April is upon us! With the date of our 2023 Spring Fundraising Gala drawing near, NPI is delighted today to announce that we will be recognizing Pete Holmes, a former Seattle City Attorney who served the people of the Emerald City for three terms as its chief legal officer, with a Lynn Allen Award at the event.
Pete Holmes has worked at all levels of government to address needed reforms and policies to protect public safety and make sure that our criminal justice system reflects our shared values.
Holmes has helped change statewide sentencing laws to protect immigrants from deportation, worked to both legalize cannabis and vacate past possession criminal records, developed new incarceration diversion programs to help young people avoid lifelong criminal records, and redoubled the city’s efforts to address gun violence.
Pete served as a consistent liaison between the City and the federal judge overseeing the Department of Justice consent decree to ensure that lasting and meaningful structural changes are enacted at the Seattle Police Department.
Upon taking office, Pete dismissed all pending marijuana possession cases and declined to file subsequent charges. He became a primary sponsor of Initiative 502, culminating in Washington’s historic 2012 vote to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use. He has been and remains an outspoken critic of the War on Drugs.
In his first year as City Attorney, Pete also took action to reduce prosecutions of people driving with a license suspended in the third degree, also known as “driving while poor.”
To avoid mandatory deportation of documented immigrants convicted of minor crimes, he further instructed prosecutors to stop requesting suspended jail sentences totaling 365 days. Pete subsequently helped convince the Legislature to limit the maximum jail sentence for all misdemeanors to 364 days, limiting the reach of dysfunctional federal immigration laws across the state.
He also successfully defended Seattle’s status as a Welcoming City to immigrants despite a Trump Administration’s ongoing hostility.
Pete partnered with King County to launch a groundbreaking regional firearms unit to enforce civil extreme risk gun surrender orders, one which was recently used in partnership with federal authorities to a seize weapons arsenal maintained by white supremacist neo-nazi accelerationists. A champion for police reform, Pete was an original member of Seattle Police Department’s first civilian oversight body, the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board, and served as chair for 5 years. He is also a member of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.
In 2019–2020, Pete Holmes and his office were part of the successful coalition that sued to stop Tim Eyman’s incredibly destructive Initiative 976 from going into effect, destroying multimodal transportation infrastructure and slashing transit service across the state, including Seattle. Our team is deeply appreciative of Pete’s commitment to defend our communities from bad ballot measures like 976.
The Lynn Allen Awards, begun in 2017, are NPI’s highest honor.
We bestow them upon people who have made indispensable contributions to progressive causes for a decade or more. Each year, we confer two Lynn Allen Awards on deserving recipients of different genders.
Lynn Allen was a founding boardmember of the Northwest Progressive Institute. We lost Lynn to ovarian cancer in 2011, but her spirit has remained with us.
(And so have her published works, preserved by NPI at Rebuilding Democracy.)
Lynn believed in the important work of organizing rural communities and acting on issues of concern to people living far away from our big cities and urban areas. She believed strongly in the politics of inclusion, and walked her talk.
As communications director of the Institute for Washington’s Future, she traveled regularly to Washington’s rural counties and small towns, championing sustainable business and agricultural practices.
A skilled facilitator and gifted listener, Lynn understood the importance of and need for effective activism. Not a day goes by when we don’t miss her.
The season of renewal is the perfect time to celebrate her legacy.
Here are the details for this year’s gala:
Be inspired to continue working for a progressive future for our region and country: join us on April 29th at the Renton Community Center! Follow this link to securely buy your individual, household, or living lightly ticket.
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