The Urbanist Elections Committee invited state legislature candidates in the Seattle metropolitan region to fill out our questionnaire to participate in our endorsement process. We based our endorsement decisions on those responses plus follow-up Zoom interviews. Below are the questionnaire responses by Chukundi Salisbury, who is running for an open seat in Legislative District 37, Position 2.
What lessons about government revenues and fiscal priorities from the wake of 2008 would you apply in responding to the Covid-19 crisis? (200 words or less)
Crises like this causes our economic infrastructure to burst at the seems, and it is once again apparent that the first seems to break are the poorest communities and communities of color. It’s hard to say we’ve learned from 2008, because we’re still facing the same economic issues at the same levels as before. Many standards we implemented after 2008 have been undone, so things are still essentially the same. The richest will keep getting richer while still siphoning money from the rest of us.
Would you vote for a bill that ends the ban on rent control in Washington? Why or Why not? (50 words or less)
No. You should endorse me, and this is why. I represent a population of this state that has never had a real voice in Olympia. I’m in touch with my community that no candidate is and I plan to bring that part of the community to Olympia.
What role do you see the state playing in enacting land use reform, and what should that reform prioritize? (200 words or less)
The state should allow for more rezoning options to increase affordable options in non-metropolitan areas.
What should be the major components of a climate package? (50 words or less)
Transition job training for new energy sources.
What should be the top strategies for the state to fix the cycle of segregation, disinvestment, gentrification, and unaffordable housing in our cities? (200 words or less)
Since the passage of I-200, the state of Washington has been economically hostile for people of color, especially black people. As a black man that grew up in Seattle, it has been heartbreaking to see the representation of my people in this city go from 13% to 6%, and in the rest of the state it has gone from 8% to 4%. Lack of investment and opportunity for POC owned businesses have caused many to just simply leave. This has to stop and I have many ideas to do so. There are many talking points I can echo that progressive groups are already saying, but I hardly hear about providing economic prosperity for black people in this state. We are constantly focused on fixing the bottom floor without creating pathways to the middle class. We can do both. We need to raise the standards on all fronts and be more ambitious for what we can actually accomplish.
What’s your roadmap to fixing educational inequities in Washington state? How can Washington state comply with its constitutional duties regarding education? (200 words or less)
First off, we need to invest WAY more funding into our schools. We’re way overdue for a capital gains and income tax. At least one of them has to pass sooner rather than later.
Do you think Washington state should have an income tax? If yes, what is the legislative path? If not, would you pursue any tax reform? (100 words or less)
Yes. The legislative path is for my party to be more bold and stand up to the wealthy.
While California and Oregon have passed a clean fuels standard aiming to meet their climate goals, Washington did not, as the bill stalled out last session. Would you vote for it? If not, what is the route to meeting our climate goals? (150 words or less)
Yes I would vote for it.
What percentage of the state’s transportation budget should be for alternatives to cars, such as transit, biking, and pedestrian infrastructure? (100 words)
Not going to give an uninformed answer so I can’t give you an exact number. But I can say we are not spending enough. We need to prioritize these methods of transportation for the benefit of all of us.
What should be a higher priority: electrifying personal vehicles or reducing the number of trips made in personal vehicles? Explain how to achieve your priority. (50 words).
The immediate impact would be seen in reducing trips. Increasing access to public transportation would reduce congestion, emissions, and accidents. Eliminating fares would help with this.
The Urbanist Election Committee’s Take
Read our endorsement post to see where we landed on this race.
The Urbanist was founded in 2014 to examine and influence urban policies. We believe cities provide unique opportunities for addressing many of the most challenging social, environmental, and economic problems. We serve as a resource for promoting urbanism, increasing political participation, and improving the places we live. The Elections Committee consists of various staff members of The Urbanist and is a standing body representing the political values of our organization.