Elections matter – and once again, last Tuesday proved that elections have consequences. We had great success with Satpal Sidhu winning Whatcom County Executive and Kristin Ang winning Tacoma Port Commissioner – and we also had a few losses such as Tim Eyman’s I-976.
Altogether this year, WCV won 75% of our endorsed candidate races. Of the 63 candidates we endorsed across the state, 59% were women, 23% were candidates of color, and 25% were first-time candidates.
Tim Eyman’s I-976
Washington Conservation Voters joined a large coalition of business, labor, communities of color, and environmental organizations to stand up to Tim Eyman’s I-976. Unfortunately, I-976 has passed and will have devastating consequences for our environment, increasing climate pollution, decreasing transit infrastructure, and more.
What it means: Across Washington, cities, counties, and the Legislature will need to make difficult, near-term decisions to cut critical funding for transit and transportation services, while regrouping on how we fund transportation infrastructure in this state for the long-term. WCV is ready to work with the legislature and communities to navigate the impact this has on Washingtonians, and will advocate that funding prioritize projects that decrease climate pollution, provide more transit options, reduce traffic, and focus on communities most impacted. In the meantime, the City of Seattle and King County have filed a joint lawsuit to stop the measure from taking effect.
Unfortunately, Initiative 1000/Referendum 88 will fall just short of approval. WCV encouraged voters to approve I-1000/R-88 because the same forces that pollute our environment also prevent equitable access to public employment, contracting, and university admissions. Washington needs the talents of veterans, small business owners, women, and people of color to build solutions that create a clean, healthy environment, and everyone deserves to have access to those opportunities.
Whatcom County Executive & Council
In a historic election, WCV-endorsed candidate Satpal Sidhu won the seat for Whatcom County Executive! Carol Frazey also won her Whatcom County Council seat – which maintains an environmental majority on the Council.
Once again, WCV and our partners battled fossil fuel interests in Whatcom County: Out-of-state oil companies dumped $75,000 into the County Executive race at the very last minute, trying to prevent Whatcom County from passing groundbreaking new anti-fossil fuel policy.
What’s on the line: Whatcom County is working to pass a new policy to prohibit new fossil fuel export facilities and new refineries in the heavy industrial area in Whatcom County, which would protect Cherry Point in the future. This would be huge for stopping new fossil fuel development and could be a model for many communities around the country. The current anti-environmental County Executive was a roadblock to much of this work. Flipping the Executive seat and holding the Council majority will allow us to move forward on this anti-fossil fuel work.
Tacoma Port Commissioner
Tacoma Port Commission candidate Kristin Ang ran a bold pro-environment, pro-labor and business, and anti-fossil fuel campaign. After a close race, Kristin has won!
What the results mean:With an existing oil refinery and proposal for a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, Tacoma has become ground zero for the fight over dirty energy and Washington’s transition to a clean energy future. A shift for Port politics is afoot, and Kristin’s campaign was groundbreaking for the region. The Tacoma News Tribune stated, “Ang is set to be a notable addition to the port commission. She has been a vocal critic of Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas project on the Tideflats and other fossil-fuel projects, and is set to bring historic change to a commission that has not seen diversity in its ranks in 101 years.”
One of the most competitive and ugly races in the state this year was for Spokane Mayor. Thousands of dollars of developer money poured into this race and unfortunately, environmental and climate champion Ben Stuckart lost to anti-environment candidate, former TV Host Nadine Woodward.
What the results mean: Ben has been one of the state’s leading environmental champions fighting for safer oil transportation, 100 percent clean energy, and making sure to hold polluters accountable. This loss means we must defend the progress made under his leadership and work with our partners to stop bad policy that Nadine Woodward puts forward.
Other Important Races
- Won – Liz Lovelett (40th LD Senate): Senator Lovelett won her re-election campaign in the 40th Legislative District, including San Juan, Whatcom, and Skagit Counties. She’ll return to the Senate as an environmental champion.
- Won – Megan Dunn (Snohomish County Council): Megan is a life-long advocate for protecting our environment. She is dedicated to ensuring that all of our communities have access to clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink. She will work with other WCV-endorsed candidates Executive Somers and Councilmember Wright to build a sustainable Snohomish County.
- Won – Kristina Walker (Tacoma City Council): Endorsed by WCV and the Puyallup Tribe, Kristina has worked to improve transportation options for the past eight years. Now on the City Council, she will fight for better transportation and transit options, and implement Tacoma’s Environmental Action Plan.
- Won – Vanessa Kritzer (Redmond City Council): A former staffer for our national partner, the League of Conservation Voters, Vanessa made environmental planning and climate a distinguishing factor in her campaign. She’ll be a new regional voice for climate action at the local level.
- Won – Sam Cho (Seattle Port Commission): Sam ran a campaign centered on acknowledging the huge carbon footprint the Port has and how as Commissioner, he would want to tackle climate change more aggressively.
- Won – Jeremey Barksdale (Bellevue City Council): Jeremy is committed to making sure that Bellevue grows in a way that reduces its impacts on the climate, improves transportation options for all, and will work with neighborhoods to make sure everyone is heard.
- Too Close to Call – Breean Beggs (Spokane City Council President): Breean is a strong environmental leader who worked with Ben Stuckart to pass 100% clean energy in Spokane.
YOU made the difference! Thanks to everyone who joined us to phone bank, canvass, and text neighbors. Our Field Team was busy in communities across the state from the Primary through the General Election, supporting local candidates and the No on I-976 campaign. With the help of over 300 volunteers across the state, we led 19 canvasses and nine phone and text banks to have one-on-one conversations with voters.
Thank you for all you did to support our work and candidates fighting for the environment in 2019. Next year will be the most important election of our lifetime – together we can keep the momentum going.