Now that the election is over, the newly elected local politicians are setting their agendas and priorities. With the McCleary decision (mandating state-funded K-12 education) looming overhead, all of the state senators and representatives see funding education as a top priority.
All voting figures are based on returns posted as of Nov. 14 to the Washington Secretary of State, King County Elections and Snohomish County Elections websites, which are regularly updated until the general election results are certified Nov. 29.
In addition to education, Democrat Guy Palumbo, who won the 1st Legislative District state senate seat with 57 percent of the votes, said transportation would be the highest priority for him after hearing from voters. “On transportation, fixing the mobility problems on State Route 9, State Route 522 and Interstate 405 will be a main focus,” he said. “We need to ensure that our district is getting the necessary funding, from state and federal sources, to fix our transportation and capital infrastructure issues. With the passage of Sound Transit 3, it’s imperative that the new Bus Rapid Transit on the 405 corridor be designed in a way that actually alleviates traffic and increases mobility.”
Of his Republican opponent, Mindie Wirth, Palumbo said, “Her concern for our community was evident during the race, and I am sure she will continue to advocate for the needs of our community for years to come.” Wirth said she is focusing on her family and her job following the loss and was unsure if she will run for office again. “I’m still trying to clean up from this election,” she said.
Democratic candidate Shelley Kloba, who currently serves on the Kirkland City Council, defeated Republican candidate Jim Langston for 1st Legislative District State Representative Position 2 with 55.4 percent of the votes. In addition to funding education, Kloba said creating more affordable housing and protecting the environment would be two of her top priorities in her new office. “Funding education and finding tools that communities can use to build affordable housing, (in addition to) making sure we have clean air and water (are my priorities),” she said.
While Kloba could retain her seat on the city council and still serve as a state representative, she said she wouldn’t be doing that. “I don’t have that bandwidth (to do both),” she said. “I want to focus on the legislative work.”
Kloba’s last council meeting will be Dec. 13. As a result, the Kirkland City Council has decided to advertise and recruit for the open seat. Those interested and who meet the qualifications (at least one year as a Kirkland resident and a registered voter in King County) have until 4 p.m. Dec. 8 to submit letters of interest and resumes to City Clerk Kathi Anderson at Kirkland City Hall, 123 Fifth Ave., Kirkland, WA 98033 or KAnderson@kirklandwa.gov. A subcommittee consisting of Councilmembers Toby Nixon, Dave Asher and Penny Sweet has been established to select the top candidates for the council to review at the Dec. 13 meeting.
For 1st Legislative District Position 1, Democratic incumbent Derek Stanford retained his seat with 61.1 percent of the votes, defeating Republican candidate Neil Thannisch. Stanford said education will be the top priority, but also listed transportation and embracing diversity as two areas of importance for him.
“I will continue to be a voice for fairness and inclusion, so that each of us has an opportunity to reach for our potential,” he said. “By working together, we will find solutions to the challenges facing us.”
In the 45th Legislative District State Representative Position 1 race, Democratic incumbent Roger Goodman defeated Republican candidate Ramiro Valderrama with 62.5 percent of the vote. Goodman said education, from preschool through post-secondary, is a priority for him, especially colleges and technical schools that help connect students to workforce needs. As the chair of the public safety committee, he also is placing a high value on reducing drunk driving and domestic violence.
“When I get down to Olympia, I’ll be working actively on those issues,” he said.
Valderrama said he will devote his time to his roles as deputy mayor of Sammamish, Eastside Fire and Rescue board member and advisor to Lake Washington School District STEM startups, among others, but he is not opposed to running for office in the future.
“I can’t predict the future now, but, should other real needs in the region arise, as a citizen who has given years to community service, I will consider them at that later date.”
For 45th Legislative District State Representative Position 2, Democratic incumbent Larry Springer ran unopposed. In the new session, he wants to ensure K-12 education is funded, but not at the expense of higher education, and he will be looking into tax policy changes to achieve those goals.
“We have a very regressive tax system; I’d like to help make that a little better,” he said.
He also is placing an emphasis on affordable housing, specifically citing condominiums as an affordable option for starter homes for young families. “We’re looking at ways we stimulate that building,” he said.
Democratic incumbent Patty Kuderer won 48th Legislative District State Representative Position 1 with 70.6 percent of the vote against Libertarian candidate Michelle Darnell. Kuderer also is intensely focused on education, with a focus on equality. “We have the highest educational standards in our district, and I want to ensure all students living within our borders have that same opportunity,” she said.
For 48th Legislative District State Representative Position 2, Democratic incumbent Joan McBride won with 73.1 percent of the vote against Libertarian candidate Ben Phelps. While she calls funding education “job one,” McBride’s other priority is affordable housing.
“For me, I will be working really hard on affordable housing and sheltering,” she said, adding she’s already working on three related bills and is planning to sponsor others. “That’s probably the second-most important thing I’ll be doing this year.”
Democratic incumbent Suzan DelBene, with 55.7 percent of the votes, defeated Republican candidate Robert J. Sutherland for the U.S. House of Representatives Washington Congressional District 1 seat.
“In the 115th Congress, I will continue to work on building an economy that works for everyone, fighting for equality and passing comprehensive immigration reform,” DelBene said in a statement. “We can only make progress on these and so many other issues when our leaders commit to work together to move our country forward. I continue to be committed to doing just that.”
Sound Transit 3
Sound Transit 3 was approved by 54 percent of voters from King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.
“This election offered voters a choice between the gridlocked status quo and creating a transit network that will rival any in the world. (On Nov. 8,) our region chose to move forward with a rail system connecting millions of people in communities across three counties,” King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine said in a statement. “This milestone moment in our history will help ensure we can continue to grow our economy, protect our environment and improve our quality of life, now and for generations to come.”
When complete, ST3 will connect the Puget Sound by linking 16 cities with 116 miles of light rail, 30 cities with bus rapid transit/express bus lines and 12 cities with commuter rail. The projects would be funded in part by increased sales tax (0.5 percent), property tax (25 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation) and license tab fees (0.8 percent). The ST3 website estimates the typical adult would pay $169 per year or $14 per month in new taxes. For Kirkland, ST3 includes a light rail station in south Kirkland and more Interstate 405 Bus Rapid Transit service. For more information (including a list of ST3 projects by city), visit soundtransit3.org.