This week on our Seattle Real Estate Podcast, Roy and Kim welcomed guest Mina Hashemi Mercer, the Executive Director of the House Democratic Campaign Committee. You know we’re still on our 60 days of action campaign, and this talk with Mina has energized to be even more relentless in supporting progressive candidates and policies. Specifically electing more progressives to Washington State’s House of Representatives.
Mina Hashemi Mercer has over 14 years of experience working on campaigns across Washington State, so we were eager to hear her insider insights about campaigning and activism. She took the reigns of the House Democratic Campaign Committee in 2017, and crafted its wildly successful 2018 strategy. The results of that election flipped seven Republican-held seats and elected the most diverse House Democratic Caucus in history. This year, we have a huge opportunity to elect an even more diverse and progressive Democratic Caucus.
Mina is a true Washingtonian, who grew up in a small town in Southwest Washington and earned her degree in Political Science and Art History at UW. Naturally, we had a lot of fun chatting about our love for the PNW and pooches, too.
Listen to the full episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, and don’t forget to subscribe. Here’s our recap with our guest Mina Hashemi Mercer.
The Team Diva Seattle Real Estate Podcast, With Mina Hashemi Mercer
This election, all 57 seats held by Democrats in the WA State House are up for re-election. The role of the HDCC is to protect the house majority. Mina works directly with the House but also coordinates with the Democratic Senate Caucus. Her focus this year: swing races, especially seats that flipped Democrat last election.
The King County races are considered mostly safe, so Mina is working mostly outside of our own local legislative districts. For instance, the Campaign Committee is working hard for candidates Zack Zappone and Tom McGarry in the 6th district (yes there is a path in Spokane).
Statewide, attacks on Democratic candidates have felt really over the top even for a major election year like 2020. The amount of PAC money from the Leadership PAC (yes WA REALTORS donated $75,000 to this PAC) and others are fully focused on attacks like amazing candidates like T’Wina Nobles and more.
As we have mentioned in last week’s episodes of our show, one of the ballot measures we support this year is Referendum 90, guaranteeing comprehensive sex education in public schools. Republicans have been especially vicious attacking incumbents who voted for this legislation, including some particularly nasty QAnon style weirdness.
Get Active And Stay Active
Despite this being an especially harried election, we’re staying buoyant, in part because we are staying engaged. Kim expressed that having a local focus has been super exciting for folks in our activist cohort. It feels more immediate and more real, especially when we are so saturated with national coverage.
Roy agreed and pointed out that this hyper-focus on the federal level makes it easy to forget the day-to-day importance of more local representation. When people get more in tune with the political process, it is easy to get fired up and see how one’s actions make a difference.
Mina put an exclamation mark on all this and emphasized how important it is for people simply to take the time to write postcards to voters. Elections have been lost by a hew hundred….even a few dozen votes. Let it never be said that we can’t make a difference from home.
All The Amazing Candidates Mina Hashemi Mercer Is Supporting for the WA State House
Mina also gave us an interesting statistic that was new for us. Men are much more likely to run for office on a few recommendations, whereas on average women are asked to run 11-17 times before they do so. And she is excited by the way the Democratic Caucus has seen so many women in leadership roles, and more joining the ranks all the time. As a rule, she sees that Democratic candidates better reflect the experience of voters and the demography of the region. Republicans tend to be white and male. (Big surprise.)
Mina provided us with an abridged list of candidates that could use your support statewide, and here they are. For a complete list, see the HDCC site.
Democratic House Candidates To Support In WA State
Team Diva will be donating to all of these races and strongly encourage you to do the same.
Incumbents in swing districts:
- LD 10, Pos. 2: Representative Dave Paul vs. Bill Bruch (Whidbey and Camano Island, Mount Vernon, Stanwood, La Conner)
- LD 30, Pos. 2: Representative Jesse Johnson vs. Jack Walsh (Federal Way, Auburn, Pacific, Fife)
- LD 42: Representative Sharon Shewmake vs. Jennifer Sefzik (Blaine, Lynden, Bellingham, Ferndale)
Democratic-held open seats in swing districts:
- LD 28, Pos. 2: Dan Bronoske vs. Chris Nye (Lakewood, University Place, DuPont, Tacoma)
- LD 30, Pos. 1: Jamila Taylor vs. Martin Moore (Federal Way, Auburn, Pacific, Fife)
- LD 44, Pos. 2: April Berg vs. Mark James (Mill Creek, Lake Stevens, Snohomish)
Opportunities to flip Republican-held seats:
- LD 6, Pos 1: Zack Zappone vs. Mike Volz (Spokane)
- LD 6, Pos. 2: Tom McGarry vs. Jenny Graham (Spokane)
- LD 10, Pos. 1: Angie Homola vs. Greg Gilday (Whidbey and Camano Island, Mount Vernon, Stanwood, La Conner)
- GOP Open Seat
- LD 17: Tanisha Harris vs. Vicki Kraft (Vancouver, Battle Ground, Ridgefield)
- LD 25, Pos. 1: Jamie Smith vs. Kelly Chambers (Puyallup)
- LD 25, Pos. 2: Brian Duthie vs. Cyndy Jacobson (Puyallup)
- GOP Open Seat
- LD 26, Pos. 1: Carrie Hesch vs. Jesse Young (Gig Harbor, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Key Peninsula)
- LD 26, Pos. 2: Joy Stanford vs. Michelle Caldier (Gig Harbor, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Key Peninsula)
- LD 42, Pos. 1: Alicia Rule vs. Luanne Van Werven (Blaine, Lynden, Bellingham, Ferndale)
Fighting Back Against Racist Attacks
On our first episode of our Seattle Real Estate Podcast, we talked with Dave Jones and discussed the racist attacks on candidate T’Wina Nobles. These attacks have continued apace, and she is not the only one facing them.
Kim and Roy both expressed continued frustration that our own REALTORS association was complicit in this, donating to an arch-conservative Leadership PAC with a history of hateful rhetoric. They targeted T’Wina in typical, bigoted fashion. This is not how our required dues should be spent, and their attempts to make amends have been pathetic at best.
Mina explained that it’s especially important to donate to races facing such racist attacks. It’s up to the individual candidates to determine if they want to respond, but if they do, they need a healthy war chest to put folks on blast.
Make Your Voice Heard In Other Ways
Writing letters to the editor in local newspapers was one form of activism recommended by Jon Pincus on a previous episode of our Seattle Real Estate Podcast. Mina seconded that notion and says it’s especially key in areas where Democrat voices feel they are in the minority.
And what if you want to speak directly to reps? What if you want to testify to policymakers about key legislation and policies? Kim asked Mina where people can go to get involved, or even get trained to overcome stage fright. Kim herself has testified in Olympia before and notes that it is very intimidating for first-timers.
Mina agreed, noting that she still sees more lobbyists than regular citizens. And Roy pointed out that this is not just a matter of intimidation, but accessibility and time. Not everyone has the opportunity to break from their schedule and take a day to testify… or even how to get involved.
Mina explained that no one really knows how this process will look under continuing quarantine measures in the nest session. However, she said that the best place to start is on the official WA State website, and the legislative calendars there. She also recommends seeking out advocacy groups related to issues that matter to you. They often have websites with action lists, including opportunities to address lawmakers directly.
We’re Voting The Entire Ballot: Get Informed
Mina is very excited about the next year in WA state politics. 2020 is a census year, so 2021 will also involve redistricting. The state’s massive growth will lead to new lines, and Seattle will see smaller, denser districts. Roy reminisced about how South Lake Union was, not long ago, mostly just newspaper warehouses. Now it is a dense commercial and residential hub, and still growing.
In addition to redistricting, there is also a big budget crisis, especially after this pandemic. There is a need to fill the deficit, and we don’t want to see an all-cuts budget. Mina pointed to healthcare as being a major issue of its own, but one particularly tied to the budget. The Democratic Caucus helped ensure reproductive healthcare access statewide, and Republicans are gunning to chip away at that.
From environmental justice to native voting rights, to more healthcare for all, the Democratic Caucus is working hard to make WA a truly equitable and progressive state. We’re so excited for Mina’s work to ensure that our majority in Olympia persists, and progress continues to be made.
Listen To Previous Episodes Of Our Seattle Real Estate Podcast
Listen to the full episode here, and check out previous episodes below:
Check out previous episodes and recaps of the Team Diva Seattle Real Estate Podcast with Roy and Kim.
- Post-debate, Election Season Free-For-All- Episode 9
- Indivisible Plus: Washington: Episode 8, With Jon Pincus and Brandy Donaghy
- 60 Days Of Action: Episode 7, With Chavi Hohm
- Back To School Special: Episode 6, With Manuela Slye
- The Big Summer Recap
- Supporting BIPOC Candidates: Episode 4 With Joy Stanford and Mona Das
- Seattle Real Estate From A Black POV: Episode 3, With Rocky Flowers
- Being A Good Neighbor To Black Communities: Episode 2, With Marlon James
- Education, Real Estate, And Equity: Episode 1, With Dave Jones
Read our various guides to stay energized and informed for the election, both locally and nationally
- Divaland Votes: 60 Days of Action
- Flip The Senate Blue: Ten U.S. Senate Races To Support
- Get Involved: WA State Legislative Races That We Support
- Our Full Divaland Votes 2020 Ballot Guide
Stay tuned for next week on Wednesday, at 1 pm (PDT), with guest Senator Joe Nguyen.