Who am I?
I moved to Ellensburg in the fall of 2009 to attend school at Central Washington University, and after two years on the west side following my graduation, I came back. I’ve grown to love this district, and I want to fight to preserve its unique central Washington character.
I’m incredibly grateful for the family I am blessed with. I grew up Provo, Utah, in one of the most conservative counties of any State in the country. I was primarily home-schooled by my mother, a feminist professor of Spanish literature and Women’s Studies
at Brigham Young University. I’m the middle of five brothers, and every other weekend I spent with my dad, a gay public school teacher. It is precisely this background that makes me the best candidate to represent the 13th.
I grew up surrounded by a huge diversity of thought, from the conservative viewpoints of my neighbors, to the deeply held religious views of the people I went to church with (I spent alternating Sundays with my mother at the Mormon Church, and with my dad attending the Unitarian Church). From a young age I was exposed to different languages and cultures through my mother, and different religions and ways of life through my father.
All of this has given me a lifetime of listening to people of different backgrounds. Throughout my life I have worked to bring people together and build understanding and consensus – the very same aim that I will bring to Olympia as your representative.
Why am I running?
I became interested in studying politics sometime in 2012 while watching the Republican presidential debates. It struck me during a question about contraception that the candidates simply didn’t understand the facts of issue they are discussing. I remember thinking that we deserved better from our representatives, that we deserved people who were going to do their homework and be able to talk about the things that they discussed in a nuanced way. I became fascinated with the tendency of candidates from both parties to employ this kind of political shorthand, and a short time later, I changed my major to political science.
Democracies work best when candidates have to work hard to win elections and can’t take their constituencies for granted. They work best when there are at least two candidates running in competitive districts, so that the process of running helps to elevate
I believe in fairness. I believe in honesty and in integrity. I also believe that politicians should have to work hard to represent the diverse views of their constituents – which is why I will never accept or condone large-scale contributions from Super PACs.
I look around the district and the state and I see issues to champion. On this side of the mountains, we pride ourselves on being a little bit different from the west side, and we’re starting to see more and more families coming here looking for a place to raise their kids in a safe neighborhood with a backyard. Unfortunately, this means that housing becomes more competitive, and families bring with them children who need space in our already crowded schools, so we’re going to have to find a way to attract quality teachers and shore up K-12 education without disproportionally passing the additional cost onto retirees who are already living on fixed incomes. We also see more and more young adults graduating from college with massive amounts of student debt (ask me about my senior thesis sometime), so we need to be looking for ways to give young folks a leg up as they’re entering the job force. And we need to be investing in vocational training, because there should be multiple different pathways into decent, livable-wage jobs.
In order to address any of these issues, we’re going to need a great deal of collective effort from people on both sides of the aisle, and a good honest debate to figure out what’s going to get us there.
So here’s my campaign promise: I will never call you racist. I will never call you sexist. Iwill never dismiss your ideas, or try to belittle you as a person. I will never call you out for being too left-wing or too right-wing. I will never disparage you for whom you love, or where you come from, or mock your religious beliefs.
If you are willing to engage with me on the issues that concern you, I will do my utmost to understand your concerns and represent you to the fullest of my abilities.
I’m Jesse, and I’m running to represent you in the State Legislature. I’m running because I believe in respect and in hard work. I’m running because I think it’s about time that our representatives believed in those qualities too.