Left: Courtesy of Anne-Marije Rook. Right: Courtesy of voteforegael.org
Linde Knighton and Gael Tarleton are two Ballardites seeking Rep. Dickerson's 36th District House seat.

Two Ballard women step up seeking Rep. Dickerson's 36th District seat

On Monday, Port of Seattle Commission President Gael Tarleton announced that she is seeking the 36th District House seat to be vacated by State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle.

With her announcement, Tarleton became the second Ballardite in the race, next to Progressive Party member Linde Knighton.

Rep. Dickerson represented the 36th District, which includes parts of Ballard, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, Fremont and Belltown, for 18 years and announced her retirement earlier this month.

Nick Cail and John Burbank also announced bids to run for the 36th District House seat.

“We need to carry the accomplishments and legacy of Rep. Dickerson forward,” said Tarleton, who will run on four key issues: job creation along with protecting women’s health and reproductive rights, higher education and the environment. “I have a proven track record of protecting and creating jobs, fighting for women and minority-owned businesses, protecting the environment and championing Washington’s higher-education community.”

Knighton also acknowledged Rep. Dickerson's accomplishments, particularly her speaking up for an income tax, working towards the legalization of medicinal marijuana, and fighting human trafficking. But Knighton said there are many things Dickerson didn't do, and Knighton will run on a platform that emphasizes tax reform, education, and election reform.

Meet the Ballard women looking to represent in Olympia:

Linde Knighton:

A former home health aid, Kinghton, 64, is looking to change things up in Olympia.

"I have spent a lot of time in Olympia and I know how things work, and why they so often they don’t. I think it is past time to stop business as usual, and get people elected who know who is boss," she said. "Sometimes it feels like the people are petitioners in a medieval court, asking the Lord for favors. But these representatives are elected to represent you. You're the boss."

Knighton co-founded the 43rd-46th District Green Party, served as Deputy Chair of Washington State Green Party, and ran for state senator in 2002. She left the Green Party to co-restore Progressive Party of Washington in 2003, and was the 2006  Progressive Party candidate for the state house seat from Seattle's 43rd District.

"One thing I can bring that others can't is freedom from the Democratic and Republican parties," she said. "I am a member of the Progressive Party, and I can ignore or work with either party depending on what is best for Washington."

And what's best for Washington, according to Knighton, is tax reform.

"We need to fix the tax system and I'm frustrated that no one seems to want to do it," she said. "If we don’t have money coming in, we don’t have money to pay for what we need to run our state."

An active member of Sisters Organize for Survival, Knighton has been working to get the Legislature to save Basic Health and education by taxing the rich and wealthy Corporations.

"We need jobs in this state. Our last budget cut so many jobs that is makes no sense to me at all," she said. "We have huge corporations getting millions in tax breaks. I think it is time they share the cost of the infrastructure they use daily, as well as the education system that teaches their workers, the fire and police departments that protect them, and the Board of Health that immunizes them…especially when small businesses provide over 50% of private sector jobs."

Knighton feels very strongly about fixing the tax system to restore funding for education and healthcare.
"People don't realize that we are constitutionally required to fund education," she said. "But that doesn’t happen under our current system."

Knighton also calls for the revival of the Basic Heath Care Plan, a state-wide insurance policy that was available (and affordable) to Washington residents and helped cover catastrophic costs, and prescriptions.

"With our lack of funds, we have cut Health Care to ribbons. We have cut hours of care needed by our frail elderly, shut down group hospitals needed by the most impaired of our Developmentally Disabled," Knighton said. "We must revive this plan."

Knighton realizes that as a third party member, people often believe that she can't win, or that when people vote for a third party, they're taking away votes from the democrats.

"Statistically, the 36th District has the fourth highest percentage of Democratic voters in the state," Knighton said. "There is no way a Republican could possibly win."
Learn more about Linde Knighton at http://youremyboss.org.

Gael Tarleton:

Originally from Gloucester, MA, Tarleton, is a life-long Democrat who has lived in Ballard for 18 years.

She has worked at the University of Washington for the past eight years, most recently serving as strategic advisor at the Institute for National Security Education and Research. The Institute focuses on research and initiatives for public safety and national security.

Her previous experience include a 10-year-stint at the Pentagon as a senior defense intelligence, running two international subsidiaries of a Fortune 500 company in Russia where she managed multi-million budgets and helped rebuild the country after the Cold War collapse.

Gael also reported to Al Gore’s commission on global climate change and she developed plans for oil spill response and clean up for the U.S. Coast Guard, and in 996 she became the first U.S. businesswoman ever to address a joint session of the Russian parliament in 1996.

As a member of the Northwest Women’s Political Caucus and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Tarleton said passage of the Reproductive Parity Act is a priority in her campaign.

“We have fought hard to secure the basic health and reproductive rights of women. It’s clear our battle to protect women’s health still has a long way to go. The women of today must always fight for our next generation,” she said.

Tarleton was re-elected for a second term to the Port of Seattle Commission last year with 59.5 percent of the vote in King County. She defeated Republican incumbent Bob Edwards in 2007, with 54 percent of the vote. She is the third woman ever to be elected to the Port.

In her re-election bid last year, Tarleton earned the endorsements of 15 labor unions, King County Conservation Voters, Washington Conservation Voters, state and local Democrats throughout King County, The Seattle Times and The Stranger.

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