Council Member Pos. 3 – James Jeyaraj

Legislative Questionnaire 2022

Candidate Info

Candidate Name:   James Jeyaraj
Position Sought:    Council Member Pos. 3
Are you an incumbent for this position?    Incumbent
Home Legislative District:    31
Are you a Democrat?    Yes

Campaign Info

Campaign Manager or Point of Contact:    John Holman
Mailing Address:    PO Box 2472 Auburn WA 98071
Phone:    +15092944191

Part I – Candidate Background

1. Please briefly describe your qualifications, education, employment, community and civic activity, union affiliation, prior political activity, and other relevant experience.

As for my qualification, I helped canvas for Auburn Mayor’s Race in 2016. After that I created a group of local activist to flip Congressional District 8 from Republican to Democratic. My team and I organized a forum which was held at the William C. Warren building. Which was attended by the top three candidates. Our grass roots helped Dr. Kim Schrier win the election. I served on the City Parks and Recreation as a Board member, before being elected to Auburn City Council Pos. 3 in 2019. Since 2021 I have been the Deputy Mayor for the City of Auburn since 2022. On behalf of the City, I serve on Sound Cities Association, on the Public Issues Committee as an alternate member and Equity and Inclusion Cabinet member. On the National League of Cities level, I was appointed to the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO) as a board member and this year I have also been appointed to Race Equity and Leadership (REAL). Locally I serve on two non profit boards as well.
As for my education – AAS degree in Network Technology from Renton Technical College. BA degree in Organizational Management from Whitworth University.
Currently I am a Production Scheduler for a local aerospace company. I have been in this field for the last 30 years.
As a planner I have been able to reach out to all departments to make the right with the right solutions for our residents.

2. What prompted you to run for this office?

When I first ran for office the biggest reason was because 2016 happened. I was not going to sit back and do nothing about it. I became an activist in my own way, the opportunity came in 2019 to run for Auburn City Council, the council flipped to a majority minority council. I am proud to be on this council as we have worked on Diversity and Equity issues at the city level. I am on the council to serve no matter who you are and where you are from, I believe in life, liberty and in the pursuit of happiness for all people, including LGBTQIA and not for a select few.

3. What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)?

Homelessness, Affordable Housing, Crime and an Economically vibrant city.

4. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?

I am starting to reach out to everyone I know locally and letting them know I will be running for re-election. I have filed with the PDC, I have a treasurer and an advisor. I have reached out to individual council members in surrounding city’s for endorsements. I am now working on reaching out to the Local Democratic LD’s, King County Democrats, Unions, local businesses and individual citizens for the endorsements and support.

Part II –  Yes or No Questions, please qualify your response if necessary

1. Do you support steps to build a fairer economy through tax reform, including a wealth tax?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #1    Teachers, firemen and janitors pay a higher percentage in taxes I believe the wealthy need to pay their fair share in taxes, because of their higher use of public infrastructure and tax breaks to make their wealth.
2. Do you support the right of public workers, excluding military, to bargain and strike?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #2
3. Do you support legalizing multi-unit homes statewide, as proposed in the #Homes4WA bill, to help alleviate the affordable housing crisis?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #3
4. Do you support legislation to address climate change and protect our environment, including the Keep Washington Evergreen Act?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #4
5. Do you support women’s unrestricted access to reproductive healthcare?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #5    Sept 12th 2022, during Auburn’s City Council Study Session, I introduced a resolution 5679, in support of individual’s right to comprehensive reproductive health care including abortion and marriage equality. We passed the resolution on Sept 19th 2022.
6. Do you support achieving a universal, affordable, quality single payer healthcare program?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #6
7. Do you support overturning “Citizens United” and imposing limits on campaign finance contributions?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #7    Citizens United has promoted dark money into politics, money is speech based on the Supreme court on a 5-4 decision in 2010.
It has given way to special interest and their lobbyist more power in DC. It has allowed unlimited election spending by corporations. Primarily Citizen United has worked in favor of the electoral success of Republican Candidates.
8. Do you support laws regulating the purchase, ownership, and carrying of firearms?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #8    I believe in the 2nd amendment and I strongly support regulating gun ownership.

Part III – Free Response (Please answer at least four questions fully, consider the remaining three optional)

1. Why are you running as a Democrat? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?

I am seeking a Democratic endorsement because I am a card carrying liberal, tree hugging Democrat, I believe in social justice for all people not just for a select few. I accept the whole constitution, I also believe in the separation of Church and State.

2. What important state and local issues have you worked on (or taken an interest in) that you feel aren’t getting enough attention from elected leaders and the media?

3. What legislative reforms do you support to achieve greater equity and inclusion for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals in our communities?

I believe we should protect all individual rights of freedom. We are all equal members in our society, I don’t care about one’s birth or chosen gender, or if a person is gay, lesbian or not, what matters to me is one’s true character. We as individuals have to be honest with ourselves as to who we are as human beings. Race or Ethnicity has been around since the beginning of time, it only became a Hierarchical issue when men wanted power over another race and to exploit their labor for free. Now that power is even more powerful.
Currently I am on Sound Cities Association’s, Equity and Inclusion Cabinet, and just got appointed to a one year term to be on the National League of Cities – REAL Council , Race, Equity and Leadership. On the SCA board we have been pushing for more equity for all members, what we find is, some of the senior members do not want to give up their positions of influence. We believe we have to start from within and spread it outwards, we have to be the leader. As for the NLC, REAL council I am looking forward to bringing the issues we face as a city when it comes to Race, including LGBTQIA and all individuals.

4. What are some obstacles inherent in proposed legislative solutions to climate change? How would you approach those obstacles in order to best overcome or minimize any negative effects?

5. What safety, law, or justice reforms are you currently in favor of, and how will you work to implement them?

I support some of the Senate and House Bill’s that are making their way through the legislature. The one I support the most is SB5078/HB1130.
This bill require’s the firearm industry to establish, implement and enforce reasonable controls regarding the manufacture, sale, distribution, importing, use and marketing of the firearm industry member’s firearm related products.
It also provides access to justice for individuals and family members injured or killed as a result of illegal conduct or negligence by firearms industry members who conduct business in WA state. A violation of this bill is a violation of the Consumer Protection Act. Individuals or the AGO can bring a suit against firearm industry members who violate the law.
I know being in the 31st LD there is no chance Senator Fortunato will agree to any firearm regulation. This has passed the Senate and is at the House, I will continue to communicate with my former Council colleague Rep Chris Sterns to push for this legislation.

6. What steps do you think need to be taken to improve voter turnout and increase voter trust in our election process?

Outreach, Outreach and Outreach. Our PCO’s are the backbone to create voter turnout. If we go back to the civil rights days, they went door to door and signed people to vote. It is the personal relationships that work best, friends, family and neighbors. They know and trust you.

7. Do you think public schools are adequately funded? If not, what minimum requirements should be met in an adequately funded public school system? What specific forms of taxation would you support to attain that funding?

Printed Name    James Jeyaraj
Date (mm/dd/yy)    03/18/2023

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