The day's winners and losers.
Today's winners: 36th District state House candidate Sahar Fathi
As noted in Fizz this morning, we hosted a forum last night at the Phinney Neighborhood Center featuring all five Democratic Party candidates for the 36th District state house seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson.
Though the candidates, particularly newcomer Brett Phillips, were well-versed in policy details, we're making Sahar Fathi, an aide to Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien, the winner for convincing (skeptical) us that her emphasis on racial justice (in the affluent 36th — Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, Bell Town, South Lake Union ... where she lives) was particularly relevant.
Not only did she squarely put environmentalism — typically ignored during recessions — back on the agenda by viewing it as a racial and social justice issue by connecting it to public transit ("environmentalism has a face" she said, undoing the conventional wisdom during economic downturns that we have to focus exclusively on "kitchen table" issues), but she hit our direct question about her identity politics out of the park.
We challenged her to name a piece of legislation that the Democratic caucus championed and pushed through that ignored the perspective of minorities and ended up being a detriment to communities of color. Fathi pointed to legislation — enacted, belatedly, in 2011 — that reduced the maximum jail sentence for a gross misdemeanor from 365 to 364 days, protecting legal immigrants from deportation. That legislation, she said, should have passed sooner — and if she had been in the Legislature, she would have pushed to make it happen.
We also liked how she answered another one of our questions — which we put to all the candidates: Name an issue where you've "evolved."
"I didn't see transportation as a social justice issue," Fathi said. "Social justice and transportation advocates should be working together."
Here's what the other candidates said they'd "evolved" on.