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“Simmons drew 45% of ballots cast to Ferguson’s 34%. Daugs drew about 16% of the votes in the contest. Lou Krukar, a Democrat from Kingston, garnered around 3% of the vote.” Read the Full Article Here

Tarra Simmons, an attorney and civil rights activist, was leading in the primary race for Kitsap County’s 23rd Legislative District in Tuesday’s ballot returns.

If elected in the November general election, Simmons, a Democrat, would be the first Washington state lawmaker who was previously incarcerated. Simmons served 20 months in prison for drug and theft convictions and was released in 2013.

Simmons had 45% of the vote, followed by Republican April Ferguson, who had 34%. Democrat Leslie Daugs was in third with 16% of the vote. The winner in November will replace Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo. Read the Full Article Here

By Jeromy SullivanChairman of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe:

“Recent events have taught us that thoughtful, knowledgeable leaders are essential to how we survive and thrive in good times and bad. We believe Tarra Simmons will be a passionate advocate for all and is the best choice to guide our community into the future.” Read the full article here.

By Kol Medina, Bainbridge Island City Councilperson:

“[Tarra] is the very definition of a servant leader. A servant leader is a person who leads by finding out what others in her community want and then providing the inspiration, vision, hard work, and relationship-building needed to help people accomplish what they want. All of our representatives should be servant leaders. For a servant leader, it is not about her, it is about “us.” I’m certain that Tarra’s mind is always thinking about what is best for those around her, not what is best for her.” Read the full article here.

“I am supporting Tarra Simmons for our state representative in Washington’s 23rd Legislative District. Tarra’s story is inspiring. She faced challenges post-incarceration. She overcame them by going to law school, then appealed to the State Supreme court for her right to take the bar exam as a former felon – and won. This is what second chances should look like. Fighting against difficult odds is indeed a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” success story. ” Read the Article Here

“Simmons is one of a new crop of political candidates in 2020 for whom being formerly incarcerated isn’t a disqualifier or a political liability. It’s an identity—one they say is vital to represent in state capitals and the hallways of Congress, as lawmakers try to overhaul a system that spends billions to lock up mostly Black and brown people. ” Read the Article Here

Written by Bainbridge Island resident Mark Hoffman, this letter to the editor describes how Tarra overcame the challenges of her past, dedicating her career to helping other people climb out of similar situations.

“She doesn’t just talk about extreme challenges – she overcomes them. After graduating from law school with honors, she fought the Washington Bar Association all the way to the state Supreme Court, which ruled that she has impeccable moral character and could sit for the bar exam. She then served on two state boards that advocate for criminal justice reform. Her leadership helped pass the New Hope Act, a bipartisan bill that streamlines how people reintegrate into society after incarceration in this state.” Read the Article Here

Written by Andre Henderson, this Letter to the Editor provides a passionate account of why Tarra is the main candidate standing up for justice.

“Of everyone running to represent us, Tarra Simmons has consistently proven her determination to stand with people whose voices are often forgotten. As a mother of two young black men, Tarra has been fighting systemic racism for decades in our community. As a person who overcame generational poverty, she will stand up for the low-income and working families of our community as we build an economy that works for everyone. As a Registered Nurse, she understands our healthcare system and the need to reform it. As a civil rights attorney and nonprofit leader, she dedicated her career to standing against injustice, never backing down in the face of adversity, but bringing stakeholders together to pass bipartisan legislation in Olympia supporting our community.” Read the Article Here

Written by Becky Tatman, this letter to the editor urges the media and critics to look at Tarra’s past in the context of the incredible achievements she has made throughout her life.

“[Tarra] is a civil rights attorney. She is the co-founder of a non-profit organization, called Civil Survival, and has spent the last several years fighting at the state capitol for the rights of all people, not just for the justice-involved community. She helped pass important criminal justice legislation alongside Drew Hansen. She is an effective leader and she already knows how to get things done in Olympia. In addition, she has built relationships with elected officials on both sides of the aisle. This will allow her to make change on the issues that matter most to her constituents on Day 1.” Read the Article Here

“Tarra has forged friendships in Olympia on both sides of the aisle while advocating for non-discriminatory legislation. She formed Civil Survival. She worked with Rep. Drew Hansen and others to get the New Hope Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform proposal, passed in 2019. Retiring Rep. Sherry Appleton has mentored her. Many, many well-known and respected people and organizations are endorsing her. Tarra will hit the ground running in Olympia.” Read the Article Here

Written by Rich Smith, this article lists Tarra’s campaign as one of Washington’s top races to watch.

“Several Democrats and a couple Republicans are looking to fill Rep. Sherry Appleton’s seat in Kitsap County’s 23rd LD. Tarra Simmons, lawyer and director at the Civil Survival Project, has been campaigning hard for that seat since last October. If elected, she’d be the first former inmate to serve in the Washington legislature, according to OPB.” Read the Article Here

Written by Rasham Nassar, Deputy Mayor of Bainbridge Island, this letter to the editor details why Nassar supports Tarra’s bid for state legeslator.

“As a lawyer, civil rights activist, and national-level political advocate, she has acquired the professional qualifications necessary to fulfill the requirements and expectations of this position. Her remarkable achievements are uniquely complimented by a diversity of personal experience, instilling in Tarra rare leadership qualities that are universally admired and that are often absent from the political candidate pool: compassionate wisdom, empathy for our most vulnerable populations, and a deep understanding of the root of today’s problems. Her honest and hopeful insight into our community’s needs makes her an authentic, accountable, and reliable choice to represent our district.”  Read the Article Here 

Written by Bremerton resident Darold Bivens, this letter to the editor describes how Tarra consistantly stands up for marginalized and stigmatized communities.

“I ask that you pay close attention to Tarra Simmons, a candidate for 23rd District State Representative. Through her professional and social endeavors, Tarra’s proven she’s capable of creating opportunities for disenfranchised groups to become productive leaders of our community.” Read the Article Here

Written by Bainbridge resident Mary Clare Kersten, this letter to the editor calls attention to Tarra’s experience with policy that focuses on reducing inequality in the 23rd LD.

“Public policies that support public education enabled Tarra Simmons to pull herself out of poverty. Recently, she applied her activism and leadership skills to pass The New Hope Act, a piece of public policy that will help formerly incarcerated people reintegrate into society. (If you don’t know… when a person leaves prison, they are denied employment and housing, thereby depriving them of the chance to redeem themselves.)” Read the Article Here

“When Simmons graduates from law school on Saturday she will be awarded the Dean’s Medal for the graduating student “who has the greatest potential to achieve the legal profession’s most noble aspirations for justice and ethics.” But despite all the accolades, all the honors, and all the successes Simmons has achieved, she’s just been dealt a major setback: Simmons may not get to join the legal profession—at least not right away.” Read the Article Here

“Student Tarra Simmons has received a prestigious Skadden Fellowship. She is the first law student from Seattle University to join this elite group of dedicated social justice professionals working on behalf of people who are poor, elderly, disabled, or otherwise deprived of human or civil rights.” Read the Article Here

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