Pastor Carey Anderson, Candidate for 30th LD State Representative

Pastor Carey Anderson, Candidate for 30th LD State Representative

On this midweek show, Crystal chats with Pastor Carey Anderson about his campaign for State Representative in the 30th Legislative District - why he decided to run, how the last legislative session went and his thoughts on addressing issues such as housing affordability and zoning, homelessness, public safety, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate change.

About the Guest

Find more information about Pastor Carey at


Campaign Website - Pastor Carey Anderson:


[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington State through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at and in our episode notes. Well, I am just delighted today to welcome to the program, a candidate for State Representative in the 30th Legislative District down in Federal Way, Pastor Carey Anderson. Thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:00:53] Pastor Carey Anderson: Crystal, it's an honor to be with you, and let me just say right off the bat - thank you for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful, wonderful podcast. I'm just elated to be invited today, and I appreciate the work that you do.

[00:01:09] Crystal Fincher: Thank you so much. I appreciate the work that you do, my South King County brethren and leader of so many, and just appreciate the time that you've taken to join here. So I guess I wanna start off asking - you've done so much, you've accomplished so much. What is it that made you think - you know what, it is time for me to run for office?

[00:01:33] Pastor Carey Anderson: Well, that's an excellent question. Let me say to our audience - the 30th district is a new district, and I'm running to bring proven new leadership to the new 30th District. The realignment of the boundaries from the 2020 Census shows that Federal Way is a BIPOC-majority city now, the 30th District is growing. I live in Federal Way, I'm the pastor of First AME Church in Auburn and Seattle - Seattle is the mother church. And about 19 years ago, we saw the trend of gentrification and so we started a satellite in the south portion of King County. So, First AME Church is the oldest Black church in the state - 1886 - and so, we see it as a part of our mission to always speak truth to power. So I am running to bring proven new leadership to the new 30th District.

And if I could just take a moment - when we're talking about the crime, we're talking about the homeless, we're talking about the issues of housing, we're talking about funding of our schools, we're talking about public safety. Well, these are things that I have been doing in my entire ministry - 44 years in ministry, 38 years as a senior pastor, 18 years as the pastor of First AME Church - matter of fact, in its 100+ years of existence, I'm the longest serving pastor. My boots have been on the ground, fighting all of those things and addressing all of those things. And I want to do it in this open seat - no one has ever served the new 30th District before. And it is time for proven new leadership for the new 30th District. And I'm sure we'll get into some of the specifics a little later.

[00:03:34] Crystal Fincher: Well, and looking at this new 30th District - you're running for the seat that is being vacated by Representative Jesse Johnson, who has done a lot of work in the community, certainly made his imprint on the Legislature in the time that he was there. Some of that, including police accountability legislation and other legislation that we saw passed in 2020, and then rolled back in 2022, along with a number of other things. We're dealing with a - how we're gonna treat revenue - are we gonna raise more progressive revenue, or move - continue to move - in a regressive direction. Action on the transportation package, stagnation on affordable housing and the middle housing bill there - as you evaluate this past legislative session, what did you think about it? What did you agree with? What did you disagree with?

[00:04:40] Pastor Carey Anderson: Well, first of all, let me commend the work and applaud the work of Representative Jesse Johnson. When he was first running for City Council, we supported him. When he went into the State Legislature, First AME supported him. He came and presented at our church and at both campuses, matter of fact, and we supported him wholeheartedly. I was disappointed to see him leave the seat because we need that type of leadership. And certainly with the police accountability reforms that he pushed through the Legislature - it was a herculean job, but the job is not complete.

And so when we talk about fighting crime, let's just stay right there for a moment. I applaud the work of our police force and law enforcement. However, I don't believe that we should put the entire burden of fighting crime on the police. There are other matters and other variables that go along with property crimes and low-level offenders such as drug abuse, mental health, and some of those types of things that cause an environment for crime. And I am trained as a substance abuse counselor, I am trained - I'm the only candidate trained in mental health. I did it, I've been doing it for some 30+ years. And so these are some of the other things that we must address because when we talk about crime and we talk about housing, it's not enough just to find affordable housing and place people in affordable housing. But many times, if they have mental health issues, if they have, if they're suffering from addiction, we need wraparound services. And so this is going to take critical thinking, it's going to take people that have been in the field to know what to say, how to say it, and drum up the support to build collegiality - to really change our community and change the 30th LD. So these are some of the things that I hope to bring to the State Legislature, as a legislator.

[00:07:00] Crystal Fincher: You talked just a little bit, just now - obviously issues of addiction, in addition to homelessness. Housing affordability is such an important issue and one that a lot of people are struggling with - the cost of rents have been skyrocketing, cost of daycare skyrocketing - so much is making things really hard for people just to survive. They can be working one, two jobs - it's still not enough. Minimum wage is not sufficient for allowing people to live independently and to afford an average rent. What should be done to make housing more affordable in the 30th District?

[00:07:47] Pastor Carey Anderson: Well, thank you for that question - it's really a challenging question, but I do want our audience to know, I've been involved in affordable housing for many, many years, even in my first church in Nevada - we built housing, affordable housing for seniors. First AME Church has been involved in the housing arena through our nonprofit since 1969. And we had three apartment complexes in Seattle, and we formed about five or six years ago - the FAME - Equity Alliance of Western Washington, which is another housing corporation that I serve as the chair of the board. And we just broke ground in January of this year on a $36 million, 119-unit complex - the Elizabeth Thomas Holmes - in South King County. So we're moving down this way - it's an issue that's very personal to me, I've been involved in it. I know that we have to find more housing for struggling families, and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund has money in it. We got to move it quickly and quicker than we have been moving it so that we can build a housing inventory for persons that are really trying to build a home for their loved ones, their children, their families, for sustaining the family unit.

And these are things that I've been involved in, engaged in - and you would not imagine, Crystal, how many people come to First AME Church asking for rental assistance, needing food - which we try to provide on a regular basis, since the pandemic in particular. And we do that because we understand the need - I see it on a regular, regular basis. We even have a home, a parsonage - that we rent it out, bringing it out for, since my time, is 18 years at First Family Church. And so during the pandemic, those families that were living in the home could not pay their rent. And so we elected a moral decision to let them stay and not evict them. Matter of fact, we were - they were part of the persons that came for food every Friday in our Friday drive-by - I'm not talking about shooting, I'm talking about groceries. And so we would feed them, give them groceries - I'm not talking about meat, cheese and milk. I'm talking about more than that - meats, vegetables, wholesome grains - so that the family could be fed a nutritional meal. And also we provided vaccinations for COVID-19, as well as boosters. We continue to do that, and so we boosted and vaccinated over 6,000 people - and fed them as well. So we elected to eat the rent so that these families could stay in their home and not be put out on the street. And the Lord makes a way, somehow. So, we're involved in it and engaged in housing - I will continue to do that as a State legislator.

[00:11:14] Crystal Fincher: One of the big issues this past legislative session was the missing middle housing bill. And you're absolutely right - we need to designate more housing as affordable housing, find affordable housing. One of the big problems is just that there just is not the supply of housing at all - of all different types and at all levels. Here in the state, we have not been building to keep up with the increase in population and the trends in the flow in population. And so allowing more density, more inclusive zoning was put on the table and all of the data shows that's a necessary ingredient of increasing affordability, of helping to stem the skyrocketing costs of rent and housing. Would you have voted for that missing middle housing bill?

[00:12:16] Pastor Carey Anderson: Yes, I would. And let me say this - we have to have more deep-dive conversations for this issue of affordability and housing. And the conversation should center, not so much on - do we wanna build a threeplex or a fourplex in a single-family neighborhood - or what do we really value? If we as a state, if we as people value sheltering and allowing people the opportunity to live a decent life like you are living, then we're gonna have to have those types of conversations. But I believe that there are ways in which we can build housing in single-story homes and two-story homes that are aesthetically beautiful. It would not really disrupt the aesthetic beauty of the community and the neighborhood. These are discussions that I believe would prove to be very valuable instead of just a NIMBY attitude, because today they're homeless, today they're in need - but you miss a couple of paychecks yourself, you get laid off of your job, let another pandemic come and affect and impact your family - you may be the one next in line. And so we have to be very careful at the rocks we throw and the fingers we point because it could easily - you could be up today and you can be down tomorrow. So it's a collective effort - it's going to take collective and courageous conversations so that we could truly address the problem of affordability and density and providing the needed housing inventory for families to live sustained lives.

[00:14:11] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. Absolutely well said. We talked about public safety earlier - certainly talked about policing, have talked about the need to intervene in a lot of different ways. Safety is a really big conversation, and right now there are a lot of people in our communities fearing for their safety. Hate crimes are near all-time highs, we're seeing hate and bias-motivated crimes, we're seeing harassment and targeting of the LGBTQ community and others for their ethnic heritage, for their religion. What do you say to people who right now are scared and worried, and who are looking at the two parties going in very different directions, and worried that they can't count on the Supreme Court for safety or rights anymore, and increasingly they're relying on local leadership to make sure that people are safe and respected and protected in communities. What do you see as your responsibility in that area, and how will you lead to make sure that everyone in our communities feel safe?

[00:15:36] Pastor Carey Anderson: Thank you. Excellent question, Crystal. Public safety is a major issue today, and I believe that we have made some major strides, but there's still a long way to go. And as I had said earlier, I believe that - I don't believe that we should put the entire burden on fighting crime left to law enforcement. When George Floyd was murdered and the unrest happened in Seattle in particular - but across the country - the East Precinct in Seattle was overtaken by the protestors. The East Precinct in Seattle is two blocks from First AME Church. I led the charge in convening the mayor and her staff, the Chief of Police at the time and her command staff, and the leaders of CHOP to come to First AME Church - there was about 75 of us in total. We did so with the sole purpose of learning how to talk, learning how to listen to one another. You have to understand - lives had been lost, bloodshed had been spilled on the pavements and on the streets of our cities behind the George Floyd murder. But out of the conversations - without news media, without the news outlets, without reporters - we were able to come and de-escalate the tension. And out of that, we were able to encourage Mayor Durkan, who was serving at the time, to put money into the BIPOC community - $30 million. She formed a task force that I was privileged to be a founding member of - the Equities Community Initiative Task Force - where we put together teams to talk about what are the central and acentric needs of our BIPOC community. Housing was one, entrepreneurship, looking at closing the wealth gap between Black and Brown people against the dominant culture. And so if we were able to do that there, I believe through our State Legislature, we can form ways of bridging some of these issues.

Let me say this, Crystal - every first responder doesn't need to have a gun and a badge. Some of the things that we're dealing with now, we need to put funding into training more officers, law enforcement sensitivity training, cultural sensitivity training. I'm an endangered species as an African American male, even at my age - I'm not 25 - but I'm still an endangered species when pulled over by law enforcement. And so we've got to find ways of how to communicate better, how to empower faith groups, how to empower addiction counselors, how to empower and utilize mental health professionals and social workers to become our first responders. There was a time, a couple of summers ago, when the City SPD, Seattle Police Department, used the United Black Christian Clergy of Western Washington, which I'm a member of, and they would call us in dire situations with street violence amongst gangs. And we were able to find family members, we were able to find gatekeepers to try and de-escalate some of the violence as opposed to law enforcement just going in and pointing a gun and wearing a badge. I think that we must work collectively in this issue, if we're going to really bring about public safety,

[00:19:35] Crystal Fincher: I completely agree with that. And then also talking about people's basic rights and people remaining safe regardless of who they are, what their background is, what their gender or sexuality is.

[00:19:52] Pastor Carey Anderson: And can I say this - when you talk about the LGBTQIA+, we have to understand - they are a part of our community, just like we are a part. There's a collective we, and the Pride Parade in Seattle was right at the Central and the Capitol Hill area - where is First AME Church, right in the Capitol Hill area. We have always been, and there were even members of the 30th LD Dems, who said I was a homophobe. I said, how dare you? If you even Google Pastor Carey Anderson, you will find out that we are a welcoming church, a welcoming faith group. I am certainly not a homophobe - if anybody is, it's you - because we have always had our doors open for any and everybody. And we'll continue to do that - that's who we are, that's our value. God is a God of love. And so we must precipitate that type of love no matter who you are, and whose you are, because we're all children of God.

I have walked with our Jewish brothers and sisters when Temple De Hirsch - our sister congregation right across the street from First AME Church, within walking distance - when they were defaced, their building was defaced, there were bomb threats. I stood with the Jewish brothers and sisters - Rabbi Weiner is a brother of mine from a different mother, we eat together, we worship together. And the Muslim community - we are tight with them - when they were going through threats, bomb threats, defacing of their temples and their mosques, we were right there with them standing by their side. And when Mother Emanuel AME Church back in 2015 lost nine people inclusive of the pastor - this is an AME church. First AME Church was the hub for the Seattle Pacific Northwest area, and we held prayer vigils, we led a 3000-person march through the City, and we engaged peace talks, and with celebratory singing. But we have to stop the killing, and this is what it's about. This is who we must become, and this is what I want to do, as the next voice in Olympia for the 30th District. I'm not talking about what I'm going to do, I'm talking about what I've done and what I continue to do.

[00:22:40] Crystal Fincher: And I guess my question - especially, you've been doing work - in your capacity as a State legislator, particularly at this time where there are so many attacks on people because of their identity. And as we see rhetoric ratcheting up - the type of rhetoric that we know leads to violence - what more can be done to protect our LGBTQ community legislatively, to help protect people's rights, to help keep people safe, to help people just feel loved and seen in our community. What can be done in your role as a legislator?

[00:23:26] Pastor Carey Anderson: Well, first of all, we need to enforce our equal protections under the laws even more. And we've got to not just put it out there in writing, but we must practice it indeed. We must have an open-door policy, we must train the legislators in terms of what a community looks like from people that are other than you. They look different, they have different values and culture, but they're still a part of this community. So I can love you no matter who you are. Although you may not have the same value that I have - just because you're a person, I am obligated to love you, and to stand in your shoes, and to understand your pain, understand your wants, and understand your desires and your hopes. This is what we must do if we're gonna represent all of the people that we are elected to serve.

[00:24:27] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. We also are facing a climate crisis. We are at a point where climate change is happening, we are experiencing extreme heat, extreme cold events, flooding. Marginalized people in our community, lower-income people, BIPOC communities are being hurt worst and first by this climate crisis. And we have work to do to keep it from getting worse, we have work to do to mitigate the impacts that it's currently having. So I guess in - as you're looking at running, as you're looking at legislating, what action would you take to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution?

[00:25:19] Pastor Carey Anderson: Well, first of all, when the dominant culture sniffs, has the sniffles, those who are in poverty, those who are living beneath the poverty line, catch the flu. And so we've got to, first of all, realize the disparities, the health disparities. I'm so thankful for the Governor's supplemental budget, that calls for $64 billion, over $64 billion, of priority areas. One of those areas is climate. And so I would be supportive of the Governor's supplemental budget for 2022. Also, when we look at that, one of the other priorities is that of poverty. One in five persons are living in poverty. There are 1.7 million people in this state that are living in poverty. So when we're talking about climate change and gas emissions and things of that nature - trying to be a 2035 clean air environment, which is a very ambitious goal to meet, but we gotta start somewhere. But when we look at the disparities, 1.7 million are living in poverty. And then when you go a little deeper, you find out over half, or nearly half, are people of color. So we are the ones that are the most impacted, as you have so eloquently said.

So as a State legislator, I would be in support of the Governor's supplemental plan and would be pushing for the implementation of it. I'm not gonna be Black when necessary and BIPOC when convenient. I am who I am, and these are priorities and we've got to speak truth to power. We've got to have these courageous conversations and that's what I'd be willing to do, as your State legislator.

[00:27:16] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely - also in this, transportation is the sector most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions in our state. We just passed, as a state, a transportation package that had record investments in transit and mobility - which we all desperately need - but also continue to widen highways and invest billions in doing that. And especially with the impacts, as you just talked about, in the BIPOC community - just people who are in close proximity to roads and highways - the pollution that comes from those are disproportionately causing asthma, heart disease, lung disease in our communities. We now have tons of data showing that widening highways doesn't reduce traffic, it increases traffic and increases emissions. Would you be supportive in future highway packages of highway expansion, or do you think we should cap it at where it's at and focus on investing more in transit and mobility solutions for people who walk, bike and ride.

[00:28:43] Pastor Carey Anderson: Yes, excellent question. I think we need to take a serious look at a moratorium on expansion for our highways and really look at some of the measures to bring public transportation and make that more accessible. Here in the 30th District, the transportation - Sound Transit - is moving this way. And a lot of people, though we may live in the Federal Way, 30th District area, we are working in Seattle - let's be clear about it. And so, once that is really completed - that project - that will help ease some of the traffic flow and the emissions that are going out, because I'd rather spend a minimal amount of time and read a book while I'm traveling quickly and swiftly to my job in Seattle, than being stuck in traffic and then having the propensity to get into an accident or having someone hit me or falling asleep while we're in a dead zone deadlock and gridlock and those kinds of things. So I know that a lot of the transit money has already been bonded out. So it's gonna be a difficult thing to look at, but I'd certainly be in favor of a moratorium.

[00:30:09] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, that makes sense. And as you are considering your race, your opponent, just the dynamics of what is happening in Federal Way today and what residents are going through and what they want. Why are you the person who they should choose to represent them?

[00:30:33] Pastor Carey Anderson: Russell Wilson used to say this when he was with the Seahawks - why not me? So, when we look at public safety, when we look at safe neighborhoods, funding our schools, affordable housing, quality healthcare for seniors, clean environment, and issues surrounding equity for all - I'm the only candidate who has been a K-12 public school teacher. And I'm for state funding - I'm the only candidate who has championed $400 million of state funding for immediate reinvestment into our communities. We've got a $200 million allocation that's gonna drop next month. And the RFPs are soon to be online. And so I was one, along with four others, who helped champion that $400 million state funding for immediate reinvestment into our communities. I'm the only candidate who has been using our church as a clinic for patients, for COVID vaccinations and boosters, and feeding people - to the tune of feeding, we've done nearly 15,000. For boosting and vaccinating people, over 6,000. And we continue to do that through partnerships. I'm the only candidate that provides jobs through affordable housing - our affordable housing projects and my church-based nonprofit organizations. And as I had said earlier, our project just broke ground in January 2022, providing 119 units of affordable housing at a cost of over $36 million.

No one else has done that, no one else has been involved in leading the community. I'm just talking about - I'm not talking about Emmett Till, but I am talking about Trayvon Martin, I am talking about Michael Brown, I am talking about the mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. I am talking about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery. First AME Church, through this pastor and the leadership that I provided for this community - I was the one out in the street, I was the one organizing these marches along with my colleagues, I was the one that's speaking truth to power, I was the one that convened the mayor, the chief of police who has endorsed me. WEA has endorsed me, the Retired Public Employees Council has endorsed me, and we're still getting endorsements as we speak - because my boots are on the ground. You don't have to wait for Day One to start pushing the button - what are you gonna do? I'm gonna continue to do what I've always done. And so this is my pledge, this is who I am as a person - and preaching and politics have never been separated in my book. And from the historical tradition of the African Methodist Episcopal Church - we were the first to seek public office in state and federal levels in our denomination and have led the charge and led the way. The Reverend Raphael Warnock is standing on the shoulders of historical path and I'm standing on those same shoulders.

[00:33:48] Crystal Fincher: We're at an interesting time in our country and there certainly is a lot going on. You're coming to this race as a pastor. Your faith has informed how you have walked through life and how you have chosen to serve others in the community. We also see examples of some people who may be opposing you in this race, and some churches that are much more exclusive, that talk much more pointedly about who is and who is not welcome, who is and who is not moral or just or right in our society, allowed in our society. And we're having lots of conversations about what is the appropriate delineation between church and state. As someone whose faith is important to them, who you are walking into this role as a pastor, what role does faith play in how you serve, and I guess, through this candidacy. And what would you say to people who look around at other examples of religious leadership that they don't feel loved or included by - that you, as a pastor, would be the right choice. What would you say to folks who are thinking that?

[00:35:17] Pastor Carey Anderson: Well, you've asked a series of questions, actually. I would like to start by saying - we sang a song when I was coming up in California and They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love. And so my faith is rooted and grounded in love - love for neighbor, and love for self, and love for a community. And so, this is what informs my walk, it informs my talk. I want to be able to stand in the shoes of other people. It's not until you stand in their shoes that you understand their pain, and once you understand their pain, then you can begin to have discussions on how to mitigate the pain, how to address the pain, and how to walk with them through the pain. And so this is what I endeavor to do. The Bible says in the New Testament - we walk by faith and not by sight. So faith is what leads me, every morning, to get up. And it doesn't matter to me if you're Muslim, Jewish, atheist, or whoever you may be. You are a person, you are valued, and you are loved. What is it that we can do to help your walk? What is it that we can do to inform your viability, sustainability for you and your family and your loved ones? That's what we should be about.

[00:36:57] Crystal Fincher: Thank you so much, Pastor Carey. If people wanna find out more about your campaign or get involved, where can they go to find out more information?

[00:37:06] Pastor Carey Anderson: Google me and go to my, our website - Pastor Carey Anderson or Reverend Dr. Carey Anderson. But our campaign website is and you can go there, and we're still getting lots of hits and the phone number is there 253-296-6370. Well, you're welcome to join us, you're welcome to wave with us, you're welcome to walk with us, you're welcome to phonebank, textbank with us, and to follow us as we follow our call and commitment. So, these are simple ways, but it means so much - reaching people one at a time, one neighborhood at a time, one household at a time, one person at a time. And that's what we're about.

[00:38:05] Crystal Fincher: Well, thank you so much for spending time with us today, Pastor Carey Anderson. Thank you so much - we'll continue to follow you on your journey.

[00:38:14] Pastor Carey Anderson: Thank you for having me, Crystal. It has certainly been an honor, and it's certainly been a joy to see the work that you and your team are doing. And I am not going to turn this off. I'm gonna keep you in my heart and I'm gonna keep the work that you do in my soul. So thank you so much. God bless you and God keep you.

[00:38:37] Crystal Fincher: Thank you.

I thank you all for listening to Hacks & Wonks on KVRU 105.7 FM. The producer of Hacks & Wonks is Lisl Stadler with assistance from Shannon Cheng. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, spelled F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I. Now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts - just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at and in the episode notes.

Thanks for tuning in - we'll talk to you next time.