By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Our kids’ education. Growing traffic. Homelessness. These are big issues that affect our lives and community every day. What can we do about them? We can vote! Election Day is just a day away.
My ballot for the November 2 general election arrived in the mail a few days ago. The ballot mostly includes contests for local government offices, and the attention these races have received has been nowhere near what we saw with the 2020 election. Still, spending some time learning about the local candidates and voting is so important for our families and for our Jewish community.
The decisions of local officeholders, many of them not well known to the public and serving in part-time positions, have an immediate impact on our daily lives. How are public schools educating our children? What’s being done about our region’s ever-growing traffic? How is homelessness being dealt with? How safe are our cities and towns?
Local governments impact issues of special concern to our Jewish community. Cities and counties make decisions about land use that affect Jewish institutions. They provide essential services for people in need, including immigrants and refugees trying to restart their lives in our region. Local officeholders set an example—their words and actions have consequences for the ongoing fight against antisemitism and hate crimes.
Your Federation’s advocacy team pays close attention to public policy matters at the local level because of their impact on Jewish Puget Sound. We worked successfully with other Jewish organizations to defeat ill-advised legislation at the Seattle City Council that would have barred police exchanges with Israel and other countries. We have advocated strongly that Seattle Public Schools take culturally significant days, including major Jewish holidays, into account when planning school calendars.
The key to effective advocacy is making our voice heard on issues that matter. When you vote in local elections, you are raising our community’s voice. You are participating in the governance of the broader society in which our community lives—an obligation deeply rooted in Jewish values and wisdom traditions.
Please take a few minutes to learn about the candidates running for local office and return your completed ballot in the mail or in a handy drop box by 8 pm on Tuesday. And if you’ve already voted, kol hakavod!