Leah Griffin (left) and Emily Alvarado (right) are vying to succeed retiring Rep. Eileen Cody in the 34th. (Photos courtesy of campaigns)

The 34th Legislative District has two strong incumbents who appears to be waltzing to reelection, and one open House seat that is gearing up to be a showdown between two solid candidates: Emily Alvarado and Leah Griffin, both women with strong urbanist platforms who have stepped forward to take the baton. The open House seat was created by the retirement of Rep. Eileen Cody, who has served in the House since 1994. More broadly, each of Seattle’s open seats has generated at least two candidates with urbanist bonafides, which is a welcome development and a high water mark.

A Republican candidate is also running for each race in the 34th, albeit with little financial support, and both are very much longshots in a deeply blue district.

Incumbents Sen. Joe Nguyen and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon returned questionnaires to The Urbanist, as did both Alvarado and Griffin. You can review those four questionnaires at the bottom of the post.

The committee also interviewed all but Nguyen this cycle, following up on the questions. Based on these answers, we made our selections and will release our primary endorsements in mid-July after the writeups are complete.

The new borders of Washington’s 34th Legislative District in 2022. (Washington Redistricting Commission)

Geographically, the 34th remains very similar following 2022 redistricting and is still centered around West Seattle, with Vashon Island and White Center also in its orbit. However, it did lose a chunk of Burien and its small slice of Normandy Park to the 33rd, and in their place pick up Pioneer Square, SoDo, South Park, and a swath of the Duwamish Valley. It’s likely to remain a progressive stronghold given those boundaries.


Leah Griffin: Urbanist Questionnaire LD34 Position 1

Q1: What is your top priority for the upcoming term, and how will you achieve it?

I have knocked on over 5,000 doors in my district, and right now I know that my neighbors are extremely concerned about the fall of Roe v. Wade. The fight for abortion access across our state is more important than ever, and is one of my top priorities. Access to reproductive health is under attack on two fronts: religious hospital mergers and laws passed by conservative states to prevent people from seeking abortions out of state and to criminalize those who would perform them. This fight is especially important for low-income Women of Color within our communities who face a disproportionate lack of access to abortion healthcare. Having fought for nearly a decade for access to healthcare for survivors of sexual violence, I know that a constitutional right to a procedure means little unless a person has meaningful access to that care. In Washington, as of 2020, 41% of hospitals place limits on abortion access. I understand the urgent need to pass legislation increasing access to abortion healthcare and I have experience expanding access at the state and federal level. I will work to ensure that everyone in Washington has the ability to make decisions regarding their reproductive health, regardless of whether or not they live here. I will work to make sure Washington state is ready when Roe falls and we prepare as a state for a 385% increase in pregnant people seeking abortion healthcare — and that begins with limiting religious hospital mergers. 

Q2: Washington State adopted a “Target Zero” goal of ending traffic deaths by 2030, but fatalities are trending in the wrong direction. What do you propose to rectify this situation?

One of the ways in which we can strive to meet this goal is establishing mass public transportation infrastructure- especially throughout our cities. We also must design new infrastructure across our state with a Safe Systems approach which anticipates human error and establishes educational resources throughout our communities surrounding elements such as right of way, driving safety, and impairment risk. A Safe Systems approach would guide us in establishing infrastructure which reduces impact forces, reduces speeds when appropriate, and increases visibility. 

Q3: What is your stance on Rep. Jessica Bateman’s missing middle housing bill (HB 1782) that failed to pass last session and would you support similar legislation to legalize abundant housing statewide? If so, what steps will you take to ensure its passage in the upcoming session? If not, what policy to promote housing growth and affordability do you support?

Absolutely. As the cost of living increases, the cost of housing near urban areas becomes increasingly unattainable for middle class families. While consistently working multiple jobs to supplement my family’s income, I was able to purchase my house in 2015 under a now stagnant HUD program with rules that prioritized local, first-time homebuyers. As the housing crisis rages on in Seattle and even outside of King County, legislators must create more pathways to homeownership. There are many more families like mine that are longtime Seattle residents and have made their lives here but cannot afford to buy homes where they live, work, and raise their kids. Our state has a responsibility to make cities and towns liveable for all. 

Rep. Bateman’s missing middle housing bill creates steps towards liveability and affordable housing, especially as Washington’s cities continue to grow. I also look forward to crafting policies similar to the original HUD program I benefited from in order to help middle wage workers afford home ownership in their neighborhoods. Furthermore, we need to increase public development projects which provide better opportunities for Union labor, increase density especially around transit, and establish more creative paths to home ownership for workers. 

Over the past eight years, I’ve worked with incredible lawmakers to pass multiple laws, both at the state and federal level, to fundamentally reform how survivors interact with the systems which failed me. I have learned the ins and outs of the legislative process, especially at the state level. I am also a school librarian who is an expert at research, and intend to use those skills to pass evidence-based solutions to our problems especially in the face of opposition. I also have experience building massive and diverse coalitions, and experience utilizing earned media to sway public opinion — and plan to put all of these skills and experiences to use when advocating for HB 1782. 

Q4: Would you vote for a bill that ends the ban on rent control in Washington? Why or why not? Would you support statewide rent stabilization similar to Oregon?

Yes. Ending the ban on rent control is another step towards creating more livable cities for our neighbors across Washington. I would support statewide rent stabilization similar to Oregon’s system to regulate increases and control for inflation. As the incomes of Washingtonian’s stagnate and rent contributes to increase, it becomes increasingly important that we advocate on behalf of renters across our state in efforts to make our cities more livable. 

Q5: Washington State has ambitious climate goals, but isn’t yet on course to meet them. What do you see as the missing pieces?

We cannot solve our climate crisis through well meaning individual actions any more, and we cannot afford to ignore climate as an issue. We must act now. We need large investments in renewable energy, caps on carbon emissions, and environmental restoration projects. We must divest from fossil fuel companies, embrace innovative clean energy solutions, and center equity and justice in every program.

We need to make sure that our transition to clean energy is a just one. I support funding for job transitions out of fossil fuel industries and workforce apprenticeship programs in historically underinvested communities. I will work to lower barriers for workers of color to receive training in the clean energy industry. I support assisting small energy contractors with their ability to pay prevailing wages. I will work with existing state agencies, in conjunction with unions and their members, to come up with programs to assist in this transition in a way that ensures people do not lose their livelihoods in the process.

If elected, I will work to ensure that our counties are given the resources they need to build climate resilience into their growth management plans. I also support the continued refinement of Washington’s Climate Commitment Act, and believe that passing a compliance pathway for heavy emitters in the next session is crucial. Additionally, I support the Green New Deal and the Washington Buy Clean Buy Fair Act. I plan to prioritize funding public mass transit so that individuals can get to work in an environmentally friendly, accessible, and reliable manner. 

Q6: Under what circumstances, if any, would you support adding highway lane miles?

I am committed to a stance of funding No New Highways, and I would not support adding highway lane miles. In fact, I am in favor of removing highway miles that separate neighborhoods, and that negatively impact primarily underinvested in communities. I believe in and use public transportation, and am proud to be endorsed by the ATU, and the Transit Riders Union. It is past time that we combat the climate crisis in our state with big investments in renewable energy, with caps on carbon emissions, and with environmental restoration projects. 

Q7: What reforms of the Growth Management Act do you support, if any?

The GMA as it stands is not equipped to combat the increasing and varying levels of expansion across our state, and reforms of the GMA must be enacted to create a more comprehensive plan as our state continues to expand. I support reforms to integrate participating tribes into data collection in understanding ecosystems, implement Safe Harbor provisions, and center Adaptive Planning solutions in order to evaluate and monitor progress. We need to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach which no longer works for Washington. If elected, I look forward to supporting proposed reforms to the GMA in order to establish more equitable, measurable, and focused solutions to increased growth statewide. 

Q8: Do you think Washington state should have an income tax (yes/no)? If yes, what is the legislative path? If not, would you pursue any tax reform?

Yes. Those earning in the top percentages should be paying more. Additionally, I support removing the tax caps that high earners benefit from, such as the $147,000 cap on the family and parental leave tax. I would support a state income tax, and support the current support of implementing a constitutional amendment to make this tax possible. The legislative path to a constitutional amendment first begins with building a coalition behind this proposal. I believe that culture and policy move in tandem, and that the pandemic has caused many Washingtonians to rethink their relationship with work and government. I believe that if we continue to have the conversation publicly and with our neighbors about how a progressive income tax can replace our regressive sales tax, that we can get to the point where a constitutional amendment is possible in the next few years.

Q9: What more should the State be doing to increase mobility for those who cannot drive or chose not to, a constituency which composes about a quarter of the population?

There is an increasing need for more reliable, sustainable, and accessible public transportation options across our state for all Washingtonians, but especially those who cannot drive or chose not to. I will prioritize mass transit projects. In my district specifically, we need to invest in our ferry system which provides great jobs, but lacks reliability and accessibility. We must prioritize the use of union labor to build boats, expand light rail to the 34th, and increase bus routes across the district and throughout the state. The impact of the West Seattle bridge being closed on our neighbors proves exactly why we need to effectively get more cars off the road and more people into reliable, efficient public transit. Everyone should have access to an unlimited transit pass.

Q10: What approach will you take to promoting public safety?

Public safety is one of the top priorities of my campaign. Over the course of my activism and healing from the trauma of being the victim of a violent crime, I have confronted an upsetting truth: our approach to public safety both fails to hold perpetrators of crime accountable, and fails to help victims of crime, particularly victims of hate crimes. In the legislature, I will build off my and many others’ work to create a more modern, effective criminal justice and public safety system which centers accountability and rehabilitation and combats the systemic racism within its institutions. For imprisonment to be effective, it must return people to the community who are better than when they went in. We must provide individual access to behavioral health, job training, and social support services in order for them to pay full restitution to individuals they have caused harm to. Far too often, survivors of crimes are lost in the process and never receive the support they need. We must create systems which provide survivors with access to emotional and supportive healing so that they can move past their experience and be made whole. Everyone across our state deserves access to behavioral healthcare and a criminal justice system which works to better our communities and support survivors.


Emily Alvarado: Urbanist Questionnaire LD34 Position 1

Q1: What is your top priority for the upcoming term, and how will you achieve it?

My top priority is to enact bold action for affordable housing. Housing is a human right. Everyone deserves safe, quality affordable housing in a thriving community. But our housing system is broken and needs repair now. I will bring over a decade of experience — in nonprofits and government — working on affordable housing from all angles: investing public resources in affordable apartments, including permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness; advancing climate resilient housing and equitable transit-oriented development; acquiring buildings and land; passing policies to address displacement, foster inclusionary zoning, reduce regulatory barriers, increase cooperative ownership; and delivering rental assistance and preventing foreclosures. I will advance a holistic housing vision that (1) creates substantially more publicly financed and regulated affordable housing, (2) increases the housing supply, and (3) provides access and stability for renters. I will bring a sense of urgency to the legislature, a track record of pushing creative solutions and building coalitions, and an understanding of how local, state and federal governments can work together. I will focus on advancing racial equity and investing in community-driven solutions. I will fight for progressive revenue because significant investment is essential to create affordable housing at scale to meet the need.

Q2: Washington State adopted a “Target Zero” goal of ending traffic deaths by 2030, but fatalities are trending in the wrong direction. What do you propose to rectify this situation?

We need to create safe pedestrian infrastructure. I support investments in transportation systems that implement safety for people who are walking, biking, or rolling to help meet the goal of ending traffic deaths. We need to address contributing factors like vehicle speed. I will build off of progress made recently to implement a 20 mile per hour limit on non arterial roads and encourage state partnership with local jurisdictions to set speed limits. I support investments in traffic calming infrastructure, like roundabouts and speed bumps that will decrease the number of speeding drivers, which is the leading cause of fatal accidents for drivers. The state also needs to take meaningful steps to encourage regional land use patterns that support walkable, multi-modal communities that give people transportation choices.

Q3: What is your stance on Rep. Jessica Bateman’s missing middle housing bill (HB 1782) that failed to pass last session and would you support similar legislation to legalize abundant housing statewide? If so, what steps will you take to ensure its passage in the upcoming session? If not, what policy to promote housing growth and affordability do you support?

I support Rep. Bateman’s bill. Washington has a shortage of hundreds of thousands of homes, driving affordability challenges for too many people. Statewide reform is needed now to create significantly more housing choices in all communities. Legalizing duplexes, triplexes, and ADUs gives moderate income working families a better chance to buy a home, choices so multigenerational families can live together, and elders can age in place. More dense housing by transit provides housing options and supports our climate goals. Solutions that create more housing supply are necessary, but not sufficient to meet the needs of people with the lowest incomes. Significant public investment is essential to dramatically increase the amount of housing that is permanently affordable, including supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness — which is the proven, cost -effective solution to address chronic homelessness—and housing for low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities on a fixed income. The legacy of redlining, restrictive covenants, and disinvestment, persists. Housing investments must address displacement, which continues to destabilize communities, particularly communities of color. At the legislature, I will fight for community-driven anti-displacement solutions and housing justice policies, including policies to ensure people with a criminal history have housing access.

Q4: Would you vote for a bill that ends the ban on rent control in Washington? Why or why not? Would you support statewide rent stabilization similar to Oregon?

Yes. Every Washingtonian deserves a safe, stable, affordable home. But across the state, tenants continue to experience exorbitant year-over-year rent increases, with rents rising faster than wages, and increases out-of-sync with the realities of people living on a fixed income. Rising rents are connected to rising rates of homelessness, and this disproportionately impacts low-income and working class families, people of color, women, immigrants, seniors, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community. People shouldn’t have to worry constantly about rising rents and eviction; they deserve predictability in their housing. I support statewide rent stabilization, like the law in Oregon, which prohibits unreasonable annual rent increases, and I also support flexibility for local jurisdictions to improve upon those standards to meet the unique needs of local communities. 

Q5: Washington State has ambitious climate goals, but isn’t yet on course to meet them. What do you see as the missing pieces?

Reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 requires an intersectional approach to housing, transportation, energy and the economy. I support efforts to transition to clean energy and ensure that new clean energy jobs include labor standards like prevailing wage, apprenticeship utilization, and priority hire for women- and minority-owned businesses. We need deep investments in grid improvements to increase renewable energy and we need to continue transportation electrification, and continued acceleration of clean cars and changing networks. 

Affordable housing is a climate solution. We urgently need to pass robust policies that provide more inclusive housing near jobs and transit, so that we can meaningfully reduce transportation emissions in an equitable way. Throughout my career, I have been a vocal proponent of building climate resilient housing, knowing that a significant portion of emissions comes from our building stock. I will support legislation to require an aggressive timeline to reach carbon neutrality in publicly funded housing and other projects. I will pursue new financing to retrofit existing housing with fossil fuel free heating, and cleaner cooling options for low-income families and fixed income seniors most harshly impacted by hotter summers. We must center environmental justice and invest in solutions led by communities that bear a disproportionate impact of pollution and climate change. 

Q6: Under what circumstances, if any, would you support adding highway lane miles?

Adding highway lane miles has long been proven to underachieve in alleviating traffic congestion. I believe there are better uses for infrastructure dollars that would truly benefit multimodal travelers in more impactful ways. 

Q7: What reforms of the Growth Management Act do you support, if any?

We need urgent action to plan for and address climate change. I support reforms to update the Growth Management Act to better address climate change and environmental justice, including the proposals from HB 1099, which would ensure that comprehensive plans mitigate the effects of climate change, support state greenhouse gas emissions reduction and vehicle miles traveled goals, and foster climate resilience. With 2024 comprehensive plan updates coming up, the state should act with urgency to make more updates to ensure that the GMA continues to provide for effective city and county planning for a better future. I also support recent changes made by the State Legislature to the GMA, which will require cities to plan better for affordable housing and redress the impacts from historic racist housing policies (HB 1220), improve tribal consultation (HB 1717), and close the sprawl loophole (SB 5042). 

Q8: Do you think Washington state should have an income tax (yes/no)? If yes, what is the legislative path? If not, would you pursue any tax reform?

Yes. Washington currently has the most regressive tax system in the country, where the poorest families pay far more of their income in taxes than the wealthiest. Washington should increase income equality with a graduated personal income tax that reduces the burden of the bottom 20% in our state and invest revenue in the services and infrastructure that lead to thriving, healthy, and prosperous communities for all of us.  Given the urgency in creating a just state tax code, I also support other viable progressive revenue options, including, for example, a business tax on payroll of high earnings.

Q9: What more should the State be doing to increase mobility for those who cannot drive or chose not to, a constituency which composes about a quarter of the population?

Communities depend on a public transportation system that provides reliable, safe, and affordable options. With Move Ahead Washington, the legislature made historic investments in transportation — $16 billion investment in multimodal transit, high-speed rail, and ferries. I support efforts to continue focused investment in transit, bike, and pedestrian projects. Throughout my career, I have led efforts to advance Equitable Transit Oriented Development — creating vibrant and connected neighborhoods by high capacity transit, with affordable housing options for low income people, including transit dependent people. At the state level, I will advance efforts to align transportation and affordable housing funding. I will collaborate with local jurisdictions to make sure that investments focus on equity — dedicated strategies that engage impacted communities, and provide affordable housing and community and cultural anchors.

Q10: What approach will you take to promoting public safety?

We all deserve to be safe from violence. I believe true public safety begins with upstream, proactive community investment, particularly in communities of color that have suffered from sustained public disinvestment. We need to invest in housing, health care, including behavioral health care, education and childcare, economic opportunity, and civic infrastructure. When people have their needs met in stable, supportive communities, there is less violence. I also support investments in mental health crisis responders and social workers, and other efforts that connect people in crisis with resources. Community-driven violence prevention and restorative justice programs, which reduce violence and incarceration, are essential. Part of public safety is rebuilding trust through strong police accountability. Racial bias and over-policing needs to be addressed; and we need to listen to impacted communities. We also need stronger gun laws that remove guns from our communities — bans on assault style weapons, longer waiting periods, tougher background checks and stronger “extreme risk” laws so we can reduce gun violence.


Joe Fitzgibbon: Urbanist Questionnaire LD34 Position 1

Q1: What is your top priority for the upcoming term, and how will you achieve it?

My top priority remains the fight against climate change. Given what we’ve achieved over the last few years, the biggest gaps in our state’s panoply of climate policies are in decarbonizing buildings, in aligning land use policy with climate policy, and in developing a strategy to allocate Climate Commitment Act revenue to the most impactful uses. I will be building on lessons learned from the last biennium to organize success on these interrelated issues in the House, the Senate, and among coalition partners.

Q2: Washington State adopted a “Target Zero” goal of ending traffic deaths by 2030, but fatalities are trending in the wrong direction. What do you propose to rectify this situation?

The Move Ahead Washington transportation package we passed in the 2022 session will enormously increase investment by the state of Washington in safe walking and biking — $1.2 billion over 16 years. Next, we need to make sure that the local governments who receive this money are spending it effectively and in ways that are coordinated with their land use plans. Beyond that, we should expand the use of automated traffic safety cameras beyond their current very limited uses. I led the effort to authorize Seattle to use traffic safety cameras to enforce crosswalk and bus lane infractions — we need to make this authority permanent and expand it to other applications where it can impact excessive speeding, which is the behavior by drivers most responsible for traffic deaths (of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other car drivers and passengers).

Q3: What is your stance on Rep. Jessica Bateman’s missing middle housing bill (HB 1782) that failed to pass last session and would you support similar legislation to legalize abundant housing statewide? If so, what steps will you take to ensure its passage in the upcoming session? If not, what policy to promote housing growth and affordability do you support?

I strongly support legalizing missing middle housing statewide and was a proud cosponsor of HB 1782. I worked closely with Rep. Bateman on strategy for moving the bill forward and led the charge with Rep. Macri to pass HB 1782 out of the Appropriations Committee in the face of unified Republican opposition. I think we should try again in 2023 with a simpler bill that does not have to go to the Appropriations Committee in the House or the Ways & Means Committee in the Senate and demand that the business community follow through on its stated commitment to addressing the housing shortage by lobbying business-aligned legislators to support this long-overdue policy.

Q4: Would you vote for a bill that ends the ban on rent control in Washington? Why or why not? Would you support statewide rent stabilization similar to Oregon?

I support statewide rent stabilization policies, not city-by-city ones, because I don’t want to see cities use rent control policies as a backdoor way to stop new housing and keep new people from moving to their city. I would support a statewide rent stabilization policy like Oregon’s as long as it was paired with strong policies, like missing middle and upzones near transit, to address the housing shortage as well, because rent control without supply-side policies will only exacerbate the housing shortage.

Q5: Washington State has ambitious climate goals, but isn’t yet on course to meet them. What do you see as the missing pieces?

I expect the Climate Commitment Act will put us on track to meet our climate goals. However, as noted above, we can me more certain of this if we complement our existing sector-specific policies with strong policies to decarbonize the existing building stock with incentives for electric heat pumps for space and water heating, to ensure that new development is channeled into places with the infrastructure to support growth, to spend Climate Commitment Act dollars in the ways that deliver the greatest greenhouse gas reductions, and to decarbonize heavy industry.

Q6: Under what circumstances, if any, would you support adding highway lane miles?

In general, the only circumstances in which I would actively support highway lane miles is when there are traffic studies that demonstrate that it is necessary to improve safety. In this year’s transportation package, I voted for a limited number of projects to add lane miles for other reasons because I judged that the downsides of those expansions were outweighed by the many other great investments included in Move Ahead Washington.

Q7: What reforms of the Growth Management Act do you support, if any?

I’m excited about the passage of SB 5042, closing the vesting loophole that allowed urban-level development outside of legally compliant urban growth areas. We need to incorporate climate change requirements, both mitigation and adaptation, from top to bottom throughout GMA. We also need to incorporate salmon recovery as a GMA goal. And we should add more teeth to the housing element, requiring that local governments permit significantly more housing in areas where the infrastructure exists to support it.

Q8: Do you think Washington state should have an income tax (yes/no)? If yes, what is the legislative path? If not, would you pursue any tax reform?

Yes, we absolutely should. Unfortunately I do not see a legislative path towards enacting it in the near term. Ultimately I think it is only likely if those of us on the left who support it are joined by the small businesses who are disadvantaged by our current tax structure, so I think the most likely pathway to adopting an income tax will necessitate building coalitions with nontraditional allies in the business community. Beyond an income tax, I am excited about our next capital gains tax, and I further support adopting a land value tax as a replacement for some of our existing property tax.

Q9: What more should the State be doing to increase mobility for those who cannot drive or chose not to, a constituency which composes about a quarter of the population?

We should make more use of technology like automated traffic safety cameras to prevent traffic violations that put people who cannot or do not drive at risk. We should build more infrastructure that keeps cars and people from coming into conflict. We should continue to increase transit service so it serves as many people as possible with frequent service. And we should focus new housing development in places where it is served by frequent transit or can be served cost-effectively by frequent transit in the future.

Q10: What approach will you take to promoting public safety?

We need to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, in part by building on the use of force reforms we passed in 2021 and continuing to fine-tune them so they work. We cannot rely on law enforcement to be all things to all people, so we need a strong and well-resourced behavioral health system to respond to calls where a law enforcement response isn’t necessary. But we also need sufficient law enforcement staffing so that emergency calls can be responded to in a timely way.


Joe Nguyen: Urbanist Questionnaire LD34 Senate

Q1: What is your top priority for the upcoming term, and how will you achieve it?*

Implementation of CETA, CCA, Clean Fuels, etc. and siting renewable energy facilities in Washington state to achieve our reduced emissions goals.

Q2: Washington State adopted a “Target Zero” goal of ending traffic deaths by 2030, but fatalities are trending in the wrong direction. What do you propose to rectify this situation?*

This requires comprehensive and robust investments in our transit infrastructure including technology that does not yet exist, like autonomous vehicles. Fundamentally, we’ll have to shift the paradigm from car-centric modalities to one that is people-centered. The vast majority of fatalities are due to impairment, and nearly half of fatalities are due to lane departures. On a very pragmatic level, requiring ignition locks for those who’ve previously been found drunk driving and further advancements of driving assist would help. Young drivers are also the leading demographic contributing to traffic fatalities and changes have been made to ensure there is more training and experience but that work should continue. We also need to invest in sidewalks, bike lanes, and more visible traffic signs in high traffic areas. To reiterate, this will take a fundamental shift away from cars as the main mode of transportation. The Move Ahead Washington transportation package is changing this paradigm and I hope to continue the work.

Q3: What is your stance on Rep. Jessica Bateman’s missing middle housing bill (HB 1782) that failed to pass last session and would you support similar legislation to legalize abundant housing statewide? If so, what steps will you take to ensure its passage in the upcoming session? If not, what policy to promote housing growth and affordability do you support?*

I was a co-sponsor of the Senate version and have consistently supported the most progressive housing policies in Washington. A large part of the problem is fear mongering and a lack of understanding of how the policy itself would work. I think more education around the bill and the practical implications is required. Candidly, we need to elect leaders who reflect the communities they represent. When most of the legislative body are landowners (many are also landlords) who benefit from the current system, it is tough to create change.

Q4: Would you vote for a bill that ends the ban on rent control in Washington? Why or why not? Would you support statewide rent stabilization similar to Oregon?*

Yes and yes.

Q5: Washington State has ambitious climate goals, but isn’t yet on course to meet them. What do you see as the missing pieces?*

Siting of energy facilities here in Washington. It is incredibly difficult to site renewable energy facilities and that is a key piece that we must have to meet our goals. I’ve done extensive work to increase building standards and helped make investments in electrification but we need more clean energy to support the transition.

Q6: Under what circumstances, if any, would you support adding highway lane miles?*

There are very few instances where I would support adding highway lanes. Supporting freight mobility and increasing traffic safety would be the two main instances. Also, I recently took a trip to Eastern Washington, and another would be connecting communities that aren’t served by transit. However, we should prioritize transit options before adding highway lanes.

Q7: What reforms of the Growth Management Act do you support, if any?*

The GMA should include provision to address climate change which was painfully close to passing. We also needed to close loopholes that were being exploited to increase sprawl which passed in the last session.

Q8: Do you think Washington state should have an income tax (yes/no)? If yes, what is the legislative path? If not, would you pursue any tax reform?*

Yes, I do, but legislatively I don’t think there is a path with the current members. I serve on the tax structure work group to find and implement tax reform options and even Democrats on that committee voted to prevent an income tax from even being studied. I think we would need to tackle B&O and other aspects first, including a corporate income tax. There has been some positive discussion with businesses who support this model instead of B&O. One of my first bills was a progressive REET to lower taxes for most homeowners while increasing the rate nominally for those in the higher end. The proceeds of this was used to augment the housing trust fund. As we work toward true reform, we can implement solutions like Capital gains to fund much needed programs.

Q9: What more should the State be doing to increase mobility for those who cannot drive or chose not to, a constituency which composes about a quarter of the population?*

With limited resources the best thing we can do is connect and augment the existing infrastructure we already have. The various jurisdictions could do better to coordinate transit routes which would greatly improve mobility for all riders. I’ve also been a fan of free fares because it would remove a barrier for transit riders and it would be more cost effective in the long run. As part of Move Ahead Washington we’ve funded free transit for youths which hopefully will enable future generation of multi-modal riders.

Q10: What approach will you take to promoting public safety?*

Prevention and proper allocation of resources. 90%+ of calls made to 911 do not require law enforcement response and very few require law enforcement activities with a lethal weapon. We should invest in upstream resources like mental/behavioral health to mitigate harm before they happen. Our budgets should reflect our values and that means investing in people.

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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 community volunteers and staff members of The Urbanist and is a standing body representing the political values of our organization.