1. Perkins Coie attorney and civil rights activist David Perez has filed to run for state representative in Seattle's 36th legislative district. Specifically, Perez filed to run for state Rep. Reuven Carlyle's (D-36, Queen Anne) seat, but he tells PubliCola he has no intention to take on Carlyle, the powerful house finance chair, and only filed for Carlyle's position as a placeholder "in the event there is a vacancy."
Perez says: "I've touched base with each of the incumbents. I have assured them that I look forward to endorsing and contributing to them if they seek re-election. But in the event there is a vacancy, as a first time candidate, I am making sure that I am prepared. That's all."
The only scenario in which we can imagine there'd be a vacancy, though we'd be surprised at this turn of events, is if Sen. Kohl-Welles, first elected to the state house in 1994 before moving to the senate in 1998, retired. As we noted in today's PubliCalendar, Kohl-Welles is hosting a legislative session preview this weekend at her Belltown apartment.
Kohl-Welles tells PubliCola: "All three of us [she and Carlyle and state Rep. Gael Tarleton] are running. At this point my plan is to run. I think he [Perez] is making a lot of assumptions."
Perez got some public notice in the Seattle Times last year for his research into the intent of Washington state's founding fathers re: the constitutional principle of the simple majority; Perez was doing some pro bono work to help overturn Tim Eyman's two-thirds-to-raise-taxes rule, which has since been ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court, though not based on Perez's brief. (Perez also writes for PubliCola as our LawNerd.)
Perez, 28, was a legal advisor to the activists and legislators in Olympia last year who were trying to pass the Voting Rights Act, legislation that would have allowed local communities where minorities have been disenfranchised at the polls to move to districted elections. Perez testified in front of a house committee last year in support of the VRA, which went on to pass the Democratic house, but failed to move in the Republican-controlled senate.
Perez, a Yale law school grad and son of Cuban immigrants, is the second young Latino to come across our legislative news radar screen this month. Cuban-American Brady Walkinshaw, 29, who added a dose of (frankly, inspiring) Latino identity politics to the lily-white 43rd, was recommended by Democratic precinct committee officers earlier this month to fill state Rep. Jamie Pedersen's (D-43, Capitol Hill) seat; Pedersen is taking mayor elect Ed Murray's state senate seat.
2. In other Friday afternoon news, there was no breakthrough in the second straight day of transportation package negotiations in Olympia. The parties—Democrats who want more transit and Republicans who want to shift some sales taxes and toxic cleanup dollars into the fund—aren't meeting again until Wednesday.