A few gems from the 2015 election results

King County Ballot Drop BoxThe election yielded mixed results, looking across the country and across Washington. But digging down a bit, there are some gems I’d like to highlight:

  • Economic Opportunity Institute Board member Jessie Baines won his campaign for the Metropolitan Parks Commission of Tacoma. This was Jessie’s first run for office, he took on an incumbent, and won by 665 votes, with 50.7% of the vote, as of Friday 11/6.
  • The foremost advocates for Tacoma’s paid sick days ordinance, Ryan Mello and Anders Ibsen, both won re-election to the Tacoma City Council.
  • Tacoma citizens voted 59% to 40% to increase the city’s minimum wage, from $9.47 an hour now, to $10.35 next February to $11.15 in January 2017, and to $12.00 beginning in January 2018.
  • Seattle returned Kshama Sawant to office in the City Council, whose campaign two years ago highlighted the $15 minimum wage.
  • Voters re-elected Tim Burgess, who negotiated the Paid Sick Days ordinance, and Mike O’Brien, who helped to get the Paid Sick Days ordinance moving through city council.
  • Overall, with four Seattle City Councilmembers retiring, and three women of color elected on Tuesday, Seattle may continue the momentum for social equity and progressive advance.
  • Seattle voters also passed a groundbreaking first-in-the-nation public financing ordinance.

On the other side of the mountains, Yakima elected three Hispanic leaders to its city council. This is the first time ever Hispanics have been represented on city council. It took a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights action to force Yakima to shift from city-wide elections to district elections to insure fair representation. The results are now in.

It is easy to get caught up in the Presidential discussion and entertainment. But politics and policy begin in the localities all around the country. And in our state, we have some seeds of hope for the future.

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