On Nov. 7, Washington voters are going to have the chance to elect many progressive candidates and those that are people of color to represent its diverse populations. The Filipino American Political Action Group of Washington (FAPAGOW), a non-partisan political action group, reviewed candidates based on their qualifications and contributions to improving opportunities and service access for Filipinos, Asian Pacific Islanders and people of color. The review spanned western and eastern Washington candidates with interesting non-partisan results.

For U.S. senator, Maria Cantwell was endorsed for her record, demonstrated leadership and efforts to address our local, state and community needs. Jim McDermott, as a longtime advocate particularly in health care and government ethics, received strong support for re-election to the 7th Congressional District while newcomer Darcy Burner was endorsed for the 8th Congressional District based on her accomplishments, clear thinking and independent decision-making.

Although judicial candidates were more difficult to discern, FAPAGOW endorsed Susan Owens for State Supreme Court for her strong record on civil rights and women’s issues. Professional judicial candidate reviews were conducted by the Asian Bar Association (www.aba.org) and the King County Bar Association (www.kcba.org) with results posted on their Web sites.

For western Washington candidates, Adam Kline and Ed Murray were advanced for state senator positions with strong endorsements for two women of color, Yvonne Kinoshita Ward for District 31 and Claudia Kauffman. Ward was endorsed for her aggressive stances on civil rights and Kauffman for her long and deep community activism for Native Americans and coalition work with Asian and people of color communities.

Local endorsement and support for state representatives Bob Hasegawa (District 11), Sharon Tomiko Santos (District 37), Eric Pettigrew (District 37), Frank Chopp (District 43), Geoff Simpson (District 47) and Pat Sullivan (District 47) were a slam dunk based on their records in leading and advancing community issues and needs. Tami Green (District 28, the Tacoma-Lakewood area), a nurse and community activist, was endorsed for her health care activism and reaching out to the Filipino community. Jamie Pedersen, a candidate for District 43, won a tough primary election. He is endorsed for his record on civil rights for people of color, women and gays, his legal work with refugees, his support for repealing I-200 and interest in tax reform as a comprehensive revenue fairness solution.

For eastern Washington candidates, support for re-electing state senators Mary Skinner (District 14) and Jim Honeyford (District 15) were made. However, the endorsement for District 15 went to Tomas Villanueva, a Mexican American farm worker, union organizer and progressive who organized a grocery co-op, a bilingual community health center and helped develop safe farm worker housing laws, advocated for the needs of the poor and people of color and conducted voter registration. Another person of color, Chris Marr, an Asian with local Seattle roots, received strong support for his longstanding community contributions by serving on education and health boards.

This election promises more people of color candidates running to advance community issues and needs. FAPAGOW’s review of Initiatives 920 and 933 brought about a resounding “No.” Initiative 920, which calls for the repeal of the estate tax, would result in a $184.5 million cut for education. Initiative 933 would place an additional unpredictable, un-funded cost to an already revenue-strapped government.

For more information, contact (425) 227-4348. Exercise your American right and privilege – vote on Nov. 7..

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