Appoint Chelsea Rustad to Tumwater City Council Position #1
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On January 17, 2018, Nicole Hill resigned from position #1 of the Tumwater City Council ahead of a move to Arizona. To fill the vacancy, the City Council will undergo an appointment process, whereby candidates will submit their applications by February 5, and will then respond to interview questions at a special public meeting of the City Council on February 24. The Councilmembers will then appoint the new Councilmember by formal motion, and the Mayor may break a tie vote. Finally, the newly appointed Councilmember for position #1 will be sworn in at the Council meeting on March 6.
Chelsea Rustad inquired about the position immediately in December upon learning of the forthcoming vacancy, and is submitting her application. Having spent the better part of 2017 campaigning for Tumwater City Council position #5 and engaging in activism for multiple organizations, worthy causes, and her fellow local candidates, she ran an explicitly anti-capitalist and openly socialist campaign as a member of the Socialist Party USA. Specifically, Chelsea advocated for worker ownership, a democratically-elected citizen oversight council and eventual community patrols in place of traditional policing, full employment, living wages, affordable housing/ending gentrification, universal healthcare and reproductive care, transition to sustainable energy sources, and the appropriation of vacant lots and buildings for legal use by houseless members of our community. Complex and enduring issues call for radical, bold solutions, and Chelsea did not shy away from this message in her campaign for City Council. She believes that even if our opinions differ, Tumwater residents deserve to know exactly where their would-be representatives stand.
Chelsea's campaign earned the endorsement of the Socialist Party USA National Action Committee, the Green Party of South Puget Sound, Our Revolution Thurston, Our Revolution Washington, Washington Berniecrats, Equal Rights Washington, and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington's listing as a 100% pro-choice candidate. In addition, she received personal sole endorsements from Mimi Soltysik, Socialist Party USA 2016 presidential candidate, and Kyle Taylor Lucas, former Tumwater City Councilmember. By refusing to accept PAC money or seek capitalist endorsements, Chelsea ran a clean campaign she could be proud of, earning 1,153 votes in November's general election.
The momentum didn't stop when Election Day came and went. Chelsea has continued this important work without interruption, forging coalitions with other radical movements and agitators in Tumwater and throughout Thurston County, and taking direct action to help the most vulnerable members of our community.
In December of 2017, Chelsea and the Socialist Party USA organized the Jingle of Hope, a massive cleanup effort which removed 8 tons of garbage, 150 shopping carts, and over 700 sharps from the largest homeless encampment in Olympia, known as the Jungle of Hope. In addition to planning a follow-up "Jingle Strikes Back" cleanup for the end of January, Chelsea is working with other socialist groups such as Socialist Alternative and Oly DSA to help organize a socialist/anti-capitalist bloc for the Women's March. She has worked with Just Housing, United Love in Action Coalition, Oly DSA, Olympia Industrial Workers of the World, Oly SURJ, Oly Embrace, Indivisible Thurston, Olympia Community Defense, Thurston County Progressives, and volunteered with Interfaith Works, Handmaid Coalition, and Washington Won't Discriminate. First and foremost, Chelsea believes in showing up for justice through direct action, and solidarity through centering disenfranchised voices. It takes a consistent presence on the streets, working side by side with constituents and understanding their needs, to develop the trust and rapport with Tumwater's citizens that is necessary to be an effective member of its City Council.
Please help send a strong message to the Tumwater City Council: there is a growing socialist and radical movement among your constituents. We deserve representation too, and we proved in November that over one quarter of Tumwater's voters wanted the socialist option when it was presented on the ballot. We want to see our values embodied in the City Council! By appointing Chelsea to position #1, not only will 100% of the voters' wishes in that race consequently be represented, but a much-needed radical presence will finally be able to play a formal role in our local city government.
Has Tumwater ever had a socialist City Councilmember? What would be possible if we did? We'd like to find out, and Chelsea is eager to make revolutionary advances a reality for every single citizen of our city. Let's make history together.
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