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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Kirsten Johnson. Kirsten Johnson is a junior at the University of Washington studying Journalism. She has written for The Seattle Times, The Issaquah Press and several other hyper-local news outlets in the greater Seattle area. She currently works as Greek Beat Reporter at The Daily of the University of Washington and as an Editoral Intern for MSNBC's breakingnews.com.

June 2, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Wisconsin teachers at the center of fight over collective bargaining

Teachers in Wisconsin are just as divided as the state over Gov. Scott Walker’s restrictions on collective bargaining for unions and cuts to benefits.

MILWAUKEE — Milton Bond, standing a bulky 6 foot-4 and with a presence to match, stood among supporters in the pouring rain at a Recall Walker rally not long ago.

Milton Bond is a high school science teacher in Milwaukee. (Photo by Kirsten Johnson/ UW Election Eye)

The 48-year-old high school science teacher said he is scared for his students in the Milwaukee School District. Here, in the largest school district in the state, 27% of his students live in poverty and 10% are homeless.

“A lot of times, the only stability they have is school,” he said.

He says that could soon change.

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Comments | More in National | Topics: Collective bargaining, Scott Walker, Teacher unions

May 30, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Charge of the Overpass Light Brigade in Wisconsin

In the Wisconsin recall election, people on both sides have found creative ways to communicate their views. Here is a story of one way that politics becomes social — using old-school technology.

The Overpass Light Brigade, a collection of anti-Scott Walker protestors in Wisconsin, display signs with their political positions on a freeway overpass May 26, 2012, in Milwaukee. (Photo by Lucas Anderson/UW Election Eye)

MILWAUKEE – Forty people stood on the Interstate 43 pedestrian overpass in the northern part of this city, clutching three-foot tall, wooden signs dotted with Christmas light lettering. In the receding daylight, all that could be seen was their message. That was the goal.

“Vote Barrett June 5″ spelled out the lighted letters. And then in smaller letters a few feet away: “Recall.”

Self-dubbed the Overpass Light Brigade, these protestors, co-founded by Milwaukee couple Lane Hall and Lisa Moline, were registering their positions for the state’s upcoming vote on whether to recall Governor Scott Walker and replace him with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Among the crew that night of May 26 were Greg Davis and his 14-year-old son Ben. Ben held a “B” while his father held an “R.”

“We’re just regular folks,” Davis said. “Not the people you’d see protesting at anything and everything.”

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Comments | More in National | Topics: Interstate 43, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker recall

May 26, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Wisconsin pastor has junior-high students pushing for same-sex marriage

UW Election Eye is on the road for three weeks, covering politics in the heartland of America. In Wisconsin, we found the same currents on same-sex marriage as we see in Washington. In Madison, we met a pastor whose 7th and 8th grade Confirmation students are writing to politicians advocating for same-sex marriage.

Reverend

Reverend Sue Schneider in her office of Trinity Lutheran Church in Madison. (Photo by Kirsten Johnson/ UW Election Eye)

MADISON, Wisc. — Same-sex marriage is on the ballot in Washington state this fall. In this upper-Midwest state, same-sex relations last faced voters in 2009 when a domestic partnership plan was passed as part of Wisconsin’s biennial budget bill.

Reverend Susan Schneider, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Madison, wants to see marriage, not just partnerships, on the ballot — and soon.

Schneider’s junior high school Confirmation class at Trinity Lutheran is writing dozens of letters to political officials pushing for marriage equality.

“God loves everyone,” read the letters we saw. “One way we see a need for change in our state and in our world is that not everyone can marry the person they love…We want it to be a better state for all people.”

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Comments | More in National | Topics: domestic partnership, ELCA, election

May 9, 2012 at 9:30 AM

The Gray Vote: Senior Seattleites’ political influence keeps growing with age

Residents of University House Wallingford wait patiently for the meeting to begin (Photo by Kirsten Johnson/ UW Election Eye).

Youth voters seeking greater political influence have a lot to learn from seniors. It’s all about participation.

Inside the University House Wallingford retirement community attendees sat in rows facing the front — one leaned on his walker, ruffling through a newspaper. Another sat quietly, sipping a mug of coffee.

Each Saturday morning, around 40 seniors gather here to discuss current events and political issues townhall style with resident Jim Voss, a former professor of the University of Pittsburgh, leading the sessions. Voss began Saturday’s meeting by recapping Obama’s recent trip to Afghanistan and briefly discussing the Secret Service prostitute scandal.

The average age was 88. At 21, I felt a little out of place.

Seniors are a surging population. Between 2000 and 2010 nationally, the age group grew faster than the total population — increasing by 5.3 million people and for the first time, representing the largest demographic in the United States.

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: senior citizen, Social Security, Wallingford

April 18, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Youth voters shine at The Stranger's 36th District Forum

The Stranger's Dominic Holden and retiring incumbent Mary Lou Dickerson hosted Monday's forum. (Photo by Kirsten Johnson/UW Election Eye)

A crowd of liberal, tipsy youth gathered Monday to evaluate candidates in one of the most politically active districts in the state. 

The young, loud and progressive of Legislative District 36 gathered for beer, laughter and very little standing room at Belltown’s Spitfire Monday evening to scrutinize candidates for the 36th LD’s Candidate Forum, hosted by The Stranger.

The six candidates battled it out “Weakest Link” game show-style for a district that hasn’t elected a Republican since the early 1980s. The district, which includes Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, Queen Anne and parts of Ballard, Belltown, Greenwood and Fremont, holds the highest number of registered voters in the state.

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: 36th Legislative District, Brett Phillips, campaign oddities

April 18, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Youth voters shine at The Stranger’s 36th District Forum

The Stranger's Dominic Holden and retiring incumbent Mary Lou Dickerson hosted Monday's forum. (Photo by Kirsten Johnson/UW Election Eye)

A crowd of liberal, tipsy youth gathered Monday to evaluate candidates in one of the most politically active districts in the state. 

The young, loud and progressive of Legislative District 36 gathered for beer, laughter and very little standing room at Belltown’s Spitfire Monday evening to scrutinize candidates for the 36th LD’s Candidate Forum, hosted by The Stranger.

The six candidates battled it out “Weakest Link” game show-style for a district that hasn’t elected a Republican since the early 1980s. The district, which includes Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, Queen Anne and parts of Ballard, Belltown, Greenwood and Fremont, holds the highest number of registered voters in the state.

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Comments | More in Local | Topics: 36th Legislative District, Brett Phillips, campaign oddities

April 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Traffic plagues Hood Canal, but candidates say the money's going to Seattle

State Route 3, which runs for nearly 60 miles from Shelton, WA to the eastern portion of the Hood Canal Bridge, is often gridlocked. (Photo courtesy of Kitsap Sun)

With traffic problems choking areas of the Olympic Peninsula and stifling economic growth, local residents want answers.

Mason County resident Danielle Skeeters-Lindsey knows bad traffic.

She lives in Allyn — a small, unincorporated area of the county and State Route 3 is the only road out.

The highway originates at the U.S. 101 junction in Shelton and runs up to the east end of the Hood Canal Floating Bridge. The road also runs straight through Belfair, the commercial center of the northern part of the county.

Here’s where the problem lies — during rush hour, the two-lane highway quickly becomes a bottleneck. A brief trip through town easily becomes an hour spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

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Comments | More in State | Topics: Belfair Bypass, Drew MacEwen, Glenn Gaither

April 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Traffic plagues Hood Canal, but candidates say the money’s going to Seattle

State Route 3, which runs for nearly 60 miles from Shelton, WA to the eastern portion of the Hood Canal Bridge, is often gridlocked. (Photo courtesy of Kitsap Sun)

With traffic problems choking areas of the Olympic Peninsula and stifling economic growth, local residents want answers.

Mason County resident Danielle Skeeters-Lindsey knows bad traffic.

She lives in Allyn — a small, unincorporated area of the county and State Route 3 is the only road out.

The highway originates at the U.S. 101 junction in Shelton and runs up to the east end of the Hood Canal Floating Bridge. The road also runs straight through Belfair, the commercial center of the northern part of the county.

Here’s where the problem lies — during rush hour, the two-lane highway quickly becomes a bottleneck. A brief trip through town easily becomes an hour spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

More

Comments | More in State | Topics: Belfair Bypass, Drew MacEwen, Glenn Gaither