Meet the Candidate: Donna L. Sinclair (Washington)

9 mins read

Candidate Name:

Donna L. Sinclair

Photo provided by the campaign.

Candidate’s Preferred Pronouns


What office are you running for?

Washington State House of Representatives, 18th LD, position 2

With which party are you running for office?

Democratic Party

Election Date

November 3, 2020

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office for a number of reasons. At the top of my list is a combination of the current divisive cultural context that is pitting community members against one another by party and the need for responsive legislators who vote in the interests of shaping a positive future in Clark County. I intend to help take Clark County into a modern future of well-planned, sustainable development that includes a strong, integrated transportation system, affordable housing, and responsible land use that maintains clean air and water. My overarching goals are grounded in equitable support for an educated populace prepared to enter the 21st century through vocational education, college preparation, or a combination of both; empowering vulnerable populations to succeed through necessary institutional supports (housing, healthcare, addressing homelessness, racial and ethnic inequities); and ensuring that our economic foundation supports small and family-owned businesses.

What is the biggest issue facing your community and how do you propose helping?

The biggest issue facing my community is the combination of intensive population growth and misinformation about government, i.e., the use of fear tactics and rhetoric to sway voters into partisan decisions. For example, the Republican caucus in my district misrepresented last session’s tax package as a hit on the middle class. Even as they voice support for vocational education, they continue to vote no on anything that provides institutional support for career-technical programs. Such misrepresentation and lack of support has direct economic impact and affects our community’s ability to partner with industry and shape a sustainable future. Fear-mongering is also being used to engender support for the Republican caucus. How do I propose helping? One of the things I will do is get out and meet constituents and provide them good, solid information. For example, the real-estate excise tax in Washington State was LOWERED last year for those whose homes sell for under $500,000 (1.1%). It remains the same for real estate valued up to $1.5 million and increases to 2.75% for real estate valued from $1.5 to $3 million. Above $3 million, the tax is 3%. In no way is this a middle-class tax hit; yet, that is how Republicans in my district have portrayed it. It is an increase in the rate only for more valuable properties. The revenue from this tax goes into the general fund (79.4%), the city-county assistance account (1.4%) and the public works assistance account (1.7%). Most importantly, the remainder goes to the educational legacy fund, which is partly used to fund career technical education, i.e., the very programs Republicans claim to support. Because I understand that information is not enough, I will let voters see who I truly am–someone with a similar experience and background to many of them, i.e., from a rural, working-class background, first generation college graduate, family-owned business experience, former Army wife and single parent from the Pacific Northwest. I know what it is like to struggle economically and I am from this place. I identify with people in a way that I know my opponent cannot. My hope is that I can engender trust, rather than fear to gain votes–and then to get to the legislature to get some work done.

How do we fix the partisan divide in our country and start working together again?

We must remain aggressively positive by re-framing negative issues and turning them into opportunity, countering misinformation, and trying to work across party lines. We cannot demonize our opponents and must find common ground with them and with our constituents by continuing to reach out with kindness and compassion. I think we have to put our heads down and do the work to create stronger communities regardless of what is being said about us. We must also recognize the humanity in others, even when it is difficult. I think it is important to clearly articulate why we disagree with certain policy positions and to do so in ways that resonate with voters. For example, the real estate excise tax issue and vocational education is something that matters to a large number of people. We must maintain our idealism despite continued assaults on truth. I think that recognizing that change occurs slowly and with one action at a time is key, as is remaining open to working with others.

Who is your hero?

I have many s/heroes, but here are a few: Ida B. Wells who documented lynchings in the South and then used media savvy to publicize economic connections to lynching overseas; Jeanette Rankin, a Montana legislator, pacifist, and suffragist who always voted her conscience; Shirley Chisholm; Dolores Huerta; and many more. These are women who voiced dissent and effected change.

What are your hobbies?

I don’t really have much time for hobbies, but when I do, I love to read a good novel, travel, take a walk with a friend, and engage in social political change.

What is the most recent book you read?

I am reading several books: Reconstruction by Eric Foner; Trace by Lauret Savoy; Woman Suffrage, ed. by Gloria Steinem and books I’ve assigned to my students, including In Defense of Wyam by Katrine Barber and Of Forests and Fields: Mexican Labor in the Pacific Northwest by Mario Sifuentez. I have my own book coming out, a co-written memoir by Gloria D. Brown and Donna L. Sinclair, Black Woman in Green: Gloria Brown and the Unmarked Trail to Forest Service Leadership (OSU Press, available in 2.5 weeks!

Do you have any kids/pets/talking houseplants?

I have three adult children, one step-daughter, three grandhildren, two dogs, and three cats: Choo-choo, the bossy, former stray Pomeranian-Terrier; Fiona and the sweet but fierce Chihuaha-Terrier. Three cats: Lila, the seemingly docile, but cranky former farm kitten who is now 11 years old; two year-old cats, Oliver, the six-toed hunter; and Lloyd (formerly known as Lord Garmadon from Ninjago). Every one of them came from someone else. Someday I will choose an animal–maybe. No talking houseplants.

How can our readers get involved in your campaign?

They can follow me on Facebook and Twitter-re-post and re-tweet. Sign up to volunteer on my website, There is a lot of work to be done and we can use all the help we can get!

What question do you wish we’d asked, and what is your answer?

What are my main motivations for involvement?
I believe strongly in public service. I want a future for my children and yours that includes clean air and water, freedom from fear, economic security, equity and equality, racial and ethnic diversity and inclusivity, and a kinder gentler world–and I’m willing to work hard to make it happen!

Candidate Social Media:

Website| Facebook | Twitter

Post created from answers submitted by candidate to our Meet the Candidate survey.

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DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks, but are sustained solely on donations from grassroots supporters. Because our revenue isn’t click-driven, we don’t take in any direct revenue from the creative contributions of grassroots activists who post on the site. This sets us apart from other media sites. And we’re proud of that.

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