The other Democratic candidate, Rion Ametu, doesn’t have a business background, nor has he run for office before. He is relatively new to the Spokane area, and makes no claim to be a moderate.
But the 38-year-old said he has what his opponents, Democratic and Republican, don’t: A sense of urgency.
“It seems like they’re all retired and wealthy business people, and they’re not really worried about paying electric bills or their rent going up or paying daycare costs,” he said.
A full-time college student, Ametu drives for Uber to help pay the bills, and said he’s experienced the effects of political apathy personally. He believes that personal understanding of the struggles of working-class people gives him an advantage none of his opponents has.
“There’s no real vision or goal in mind for legislation that’s being passed,” he said. State legislators have focused too much on whatever issue happens to be popular, Ametu said, instead of laws that affect real people.
He’s concerned with the cost of health care, and homelessness rates – especially among veterans, he said. Ametu is also pro-union, and said large companies often take advantage of business-friendly legislation and their employees. He said he wants to protect workers and union rights.
“People are subsidizing their lives to ensure that these large businesses come to our state,” he said. “With a full-time job at minimum wage, making a living wage is a right.””