Gael Tarleton – A standout candidate for the 36th District House seat

Gael Tarleton
Gael Tarleton

SEATTLE, WA – Port of Seattle Commission President Gael Tarleton today announced her bid to run for the 36th District House seat to be vacated by State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle.

Tarleton says she will run on four key issues: job creation along with protecting women’s health and reproductive rights, higher education and the environment.

“We need to carry the accomplishments and legacy of Rep. Dickerson forward,” Tarleton said. “I have a proven track record of protecting and creating jobs, fighting for women and minority-owned businesses, protecting the environment and championing Washington’s higher-education community.”

Tarleton has raised nearly $20,000 in the past 48 hours. The 36th Legislative District includes parts of Ballard, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, Fremont and Belltown.

Tarleton, 53, is a life-long Democrat. She has lived in Ballard with her husband Bob for 18 years.

She has worked at the University of Washington for the past eight years, most recently serving as strategic advisor at the Institute for National Security Education and Research. The Institute focuses on research and initiatives for public safety and national security.

We must renew the fight to protect women’s health and reproductive rights, Tarleton said. As a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Tarleton said passage of the Reproductive Parity Act is a priority in her campaign. “We have fought hard to secure the basic health and reproductive rights of women. It’s clear our battle to protect women’s health still has a long way to go. The women of today must always fight for our next generation,” Tarleton said.

Tarleton was re-elected for a second term to the Port of Seattle Commission last year with 59.5 percent of the vote in King County. She defeated Republican incumbent Bob Edwards in 2007, with 54 percent of the vote. She is the third woman ever to be elected to the Port.

In her re-election bid last year, Tarleton earned the endorsements of 15 labor unions, King County Conservation Voters, Washington Conservation Voters, state and local Democrats throughout King County, The Seattle Times and The Stranger.

Tarleton currently serves as president of the Northwest Progressive Institute, a nonprofit think tank dedicated to researching progressive ideas and solutions for the Northwest’s progressive community. At the UW, Tarleton co-founded the UW’s Citizen Roundtable on Politics and Democracy, in an effort to expand citizen involvement in the democratic process.  She earned an M.A. in government and national security studies from Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and a B.S. from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.

Tarleton co-founded the Northwest Chapter of Women in International Security (WIIS) and organized a forum at the Port to discuss important security issues facing our region, including the proliferation of human trafficking. She is also a member of the UW Women’s Center’s Anti-Trafficking Task Force.

“With the leadership of Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, we worked together to help stop human trafficking in our state,” Tarleton said. “I am proud to have worked with Sen. Kohl-Welles to help pass legislation that made Washington the first state in the nation to criminalize human trafficking  – a crime primarily targeting women and children.”

As a Port Commissioner, Tarleton has focused on creating and retaining jobs, protecting the working waterfront, clean trade and restoring accountability at the Port. She has helped create more than 5,000 jobs, launched clean-trade initiatives to remove dirty trucks and introduce clean fuels in the air, on the ground and at sea. Tarleton also guided the Port through major reforms on its contracting and spending process to bring accountability and transparency to how taxpayer dollars are spent.