Municipal/Other Questionnaire 2022
Candidate Name: Rocco Lamanna
Position Sought: Sumner Bonney Lake School Board District #2
Are you an incumbent for this position? Non-incumbent
Home Legislative District: District 31
Are you a Democrat? Yes
Campaign Manager or Point of Contact: Rocco Lamanna
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.
I hold a BS. in Business Administration from Central Washington University; a Master of Organizational Development and an EdD in Educational Leadership and Management, from Alliant International University in San Francisco. (https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidroccolamanna/). I began my career path in higher education in 2003 and I am currently an Associate Vice Provost for Golden Gate University in San Francisco CA and have worked for the University for over 8 years.
I have been involved in supporting public education since our children were in elementary school in San Francisco CA. I volunteered time in the classrooms, and extracurricular events, and was actively involved as a Chair for the School Site Committee (SSC). The SSC worked closely with teachers, the principal, and staff to ensure the school allocated financial support to ensure student success and outcomes and partnered with the leadership to help identify ways to achieve their shortfall through fundraising, grants, and other financial opportunities.
In the Sumner Bonney Lake School District (SBLSD), I've volunteered my time and resources to help the school with fundraising events, and field trips, as well as providing training on building community through inclusion and belonging in the classroom. I actively attend SBLSD School Board Meetings where I often speak in the community forum, and I also try to meet with district officials on ways we can build belonging and inclusion in the schools to make them a safe environment for learning.
2. What prompted you to run for this office?
We moved to Lake Tapps at the end of 2020, which was coming home for me. I didn't know how I was going to get involved in the SBLSD until, in the 2021-2022 school year, my youngest son encountered racist behavior by a classmate in elementary school. I knew immediately I needed to get involved. The school administrators were receptive to my feedback on how to help the student realize their behavior was unacceptable and use the moment to teach/educate them, but what I learned was they seemed to not have the tools or training to support this type of work. My partner and I worked closely with the administrators on ways to build inclusion and belonging in the classrooms and schoolwide.
3. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?
I have a website (voterocco.com) as well as a Facebook landing page to inform voters about my campaign. Thus far, I've attended a community-based event at United Methodist Church in Sumner WA, to talk with attendees and pass out my candidate postcards. I have been placing yard signs around the community and in neighbor yards. My push at this point has been through social media getting my friends and family to share my information in their social media network. I am seeking endorsements to build my following. I recently met with the local teacher's union seeking their endorsement and currently waiting to hear from them. Since the incident with my son at his elementary school, I've been speaking at the school board meetings and meeting with district officials, including the superintendent to, partner on ways of building better inclusive schools.
4. What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)?
Finding common ground to advance student outcomes
Building a community for students to thrive
Ensuring schools are safe and that all students, faculty, and staff are included and welcome
Part II – Yes/No Questions, please qualify your answer if necessary
1. Do you support steps to build a fairer economy through tax reform and progressive taxes as wealth increases? Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #1 Economic disparity creates greater division between social classes in which the lower socioeconomic groups are harmed the most.
2. Do you support robust investment in publicly owned housing/subsidized housing for elderly and low-income individuals/families, and zoning changes to support such housing? Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #2 Feeling a sense of community, safety, and belonging begins with knowing one has a place to call home
3. Developer impact fees are allowed under the Growth Management Act. Should they be increased to help pay for needed improvements to our roads, parks, and schools? Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #3
4. Do you support building a municipally owned and operated broadband system in your city or jurisdiction? Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #4 Lack of access to the internet creates social gaps and makes access to resources and support more difficult. Private industries providing internet access are expensive and unattainable for families in lower socio-economic households. This also prevents children from accessing resources for education.
5. Do you support local investments to address climate change where applicable? Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #5
6. Do you support women’s unrestricted access to reproductive healthcare? Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #6
7. Do you support laws regulating the purchase, ownership, and carrying of firearms? Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #7
8. Do you support the right of workers to unionize and bargain, including public employees? Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #8
Part III – Free Response (Please answer at least four fully, and consider the additional three optional)
1. Why are you requesting Democratic endorsement? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?
I support the democratic values and vision and as a community, we need to support each other in any endeavor that allows us to make changes for the better. I am seeking your support which will be invaluable in helping me win this race. The 31st Democratic District has a large following and support resources that can help me get my message to voters.
2. What public policy reforms do you support to achieve greater equity and inclusion for BIPOC and LBQIA+ individuals in our communities?
We need local, state, and federal policies that protect the BIPOC and LGBQTIA+ communities from being marginalized. And this begins with educating our children by ensuring they have access to books and historical context that has not been whitewashed or erased. Children in these communities need to see images of them in their teachers and leaders and it's important that we promote leaders who represent this diversity.
3. What steps do you think need to be taken to improve voter turnout and increase voter trust in our election process?
A holiday dedicated to voting, and access to voting. We should be leveraging technology to increase access to voting and forgo policies that create voting a hardship through undue identification laws or other policies that prevent young voters and marginalized people from voting.
4. What important local issues have you worked on (or taken an interest in) that you feel aren’t getting enough attention from elected leaders and the local media?
The issue of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in our school communities. While the district has made strides to improve DEIB in the schools, it seems to taking too long to implement change. I would like to work more closely with the district on improving recruitment and retention practices to bring more diversity to the school staff.
5. Please list at least three specific, concrete actions you would support to ease the homelessness crisis.
6. What safety, law, or justice issues are currently facing your jurisdiction, and how will you address them?
DEIB issues in schools. I represent the LGBTQIA+ community and our sons are adopted and Black. I feel I represent the diversity for change we need in our community.
7. What are the transportation/transit challenges which face your jurisdiction and how would you address them? What role does green energy play in your proposed solutions?
Lack of school bus drivers. On a larger scale, our community does not have many electric charging stations, and the cost of electric vehicles makes it difficult for drivers to adopt clean energy vehicles.
By typing my name below, I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.
Printed Name: Rocco Lamanna
Date (mm/dd/yy): 09/06/2023