Bellevue School Board.

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BOTHELL

RAMI AL-KABRA
BOTHELL CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 7

Mr. Al-Kabra, a Muslim, Palestinian refugee, immigrated to the United States at 18 years old to pursue his dream of higher education. Today, Rami holds both a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering (BS) and has a successful career in the technology sector. He served on the Bothell Landmark Preservation Board, organized Bothell’s the March for Black Lives, and helped establish Anti-Racist Communities of Bothell. Al-Kabra would be the first immigrant, American Muslim elected to the Bothell City Council. His lived experiences as an immigrant and proven record for advancing racial equity and inclusivity prepares him to be able to create an inclusive, progressive, and diverse Bothell.

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BURIEN

HUGO GARCIA
BURIEN CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 1

Hugo Garcia is the Chair of the Burien Economic Development Partnership (BEDP), Burien Planning Commissioner, and the Economic Development Manager for King County local Services. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico he moved with his family to Burien in 1991, where his family of five could be supported on his father’s income as a restaurant waiter and his mom’s part-time income as a high school lunch lady and his parents still live there today. He knows firsthand how hard it is for working families to afford basic necessities now, and as a member of the Burien City Council, he will prioritize inclusive pandemic recovery, housing for all, and rebuilding economic resilience.

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JIMMY MATTA
BURIEN CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 3

Jimmy Matta was raised by migrant farmworkers from Guatemala and began working in the fields at the age of ten. Matta served as a labor leader for 20 years and in 2016 he founded Ahora Construction, a full-service union-signatory contracting firm. Matta has served as President of Carpenters Local Union 41 and President of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters Regional Executive Board. He is currently a regional executive board member and Vice-Chair of The Latino Civic Alliance. Matta has served four years on Burien city council as mayor, where he has championed initiatives and issues that are important for the citizens of Burien.

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Krystal MarxKRYSTAL MARX
BURIEN CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 7

A member of the Burien City Council since 2017, Krystal Marx has also served as Deputy Mayor since 2019. She also serves as the Executive Director of Seattle Pride and a trainer for Bystander Intervention and self-defense classes, focusing on the LGBTQIA+ community. She is caregiver for her husband, an Army combat veteran, and is also a bisexual woman, mother of four (nonbinary 13-year-old, 12- and nine-year-old sons, and five-year-old daughter).

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FEDERAL WAY

TRUDY DAVIS
FEDERAL WAY SCHOOL BOARD,
POSITION 5

Ms. Davis has served on the Federal Way Public School Board since October 2018 and is the mother of two boys who currently attend Federal Way High School. Currently, Ms. Davis is a member of the Parent Leadership Team with the Road Map Project and Community Café. Ms. Davis attended Howard University before holding a career in the military where she served in the US Army as a Personnel Management Specialist. Her position on the school board will advance policies and goals to improve the education, communication, advocacy, inclusion, and equity for every child.

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KENT

CLIFF CAWTHON
KENT CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 4

Clifford “Cliff” Cawthon is an educator, activist, freelance journalist, and proud Kent homeowner. Mr. Cawthon has been an activist for housing justice, tenants’ rights, worker’s rights and racial justice since he moved to Washington in 2014. He was a part of the nation’s first Renters Commission in Seattle, and during the pandemic he served as a community representative with the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice’ Coronavirus Advisory Taskforce. As part of the Kent City Council, Mr. Cawthon will fight for housing justice, reimagined public safety, equitable development, and transportation for all.

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SARA FRANKLIN
KENT SCHOOL BOARD,
POSITION 5

Ms. Franklin currently serves on the Kent Cultural Communities board, the board of the Greater Kent Historical Society, volunteers with Kent Hope, participates in the City’s Diversity Task Force, and volunteers on the Board of Directors for the Nonprofit Assistance Center.

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BRENDA FINCHER
KENT CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 6

Ms. Fincher is a mother, community leader, and a longstanding member of the Kent City Council. She serves as a board member with Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Black Catholic Advisory Circle, volunteers with Kent International Festival Committee, and sings in the Holy Spirit Parish Choir. Previously, she has served on the Kent Parks Citizen Committee and Kent Police Department Strategic Planning Committee and currently serves on the King Conservation District Advisory Committee and is a coordinator for the Kent International Festival.

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RENTON

RUTH PEREZ
RENTON CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 6

Ms. Perez is running for re-election on the Renton City Council. Having served on the Council since 2014, she served as Renton Council President in 2020. She has also represented Renton on many regional boards and committees, including the National League of Cities Transportation & Infrastructure Services Committee, Association of Washington Cities Federal Committee, Eastside Transportation Partnership, South County Area Transportation Board, and the Mayor’s Inclusion Task Force.

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SAMMAMISH

NAZIR HARB MICHEL
SAMMAMISH CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 3

Dr. Michel started volunteering for his community in middle school in Lynnwood Washington. He won a full scholarship to Seattle University and then was awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship for Washington State, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Congress on an undergraduate student. He then went on to earn a Masters in Public Affairs and study diplomacy at Princeton University and then completed a second Masters in political science and a Ph.D. in linguistics at Georgetown University. He currently serves on the 41st Legislative District Democrats executive committee and is a representative of the King County Democrats.

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SEATAC

JAKE SIMPSON
SEATAC CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 2

Jake Simpson has spent most of his life in South King County, and he is a product of Kentwood High School and Green River Community College. A cook and chef by trade, he has dedicated his professional career to helping workers and their families, including better healthcare and wages for airline catering workers and protecting hundreds of jobs at the SeaTac airport. Jake is running for SeaTac City Council to be an effective advocate for all communities and citizens in the city and to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep and improve our quality of life together.

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MOHAMED EGAL
SEATAC CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 4

Mr. Egal, a social worker, decided to raise his family in SeaTac. Through his job, he has listened to thousands of clients talk about the challenges they face in their lives and has worked hard to connect those clients with the resources that can help them move forward. During the pandemic, he recruited college students from PLU and UW as well as Northwest Harvest to ensure local seniors had hot meals and fresh produce. His priorities will include affordable housing, economic recovery, and public safety.

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IRIS GUZMAN
SEATAC CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 6

Iris Guzmán, a long-time SeaTac resident, she was born to parents who immigrated from Mexico and was raised in East LA. She holds an MSW from the University of Washington and is currently a School Social Worker with the Highline Public Schools and proudly serves the SeaTac secondary schools, Chinook Middle School and Tyee High School. As a community member and social worker, Iris sees firsthand the needs of the BIPOC, immigrant, refugee, undocumented/mixed-status and working families in SeaTac. Iris believes that by helping those most in need, we as a community all benefit.

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SEATTLE

LORENA GONZALEZ
SEATTLE MAYOR

Ms. Gonzalez earned her first paycheck at the age of eight as a migrant farmworker in the fields of Central Washington. After college, she went to work as a civil rights attorney, fighting for the rights of workers, victims of wage theft and employment discrimination, and victims of police misconduct and sexual abuse. She was Seattle’s first Latinx to serve on City Council, and as our first Latinx mayor, she will dream big and work hard – making city government work for everyone.

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Teresa MosquedaTERESA MOSQUEDA
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 8

Ms. Mosqueda has served on the Seattle City Council since 2017. She championed Seattle’s groundbreaking Domestic Workers Bill of Rights that served as a model for national efforts to improve wages and protections for vulnerable workers in 2018 and passed legislation to secure health care and protections for hotel workers in 2019. She previously worked for the Children’s Alliance on the Children’s Apple Health Plan and at AFL-CIO to fight for progressive policies for all workers. On Seattle City Council, Teresa Mosqueda strives for justice to empower immigrant and refugee communities through political engagement. These last four years she has fought for progressive legislation that builds healthy, thriving communities.

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NIKKITA OLIVER
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 9

Nikkita Oliver (they/them) is a community organizer, cultural worker, artist, attorney, and candidate for Seattle City Council Position 9. The current executive director of Creative Justice, they were a founding member of the grassroots Seattle Peoples Party and serve as part of several coalitions and organizations in the Seattle/King County region including Decriminalize Seattle, Free Them All WA, and No New Youth Jail. As a member of the Seattle City Council, they will fight for a world that centers collective health and liberation from oppressive systems.

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VIVIAN SONG MARITZ
SEATTLE SCHOOL BOARD,
POSITION 4

Ms. Maritz, a first generation immigrant and the mother of four current and future Seattle Public Schools students, has more than 15 years of private sector experience in finance and management and over 25 years of community engagement. She has served as a PTSA president at John Stanford International School and is currently a member of the school district’s Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council as well as serving as a board director for Washington State Leadership Board. She proudly identifies as Asian American and disabled (hearing loss).

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Michelle SarjuMICHELLE SARJU
SEATTLE SCHOOL BOARD,
POSITION 5

Ms. Sarju is a longtime Central District resident, Seattle school parent, and manager at King County Public Health. Focused on eliminating the education opportunity gap, she sees many ways that Seattle schools can do better to ensure every child has access to a high quality public school education.

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TUKWILA

ARMEN PAPYAN
TUKWILA CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 1

The son of Armenian immigrants, Papyan’s dedication to protecting his community was instilled as a child, when he saw his father get taken away by INS agents. He holds deep ties to the Tukwila community, serving on the boards of the Tukwila Children’s Foundation, Friends of the Tukwila Library, and Action Tukwila. His priorities on the Tukwila City Council will be public safety, homelessness, housing and the city's long-term financial health.

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MOHAMED ABDI
TUKWILA CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 5

Mohamed is a young community leader that has been working for the betterment of his community since he was 7. He is graduating from the University of Washington with a double major and will be jumping in headfirst to lead the city of Tukwila into a new era of equity, inclusion, and liberation. He envisions an accessible Tukwila for everyone regardless of race or socio-economic background. Mohamed will develop and implement policies and investments that create positive impacts for children and families throughout Tukwila.

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DE'SEAN QUINN
TUKWILA CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 7

Some of De’Sean Quinn’s earliest memories are volunteering alongside his father at the local Boys and Girls Club, for other nonprofits, and on environmental restoration projects. After graduating from high school, he earned a degree in Political Science from the University of Washington. He worked as the community relations manager for King County Executive Ron Sims for two years and was later appointed to be Council Relations Director where he served as chief liaison to the King County Council and then as Regional Relations Manager under Executive Dow Constantine, interfacing with all 39 King County cities. Today he works as a Capital Program Manager with King County Metro.

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KITTITAS COUNTY

BÁRBARA ROBLES
ELLENSBURG CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 3

Dr. Bárbara Robles was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has spent the better part of a decade working in different capacities for communities and people in need; poor, homeless, survivors of abuse and sexual assault, immigrant, and other underrepresented communities. Dr. Robles is an advocate and an educator with extensive knowledge in law, public health, and education. She hopes to continue her public service work through Ellensburg City Council to bring about new ideas and perspectives.

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SPOKANE COUNTY

NAGHMANA SHERAZI
SPOKANE CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 2

Ms. Sherazi settled in Spokane with her son almost a decade ago and immediately found that many of her neighbors had similar struggles: paying bills, finding childcare, securing affordable housing, and accessing healthcare. A Pakistani immigrant, she co-chaired the campaign to defeat Proposition 1, an anti-immigrant ballot proposal in 2017. She is also involved with many local organizations, including Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, Greater Spokane Progress, Refugee Connections of Spokane, and Asian Pacific Islander Coalition. She is endorsed by Senator Mona Das, Spokane Regional Labor Council, and FUSE Washington.

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YAKIMA COUNTY

DANNY HERRERA
YAKIMA CITY COUNCIL,
POSITION 2

Mr. Herrera, an educator within the Yakima School District, is the co-founder of the College Success Foundation Yakima Alumni Board and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Dispute Resolution Center of Yakima and Kittitas County. Mr. Herrera is a lifelong resident of District 2 and a graduate from the University of Washington having received his Masters of Teaching in Elementary Education. He is eager to serve the residents of southeast Yakima and the entire Yakima community with integrity and strong leadership.

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GRACIELA VILLANUEVA
YAKIMA SCHOOL BOARD,
POSITION 1

Ms. Villanueva serves on the Yakima School District Board of Directors in addition to her job at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic as the Recruiting Director, a position she has held for 10 years. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Heritage University and a Masters of Business Administration from Washington State University. A long-time community volunteer and public servant, her goal is for all students to be positive contributors to our community and to be academically prepared for their next step in life.

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WALLA WALLA COUNTY

KATHY MULKERIN
WALLA WALLA SCHOOL BOARD,
POSITION 1

Ms. Mulkerin, a Walla Walla native, returned to her hometown over 15 years ago after receiving a Masters of Education from Loyola University Maryland. She currently works for a financial services company in Administration and is pursuing a Masters of Professional Studies in Paralegal Studies from The George Washington University. She will graduate in August 2021. A lifelong learner, Kathy is running for school board to ensure all children live in a more positive, equitable, and sustainable community.

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View our previous endorsements by clicking below: 

2021 Primaries
2020
2019 General
2019 Primaries
2018