COMMENTARY: Why I’m Voting for Braddock

  • Wednesday, October 17, 2018 1:44pm
  • Opinion
Lauri Hennessey (Courtesy Photo).

Lauri Hennessey (Courtesy Photo).

Here is what I have always believed: The most qualified person gets my vote. Period. In the race to replace Sharon Nelson as our 34th District Senator, that person is Shannon Braddock.

A few of the reasons include:

Experience with Vashon: Braddock has worked with Vashon for more than a decade through her position with King County Council Chair Joe McDermott and now for County Executive Dow Constantine. This included working closely with the community on the restoration of Mukai Farm & Garden and helping Councilmember McDermott protect funding for our water taxi when other councilmembers tried to take it away.

Deep roots in community involvement: Braddock has been an involved community member volunteering on the board of the West Seattle Food Bank and now WestSide Baby, both local organizations that give direct support to families in need. Her deep history in helping community through boards, volunteering, school activism, teacher support and more is just icing on top of the cake of her extensive experience with government.

Commitment to labor: Braddock is a big supporter of workers. And one of the areas where she is most supportive is teachers, whom she frequently marches with and supports in these difficult times for public education.

LGBTQ dedication: Three years ago, Braddock’s oldest son, Aidan, came out as gay. She frequently talks about how there are still legislators that want to revoke marriage equality and are pushing dangerous anti-trans bills. She always has been an ally to the LGBTQ community, but says now she is a “mama bear” ready to fight back against the repeated attacks on our human rights on both the federal and state level.

Others agree: Braddock has been endorsed by Sharon Nelson, Dow Constantine, Joe McDermott, the Vashon Progressive Alliance, the Washington Conservation Voters and many more.

Vote for women: In addition to all of that, there is this. Our government is run by men from the Supreme Court, White House and Congress all the way down to the Washington State Senate. Women make up just over a third of our Legislature, and now we might lose a seat held by a woman right here on Vashon. Yep, you read that right — women represent just a third of our legislators. Fifty-five of 147 seats in the Legislature are now held by women — eight women are leaving those seats, so it could get worse.

Many of us have watched in anger the last couple of months as a bunch of old white men on the Senate Judiciary Committee once again ignored a story. It just brought home to many of us how far we have to go to truly represent women. 2018 needs to be the year of the woman at all levels of government.

We have zero single working moms in the state Senate; Braddock would bring a unique and underrepresented perspective of a single parent who knows what it means to need childcare access, parent-friendly workplace regulations, and affordable health care.

Why vote for Shannon Braddock? It all comes down to this. In another year or another race, I would support her opponent. He is a good guy, and I cannot find fault with him, other than his lack of qualifications for the job. There is no question Shannon Braddock has the experience. She has been there for us. She understands Vashon. She has the right values and all of the right endorsements. And she is a woman who is clearly more qualified for this position. Like I said, I believe the most qualified person gets the vote. And to have the most qualified person be a woman and get the vote is even more important in 2018.

Braddock is not new to Vashon. Many of us have held fundraisers for her, met with her frequently and spent time with her constantly over the years. She also is widely respected and will be able to instantly become a powerful force in Olympia. We want to maintain our position in Olympia with an advocate who knows us, will fight for us and will be able to jump in ahead of the game. Shannon Braddock is that person, which is probably why she carried the majority of Vashon in the primary election.

I am totally behind Shannon Braddock. I hope you are, too.

— Lauri Hennessey has lived on Vashon for 17 years and is active in Democratic politics.

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