July 2018 Newsletter


Now’s the time to fight back! Help pitch in now, and we can turn the tide this November.

The time is now to donate to the next strong candidate with a great chance to flip a State House seat and bring progress to Olympia. That candidate is Mari Leavitt. She needs your donation now. Read her profile below. 

The best antidote to brutal news?  Fire up! Recommit to bringing change at the ballot box. At Friends of Washington we’re more dedicated than ever to bringing you actionable info, so you can make a difference with your dollars and with your time.

Fewer people pay attention to state elections, yet they have a real, immediate impact on climate change, school funding, and gun safety in our state. With less engagement from voters, that means more impact from registration drives and phone banking. That’s where your investment, of money or time, really pays off. There are only 100 days until the mid-terms, so the time is now to give your support. 

Do you want to help build a Washington which welcomes immigrants, protects children, and prepares for the future? We’ll need a bigger majority in our State House and State Senate to get there. And Friends of Washington brings you the candidates to support who have the best chances of swinging districts right now.

 Our featured candidate of the month is Mari Leavitt, running for State House in Legislative District 23 (Pierce County south of Tacoma: University Place, Lakewood, Fircrest, and Steilacoom.)

This is a district with strong political divides. But Leavitt sees a path for unity. “The one thing that’s really motivated our district is children,” she says. “Children are our most important resource, and so many people in our district are concerned about them, especially about children in poverty. That has made a real difference in terms of conversations at the door.”

Leavitt is a long-time local college administrator who has worked in various positions in the region, now at Evergreen State.  She’s also a small business owner, running an orthodontic practice with her husband which helps her bond with many LD 23 voters she’s talked with around the district.

Leavitt’s roots are deep in Pierce country: her dad served at what was then Ft. Lewis, she has a child who is serving in the Air Force, and her mother was a Japanese seamstress in Hilltop. “I grew up in multicultural communities,” says Leavitt. This experience helps her communicate across party lines, even on hot-button issues like gun safety. “My dad took me hunting when I was young. He’d wanted me to be a boy,” she said. So she can talk to gun owners about safety, and about protecting children, without alienating them.

LD 23 is one of the most complex districts in Washington, encompassing Republicans and Democrats, poor families and wealthy ones, longtime residents and new immigrants. It’s a military district which  includes Joint Base Lewis McChord and is also home to the always financially stressed Western State Hospital, the largest psychiatric facility west of the Mississippi. This makes it one of the most important swing districts in our state.

Leavitt has campaigned here before. She fought a hard campaign in 2016 for this seat, losing narrowly to incumbent Dick Muri after entering the race late. Her rematch with him this year is different. She got a strong early start, has better data to work from, and has the energy of powerful political resistance to put her over the top and into the State House.

Having worked in education for so long, she’s passionate about this issue, arguing not just for  strengthening K-12, but also for making preschool accessible to all and deepening post-high school choices for students. With Western State in her district, Leavitt is also attuned to the strain that our broken mental health system puts on our communities: she calls for meaningful investment in mental health programs, including adequate funding for substance abuse treatment.

“The world is changing and times are changing. But for my opponent, nothing has changed.” He voted against a bump stock ban, against the reproductive parity act, and against the right for municipalities to have affordable housing assessments to offset the high cost of living in Washington.

So the time is now to come together for Mari Leavitt: support her campaign here. Sign up to canvass with her. Tell your friends about her. And tell your friends about Friends of Washington.

Your friends at Friends of Washington

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