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Pierce County race for 28th district sees two diverse candidates

The district has typically voted Republican. If Democrat challenger T'wina Nobles wins, she will be the state's first Black Senator since 2010.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Voters in the 28th District, a Pierce County area that’s historically sent Republicans to Olympia, have two distinct candidates to choose from in November: A formerly homeless Black woman versus a White incumbent lawyer.

Democrat challenger T’wina Nobles beat Republican Sen. Steve O’Ban in the August primary, setting up a rematch next month.

If she wins, Nobles would be the only Black member in the Senate and the state's first since 2010.

Nobles said she was inspired to serve the public after being homeless and partially raised by the foster system in Alabama.

She gave birth as a teen and said she’s been defying the odds ever since.

“I have always used those statistics and the things people say as information, but not as a way to define what I can do, who I can be,” said Nobles, “I work really hard, and I’ll work really hard for this district.”

Nobles, who earned a Bachelors and Masters degree from the University of Puget Sound, is currently the C.E.O. of the Tacoma Urban League and a member of the University Place School Board.

She listed increasing access to broadband, supporting small business, generating rent and mortgage assistance, and providing car tab relief as her priorities if elected.

Nobles said she would support a capital gains tax on the state’s wealthiest investors as a way to generate funding for state programs and projects.

O’Ban, raised in Pierce County by a single mother, has been in the state Senate since 2013.

He said he has earned another term by fighting against tax increases, finding ways to support the state’s mentally ill, and working to reform the state’s car tab system.

“I’m clearly the guy who’s going to make 30-dollar car tabs a reality,” said O’Ban.

“This election is about whether the district wants somebody who’s a Seattle-style progressive, supports an income tax on capital gains, and opposes 30-dollar car tabs,” said O’Ban, “Or wants to support someone… somebody who’s been fighting hard for 30-dollar car tabs and reform mental health.”

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