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Representation Matters: Supporting Johnson and Taylor in Federal Way

06/10/2020
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Jesse Johnson

Black Lives Matter, and Black voices matter.  As we work to dismantle institutional racism, we need to elect more candidates of color who can speak from their experiences and hold our systems accountable to the change we need.  This year we can amplify talented Black voices in Olympia by reelecting Rep. Jesse Johnson and electing attorney Jamila Taylor in the 30th legislative district (Federal Way).

Representative Jesse Johnson understands the importance of representation.  “Growing up as a young Black man in the Pacific Northwest, there aren’t a lot of us, so I feel like I didn’t know my total identity or who I was until college when I joined an African-American fraternity in college,” recalled Rep. Johnson.  “I minored in African-American studies and got really excited about my life journey, even the parts from my family even before I was born.  Now I like helping young people find their identity.”

Rep. Johnson, a graduate of Federal Way High School and the University of Washington, was only the second African-American man elected to Federal Way City Council, the city that is home to the most diverse school district in the state.  He was also the youngest Councilmember ever elected at age 27. 

“We need to be sure our elected officials match and represent our community—Latinx, indigenous, Asian Pacific Islanders, everyone,” noted Rep. Johnson.  “We need everyone represented on our city council.”

His roots in education are as deep as his roots in the community.  Rep. Johnson started his career as an Americorps educator at Garfield High School in Seattle and earned his Masters in Education from the University of Washington.  He’s currently working with principals on their recruitment and retention programs for staff in the Highline School District.  He is a fellow member of the Washington Education Association. 

“I’m drawn to education for the young people, to help them succeed, whether that’s in the trades, entrepreneurship, employment, or college,” Rep. Johnson shared.  “I love being able to influence our future policy makers and future generations.”

Rep. Johnson was appointed to his seat in December and is running to continue his leadership in Olympia.  He understands the importance of education and school funding and has been a strong voice for labor and working families.

“One of my fraternity slogans was a voteless people is a hopeless people,” Rep. Johnson remarked.  “Our vote is power –it’s important that people use their voice vocally through action and manually through voting.”

Jesse is running alongside Jamila Taylor, an attorney and community activist.  “I am running because we need new voices and experienced leaders committed to addressing our shared concerns about homelessness and affordable housing, public safety, health care, and equity,” said Taylor.

She’s bringing community voices to the forefront in her campaign.  “The tough challenges we face demand action and leadership,” Taylor remarked.  “I’m proud of the experience and perspective I’ll bring to the legislature, reflecting my deep commitment to public service and positive change that works for all the people in our community.”

Washington Education Association is proud to have endorsed Representative Jesse Johnson to hold his seat and Jamila Taylor for Representative in the 30th legislative district in Federal Way.

Posted in: Elections | Blog Entries
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