2021 Olympia City Council Races Heating Up

And Then There Were 10.

Three more candidates have joined races for the Olympia City Council in what’s promising to be a very, very busy local election year. 

Sarah DeStasio, Co-Chair of the Olympia Democratic Socialists of America, is running for the seat being vacated by outgoing incumbent Renata Rollins. She has been a caregiver supporting elders and people with disabilities throughout Thurston County and says unsafe work conditions, low wages and unpredictable schedules at one of her jobs inspired her to help found Capital Homecare Cooperative, a worker-owned caregiving agency. She has a master’s degree in public administration from The Evergreen State College and is now is a student working on her second master’s in mental health counseling from Prescott College.

In information provided to The Tribune, she says she’s running “to support the right of every worker, in any job, to safety, dignity and economic survival; to be a voice for housing policies that protect houseless people, tenants and vulnerable homeowners; and for an even more accessible and transparent Council.”

She will face Dontae Payne, and maybe others rumored to announce, in the primary election. Payne was a finalist earlier this year for an appointment to the seat vacated by now State Rep. Jessica Bateman.

Two others have filed to run against incumbents.

Councilmember Jim Cooper has drawn a challenger in Philip Weigand Jr., a Realtor and current board member of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, who lists his top priorities as “creating more affordable housing, improving the vitality of downtown small businesses and addressing root causes of homelessness,” according to information he provided to The Tribune. As of press time, Weigand had no apparent web presence and had not raised any money.

Talauna Reed, a community activist, organizer, and outspoken critic of how the City of Olympia and its police department handled the investigation of the death of her aunt Yvonne McDonald, is challenging incumbent Lisa Parshley. Reed is an organizer with Olympia Showing up for Racial Justice and a founding member of Black Leaders in Action and Solidarity Thurston.

She recently received the Olympia YWCA’s Womxn of Achievement award, which recognized her work “to overcome obstacle after obstacle to keep fighting and leading the members of our community to stay engaged in the work of dismantling the oppressive nature of the systems we operate within.”

In a video announcing her campaign, she says the roots of white supremacy, racism, capitalism, and greed are “so deep in this community, but I think the desire to want a better, a stronger, a more united community is greater.”

Stayed tuned!

Olympia City Council fundraising as of March 2, 2021:

By Mindy Chambers

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