Rob’s Voter Guide for November 2016

It’s that time of year again and your ballot will be in your mailbox very soon. People always ask me for a little insight into how I feel about the candidates and issues on the ballot, so here’s my guide to voting in the upcoming election. If there’s something on your ballot that I didn’t cover here, it’s probably because it’s not on mine, feel free to ask me to weigh in on your local races, and I’ll do my best.


I-1433: Raise Up Washington – VOTE YES – This is all about raising the minimum wage to $13.50 (over the next four years) and guaranteeing paid sick leave for all employees. I’ve been advocating for $15 an hour, and I still think we need to boost it to at least that eventually, but for now, $13.50 will do. Getting the paid sick and safe leave is an important piece of this and why you should vote for it now.

I-1464: Integrity WashingtonVOTE YES – If you’re a Bernie supporter and followed his campaign then you’re familiar with the issue of getting big money out of politics. This initiative, while not perfect, gets us started down that road by creating “Democracy credits” that you would be able to “spend” on candidates of your choice, as well as strengthening enforcement of current campaign finance laws.

I-1491VOTE YES – A no brainer for me. This will keep guns out of the hands of people who demonstrate a high risk for violent behavior. It’s targeted to help prevent suicide and mass shootings, by letting families who see warning signs access an Extreme Risk Protection Order that would remove the person’s firearms. A good step.

I-1501VOTE YES – I’m voting for this because it DOES increase protections for seniors, who are the most vulnerable to identity theft and consumer fraud – BUT –  let’s be honest: this isn’t about seniors. This initiative is a yet another battleground in the epic war between the SEIU and the Freedom Foundation. Pure and simple.

I-732VOTE NO – This is a fairly divisive one. The intent is to address climate change by creating a tax on carbon pollution. The reason I’m voting no is because it ignores the financial hit that people of color, low-income, and working class people will take as a result. Good intentions, imperfect execution. We need a better, more inclusive plan than this one.

I-735VOTE YES – Without getting too technical, this sends a message that the State of Washington supports a Constitutional amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling that said that money (campaign donations) is free speech, and that corporations are people with a right to that speech. Sounds dumb, huh?

Advisory Vote No. 14 & 15VOTE MAINTAIN – These are two of those stupid advisory votes that Tim Eyman got us where we have to give a non-binding vote to any bill the legislature passes that closes a tax loophole or raises revenue. A waste of time, but that’s Tim Eyman.

Constitutional Amendment #8210VOTE YES – This one is kind of obscure, and relates to the redistricting – which I have a LOT of opinions about. This will shorten the amount of time the commission has to complete their plan, and give voters more time to give feedback. So I guess that’s ok.


PresidentHILLARY CLINTON – I’m a progressive, a lefty, a liberal who has been a Bernie fan for over a decade now. I remember how excited we all were when the first non-major party candidate was elected to the US Senate… Anyway… I don’t have a candidate in this race that I can really get excited about. Jill Stein and the Green party are ALL SORTS of problematic. Johnson and the Libertarians are cuckoo-birds. Trump is half PT Barnum and half Andrew Jackson. That leaves Clinton, who is not going to burn our country down. I’d let her borrow my car without fear that she’d crash it. Or, as The Stranger put it, “Vote for Hillary because she’s not a crazy fascist racist rapist* sexist pile of orangutan shit threatening to destroy our democracy.”

So, it is what it is.

US SenatorPATTY MURRAY – Murray has been around a long time and usually doesn’t do anything terrible and does some really cool stuff from time to time. Plus Chris Vance is not really a serious candidate and he’s an icky conservative.

U.S. Representative, 10th Congressional District – DENNY HECK – This is another race where I’m forced to vote for a conservative Democrat because the opposition is a nutter.


GovernorJAY INSLEE – Invoking the Nutter Clause again. Also, Jay Inslee isn’t the worst, isn’t the best, but he’s a dedicated servant and has been for a long time, and I think he really does try in his way to move the needle.

Lieutenant GovernorCYRUS HABIB – This one is a full-throated, happy hearted endorsement for me. The job of the LG can be to push for change and fight for things. Cyrus Habib will do that. He has a record of fighting for progressive causes and for people who are marginalized by the system.

Secretary of StateTINA PODLODOWSKI – It’s time for a change. Kim Wyman has shown herself to be a Trump supporting [I was quickly corrected that indeed Wyman has disavowed some of Trump’s statements], anti-voting rights conservative. Podlodowski promises to bring more people into the process who are traditionally left out by fighting for postage free ballots, automatic registration, etc.

State TreasurerWRITE IN ERIC MILLER – I’m not one to usually write in a candidate. I’ll typically be able to find a reason to vote for one of the options. Often it’s just that they opponent is less awful. In this race your two choices on the ballot are SOOOOOO bad that I just can’t pick one. Miller isn’t going to win – because he isn’t on the ballot. But I’m writing him in anyway. The lesser of two evils is Davidson, who is on record saying he’s voting for Trump. If you aren’t disavowing The Donald, you don’t get my vote.

State AuditorPAT MCCARTHEY – Jeff Sprung was the best candidate in the primary. We should be voting for him right now. Unfortunately, as happens in politics, the best candidate sometimes loses in the primary. Miloscia is an anti-abortion social conservative and McCarthey is well qualified to do the job.

Attorney GeneralBOB FERGUSON – Ferguson is a prosecutor, which makes my spidey-senses tingle, but he’s endorsed by a lot of good unions, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, etc – and he’s up against a cuckoo-bird libertarian.

Commissioner of Public LandsHILLARY FRANZ – This is another one I’m excited about. Franz has shown that she’s going to move us past the old-school environmentalism that is holding us back and lead with an Urban Environmentalist focus. She is exactly what we need in this position right now.

Superintendent of Public InstructionERIN JONES – I endorsed Jones in the primary because I felt she was the right candidate for the job. I still think that. She caught a lot of scrutiny because of some comments she made about LGBTQ students in our schools. It was an awkward answer to an awkward question, and she definitely has some self-work to do on that issue. I also know about her that she was on the board of the Girl Scouts of Washington when they passed the first-in-the-nation trans-inclusive membership policy, allowing trans girls to join. She also took a young man into her home whose parents threw him out for being gay. To me, actions speak louder than words. It is so easy to flub a question, but you can’t fake putting in work.

Insurance CommissionerMIKE KREIDLER – He’s done a tremendous job so far fighting for consumers against health-insurance companies. Let’s not let him be replaced by a pro-business Republican.


State SenatorSAM HUNT – Sam has been around awhile and is well-respected in political circles. I see him out and about in the community a lot, and spends a lot of time supporting non-profits that I support also.

State Representative Pos. 1LAURIE DOLAN – Coming from Spokane, Dolan knows how to deal with Republicans, a skill that will come in handy in our gridlocked statehouse.

State Representative Pos. 2BETH DOGLIO – She doesn’t have an opponent, but if she did, I’d probably still be endorsing her. I’ve met her, spoken to her about different things, and I can say that I like her, and I agree with her. She seems kind and thoughtful, two of the highest traits in my book.

Thurston County Commission, District #1JIM COOPER – I could go on for a while about why I’m voting for Jim, but here’s the nut: he speaks out when he believes in something, he always leans toward compassion, and he never stops learning. He’ll serve us well at the county.

Thurston County Commission, District #2KELSEY HULSE – Like with Cooper, there are a lot of reasons to vote for Kelsey. She’s another candidate I’ve met and spoken with a bit. She’s friendly, easy-going, funny, charming, smart as hell, well-spoken, and she’s a progressive candidate up against a very conservative, old-school former sheriff who is a Republican but isn’t brave enough to run as one so calls himself an “independent” – whatever that means.


State Supreme Court Justice, Position #1MARY YU – Mary Yu embodies everything we need in electeds, particularly on courts. Not only is she the first openly gay, and first woman of color, and the first openly gay woman of color to serve on the court, she’s been an outspoken champion of reforming our justice system, particularly the juvenile justice system with the goal of zero incarceration, and wants to see mental-health and drug treatment provided instead of locking those folks up.

State Supreme Court Justice, Position #5BARBARA MADSEN – *nutter clause* Let’s be real here. Madsen defended Washington’s Defense of Marriage Act, saying in her argument that it was, “essential to the survival of the human race and furthers the well-being of children.” That’s bullshit, and she wouldn’t be elected to anything if it were up to me. That said, crazy must attract crazy, because her opponent is worse and would do worse.

State Supreme Court Justice, Position #6CHARLIE WIGGINS – This race is kind of a toss-up really. Wiggins wins for experience and devotion to ethics, but Larson isn’t a terrible nutter or anything.


Thurston County Superior Court Judge, Position #1CHRIS LANESE – You couldn’t really have a better choice for judge than Lanese unless Mary Yu was running against him. Harvard grad, served on the Pro Bono and Legal Aid Committee, and works for justice and equality in the courts.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge, Position #7JIM FOLEY – I know Jim Foley, and I think his courtroom would be the most fun courtroom you could ever imagine. Jim is wise, and has a good heart. I also have a bias against prosecutors becoming judges. I just don’t like the idea of it. Skinder is well regarded for his work in the community advocating for crime victims, so maybe he might be an exception. I’m still voting for Jim Foley.


City of Olympia Initiative #1VOTE YES – This is another enthusiastic endorsement for me. Not only are some close friends involved in managing this campaign, but it sets the groundwork, if successful, for a statewide income tax. It will also pay the first year of college tuition for Olympia students. Opponent of the initiative, Kris Goddard has said that it will “literally bankrupt the City of Olympia” – well… that’s LITERALLY not true, and a tad hyperbolic. If you don’t listen to any other endorsement I’ve made, please listen to this one and vote yes on Initiative #1.



If you read this far, I’m REALLY proud of you and I wish I could give you one of those little “I Voted” stickers. Hit me up if you have any questions, concerns, comments, or whatever. Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Rob’s Voter Guide for November 2016

    • Thanks for that input. My final outlook on this came from my work on the Poverty Action board. Our policy analyst recommended we don’t endorse it because of the impact on our members, and because so many of our allies were opposed.

      Like I said, this wasn’t an easy one and since I don’t have my ballot yet, you still have time!


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