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Immigration activist Pramila Jayapal to run for state Senate

The founder and former director of OneAmerica is being endorsed by the mayor and several city council members among others.
Pramila Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal

Former OneAmerica head (and occasional Crosscut contributor) Pramila Jayapal announced today that she will run for Sen. Adam Kline's soon-to-be-vacated Washington state senate seat. The 37th-district representative, who has served parts of South Seattle, Renton and Tukwila for the last 12 years, announced his retirement in early January.

As Publicola reports, other candidates seeking to replace Kline include attorney Rory O’Sullivan, head of the Housing Justice Project; Louis Watanabe vice chair of the 37th District Democrats; and PTSA activist Linnea Noreen Fichter.

Jayapal, who has had a long history of organizing around race and immigration issues, is excited at the prospect of uniting her inner organizer with her inner policy wonk. "I believe that if you're in elected office," she said, "half of your job is to figure out how to put forward smart, progressive policy solutions and then [the other half is to] really get people there."

A Democrat who admires the work of Sharon Nelson and David Frockt, Jayapal claims not to be intimidated by the Senate's contentious party politics or the current Republican-dominated majority coalition. The Democrats' momentum, she says, is shifting. "There is an attempt to really make the [Democratic] caucus about a vision ...  There is a desire to really move in a really strong way."

In the meantime, she says she's not one to sit around twiddling her thumbs, just waiting for Democrats to grab the majority back. "I'm also interested in how we can use our time in the minority to move some other ideas forward," she explains, "so that, when we have the majority, we're out of the gate running."

And as for working with Rodney Tom? He too, she says, will be up for election this fall. "I don't think he's representing the values that a lot of people stand for."

There's no question Jayapal's politics will give her a boost in the highly-diverse 37th district, but she says it was the encouragement of others that really pushed her over the edge and into the legislative fray. "People have been asking me to do this for a long time."

Among those, apparently, are Seattle's new mayor, Ed Murray; former County Executive Ron Sims; County Council member Larry Gossett; and City Council members Sally Clark, Mike O’Brien, Tim Burgess and Tom Rasmussen — all of whom are among Jayapal's list of early endorsers.

Jayapal's mettle as an organizer is apparent in the crowd of, well, other community organizers — many of them women of color — who have also publicly taken her back. The InterIm Community Development Association's Hyeok Kim has endorsed her. So has Diane Narasaki of the Asian Counseling and Referral Service and Centro de la Raza's Estela Ortega. Citizen University's Eric Liu and Tim Harris of Real Change round out the gender dynamics a little. 

Though Jayapal is obviously good at playing the game, she hasn't forgotten exactly who it is she would be representing — the residents of Washington's 37th district. "I want to make this campaign not just about electing me," Jayapal tells me. "I want it to be about electing us."

Berit Anderson is Managing Editor at Crosscut, where she follows tech, culture, environment, media and politics. Previously community manager of the Tribune Company’s Seattle blogging network, her work has also appeared in YES! Magazine and on the Huffington Post, Geekwire, Q13Fox.com and KBCS 91.3 radio. She served as Communications Director at Strategic News Service, a weekly newsletter that predicts global trends in tech and economics, and Future in Review, an annual tech conference which gathers C-level executives to solve global problems. You can find her on Twitter @Berit_Anderson or reach her at berit.anderson@crosscut.com.


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Comments:

Posted Mon, Mar 10, 3:54 p.m. Inappropriate

Because the 37th needs another advocate for illegal aliens representing them in Olympia.

Cameron

Posted Mon, Mar 10, 7:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Shame they can't vote, eh?

Simon

Posted Mon, Mar 10, 7:49 p.m. Inappropriate

You sure about that?

Geezer

Posted Mon, Mar 10, 9 p.m. Inappropriate

If they have a driver's license they can register. They've been doing it for years.

Djinn

Posted Tue, Mar 11, 6:51 a.m. Inappropriate

Here's one of Pramila's essays for Crosscut:

http://crosscut.com/2014/03/03/law-justice/118957/seattle-police-chief-search-progress-environment/

The comment thread after it shows why the democrats wouldn't mind her as a candidate one little bit. Her behavior is consistent. She's incapable of speaking truth to power, she refuses to communicate with non-democrats in public forums, and she plays stupid about the federal constitutional limits on states' powers unpopular with government heads here.

No idea if she'd get enough votes for a seat in the legislature. She's perfectly qualified for a democrat to appoint her to the superior court bench though – they covet those behaviors by the robed politicians as well.

crossrip

Posted Tue, Mar 11, 11:51 a.m. Inappropriate

I can't speak to this person's qualifications - I'd need to do a little research.

But I gotta say, your idiotic response in the comment section you refer to puts you squarely in the looney-bin column. The article was on the SPD and the next police chief - somehow, someway you ramble on regarding Sound Transit (again, zzzzzzzz), and thus, she is incapable of speaking "truth to power". Oh brother. This is like a bad Second City skit.

Treker

Posted Tue, Mar 11, 12:42 p.m. Inappropriate

OK, I get it -- you call me an idiot and say I belong in the looney-bin column. You're all about the ad hominem rebuke.

Let's see if there's any more to you than that . . ..

Pramila's piece describes how she's now serving on a panel to vet police chief candidates and how she served on a police department oversight panel in 2007. The bad cop incidents since 2007 are good evidence that Pramila and her fellow-appointees on that earlier panel didn't change things much for the better in terms of cleaning up the SPD.

With me so far?

Democrats appointed Pramila to those panels. Why was she appointed? She wasn't appointed to the former panel to effectuate change for the better for people. We know that because nothing changed in terms of abusive practices by too many SPD officers during the past several years. She also wasn't appointed to the second panel because of any success on the first panel (we know that again by the ongoing problems with rank and file SPD officer behavior). What that means is she was appointed to vet SPD chief candidates because she did not effectuate change and she supports the status quo. In other words, she's ineffectual as a change agent, and is appointed for reasons unrelated to improving conditions for vulnerable members of the public.

Pramila failed to respond to a request in that comment thread to do what a lawyer is trained and paid to do: argue a legal position. Why did she fail to argue Sound Transit's structure complies with what the 14th Amendment requires in terms of voters rights? Given her past actions as an ineffectual figurehead on appointive panels her non-response makes perfect sense. She's incapable of speaking truth to power, which she would do if she responded in a truthful manner.

Tell you what, Treker -- don't play stupid about the law this time. Let's see you argue Sound Transit has a legal structure.

Sound Transit is an oligarchy, in every sense of the word. Frankly I don't care if you don't want the public to have the power to control who sets legal policies for that municipality. The US Constitution demands the boardmembers of a municipality with far less powers than those delegated by the state to Sound Transit be directly-elected representatives of the people.

Show everybody Pramila was right to ignore those requests. Argue that municipality was structured in a legal manner. I know you can do a better job than "R. on Beacon Hill" who said that municipality's structure must be legal because some lawyers in Olympia in 1992 did not object to the enabling legislation bill.

Sound Transit stands in violation of the 14th Amendment, under longstanding US Supreme Court precedent, and that's not some kind of boring topic (despite your claim here to the contrary). Don't like me posting about that? Shut me up by presenting some US Supreme Court authority that might show what that _Sailors_ opinion says does not control the issue.

crossrip

Posted Tue, Mar 11, 3:48 p.m. Inappropriate

No matter the subject, SPD, minimum wage, the arts, the viaduct, etc., etc., it will all come down to the Illuminati that is Sound Transit. Congratulations - you're next in line as heir apparent from NotFan. But we all need a diversion from the serious conversation now and then.

"Central to some of the most widely known and elaborate conspiracy theories, the Illuminati have been depicted as lurking in the shadows (of Sound Transit) and pulling the strings and levers of power in dozens of novels, movies, television shows, comics, video games and music videos".

Treker

Posted Wed, Mar 12, 6:59 a.m. Inappropriate

Now I'm a conspiracy theorist? How many different ad hominem rebukes are you going to hurl my way in this thread?

It's a simple issue. Address it.

What US Supreme Court opinions POSSIBLY could justify the state legislature's delegation of that broad array of governmental powers to an appointive-board municipality?

Pramila is a lecturer at the UW Law School. She couldn't identify any. Throw her a line . . . help her out.

crossrip

Posted Wed, Mar 12, 8:36 a.m. Inappropriate

Jesus man. TRY at least, to stay on topic. Thread drift is inherent with internet conversation but, really, we're tired of every conversation ending with an assertion of how ST flouts the constitution or the imminent destruction of downtown by liquefaction via the Godzilla of Bertha. No matter the article that started the conversation.

Treker

Posted Tue, Mar 11, 8:27 a.m. Inappropriate

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

A. Lincoln

BlueLight

Posted Tue, Mar 11, 6:44 p.m. Inappropriate

Olympia is best place for her. She'll be one lonely voice in the rotunda and while she might think she'll be effective, she won't, not all the Democrats are on the page she's on.

Djinn

Posted Thu, Mar 13, 10:10 a.m. Inappropriate

Pramila Jayapal’s primary “push” has been for immigration reform.
What needs asking is what strange use of “reform” is involved here?
Is legalizing all illegal immigrants “reform?”
Any reading of her organization’s web site makes clear she purposely wants to flood the country with the millions of people now escaping world-wide unsustainability who enter this country illegally thus creating a borderless society here that she called a world-wide welcoming “One America.”
What she is doing is strongly supported by corporate America and this fact contributes largely to her One America organization “blossoming into..a $2.1 million budget.” There is good reason why she and Renee R. Sinclair, an executive director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, co-wrote an article supporting the massive importation of illegal immigrants to this country and region. The two have a common interest. Jayapal appeals for her support from a wide range of democratic party and socialist groups and from corporate/civic giving, while Sinclair represents the policies of a corporate U.S. which vigorously pursues assumptions of unlimited growth and eagerly seeks continued access to cheap labor.
That combination adds up to the power and money influencing U.S. politicians of both parties--whether led by George W. Bush or Barack Obama--to push for legalizing long-standing, porous-border created illegal immigration in order to maximize growth while peculiarly calling this “comprehensive reform.”
Jayapal is unconcerned about the impact importing millions of people has on the sustainability of our society. Jayapal and Sinclair ignore the uncomfortable reality that resources are limited in availability. They and both parties blindly pursue policy that fosters “growth” and power while ignoring that the population growth that results from their efforts exacerbates everything from crowded freeways, the impact of financial markets collapsing, a climate absorbing too much CO2, an overburdened and struggling medical care and criminal justice system, and depreciation of life-providing resources like potable water, and continuing ecological degradation.

Because population growth is so rapid in this state, and its “footprint” is growing so quickly, it is, at the least, necessary to fully understand the consequences of policy that encourages ever-more of its growth.
Her group disseminated a "study" that looked “factually” at many immigrant economic growth. It was filled with selective statistics that range from tax revenue to buying power to impacts on work force. It did so while selectively ignoring the impacts of costs involving taxpayer support of immigrant usage of schools, medical care, subsidized housing, and welfare. The "study" selectively focused on a few educated and accomplished people who have come here while ignoring the fact that the majority of the illegal immigrants here are Hispanics who on average have less than an eighth-grade education and, at best, limited English ability.
She clearly has no interest in what will most impact the United States in the near future, resulting from environmental degradation, resource depletion, and massive urban congestion.

Posted Thu, Mar 13, 2:15 p.m. Inappropriate

Researchers at Oregon State University have determined the NUMBER ONE THREAT to PNW salmon and their habitats is immigration into the region; the vast majority of which comes from outside the U.S. and Canada.

Pro-immigration is anti-environment.

We can't have our cake and eat it, too, it turns out.

Not that we'll be able to afford cake much longer.

http://www.fairus.org/publications/the-fiscal-burden-of-illegal-aliens-on-washingtonians

BlueLight

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