NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, September 19th, 2022

Democrats pursue 2022 sweep of 10th LD’s House seats with Navy veteran Clyde Shavers

In last mon­th’s Top Two elec­tion, Democ­rats in Wash­ing­ton State sur­prised Repub­li­cans and many in the media by demon­strat­ing that they’re in a posi­tion to not only hold onto their gains from the 2018 midterms, but have real oppor­tu­ni­ties to pick up seats they did­n’t win four or two years ago.

One of those is in the new­ly redrawn 10th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict — a slice of the state so close­ly divid­ed it sup­port­ed Joe Biden for Pres­i­dent and Loren Culp for Gov­er­nor in 2020. While the 10th has only vot­ed for a Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date for House twice since 2012 (State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dave Paul, in 2018 and 2020), Clyde Shavers’ per­for­mance in the Top Two sug­gests this year may be dif­fer­ent.

Shavers received a major­i­ty of the vote (51.91%) in the Top Two, sur­pass­ing Repub­li­can incum­bent Greg Gil­day, who received 47.94% of the vote.

Exact­ly 2,000 votes sep­a­rated the can­di­dates at certification.

The 10th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict encom­pass­es the entire­ty of Island Coun­ty and por­tions of north­west Sno­homish Coun­ty and south­west Skag­it County.

Notable cities in the dis­trict include Oak Har­bor, Mount Ver­non, Coupeville, and Lan­g­ley. As men­tioned, Repub­li­cans have won each of the dis­tric­t’s state House elec­tions since 2012 except for two. In 2018, and again in 2020, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dave Paul won the elec­tion for Posi­tion #2. Paul was able to secure a com­fort­able major­i­ty of votes again in last mon­th’s Top Two elec­tion.

Shavers, a Navy vet­er­an and envi­ron­men­tal lawyer, is vying for the 10th District’s oth­er seat against Gil­day, who is seek­ing anoth­er term in office.

I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak with Shavers last week to learn more about his leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties and vision for rep­re­sent­ing the 10th Leg­isla­tive District.

Shavers firm­ly believes that “run­ning for office, whether it’s local or fed­er­al, should not be the first entry to pub­lic ser­vice. It should be a con­tin­u­a­tion of…. that individual’s life­long dedication.”

Clyde Shavers

Clyde Shavers (Cam­paign photo)

From “the moment [I] left high school, [I] was all about what can I do for the greater good… where I was for­tu­nate to serve in the Navy… for about eight years.”

He explains that his dri­ve and ded­i­ca­tion to oth­ers comes from his fam­i­ly back­ground. “My dad served in the U.S. Marines and after that he served as a police offi­cer… I am from a fam­i­ly of teach­ers and police offi­cers, sher­iffs and nurses.”

Addi­tion­al­ly, “serv­ing under three Pres­i­dents, from Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, and Trump, and Biden while in the Mid­dle East and South­east Asia, real­ly kind of, to me, defined the impor­tance of good pol­i­tics… pol­i­tics that is all about the people.”

When asked about his leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties, Shavers first offered a robust defense of repro­duc­tive rights, which the Unit­ed States Supreme Court has been gutting.

“Our cam­paign is all about this right, this free­dom,” he said. “The over­turn­ing of Roe v. Wade is un-Amer­i­­can, and I think it real­ly shows to us that access to abor­tions and pre­ven­ta­tive and pre­na­tal care is always on the bal­lot.” He stressed that he is “the only pro-choice can­di­date run­ning for this position.”

The next issue Shavers iden­ti­fied as a pri­or­i­ty was afford­able housing.

He empha­sized that his pri­or­i­ties are informed by his life expe­ri­ences. “Afford­able hous­ing is very per­son­al for me. I am on the board for a home­less shel­ter called Skag­it Friend­ship House in Mount Ver­non and I thought to myself, Serv­ing on the board is not enough, I need to vol­un­teer… so, every week I cook food, and serve food, and I have this unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to sit down with these res­i­dents and under­stand their life sto­ries, see how I can help them and hope­ful­ly, in the state Leg­is­la­ture, pro­vide the resources and ser­vices that would ben­e­fit everyone.”

Anoth­er pri­or­i­ty for Shavers is envi­ron­men­tal protection.

“I grad­u­at­ed from Yale Law School, after serv­ing in the Navy, and I stud­ied envi­ron­men­tal law. Dur­ing that time I worked with a group called the Nat­ur­al Resources Defense Coun­cil… it allowed me to under­stand the seri­ous­ness of envi­ron­men­tal issues that per­me­ate not just local­ly, but across the globe and the U.S.” Fur­ther­more, he said that as a young per­son (thir­ty-one years of age) he per­son­al­ly under­stands the urgency of cli­mate justice.

Shavers is also pas­sion­ate about education.

“Ensur­ing that every child in every zip code has good and tai­lored edu­ca­tion­al resources. My fiancé is a spe­cial edu­ca­tion teacher… through her, I have expe­ri­enced the impor­tance of ensur­ing schools across the dis­trict… have ade­quate resources to ensure that every child is successful.”

The final leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ty we dis­cussed is access to healthcare.

“This means low­er­ing pre­scrip­tion drug costs,” Shavers said. “That means that every­body, old and young, have access to good health­care.” He also cit­ed the need to ensure health­care for vet­er­ans. “Island Coun­ty has more vet­er­ans per capi­ta than any oth­er coun­ty in Wash­ing­ton State. We have a lot of retired vet­er­ans who need health­care access. This is a very per­son­al issue to me.”

When asked about how he hopes to make progress on intran­si­gent issues, such as afford­able hous­ing and health­care, if he is elect­ed, Shavers ref­er­enced his expe­ri­ence with the non­prof­it Goose­foot. “What we are real­iz­ing is that there are a lot of bar­ri­ers and obsta­cles to actu­al­ly build­ing afford­able hous­ing. My hope in the state Leg­is­la­ture is to break down these bar­ri­ers, break down these obsta­cles, and incen­tivize non­prof­its… to be able to build these afford­able facilities.”

Through­out the inter­view, Shavers told me that his cam­paign is focused on rep­re­sent­ing every­one in the dis­trict and ensur­ing that everyone’s voic­es are heard in Olympia. “My belief is that there are peo­ple here at home who feel lost and for­got­ten. My respon­si­bil­i­ty is to stand in front of them and say ‘I am here for you, I am lis­ten­ing’. Our cam­paign is about cap­tur­ing all of our sto­ries into a com­bined nar­ra­tive so that when I am in Olympia, their voic­es are heard.”

The final mes­sage that Shavers shared was that he “want[s] to impress upon peo­ple in my dis­trict and peo­ple in Wash­ing­ton state that this elec­tion is very impor­tant. It’s espe­cial­ly impor­tant because women’s rights [are] under assault.”

“I hope that this mes­sage is received by peo­ple across the state and that they are ener­gized to take part in active democracy.”

The 2022 gen­er­al elec­tion will con­clude in just under two months on Tues­day, Novem­ber 8th. The con­test in the 10th will like­ly be one of the clos­est races in the state. If you would like to learn more about Clyde Shavers’ cam­paign, you can find more infor­ma­tion on his cam­paign web­site. Shavers’ oppo­nent, Repub­li­can incum­bent Greg Gil­day, also has a cam­paign web­site, which you’ll find here.

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