2020 Voters GuideDistrict 38 Rep 2
Prefers Democratic Party
Sells has served in the State House of Representatives since 2005. He is currently chair of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee. He previously served as the Executive Secretary to the Snohomish County Labor Council and worked as a teacher. He has a BA from Central Washington University.
Sells does not have a campaign website
Prefers Libertarian Party
Wiley is the Chair of the Snohomish County Libertarian Party. He has 20 years of experience in Quality Assurance in various manufacturing industries including Semiconductor, Industrial, Aerospace and Biomedical. He has a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from Seattle Pacific University.
Responses to Tribe's Questions
To read about this candidate’s responses to the Snoqualmie Tribe’s questions, click through each question below.
Q1: What do you know about the Snoqualmie Tribe?
Despite being my neighbors I know very little about the Snoqualmie tribe of substance. Here in Snohomish I am much more familiar with the Tulalip tribe.
Q2: What is your experience working with Tribes?
I see two parts to this question. The experience of working with Tribal culture and the experience of working with Tribal government. First of all like many Americans I am of very mixed race descent. This heritage and history was very important to my grandfather and his brother from a very young age. Every culture deserves to be able to pass on its knowledge and values peacefully, and unfortunately it hasn’t always been and still is not always easy for tribal Americans to do so. However, they choose not to be tribally enrolled and so do I. That was the choice made for me, I respect their intent in doing so and I equally respect those who choose to be enrolled with tribal government. For most of my life I have lived near (not on) a reservation and I am very at home and comfortable.
The second party is tribal government. As a college student I was very interested in environmental issues (I still am to this day) and worked with the Yakama tribe to understand their efforts at restoring native habitat as well as populations of salmon and other native wildlife. It was plainly evident as well how they were far more successful with a small budget than the huge state and federal salmon protection efforts with multi-million dollar budgets. I also learned a lot about how property which had been stolen over decades by BIA officials was being repossessed and used for restoration efforts. Also, as I mentioned earlier I have lived near a reservation most of my life. I have seen several tribes struggle to have their treaty rights and equal civil rights respected. I know the poverty of school districts which are on or near a reservation. I’ve seen tribal governments try to stand up for the rights of their people and I’ve seen tribal governments try to be the oppressors of their own people’s free speech. In general I have a very positive, but not rose-colored glass view of working with tribal government.
Q3: What does the ideal government-to-government relationship with tribes look like to you?
The State should view Tribal governments as respectful business partners, and I do not believe they currently do. The federal government for better and worse chose to bind the tribes to itself with treaties as if they were foreign governments. Until such time as the treaties are freely renegotiated then the federal government should continue the relationship and fully respect all treaty rights and obligations.
Q4: If elected, what would your Indian Country-related goals be?
To encourage Washington State agencies to respect the sovereignty of tribal governments, to become partners with tribal government and to treat the citizens as equal citizens to other Washingtonians.
Q5: What is your knowledge of tribal treaties and trust obligations?
As the saying goes “I know enough to be dangerous”. I know its a complicated matter and best viewed on a treaty by treaty basis. I will not comment on these issues without first reading the relevant treaty and trust in order to pay full respect to them.
Q6: Do you support increasing funding to tribes for services such as health care, cultural resources, and education?
I fully believe in equality under the law. I do not believe government should favor or disfavor anyone or group based on race, religion, culture or creed. That said I have seen with my own eyes that the tribes generally receive much less funding and quality of service than others. Particularly education and health care. I do not favor any culture and I believe government should not promote or denigrate any culture. It is best for the tribes to develop their own cultural resources and have those resources remain free of state interference or intrusion.
Q7: What do you know about free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC)? If elected, would you advocate for these principles to be included in legislation and policy?
FPIC is a right recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Really though, this should be considered a basic human right. Its already a constitutional right of the State of Washington which in Article 1, section 1 says: “All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”
Consent is always informed consent because nobody can truly consent through fraud. You cannot consent after an event and so it must be done prior to whatever is being done. You also cannot consent through force or coercion, it must be free and voluntary. Any government seeking to rule through force and fraud is both illegitimate and immoral. Not only would I advocate for these Principles, but I believe as a Libertarian like the late Lakota activist Russell Means I already do.
Q8: What protections do you believe Tribal cultural resources and sacred sites should have?
Outside of disputed lands sacred to more than one group, sacred sites should be property of the tribe which considers them sacred. They should be protected by Treaty law (the highest form of law second only to our federal constitution) and failing that they should be respected by state and tribal law. A cultural resource cannot really be defined by those outside the culture and should enjoy social and legal protection within its culture.
Q9: What do you believe is the best role of government in the fee to trust process for tribes to gain jurisdiction over their traditional lands?
The best role would be for the federal government to define and protect these tribal lands in treaty rights. However, the federal government has almost always failed at this. Where these lands have fallen into local or state property it is appropriate for the State or Local government to correct this with a sale (possibly a gift depending on how the government came into possession) of land to the tribe.
Q10: What do you know about the Snoqualmie Tribe's sacred site, Snoqualmie Falls? Do you support the Tribe's right to have a say in any future decisions made on its sacred site, including hydropower licensing?
I know no more than anyone else who has read about it in the news. I believe that the tribes should essentially be sovereign in their lands with the exception issues that have the potential to damage other properties such as pollution and water rights only because those effect people living off tribal grounds as well.
Q11: What role, if any, do you feel the State of Washington plays in Treaty Rights disputes?
I feel currently the State of Washington has been playing the primary role of litigant and this is improper. The State should be an arbitrator between citizens who have equal rights and not be a party to disputes about federal treaties.
Q12: Do you support the Snoqualmie Tribe as a signatory of the Treaty of Point Elliot having equal rights to its fellow treaty signatory tribes?
Historically I believe the Snoqualmie were part of the Snoqualmoo signatories which then diverged into two tribes. I agree with the tribe have equal treaty rights, but the Washington State government should not take a side in disputes between Tribes on interpreting federal treaties. The State government should remain neutral in tribal disputes and make sure that the individual rights of each of its citizens is protected regardless of affiliation.