Educators Support Ingrid Anderson
We are strongest for our students and our profession when we have a state legislature that understands and supports public education. In our union, members come together to interview political candidates and then vote to endorse candidates who will stand with us and our students. A group of local union members in the fifth legislative district (Issaquah) volunteered to interview Washington State Nurse Association (WSNA) member and state senate candidate Ingrid Anderson. WEA-PAC voted unanimously to endorse her.
Special Education Teacher Rachel Tochiki from Highland Middle School in Bellevue was among the volunteers on Ingrid’s WEA interview committee. We reached out to her to hear more about the interview and why she voted to endorse Ingrid.
WEA: What impressed you about Ingrid?
RACHEL: What impressed me most was her knowledge and expertise. She’s given testimony in Olympia, she’s on the Political Action Committee (PAC) board for WSNA, and she talks fluently about issues that matter to us like healthcare reform and worker advocacy. She takes her passion on those issues and turned it into action in Olympia to make sure the nurses had their voices heard. She’s also been working with Washington State Labor Council to learn more about other issues important to working families like housing and livable wages. She showed that she has a firm base of knowledge to be a successful candidate.
WEA: Is there anything she said in her interview that was really memorable?
RACHEL: Ingrid said, “Educators are the souls of our community – you make a different and you’re a valuable resource. I would be a better advocate for you.”
She also said her mom was a paraeducator for 25 years, so she sees the work ESPs do and knows how educators are part of the community and how we work to grow our communities.
WEA: In what ways did she show passion for education issues?
RACHEL: For me as a special ed teacher so much of what I do is help support our students with wrap-around services. She showed she knows what wrap around is and is familiar with the push to do things like have a community health center on campus or bring more social workers and nurses into schools. She knows all the pieces that go into education besides teachers.
She also credits her success to educators. She said when she was young she didn’t have a linear path, struggled in school, and didn’t feel safe. She had teachers that told her she could do it, held her accountable, and helped her along the way. She and her husband now show their gratitude for those educators by funding two scholarships each year to help the next generation.
WEA: Why is it important for you to have Ingrid representing you in Olympia?
RACHEL: It was impressive that she talked about adding more mental health services, including providing mental health therapy services in schools, and she even mentioned that it would be good to bring services on campus for our students experiencing suicidal thoughts or those with substance problems. This isn’t her main platform, but she knows that to be a teacher isn’t just getting test scores—she sees and is aware of what the possibilities are of being an educator beyond teaching. I found that really impressive.
WEA: Why should your fellow educators vote for her?
RACHEL: You should vote for Ingrid because we need new leadership. Her opponent has supported charter schools, urged voters not to pass their local levies, and sponsored legislation to cut teacher pay and limit collective bargaining rights. Ingrid would be a better advocate for educators, for students and for schools.
WEA: What actions would you encourage fellow WEA members take to support her?
RACHEL: I know that door knocking is not really happening this go-around, but text banking and digital action works great. Members can join the WEA Digital Action Team to get the word out about Ingrid. And, of course, vote!