OneAmerica Votes leaders mobilized and elected people like us.

Magaly Smith Uncategorized

Leading up to the election, OneAmerica Votes (OAV) mobilized our communities to elect leaders like us into office. Leaders we knew would stand up for our values and be a voice for immigrant and refugee rights in Washington State.

208 OAV volunteers knocked on 7,500 doors, made 3,381 calls, texted 51,700 people, and held 5 ballot parties. After a hard fought election week, we are honored to congratulate all those our OAV family of organizations endorsed that have won their races thus far:

  • Sofia Aragon, Burien City Council Position No. 6
  • Cynthia Delostrinos Johnson, Tukwila City Council Position No. 4
  • Aaron Garcia, Highline School District Director District No. 1
  • Turan Kayaoglu, Puyallup School District Director Pos. 5
  • Tracie Barrows, Vancouver School District School Director, Position No. 5
  • Chandra Hampson, Seattle School District Director No. 3
  • Fred Felleman, Port of Seattle Commisoner Position No. 5
  • Sam Cho, Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 2
  • Luckisha Phillips, Federal Way School Board
  • Maria Flores, Olympia School Board
  • Angela Birney, Mayor of Redmond
  • Senayet Negusse, SeaTac City Council Position No.1
  • Takele Gobena, SeaTac City Council Position No. 5
  • Eliana Macias, Yakima City Council District 1

We are eagerly waiting to hear the outcomes of this close race:

  • Varisha Khan, Redmond City Council Position No. 1

Win or lose, we are proud of all of our candidates for having the courage and leadership to run and stand up for our communities. Their campaigns challenged stereotypes, built connections with voters, and registered new voters – all things that will launch us forward with greater power into 2020. 

Thank you for standing with us as we work to make our democracy just for all.

The People’s Presidential Forum – OAV Leader Reflects on Community and Power

Magaly Smith Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes Leaders, Juan Monje and Rudy Cureno, traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend The People’s Presidential Forum – a forum created by Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada Action (PLAN Action) and People’s Action. OAV is an affiliate of People’s Action, a national network of community organizing groups.

Juan Monje (left) and Rudy Cureno (right) introduced special guest (and OneAmerica Votes Founder) Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal at the forum.

Presidential candidates, including former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and US Senator Bernie Sanders, were invited onstage to answer real questions from everyday people about the struggles facing the multiracial working class and what solutions we can forge, together, to make change.

OneAmerica Votes Leader, Juan Monje, from Vancouver, WA describes how he got involved in OneAmerica and reflects on his experience and the work that he, and our community, will have to take to ensure that Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, currently occupied by Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler is held by someone committed to working toward justice for all. Herrera-Beutler is up for re-election in November 2020.

“When I first knew I wanted to get involved in my community, I had many doubts. One of my biggest concerns was finding a group that would be inclusive of all people. A group that would help people build trust and work toward common goals. A group of people who had a vision for everyone. OneAmerica was that group! They welcomed me with open arms and embraced me since the first day, and I am grateful I’ve been given the opportunity to be part of this amazing organization.

In my recent trip to Las Vegas, to The People’s Presidential Forum, I was reminded of very practical yet critical lessons. First, I learned that we can turn a congressional district with a plan, passion, and a lot of work. I learned that no candidate is going to save us and that we are the makers of history; we are agents of change! Presidential candidates should and must know that it is the people that have the power, and it is us who decide what platform to follow.

After this trip, I have committed myself to make change happen; to take part in the movement to change District 3. I believe that the Movement to flip District 3 starts now! We can make it happen. Cesar Chavez once said, ‘You are not strong enough to not need help from others.’ We all need help to be better people to help in the community. Thanks, OneAmerica, and to the leaders who believed in me. For sure, in November 2020, we will win Congressional District 3.”

We know that our work never ends and that communities hold the true power in creating systemic change. Leaders like Juan are ready to create change in their communities, and we are ready to support them.

See the complete live stream of the presidential forum here.

Where OneAmerica Votes stands with I-1000 & I-976

Magaly Smith Uncategorized

OneAmerica Votes endorses I-1000, the Affirmative Action and Diversity measure, brought to the ballot by Referendum 88.  OAV also recommends a no vote on Tim Eyman’s Initiative 976

With I-1000, we have an opportunity to address historical and ongoing discrimination, ensuring that our public institutions are diverse and accessible for all by reinstating consideration of racial inequity in access to public education and public employment. On the other hand, Eyman’s I-976 deserves to be roundly rejected. It would devastate our already strained transportation system by cutting funding for road and transit projects from Spokane to Seattle, Bremerton to Zillah and all points in between. With traffic worsening, climate pollution impacting our health, and past-due road and infrastructure repairs, the last thing we need is to disinvest in our transportation system.

Realizing the Promise of Redistricting – Jorge Chacón for Wenatchee City Council

Magaly Smith Uncategorized

When a federal district court ordered the City of Yakima to create a new election system on the federal Voting Rights Act, communities across Washington State took notice. The Cities of Pasco and Wenatchee went further than most, recognizing that their at-large election systems violated the voting rights of Latinx citizens by diluting their votes through racially polarized elections.

Thanks to intense advocacy by community leaders, including Dr. Jorge
Chacón, in 2018 Wenatchee adopted a new system of elections by creating 5 single-member districts and two at-large seats on a newly reconstituted City Council. Wenatchee’s action, which began before the Washington State Legislature enacted the Washington Voting Rights Act, was a critical breakthrough for Wenatchee’s under-represented Latinx communities.

Now, Chacón is running for Wenatchee City Council in Council District – At Large A and OneAmerica Votes proudly endorses Dr. Jorge Chacón.

Chacón is a long time community leader in Wenatchee. A counselor and founder of Northwest Family Services Institute, Chacón has been a pillar of support for countless residents of Chelan County. He also founded Community for the Advancement of Family Education (CAFE) in 2004 alongside his wife, Alma Chacón, when they saw a need to provide opportunities in leadership, civic and social engagement, literacy development, and academic advancement in the Wenatchee community. CAFE partners with One America and the Washington New Americans program that provides information about citizenship and assists eligible legal permanent residents to naturalize. Chacón has also been a regular volunteer with OneAmerica and OneAmerica Votes, engaging in organizing, advocacy and civic engagement in Latinx communities across Washington State.

“Jorge is an outstanding candidate for Wenatchee City Council. He has demonstrated his commitment to Wenatchee, including the Latinx community, in so many ways, and he’s a wonderful human being, father, counselor and community advocate. Electing Jorge Chacón to City Council would be a critical step in ensuring that this important City realizes the potential of its decision to reform its election system to ensure that everyone’s vote is valued. Jorge, as a City Council member, will be both a bridge-building across Wenatchee’s diverse communities and an important advocate for all of Wenatchee.”

-Rich Stolz, OneAmerica Votes CEO

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.”


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

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

Wenatchee City Council, At Large – Jorge Chacón

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

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

Renton Mayor – Ruth Perez
Renton Mayor – Marcie Maxwell

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 City Council Position No. 1 – Varisha M. Khan

Puyallup School District Director Pos. 5 – Turan Kayaoglu

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

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.


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


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


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


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


Debora Juarez — 4 stars
John Lombard — 2.75 stars


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


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


Giramay Zahilay — 4 stars
Larry Gossett — 4 stars


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


Claudia Balducci — 3.75 stars


Joe McDermott — 3.75 stars


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“.