We think of Washington as a very progressive state when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. But when it comes to electing people to represent our community we are falling way behind. That is why this year’s state and congressional elections are so exciting to me. We have the opportunity for some significant firsts.
If elected, Beth Doglio would be the first openly LGBTQ+ Member of Congress from the State of Washington. Even if Beth Doglio were not a member of the community, she would still be a fantastic candidate to support. She is fighting climate change and supports the Green New Deal. She also believes healthcare is a human right and that housing should be at the top of our agenda. You can learn more about Beth Doglio at her website www.bethdoglio.com. Beth has been an energetic champion for her constituents here in legislative district 22 as a State Representative and will take that energy with her to the other Washington to fight for us there. Some examples of work here in Olympia, she sponsored the bill to allow union members to be included in the Paid Family Medical Leave Program, established the Washington State Office of Equity and The Washington State Women’s Commission. She has been a member of the LGBTQ+ legislative caucus here in Olympia since she was first elected and will be able to continue the advocacy work we need.
Some of the other firsts come with the election of Marko Liias for Lieutenant Governor. If elected he would be the first openly gay Lt. Governor. One of the jobs of the Lt. Governor is being president of the state senate. This would mean both the House and the Senate would be led by members of the legislature’s LGBTQ+ caucus as Speaker Laurie Jinkins is currently leading the House. Another first. And I think of this similarly to how Ruth Bader Ginsburg did on having women on the Supreme Court. I don’t think there is a limit on enough representation. Personally, I would love to someday look at our leadership and see nothing but diversity
Marko also has been very good on progressive issues, including universal healthcare and climate change. He has endorsed Whole Washington and sponsored a bill on the public health option and on establishing a workgroup to study universal health care. He sponsored a bill to increase the state hazardous substance tax and increase state clean energy efforts to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2045. You can learn more about him at www.markoforwa.com.
Justice Helen Whitener
And while she would not be the first lesbian on the State Supreme Court, we cannot forget Justice Helen Whitener. Justice Whitener was appointed to her seat by Governor Inslee and is running to retain her position on the court. She would be the first Black LGBTQ+ member of the court. She brings a lot of diversity as she also identifies as disabled and is an immigrant from Trinidad. You can learn more about her at her website www.judgehelenwhitener.com.