Voices From Here | KNKX

Voices From Here

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Record numbers of Latinos are eligible to vote in this election. But low voter turnout has plagued this community across the U.S. And Washington state is no exception. 

Oskar Zambrano Méndez came to the U.S. with his parents when he was two years old.  He grew up in Fontana in the 1990s. At the time, it was a small, predominately white town in Southern California. And he says it was a town where people constantly reminded you of your place as a Mexican immigrant.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Matt Lyles knows how some people in Seattle feel about tech workers.

"When I came here, I was trying to start a better life for me," he said. "I didn't think I would be harming other people in doing so, but that's kind of what I feel sometimes."

Lyles is a software development engineer at Amazon. He helps Echo, the company's voice-activated speaker, figure out which songs to play when someone says, "Play sad songs from Soundgarden."

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

In January, Kathy Bertsch was laid off from her job of 10 years at an engineering and manufacturing company. It was a desk job, and she had grown a bit restless there, but it was the job she had planned to retire from.

Bertsch had three months of severance pay, then was left with unemployment benefits and the task of rebuilding a career.

She went to a Seattle job fair, where she began talking with representatives of a group called ANEW, or Apprenticeship & Nontraditional Employment for Women.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Virginia Rehberg is a science teacher at Tacoma’s Wilson High School, and she has been for the last two decades. But her focus during this election is actually outside the classroom.

Several words come to mind when describing Virginia Rehberg: passionate, curious, mother, educator, and opinionated. Fiercely so.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Washington farmers and food processors contribute more than $50 billion to the state’s economy, or about 12 percent of the economic activity overall. Eastern Washington is famous for crops such as apples, wheat and hops, that are exported all over the world.  But nearly half of the state’s farms are smaller operations, located west of the Cascades.

More than a thousand of them make their livelihoods working the fertile soil of the Skagit Valley, where a river of the same name provides water and nutrients that first attracted farmers more than a century ago.

Ed Ronco / knkx

This week, 88.5 knkx begins an election series called "Voices from Here," featuring conversations with five different people who live in the Puget Sound area. They'll talk about their concerns and hopes as we head toward the presidential election on Nov. 8.

Before we hear those conversations, we spent a moment with David Domke, professor of political communication at the University of Washington.