Introducing: Diego Batres

Hello all! My name is Diego Batres, and I am the newest addition to Vivian’s Campaign! I’m helping manage the social media accounts and various other odds and ends. I’m a Washingtonian born and raised, and I am currently attending Seattle University for a double major in English and Political Science.

I’m super excited to be involved in this campaign and to (hopefully) make a difference in our local politics. I attended Roosevelt High School, so while I don’t have direct experience with School District 4, I have attended Seattle Public Schools. Those experiences are part of why I have chosen to work with Vivian. In particular, her position on mental health services as essential is absolutely correct and sorely needed, especially in our high schools. It is clear to me that she really cares about Seattle Public Schools and its families, and while I can’t vote for her, I encourage everyone who can to do so. I look forward to seeing how the primary shakes down, and if we make it through, you may see some personal anecdotes about my experiences with SPS in the future.

Remember, the primary ends on August 3rd! Make sure to vote!

Capital Projects

I recently visited West Woodland Elementary to take a picture that I posted to Facebook a couple of days ago. However, due to the nature of Facebook and the length of posts, I couldn’t explain in detail the importance of Capital Projects. I will do so now.

Seattle is a growing city, and just about daily we are welcoming new families with children who will attend Seattle Public Schools. I recently also visited Adams Elementary to film this video, and I saw there that we are already failing to keep up with our growing population. Portables, temporary classrooms placed outside of the main building, are not a long-term solution. They are inferior to normal classrooms in most aspects, often lacking either heating or AC (or both), can be cramped, and allow more opportunity for students to become distracted.

The portables are representative of a larger issue. We are also falling behind in transportation services, many of our schools’ technology labs are growing increasingly outdated, and we need to hire more staff for the increasingly large student body.

I support greater funding to meet our growing needs, including upgrading our school buildings and ensuring that our schools have the infrastructure to support our students. That means up-to-date technology, appropriate staffing levels, and ensuring that every student has a seat in the classroom.

West Woodland Elementary is currently finishing its own Capital Project to add some classrooms, parking, and gym room! This is exactly the kind of project that will allow us to adjust to the growing needs of our students and families.

 

Disabilities: A Personal Story

“We have to harvest and cultivate our own stories not just to feel valid but to feel rejoiced.”

 

July is Disability Pride Month, observed since 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed on July 26, 1990, barring discrimination against people with disabilities. It is not about awareness, but rather celebration.

 

A public school teacher, Mrs. Leonard, identified my hearing loss. I remember her kneeling down, holding my hand and telling me, “Your hearing loss does not have to stop you from anything.” Over the last 33 years from that moment, I have learned to advocate for the support I need to be the student, employee, community member, and individual I want to be. To be my full self. 

 

My daughter Elise also has a hearing loss disability. When we told her the results of her hearing screening, she cried and asked, “Why does all the bad things have to happen to me?” I knelt down, held her hand, and told her the same message Mrs. Leonard told me. And I told her how my disability is something I am proud of, it has shaped me to be the person that I am.

 

I am running for school board to show Elise that a disability is to be celebrated. I am running for school board to advocate for the support that all of Seattle Public School’s 8000+ special education students need to “cultivate their own stories.”

Illustration by Lisa Quine

AAPI Representation

Seattle Public Schools serve a diverse range of students and families who come from a myriad of backgrounds, but unfortunately, much of this diversity does not extend to the school board. Part of what motivated me to run was the recent trend of anti-Asian sentiment in the wake of COVID-19. Seeing that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up about 14% of students, it seems wrong to me that there are no AAPI members of the school board. These students face struggles that the school board knows almost nothing about. They need someone who understands their experience giving them a voice in the decision-making process.
Similarly, about 13% of students have disabilities or are neurodivergent, and many of them are being left behind. The school board doesn’t know how to best support these students, and as a result, the budget is being utilized in inefficient ways.
As an Asian American and someone with a disability, I know through my personal experiences how important it is for that diversity to be represented in the decision-making process. I can represent both of these groups of students, and I have the financial experience to help distribute the budget in efficient, helpful ways that lift up our students. In a nutshell, this is what my campaign is about: Giving voice to the students of families who do not have one and using my practical experience to better the system for the benefit of us all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Voters Guide

This is the Seattle Video Voter’s Guide. In this video I broadly lay out some of my priorities, positions, and qualifications. It is only an overview however, so if you want more information, I suggest either looking at my interview with the 36th District Democrats (who endorsed me), looking at the Issues tab at the top of the page, or if you have questions that are not answered in either of those places, leaving a comment below or messaging me on Facebook here.