Hot Off the Grill: Election Edition

Hot Off the Grill: Election Edition

The 2015 election cycle turned out to be very busy for the Washington Restaurant and Washington Lodging Associations. The hospitality industry (WRA & WLA) played a part in many races this fall including statewide Legislative races, City Council races, and local initiatives. We’re looking forward to the outcomes of the 2015 election cycle strengthening the hospitality industry.



State Legislative Races:

District 30

District 30 featured the most anticipated legislative race in Washington state between appointed Democrat Carol Gregory and WRA/WLA-endorsed Republican challenger Teri Hickel. The district includes Federal Way, Auburn and Des Moines and is considered a swing district. Teri Hickel will be a friend to the hospitality industry and we look forward to working with her in the upcoming session on a variety of issues.

  • Teri Hickel – 54.81% *WRA/WLA Endorsed
  • Carol Gregory – 45.19%

District 9

District 9 included two Republican candidates seeking to represent the rural district that includes Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield and Whitman counties as well as part of Spokane County. The voters decided to retain Mary Dye, who was appointed in 2015 to the Legislature, to represent them in Olympia in the upcoming session.

  • Mary Dye – 63.31% *WRA/WLA Endorsed
  • Richard Lathim – 36.69%

Eyman’s Initiative (Initiative 1366):

In 2010, Washington voters supported Initiative 1053, a Tim Eyman-backed measure that required a two-thirds vote by either the voters or the Legislature to increase taxes. In 2013, the Washington Supreme Court ruled this initiative unconstitutional because the Washington State Constitution requires a majority vote, not a two-thirds vote. In order for that initiative to be legal, the state Constitution would need to be amended to require a two-thirds vote to raise taxes. The Legislature is the only body that has the power to make a constitutional amendment.

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366 would force the Legislature to put a two-thirds requirement amendment on the ballot or allow Washington State’s sales tax to decrease from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent. Eyman’s I-1366 won with over 51% of the vote.

  • Yes – 51.52%
  • No – 48.48%

Local Ballot Initiatives

Honest Elections (Initiative 122)

Seattle also voted to fundamentally transform the city’s election process by passing Initiative 122 with over 60% of the total vote. Initiative 122 (I-122) reforms Seattle elections by tightening campaign finance restrictions and giving registered voters $100 worth of “Democracy Vouchers” each election cycle to give to the candidate(s) of their choice. I-122 also puts a spending cap on how much money each campaign may spend in the primary and general elections, a cash contribution limit of $250 per voter and bans contributions from city contractors, lobbyists and regulated businesses. The proponents of I-122 hope the changes will increase voter participation. The SRA and SHA will continue to engage in Seattle elections and will evaluate how to best do so under the new regulations.

  • Yes – 63.14%
  • No – 36.86%

Tacoma Minimum Wage

To the relief of many residents, businesses, and employees, Measure 1B passed, raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour over two years in the City of Tacoma. Voters overwhelmingly supported a minimum wage increase, with question 1 (Yes) receiving over 58% of the vote. But voters were even more adamant that the increase should be a reasonable phased in increase of $12, as Measure 1B passed with over 71% of the vote. The outcome of this vote was a big win for the Hospitality Sector in Tacoma.

Tacoma Initiatives 1 & 1B Question 1

(Increase in the minimum wage)

  • Yes – 58.72%
  • No – 41.28%

Tacoma Initiatives 1 & 1B Question 2

  • Measure 1 ($15) – 28.52%
  • Measure 1B ($12) – 71.48% *WRA/WLA Endorsed

Fircrest Sale of Liquor for On-Premises Consumption (Proposition 1)

This November, Fircrest voters decided to end the eighty year ban on the sale of liquor for on-premise consumption. Fircrest has been a dry city since the founding of the city in 1925 and the last time residents voted on removing the ban was in 1975, where they unanimously voted to keep the ban. The Washington Restaurant and Lodging Associations are pleased with the outcome of this vote, allowing businesses the right to sell alcohol for on-premise consumption and no longer keeping them at a disadvantage to neighboring cities.

  • Yes (For Sale of Liquor) – 74.74% *WRA/WLA Endorsed
  • No (Against Sale of Liquor) – 25.26%

City of Spokane Mayor

The Washington Restaurant and Lodging Associations are pleased with the reelection of Mayor Condon and look forward to working with him on a host of issues that face the hospitality sector in the City of Spokane in the coming year. Condon is the first mayor of Spokane to be re-elected since the early 1970’s.

  • David Condon – 63.03%
  • Shar Lichty – 36.07%

Worker Bill of Rights (Proposition 1)

Besides the highly watched Mayoral race, Spokane voters also had a family wage initiative on the ballot. Ultimately Spokane voters rejected Proposition 1 by over 62%. The measure would have required businesses with 150 full-time employees (or more) to pay a family wage that would cover housing, food, child care and transportation. If accepted by the voters, Proposition 1 could have increased the minimum wage in Spokane by as much as $21 an hour.

  • Yes – 35.96%
  • No – 64.04% *WRA/WLA Endorsed

City Council Races

This year’s Seattle City Council races were of high importance to the Seattle Restaurant Alliance (SRA) and Seattle Hotel Association (SHA). The SRA and SHA endorsed a candidate in eight out of nine races and the outcome in the General Election was overall very positive. Five out of the eight candidates endorsed by the SRA and SHA came out on top. We look forward to working with these Councilmembers and will continue to educate them on the issues facing the hospitality industry. To see all the percentages and results of the Seattle City Council races and the Tacoma City Council races, click here.

Make your voice heard. Join the GAC!

Would you like to be more involved? We are recruiting for our Government Affairs Committee! This committee is open to all WRA & WLA members, and welcomes participation from anyone willing to engage in government affairs! We need you to provide us valuable input when immediate policy decisions are needed to be made, or calls of action are needed to reach our elected officials.

If you would like to join the GAC or have additional questions, please email Marian Ericks, the Government Affairs Manager at: