Ramiro Valderrama first became involved in local civic issues when he and other Sammamish residents were concerned about some of the road construction happening in their city.
From this growing concern, he founded Citizens for Sammamish, a grassroots group that works to give citizens a voice outside of city council meetings. As the group grew and increased the dialogue between residents and local elected officials, someone encouraged Valderrama to run for city council.
He has been on the Sammamish City Council for four years and is currently serving as deputy mayor — a one-year term.
“I’m where the rubber hits the road,” Valderrama said about being part of day-to-day operations of city government.
In this upcoming election, Valderrama is taking what he has learned at the local level to the state level as he is running for 45th Legislative District House of Representatives, Position 1. He prefers the Republican Party and is challenging incumbent Roger Goodman.
Valderrama said he decided to run for state office because he learned residents in Redmond and Kirkland were facing similar issues to the ones Sammamish residents were and felt they were not being heard by state lawmakers.
If elected, Valderrama said one of the biggest issues he would like to address is transit and traffic congestion.
“This is a real issue for us,” he said about the Eastside.
Valderrama said the amount of money being spent statewide versus what Eastside residents are receiving is not balanced. He said people are angry about the traffic on Interstate 405 and asking Eastside residents to help pay for Sound Transit services is “taxation without transportation” — especially as transit services in Sammamish and other local cities are being reduced.
Another issue Valderrama is concerned about is growth.
He said there should be a balanced approach that is sensitive to the environment and character of the city and also respects the property.
Valderrama said through his work, he has been able to prove his worth on the growth issue and able to achieve a dialogue among interested parties.
Valderrama, who has had three kids go through the Lake Washington School District and one still in the system, is also concerned about education.
He said people want to be empowered and parents want to have more choices, which is why he supports charter schools, adding that people in the 45th Legislative District want the option of charter schools.
Other issues Valderrama would like to address include mental health and homelessness.
Valderrama said his experience with the Sammamish City Council as well as his work with the Citizens for Sammamish has given him the opportunity to reach out to and work with different groups with opposing viewpoints, adding that he does not see the issues as partisan issues.
“They’re common sense issues,” he said. “I bring that ability to cross the (party) lines.”
Valderrama added that with his Latin background, he is uniquely able to bring a sensitivity to issues on diversity.