Prosser’s Chukar Cherries is getting unusual attention after it played a starring role in a mailer promoting the campaign of a native Lower Yakima Valley resident for Seattle mayor.
Prosser-born M. Lorena Gonzalez, currently president of the Seattle City Council, advanced to the November general election after the crowded August primary. She will face Bruce Harrell to succeed Mayor Jenny Durkan, who isn’t seeking re-election.
The Seattle mayor’s position is nonpartisan.
Gonzalez, who was raised in Grandview, is a civil rights attorney focused on immigrant, worker protection, LGBTQ and public safety issues. She joined the city council six years ago.
An independent group promoted her campaign with glossy mailers that included a small packet of Chukar Cherries. Daniel Beekman of The Seattle Times reported on the unusual expenditure in a story about independent expenditures in July.
Essential Workers for Lorena, backed by United Here Local 8 and UFCW Local 21, spent more than $110,000 to buy thousands of one-ounce packets of dried cherries, according to a campaign disclosure filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission, which polices campaign spending.
Tara Lee, spokeswoman for Gov. Jay Inslee, tweeted about receiving the mailing, though not in her professional capacity.
The cherry packs were a nod to Gonzalez’s background growing up in a migrant farm family, which included picking cherries when she was 8. Her campaign page includes a video of workers in an unspecified orchard.
After growing up in the Yakima Valley, she earned a business degree from Washington State University and moved to Seattle, where she earned a law degree from Seattle University School of Law.
Neither the Gonzalez campaign, which was not involved with the mailer, nor Chukar Cherries responded to a request for comment.
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