This Washington

34th District Candidate Heavey Won't Participate in Summerfest if NARAL Can't

By Erica C. Barnett July 7, 2010

Mike Heavey, one of three candidates for state representative in the 34th District, says he won't participate in West Seattle Summerfest—a huge annual festival in West Seattle—unless the fest's organizers, the West Seattle Junction Association, allow NARAL to participate in the festival. NARAL has had a table at the fest for nine years. This year, however, the WSJA told them they couldn't participate because of anti-choice protesters whose graphic visual materials were inappropriate for a family event.

In a letter to WSJA director Susan Melrose, Heavey wrote:
I believe the way you prevent bad speech is by encouraging more free speech, not less.  Additionally, I share the goals of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington about educating our citizens with medically-accurate information. The goals of both NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and Planned Parenthood are not only in sync with West Seattle, but also our state. ... It would be a shame to let a few extreme and objectionable organizations ruin the great advocacy work of both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.

... If the WSJA will continue to hold firm to its position, I will regrettably have to decline participation from this year’s event.  I do not do so flippantly or reactively, as this is a great event in the center of a district where I am seeking election. Losing this opportunity to meet with voters and increase my visibility is not a decision I make lightly. However, I am a 100% pro-choice candidate and this ban runs counter to my beliefs and I believe does a severe injustice to the vast majority of my district who votes pro-choice.  I hope other candidates up and down the ticket agree with me and will join me in asking you to reconsider your position.

Joe Fitzgibbon, one of two other Democrats running for the position, says, "I'm not happy about the decision to exclude NARAL and punish them for the over-the-top behavior of the anti-choice groups." Instead of not participating in the festival at all, he says, he'll help out NARAL by handing out postcards.

Marcee Stone, the remaining Democrat in the race, had no comment on whether she would participate in the festival, according to her spokesman, Kenyon Foxworthy.
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