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Former Kirkland mayor to run against Tom for state Senate | Update
Former Kirkland mayor Joan McBride will run against Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina with the 48th Legislative District in the August primary election.
“Rodney Tom abandoned critical issues important to the Eastside in order to keep a title and corner office,” McBride said in a news release. “I look forward to talking with voters throughout the 48th district about the important issues that unite us and where, as a new senator, I can make a real and positive difference.”
Tom is a former Republican turned Democrat who handed Senate control to Republicans in 2013.
McBride, 62, will run as a Democrat and said that education, transportation and quality of life will be cornerstones of her campaign.
“From my years of serving the people of Kirkland and the Eastside, I know the importance of great schools, transportation and transit investments and protecting our communities’ quality of life,” McBride said. “We need leaders in Olympia committed to funding schools, passing a balanced transportation package and investing in great communities. Unfortunately, the current leadership is blocking common sense progress to maintain their partisan control. It’s wrong for our families and wrong for our region.”
McBride points to stalled legislation that would invest billions in regional transportation and transit priorities, a refusal to close loopholes that would add $200 million to K-12 funding and even legislation to safeguard access to reproductive health care for women that passed the State House but is languishing in the Senate — where conservatives hold sway in critical committees.
McBride filed with the Public Disclosure Commission as a Democrat on Jan. 25. The Public Disclosure Commission lists $14,000 raised for her campaign committee, which is called “Friends of Joan McBride,” but a release from McBride states she has raised $20,000.
McBride said while she can only run in the district she lives in, the 48th Legislative District, she might not have chosen to run if the district had a “strong advocate in the state Senate for the needs of the Eastside.”
“We need someone who can get results, who is committed to our families and businesses, and stands strong for public education,” said McBride as she stood picketing for the Lake Washington School District’s propositions. “Someone who recognizes that woman’s reproductive freedom is important and transportation is critical to economic viability.”
Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen with Ford of Kirkland is among several backers, including, Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci and Redmond Council Vice President Kim Allen. Others include people with the Children’s Hospital, Symetra Financial and Megomi School in Bothell.
“I’m a real believer in Joan,” Walen said. “I have a lot of respect for her.”
McBride said she began considering the Senatorial position last summer.
“There were other candidates, other names being considered,” she said. “Many other people considering a run but one by one some of those decided not to. I don’t think that behavior of not representing the Eastside, not being able to tell if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, should be rewarded.”
Walen said McBride turned around a dysfunctional Kirkland City Council during her time as mayor and she believes McBride will make a real difference in the Washington State Legislature, if elected.
McBride said she’s interested in environmental work, issues around family support systems, looking at paid sick leave, the minimum wage and affordable housing.
“For all these years, I’ve been very Kirkland centric,” she said. “I am really excited about [potentially] representing an entire district. My progressive values fit in well with our other sister cities - the Point cities, Bellevue and Redmond. We’re an important voice on the Eastside.”
As mayor, McBride served on the Finance Committee, helping Kirkland maintain the city’s Triple A bond rating. She also oversaw the annexation of 35,000 residents, the purchase of the Cross Kirkland Corridor, development of the Kirkland Transit Center, and the South Kirkland Park and Ride TOD. She was also a strong supporter of the recent parks and roads permanent levy, Youth and Senior councils and the Teen Center.
McBride, a Lake Washington High School graduate, has served on the boards of the Kirkland Performance Center, Friends of Youth, Feet First, Together Center, Kirkland Interfaith Network, Washington Bikes, and on the PTA at Lakeview Elementary, Kirkland Middle School and Lake Washington High School. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including Elected Official of the Year and a Golden Acorn.
McBride began her political career on the Houghton Community Council and then moved on to serve on the Kirkland City Council for 16 years.
Tom, the Senate Majority Leader and incumbent, has raised about $100,000. He is serving his second term in the Senate after serving two terms in the House for the 48th Legislative District.
He said he’s worked with McBride before and he thinks the toss up presents the voters with a “real clear choice.”
“Her record shows she’s for bigger government and car taxes,” Tom said. “So let’s have that debate.”
Tom said that the issues of the Eastside, such as funding for State Route 520, education and other transportation funding, have been a priority and that his involvement can be seen by looking at past transportation package proposals from the Senate.