Hi, I’m Joseph. I’m running for Everett City Council position 5 against incumbent conservative Scott Bader in 2019.
I’m running because as a public school teacher who is married to a social worker and father to a toddler, living in Everett shouldn’t be the economic strain that it is for working class families like mine.
PROGRESS FOR EVERETT
Housing: I stand for affordable, sustainable, housing - built with the legendary power of Everett labor. Action: I support converting the 2 city-owned golf courses to mixed use residential/commercial with urban farming to help relieve the housing market, supply a new mix of home options, help small businesses, and make Everett more livable for all. Action: build up housing density around Everett Station and our major arteries, including Broadway and Everett Mall Way.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON SUPPORTIVE HOUSING to the Everett City Council on Wed. July 10th, before the Council voted unanimously to ban building supportive housing for homeless kids for 6 months (conveniently until after the election):
"Good evening Mr. President, Madame Mayor, and our Council members. My name is Joseph Erikson, and tonight I’m here to talk as a public school teacher and advocate for children.
I’ve asked this question my whole life - how do we end poverty in the wealthiest country on earth. I remember growing up poor in New York City during the Reagan administration, going with my mom and two little sisters - one of whom is autistic and blind - on the bus to the welfare office, not really knowing where my Dad was, going to the emergency room for ear infections, changing schools every year, and losing track of what “home” even meant.
Kids born into poverty are highly likely to continue the cycle. As a teacher I’m trained in trauma-informed care and I would like to share a little bit about the effects of adverse childhood experiences on brain development. The kids who need supportive housing are experiencing toxic stress that makes them 11 times more likely to use intravenous drugs, 4 times more likely to have intercourse before the age of 15, 5 times more likely to develop depression/anxiety, and fourteen times more likely to attempt suicide, they are also more likely to have unwanted pregancy and repeat this cycle. The average lifespan of kids born into adverse conditions is 20 years less than those lucky enough to be born into a safe and stable home.
We know how to fix this, but we lack brave leadership on the issue. In one of the wealthiest regions in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, I believe that our government has the moral obligation to make sure no child be homeless. I have been told by local politicians not to discuss this publicly because it is not a politically popular thing. I do not think that helping kids is a political issue. And Everett deserves better than politicians saying that they’re going to “reduce homelessness” and then vote to ban housing for homeless kids. I am interested in having a local government who works hard to do the right thing, regardless of the political popularity of the issue."
Addiction: As the son of an addict, I stand for helping, not punishing people afflicted with the illness of addiction. Action: get Everett on board with Ricky’s Law, an incredibly brave bill by Rep. Lauren Davis (32nd LD).
Transit: Our traffic is among the worst in the nation - as someone who has spent years driving in New York, I’m appalled by our traffic and lack of transit options. I stand for exciting new transit projects to help get people to work, the airport, and our economic cores. Action: Improving, not bleeding dry, Everett Transit. Action: I would like to work with regional governments to study the cost benefit analysis of a northern rail link connecting Marysville/Tulalip and Smokey Point to Everett Station.
Infrastructure. We need to make sure every street is safe and accessible to everyone - that means sidewalks, bike/scooter lanes, accessible ramps, paved roads, and well-lit streets all over our city.
Environment: Endorsed by the Sierra Club. Action: invest in sustainable architecture and technologies; all new projects to be environmentally responsible. Action: Banning the use of cancer-causing glyphosates such as those found in Roundup. Action: using eco-friendly materials as we build our city, such as pervious concrete for sidewalks and porous asphalt for roads.
Labor: Action: Partner with contractors who use local labor. Action: Establish Community Work Agreements
Arts & culture: My goal is for it to be easy get to shows & food in Everett, and attract more talent for the younger generation so that we don’t always have to go to Seattle for culture; The Everett Music Initiative has been doing great work and it’s vital that we continue to foster that energy as it grows. We have a burgeoning scene here in Everett, and it’s time to take it up a notch. There’s a few things that can help out: food carts near venues; reclaiming vacant/unused space for community renewal projects.
Personal: Born & raised in NYC; my mom cleaned houses and my stepfather drove a tow truck; both dropped out of high school as I was born when my parents were teens. I’ve also lived and worked in Glasgow, London, Portland, and Oakland. My wife Katrina is a social worker who has helped protect children from abuse and also helped foster children and their families. We moved to Everett in 2014 to be closer to my wife’s family and in 2016 my daughter was born right here in Everett with the help of the most outstanding nurses and medical staff I’ve ever seen.
Professional: Public High School Teacher and Social Studies Department Chair, teaching courses including US Government, Economics, Ethnic Studies, US and World History. Proud to be on the Ethnic Studies development team, which is working to bring critical thinking of systems of oppression to classrooms around the state. Formerly an editor for the BBC (London, UK) and the Tribune Company (LA Times, Chicago Tribune, NY Newsday, etc). Fun fact: I’ve been a DJ since 1997 and used to have a monthly indie club night at the legendary bar “Nice N Sleazy” in Glasgow, Scotland.
Volunteer work: Teachers Against Child Detention - I was selected by the 2018 National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning to speak about the history of asylum while at the US/Mexico border in the spring of 2019 (video at about the 4hr26 min mark). Precinct Committee Officer, Everett 67. Former WA State PTA Legislative Coordinator, Region 7; former 38th Legislative District Democrats PCO Coordinator & County Committeeman; former Snohomish County Democrats 2nd Vice Chair and Elections Committee Chair. At the public school that I teach at, I volunteer as Leadership/ASB and LGBTQ+ Club Advisor.
Education: MAT Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR), MLitt University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK), BA State University of New York (SUNY) at Purchase, AS SUNY Adirondack Community College.
Union involvement: Building Representative and Washington Education Association (WEA) Delegate for Edmonds Education Association (EEA). Former active member for Northshore Education Association , Granite Falls Education Association, Monroe Education Association, and San Lorenzo Education Association.