Chelsea Rustad Vetting Form

Vetting Form

Your Name: Chelsea Rustad
Position: Local
Name of Office: Tumwater City Council position 5
Congressional District: Washington\’s 10th congressional district
Legislative District: District 35
Status: New Candidate
Date of Election (mm/dd/yy): 11/7/2017
Candidate Website:
Candidate Facebook:
Candidate Twitter:
Candidate Email:

Do You: Believe in the need for Campaign Finance Reform/not support Super PACs/Citizen’s United?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: I believe that money should not determine who is elected, or who has access to the ballot. No elected position should be locked behind a paywall. I do not believe Super PACs should be able to make monetary contributions to campaigns, and am wholeheartedly against Citizens United — corporations are not people, and currency is not equivalent to speech.

Do You: Believe in Medicare/Medicaid/single-payer for all?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: I believe that the ideal healthcare solution would be socialized medicine for all: healthcare facilities would be government owned and operated, and everyone in the country would have full coverage, regardless of their age, gender, orientation, race, or pre-existing medical conditions. Doctors and healthcare workers would be salaried, and revenues would derive from a steeply graduated income tax. I also give critical support the abolition of private health insurance companies and their immediate replacement with a single payer healthcare system, as a step on the path to socialized medicine. This single payer system would be funded by progressive taxation and controlled by democratically elected assemblies of healthcare workers and patients. This system would expand upon and replace Medicare/Medicaid.

Do You: Believe in LGBTQ marriage equality/equal rights?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate: Absolutely. Despite the victories won for marriage equality in 2015, civil rights for LGBTQ individuals and communities are constantly under attack. These marginalized groups must enjoy the full protections and rights as everyone else in the country, including the right not to be discriminated against by employers, businesses, and landlords.

Do You: Believe in tax-paid public accredited college access for all who are accepted and free tuition at all public colleges?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: Yes. Higher education should be available as a right. In the business world today, a college degree is the new high school diploma, and is considered the bare minimum for anyone pursuing a skilled position. In order to give people a fighting chance at achieving their career goals, access to a college education is absolutely necessary.

Do You: Support college loan repayment relief and college loan monthly payments no more than 10% of net income?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: Yes, and furthermore, I call for the forgiveness of all outstanding federal student loans. Students should not be burdened with decades of debt just to pursue their educational and career goals.

Do You: Believe in closing corporate tax loopholes?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: Yes; companies doing business in the US must be required to pay their fair share of the considerable profits they earn in this country. Stashing money in tax havens, exploiting child labor and underpaid foreign labor, and paying their domestic employees the minimum wage are shameful practices that harm workers and harm our economy.

Do You: Believe in a $15 Minimum Wage (graduated in, over 4 years, at a maximum)?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: Yes; I believe $15 is where the discussion should start, but the minimum wage should be indexed to the cost of living and adjusted to a higher wage as appropriate. The federal minimum wage hasn\’t been raised in 10 years and must be raised accordingly as well; no one can make ends meet with $7.25/hour.

Do You: Prioritize repairing infrastructure?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: I support a program of massive federal investment in both urban and rural areas for infrastructure reconstruction and economic development to strengthen our economy.

Do You: Believe in Police/Prison Reform (end private prisons, drug treatment vs. prison, possible Body Cams, demilitarize/retrain police, etc.)?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: I call for the immediate establishment of independent, democratically elected police control and oversight councils. These councils would have full authority to fire police and to arrest, detain, and indict police officers who abuse people and/or violate civil rights and liberties. Ultimately, I call for the replacement of police with community patrols, comprised of residents trained in conflict resolution who live and serve in the community they represent. I call for community response services for crime victims, including the establishment of crisis centers and shelters for victims of domestic violence, spousal and child abuse, and rape and incest. I call for the decriminalization of drug use and the regulation of narcotics by doctors through the use of prescriptions rather than by the criminal justice system. I call for the redirection of funds spent on the \”war on drugs\” to comprehensive community-based, client-controlled rehabilitation programs. I call for the dismantling of the prison industrial complex through reductions and dismantling of existing prisons, and an end to mass incarceration of people of color.

Do You: Believe in finding a way to reduce the power of the military industrial complex and constant state of conflict/war?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please be specific.: Yes; the US is a terrorizing force abroad, using drones without due process, bombing multiple countries we are not technically at war with, engaging in regime change of other countries\’ democratically elected governments, election interference, fostering endless conflict to the benefit of war profiteers, and spending obscene amounts of our budget on the military. Major changes will be necessary to curb the horrific imperial impact of the US around the world. To this end: I call for the closing of all U.S. military facilities at home and abroad that train foreign military and paramilitary personnel. I call for the United States to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the Middle-East. I call for an end to the U.S. occupation of the province of Guantanamo, Cuba. I call for an end to the occupation of the State of Palestine, apartheid policies of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people, and all U.S. aid to Israel. I support an immediate cut off of all U.S. military aid to Colombia, and all other recipients. I call for the abolition of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and all other institutions of covert warfare. I stand for unconditional disarmament by the United States. I call for an international treaty outlawing all weapons of mass destruction, including the use of depleted uranium in conventional weapons. I call for an immediate 50% cut in the military budget, followed by additional cuts, with the aim of rapidly reducing the military budget to less than 10% of its current level, with the \”peace dividend\” directed to essential social services and to the cost of cleaning up contaminated military sites.
Do You: Support common sense gun control/improved background checks (ban on assault weapons, like Bernie)?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please be specific.: I support federal buyout programs for arms, federal safety standards and licensing for arms, and community-based public training for gun owners. In America it is very worrisome that there are more guns than people. We can implement common sense changes that prevent more devastating tragedies while allowing responsible gun owners to acquire training with weapons that are not designed to cause catastrophic harm to large groups of people.

Do You: Support a woman’s right to choose and will try to prevent local legislation that inhibits access to care at Planned Parenthood or any other clinic providing women’s care in this area?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: Yes; I am absolutely pro-choice, having scored 100% on the candidate questionnaire form NARAL Pro-Choice of Washington. I will not compromise on women\’s reproductive rights, and believe that all clinics that provide women\’s health care (including abortions), such as Planned Parenthood, must have the full protection of the law. No one should be intimidated away from receiving care, nor should these clinics be continually targeted with overly burdensome TRAP legislation designed to limit or end patient access to their services.

Do You: Believe in climate change and working towards renewable energy sources?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: Yes! Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our world today. I made the decision to invest in solar energy for my home so that I can spread the word about the incredible incentives available in Washington state for solar ambassadors. However, I also acknowledge that climate change is largely a systemic issue, and in order to be effectively mitigated, changes must be implemented on a national scale to move away from unsustainable dirty energy and protect the environment from pollution and toxic waste. This will include placing full responsibility on private companies for the prevention and clean up of their own waste, and full compensation for workers and residents adversely affected by environmental hazards. I will support the development and incentivization of alternative clean energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, and biomass to end our dependence on fossil fuels.

Do You: Believe in separation of church and state?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: The separation of church and state is absolutely essential to the actualization of an evenhanded democracy. There can be no establishment of a state religion, nor shall a specific religion be given preferential treatment over marginalized traditions. Religious components such as holy texts, prayer, public monuments of religious doctrine, and overtly religious verbiage should be removed from public land and affairs.

Do You: Believe in a path to citizenship?: Yes
Why or Why Not? Please Elaborate.: Yes; I call for full citizenship rights upon demonstrating residency for six months. Furthermore, I oppose the militarization of the United States/Mexican border, and an increase in the service budget instead of the \”military\” budget of the INS. And I call for an end to the use of \”secret evidence\” in deportation hearings, a ban on all immigration detentions and military tribunals, and full due process and habeus corpus rights in U.S. courts for all non-citizens on U.S. territory or in U.S. custody. I demand an end to police raids in areas where immigrants congregate.

Did you support Bernie in the 2016 Primary?: Yes

Do you support and believe in whistleblowers like Eric Snowden and Julian Assange?: Yes
If Not, Why?: I fully support Eric Snowden and provide critical support for Julian Assange. Snowden is regarded as a traitor by many, yet because of his heroic actions we now know the full extent of US surveillance by the NSA. I believe the work of WikiLeaks is extremely important, and believe it doesn\’t matter who leaked a report, but rather what the contents of that report reveal to us. WikiLeaks proved that the Democratic Party conspired with the media to sabotage Bernie\’s campaign in 2016, elevate Trump, and ensure that Hillary Clinton would be the nominee against the wishes of the public. I have personal reservations about Assange\’s character, namely his tweets suggesting that Milo Yiannopoulos\’s \”free speech\” was infringed upon when Milo engaged in pedophile apologia. However, I believe that the work WikiLeaks does is essential and should be supported rather than condemned, Assange\’s personal politics and inclinations aside.

Do you respect 3rd parties as an alternative to get corporate ownership out of politics? Or should you “vote blue no matter who?”: I do not agree with the admonition that people should just \”vote blue no matter who\”. If people are ordered to vote a certain way regardless of the candidate\’s positions and principles, then why have elections at all? Third parties must be allowed equitable access to the ballot, debates, and elected positions at all levels of government. I joined the Socialist Party USA because I am a democratic socialist and believe it is imperative to work outside of the capitalist duopoly for real changes.

Other Comments.: As a socialist, worker\’s rights and the replacement of capitalism with socialism as an economic mode of production are the foundation of everything else I am passionate about: women\’s reproductive health, universal healthcare, a $15 living wage, community patrols, and more. I am willing to work with any individual or organization that will join me in the fight against xenophobia, racism, sexism, climate change, and capitalism everywhere.