LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT NO. 43
Representative Position No. 2: Frank Chopp
The SECB loves a badass socialist. (See Sawant, Kshama.) But socialist Jess Spear didn’t convince us she’s ready to bring the people’s revolution to Olympia, and we think longtime House Speaker Frank Chopp and his maddening incrementalism will actually do more for the issues we care about, more quickly, than a Spear election would.
That’s because Spear, who sees Sawant’s success on the nine-member Seattle City Council as her model for success in Olympia, seems to believe that electing just one socialist from one Seattle district to the 98-member state House will suddenly cause the rest of the House members to march behind her on rent control, a higher minimum wage, and forcing CEOs to give out free foot rubs. Yeah, we made up that last one, but really, Spear says things like, “I think electing me alone will cause many people in the legislature to understand.” Wrong. If the motherfucking state supreme court can’t even make people in the legislature understand, under the threat of a contempt of court finding, then how is one election in one ultraliberal district going to transform the minds of people representing Omak and Moses Lake, never mind a majority of House Democrats? Sawant moved the city council by capturing the imagination of a majority of Seattleites, which is the kind of thing that makes every other council member sit up and pay attention. Spear isn’t going to capture the imagination of a majority of the nearly seven million Washingtonians with her focus on rent control. She didn’t even convince a majority of the SECB that rent control is a great idea. (How’s it working out in New York and San Francisco?)
Frank Chopp came into our offices and pointed out the window at affordable housing units that are under construction, right now, because of his efforts. “I’m the strongest leader on affordable housing,” he says. We believe him. He did vote for the $9 billion Boeing giveaway, which is socialism of the wrong kind (corporate socialism), but he also backed a $15 minimum wage. In SeaTac. Before Seattle’s wage was even on the table. And he’s done more to secure free healthcare for low-income Washingtonians over the last ten years than Spear could by deposing him as house speaker. (That kind of change in house leadership, by the way, would likely usher in the reign of “moderate” Democrat Pat Sullivan of Covington—go ahead, find it on a map—who’s the current house majority leader and is opposed to sensible gun control legislation like universal background checks that close the gun show loophole.) Chopp also knows what the MVET is and how it connects to saving Metro; Spear was confused on this issue during our interview, and had to e-mail later to clarify her position.
True, the SECB threatened in 2010 to pee on Chopp’s lawn if he didn’t get more aggressive in pushing his liberal values at the state level, and he definitely should check his front yard for dead spots. He doesn’t have a Twitter or Facebook presence for his campaign—doesn’t even have a real campaign website—and because of this and other shortcomings, largely fails to communicate all his “inside game” accomplishments or use his bully pulpit in a way that makes a modern citizen notice. Still, he’s grinding along in the right direction, which is no small feat in today’s Olympia, and the list of solid progressive bills he’s ushered through the House—only to have them killed by the motherfucking Republican senate—is long. Vote Chopp.