Electing feminists to all levels of public office is a crucial part of NOW’s advocacy for women’s rights. In 1968, two years after the founding of the National Organization for Women, NOW’s membership empowered the organization to engage in electoral politics as part of its work toward achieving true equality for all women.
The National NOW PAC and WA State NOW PAC support candidates who take strong stands on a wide variety of issues including:
- Reproductive rights without restriction
- Civil rights for all people-with emphasis on lesbian and gay rights and racial justice
- Economic justice for all women
- A constitutional amendment that guarantees women’s equality, including reproductive rights and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation
- Affirmative action ensuring equal opportunity for women and people of color
- Ending all forms of violence against women.
This fall the state will be holding a special election for five State Senate and 3 State House seats that have appointed incumbents due to vacancies since the 2016 election. There are also many judicial, county, city, school board and local utility/fire district seats on the ballot.
These elections are critical. Our state legislature is currently split with the House having in this year’s legislative session passed progressive legislation with the Senate killing it – legislation like the WA State Voting Rights Act and the Reproductive Parity Act.
And when it came to the budget, we needed to have three special sessions to pass the General Budget. Funding education was the main focus of this year’s legislative session. They made significant strides toward meeting the requirements of the McCleary decision to fully fund education. It remains to be seen though whether the WA State Supreme Court will accept the plan as satisfactory. It is scheduled for oral argument on October 24, 2017 The budget that was passed in addition to increasing funding for schools, partially restored funding to the WorkFirst program which was cut in 2011 by 15% with a 2.5% increase, and increased worker pay and benefits, mental health services, support for struggling families, and other much-needed services. But it did this with lawmakers relying on inadequate long-term revenue sources to sustain them.
These heightened investments aren’t guaranteed to survive in the long term. Lawmakers must enact stronger revenue reforms in order to maintain the necessary investments in our state and our communities when they meet again in two, four, or ten years to write future budgets. And we need a legislature that looks out for the interests of all of our state’s residents including the most needy and vulnerable.
Manka Dhingra is a key candidate running in the 45th Legislative District. This race has received national focus and is believed to be the one critical race that will turn the WA State Senate Democratic. The Washington State NOW PAC believes she as well as the other endorsed senatorial candidates are needed not just to move a feminist agenda forward but also to protect the rights we have from the onslaught of attacks both locally and nationally.
The WA State NOW/PAC has endorsed the candidates below for the State Legislature and local races for the 2017 General Election on November 7, 2017:
District/Office Position – Candidate
7th Legislative District Senate – Karen Hardy
37th Legislative District Senate – Rebecca Saldaña
45th Legislative District Senate – Manka Dhingra
48th Legislative District Senate – Patty Kuderer
Ferndale City Council 6 – Kate Hansen
Kirkland City Council 7 – Uzma Butte
Olympia City Council 4 – Clark Gilman
Spokane City Council 1 – Kate Burke
Spokane City Council 2 – Breean Beggs
Spokane City Council 3 – Candace Mumm
Spokane Valley City Council 5 – Angie Beem
Ballots have been mailed. If you have not yet received you ballot contact you County Auditor or Elections office. A contact list for these offices can be found at https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/viewauditors.aspx