Emily Alvarado: I’d be honored to represent you in Olympia

I look forward to continuing to meet with members of the Vashon-Maury community to hear your ideas and priorities.

Editor’s note: Now campaigning to become a state representative in the 34th District, Emily Alvarado is running in the Democratic primary. Her opponent in the race, Leah Griffin, introduced herself and her candidacy in a commentary published in the May 26 issue of The Beachcomber.

How we respond right now to the issues of the day — housing affordability, protecting reproductive rights, and combating the climate crisis — will define our quality of life and the strength of our communities for a generation to come.

I’ve spent my career at the intersection of these issues, and look forward to applying my experience to the unique challenges and shared priorities of the Vashon-Maury community. With your vote, I will bring proven, hands-on leadership to the State House, to bring programs to the scale needed to make real, positive change.

I currently work as a leader at a nonprofit housing organization, transforming lives through stable, supportive housing. We’re building models that work– including childcare access, behavioral health services, and pathways to job training.

Previously, I served as director of the Seattle Office of Housing, managing the $290 million Seattle Housing Levy funds and building thousands of affordable homes throughout the city. I know how to manage budgets and programs. As your representative, I’ll use this experience to accelerate state partnerships, addressing the magnitude of the housing shortage in our region — including in rural communities like Vashon — helping people from all walks of life live in the communities where they work.

I am trained as an attorney, volunteered with the Latino Bar Association of Washington Community Legal Clinic, and began my career with Planned Parenthood, earning national recognition for my work in low-income and Latino communities. Protecting and preserving the rights of all people has always motivated me to serve others, and I’ll make sure Washington remains a state where abortion rights are not only legal but welcoming to all people who need safe, medically accurate reproductive healthcare.

As a PTA mom of two public school students, I understand the need for good schools and reliable childcare options. I’m committed to breaking down barriers to opportunity — especially the racial disparities that manifest too early in our education policies and perpetuate long-term inequity. I support full funding, and flexibility to allow local districts, like Vashon, to meet the needs of the kids and families they serve.

I will invest in affordable childcare and early learning– especially important in rural and island communities where limited options mean limited opportunities for parents. I’m also passionate about the safety of our kids and communities — that means stronger gun laws that remove guns from our communities.

The next generation needs and deserves leadership on these issues in order to reach their potential. They also need immediate and sustained climate action to be able to maintain their hope for the future.

For me, this starts with doing what I know best — our built environment. I am spearheading partnerships with unions and nonprofits to build more efficient, green buildings. But we need to do so much more. That’s why I’ll sponsor legislation to require an aggressive timeline to reach carbon neutrality in publicly funded housing and other projects.

I’ll build partnerships to retrofit existing housing with fossil fuel-free heating, and cleaner cooling options for low-income families and fixed-income seniors most harshly impacted by hotter summers. I’ll work with experts to restore Puget Sound waters from the impacts of runoff and acidification.

On transportation and mobility issues critical to island residents, I’ll continue investments in electric ferries. I’ll demand that the ferry system improve reliability and that the Legislature improve investments in ferry staffing. I’ll pursue full Metro electrification in partnership with King County, and continued acceleration of clean cars and changing networks.

Together, I know we can build a future that provides affordability, great schools, and the services to meet the needs of our growing and diverse communities. We will continue the fight to safeguard our climate and quality of life.

All of these issues are felt differently in different parts of our region, which is why I look forward to continuing to meet with members of the Vashon-Maury community to hear your ideas and priorities.

I’m so proud to have already earned the endorsements of Executive Dow Constantine, the Washington State Labor Council, Seattle Education Association, UFCW 3000 (representing healthcare and other essential workers), and housing equity allies like Colleen Echohawk and Estela Ortega.

I would deeply appreciate your support and your vote.

You can learn more about me and my campaign at emilyforwa.com, or email me at emily@emilyforwa.com.

Emily Alvarado is a longtime leader in nonprofit and government efforts to build quality affordable housing and invest in childcare and workforce training. She’s also an attorney and former Planned Parenthood organizer. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two children, both enrolled in public school.