Woodinville resident Parker Harris has announced his candidacy for the 45th District Senate seat, which will be on the ballot this year in a special election. The seat is currently held by Sen. Dino Rossi, who has said he will not run in November. Harris joins an increasingly crowded field that includes Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund, Republican Ken Smith, Democrat Manka Dhingra and Democrat Ian S. Stratton.
Harris, a high school math teacher at The Attic Learning Community in Woodinville, is running as an independent.
“I’m running for the senate as an independent because I’m deeply concerned about the deepening political divide in our country and our state,” Harris said. “When we hear about political issues, it always seems to be about which party is winning or losing some particular battle and what sort of response can be anticipated from the other party. Astonishingly, the well being of the general public seems to have faded as the primary concern.”
Harris said that he loves seeing the increasing amount of young people getting involved in politics. However, Harris thinks their motivation is out of fear of the opposing party which, in his opinion, is unfortunate.
“I know that lots of people want desperately to reduce the influence of the partisan divide, but unlike those who stand firmly on one side, it’s not so obvious how they should get involved,” Harris said. “My aim is to give those people a voice.”
Harris began his career as a mechanical engineer, working for New York State to help implement incentive programs for energy-efficient buildings. He then moved to Washington in 2011 and worked for a year and a half at Electroimpact, a company in Mukilteo that supplies aircraft manufacturers with custom machines and tools.
During 2013 he became a math and science teacher, first at Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle.
He said the change in his career came from a strong concern for children and the future. It is also the same motivation that led him to run for the Senate seat.
“In the coming weeks we’ll be printing signs and flyers and continuing to talk to as many people as possible,” Harris said. “We also plan to host discussion events where we will encourage people from anywhere on the political spectrum to gather and engage in constructive debate, hopefully helping to foster understanding of different perspectives.”
For more information on his campaign, visit parkerforsenate.org.