For the last 18 years, voters in the South Seattle and Tukwila-area 11th Legislative district have sent Democratic Rep. Zack Hudgins to represent their interests in Olympia. During that time, the district has seen profound demographic changes and is today one of the state’s most diverse. 

Voters should replace Hudgins with fellow Democrat David Hackney, an attorney who is emerging as a powerful voice for police demilitarization, gun control and other social-justice reforms. 

Hackney, a former U.S. attorney in California and war-crime prosecutor for the United Nations, has an impressive advocacy résumé. He holds positions on the board of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the state Human Rights Commission and the Black business leadership group Tabor 100. A Harvard Law graduate, Hackney also worked at Amazon and the Nature Conservancy.

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In an interview, Hackney delved into the profound costs of “years of injustice and ignoring real issues for communities of color.” He said the Legislature needs to embrace progress by reforming the cash-bail system, changing policing policy and helping small businesses survive the COVID-19 downturn.

Hudgins has been an industrious lawmaker, including several years of successful work to push a “breakfast after the bell” law to feed hungry students. But he has also repeatedly toiled for detrimental policy changes. In his most recent two-year term, these included a proposal that would have burdened small taxing districts with unsustainable election expenses; attempts to lower the threshold for election-expert certification; and a bill to allow Public Disclosure Commissioners — Washington’s campaign-finance referees — to take up partisan lobbying out of state. 

The 11th District, and all of Washington, would be served better by a lawmaker focused on improving life in the district. Hackney is strongly attuned to the deep needs that must be addressed during troubled times. The 11th District’s voters should choose Hackney and send a fresh voice to the Legislature.