Running For Office In Washington: Stephanie Viskovich In The House! (Of Representatives)
I had the opportunity to talk with Stephanie Viskovich, Washington’s House of Representatives candidate for Position 1 in the 46th Legislative District. Stephanie is a passionate supporter of people first and cannabis second. Stephanie Viskovich is young, motivated and real; she is ready to create change for people in Washington state.
Access to Medical Cannabis
Refusing to ignore what is going on around her, Stephanie is making a stand for the residents of Washington. While her platform encompasses much more than just cannabis, it was medical marijuana that lead Stephanie to run for the House of Representatives. Stephanie saw severely ill medical marijuana patients struggling to access medication. Stephanie recognized these struggles were due to poor legislation and lack of knowledge of the cannabis industry. When SB 5052 was introduced (the legislation that closed down medical dispensaries in Washington), Stephanie sadly experienced loss first hand—friends of hers passed away after being unable to access medical cannabis.
“When cannabis community members have pleaded for legislatures to hear them speak, it has literally been because it is a matter of life and death. I cannot sit back and do nothing while our own people are dying,” she shared.
While Stephanie is very passionate about cannabis, there are other issues she believes in. Encouraging people to be accountable is at the top of that list. That means encouraging people to get involved in their community, in their local government and inviting folks to vote. (That means you!) While taking part in an election might seem overwhelming, Stephanie wants to simplify processes in politics and shorten bills. Making political processes easier for everyone to understand allows more people to become involved. Simplifying the way government works will get more people interested, and Stephanie is certainly getting people involved: she wants to provide educational resources that allow the average person to get involved in all processes of local government.
At the local level, community issues such as the cost of living, the increasing number of the homeless population, caring for senior community members, reducing waste, and improving education and transport are all part of Stephanie Viskovich’s platform. Stephanie will learn as much as she can about her community by simply listening, and when asked what she hoped to achieve by running for the House of Representatives, her answer was simple: “I don’t think there is one solution or a ‘one size fits all’ structure to ‘fix’ what seems from an outsider’s perspective like a nearly broken political environment; however, I believe starting with your heart and having a sense of empathy for the people you represent is a giant place to start.”
Goals for the Community
Stephanie is passionate about people and she is here to help. Her goals include improving alternative access to medical therapies, focusing on clean energy, reducing waste, introducing sustainable programs for community gardens and introducing community programs that unite people from all walks of life. Another ‘hot topic’ for Stephanie is the descheduling of cannabis—the DEA recently decided against changing cannabis’ position on the list of controlled substances. Descheduling cannabis would mean it is no longer considered a high-risk substance. Currently, the DEA states, “Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” Heroin is also a Schedule I drug.
Stephanie has a message for DOPE readers that I want to share: remember political change comes from being proactive; from strength in numbers. Where possible, join forces with fellow community members and unite for a common goal. That will help change the world we live in for the better.
Running for the Position 1 seat without a campaign manager, Stephanie has a lot of work on her hands. She has deadlines to meet, is learning about the different coalitions and groups in the community, and she stays current on events and laws…and she would appreciate any help from community members.
“I know that it takes a village to have this process run as seamlessly as possible, so I would love members of the cannabis community who have different skillsets in finance, marketing, law, promotions and so forth to volunteer their time and efforts to my campaign if they believe in my political stance, and they feel like I speak a little of their ‘truth’ in my platform.”
If you want to help Stephanie’s campaign out, contact Viskovich2016@gmail.com.
● The 46th Legislative District (North Seattle area) has over 143,000 residents. Less than 50% of those residents are registered to vote.
● The median age of residents in the 46th Legislative District is 36.7 years for females and 38.8 years of age for males.
● Voting is your way to end the drug war. If you want to see change, you have to be the change!