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Legislative Districts

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Whatcom County

General ELECTION: November 6th, 2018

The Washington Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.

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Statewide Ballot Measures

Initiative #1631

Vote YES for Jobs and Clean Energy

Initiative 1631 is our best opportunity to accelerate clean energy solutions and build healthier communities for everyone in Washington.

This initiative will charge our state’s largest corporate polluters a fee that will be used to create local jobs by investing in clean energy, healthy forests, and clean water. I-1631 is essential to pass a clean and healthy Washington on to future generations. It will create 40,000 jobs by investing in water and forestry projects, energy efficiency, and clean transportation. These investments are a practical first step to ensure clean air and clean water for everyone in Washington. These will look different in every community, from energy efficiency upgrades for our homes and businesses to keeping our forests healthy so they clean our air and investing in cleaner transportation options for more communities.

The oil industry is spending tens of millions of dollars to confuse voters about I-1631 so they can continue polluting for free and raking in record profits. We can't wait any longer to act. Vote YES on I-1631.

Campaign Information

Initiative #1634

Vote NO on I-1634

Initiative 1634 would prevent cities and counties in Washington from passing new taxes on sugary beverages. Such taxes are aimed at discouraging people from buying sweetened drinks that have been linked to type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and tooth decay.

I-1634 is backed primarily by millions of dollars from a handful of big soda companies. It also has support from some labor unions that represent workers whose jobs could be impacted by soda taxes. The campaign’s highly deceptive ads focus on grocery taxes despite the fact that groceries have been exempt from sales taxes since 1977.

Progressive advocates oppose efforts like this to use state laws to prevent localities from taking action that’s right for their communities. In recent years, Republican legislators have sought to use similar legislation to reverse Seattle’s $15 minimum wage and progressive paid sick leave laws in Tacoma and Spokane.

We’re sympathetic to the concerns of union workers in the beverage industry and we agree that our tax system is upside-down and disproportionately hurts low-income families. However, we don’t think that preempting local legislation that taxes sugary drinks is the way to fix it.

Don’t be fooled by Big Soda’s misleading ads. Vote NO on I-1634.

Progressive Opponents

WA Federation of State Employees, The Stranger, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Children’s Alliance, El Centro de La Raza

Campaign Information

Initiative #1639

Vote YES to Reduce Gun Violence

Initiative 1639 is the most comprehensive gun violence prevention measure put forward in Washington state history. It's a commonsense initiative that will reduce gun violence and keep our schools and communities safe. I-1639 would raise the age to purchase semi-automatic assault rifles from 18 to 21 and require enhanced background checks and safety training for purchasing these particularly lethal weapons. It will also incentivize secure storage of all firearms by holding gun owners accountable if a child or other legally prohibited person uses their weapon to harm themselves or someone else.

Someone is killed with a gun in Washington state every 14 hours and more than 200,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine. Unfortunately, the gun lobby has prevented our elected officials from acting to prevent it, so we'll do it ourselves. Vote YES on I-1639 to keep our schools and communities safe.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information

Initiative #940

Vote YES for Police Accountability

Last year, more people in Washington were killed in encounters with law enforcement than in 45 other states, and almost one-third of them were experiencing a mental health crisis. Initiative 940 would improve de-escalation, first aid, and mental health crisis training for law enforcement and help save lives.

Currently, officers are only required to receive eight hours of "crisis intervention training." Initiative 940 would ensure that every officer receives extensive training and continuing education in de-escalating potential confrontations. The primary goal is preventing tragedies in the first place, but when a tragedy does occur Initiative 940 would also create a fair and independent investigation process and bring our use of force standard in line with 27 other states.

Vote YES on Initiative 940 to improve training for law enforcement and help save lives.

Campaign Information

Statewide Advisory Ballot Measure #19

Maintain Funding for Oil Spill Prevention

A bipartisan group of legislators passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6269 to fund oil spill prevention and cleanup. The legislation directs the Department of Ecology to improve prevention for oil spills in Puget Sound, as well as around oil refineries, railroads, and pipelines. This bill was funded by a $0.05 tax per 42-gallon barrel of oil used by boats and marine terminals.

Because of a Tim Eyman initiative the Legislature is required to submit any bill it passes that closes tax loopholes or raises revenue to a non-binding advisory vote. Vote MAINTAINED on Advisory Vote 19.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters


U.S. Senator

Maria Cantwell

Maria Cantwell photo
Senator Maria Cantwell was first elected in 2000 and continues to represent our state's progressive values in our nation's capital. Sen. Cantwell has been a leader on a wide range of issues including reproductive rights, supporting the Children's Health Insurance Program, defending net neutrality, passing oil spill legislation to protect our water, working on clean energy policies, and many more.

Sen. Cantwell is opposed by Republican Susan Hutchison. Hutchison is a former news anchor and past chair of the state Republican Party. She ran for King County Executive in 2009 and lost by twenty points. Hutchison is well-known for being a party-line Republican and for her fierce defense of President Donald Trump, including calling fellow Republican Ted Cruz a "traitor" for not supporting the president's campaign.

Sen. Cantwell has been a tenacious advocate for the people of Washington state and is the best choice in this race.

Campaign Information


Depending on where you live, you will have one of the below candidates on your ballot.

U.S. Representative, 1st Congressional District

Suzan DelBene

Suzan DelBene photo
Representative Suzan DelBene has served the 1st Congressional District since 2013. DelBene is a former executive at Microsoft who has used her technology background to become a leader in protecting privacy rights against government surveillance. Her priorities include creating family wage jobs in the aerospace, sustainable agriculture, and clean energy industries. She also supports raising the federal minimum wage and passing comprehensive tax reform to ensure that those making more than a million dollars a year don't pay a lower tax rate than low and middle-income families.

Rep. DelBene is running against Republican Jeffrey Beeler. Beeler is a Sultan city councilmember focused on "securing our borders," health care, and the deficit. However, he lacks Rep. DelBene's knowledge and experience with the important policies that impact working families in the 1st District.

Rep. DelBene is clearly the best choice in this race.

Campaign Information

U.S. Representative, 2nd Congressional District

Rick Larsen

Rick Larsen photo
Representative Rick Larsen is a moderate Democrat who has been a strong advocate for jobs, transportation, and infrastructure projects in the 2nd District. Before his time in Congress, he served on the Snohomish County Council and worked on economic development for the City of Everett. Rep. Larsen has also supported efforts to protect voting rights, fought to reform student loans, and championed Wall Street reform. Unfortunately, Larsen joined Republicans to repeal some banking rules imposed after the Great Recession intended to prevent another economic collapse.

Rep. Larsen is running against Libertarian Brian Luke, who has worked in the grocery business for 22 years. His campaign is focused on reducing the national debt and cutting regulations.

Rep. Larsen is the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information

Legislative Races

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below districts on your ballot.

40th Legislative District

State Representative, Position #1

Debra Lekanoff

Debra Lekanoff photo
Debra Lekanoff is running for the 40th Legislative District House seat to replace retiring Rep. Kristine Lytton. Lekanoff currently serves as the Government Affairs Director for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. She has spent her career working with various levels of government on complex policies and having conversations about what’s important for local families. Lekanoff is running to protect the Salish Sea for future generations, improve educational opportunities, and sustainably build the economy. If elected, Lekanoff would be the only Native woman in the state Legislature.

Lekanoff is opposed by Republican Michael Petrish, a carpenter at the Andeavor refinery in Anacortes and a proud member of The Knights of Columbus. He is running on a "pro-second amendment, pro-school choice, anti-abortion" platform.

Lekanoff is the clear choice in this race.

Campaign Information

State Representative, Position #2

Jeff Morris

Jeff Morris photo
Democratic Representative Jeff Morris is the former House Democratic Floor Leader in Olympia. He is a moderate Democrat who has sponsored numerous bills to protect the environment and promote alternative energy, though at times he frustrates environmentalists by watering down good bills. He recently introduced a "right-to-repair" bill that would make it illegal for electronics makers to produce devices with hard-to-replace batteries in Washington. Rep. Morris is running unopposed for re-election.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information

42nd Legislative District

State Senator

Pinky Vargas

Pinky Vargas photo
Bellingham City Councilmember Pinky Vargas is running for the 42nd Legislative District Senate seat to create good jobs, support small businesses, and keep our local environment healthy for future generations. Vargas works at Puget Sound Energy helping local businesses save energy and reduce costs. While on the city council, she worked to protect Lake Whatcom and balanced the city budget without increasing taxes.

Councilmember Vargas is running a competitive race against incumbent Republican Senator Doug Ericksen. Sen. Ericksen gained notoriety last year for working full time on the Trump transition team while also attempting to serve in the state Legislature and collecting taxpayer-funded salaries for both jobs. In Olympia, Ericksen is best known for being an outspoken denier of climate science and supporting Republican operative Tim Eyman’s extreme initiatives. Ericksen is also infamous for taking the most free lunches from lobbyists of any legislator and for being among the biggest recipients of campaign cash from oil and coal companies.

Vargas is the clear choice in this race.

Campaign Information

State Representative, Position #1

Justin Boneau

Justin Boneau photo
Democrat Justin Boneau is running for the 42nd Legislative District House Position 1. Boneau is a U.S. Navy veteran who has spent the last 10 years working as a crew supervisor with the Ecology Youth Corps in Whatcom and Skagit County. His campaign is focused on creating living-wage jobs, improving health care access, and expanding housing options.

Boneau is challenging Republican Representative Luanne Van Werven. In 2016 and 2018, she voted against bills to implement automatic voter registration, protect women from gender pay discrimination at work, ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth, and ban bump stocks on firearms.

Boneau is the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information

State Representative, Position #2

Sharon Shewmake

Sharon Shewmake photo
Sharon Shewmake is an economics professor specializing in environmental and urban economics at Western Washington University. She is a member of several community organizations, including the Whatcom County Climate Change Impacts Committee and Walk Bike Bus Bellingham. She is running on a platform of expanding access to affordable childcare, protecting the environment, and creating good jobs for working families.

Shewmake is challenging incumbent Republican Representative Vincent Buys, whose platform centers on small business and decreasing government regulation. This year, he voted against prohibiting conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth, banning bump stocks, and establishing net neutrality for a more equal internet.

Shewmake is the better choice in this race.

Campaign Information

Whatcom County

Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney

There are two progressive candidates in this race: Eric Richey and James Erb.

Eric Richey

Eric Richey photo
Democrat Eric Richey is the Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor of Whatcom County. Richey is knowledgeable about criminal justice reform and is committed to finding alternatives to prosecution for drug users and other low-level offenders. Richey’s backers point to his experience and his relationship with law enforcement organizations as evidence that he is best positioned to make real reforms to our criminal justice system. Richey also touts his support from the Whatcom Humane Society and other animal welfare advocates for prosecuting crimes against animals.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Teamsters Joint Council 28
Other: IAFF Local 106 – Bellingham / Whatcom County Professional Fire Fighters, Riveters Collective

Campaign Information

James Erb

James Erb photo
Democrat James Erb is running for Whatcom County Prosecutor after serving in the Bellingham City Attorney’s office since 2010. Previously, he served as a prosecutor in the Nooksack Tribal Court, where he learned more about diversion and alternatives to incarceration. Erb is running to focus prosecutions on violent offenders while maximizing the use of drug courts and treatment programs for non-violent drug users.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Sierra Club, Equal Rights Washington
Other: Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, Whatcom County Democrats

Campaign Information

Whatcom County Council

Whatcom County Council, At-Large

Carol Frazey

Carol Frazey photo
Small business owner and career educator Carol Frazey is running to bring a fresh perspective to the Whatcom County Council At-large Position B. Frazey is committed to protecting regional waterways and Whatcom County's public lands. She believes that improving the county's environmental standards will be a contributing factor to maintaining a healthy local economy. Frazey is also running because she wants to work alongside fellow councilmembers to make communities safer by improving the criminal justice system in Whatcom County.

Frazey is opposed by small business owner Mike Peetoom, who is focused on strengthening private sector businesses and pushing back on "misguided politics and over-regulation." Frazey is the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Equal Rights Washington
Other: Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, Whatcom County Democrats

Campaign Information

Judicial Races

The Progressive Voters Guide may skip recommendations for unopposed judicial races.

State Supreme Court

State Supreme Court Justice, Position #2

Susan Owens

Susan Owens photo
First elected in 2000, Supreme Court Justice Susan Justice Owens brings more 40 years of legal experience to Washington's Supreme Court. Prior to serving on the court, Justice Owens served nineteen years as a District Court Judge in Western Clallam County. Justice Owens has been a leader in the judicial community on addressing the impacts of domestic violence on children. Nationally, Justice Owens is a judicial trainer on this topic and participated in the writing of the Northwest Tribal Judges Domestic Violence Manual. Justice Owens is running unopposed for re-election and has earned your support.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information

State Supreme Court Justice, Position #8

Steve Gonzalez

 Steve Gonzalez  photo
Supreme Court Justice Steve Gonzalez has earned national recognition for his judicial expertise and work to increase access to the judicial system. Before serving on the Supreme Court, Justice Gonzalez served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and on the King County Superior Court for more than 10 years hearing criminal, juvenile, and family law cases. Justice Gonzalez is devoted to working for the people of Washington and serves as a board member for the Washington Leadership Institute, an organization that supports emerging community leaders from diverse backgrounds. As one of the few multi-lingual justices, he chairs the Interpreter Commission. Justice Gonzalez is rated "Exceptionally Well Qualified" by 10 independent bar associations in Washington state.

Gonzalez is being challenged by Bellevue-based attorney Nathan Choi, who ran unsuccessfully for a judicial seat on the Court of Appeals in 2016. Since then, Choi has faced numerous ethical controversies. In 2017, the King County Bar Association formally reprimanded Choi for violating KCBA's fair campaign practices guidelines by releasing misleading campaign materials and failing to follow state candidate rules. In February of this year, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson formally filed a lawsuit against Nathan Choi in a Thurston County Court. The case is still open.

Justice Steve Gonzalez is the best choice for Supreme Court Justice Position 8.

Campaign Information

State Supreme Court Justice, Position #9

Sheryl Gordon McCloud

 Sheryl Gordon McCloud photo
Washington Supreme Court Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud has been a fierce defender of constitutional rights and has written the decision in several consequential court cases. Prior to serving on the Supreme Court, she worked as an accomplished appellate court attorney for nearly three decades and was a founding member of the Washington Appellate Lawyers Association. Her strong judicial track record has earned a rating of "Exceptionally Well Qualified" by 10 independent state bar associations, including Washington Women Lawyers and the newly-minted Veterans Bar Association.

Justice McCloud in running unopposed for Position 9 and deserves your vote.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information

Court of Appeals, Division One, District Three

Court of Appeals, Division One, District Three: Judge, Position #1

Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez

Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez photo
Public defender Cecily Hazelrigg-Hernandez is running for the Court of Appeals, Division 1, District 3, Judge Position 1. She possesses more than 10 years of legal experience representing low-income clients in Skagit County courtrooms and aims to administer justice fairly and impartially. Prior to joining the public defenders' office in 2010, Hazelrigg-Hernandez worked as an adjunct faculty member in American Cultural Studies at Western Washington University. As a public defender, Hazelrigg-Hernandez is assigned to the felony unit.

Hazelrigg-Hernandez is opposed by attorney Tom SeGuine, who is the wrong choice for a non-partisan judicial role. A Republican Precinct Committee Officer, SeGuine has been endorsed by Skagit Republicans and attended partisan fundraisers after announcing his candidacy, which suggests he will be a conservative judge who favors judicial activism.

We believe Hazelrigg-Hernandez is the best choice in this race.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Whatcom County Democrats, Skagit County Democrats

Campaign Information

Bellingham Ballot Measures

City of Bellingham Proposition #2018-5

Vote YES for Affordable Housing

As more families and businesses move to Bellingham, the demand for affordable housing grows every month. As a result, many seniors, young people, and working people are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

The City of Bellingham has introduced Proposition 2018-5, a $40 million replacement of the voter-approved 2012 affordable housing levy that would cost the average homeowner $108 per year. This critically important proposition would expand on the Bellingham Housing Fund’s success by building and preserving more than 500 homes and providing rental assistance, support services, and down payment aid for low-income households. Vote YES on Proposition 2018-5 to ensure Bellingham remains a place where working people, seniors, and young people can afford to live.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Washington Conservation Voters, Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, League of Women Voters, IAFF Local 106 – Bellingham / Whatcom County Professional Fire Fighters, Whatcom Democrats

Campaign Information

Other Progressive Candidates in Local Races

Depending on where you live, you may have the below local candidates on your ballot.

Public Utility District 1 Commissioner District 2

Atul Deshmane

Atul Deshmane photo
Business leader Atul Deshmane has more than 25 years of experience in the sustainable energy field and recently served on the Whatcom County Planning Commission for 2 years. He is the current president of Whole Energy Fuel Corps and has also served as a board member of Sustainable Bellingham and Three Rivers Cooperative School. Deshmane aims to bring his clean energy experience to the Whatcom Public Utilities District by investing in renewable energy, expanding the county's high-speed internet infrastructure, and conserving freshwater resources. Deshmane wants to ensure that both rural and urban communities can access the resources they need to thrive.

Deshmane is running against incumbent Paul D. Kenner, an insurance executive who has been a Public Utility District Commissioner since 1980. Kenner is running to continue the expansion of water and electric services to Whatcom County industries but lacks an innovative vision for another term.

It's time for new leadership in the Whatcom Public Utilities District. Atul Deshmane is the best candidate in this race because of his background in sustainability and his fresh perspective on energy issues.

Progressive Endorsements & Supporters

Campaign Information