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Pro-union, pro-public education candidates win with WEA-PAC support

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3 Manka doorbellers
More than 600 WEA members worked to elect Manka Dhingra to the state Senate.

Dozens of WEA-PAC-recommended candidates won their elections Nov. 7, including a WEA member who was elected to her local school board.

And in a crucial race that attracted national attention, WEA members helped elect Democrat Manka Dhingra – restoring a pro-worker, pro-public education majority in the state Senate.

Evergreen Education Association member Wendy Smith, a high school teacher, won a seat on the Vancouver School Board. Smith, a longtime union activist, told The Columbian that she will focus on making sure all students, especially children in need, get the education they deserve.

“I see the realities of those inequities in the classroom every day so that’s a high priority for me,” Smith said.

In the 45th Legislative District east of Seattle, electing Dhingra was a WEA-PAC and WEA priority. Dhingra defeated her opponent by double digits in the race, which attracted record campaign spending totaling nearly $9 million.

More than 600 WEA members worked to elect Dhingra by knocking on doors and talking to voters, connecting with voters in a personal way that no other group did. WEA also worked with the Washington State Labor Council to encourage union members in the district to vote for Dhingra.

Kim Mead and Manka Dhingra
WEA President Kim Mead and Senator-elect Manka Dhingra.

Throughout her campaign, Dhingra thanked WEA members for their support and emphasized her support for union rights and public education – both of her children attend Lake Washington public schools.

“Children in every corner of the state deserve equal access to a high-quality, state-funded education that meets their unique needs,” Dhingra told WEA members.

Approximately 75 percent of the candidates WEA-PAC supported this year won their elections. Here is a list.

At an election night event, WEA Vice President Stephen Miller thanked the WEA members who worked to elect Dhingra. Miller encouraged them to stay involved, especially when the 2018 legislative session begins in January. The WEA Board recently adopted a Unity Agenda for the session, which focuses on winning collective bargaining rights for two-year college faculty, improving K-12 funding, increasing retiree benefits and other goals that benefit members and students.

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