7th Congressional District candidates work labor picnic

How labor might factor into a key race, the 7th Congressional District, this November.

While we did not spot gubernatorial candidates at the annual Martin Luther King County Labor Council picnic, there were a number of statewide candidates, including a preview of what will be one of the most competitive race this November.  

“We have two progressive candidates in this race,” said State Representative Brady Piñero Walkinshaw who will face State Senator Pramila Jayapal in the general election.

Both are progressive Democrats, in one of the most progressive districts in the state. It’s a seat that open, since 28-year Congressman Jim McDermott announcement his retirement this January.

This election will also mark the first time two Democrats are running against each other in the 7th District since Washington's top two primary system took effect 8 years ago.

“There’s no question if you look at labor, I am the labor candidate,” said Jayapal Monday.

Jayapal points to around 40 union endorsements; Walkinshaw's campaign has less than five, so far.

“I'm very proud of my labor voting record,” said Walkinshaw.

So, on Labor day, at a labor picnic — KING 5 asked each candidate to name their one number labor related issue that they would push, if elected.

“Income inequality is a huge issue,” said Sen. Jayapal. “That is not just raising the minimum wage, it's also making sure that we are addressing this huge gap in disparity and wealth. That means reforming our tax system; it means making sure we allow workers to organize and have collective bargaining rights. You have seen that that’s been going down.”  

“I strongly support a $15 minimum wage nationally,” answered Walkinshaw. “But, moreover we really need to work alongside the labor community, so that we are able to move quickly in addressing climate change. I'm the environmental candidate in this race, I have been running on a very strong climate platform, and we need someone who can build the bridges so that we can transition to a low carbon economy in this country.”

Following the primary, Walkinshaw received to the endorsement of the third place finisher in the race, King County Councilmember Joe McDermott.

Jayapal’s campaign, meanwhile, points to a poll commissioned by her campaign that shows her with a double digit lead, 43-29 percent, as well as a lead among McDermott’s primary voters surveyed in the same poll. 

The poll found she’s strongest support with the “progressive/liberal majority." Jayapal, one of the early supporters of Bernie Sanders received his support ahead of the August primary. 

Walkinshaw’s campaign, though, points to gains he’s made, since the primary results when he trailed Jayapal by 21 points.

The 7th Congressional District encompasses much of Seattle, Vashon Island, Edmonds, Shoreline and Burien. 

Copyright 2016 KING


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