Press Release
Reagan Dunn Points to “Natural Immunity” as a Consideration for Undermining County Vaccine Mandate

Natural Immunity to COVID-19 is a national conservative talking point of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Fox News Host Tucker Carlson, among others

Renton – As COVID remains the number one cause of death among law enforcement and first responders across the country, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn says a vaccine mandate is, “too hard line of a policy,” while still acknowledging that, “mandatory vaccinations may make sense in terms of the spread of the disease.

Discussing this more in depth in an interview Monday on the Dori Monson Show, Dunn echoed national conservative talking points stating that, “the natural immunities in at least some studies are potentially better than man-made immunity.” Natural immunity, of course, requires a person to have COVID and survive it, an extremely dangerous and flawed proposition that runs counter to CDC recommendations. The topic of natural immunity is popular among conservatives including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis  and conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson, among others. 

Later in the interview Dunn stated he wants to, “fight for this and continue to fight for the minority of people who, for whatever reason, are uncomfortable with the vaccine, and we’ll take it to the mat if necessary.”

“I support King County’s vaccine mandate because I believe in science and public health, and because it’s working,” said Renton City Councilmember and candidate for County Council Kim-Khanh Van. “If we want to keep kids in school, businesses open, and our community safe, people must get vaccinated, especially frontline workers who interface with the public. It is a great tragedy that more police have died nationwide of COVID than any other cause this year. Public health is public safety. The vaccine is safe, effective, and the best tool we have to end this pandemic.”

Van continued, “Councilmember Dunn’s furthering misinformation about the benefits of ‘natural immunity’ is illogical and dangerous. While this may be a popular talking point among right-wing radio hosts and anti-vaxxers, encouraging people to contract COVID will in many cases be a death sentence. I don’t want to go back to the early days of the pandemic. Our representative has an obligation to put community safety first, stop undermining public health, and prevent the overcrowding of our hospitals and the deaths of thousands of Washingtonians.”

According to the King County dashboard of COVID-19 outcomes by vaccination status for the past 30 days, an unvaccinated person is 8 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19, 46 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 78 times more likely to die of COVID than a fully vaccinated person. 

King County is among the most vaccinated counties in the country, and the most vaccinated county of its size. 83% of county employees are vaccinated, including about 80% of Sheriff’s Deputies, nearly double the rate since August, the month the mandate was announced.

Press Release
County Council Candidate Kim-Khanh Van & Community Leaders Decry Dunn’s Deceptive Campaign Tactics

In aftermath of Councilmember Kathy Lambert’s racist mailing, her Republican colleague Reagan Dunn doubles down on his own racist, inflammatory, and dishonest campaigning

Renton – Today, Renton City Councilmember and candidate for County Council Kim-Khanh Van called on Reagan Dunn to cease his dishonest, racially insensitive campaigning. At a forum Wednesday, the same day six of his colleagues on the County Council denounced County Councilmember Kathy Lambert’s blatantly bigoted campaign mail piece, Reagan Dunn doubled down on the same kind of false, inflammatory, and racist campaign tactics.

Dunn, who has endorsed Lambert and remains the only member of the King County Council endorsing her, brought with him a printed photo from Facebook of Van from a June 2020 vigil and rally at Renton City Hall in honor of George Floyd and others who have lost their lives. Dunn used the photo to say he “doesn’t believe” his opponent’s position on public safety. On the Renton City Council, Van voted for the hiring of additional officers and has stated clearly throughout the campaign that she does not support defunding police budgets. 

Dunn stated, “Yeah, you have supported defunding the police. I mean I have a picture of you marching to defund the police with a sign to defund the police,” citing the photo of Van standing in the vicinity of someone holding a sign with “defund the police” on it. The photo Dunn chose was taken from a series of photos including Reverend Dr. Linda Smith, founder of Renton -South King County Black Alliance for Equity, Inclusion and Justice (formerly known as Renton-King County Alliance for Justice) and rally and vigil organizer. Reverend Dr. Linda Smith is also co-chair of Renton African American Pastors and Renton Police (RAAP) with the Renton Police Department Chief. Reverend Dr. Smith has presented awards to Renton Police Officers for “Extraordinary Efforts in Building Community Relationships.” 

 

“It is inappropriate for Dunn, or any candidate, to cherry pick and place before the people untruth. The event Dunn references was an event that actually brought healing to our community,” said Rev. Dr. Smith. “We do not control who shows up with what signs. But what we do control is truth. The truth of this matter is that Dunn did not represent the event properly.”

Smith continued, “We have always stood with the Renton Police Department here in the City of Renton and do not, nor have we, advocated for ‘Defunding the Police.’ We have worked alongside our Renton Police Department for over eight years cultivating relationships and developing programs to unify and bring healing and justice to the community. Unlike Dunn, Councilmenber Van showed up to listen and work to heal and build trust in the community and government.”

“Although Councilmember Dunn has a long record of marginalizing communities of color, this was a new low. To politicize a moment from a peaceful vigil, and use it to continue to misrepresent my clear record, is unacceptable. It is disappointing he would stoop to these levels to win a campaign. Our district deserves better,” said Van. 

Dunn was the sole vote against declaring racism a public health crisis in King County, as well as the sole vote against the county’s $600 million COVID recovery package, against much needed funding for homelessness, and against hazard pay for essential workers.

Dunn also joined his Republican colleagues on the County Council opposing an advisory committee regarding the Sheriff’s selection, enhancing the trust and fairness for immigrant communities, providing indigent individuals counsel, establishing October 12th as Indigenous’ People’s Day and Juneteenth 19th as a recognition of Juneteenth in Martin Luther King County, and more. 

Former King County Councilmember Larry Gosset, a local civil rights icon said, “My former colleague Republican Reagan Dunn’s unfair criticism of Kim-Khanh Van is based on bad logic – guilt by association. Rather than looking at her record and listening to her positions, Dunn wants voters to judge her on false pretenses and spread fear. Unlike Councilmember Dunn, Kim-Khanh is the thoughtful and responsible leader District 9 deserves.”

Renton City Councilmember Ryan McIrvin, who also attended the vigil and rally, said, “Councilmember Kim-Khanh Van has a clear record voting in support of needed funding for our Police Department, including the hiring of additional officers, and safety investments to keep every neighbor safe. That is the kind of leadership we need now on the County Council. For these reasons and her progressive, non-partisan work, I endorse Councilmember Van.”

King County Deputy Prosecutor and Federal Way City Councilmember Leandra Craft said, “I was truly disappointed to hear that Councilmember Dunn attempted to mislead voters and continues to misrepresent Councilmember Van’s clear record. King County voters deserve accurate and honest information from their elected officials.”

State Representative David Hackney, former Representative Zack Hudgins, and Renton Councilmember Ed Prince were among many other local elected officials who were present at the rally and vigil, and they made their comments clear of Councilmember Dunn’s unacceptable behavior.

State Representative David Hackney said, “The vigil and rally Councilmember Dunn is knowingly misrepresenting was an important opportunity for our community to come together, support our BIPOC neighbors, and stand against racism in any form. For Councilmember Dunn to use that healing moment for political gain is unacceptable – we deserve better. I call on his endorsers to rescind their endorsements and for our neighbors to vote for the thoughtful and community-oriented leader in this race, Councilmember Van.”

Renton Councilmember Ed Prince, “Keeping every neighbor safe and building trust with community requires leaders willing to bring people together, have tough conversations, and do the work that leads us forward. Councilmember Van works in building trust with the community and votes to hire officers reflective of our community, funding for body cameras, and additional resources for mental health navigators to support our Renton Police Department and community.”

Former longtime State Representative Zack Hudgins added, “For 16 years, Republican Reagan Dunn has served on the King County Council. His avoidance of the record in favor of repeated fear mongering makes it clear he doesn’t deserve four more years. It is extremely disappointing that he would distort Kim’s clear record advocating for strong community safety for his own benefit. Voters deserve better, which is why I am supporting Kim-Khanh Van.”

“Our community deserves a real representative who represents District 9 instead of worrying about Seattle,” said Holly Hill, District 9 resident.

Although Dunn made himself available for Wednesday night’s in-person forum in Enumclaw, he skipped a Washington Coalition for Police Accountability candidate forum held via Zoom, an opportunity to discuss the issue at length and in depth.

KIRO 7
Local Leaders React to Chauvin Guilty Verdict

“George Floyd’s life mattered and Black Lives Matter. Guilty verdicts are steps toward justice, but we cannot expect real change without sustained accountability and commitment to meaningful reform. We must continue our work, not just by acknowledging the existence of systemic racism and bias, but by fighting every day to forever eradicate this impediment to health, justice, and equal opportunity for all.” – Renton City Councilmember and candidate for County Council Kim-Khanh Van

Read More

Press Statement
Kim-Khanh Van Celebrates King County Council’s Approval of Hazard Pay for Frontline Grocery Workers, Denounces CM Reagan Dunn’s Sole “No” Vote

RENTON – Today, Renton City Councilmember and candidate for King County Council Kim Khanh Van released the following statement, celebrating passage of hazard pay for King County frontline grocery workers. Van, who is challenging incumbent Republican Councilmember Reagan Dunn, also expressed disappointment in her opponent for being the sole “No” vote against the measure:

“Grocery workers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic for a full year, risking their health and their lives to serve our communities. This common-sense measure will benefit thousands of South King County workers and their families, especially hard-hit communities of color.

“Few employee groups in the country have suffered the kind of risk exposure – without medical grade precautions – as grocery workers. As a former grocery store clerk myself, let me be clear: these are more than essential workers, they’re essential community members. They deserve hazard pay.

“Yet over a year into the pandemic, Councilmember Dunn refused to acknowledge the sacrifice of South King County workers, and stands alone on the side of profitable corporations.

“Councilmember Dunn’s decision adds to his record of failing to respond to public health crises – first the only no vote on declaring racism a public health crisis, and now on hazard pay.

“In a time of crisis, we need leaders to listen to the community and take action. Instead, Councilmember Dunn ignored his constituents and voted to maintain sub-living wages in dangerous conditions for essential grocery workers.”

Van, a candidate for King County Council District 9, has emphasized her deep roots in South King County. A refugee at age six, Van is now an immigration attorney, small business owner, co-PTA president, board member of Renton Technical College Foundation, and Renton City Councilmember.

International Examiner
Renton City Councilmember, immigration attorney Kim-Khanh Van running for King County Council

She decided to run against 15-year incumbent King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn (a Republican) for the seat because she believed he has become increasingly disconnected from the needs of the diverse district, and his responses to homelessness and housing affordability have been inadequate.   The district’s challenges were starkly outlined by the COVID-19 pandemic, Van said, and Dunn didn’t do enough to protect communities against hate and bias at the start of the pandemic, or address racial profiling of Black and Latinx community members, especially after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, and subsequent reckonings with racial injustice.  Read More

Press Release
MLK DAY: Kim-Khanh Van Calls for Representation and Action; Protests Against Racism and Injustice

Van has raised over $75,000 and earned key endorsements, just one month after announcing campaign for County Council 

 

Renton – Today, as communities across America recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a time of historic division, Kim-Khanh Van, a Renton City Councilmember, community organizer, attorney, and mother of two running for King County Council released the following statement:

“On this important holiday, celebrated in honor of the namesake of our county and our nation’s defining voice for equality and justice, we have an important opportunity to reflect on our values in this challenging moment and define the critical and urgent priorities of the future.

“In light of the attack on our Capitol and efforts to discount and overturn the votes of millions of Black and minority voters, we know that what we say – and when we say it – matters. Elected leaders owe it to our communities not to just speak out in times of crisis when the pot boils over, but to reject racism and inequality in all forms from the start by being bold, consistent critics of injustice.

“Commitment to action and representation must be steadfast, these principles cannot be an afterthought, nor a secondary responsibility. We deserve representatives who understand the need to truly invest in equity – in our COVID response and vaccine distribution, support for our veterans and seniors, in helping small and minority owned businesses. Today, I will join in protest with my community in collective demand for a better tomorrow.”

Van, a member of Seattle Martin Luther King Jr. Organizing Coalition, will spend the day in her role as peacekeeper, protesting racism and injustice and joining fellow community members and elected leaders at the 39th Annual Seattle MLK Day Rally and March protest at Garfield High School in Seattle. This year’s theme “Good Trouble, Necessary Trouble” reflects on the legacy of the late Congressman John Lewis, including his and Dr. King Jr.’s fight for justice and efforts to create a beloved community.

If elected, Van would be the first woman of color to serve on the County Council since Ruby Chow retired from county government in the mid-1980’s, and the first to serve since the 1992 establishment of the current Metropolitical King County Council.

Officially announcing her campaign in December, Van has over $75,000 in contributions and pledges as she seeks to unseat Republican County Councilmember Reagan Dunn. Van’s impressive fundraising numbers, including outraising Dunn during this period and having a higher cash on hand, demonstrate the enthusiasm surrounding her campaign.

Van is endorsed by numerous community leaders and advocates for racial justice, including civil rights champion and former longtime King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, Indigenous community leader Matt Remle, Reverend Dr. Linda Smith of the Renton-King County Alliance for Justice, and Vasudha Sharma, a member of the Mayor’s Inclusion Task Force in Renton. 

“Kim-Khanh Van is a natural leader. As a Renton City Councilmember she has helped community members fashion solutions to a wide range of issues including housing, schools, employment, social services and immigrant and refugee advocacy,” said Gossett. “Her quick grasp of neighborhood needs and her ability to bring people together has been a superb gift. She will be a great advocate for every King County neighbor.”

Since entering the race, Van has earned additional endorsements from State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti, State Senator Karen Keiser, and State Representatives Debra Entenman and Nicole Macri.

See Van’s full list of endorsers and learn more at ElectKimKhanhVan.com.

South Seattle Emerald
Kim-Khánh Văn Aims for King County Council

As Văn campaigns for a seat on the county council, she summarizes her priority as making sure that, as we recover from COVID-19, the American dream is still possible and accessible by everyone. She aims to take a holistic approach to public safety by strengthening police accountability; protecting our water, land, and environment; alleviating small businesses’ economic impacts; and solving homelessness and transportation issues — and the intersection of inclusion and equity in all those sectors. … Read More

Seattle Times
Renton City Councilmember Kim-Khanh Van announces run for King County Council

“I’ll bring fresh ideas and hands-on leadership to address the economic, health and housing challenges facing our families and small businesses as we recover from the pandemic and build stronger communities for all who call this region home,” Van said. “For me, public service is simply an extension of my commitment to helping people, just as my family received care and support when we arrived in Washington state.” … Read More

Patch
Renton Council Member Launches Campaign For King County Council

Văn, born in Vietnam, would be the first Asian-Pacific Islander to serve on the county council and the first woman of color to serve since the modern Metropolitan King County Council was established in 1992. Early endorsements include former county councilmember Larry Gossett and Seattle Port Commissioner Sam Cho.
Read More

Kent Reporter
Renton City Councilmember Van running for Dunn’s county seat

If Van were to be elected, there would be a woman of color on the county council for the first time since the mid-80s. Van also received support...from former King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, Seattle Port Commissioner Sam Cho and State Rep. Steve Bergquist, D-Renton. … Read More