Pierce Pioneer

A look at the 2020 Washington voters’ candidates and what stances are being put on the spotlight

The United States nears the end of its election season, as the final day to vote remains Nov. 3, less than a week away. As tensions between parties continue to rise, many outlets, including the Washington Post and CNBC, are reporting record numbers for early-voters.

The presidential vote comes down to former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden and current President Donald Trump. While the nation collectively decides on its next president, local state government positions are also being put to the vote.

As of Oct. 20, 1.2 million early-voters have been reported by the Washington Post, a number less than those voting in the 2016 elections. While it’s easier to focus on the presidential elections, a state governor can be just as important as the next elected president. 

State laws and policies are much more likely to affect a citizen’s life on a day-to-day standpoint, as it can include issues such as taxes, travel, and local health and education. With a number of proposals being placed on this year’s ballots, including a potential new state governor, it is important to be up-to-date on what laws or restrictions might be passed this upcoming year.

While many topics and candidates are up for vote, here are the big topics being discussed on this year’s ballots:

Washington State Governor

Running for state governor this year includes Republican nominee Loren Culp, and the Democratic nominee and current state Governor Jay Inslee.

Inslee seeks out a third-term win after having served two prior as Washington’s state governor. Meanwhile Culp, while having no prior experience in politics, is a military veteran with more than 20 years of business experience.

 

The candidates

 

 

 

Jay Inslee

Inslee

Is for raising minimum wage

Supports paid leave

Is for placing bans on assault weapons

Is for abortion rights

Is for COVID-19 Social Distancing Restrictions

 

 

 

Loren Culp

Culp

Is against new state-income taxes/raising property taxes
Supports minimal government involvement
Is against stricter gun laws
Is against the Right to Work Legislation, or workers choice to joining unions

 

Referendum Measure No. 90
The Sex Education in Public Schools Measure

A Senate Bill passed in March 2019, Referendum 90 would provide a broader sexual health education for students within sixth through twelfth grade if approved. “Instruction would need to be provided at least once to students in grades K-3, once to students in grades 4-5, twice to students in grades 6-8, and twice to students in grades 9-12,” stated Ballotpedia.

If Referendum 90 is not approved, public schools would not be required to provide extensive health education to students.

 

 

Proposed Constitutional Amendment
The Authorize Fund Investment of Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Account Amendment

If rejected, Washington Legislatures would not be granted the ability to invest the Long-Term Care Services and Supports Trust Account into stocks or other methods of investment, limiting investment for the accounts to government and corporate bonds and certificates of deposit.

However, if approved, Washington Legislatures will be given the ability to take these existing accounts and place funding into stocks or other methods of investment

 

Washington Advisory Vote 32
Washington Advisory Vote 32, Nonbinding Question on Carryout Bag Tax

This concerns the maintenance or repeal of Senate Bill 5323, regarding the taxation of carryout bags in certain counties.

If voting to maintain, this would continue to impose taxes on certain carryout bags provided by retailers. If rejected, this would repeal this tax.

 

Nov. 3 is the final day for all votes to be submitted if there are any stances here you want your voice to be a part of. Votes are continuing to be held through mail in ballots, online, or in-person throughout Washington state. There is no time to waste.

Why Don’t We Vote?

Abri Wilson / Staff Illustrator

Students weigh in on today’s political state and what gets them motivated to vote, as the Democratic Primaries arrive.

The time has come again to vote for president. Whether for re-electing the current president or campaigning for another candidate, this is a tense time of the year. The Washington Democratic Primaries start on Mar. 10, where citizens vote a nominee of a major political party for the office of president.

For Pierce College student Nicole Lee, her parents instilled many values growing up, as being a first-generation citizen. One of those values included going out to vote. “One of our rights and freedoms is to vote on our elected officials and how they’re going to run this country.”

“It’s going to be our future, right?” Lee said. “What’s going to happen to [American citizens] is directly correlated to who leads our country.”

Not all citizens are required to participate in voting, whether that is registration or voting in state and national elections. However, according to the Secretary of State, in 2016 only 76.83 percent of all citizens registered to vote.

According to ABC News, in Australia, voter participation has never been below 90 percent, as citizens are automatically registered and required to vote by law. For America, the big question which remains is one that’s been asked for years – how do we get people to go out and vote?

Travis Nelson, a Political Science professor at Pierce College, said it’s important that people know what they’re voting for, and are informed. “The main thing that we should do is show a connection to how politics actually affect our daily lives,” he said. Nelson added that having more high school or college classes focusing on current events could help students become more informed.

Some contributors to people not going out to vote include voters feeling as though their participation won’t affect the results in the long run. This is partly due to the electoral college, a system still in question by many voters.

According to HuffPost, the Electoral College involves 538 electors casting votes for the President. Nelson said it plays an important role, allowing presidential candidates to pay more attention to the interests of people in the smaller states that are typically ignored.

“But if we are getting to a point where the popular vote ends up quite different from the electoral college, then I think we need to reconsider the need to have the electoral college,” Nelson said.

Rachel Mathies, a student at Pierce, said the popular vote should have more merit than what it does currently. “I don’t think it should be abolished completely,” she said. “But I believe that it should be at least revised to be more reflective of the popular vote.”

Lee also adds that although it’s a way to get things done quicker, the popular vote should matter.

According to The U.S. Census Bureau, 18 to 29-year-olds make up only 21.2 percent of voters in Washington, compared to 45 to 64-year-old voters make up 34.6 percent. Mathies said young people are outnumbered by the “baby boomers”, and are easily discouraged about their vote making a difference.

Nelson said he expects a high turnout from voters of the younger generation this year, however. “It’s possible that with what’s going on with the impeachment that people will be kind of motivated to participate in the system,” he said.

Mathies, being 20-years-old, is excited to vote this year. “I feel like even though I’m a small number of the popular vote, my voice still makes a difference,” Mathies said. “Our ancestors fought for the right to vote, and I should participate in that process.”

When pointing out the decline in voters during election years, another topic which arises is what citizens actually want out of a presidential candidate. Voters do have certain qualities they look for, which can motivate those to go out and vote.

“Some of [the candidates] have more back bone than the others and that’s ultimately the difference in my eyes,” said Lee. “How will they be approached by the world, interact with other countries or nations and their leaders?”

Democratic front runners are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, with Elizabeth Warren not far behind. Mathies said she looks for candidates who can stand their ground during debates, especially against President Donald Trump. “I don’t see it as being an actual debate,” said Mathies. “[Trump] doesn’t follow debate rules.”

For almost four years, President Trump has held the Presidential office. Trump was the first president to be impeached, acquitted and run for a second term in history. Nelson said Trump is still retaining supporters.

“It’s totally different than the past, where people have been able to run off their own merits,” Nelson said. “This impeachment process emboldens the supporters and gives more ammunition to his reelection.

With Sanders running as a democratic socialist, his platform of free college can be appealing to young people who are prospective or current students. Mathies said it’s hard to get started when you have student debt. “That’s a really huge impact on a young person because we are trying to start out lives at that point.”

If a democrat is elected into The White House, it could shift many aspects in the country. Lee wants to see de-escalation between the two parties and some of the social movements surrounding them. “Hopefully the attitude in this country will change,” Lee said. “I think ethically and morally in how we treat each other has been disrupted over the past four years.”

Although politics can be a complex subject, students can get more information about presidential candidates and current events by receiving updates through news apps.

To register to vote, you can visit votewa.gov.

March 2020 / Vol. 53 Issue 5

What Does it Mean to be Equal?

Photo Illustration by Ciara Williams

After Affirmative Action was rejected in Washington’s November elections, the state is left to face the future of diversity amongst college campuses

Affirmative Action was once an active initiative in Washington State. Created for the usage of colleges to improve opportunities for women and minorities; Affirmative Action was made with the intent of leveling the playing field for everyone in America. Washington State then banned this initiative in 1998 during a state vote.

Fast forward to today and Affirmative Action was reinstated in April of 2019 by our state legislatures. This caused an uproar within our community, as many found this to be an attack on everything this country stood for.

A petition was led by the Washington Asians for Equality, as an attempt to keep Affirmative Action banned in Washington State. “It would abolish the standard of equality for all, regardless of race, as required by I-200, and replace it with a system that uses different rules for people of different races,” states the petition.

Finally, the state settled with letting this decision be made by the people, as they included it in last November’s votes. Results came in, and Affirmative Action was rejected by Washington State citizens by a vote of 50.54% to 49.46%, reinstating the ban.

One of America’s most important values included making this country fair and equal for all who choose to live here. If freedom was America’s first goal in mind, then equality is arguably the second goal. But what does it mean to be equal?

Equality is the act of treating everyone equal to one another, regardless of upbringing, race, or systemic advantages. To me, this means also considering the disadvantages an individual in America may realistically face, and making it so despite these hardships, there’s still the possibility of having an equal chance in this country.

Others would argue that true equality would be to not consider these elements in a person, but instead place every individual on the same playing field as one and the same. I would say it is impossible to do this without first considering every individual’s disadvantages in life.

Photo Illustration by Ciara Williams

In an American system originally created to favor white men, this country has spent years trying to create a balance that is fair for every citizen here. However, it is difficult to make this balance when it still remains an issue to just be considered by those who run the system.

As a 22-year-old black woman, I understand the extra hindrances I must face in this country if I wish to get an education. I also understand the challenges I will face outside of college.

Affirmative Action was viewed as a way for minorities to be seen and considered in an educational environment, where diversity has been lacking for decades. Pierce College has been one of the most diverse colleges I’ve ever been to; a campus that has helped me best experience what it’s like to feel equal to the student next to me, regardless of who we are.

However, on my tour at Seattle’s University of Washington, I found that the only other black person I saw on campus that day was one other student on tour with me. Suddenly, I was made aware of my own race again, and how much more colleges could be doing for minorities with admissions alone.

Despite this, I’m not as confident believing Affirmative Action would actually solve any of these issues I face. I’m aware that the educational system is in need of improvements when it comes to admissions. But I have instead found that Affirmative Action may just be a double ended sword, rather than the shield it hoped to be.

Affirmative Action makes it so colleges have to take race into consideration. At first I saw no issue with this, until I started to think about it. This action would now make it where my race is the most defining part of my identity, and the real reason as to whether or not I’m accepted into a college. I can see immediately the problems that could come from this.

This Action actively puts races against one another, versus it currently just being an equal playing field. I would personally find it insulting if a college only accepted me because I am black, rather than because of my qualities. And I would hate to hear that someone else was denied just because of the race they were born with.

Diversity on college campuses is still an issue however. Minority groups still often make up only a third of the population of most college campuses. Affirmative Action may be counterproductive, but it’s intents were made out of wanting to increase educational opportunities for those who may otherwise not have them. The idea of Affirmative Action shouldn’t be scrapped, but instead improved upon in the near future.

A solution to this problem may not be clear yet, but we are on the right track.

Affirmative Action Rejected

R. Wilfing / Courtesy Photo / Pixabay

Affirmative Action to be denied in Washington State’s November 2019 Elections, reinstating Initiative 200.

During the Washington State elections on November 5, citizens voted against Referendum 88 and the restoration of Affirmative Action – a policy favoring individuals belonging to previously discriminated groups within America. This practice would have allowed for colleges, universities, and businesses to increase opportunities for minority groups by giving them further support.

Previously in April 2019, Washington State legislatures passed Initiative 1000, repealing the ban on Affirmative Action which had been placed 20 years ago. This ban was originally passed by Washington voters in 1998 via I-200; however, recent elections have since reinstated this ban by the people. With its rejection, this leaves the state facing a number of concerns from both sides of the vote.

For Washington State government officials such as April Sims, co-chair of Washington Fairness, Affirmative Action being rejected is disheartening. As reported by NBC News, Sims states how Affirmative Action would have been a great way to level the playing fields for everyone in Washington State. Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington State, also saw Referendum 88 as a way to address what he referred to as systemic inequalities.

Despite this, not everyone in Washington saw Affirmative Action as a solution to inequality. Shortly after the passing of I-1000, a petition was led by Washington Asians for Equality. This petition was created as an attempt to keep Affirmative Action banned in Washington State by giving the vote back to the people.

“I-1000 can be summed up in one sentence: It would abolish the standard of equality for all, regardless of race, as required by I-200, and replace it with a system that uses different rules for people of different races,” states the petition. As such, petitioners felt that this vote should be in the hands of the people.

Those sharing this sentiment see Affirmative Action and Referendum 88 as an attack on equality in Washington State. However, while some feel as though I-200 allows for true equality, certain statistics state otherwise.

According to the Stranger, many legislatures within Washington viewed I-200 as a step backwards for the state when it comes to providing underrepresented groups positions in business. With both women and minorities having less than 4% of the state’s contracting dollars post I-200, this has left Washington state below its established goals.

Javier Valdez, a Seattle representative, believes that I-1000 would have been a fix to I-200. “I-200 was sold 20 years ago as something that would be fair to everyone, and that’s clearly not the case,” he said.

While both sides hold claims still in search of a proper solution, it’s not difficult to see what demographics tend to dominate college campuses, Pierce College included. But whether or not something like Affirmative Action could help with this, or if this is even a problem that needs help, is a question for another time.

First presidential debate a failure for both candidates

Debate performances didn’t inspire trust necessary for undecided voters

First+presidential+debate+a+failure+for+both+candidates

Trump and Clinton both talked over each other, showing that neither is mature enough to take on the role of becoming our new President.
It is difficult to put trust in Trump because of his position on the unemployment rate. Trump said, “Don’t believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5% unemployment. The numbers probably are 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, [I] recently heard 42%.”
The fact is that the unemployment rate is currently at 4.9%, or 9.9%, if you include the underemployment rate, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, June of 2016.
Clinton is difficult to trust due to her involvement with and how the Benghazi attack was handled.
“I and nobody did anything wrong, but there were changes that could be made,” said Clinton.
In fact, The State Department released in a report that there were “ systematic failures in leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two Bureaus of the State Departments and resulted in a special mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi.”
Trump and Clinton are not very serious about the issues that the United States faces. They do both seem to agree about unemployment and how “we are losing jobs to China.”
If both candidates work together, it might make for a brighter United States of America. The United States is lacking a huge amount of ownership.
As a President of the United States, one should be firm with the issues that we are facing.
The topics that were addressed in the debate were about crimes against African Americans, the unemployment rate, and technology and social science. This presidential debate lacks conversation on a plethora of other topics and it seems to be unrealistic.
If they were both willing to communicate with each other rather than “attacking” each other, more people will actually be willing to vote.

Millennials and Voting

Millennials+and+Voting

If you are in the 18 – 21 year-old age group, then congratulations on your first opportunity to vote in the United States.

As first time voters, there can be questions about voting.  According to the Pew Research Center, the main question for 54% of Millennials (ages 18-32) in 2012, was “Should I vote at all?” and their answer was “no.”

While many people may feel that their one vote will not make a difference, consider for a moment that there are 69.2 million Millennials and this is a very significant number.

The only other demographic of voters that can rival Millennials is the Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) and there are 69.7 million of them.  According to the Pew Research Center 69% of them do show up to vote.

While there is no competition between demographic voter blocks, an argument could be made that Millennials will be impacted by the decisions made today for a much longer period of time, than any other demographic group of voters.

 While it may seem that a Presidential candidate elected to office for the next 4 years isn’t a long-term issue, the judges they appoint, for example, could have an impact on daily life for the next 40 years. In some cases, a lack of governing policy could affect generations to come as well.

Millennials currently have the largest student debt ever in our history.  Also, longer wait times for marriage, home-ownership and starting a family than ever before in our country’s history.  The inheritance of climate change and the effects of severe weather patterns around the world means that Millennials will have a lot of important choices and struggles ahead of them as well.

Millennials will have to live with the policy decisions made by today’s politicians longer than any other demographic group and this alone should compel more than only 46% of Millennials to vote in this upcoming election.

Franklin D. Roosevelt famously once said, “nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

If you care not currently registered to vote, you have until October 31st to register to vote in the State of Washington.  At this late date you must register in person at the Pierce County Elections Office at: 2501 S. 35th St, Suite C, in Tacoma (3 blocks north of the Tacoma Mall).  You must be a U.S. citizen and 18 years old by Election Day. Once you are registered, a mail-in ballot will be sent to your home address.  This ballot must be returned either by drop box or U.S. Postal Service, anytime by November 8, 2016.

There are 30 ballot drop boxes in Pierce County; to locate one near you go to www.piercecountyelections.org.

voting as a student

Students should be active and aware within their school in the same way that citizens are encouraged to be active and aware in their communities. One of the civic duties of citizens is the responsibility to vote; to have one’s opinion heard and to make a social and political impact.

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom is one of only two community and technical colleges that still allows an old-fashioned system of campaigning and voting for Student Government officials.

These people will not only be in charge of representing and providing for the interests of the student body. They will also be paid for their work, which requires a level of professional involvement and the ability to balance the interests of students with those of faculty and numerous committees and clubs.

Being a student in a position of power, with a serious impact on your school, is a great opportunity and a learning experience. It would be unwise for students to overlook the chance to participate in such a unique way, and even more so to sit out the most important vote you as a student will likely have at a community college.

No one cares about your political opinions

Commentary
Andrea Bell 

Politics; everyone has an opinion on them. Everyone feels a certain way about a certain candidate, and the debate can get heated fast. Whether it’s Obama’s missing birth certificate, or Romney’s missing tax returns. Everyone can find a reason to hate the candidate.

But the one thing that gets this Journalist the most heated, is the fact no one will shut up about it. I understand we just want our opinion to be the right one, but to shove it down each others throats is a bit uncalled for.

Countless times I have logged into my Facebook and my news feed has been covered in all political posts. Obama’s a liar, Romney hates women.

All things that are both ignorant and just a waste of time. We can sit around and complain about small things, or we can look at the platform the candidate is running on and hope that they will actually follow through.

The petty issues that the American society is worried about, such as birth certificates, gay marriage, and what kind of dog the president has, need to be put in the past. Americans keep complaining about wanting to see change but the country flips out because of how cool the First Lady’s finger nail polish color is.

As long as we as a nation spend more time worrying about clothing rather than the debt crisis, taxes, public education, or the fact we spend more time arguing on Facebook rather than reading about the candidates platforms, we won’t be able to solve the problems the people complain about having.

So from now on, let’s focus on reading about what the candidates say instead of shoving our own personal ideas onto everyone else.

Gay marriage might be really important to a group of people but until we can figure out what’s going on with the money crisis, I think gay marriage takes backseat.

The president cannot read your problems on Facebook.

And honestly no one cares what you believe.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Pioneer intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Pioneer does not allow anonymous comments, and The Pioneer requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All Pierce Pioneer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest