Today, Elected officials, community Leaders, and labor leaders joined to refute the dishonest, misleading, and desperate attacks by Rep. Brady Walkinshaw in the 7th Congressional District race.
State Senator and Minority Leader Sharon Nelson released the following statement:
Senator Pramila Jayapal is one of the most effective legislators I’ve seen in my time in office -- these are desperate attacks from the Walkinshaw campaign. As the Democratic Leader in the Senate, I’ve worked closely with Sen. Jayapal and have seen exactly how she gets things done, both on the offense and the defense. In a Republican-controlled Senate, too often our top job is to take on the attacks on workers, women and people of color and to stop bad things from happening. Sen. Jayapal has consistently led on this—and she and I worked closely together to successfully take on the powerful payday lenders who were trying to roll back our good restrictions in this state and prey on the most vulnerable.
I have also watched Sen. Jayapal on the offensive. In the extremely difficult territory of a Republican Senate, she knows that getting things done takes many forms—often, not passing legislation with your name on it, but utilizing relationships on both sides of the aisle to get the same result. She has numerous accomplishments to her name that are remarkable from anyone, much less a first term legislator. These include: passing legislation to secure over $5 million in funding for pre-apprenticeship programs for women and people of color; working with all chambers and the Governor’s office to expand access to all forms of contraception for women on medicaid; saving an International Baccalaureate program at Rainier Beach High School; and investing millions of dollars into the first of its kind Southeast Economic Opportunity Center that will bring higher education to the Rainier Valley for the first time.
The additional attack on her for missing budget votes is also desperate and ridiculous. As the minority in the Senate, we do not control the timing of votes that occur during Special Session. All of the votes she missed occurred during those two days when she—along with many members of our caucus, including our top two budget writers—were out of town. We were given no notice of the votes. Had Sen. Jayapal been needed, she would have been there. However, her absence changed absolutely nothing in the result.
As a woman in office, I’m really saddened to see desperate, Trump-style attacks on women and their accomplishments being used here in Washington state. Sen. Jayapal’s opponent and his allies have launched demeaning personal attacks on Pramila, diminishing her accomplishments. I call on Representative Walkinshaw to stop the dog whistle language, stop the dark money attack ads, and get back to talking about his own record. The 7th Congressional District deserves a positive campaign on real issues, not the same baseless attacks we see at the Presidential level.
Democratic Floor Leader Senator Christine Rolfes said:
As the Senate Floor Leader, I’ve seen firsthand how incredibly effective Pramila has been as a State Senator and have complete confidence that she is going to be an effective legislator in Congress. The ratings and statistics on the FiscalNote website are a false and an inaccurate portrayal of effectiveness and demonstrate a complete lack of understanding on how the legislature works. As an effective leader, Pramila knows she doesn’t need to have her name attached to a bill to impact legislation. Sometimes effectiveness is winning budget provisos, adding important language to a bill, or getting damaging language out of a bill, working with legislators from the other party to get bills heard, or preventing bad bills from being pushed through in Committee.
State Senator Kevin Ranker, one of the two Democratic budget negotiators for the Senate released a statement saying:
Pramila is an extremely effective leader. Exactly the sort of thoughtful leader we need in Congress. The ads attacking her record in the Senate are unfortunately misleading and false as they obviously do not recognize the differences between what it is like to work in the majority vs. minority of a body. When the special session was announced, Senators were asked to give dates that we absolutely could not be there. Like me, Senator Jayapal provided two dates she couldn’t be in Olympia, but the vote was scheduled by the majority party during the time when neither she, nor I could attend. Like Pramila, I kept up with developments throughout this time, and if there was any concern that we were needed, we would have been there. However, our votes would not have changed the outcome of the budget vote. In fact, there were four Democrats who missed those same votes and, more importantly, a vast majority of our caucus voted no as this was the Republican's proposal and unfortunately, they had the votes to pass it with or without us.
In addition to the statements from the elected officials, statements by Officers of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Jeffrey G. Johnson-President and Lynne Dodson, Secretary-Treasurer:
Advertisements suggesting that Senator Pramila Jayapal is an ineffective legislative leader should he held in the same regard as Donald Trump saying, “No one respects women more than I do.”
The WSLC has worked with Senator Jayapal for 16 years on immigration reform, minimum wage, and many other social justice and workplace issues. She led one of the largest voter registration drives in the state, worked to hold the first hearing in the history of the U.S. Senate on the effect of immigration policies on women, and she has been honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change”. That work mirrored her work in the state legislature to advocate, however difficult it was in a minority position, for immigrants, for workers, and for all of her constituents. We strongly supported her run for the Washington State Senate because we know exactly how effective and relentless she is in advocating for change.
Unlike traditional politicians, Pramila Jayapal doesn’t just pick fights she knows she will be an easy win. As a Senator of a minority party in one of the most diverse districts in the state, she was extraordinarily effective at building coalitions and driving an inclusive, social justice agenda.
Through Senator Jayapal’s efforts, the relationship between immigrant communities and the labor movement has become strong, and has developed into a potent force for progressive change.
Labor worked hard for Pramila Jayapal’s election to the Washington State Senate and we are working harder still for her election to the 7th Congressional District. We do this not only because she is an effective leader, but because we know she is the best leader to represent the 7th Congressional District and bring the values of the community and working people to Washington D.C.
Part of being an effective leader is listening to your constituents, and acting on the values important to them. For the last 16 years, we’ve known Pramila to be a fierce, brilliant, principled and effective advocate for the community. We ask Brady Walkinshaw to act with integrity and take down the offensive, false, and misleading negative advertisements.
Additionally City Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez said the following:
Rep. Brady Walkinshaw and a SuperPAC have come into this race to attack someone that has been one of the most effective leaders I know both in and out of the halls of power in Olympia. I am disappointed by these recent attacks. As some of you know, I had endorsed Brady when he first entered the race and before Pramila had announced her candidacy. When Pramila entered the race, it was absolutely clear to me that she was the best choice and I made it clear that I would support her, though to be fair to Brady, I did not withdraw my endorsement from him. However, this recent behavior changes everything. I simply cannot continue to support Brady in name or otherwise and, today, I am officially withdrawing my endorsement. I continue to be 100% fully behind Pramila because she is the best qualified candidate who will fight for issues, like comprehensive immigration reform, that are important to the Latino community.
When I ran for Seattle City Council, I was also subjected to “dog-whistle” politics--being made to be the “other” and having my race brought up in subtle ways. I am troubled by a narrative of making Pramila the “other” in this race and I feel the need to call it out here. This "other" narrative is out of step with our values and while we hear this language all too often on the national scene it has no place in this race.
To question Pramila’s effectiveness after everything she has done for the region and the country, both in and out of the legislature, is insulting—not only to her but to all of us who have stood with her in those fights for justice. Pramila has built the movement for immigrant rights in our state and is the reason we have some of the best policy here in Seattle and at the State. From starting the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs at the City of Seattle to the citizenship program for legal permanent residents at the State to preserving drivers licenses for everyone in our state, Pramila is the effective leader we need in Congress. She has continued the track record of effectiveness and building the movement at the state level as you can see from her many accomplishments in the state Senate. She absolutely knows how to bring people together to get things done.
A full list of the achievements of Senator Jayapal can be found here: pramilaforcongress.com/results