FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friends of Saturn statement on assault and harassment of our candidate and campaign staff

July 25th, 2018

TUMWATER, WA—On the evening of July 23rd, 2018, at Sen. Karen Fraser’s 31st Annual Summer Action Picnic, Thurston County Public Utility District Commissioner candidate, Andrew Saturn, was assaulted and harassed by two members of our opponent’s campaign. These individuals were wearing shirts bearing logos for ILWU (which has endorsed our opponent), as well as bearing stickers with the logo for our opponent, Linda Oosterman. The incident was caught on camera by one of our campaign supporters, and witnessed by dozens of individuals at the event.

 

This occurred without provocation, and not in response to any action by our campaign. The individuals in question shoved Andrew Saturn, kicked over and stepped on our campaign materials, and then slapped him. They then proceeded to surround and follow our campaign staff and supporters around the park, shouting obscenities, and filming with a cellphone. When our campaign attempted to leave the event, the two individuals followed us and attempted to prevent our campaign team from leaving.

Our conservative opponent, Linda Oosterman, was made aware of what happened immediately. Rather than respond appropriately, our opponent and her allies decided to speak with multiple attendees at the event and make slanderous statements about Andrew and our campaign, implying the assault was acceptable and deserved.

The perpetrators of the assault and harassment were allowed to remain at the event, and returned to the table for our opponent’s campaign. This is a continuing pattern of an un-addressed “whisper campaign” being carried out by the connected political establishment in Thurston County, and the second incident in as many weeks carried out by individuals connected to our opponent’s campaign.

Linda Oosterman and her campaign staff have ignored multiple requests for a meeting, and have canceled appearances at debates and forums. None of the current and former elected officials and organizations who have endorsed our opponent have responded to a request for a statement. A list of those officials can be found on our opponent’s campaign website.

Tumwater Police are investigating the incident, and appropriate charges will be filed. Our campaign does not condone violence, and we expected that our opponent would happily say the same. Unfortunately, we were made to feel unsafe by our opponent at an event where the host herself invited us.

We call on those who have endorsed our opponent to immediately rescind their endorsement and make a statement against this sort of violent and inappropriate behavior. In the current political climate of rumors and “fake news,” we need to stand together with our allies to protect the environment, workers, and our kids.

Our campaign has the endorsement of the Washington State Green Party, South Puget Sound Green Party, Puget Sound Socialist Party, Washington Farmer-Labor Party, and others. We are also the only Public Utility Commissioner campaign to receive the support of the Thurston County Democrats’ Campaign Services Committee.

The Thurston County Public Utility District is a public utility owned by residents of Thurston County. It is responsible for operating 303 water systems in Thurston County, and often acts as a satellite management agency, helping about 10 other public and private water system owners in diagnosing and resolving issues and improving their own systems. With over 8,400 direct customers, and over 600 via outside systems, the PUD serves over 9,000 customers county-wide.

Andrew Saturn is a union tech worker, designer, engineer, and lifelong progressive activist running as a first-time candidate in a non-partisan county-wide race for Public Utility District Commissioner. Saturn believes regular working people deserve a seat at the table, not for-profit corporate monopolies and their lobbyists. General Election ballots go out between October 19th and November 6th, 2018. In-person voter registration deadline for the 2018 General Election is October 29th, 2018.

More information at www.votesaturn.com