A climate scientist and dedicated socialist is challenging Democratic Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp in the Washington's upcoming congressional elections.
"I think Frank Chopp is totally beatable," Jess Spear told The Stranger. "He is out of touch with his district. If you look at what they said about Kshama Sawant [the socialist candidate who was recently elected in Washington] they said it was impossible. They said $15 [minimum wage] was impossible. But they were wrong twice. The political situation has changed. People want an alternative to politics as usual, and we can bring him down."
Spear -- who earned a masters in marine science from the University of South Florida -- believes that progressives like herself are better equipped to stem the rising tide of corporate-funded, Republican initiatives in the state.
"I understand why people want to hold back the Republicans," she said. "But Democrats are no way to do that. By passing regressive taxes, they push working people toward the Republican Party. They are not advancing the issues that working people care about."
She believes she can oust one of the most powerful lawmakers in the state because of his weakness on issues such as education funding, social services, tax structure, and budget compromises.
At the speech announcing her candidacy, Spear said that "instead of leading the charge for a $12/hour minimum wage statewide, a transportation package, and desperately needed funding for education, Democrats held a special session late last year to force through a vote to give Boeing $8.7 billion in tax breaks. When was the last time the Democrats held a special session to fund transit, to deal with homelessness, to fund our schools or childcare, or fix our regressive tax system?"
"We're running on ending corporate welfare," she said. "We elected the first socialist to city council in over 100 years, and we are poised to win $15 in just one year. We’ve delivered. Frank Chopp during election time talks nice, but what has he delivered for working people?"
[Image via Jess Spear's "15 Won" campaign page on Facebook]