Washington State has more out LGBTQ elected officials than almost any other state in the U.S. Our Legislature has more out members than any other. We now have two lesbians on the state Supreme Court. There are many extremely qualified LGBTQ candidates for some of the top races in Washington in 2020. This panel includes several of those candidates, who will share stories of their paths to running for higher office, and what their experiences as out LGBTQ people mean to their campaigns and to their visions for Washington.
(facilitator), Seattle Times
, candidate for Congress (10th Dist.)
Senator Marko Liias
, candidate for Lt. Governor
Justice G. Helen Whitener
, Washington Supreme Court
GSBA CIVIC ENGAGEMENT SERIES
Important elections are approaching, even during the pandemic. Washington's primary is on August 4 and the general election is on November 3, and there are hundreds of candidates running at every level who are looking to share their visions for communities all around the state. In this monthly series, GSBA will bring together GSBA members, candidates, campaign leaders, and political experts to talk about the big issues that can be influenced at the ballot box in coming months. Join us every third Monday of the month and on other special occasions for this free online series.
About our panelists:
Naomi Ishisaka is the Social Justice Columnist for The Seattle Times. She is a journalist and photographer who focuses on racial equity and social justice. Through writing and photography, Ishisaka documents social justice movements, issues and events. Her writing and photography have appeared in The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Globalist, South Seattle Emerald, Heart and Science Magazine and many other publications.
Phil Gardner has served as the District Director for outgoing Congressman Denny Heck, whose 10th District seat he is now hoping to fill. While working for Congressman Heck, Phil focused on issues around healthcare, infrastructure, veterans, and the climate emergency. Phil would be the first member of Congress born in the 1990s, and hopes to be Washington's first out LGBTQ Congressperson.
Senator Marko Liias has represented the communities of the 21st Legislative District, which includes neighborhoods in Edmonds, Everett, Lynnwood, and Mukilteo, since 2008. Prior to his time in the Legislature, he served on the Mukilteo City Council. Throughout his service in the Legislature, Senator Liias has focused on policies to build an economy that works for everyone and to create strong pathways to education and opportunity, while ensuring a focus on equity and social justice for all Washingtonians. In addition to his service in the Legislature, Marko is a college professor, serves as a trustee of the Seattle Repertory Theatre, and is an honorary trustee of the National Nordic Museum.
Justice G. Helen Whitener was appointed to the Washington Supreme Court in 2020 after serving on the Pierce County Superior Court, Pierce County District Court, Tacoma Municipal Court, and the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. She has served as the Co-Chair of the Washington State Minority and Justice Commission and is on the board of the International Association of LGBT Judges. Justice Whitener was the first out LGBTQ black judge in the state, the first immigrant-born judge, and becomes only the second out LGBTQ justice on the Washington Supreme Court.