Puget Sound Sage has been working with environmental allies in the metro Seattle area using non-partisan voter forums to raise attention to environmental justice issues in state legislative races. The first event took place on September 13th in Renton, Washington in a non-partisan forum co-sponsored by Sage and six local environmental organizations.
The forum, for State Senate and House candidates in the newly-redistricted 11th Legislative District, focused on environmental justice issues, with questions on a wide range of topics including port trucking impacts, clean-up of the Duwamish River superfund sites, global warming, and public transportation. The 11th District is a majority people of color district.
Voter forums in Washington have changed as elections switched from a partisan system to the top-two primary/general system, with races in low-income areas often having two candidates from the same party. This year the 11th District is important because the candidates for the open House seat are new to running for office, and the non-partisan forum created an opportunity for Sage and other environmental groups to educate all of the candidates on key environmental justice issues, and to help the public understand where the candidates stand on these important matters.
The forum was moderated by a member of Sage’s communications team, Aiko Schaefer. Sage is working with the forum co-sponsors to plan additional non-partisan, voter education events before the November elections.