The 2022 election cycle has ended and PROTEC17-endorsed candidates who won are preparing for the work ahead.
As part of the Political Action Committee (PAC), PROTEC17 members and staff interviewed more than 30 candidates in Washington State seeking our endorsement over several weeks during the summer and fall. The endorsement process included a questionnaire for candidates that was informed by data from last year’s political survey, where PROTEC17 members indicated their top political priorities. The data from the survey was also used to develop the standardized questions asked during each interview.
This year, we further aligned our endorsement process with our union’s values on racial and gender justice. We made a special effort to reach out to candidates who identify as women or people of color in counties and districts that either have a high population of PROTEC17 members, house an employer where our members work, or where PROTEC17 is an affiliate of the local labor council.
In all, PROTEC17 endorsed 27 candidates. Of those candidates, 46 percent identified as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color, and 70 percent identified as women. For a full list the candidates we endorsed, please visit our website at: protec17.org/political-action.
Of our endorsed candidates, 18 were ultimately elected. This means that the values of PROTEC17 members will be well reflected in Olympia and various county governments across the state.
Upon winning his reelection campaign with more than 85 percent of the vote, State Senator Joe Nguyen (D-34) had this to say: “Public employees are an integral part of Washington state. It is an honor to have the support of the people who work hard for families like mine everyday!”
Our union is proud of the member-driven, growing alignment between our work and our values around racial and gender justice. We will continue to prioritize interviewing and supporting candidates from underrepresented communities and backgrounds.
“I’ve been a member of other unions where I felt disconnected from conversations and decisions that impacted the membership,” said Aaron Julyan, PROTEC17 PAC member. “Being invited to participate on the endorsement committee, even as a very new member, was meaningful to me and demonstrated the values PROTEC17 upholds.”
As we prepare for the 2023 legislative session, which starts on Jan. 9, we will be reviewing feedback from the 2023-25 strategic planning survey which was open to all members through mid-December. That survey included several questions gauging PROTEC17 members’ political priorities. Preliminary data shows the highest priorities for members include: economic relief, increased funding for public health and human services, as well as transportation. Many of our candidates spoke to these issues extensively in their questionnaire and interview responses.
Looking further into 2023, many Seattle City Council members will be up for reelection. As the largest union at the City of Seattle, our goal is to ensure that the voices and values of PROTEC17 members are reflected in the election process. However, to do so, we need your help! If you would like to serve on an upcoming endorsement committee, please reach out to Political Director Brandon Hersey at .
Thank you to all the members and staff who gave their time and made this year’s endorsement process a great success!
With the 2023 Oregon legislative session on the horizon, legislators have the opportinity to take substantive action on issues facing Oregonians. This long session, running from mid-January to June, will also bring new leadership in both legislative chambers with Representative Dan Rayfield (Corvallis) and Senator Rob Wagner (Lake Oswego) taking over as Speaker of the House and Senate President, respectively.
In this dynamic situation, PROTEC17 will be closely monitoring developments in Salem and providing input and advocacy when possible. Defending PERS retirement benefits, maintaining guardrails on contracting out of government services, expanding workplace protections, and adequately funding government services remain core priorities.
With online testimony in committee hearings likely to continue, it has never been easier to use your voice to make a difference. If you would like to be involved in our Oregon advocacy work or get updates about the legislative session’s impact on labor issues, please email PROTEC17 Oregon Legislative Advocate Elliot Levin at .