On the issues, there is very little daylight between the two candidates for the 7th Congressional District. Both Pramila Jayapal and Brady Walkinshaw believe in pushing reforms to our mental-health and criminal-justice systems, have fought for workers’ rights, and promote aggressive measures to battle climate change. But they approach their potential new gig very differently. Walkinshaw has touted his future role as that of a “federal partner” for his home region, one who would use the levers of power in D.C. to address issues specific to his constituency, in the form of transit funding, homelessness legislation, or measures to cap carbon. To prove his effectiveness, he points to the legislative success he has had in his two years in the Democrat-controlled state House. Jayapal has stated a commitment to her constituency, but she has also been cast as a change agent who can bring a more forward-thinking politics to D.C., one that can shape a new progressive era for the Democratic party and improve the lives of those across the country who for too long have been underrepresented in the halls of power, be they immigrants or women. To prove her effectiveness, she can point to 15 years of activism that gets results, starting when she founded Washington’s largest immigrant-rights organization OneAmerica, growing to include women’s rights, and finding more localized expression in Seattle’s police-reform and minimum-wage battles. Jayapal has also spent the past two years serving in the less-Democrat-friendly state Senate, where she has had some successes, though not nearly as many as Walkinshaw. In most congressional elections, Walkinshaw would be a great choice, and on the one big issue where the candidates disagree—I-732—we think Jayapal is wrong. Yet as our national politics has been infected with white nationalism and misogyny, Seattle should not deny the opportunity to elect a representative who will be a national leader in the fight for women’s and immigrants’ rights. Washington, D.C., needs Jayapal, and we should deliver.
Read the rest of Seattle Weekly’s endorsements for the 2016 general election here.