Recession gave Darnell new perspective as she runs for state House seat | Vote 2016

Michelle Darnell is running for the 48th District's House Position 1 as a Libertarian against Democratic incumbent Patty Kuderer. The Reporter caught up with Darnell to talk about her platform and what inspired her to run for office.

Michelle Darnell is running for the 48th District position 1 House seat. Reporter file photo

Michelle Darnell is running for the 48th District’s House Position 1 as a Libertarian against Democratic incumbent Patty Kuderer. The Reporter caught up with Darnell to talk about her platform and what inspired her to run for office.

The 46-year-old paralegal said she wasn’t invested in politics until the housing market crash and recession in 2008, during which her ex-husband, who was a contractor, found himself out of work.

To pay the bills, he took work doing housing foreclosure assessments, an experience which Darnell said opened her eyes to the hardships the economic crisis was creating for homeowners, and everyone else.

“We were seeing house after house sitting empty,” she said. “I just realized that, oh, we have a huge problem and our legislators are not responsive.”

One of her biggest issues would be to repeal the state Deed of Trust, where a property title is transferred to a bank-appointed trustee. In order to fight this, the homeowner must sue the bank which puts the burden on the homeowner, Darnell said.

Homes being lost to the banks creates problems all the way down the housing chain, Darnell said, turning would-be homeowners into renters or even homeless.

“We’ve got to stop unnecessary foreclosures,” she said. “That’s why I’m running for office, and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing, because it’s wrong.”

Although she views income inequality as a major issue, she does not think raising the minimum wage to $15 would help. Instead, she said this would hurt many small businesses.

But she said she could support some raise in the minimum wage if it was offset by tax breaks for small business.

“We don’t want minimum wage jobs, even if they are at $15,” she said. “People don’t want minimum wage, they want the kind of jobs they had pre-recession.”

These jobs could be created, Darnell said, by reducing government regulations on the markets and freeing up the private sector. Affordable housing could also be encouraged by reducing red-tape for developers, she said.

On transportation issues, Darnell said she thinks the state Department of Transportation is mainly interested in getting people out of their cars. She thinks light rail will be obsolete by the time it comes to the Eastside as self-driving cars begin to emerge as a market force.

Her vision of education in the state would include giving every family a voucher for their student which could be used to send them to either a public, private or charter school.

On the national level, Darnell said both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scare her and that the partisan gridlock seen in Washington D.C. has translated all the way down to local politics.

Political apathy is partially to blame, said Darnell.

“If we accept the blame, we are empowered and we can be the change we wish to see,” she said.

Darnell ran against Cyrus Habib in 2014 for the 48th District Senate seat. Despite never holding an elected office, she said her experience as a paralegal and business owner are more valuable than politicking experience.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

The truck of the Renton family as it was found Tuesday. While fleeing the Cold Springs Fire two adults were severely burned and one toddler died. Courtesy photo/Okanogan Sheriff’s Office
Toddler killed as Renton family flees Cold Springs Fire

The parents were severely burned and are being treated at Harborview Medical Center

A plane drops fire retardant on the Palmer Mountain Fire last week. The fire is listed as 84 percent contained, and fully lined. Laura Knowlton/Sound Publishing staff photo
Threat multiplier: How climate change, coronavirus and weather are scorching WA

Dry summer conspired with the pandemic and a wind storm.

Screenshot from the state Employment Security Department’s website at
Workers may qualify for an extra $1,500 in unemployment back pay

A federal program will give some of the state’s unemployed a $300 weekly bump for the past five weeks.

King County moves to Stage 2 burn ban

Outdoor fires, even barbecues or in fire pits, are now prohibited.

Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Massive wildfires incinerate WA

All state Department of Natural Resources lands were closed to recreational activities on Sept. 8.

Screenshot of the air quality monitor at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8. Courtesy Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
King County faces unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke

Weather monitors recommend people limit time outdoors, especially children, seniors and those with heart or lung disease.

Amazon adds more office space to Bellevue, now as many new jobs as HQ2

The office space for an additional 10,000 jobs, making it 25,000 coming to downtown, is expected to complete in 2023.