October 21, 2021
The signs of autumn are all around us. Chilly, rainy weather is back, Halloween decorations have popped up on homes and in yards, and your ballot for the general election has probably arrived!
Every odd-numbered year, we have an “off-off-year” election, when the races on our ballots are mostly for local offices—cities, county, school and other special districts. While campaigns for local offices may not have the level of drama and tension we’ve seen in recent years in races for statewide and federal offices, local elections matter! Local policymakers make decisions that have direct impacts on our families, neighborhoods, and community every day—schools, transportation, housing, human services, and much more.
Our work helping the Puget Sound Jewish community amplify our collective voice includes giving voters the opportunity to meet local candidates and ask them questions about critical issues that are uppermost in the minds of community members. A few weeks ago, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) joined other Jewish organizations in sponsoring a forum between Seattle mayoral candidates M. Lorena González and Bruce Harrell focused on rising antisemitism, hate crimes, extremism in our region, the effects of proposed Seattle City Council legislation on Jewish Puget Sound, and more.
The JCRC’s mission includes championing a just, democratic, and pluralistic society. That mission is especially salient when it comes to local matters. Just a few days ago, the JCRC issued a statement of concern about a campaign mailer King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert distributed containing racist and xenophobic imagery and an antisemitic trope. Such offensive and hateful content has no place in any campaign anywhere. Because the mailer came from a local officeholder whose daily decisions hit close to home, it was especially imperative for the JCRC to take a stand.
Speaking out on local issues that affect Jewish Puget Sound and advocating for our priorities to local officeholders is part of the work of keeping our community strong and vibrant. Participating in local elections by learning about candidates and voting is rooted in the Jewish ethic of playing an active role in community life. It speaks to what Hillel meant when he said, “Al tifros min hatzibur” (do not separate yourself from the community). – Pirkei Avot 2:5.
We urge every registered voter to learn about the local candidates who are asking for your vote and return your completed ballot by 8 pm on Election Day, November 2. If you’re not registered to vote, you can register online or by mail until October 25, or in person through Election Day.
Your voice matters! Raise your voice by casting your vote.
Director of JCRC and Government Affairs