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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 28, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 44
City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez pulls support for Walkinshaw over negative ads
Section One
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City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez pulls support for Walkinshaw over negative ads

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle City Council member Lorena Gonzalez pulled her endorsement of congressional candidate Brady Walkinshaw on October 24, in response to a Walkinshaw TV ad attacking his rival, Pramila Jayapal.

Walkinshaw and Jayapal are competing to replace retiring Rep. Jim McDermott in the 7th District. Walkinshaw's ad labeled Jayapal 'ineffective' and accused her of missing crucial votes in the state Senate, where she represents the 37th Legislative District.

'I am disappointed by these recent attacks,' Gonzalez said in a statement, explaining that she was a friend of both candidates.

'I simply cannot continue to support Brady in name or otherwise and, today, I am officially withdrawing my endorsement. I continue to be 100% fully behind Pramila because she is the best-qualified candidate who will fight for issues, like comprehensive immigration reform, that are important to the Latino community.'

Gonzalez's statement was read by One America head Fé Lopez at a press conference featuring dozens of Jayapal supporters. Also on hand were Jayapal's colleagues from the state Senate, labor leaders, and community supporters.

Although Walkinshaw sought to brand Jayapal as 'ineffective,' Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson called her 'one of the most effective legislators I've seen in my time in office...'

'These are desperate attacks from the Walkinshaw campaign,' Nelson added.

'She has numerous accomplishments to her name that are remarkable from anyone, much less a first-term legislator. These include: passing legislation to secure over $5 million in funding for pre-apprenticeship programs for women and people of color; working with all chambers and the governor's office to expand access to all forms of contraception for women on Medicaid; saving an International Baccalaureate program at Rainier Beach High School; and investing millions of dollars into the first-of-its-kind Southeast Economic Opportunity Center that will bring higher education to the Rainier Valley for the first time.'

Democratic Floor Leader Sen. Christine Rolfes and Sen. Kevin Ranker, one of the two Democratic budget negotiators for the Senate, also gave statements praising Jayapal's record.

Ranker noted that he had also missed the budget vote mentioned in Walkinshaw's TV ad, and that neither his presence nor Jayapal's would have made any difference in the outcome. The budget passed 27-17.

In addition to the statements from elected officials, Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) President Jeff Johnson and Secretary-Treasurer Lynne Dodson made a statement in support of Jayapal.

'Advertisements suggesting that Sen. Pramila Jayapal is an ineffective legislative leader should he held in the same regard as Donald Trump saying, 'No one respects women more than I do,' they said. 'The WSLC has worked with Sen. Jayapal for 16 years on immigration reform, minimum wage, and many other social justice and workplace issues. She led one of the largest voter registration drives in the state, worked to hold the first hearing in the history of the US Senate on the effect of immigration policies on women, and she has been honored by the White House as a 'Champion of Change.' That work mirrored her work in the state legislature to advocate, however difficult it was in a minority position, for immigrants, for workers, and for all of her constituents.'

Elaine Rose, CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes, said she knew Jayapal as someone who 'didn't care if she got credit' and was always looking for 'the right thing to do' for women in Washington state.

'It's a shame,' Rose continued, 'that we have to stand here...talking about a misleading ad against a woman fighting for women to have a voice.'

Jayapal has also earned the support of LGBT activists with more than a decade of advocacy for equality, ranging from national figures like Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality to local activists like Danni Askini, Sarah Toce, and Rita Smith.

In an email to SGN, Walkinshaw's campaign manager Kyle Layman denied that his campaign was taken aback by the outpouring of support for Jayapal.

'To the contrary,' Layman wrote, 'we have seen people from across the community rally in response to Sen. Jayapal's reaction to our fact-based contrast.'

Walkinshaw supporters Sally Bagshaw, Sharon Tomiko Santos, Gael Tarleton, Debora Juarez, Dolores Sibonga, and Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney released a statement on October 27 reaffirming their endorsements of him, Layman noted.

'We're excited to support Brady because we've seen his work in office and his ability to bring us together,' they said.

'We believe that evaluating the records of candidates for office is not only legitimate, it is necessary. A candidate's record of performance in office is the most relevant indicator available to voters on how they would perform as a member of Congress.'

Walkinshaw also defended his TV ad in an email to SGN, saying, 'It is appropriate...and also necessary, for candidates to campaign on their issues and their records. What we've offered is a contrast between two candidates on our records, and our records are extremely relevant to the kind of representatives we would be for this district...'

'I am running for Congress because I love the Northwest,' Walkinshaw continued. 'I believe we need a representative who will focus on delivering for our district on the issues that matter most, like housing and homelessness, transportation, and working together to fight against climate change. When I first joined the legislature, my husband and I traveled across the mountains to meet with Republican legislators in their districts. Those relationships were critical in passing landmark legislation to reform our criminal justice and mental health systems. I'm proud of my record, and I'd be honored to serve this district in Congress.'

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