No Angel, housing advocates say
To preserve hope for housing funding, advocates target key senate race in Kitsap
A race for the Washington State Senate has become an unlikely battleground in the struggle for affordable housing.
Republican Jan Angel is running for the 26th District Senate seat against Nathan Schlicher, an incumbent who has been on the job for just nine months.
Earlier this year Schlicher was appointed to lead the district, which includes Port Orchard and Gig Harbor. He replaced Derek Kilmer, who left for the U.S. House of Representatives. Schlicher’s seat is now the focal point of a power struggle between Democrats and the so-called Majority Coalition that has given conservative politicians control of the Senate.
At stake is the Democrats’ hope of salvaging state funding for housing.
Both candidates are drawing big dollars from across the region and outside the state. Angel has attracted national support from private companies including MillerCoors, and Schlicher has received support from billionaire Thomas Steyer, the owner of a California asset management company and environmentalist.”
The race is poised to break fundraising records for state legislative seats. By November, Schlicher and Angel supporters will likely raise a combined $1.6 million for the race.
“It’s a high profile race,” said Adam Isackson, Angel’s campaign manager, adding that the conservative end of the Senate has a slim majority. “A lot is at stake with a one-seat majority.”
That’s why advocates for affordable housing and social services have also gotten involved. The Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund is endorsing Schlicher.
Preventing Angel from taking Schlicher’s seat this election is important if housing advocates want to expand social services after years of cuts, said Michele Thomas, who works for the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and the Action Fund.
If Angel is elected, it would give conservative senators complete control of the Senate.
“She’s a far-right conservative,” Thomas said. “If she wins that seat, she will add to the Majority Coalition Caucus’ stronghold on the Senate.”
Angel has given housing and human services advocates reason to worry. She votes for tax breaks and has supported tough restrictions on programs for poor people. During the last legislative session, Angel proposed a state program that would require drug tests for people receiving welfare benefits.
Angel is well-known around Kitsap County. She worked for nine years as a Kitsap County Commissioner and for the past four in the Washington State House of Representatives.
Schlicher, by contrast, is relatively unknown for an incumbent. An emergency room doctor at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, he was appointed to the Senate seat to replace Derek Kilmer, who won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Schlicher’s previous political experience is limited. Before taking office, he fought legislation that would have restricted what treatments emergency rooms can provide.
The Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund is the political arm of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WLIHA), a lobbying organization that works on housing and homelessness issues in Olympia.
WLIHA started the action fund about 18 months ago to campaign for elected officials. As a 501(c)(3), the Alliance can’t endorse a candidate, but as a 501(c)(4), the Action Fund can.
CommentsRep. Angel actually has worked very hard on the issue of affordable housing. During the 2013 legislative session, Jan worked with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission to pass a bill protecting down payment assistance programs for home buyers. Jan also worked with the Washing Housing Trust Fund to ensure that to help families have safe, affordable housing. To learn more about Jan please visit http://www.janangel.com/ and feel free to contact her with any questions.
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