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Originally published March 10, 2014 at 8:46 PM | Page modified March 11, 2014 at 10:22 AM

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Seattle activist Pramila Jayapal seeks state Senate seat

Pramila Jayapal, long a powerful advocate in the area of social justice, particularly for immigrants, has announced she plans to seek the 37th Legislative District Senate seat being vacated by Adam Kline.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Activist Pramila Jayapal, who created an organization called Hate Free Zone to bring local Muslims and non-Muslims together after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has announced plans to run for the 37th Legislative District state Senate seat Adam Kline will vacate at the end of the year.

Jayapal, 48, is an outspoken advocate on issues related to immigration, women’s rights and social justice. This is her first run for a public office.

“In my two decades of work for justice, I have seen the critical intersections between education, affordable housing, adequate family income, transportation, criminal justice and immigrant rights,” said Jayapal, an attorney, author and herself an immigrant.

“It would be an honor to have the opportunity to represent these very issues for this district that I love and have lived in for nearly two decades,” she said.

In 2008, Hate Free Zone changed its name to OneAmerica to remove confusion and reflect its broader mission on immigration and social justice, with a primary focus on people of color.

Under Jayapal, it grew to become the leading voice in the state on immigration and an increasingly influential advocate in the ongoing battle for reform nationwide.

She stepped down from OneAmerica two years ago to focus more attention on national issues and is currently a fellow at the University of Washington School of Law.

Democrat Kline, 69, announced in January he would not seek re-election in November so he can spend more time with his family and travel more.

The 37th District stretches from Beacon Hill and South Seattle, where Jayapal lives, into Renton. It is one of the state’s most diverse districts. India-born Jayapal said she wants to bring the voices of struggling families and working people to the Senate.

In addition to her more than 20 years with nonprofits, Jayapal worked on Wall Street.

She has won early endorsements from well-known political, business and community leaders, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and former King County Executive Ron Sims.

Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420 or lturnbull@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @turnbullL.



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