On November 8, our ballots are due for an important election. We will select a new President and Vice-President along with other state political bodies and we will vote on some significant initiatives. Washington CAN! has endorsed the following candidates and initiatives:


5th Congressional District: Joe Pakootas
7th Congressional District: Pramila Jayapal

State Representative, 6th Legislative District, Pos. 1: Lynnette Vehrs
State Representative, 6th Legislative District, Pos. 2: Shar Lichty

Initiatives We Support

Yes on 124: Health and Safety Standards to Protect Seattle Hotel Workers
Yes on 735: Citizens United
Yes on 1433: Raise Up Washington
Yes on 1491: Extreme Risk Protection Orders; gun responsibility
Yes on 1501: Protect Seniors & Vulnerable

Initiatives We Oppose

No on 732: Carbon WA
No on 1518: WRA Minimum Wage

Washington CAN Endorses Orange for 17th Legislative District Representative, Position 1

Don WCANSEATTLE — July 27, 2016 — Washington Community Action Network (Washington CAN) has given its endorsement to Don Orange for State Representative in the 17th Legislative District, position 1. Orange has been a progressive voice for small business in the Vancouver area for many decades.

“We’re thrilled to give our endorsement to our long-time ally Don Orange,” saidWashington CAN Co-Executive Director William Daley. “His values are right on par with what we are fighting for and his strong voice will be an asset when it comes to setting policies in our state.”

Orange, owner of Hoesly Eco Auto & Tire in Vancouver, has been a long time member Washington CAN’s co-organization, the Main Street Alliance of Washington that advocates for small business. Orange has been an avid supporter of raising the minimum wage in Washington state. He has also fought for other progressive issues including corporate tax reform, fighting the proposed oil terminal in Vancouver and protecting small businesses from predatory lending. He has addressed the state legislature on several occasions to represent the voice of small business on these and other public policy issues.

“I’m honored to have the support of this group that leads the fight in so many important battles,” said Orange. “They know that our progress on all major issues depends on our ability to unite and force the world’s wealthiest corporations to actually pay taxes.”

Washington CAN has a strong following in the 17th legislative district that spans eastern Vancouver and parts of southwest Clark County.

“It’s very challenging to support a family on minimum wage and very few opportunities to make more money,” saidWashington CAN member and Vancouver resident Juan Estrada. “Having Don Orange’s passion and energy in our state legislature will bring a fantastic new dynamic to the fight for a higher minimum wage.”

Orange plans to continue his fight to raise the minimum wage in Washington, fund education, close unfair, harmful corporate tax loopholes, and to put a complete stop to the attempt of the fossil fuel industry to enter the Northwest into a dirty oil region. He also hopes to bring a small business perspective to the legislature.

Jobs After Jail: Ending the Prison to Poverty Pipeline

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Jobs After Jail_Meme 1

SEATTLE – Each year an average of 630,000 people are released from state and federal prisons – for many, their prison record will be a life sentence of poverty and low wages.

In addition to facing “the box” on job applications that asks about being convicted of a crime, they also face a raft of state restrictions banning them from certain occupations. Every state in the country bans formerly incarcerated people from specific jobs. Washington bars them from 96 jobs, often good-paying jobs. In Seattle, by a law passed last year, an employer cannot inquire about an applicant’s criminal history, until the employer has screen applicants based on qualifications..

Today, Washington Community Action Network and OneAmerica are releasing Jobs After Jail: Ending the Prison to Poverty Pipeline. The report by the Alliance for a Just Society, analyzes the impact of policies that limit employment opportunities for people who have served jail or prison sentences.

“It’s been an uphill battle to find a job after being released from jail last year,” said Gregory Boris who is featured in the report. “I knew it would be hard, especially for me because I have gang tattoos but I have been upfront about my past with potential employers.”

In the report, Boris tells of his struggle to find work even though he was candid in interviews. He applied to dozens of jobs for weeks without anything to show for it.

“Most people would have given up by this time and gone back to their old ways,” said Boris. “I was determined to turn my life around.” Boris has now returned to school full time.

“A sense of urgency is growing across the nation to support ban the box laws that close the doors for opportunity to many formerly incarcerated members of our communities,” said OneAmerica Executive Director Rich Stolz, “Combined with the racially disproportionate impact of mass incarceration, ending this form of discrimination is central to addressing racial and income inequality in America. Too many of our community members are unable to realize their potential or support their families, and that’s a loss we all bear.”

About 70 million people in the U.S have a felony or serious misdemeanor arrest or conviction that could impact their ability to find a job, locking a big part of our country out of stable, good-paying employment.

“People leave jail or prison with debt from their incarceration, then face dramatic hurdles finding work that pays,” said Jill Reese, associate director of the Alliance for a Just Society. “A history of racism in the United States means that people of color are more likely to be poorer and face harsher sentences than their white counterparts. They are also more likely to be incarcerated, face harsher sentences and be cut off from good jobs after their release.”

Recommendations from the report include:

  • Eliminate lifetime legislative bans to employment
  • Ban the box – the question about convictions on job applications.
  • Reform policies on court fines and fees and incarceration fees that leave people deep in debt after they are released.
  • Invest in businesses that pay high wages and employ formerly incarcerated people.

Jobs After Jail: Ending the Prison to Poverty Pipeline is part of the Job Gap Economic Prosperity series on jobs and wages produced by the Alliance since 1999.

With over 44,000 members, Washington Community Action Network is the state’s largest grassroots community organization. Together we work to achieve racial, social, and economic justice in our state and nation. Our strength as an organization depends on our members’ involvement. We believe that we can only achieve our goals when people take action for justice.

OneAmerica is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that advances the fundamental principles of democracy and justice by building power within immigrant communities.

Alliance for a Just Society is a national organization that focuses on social, economic and racial justice issues.


Raise Up Washington Launch

This Saturday, we were on hand for the launch of the Raise Up Washington campaign that will work to raise the minimum wage and ensure every Washington resident has sick and safe leave. In a time when many are struggling to make ends meet, this movement is vital for families to raise up out of poverty and help achieve economic justice. Now, envoys are on the street collecting signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot. 300,000 signatures are needed by July. If the measure passes, the minimum wage would climb to $13.50 over the course of four years.

Main Street Alliance of Washington leader and owner of Plum Restaurants, Makini Howell, has been a champion of the minimum wage movement. Her workers at Plum Restaurants are already making the $15 per hour minimum ahead of the city of Seattle mandate. She was interviewed on KIRO TV following the launch. Click the photo below to watch the story.

Makini on KIRO

To read more about Raise Up Washington, including information on volunteering click here.

Facing Race Report 2016

The 2016 Facing Race Report Card was released at a news conference today. In the report, 27 percent of Washington legislators received an “F” grade regarding race. The grade is based on 34 bills that impact disparities in communities of color. Thank you to all attendees and speakers including Sen. Pramila Jayapal, Sen. Cyrus Habib, Rep. Mia Gregerson, Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, Roy Martin Brown, Maria de Jesus Lozano, and Dulce Saucedo.

Read the report here.