Dr. Richard Knierim is running for the 48th Legislative District state Senate seat as an independent Democrat in an attempt to bridge the partisan divide in Olympia.
Knierim is on staff at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and has lived in the 48th District for more than 30 years in total.
“I know the district well, I love the district, I want to do what is best for the district,” he said.
While he hasn’t run for office before, Knierim said he hopes to facilitate discussion between Republicans and Democrats.
Sen. Patty Kuderer, who currently occupies the position, was appointed following the election of Sen. Cyrus Habib to the lieutenant governor position in Olympia.
“I just look forward to helping to find the best solutions to complicated problems in Olympia,” he said.
Issues he’s concerned with include fully funding K-12 education in accordance with the McCleary decision, but he also said he’s hopeful the Legislature will find a solution this session.
Transportation and traffic congestion are also of concern to Knierim, and he also hopes to address car tab fees that saw a steep increase in price following the passage of Sound Transit 3 in November.
As a physician, Knierim is a laboratory pathologist, and ensuring access to health care is also high on his priority list.
“As a physician, I don’t want to see health care yanked away from people that have received health care through whatever system is in place,” he said.
While he said the Affordable Care Act was passed by a partisan Congress, he said he didn’t know of any medical organization that supports national Republican’s American Health Care Act replacement bill.
“I don’t like the partisan, the ultra-left and the ultra-right,” he said. “I’m trying to be a bridge between Republicans and Democrats.”