Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Lands Commissioner
Unmatched Qualifications and Experience

The environmental and social justice leader Washington needs now

Unmatched Qualifications and Experience

The environmental and social justice leader Washington needs now

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

Unmatched Qualifications and Experience

The environmental and social justice leader Washington needs now

Dear voter,

I’m running for Lands Commissioner because I believe strongly that now more than ever we need a dedicated, experienced environmental and conservation leader stewarding the public ownership of our six million acres of state lands. Protecting and maintaining the health of these lands, which include forests, coastal and aquatic parcels, as well as commercial and recreational areas, is critical to preserving our quality of life, combating climate change, and protecting our natural environment.

It’s an important and complicated job, one I am prepared to take on from day one.

Before deciding to enter the race, I spent several months traveling the state and meeting with grassroots conservation leaders to discuss the future management of our state’s public lands. I shared with them my specific ideas to move forward with both urgency and thoughtfulness on a forward-looking climate protection and conservation agenda for our precious public lands. And I shared my story—how my lived experience as a lifelong environmentalist and early LGBTQ leader has shaped my view of environmental and social justice.

But mostly I spent my time in those meetings listening.

It was clear to me from those conversations that the front-line leaders doing the work on the ground to protect our public lands want a candidate with strong environmental values, and with the relevant natural resources background and experience to put those values into action. With Republican and timber industry-backed candidates expected to make a strong run for the seat, they also want a candidate who can win the primary election and a potentially challenging general election.

I am ready to be that candidate.

For me, running for State Lands Commissioner is the culmination of a life and career focused on environmental and natural resources issues, not a stepping stone to higher office. I invite you to join our campaign as we move forward to protect and preserve Washington State’s public lands.

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands
Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

My Story

A Lifelong Champion of the Environment

My love of the outdoors developed at a young age. I spent my summers in high school and college working outdoors — teaching young people about conservation on Dabob Bay and leading week-long treks through the Cascade Mountains.

My interest in politics developed as an environmental activist on campus at the University of Colorado, where I earned my degree in Environmental Conservation and Biology — later earning a graduate certificate in Energy Policy from the University of Idaho.

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands
Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

During my twelve years representing the diverse working-class suburbs of South King County in the State House of Representatives, I served as Chair of the House Select Committee on Puget Sound — helping create the Puget Sound Partnership to restore our State’s crown jewel. I later served as Chair of the House Environment Committee — working in every corner of the State to reduce carbon pollution, clean up toxins, and improve oil spill prevention.

In the Legislature, I helped lead the Blue-Green Alliance — a pro-labor, pro-environment coalition that rejected the false choice between jobs and the environment and found common ground to promote sustainable economic opportunities.

For my work, I was honored as Legislator of the Year by the Washington Conservation Voters.

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands
Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

Now, as Chair of the King County Council, I am working with my colleagues to preserve public lands and manage growth, parks, wastewater, and transportation in environmentally sustainable ways in our state’s most populous county.

As Chair of the King County Flood Control District, I doubled funding for salmon recovery and led major reforms to better protect our region’s rivers.

I understand that in order to have good jobs and a strong economy, we need to keep Washington State a great place to live. This means managing our public forests, aquatic lands, and other natural resources in the public interest.

When elected, I will be the first out LGBT statewide executive office holder in the history of the State of Washington. I live with my husband Chad, cat Dobby, and dog Benji in Des Moines, WA.

Join Dave’s campaign for environmental and social justice!

My Priorities

Conserving and Protecting our Public Lands

I’ve studied the current state of our public lands, spoken with conservation leaders across the state, and have given a great deal of thought to how we can best protect and preserve our public lands. I believe the next Lands Commissioner should direct the Department of Natural Resources to prioritize the following areas:

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

A progressive environmental approach to reflect our climate crisis, including preservation of mature legacy forests

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

A commitment to good jobs, strong rural economy, and public services

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands:

Centering environmental justice in all that we do

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands: Honoring treaty rights and strengthening the co-management role of tribes

Honoring treaty rights and strengthening the co-management role of tribes

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

Improving wildfire prevention and response

Dave Upthegrove for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

Expanding recreational opportunities

I have heard the call for stronger partnerships to improve tree canopy in under-represented communities and to develop affordable housing on surplus state lands.

I’ve heard the need to improve engagement and transparency — including expanding membership of the Board of Natural Resources to include tribal representation, public representatives, and small forest landowners.

I’ve seen first-hand the importance forest practices play in healthy rivers and salmon recovery. I’ve heard the passion for preserving the health of our aquatic lands, and am committed to doing so.

Endorsements

Humane Voters of Washington

“Dave Upthegrove’s experience and long record as a champion of wildlife, wildlife habitat, and our natural environment has prepared him to be a strong effective leader for the Department of Natural Resources.”

Jennifer Hillman, Chair of Humane Voters of WA

“There will be no greater champion in Washington who will protect the environment than Dave Upthegrove.”

Joshua Morrow, Executive Director of 3.14 Action Fund

Read the press release

“Dave has a proven track record as a progressive leader for environmental and natural resource issues, passionately advocating for environmental justice in underserved communities.”

Seattle Port Commissioner Hamdi Mohamed, first Somali woman elected to public office in Washington State

“I’ve watched Dave get big things done over the years to protect our rivers, salmon, and natural areas by working collaboratively with tribal governments and indigenous people.”

State Representative Chris Stearns, first Native American member of the Auburn City Council before being elected to the Legislature

“Dave Upthegrove not only has the environmental values we need but also the background and experience needed to advance those values. Those of us doing the conservation work on the ground value his record and leadership on natural resource issues.”

Connie Gallant, award-winning Latina environmental leader from the Olympia Peninsula

“Dave’s unmatched qualifications and experience have prepared him to be an effective leader who will protect our public lands while advancing environmental justice.”

Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ+ Victory Fund

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 587

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Adam Smith, United States Congressman

Pat McCarthy, State Auditor

Joe Fitzgibbon, House Majority Leader

Hamdi Mohamed, Port of Seattle Commissioner

Ryan Mello, Pierce County Council Chair

Jared Mead, Snohomish County Council Chair

Girmay Zahilay, King County Council

Claudia Balducci, King County Council

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Council

Joe McDermott, King County Council

Drew Hansen, State Senator

John Lovick, State Senator

Karen Keiser, State Senator

Derek Stanford, State Senator

Steve Bergquist, State Representative

David Hackney, State Representative

Tina Orwall, State Representative

Kristine Reeves, State Representative

Chris Stearns, State Representative

Joe Timmons, State Representative

Brian Sullivan, Snohomish County Treasurer

Steve Drew, Thurston County Assessor

Dana Ralph, Mayor of Kent

Armando Pavone, Mayor of Renton

Jim Farrell, Mayor of Federal Way

Matt Mahoney, Mayor of Des Moines

David Faber, Mayor of Port Townsend

Andy Ryder, Mayor of Lacey

Alan Ekberg, Mayor of Tukwila

Kevin Schilling, Deputy Mayor of Burien

Zack Zappone, Spokane City Council

Clarence Moriwaki, Bainbridge Island City Council

John Stokes, Bellevue City Council

Jimmy Matta, Burien City Council

Lydia Assefa-Dawson, Federal Way City Council

Satwinder Kaur, Kent City Council

Zandria Michaud, Kent City Council

Brenda Fincher, Kent City Council

Mohammed Egal, SeaTac City Council

Ed Prince, Renton City Council

Ruth Perez, Renton City Council

Ryan McIrvin, Renton City Council

Hanan Amer, Auburn City Council candidate

Yoshiko Matsui, incoming Des Moines City Council

Awale Farah, Kent School Board

Angelica Alvarez, Highline School Board

Joe Van, Highline School Board

Leslie Kae Hamada, Kent School Board

Joe Bento, Kent School Board

Stefanie McIrvin, Renton School Board

Kathleen Drew, former State Senator

Julia Patterson, former State Senator

Mary Lou Dickerson, former State Representative

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