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Seattle’s Congressional Race: Is Carpet Bagging OK?

Jayapal icoI may vote for Pramila Jayapal, BUT:

Before deciding how to vote, I worry that Pramila is a carpetbagger.
She does not live in District 7, my District.  
Pramila’s District, District 9, has a diverse population of poor refugees.  These are  immigrants fleeing poverty and war in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.   As a State Senator, Pramila has done a great job representing this diverse and poor community.   My District, District  7, however,  is wealthy and home to major players in the US economy .. Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft, and the University of Washington.   We have immigrants too .. well-off immigrants like Ms. Jayapal, who come here for job opportunities in tech companies and the University. 
So, my guess is that Ms. Jayapal  chose District 7 as a career move.  Why?  My guess is that her key factors were money, influence, and race.  Affluent Seattle, District 7, is a city with a great port, sprouting sky scrapers, the Amazon behemoth, a world class university and a large collection of super billionaires.

This city is now called “the whitest in America.”
Race should be an issue here.  District 7 once had a large and influential African American community.  That community in now gone for two reasons. First, progressive allies of Ms. Jayapal gerrymandered Seattle to create a Congressional District for “people of color.”  This may have been well intended but the result was apartheid.  The middle class Black areas of Seattle were moved into a district where the majority is made up of immigrants .. people from Africa, Latin America and Asia.   
The creation of a “majority minority” District marginalized Black politicians who once were seen as leaders for the whole city.
Gerrymandering has gone hand in hand with gentrification.  The liberal community thinks African Americans are fleeing Seattle because of the rise in the costs of housing.  This condescending  idea ignores the reality of Seattle.   Some Seattle African Americans people have been priced out of Carpet bagger iso questionsSeattle but many have gone to equally expensive suburbs.  Far more important to the  large middle class African American community have been Seattle’s terrible school system, drugs, and gangs.
Now District 7 is white and yellow.   There is a huge immigration of people like Pramila .. techies and business types.  Indian immigrants are prominent in this city.  Techies associated with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Expedia do very well here, so well that our iconic company, Microsoft, is now headed by Satya Nadella.
A sad result of immigration of techies into Seattle and Black flight is the destruction of Black churches and cultural centers.  All of this contrasts with Pramila Jayapal’s background.  Jayapal  is the  the daughter of an upper class Indian family who migrated at age 16 to the US after living in  Indonesia and Singapore. She attended elite American universities and went on to a career on Wall Street. 

So far, Pramila Jayapal has said nothing about Black flight or the cultural issues facing Seattle. She seems not to see the difference between the deeply rooted African American part of

Kshama Sawant 's campaign against Pam Banks was heavily funded by her allis in the Socialist Alliance .. an East Coast poltical part.

Kshama Sawant ‘s campaign against Pam Banks was heavily funded by the Socialist Alliance .. an East Coast political party that identifies itself as Trotsykite.  Sawant (left) is campaigning now against Hillary Clinton because she sees Mrs. Clinton as a conservative.

Seattle, and immigrants from Somalia. As one example, Ms. Jayapal worked very hard to elect Kshama Sawant, a fellow high level Indian tech immigrant, to the Seattle City Council.  Sawant’s opponent was Pamela Banks, a deeply rooted African American woman who has worked hard and successfully as the CEO of the Urban League. 

I would like to see Pramila and her opponents address three other issues.  
  • The first is higher education.  District 7 is home to the University of Washington.  The UW, along with Berkeley, is one of only two world class Universities still owned by a state.  UNC, Illinois, Wisconsin and others have been ravaged by right wing legislatures.  The UW stands out as a great public University but it is dependent on waning Federal support.  In a techie city with no private University of note, the threat to Seattle is ominous.   Pramila talks about higher education in terms of the need for subsidies to less affluent people, but she does not talk about the need for excellent universities like the UW. 
  • My second issue is  the port.  The only deep water port on the West Coast, Puget Sound is home to a major part of the US Navy’s Pacific operations. The Port of Seattle is a major port for trade with China, much of the Alaskan fishing fleet is based in Seattle, and we are the home to much of the US Coast Guard’s North Pacific operations.  Of immediate Congressional importance, there is an urgent need for ice breakers to respond to the melting of the North Pole.  Sadly, the US government now has only two very aged ice breakers.  Presumably the next Congressional Representative for District 7 will take a lading role in all of these issues.   Pramila talks about jobs but seems unaware of how many working class folks depend on our port. 
  • The third issue, at least for me, is Amazon.  Amazon is not just a local success, Mr. Bezos has created a world changing behemoth.  As progressives, shouldn’t Pramila and her opponents address Amazon’s fulfillment centers?  The fulfillment centers  upend the role of unions in the American workspace.  Seattle’s Amazon is also having a huge effect on small business … probably a bigger than the effects of  Bentonville, Arkansas’ Walmart.  Can a Congressperson from Seattle influence this?  
Finally, back at my carpetbagger meme, last night I met a number of people in Pramila’s campaign. Most were veterans of the Bernie Sander’s campaign.  That makes sense, however, I was disturbed to hear about the effort to nationalize the District 7 campaign, bringing in volunteers from across the US, manning phone trees with Sanders volunteers in New York  and raising funding from the Sanders campaign.  This reminds me painfully of the national  support behind Kshama Sawant’s campaign for Seattle City Council.  Sawant may have brought in as much a $1 million dollars in black money support, especially from the SEIU, in the campaign against Pamela Banks.   Pramila’s campaign should show that she is running to represent District 7. 

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