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Is there equity and inclusion in politics?


Questions of equity and inclusion are pertinent in politics. First let’s define them to be sure we are on the same page. While equality ensures everything is the same; equity balances things out for disadvantage situations. The best example is a person with certain disability cannot perform the same job as someone without. Equity provides the tools to where they can. Inclusion is making sure all stakeholders are at the table. Doctors and lawyers have to include their client in making decisions about them, because it involves them and their right to choose. I've actively engaged with diverse communities, attending events, and distributing campaign materials. My core values revolve around support, community, and unity. I've worked to showcase the diversity within our communities, support the unheard and underrepresented, and bridge gaps that divide us.

Despite my efforts, recognition for my campaign has been a struggle. Larger news outlets have failed to acknowledge my candidacy fully, often sidelining or misrepresenting me. This lack of recognition became particularly evident when other candidates received coverage while I remained largely invisible. In the case of radio, 610 Kona acknowledged unrecognized candidates, but others continued to overlook my presence. This lack of representation extended to articles such as the one by Eden Villalovas in the Washington Examiner. The article highlighted Semi Bird as a potentially groundbreaking candidate but failed to provide me with a similar spotlight, despite the potential historic significance of my campaign.

I have had to jump through hoops to be acknowledged on platforms like Wikipedia and Ballotpedia. Securing my presence has proved to be demanding, especially without having a campaign manager, who can be a costly addition. What does a campaign manager cost? Anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. These bureaucratic processes consumed a significant amount of my time, a valuable resource in a busy campaign.

The challenges continued as I encountered dismissive attitudes from certain politicians. Despite my efforts to schedule meetings outside of official office hours, some politicians, like Mayor Victoria Woodard, remained unresponsive or evasive. The lack of acknowledgment and genuine engagement has been a recurring issue, often leaving me to wonder whether I am being actively avoided.

I encountered Mayor Victoria Woodard, who has treated me invisible. To clarify, during my initial interaction with her at the Tacoma Juneteenth 2022, I expressed my interest in running for a position and inquired about scheduling a meeting outside of her office hours, as discussing politics during her official hours violates political laws. Unfortunately, my attempts to arrange such a meeting have gone unanswered. She never made eye contact and uttered a quick, "Sure, just call my office," while diverting her attention to someone across the field and calling out to them while I was still speaking.

I made another attempt by reaching out to her office, suggesting a coffee meeting during her free time. Her assistant then scheduled an appointment at a coffee shop, where I was instructed to note down my questions and assured that I would receive a follow-up email with answers. Regrettably, no email ever arrived.

I encountered her once more at the Tacoma Dome, and as I began introducing myself, she already seemed familiar with me. Despite my persistent efforts to communicate outside of her office, she suggested trying her office again after August. At this point, a woman interrupted our conversation, requesting a quick photo. Both of them assured it would be brief. Following the photo, the lady asked Victoria to meet her dad. To my surprise, it was not just her father but an entire fan club she engaged with.

I understand that if I don't make these efforts to reach out, despite the evident signs of avoidance, people may argue that I did not try. However, going the extra mile might be perceived as excessive. I'm aware that when a politician is genuinely interested in engaging with you, particularly outside of their political commitments, they would either arrange a meeting during their available hours or share their personal contact details.

On another occasion, I approached Mayor Bruce Harrell at the Tabor 100 Gala in 2022, and he advised me to contact his office. I subsequently sent three emails and made a final attempt this past September 2023, but there has been no response. Only two Democratic politicians have responded in this manner. One was familiar with me from my advocacy for college funding and mistakenly believed I wanted a reference to work in the capital. The other had heard my name but had trouble finding me on search engines, a challenge I had previously encountered with Ballotpedia. We attended a family dinner, and he has graciously referred me to helpful resources. While there have been some republican politicians who have been more receptive to conversation outside of political hours and letting me know issues their districts have, but they have loyalties to their party.

My efforts to engage with politicians proved similarly frustrating. Despite repeated attempts to initiate contact, staying with campaign laws highlights the barriers I face as an independent candidate. There is equality to information and research availability. The PDC (public disclosure committee) is great about picking up the phone and walking you through anything you need help with. I have not had a bad experience with them. I can’t say email response is good. I haven’t had the chance to give a follow up call about why I may not be getting an email response.




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