43rd District candidate Thomas Pitchford. Photo courtesy of Thomas Pitchford
43rd District candidate Thomas Pitchford. Photo courtesy of Thomas Pitchford

Thomas Pitchford is no stranger to the local political scene.

In recent years, he’s served as campaign manager on Rep. Jim McDermott’s 2008 reelection bid and as a consultant on Kathleen Drew’s run for secretary of state in 2012, before spending time last year working on a trio of Seattle City Council races.

Now, the Louisiana native and longtime Capitol Hill resident has decided the time is right to work on a more personal campaign: his own.

In mid-February, Pitchford, who lives in the neighborhood with his husband Andrew Kamins, officially announced his bid for the 43rd District state House vacancy created by incumbent Rep. Brady Walkinshaw’s run for Congress.

Pitchford said his legislative priorities are the same as the biggest needs of the district, including the need to fully fund public education, increasing transit options and alleviating traffic congestion, broadening the social safety net and supporting both small businesses and their employees.

In particular, Pitchford wants to fix the disconnect that many feel exists between the government and those it’s supposed to represent.

“I think government generally has caused people to feel a little disconnected and feel like it’s either something they don’t want to deal with or something that doesn’t affect them,” he said.

 

Public service

Beyond his work as a political consultant, Pitchford is well-known for his role as an advocate for the LGBTQ community and for his time with Equal Rights Washington. He started working with the organization in its infancy in the mid-2000s and was involved with almost every piece of LGBTQ state rights legislation.

“It was really some of the most rewarding experience I’ve had,” he said of that work.

That work included laying the groundwork on the Approve Referendum 71 campaign, to affirm a state Senate bill extending domestic partnerships. With 53 percent of the vote, it was the first time in U.S. history that a statewide ballot measure extending LGBT relationship rights received voter approval.

His involvement in the local political scene was also visible late last month, when he served as the caucus area coordinator at the Century Ballroom during the state’s democratic caucus on March 26.

Pitchford also has experience in higher education, working an as advisor to student organizations at various universities, including the University of Washington. It was during that time, he said, that his interest in further pursuing public service began to take hold.

“That was sort of the place where I started to really get a feel for what it was like to do, to some degree, public service,” he said.

 

Early endorsements

Thus far, Pitchford has received the backing of several people already working in the state Capitol. 

State Sen. Cyrus Habib (D-48th District), state Reps. Sam Hunt (D-22nd District) and Gael Tarleton (D-36th District) and former State Rep. Liz Loomis (D-44th District) have endorsed his campaign. Congressman Eric Swalwell from California’s 15th Legislative District is also a supporter.

Pitchford is in an increasingly crowded field that includes Downtown Emergency Services Center housing director Nicole Macri, Gender Justice League director Danni Askini, labor organizer Marcus Courtney, trial lawyer Daniel Shih, former 43rd District Democrats chair Scott Forbes and environmental advocate Sameer Ranade. 

The top-two vote getters in the August primary will advance to the November general election.

For more information on Pitchford’s campaign, visit www.thomaspitchford.com.

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