Six candidates for state office, including two incumbents, staked out their positions on a range of issues at a candidate forum Sept. 26 in Auburn.
Unfortunately for voters who like to compare and contrast, each candidate who accepted the Washington Community Action Network’s invitation to address voters at the Aerospace Mechanics Hall on A Street SW was a Democrat. Notable Republican no-shows were: 47th Legislative District State Sen. Joe Fain, Auburn; 30th Legislative District State Sen. Mark Miloscia, Federal Way; and 31st Legislative District State Sen. Phil Fortunato, Auburn.
All the candidates supported stronger protections for tenants against unscrupulous landlords who subject renters to unsafe, unhealthy conditions, opposed steep rent increases and predatory lenders who push people into homelessness, opposed pressing local police into helping the federal department of Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE) arrest and detain illegal immigrants, and supported the end of mass incarceration in the state, among other things.
The upshot was that the friendly, mostly Democratic crowd of 40-plus individuals found much to clap for, and few opportunities for booing, hissing, scowling or frowning.
Victoria Mena, D-Auburn, is in the running for House Seat 1 in the 31st District, a position now occupied by her opponent, Auburn Republican Drew Stokesbary. This district encompasses southeastern King County and the cities of Enumclaw, Buckley, Bonney Lake, Auburn, Sumner, Edgewood, South Prairie, Wilkeson and Carbonado.
Describing herself as “a single, working mother,” a resident of downtown Auburn, a “first-time candidate,” and “a longtime organizer,” Mena said she is in the fight “because I don’t see folks in this district representing me or my needs.”
Mona Das, D-Covington, is fighting Sen. Fain to represent the cities of Kent, Covington and Auburn as state Senator for the 47th District. Das came to the United States with her family when she was 13 years old, she said, and for the last 14 years she has run her own mortgage company. Das said she believes in home ownership as a road out of poverty and into the middle class.
“I was not born with the right to vote,” Das said, emphasizing, however, that she takes the vote seriously indeed, and is a warrior for immigrant rights.
Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way, is battling Miloscia for the Senate seat in the 30th Legislative District, which covers southwest King County and northwest Pierce County. For the last 35 years, she has worked in early childhood education, is presently president of the Federal Way School Board and is interested in helping the disadvantaged and aiding refugees.
“Everyone deserves an advocate like me who will (work) for them and represent them in the state senate,” Wilson said.
Democratic State Rep Mike Pellicciotti, 30th Legislative District House Position 1, described himself as the first member of the state Legislature that he knows of who has rejected all corporate contributions. A former sexual assault prosecutor and chair of the state’s Equal Justice Commission, he listed among his proudest accomplishments his sponsorship of a bill to “get dark money out of politics.”
State Rep. Pat Sullivan has held House Position 2 in the 47th District for the last 14 years. A former mayor of the city of Covington, he has been House majority leader for the last eight years.
“I’m proud of the accomplishments we’ve been able to do over the last several years, but there is a lot more to do,” Sullivan said.
Debra Entenman, D-Kent, who is running for House Seat Position 1 in the 47th District, said the incumbent, Mark Hargrove, R-Covington, is out of touch with the district he serves.
“I am running because I believe that the representative in this district no longer represents the voice of the people who live here, and we need another voice in Olympia, and I hope to be that voice,” Entenman said.
Entenman is a member of the Board of Trustees for Renton Technical college and is a member of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.