I'm Andrew Ikechukwu Ashiofu.
My life experiences make me uniquely qualified to represent the 37th legislative district. I am HIV-positive, and I know what it's like to fight for healthcare that we deserve. I have been formerly unhoused, and know intimately what it is like to lose your home. I am an immigrant, and know what it is like to be treated as an outsider. I am a front-line worker, and I know what it is like to have to work through dangerous situations without enough sick pay.
I hope to earn your vote to be our next State Representative.
I am Co-Chair of the Seattle LGBTQ+ Commission and a member of the Seattle/King County HIV Planning Council because of my experiences after testing positive for HIV at the age of 21.
I didn't have access to healthcare, so I didn't receive any education on how that would affect my life. I only found out six years later, after being hospitalized, when my doctors diagnosed me with full-blown AIDS.
Then I found out how hard I'd have to fight to get the care I deserved.
I had just moved to a new city for a new job with only a backpack and a suitcase. I was just in time for the economic crisis — three days before I was to start my new job, they rescinded the job offer. My family refused to support me because I had just come out as gay. Without a job to pay the rent or a community to turn to, I became unhoused.
I was in the same position that so many are in today: I had no place to live and no insurance.
They told me to fill out tedious and repetitive paperwork so I could get subsidized care. Sometimes they would deny me for services and medication because of an arbitrary requirement, even though my doctor approved me. I was dependent on a government-provided cell phone to communicate with my doctor, and I struggled to pay for transportation to get to my appointment. The hospital only offered free and reduced cost services at a single time every week — 3pm on Monday — which made finding another job difficult.
I speak out now because there are so many laws and policies in place that actively prevent early access and treatment. That's why I am on the Seattle/King County HIV Planning Council, the Harborview Madison Clinic Community Advisory Board, and the Washington State Department of Health COVID Vaccine Implementation Council. I was an advisory panelist for students at the University of Washington on treatment needs around healthcare for the HIV community. I was also a founding member of House of Rainbow, a spiritual safe space for LGBTQ+ folks in Africa.
My experiences are not unique, but they would be in Olympia.
Our community needs continued representation, and somebody willing to do the work. It would be my honor to earn your trust and to be that person.