2017 Endorsements

Washington Housing Action Fund supports candidates who champion public policy that prevents and ends homelessness and moves us toward a time when everyone in Washington has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home.

Congratulations to our endorsed candidates who won the general election:
Michael Althauser, Tumwater City Council
Nancy Backus, Mayor of Auburn
Manka Dhingra, State Senate, 45th LD
Pete Holmes, Seattle City Attorney
Patty Kuderer, State Senate, 48th LD
Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle City Council
De'Sean Quinn, Tukwila City Council
Rebecca Saldaña, State Senate, 37th LD
Michael Shepard, Bellingham Port Commission
Vandana Slatter, State Representative, 48th LD
Ariel Speser, Port Townsend City Council

Ballot Measures:
King County Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy
Make Ellensburg Home

Below are our endorsed candidates and ballot measures for 2017. Each candidate was asked to provide a 150 word statement about what they would do to ensure that everyone in Washington has access to a safe, healthy, affordable home. Read their answers below, and click on their picture to learn more about their campaign. 

Michael Althauser
Tumwater City Council

I will be a strong voice for housing stability, accessibility, and affordability. I’ll work with my council colleagues and the mayor to create new policies that protect tenants and mobile home owners from discrimination and to create future stability. I will partner with other municipalities and civic organizations to address regional issues like homelessness. I will support smart growth policies including targeted density and pedestrian- and transit-oriented development. I will ensure that future discussions of multi-family housing tax exemptions also include a linkage provision of mandatory affordable units. I plan on using my seat to be a voice for cities regionally by seeking out positions on various municipal boards and organizations. I’ll also make myself readily available to the community by hosting forums and community listening sessions so I can be aware of housing issues as they arise in the community.

Nancy Backus
Auburn Mayor
Above all else, I value equality and opportunity for all. I have spent my life working to organize communities and fight for those who can not fight for themselves. I will make it my
mission to pass legislation that protects and aids working families. Auburn is in great need of affordable housing, and community revitalization, I will tirelessly work in the City, with the legislature, and with community leaders to make sure that everyone has a safe, healthy, affordable place to live.

Rebecca Boonstra
Whatcom County Council

No statement provided.

Manka Dhingra
Senator, 45th Legislative District

Housing and affordability are big problems throughout our region. We need to comprehensively look at this problem and use every tool available to us. I support further investments in the Housing Trust Fund and want to work with developers to incentivize and require a spectrum of housing options that meet all income levels. We need to promote density along transit corridors that meet diverse needs and need to provide emergency funds for those who find themselves in crisis. I am committed to comprehensively addressing this issue.

Pete Holmes
Seattle City Attorney

I believe in Housing First and am doing everything in my capacity as City Attorney to ensure we are getting unsheltered residents into housing and connected to necessary resources. Under my leadership, the City Attorney's Office is also investigating additional ways the City can support affordable housing and vibrant communities including:

  • Possible requirements on landlords to preserve affordable rental units
  • Additional funding sources for affordable housing that exist
  • Whether the City can raise the fees it charges developers in exchange for increased development space
  • Requiring inclusionary zoning to facilitate the development of affordable housing

Patty Kuderer
Senator, 48th Legislative District

I will begin tackling the issue of affordable housing by making sure that the existing legislation we have in Washington state is fully enforced and funded, specifically including the Housing Trust Fund. As a discrimination attorney, I view housing as a right and will advocate for legislation that removes barriers to safe, secure, and affordable homes. In this past session, I voted in favor of several bills to ensure an opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home, including HB 1565 which would prohibit Source of Income Discrimination in housing both in the Judiciary Committee and on the House floor, where it passed. While it did not make it out of the Senate, I will continue to advocate for it until it is passed.

Nate Lowry
Representative, 31st Legislative District
Asking Washington's wealthy residents to pay more and help reverse Washington state's regressive tax code is needed so that more revenue is available to fund affordable housing measures and rent assistance. We also need to make sure the housing trust fund receives adequate funding to address housing issues. Through better legislation targeting affordable housing and reversing the way Washington taxes its residents we can come closer to realizing this notion.

Teresa Mosqueda
Seattle City Council

If elected I would be the only renter on city council, and would be the only council person with the experience of trying to buy a first home in this unaffordable market right now. I would fight alongside affordable housing champions to address displacement and reverse the impacts of redlining, making sure those most at risk for gentrification are at the table to create affordable housing solutions. I will champion efforts to:
1. Expand community land trusts, co-ops, and create diverse housing options around transportation hubs.
2. Increase access for low-income homeowner and senior property tax exemptions to help prevent displacement.
3. Bond against our voter-approved housing levy dollars to fund building more affordable housing.
4. Support a tenants’ bill of rights and rent stabilization efforts.
5. Assess wealthy investors sitting on developable empty lots not contributing to the housing needs.
6. Turn city-owned, developable land parcels into affordable housing rather than letting them sit vacant.

Dianne Quast
Longview City Council

Affordable housing for all socio-economic citizens is a challenge in Longview. I'm supportive of current efforts to revise building codes and zoning to allow for more multifamily housing to be developed in Longview. Development of affordable housing for low income households is a priority for me in the allocation of CDBG and HOME funds. Support of the Washington State Housing Trust Fund would be a legislative priority for me.

De'Sean Quinn
Tukwila City Council
My goal for the past nine years has been positioning Tukwila for the future by creating opportunities citywide, supporting our schools, and providing an environment where employers can create good paying jobs to help the next generation do better than the last.
My tools have been:
• crafting policies that keep our city safe
• making fiscally responsible investments in police, firefighters, code enforcement, transportation, and education
• safer streets and sidewalks, affordable housing for a range of needs
• supporting a more inclusive community where all are valued, and
• representing all residents, no matter their language, culture, or how long they’ve called Tukwila home.
By meeting neighbors, visiting small businesses, attending cultural celebrations, volunteering, and getting to know as many residents as possible, I’m using our shared values as a bridge to a better, rising Tukwila. I am also very active member of the Governor's Commission for African American Affairs and this among other issues that effect communities of color are on our legislative agenda.

Rebecca Saldaña
Senator, 37th Legislative District

Safe, healthy, affordable housing is essential to ensuring people in our community and state are able to get ahead. I will not only speak out about the importance of addressing our housing crisis, particularly in my home district, but will also work with key stakeholders and community members to approach this problem from many different angles. From increased funding to preserve and build more affordable housing, to community land trusts, and community owned culturally relevant economic development projects to targeted upzones and “mother-in-law” dwellings, we should use everything available to us to help solve this issue.

Michael Shepard
Bellingham Port Commissioner
If elected, I want the Port of Bellingham to be a partner in promoting long-term affordable housing options for our community. As Port Commissioner, I will advocate for both market rate, and affordable housing options, along with supporting housing affordability initiatives. Because affordable housing is a part of comprehensive economic development, it is my job as Port Commissioner to ensure that communities in Whatcom County have access to a safe, healthy, and affordable place to live. I am an advocate for affordable housing in Whatcom County. I serve on the Board of Trustees for Kulshan Community Land Trust and purchased my first home with the assistance of that wonderful organization.

Vandana Slatter
Representative, 48th Legislative District

In a state as prosperous as ours, it is unacceptable that anyone would lack a safe, healthy, affordable, and stable home. In Olympia, I passed legislation to better understand our homelessness crisis specifically as it relates to our homeless youth. That legislation was possible because advocates from the community identified a problem and brought it to me. I worked with my colleagues in the legislature to draft sound policy to effectively address the issues. And was able to build a coalition of my colleagues to pass the bill. With your support, I will continue to champion solutions to our homelessness and housing affordability crisis and look to organizations like yours to introduce innovative policies to get us there.

Ariel Speser
Port Townsend City Council
I will work tirelessly to ensure everyone in my community has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, and affordable home. As a member of City Council, I will support affordable
housing efforts whenever appropriate. For example, I support a recent City measure which has limited the use of short-term vacation rentals in order to increase access to long-term
rentals for local residents. I also support the City's ongoing efforts to make our permitting process accessible, economical, and to provide discounts to qualified applicants developing affordable housing. Additionally, the City has a working relationship with the Homeward Bound Community Housing Trust and I will be committed to helping the Trust be successful in preserving affordable housing in perpetuity. I strive daily to increase education and advocacy around the Prop One Jefferson County Home Opportunity Fund. If passed, I will work with City and County stakeholders as  a Councilperson to ensure the Fund is properly administered and addressing Jefferson County's housing crisis in a
meaningful and timely way.

We determine endorsements, potential contributions, and volunteer turnout based on answers to our questionnaire.

The Action Fund also endorses ballot measures that will move Washington state and local communities closer to our goal of ensuring access to a safe, healthy, affordable home for everyone in Washington. This year, there are four ballot measures that, if passed, will help in the fight for more affordable homes and an end to homelessness.

Home Opportunity Fund, Jefferson County

The Home Opportunity Fund, appearing on the November ballot, will give voters in Jefferson County the chance to pass a 7-year property tax levy to create and preserve affordable homes. One-third of the revenue would go toward building, restoring, and maintaining low-income housing while the other two-thirds would go toward very low-income housing.

Home Fund, Olympia

The Home Fund campaign has unanimous support of the Olympia City Council. The council is expected to vote in October to place a local option sales tax on the ballot for Februrary, 2018. A 1/10 of one percent sales tax will generate $2.2 million per year, which will leverage about $4.4 million per year. Revenue will fund affordable housing and rental assistance.

Make Ellengsburg Home, Ellensburg

The Ellensburg City Council has voted to place a local option sales tax on the ballot for November, 2017. A 1/10 of one percent sales tax would bring in $450,000 to $500,000 a year for the foreseeable future. At least 60 percent of all sales tax revenue gained must be spent on affordable housing, but there is no cap on affordable housing funds and no minimum required amount to be spent on behavioral health.

Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy, Seattle

The King County Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy expands and strengthens communities by providing vital services like job training, employment opportunities, and housing stability to veterans, seniors, domestic violence survivors, and more. The levy extends existing efforts that have proven effective in reducing unemployment, homelessness, and emergency medical costs.