Voter Information

We sent a questionnaire to each of the candidates listed, to get their answers on how they plan to contribute to our goal of a more just society. The candidates that responded are highlighted.

King County

King County Executive:

Dow Constantine, Joe Nguyen (no responses received)

King County Council District 3:

Kathy Lambert (no responses received)

Sarah Perry: click here to read her responses

What will you do to ensure that city does not use the jail to house people for lack of housing or behavioral health disorders?

We need to invest in wraparound services with permanent supportive housing and behavioral health services to our houseless population. I am a proponent of paying behavioral health care workers solid wages with benefits to invest in and expand this sector. I will use my platform to vote for and voice the support of behavioral health services by providing them with adequate funding by reprioritizing the budget. We need to view mental health and addiction as a public health crisis that is best treated with preventative services rather than punitive measures. As other places on the West Coast have, the city of Seattle should take federal dollars to invest in permanent supportive housing and continue to search for alternative funding opportunities. We need to prioritize funding for at least 4,000 temporary housing units like module housing, tiny homes, hotel spaces, and congregate shelters to house people. Next, we need to work across all levels of government to increase affordable housing in King County. Coupled with performance audits to ensure that every homelessness and housing program is accountable and transparent, jails will not be used to house people.

Even with the passing of Court Rule 3.2, which is supposed to ensure affordability of bail, the cash bail system is not working: it continues to detain poor people and disproportionally impacts people of color and marginalized communities. What steps would you take to create policy that addresses the overuse of pretrial detention and cash bail?

We know that the current cash bail system disproportionately impacts low income individuals and communities of color and effectively criminalizes poverty. We also know that pretrial detention increases the likelihood that individuals will continue to be cycled in and out of jail due to job loss or other hardship as a result of being jailed. This has the inevitable effect of preventing individuals from regaining stability in their lives. On top of this, the cash bail system often results in the detention of individuals who pose little to no risk towards public safety. As a result, the current system perpetuates a cycle of incarceration that ultimately leads to worse outcomes for everyone. The steps to addressing the overuse of pretrial detention and cash bail can include limiting the use of pretrial detention by placing the burden on prosecutors to prove the need for detention and limiting detention to only the most serious offenses. We must also seriously consider alternatives to cash bail that will make it easier and more likely that defendants will appear in court. This includes transportation vouchers, flexible scheduling, on-site child care and court date reminders, among other ideas.

What steps will you take to ensure that the city keeps its jail population from returning to pre-COVID levels?

I am committed to championing supportive and preventative services that divert community members from incarceration and working towards alternatives to incarceration. I stand with King County Executive Dow Constantine in his Roadmap to Zero Youth Detention. I will be a strong proponent of increased youth programming at every level of government as an alternative to incarceration. Along with prioritizing our budget to serve the community first, I will use my vote to ensure that the jail population does not return to pre-COVID levels.

There are many stakeholders affected by police actions and policing policies. What steps will you take to keep police unions from overshadowing community voices?

I want to use my platform and privilege, during the campaign and once in office, to address the policies in our communities that harm our various communities. Once elected, my first priority is to create a KCD3 Community Council with representatives from all communities to review current and upcoming King County policies and practices. When proposals come to the council, I will reach out to this council and other community members to view proposals through a racial justice lens to learn how policy changes will impact those most directly affected by the changes. I will make sure that communities that have historically not felt safe, secure, or that they belong have a seat at the table to ensure that they feel a strong sense of belonging within the community and not allow police unions to be the dominant voice in these discussions. By including the entire community of district 3, police unions will have less opportunity and ability to overshadow community voices when it comes to addressing police actions and policing policies.

What is your stance on qualified immunity for police?

I believe qualified immunity is inequitable and I do not support it. As our next King County Councilmember for District 3, I will be a strong voice for policies around transparency, accountability and de-escalation training. I will be a voice and a vote for the transformation needed to ensure ALL communities feel safe in King County – meaning a public safety system that protects Black residents instead of needlessly putting them at risk and in danger because of biased policing. On Council, I will push for responses from social workers and other first responders, in emergency situations, especially those involving behavioral health; advocate for body cameras on all sheriff’s officers; and engage with community members who are most impacted to determine additional reforms and oversight structures.

Is there anything else you’d like for us to know about you?

If elected, I will work directly with the sheriff’s department to ensure that oversight is equitable. I support demilitarizing the sheriff’s office and investing in social services and community-based solutions as a means to ensure public safety. It is time to have transparency with every community member to collaborate on the funding, implementation, and enforcement of policies that invest in our district’s social safety net. As a King County Councilmember, I will use my voice and vote to build trust and care with housing, aid, and other governmental assistance programs to keep people out of the criminal justice system.

King County Council District 7:

Pete von Reichbauer, Dominique Torgerson (no responses received)

King County Council District 9:

Reagan Dunn, Kim-Khanh Van (no responses received)


City of Seattle


Lorena Gonzalez, Bruce Harrell (no responses received)

City Attorney:

Ann Davison (no responses received)

Nicole Thomas-Kennedy: click to read her answers

What will you do to ensure that city does not use the jail to house people for lack of housing or behavioral health disorders?

I will not prosecute most people with behavioral health disorders and instead use the resources of the office to address the roots of the problem, which are medical, not legal. I will not prosecute most people with behavioral health disorders and instead use the resources of the office to address the roots of the problem, which are medical, not legal.

What will you do to ensure that your attorneys do not request cash bail as a default tactic to secure a plea deal conviction by jailing poor people?

My office policy will not allow any default requests of cash bail. Any prosecutor caught asking for bail to secure a plea will be immediately relieved of their position.

Even with the passing of Court Rule 3.2, which is supposed to ensure affordability of bail, the cash bail system is not working: it continues to detain poor people and disproportionally impacts people of color and marginalized communities. What steps would you take to create policy that addresses the overuse of pretrial detention and cash bail?

“Affordability” of bail is a misnomer when the majority (90%) of the people that are being prosecuted are impoverished enough to qualify for a public defender. No amount of money is affordable for the majority of people that are being prosecuted. The City Attorney’s office only handles misdemeanors. Cash bail is almost wholly unnecessary for misdemeanors. My office’s policy would clearly state this, and employment in that office (like every office) would be conditional on following the stated policy.

What misdemeanors do you think should be decriminalized?

Misdemeanor crimes are largely reflections of systemic social failures not personal moral failings. I would like to see a shift away from criminalization of most misdemeanors but we are going to have to build up community based infrastructure (services, support, and accountability processes) that can take the place of the carceral system for many of them. Even without the replacement system, drug possession and sex work should be decriminalized immediately for the health and safety of the community.

What is your stance on qualified immunity for police?

Qualified immunity is a federal court created doctrine that (including some state legislation and contract provisions) keeps the community from holding police accountable in federal civil court. I believe QI has led police to be emboldened to commit abuse against the community, and it puts the financial burden of that police abuse on the community who have no ability to hold police accountable. It’s a circular trap. Qualified immunity is not a defense to criminal conduct. Some state law that have changed around criminal conduct has made prosecution of police murder easier (not requiring the State to show malice, for example) has resulted in recent charges against officers. The City Attorney only prosecutes misdemeanors, and police abuses almost always rise to the level of felonies. While I understand the desire to prosecute police for misdemeanors, I don’t think that is the most effective way to hold them accountable for misdemeanor crimes. I believe putting accountability into the police contract (making the ability to fire and discipline a reality, for example) is going to go a longer way than prosecuting them for misdemeanor crimes. As you are aware, the law is not applied equally, and validating a criminal punishment system that targets the poor, BIPOC, and the disabled by occasionally prosecuting a cop will not change that.

Is there anything else you’d like for us to know about you?

I am an abolitionist, which is a framework, a process, and a goal. It is not an overnight top down structure that can be enacted or built by one person. Abolition acknowledges that the system was built to perpetuate racism, to disappear the disabled, and to punish the poor and workers and that this will not be changed by incremental reforms, that what we need is a new system of horizontal community power that can deal with our social problems. The process of abolition is working alongside the community to build that new system. Community must be empowered to care for each others basic human needs, and to repair people that have been harmed (both in the immediate crime, but also for those that have perpetrated the harm – who have almost always been the victims of harm themselves.) The goal of abolition is to build healthy communities that don’t need police, prosecutors, and prisons.

Council district 8 (citywide):

Kenneth Wilson, Theresa Mosqueda (no responses received)

Council district 9 (citywide):

Sara Nelson (no responses received)

Nikkita Oliver: click to read their answers

What will you do to ensure that city does not use the jail to house people for lack of housing or behavioral health disorders?

Seattle’s criminal punishment system (not including Seattle Police Department) costs nearly $48 million a year. Almost NONE of that money helps address individuals’ poverty or helps them meet their basic needs. Instead, the system criminalizes poverty.

In 2017, Seattle caged individuals for 63,000 nights in jail cells. Over 90% of cases in the municipal court end up qualifying for public defenders – this means that Seattle spends millions every year prosecuting poor people.

And even though Black people make up less than 7% of Seattle’s population, Black people made up 27% of the cases prosecuted by Seattle Municipal Court in 2017-2018.

Misdemeanors are generally considered low-level law violations. There is evidence to suggest that reducing the number of misdemeanor prosecutions and investing in communities and community-based supports decreases crime. Seattle needs to stop punishing poverty, mental health struggles, and drug use, and instead invest in our communities. Punishing people who are experiencing poverty and trying to meet their basic needs is foolish and immoral. It does not address the root problem—poverty. And instead, it makes things worse, forcing people into cycles of incarceration and court supervision that make it even harder to achieve financial stability.

For the above stated reasons, Seattle should end or at minimum dramatically reduce prosecution of misdemeanors.

Criminalization of poverty and the school to prison pipeline continue to impact the education, economic, and employment opportunities of Black, Native and brown communities. It is essential to: 1) continue the work of defunding SPD and investing in communities of color, especially Black and Native communities; 2) invest funding in community-based and led responses to harm that prioritize prevention and intervention; 3) provide basic needs supports for more community members; 4) end pre-trial detention in Seattle Municipal Court; and 5) pass a de minimis ordinance as an affirmative defense against prosecution for “crimes of poverty”

The SCAO plays a crucial role when determining whether to file a case, subjecting a person to the harmful court system, to decline to file a case, or to divert a case to a community response. Pre-filing diversion can be a step toward liberation as we work to dismantle harmful systems like the criminal legal system.

Expand Pre-filing diversion Currently the SCAO connects young adults, ages 18-24, referred to them due to low level misdemeanors (including theft, assault, obstruction, criminal trespass, property destruction) to CHOOSE 180 in lieu of prosecution. In 2017-2020, 93% of the young adults engaged by CHOOSE 180 do not have convictions for new crimes.

SCAO also refers young adults, ages 18-24, referred to them due to family domestic violence to Gay City in lieu of prosecution.

Supportive Services We need to expand truly supportive diversion options. Through reclaimed court funds we can grow the capacity of community-based response to harm and basic needs to keep people out of Seattle Municipal Court.

Divest from the criminal legal system and invest in community responses to harm The SCAO should use it’s cost savings from decreasing the amount of cases prosecuted, in addition to the cost savings of the court due to less cases going through the court system, and divert those funds to increase capacity for pre-filing diversion and community responses to harm.

Even with the passing of Court Rule 3.2, which is supposed to ensure affordability of bail, the cash bail system is not working: it continues to detain poor people and disproportionally impacts people of color and marginalized communities. What steps would you take to create policy that addresses the overuse of pretrial detention and cash bail?

Community members in pre-trial detention make-up ⅔ of the U.S. jail population. In Seattle Municipal Courts we are prosecuting misdemeanors. The human toll of bail inequities and pre-trial detention in Seattle is catastrophic and it is leveraged mostly against people of color and poor people. No one should be held pre-trial for a misdemeanor.

The cash bail system rests on the false assumption that people will not return to court unless they stand to lose money. This is not true.

The NWBF has served an important role in the PNW in disrupting the flawed cash bail system. Bail disruptors are key to helping our region shift the practice of cash bail.

In Seattle we need to: 1) Prosecute fewer misdemeanors and respond to the basic needs of residents. Most people prosecuted in Seattle Municipal Court are “indigent” and facing significant hardship and societal barriers. Investing more resources in keeping people entirely out of Seattle Municipal is a public health and safety approach that is better for the entire city and is fiscally more responsible.

2) We need to end cash bail and take a needs-focused approach that removes the financial imposition of bail and creates the equivalent of releasing people on personal recognizance.

I propose launching a comprehensive pilot: Community Release with Community Support.

Many people in Seattle Municipal Court face significant transportation, housing, health, behavioral health, and employment barriers. Community Release with Community Support can provide residents with basic needs support as well ongoing communication, effective court notifications, and voluntary referrals to social services and community-based supports.

Community Release with Community Support CANNOT and SHOULD NOT be held by the City Attorney’s Office, the Courts or Probation Officers as these bodies tend to be mechanisms for community surveillance (and punishment) rather than community support.

What steps will you take to ensure that the city keeps its jail population from returning to pre-COVID levels?

As stated earlier, we need to prosecute less misdemeanors, end pre-trial detention at the municipal level, and end cash bail. During COVID we showed it is possible to release people pre-trial and for the most part they will return to court. Most people in municipal court did not go out and commit more violations. There were no significant safety issues for holding less people in jail pretrial for SMC cases. We should push to maintain the COVID booking criteria; which is much more restrictive as to who King County Jail can hold.

Investments in housing, basic needs supports, and social services will go a lot farther in creating public health and safety for us all. Keeping people out of Seattle Municipal Court, and therein jail, should be our first priority.

It is worth noting that Seattle City Council does not have “control” over SMC nor the City Attorney’s Office. We have control over the budget and legislation. As a City Council member I will continue to push a divestment/investment strategy to divest from ineffective and often harmful systems of criminalization and punishment and invest in community supports and community-based responses to harm, to establish a de minimis ordinance, and to work to end our use of cash bail and pre-trial detention in Seattle Municipal Courts.

There are many stakeholders affected by police actions and policing policies. What steps will you take to keep police unions from overshadowing community voices?

1. Continue defunding the Seattle Police Department and Invest in Black, Native, and Brown Communities (policing reforms do not work; we need a new strategy based in meeting community needs to create real public health and safety for all; we need prevention and intervention strategies; we need a menu of options to respond when there is crisis or when harm occurs that is not dependent on armed police)

2. Organize with our labor partners to build grassroots support for the demands of the defund movement. It is because of organized labor, and in particular rank-and-file workers, that the Seattle Police Officers was kicked out of the MLK Labor council. This is a significant shift in the organized labor movement and brings the fight for racial justice and the labor movement together in a powerful and much needed way.

The Nikkita4Nine campaign is endorsed by the MLK Labor Council; which is a great opportunity to have grassroots rank-and-file worker support as the city works to negotiate a contract that reflects the needs of our most marginalized and vulnerable communities first.

3. The Collective Bargaining Agreement

The CBA must prioritize the rights of residents and ensure the protections of community members from racialized and oppressive policing (decrease SPOGs involvement in discipline so that officers are unable to evade accountability, fire officers who have misconduct records, fully civilianize OPA).

The Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) has been an impediment to accountability, including even, at best, mediocre reforms. It is notable they were expelled from the MLK labor council in 2020. The primary manner in which the Council is required to “work” with SPOG is in voting for or against the collective bargaining agreement. I will NOT vote for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that does not allow, in the least, the full implementation of the reforms promised in the 2017 accountability ordinance. I will NOT vote for a CBA that introduces any new obstacles to implementing Seattle ordinances intended to strengthen police accountability. I will NOT vote for a CBA which impedes the City’s ability to move funding from SPD to public safety alternatives. I will NOT vote for a CBA that impedes the City’s ability to shrink the Seattle Police Department’s duties.

The next contract the City enters into with Seattle Police Department must reflect a deep value for protecting the lives and rights of residents from police violence (especially QTBIPOC communities and communities impacted by over policing and police brutality). It cannot impede the Council’s ability to continue the work of defunding an ineffective model of “public safety” and effectively fund and develop a model that works for everyone. The contract cannot allow officers to evade accountability (including firing) when they commit acts of misconduct. Furthermore, the contract must not put any additional dollars into policing for more training nor additional failed systems of accountability.

While policy changes and oversight committees can increase a small amount of individual police accountability, they cannot remedy the centuries of harm toward BIPOC communities at the hands of police, nor can they prevent future harm from occurring, nor are they dismantling oppressive systems. We cannot make policing better or safer. It is a system inherently flawed at its root. It is imperative that we invest into true community public safety in order to make policing obsolete and that we defund the police simultaneously and intentionally as we build up alternatives.

Rather than continuing to focus on police reform or officer retraining, the City needs to reconsider fundamentally how we actually create safety in our City and the reality that the institution of policing is woefully ineffective at delivering on its promise of public safety and in many instances actually erodes the possibility of true public safety for all.

What is your stance on qualified immunity for police?

End qualified immunity for police. This is a state level issue. I am willing to lobby for this as a city council member to state elected officials.

If we are unable to end qualified immunity at the WA state level, we could consider what New York City did. New York City Council passed legislation that allows citizens to sue police for violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. “It is a local law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to creating a right of security against unreasonable search and search and seizure, that is enforceable by civil action and requiring the law department to post online certain information regarding the civil action.” (reference: NYC ordinance)

Qualified immunity remains a major issue for the majority of lawsuits against officers for excessive use of force. Instead of waiting for issues of qualified immunity to change, we could attempt to create a path around the qualified immunity roadblock by establishing a local cause of action.

The above stated, it is really important that we do not lose track of the BIG picture. Police do not keep us safe. Ending qualified immunity will not make us safer. It will offer us an “after the harm has already occurred” legal pathway to attempt to get monetary damages. What we really want is to prevent harm where we can. The police are a reactionary militaristic punitive force that does not prevent harm from occurring and often exacerbate harm. This is why the defund movement is so powerful. Defunding the police is a small part of the work we need to do. We must also re-invest those funds in building a public health and safety approach that prioritizes the health and safety of all residents. This means we must expand our options for responding to crises before, during and after they occur; which includes expanding our community based infrastructure and fully civilianizing 911 with a broad array of crisis response options.

Is there anything else you’d like for us to know about you?

Nothing more about me, but thank you for all the work you do in and for our communities.

City of Lakewood

Council position 2:

Mike Brandstetter, Amelia Isabel Escobedo (no responses received)

Council position 3:

Jason Whalen, Siabhon Ayuso (no responses received)

Council position 5:

Patti Belle, Ria J. Covington Johnson (no responses received)

City of Tacoma


Victoria Woodards, Steve Harley (no responses received)

Council position 4:

Catherine Ushka, Israel James McKinney (no responses received)

Council position 5:

Joe Bushnell, Anne Artman (no responses received)

City of Bonney Lake


Neil Johnson, Jr., Michael C. McCullough (no responses received)

City of Buckley


Beau Burkett, Richard O’Neill (no responses received)

City of Eatonville


Bob Walter, David Baublits (no responses received)

Snohomish County

District 1

Nicole Ng-A-Qui, Nate Nehring (no responses received)

District 4

Jared M. Mead, Brenda Carrington (no responses received)

District 5

Brandy Donaghy, Sam Low (no responses received)

City of Edmonds

Council Position 1:

Kristiana Johnson (no responses received)

Council Position 2:

Janelle Cass, Will Chen (no responses received)

City of Everett


Steve Oss, Cassie Franklin (no responses received)

Council District 3:

Lacey Sauvageau, Don Schwab (no responses received)

Council District 5:

Ben Zarlingo, Demi Chatters (no responses received)

City of Marysville

Council Position 1:

Cindy Gobel, Jeffrey D. Vaughan (no responses received)

City of Lynnwood


Jim Smith, Christine Frizzell (no responses received)

City of Snohomish


John T. Kartak (no responses received)

Linda Redmon: click here to read her responses

What are you looking for in a police chief?

A non-ideological professional who has flexible thinking, does not jump to an us vs. them mentality, and believes in due process and the rule of law.

Even with the passing of Court Rule 3.2, which is supposed to ensure affordability of bail, the cash bail system is not working: it continues to detain poor people and disproportionally impacts people of color and marginalized communities. What steps would you take to create policy that addresses the overuse of pretrial detention and cash bail?

I don’t know how many people are detained pretrial in our jail, nor why. If a significant portion are detained due to failure to appear, I think a good policy would be to make sure that accused persons are made fully aware of the consequences of failing to appear, and are provided with reminders of their court dates. I am not very knowledgeable about Court Rule 3.2, but upon reading it, I understood it to say that a person’s commitments in their life and community can be taken into account to determine likelihood of their staying in the area and returning to court. It would seem that having an agreement to return based upon forfeiture of paychecks could be an alternative to bail. If someone is not receiving funds from employment, the courts could look at other relationships in the community to which a person may feel bound, such as church, and somehow work with those organizations to speak on the the character of the accused and the likelihood of their returning to court, and to be a contact point to find out if the accused is following usual patterns. These would all require fully informed consent and cooperation of the accused. Another alternative would be to set up electronic monitoring systems, which would be paid for by the court system or the jail. Perhaps the biggest policy change would be a presumption of release for the majority of crimes, instead of assuming that someone has to pay cash bail to be able to avoid detention. Everyone benefits from the prevention of pretrial detention, from the accused and their families to tax payers whose money is saved.

What is your plan to address over policing in neighborhoods of color?

We do not have neighborhoods of color in our town. It is fairly homogeneously white, with families of color dotted throughout. However, I have observed the police do pay special attention to youth of color, people driving “”junky”” cars, and “”backpack hoody”” types (their terms). I would continue the conversation I started with our Police Chief when he joined the department last year about race and policing. I shared with him my concerns about the attitudes of some of the officers toward youth of color and the officers’ responses to the protests following the murder of George Floyd. I have been working with 3 local groups of community members who are addressing how people of color are treated in our town, and will continue to support their work and bring it to the attention of our Police Chief when it would help to improve how he directs the department.

There are many stakeholders affected by police actions and policing policies. What steps will you take to keep police unions from overshadowing community voices?

I have been working closely with our state legislators to understand the recent police reform legislation, and have also been speaking with community members to hear their reactions to the changes. We are all still in a learning phase in regards to the impacts of the legislation. One of the sponsoring legislators of an impactful law is our local representative, who has also been a state trooper and county sheriff. His take on the legislation is different from the current Sheriff’s, and thus also different from our Police Chief’s take, who is under the umbrella of the Sheriff’s Office. The community have heard from the Police Chief and the Sheriff that these reforms make it difficult if not impossible to do their jobs. The legislator says they just have to stop and think before resorting to force, and use all other options available first. The community is still waiting to see how this plays out. I have not heard from anyone yet that the unions prevented the reforms from moving forward in the way envisioned by the legislature. I think that community voices got to be heard very well in the drafting of the legislation, but I was not intimately involved and do not know if community voices were overshadowed in specific instances.

What is your stance on qualified immunity for police?

I have tried to read many sources and talk to many people involved in these discussions to understand the issue, and feel I still don’t understand it adequately. From what I understand, qualified immunity allows police to escape punishment for what are basically criminal acts that rob people of due process. In that sense, qualified immunity could be seen as unconstitutional, and I cannot support something that is unconstitutional.

Is there anything else you’d like for us to know about you?

I think it is important to look at all policies through an equity lens to try to avoid unequal impacts and unforeseen negative consequences. I think reforming bail with an equity focus is a keystone issue that will have ripple effects throughout the criminal justice and court systems.


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