Tacoma activist and Democrat Janis Gbalah has announced she is running for the legislature.
Gbalah, who founded the non-profit Safe Homes organization and has worked at an advocate for women veterans, is vying for the 29th District Position 1 House seat representing South Tacoma, Parkland and parts of Lakewood and University Place. She last ran for the legislature in 2010 while living on the Hilltop, in the 27th District.
The 29th District seat comes open after first-term Democrat Connie Ladenburg announced in November she’d vacate the seat to make a run for the Pierce County Council. Ladenburg faces Pierce County Planning Commissioner and Tacoma Democrat Sharon Benson and University Place City Councilman Chris Nye, a Republican, for the county’s District 4 now held by term-limited Tim Farrell.
Shortly after Ladenburg made her campaign intentions public, David Sawyer, a law clerk working for her husband, announced he’d make a run for her House seat. Sawyer has formally filed his candidacy paperwork with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission. Gbalah had not done so as of this morning, according to the PDC’s website.
In the 2010 primary, Gbalah ran fifth among 5 candidates vying for the 27th district seat vacated by Dennis Flannigan in a race eventually won by Laurie Jinkins.
Here’s Gballah’s campaign press release:
Common Sense, Common SolutionsI am Janis Gbalah, and I am running for the House of Representative, 29th Legislative District (LD), Position 1. The reason I am running is to provide “Leadership, more Accountability and Transparency in Olympia. I believe we need African American Female leader in the Legislator. Of the 98 elected House of Representatives in Olympia, only one is African American, (Rep. Eric Pettigrew, 37th LD, Seattle, WA). Out of the 49 elected Senators in Olympia, none are African American.As a Service-Connected Disabled Veteran with a combined total of 30 years in the US Regular Army, Washington Army National Guard and the US Army Reserves, in that order; I have special and unique challenges, some of which has nothing to do with combat and I will safely say that of the estimated 55,000 female veterans in Washington State, they need a voice in the Legislator to. “It only makes sense that we do everything we can to make life a little easier for them.”Former Gubernatorial Appointee- WA State Sentencing Guidelines Commission, Former Elected Pierce County Charter Review Commission, Former Elected Precinct Committee Officer, Former Elected President Black Women’s Caucus, Former State Steering Committee Member, Washington State Women’s Political Caucus, Holds a Master of Science Degree in Human Resources Management and Development, Chapman University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management, Saint Martin’s University, married to Napoleon Gbalah and between the two of us we have seven adult children.As the Founder and Visionary of Safe Homes for over 17 years, we have changed the lives of youth and their families for the betterment of society. In 2009, I chose to move forward the Premier Pilot Project, “Veterans Education Training” (VET) Technology Café aka VET Tech Café™. This unparallel approach to help our service members and their families transition to lives outside of the military is an incredible opportunity to provide hope to begin the healing process for productivity.It is my desire to use those skill-sets of many years of experience in Finance, Budget, Human Resources and as an effective Company Commander of our brave young men and women to be a leader in the Legislator. While working for seven years with several state agencies, such as the Department of Social and Health Services, I learned the processes of how government should work and how also it should be responsive to the needs of its citizenry, many people believe there is a disconnect. There is power in agreement and I want to bring that connectivity for sustainability.Issues/Concerns:(1) Education and Our Children – In light of the harsh realities of the budget crisis, we still must find creative ways to provide a quality education to “all” children per our Washington State Constitution.(2) Economy – There has been large investments in worker retraining programs and other programs that provide financial aid and other services to the unemployed, we must do better in exploring new and progressive opportunities for jobs. With small businesses being the economy engine to get people working again, a successful climate is a must.(3) Transportation – We need a transportation system that works effectively to stimulate economic development (from the farm to the marketplace). Understanding the transportation crisis and providing common sense solutions to mitigate the damages of unintended consequences. Transportation will be one of the most effective methods of job creations especially when “more than $400 million is targeted toward completing the Nalley Valley viaduct project”.(4) Environment – Sustaining our core environmental protections and creating small revenue solutions should be a priority.I believe one of the biggest responsibilities of the legislator is to make good policy decisions. And each policy should have a Fiscal Note to determine the level of fiscal impact. For example, I decided that I should have a policy to remove my trash from my house and have the local city collect it from my premises. The local city has different sizes of trash bins with different cost. In the good years, I had the large size bin. When the economy was going bad, in addition to downsizing my bin, I got a blue recycle bin for papers, plastics, etc and a brown recycle bin for my yard waste. The need for trash removal remained, but what this experience taught me is that I became a recycler of products and things to be more sensitive to our environment. We can choose to see the glass half-full or half-empty. I realize this example is “small potatoes” compared to the giant issues that are very complex in Olympia, but if we take a Common Sense, Common Solutions approach, I believe it will take the ball further down the road in this next season.Do you want someone with a testimony which can paralyze your very soul, but yet rise up and be an over comer to represent you? Do you want someone with leadership skills that have distinguish public service at several levels of government? If yes, then I am that over comer and I am that Leader who has served my country, state and community and will apply Common Sense Common Solutions in the State Legislator.I am Janis Gbalah, and I am asking for your support and your vote.