2023 field filling up
The news produced by the 2023 electoral cycle continues to flow, this time from Seattle’s neighbor to the south, Burien.
Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon announced that she would run for King County Council’s District 8 seat, currently held by Councilmember Joe McDermott. McDermott said in January that he wasn’t going to run for reelection, and Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda threw her hat into the ring.
Aragon’s departure cleared the way for former Burien City Councilmember Krystal Marx, who lost in 2021 to Stephanie Mora and also made a brief bid to unseat Rep. Adam Smith (D-Seattle) from Congress.
If successful, Marx would be representing Burien’s District 6. In her announcement, Marx stressed her record on securing rights for renters and her work to bring a controversial affordable housing project by DESC to the city.
Make it even, please
Washington lawmakers could boost election turnout by nearly double if they allow cities to move elections to even years, according to a progressive think tank.
The Sightline Institute estimated that Senate Bill 5723, sponsored by State Sen. Javier Valdez (D-Seattle), would steeply increase voter turnout in local elections, especially among underrepresented groups such as young voters and voters of color. Only 29 percent of Washingtonians turned out for elections in 2021.
The bill would give cities the option to move elections to even years, when turnout tends to be higher. Cities would not be required to do so. The move would put Washington more in line with voting practices in other West Coast states like Oregon and California.
“It’s better for voters and better for democracy,” said Alan Durning, who authored the Sightline report, in a press release.
King County voters approved Charter Amendment 1 in November 2022, which moved many county races — including the executive, assessor, director of elections and councilmembers — to even years in the name of increasing voter participation.
SOTU was a situation
President Joe Biden held his second State of the Union address on
Feb. 7, a raucous affair in which Republican members of Congress rebelled at accusations that they intended to cut social safety net programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
Plans advanced by senators Rick Scott and Ron Johnson would cause all federal laws to sunset, forcing Congress to pass them again. That includes popular entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which help older Americans.
Sen. Mitch McConnell told a Kentucky radio host that it was “just a bad idea,” particularly since Scott represents Florida, which has the highest concentration of older voters.
According to the Social Security Administration, 141,346 Washingtonians received SSI benefits in 2021.
Ashley Archibald is the editor of Real Change News.
Read more of the Feb. 15-21, 2023 issue.