Proud to Announce Campaign for Re-election to House of Representatives
Serving in our Legislature is an honor. It is hard, complex, painful work for citizen legislators such as myself who maintain professional lives and busy families outside of Olympia. But the work of civic engagement is vital to our democracy.
After much consideration and reflection, I have decided to run for re-election to the House of Representatives. I had seriously considered running for the Senate this year but will not do so.
While I believe I could play a substantive role in the Senate toward progress on the central issues we face in Washington–the structural issues of education, tax modernization and quality of life—I accept the argument that with Democrats across the state working mightily to regain the majority, this is not the time to negatively impact swing district races that Democrats can and must win.
The 36th District, with 80% Democratic affiliation, realizes a 90% registration rate and 90% turnout rate in presidential years. We expect and deserve an open, vibrant civic dialogue. Campaigns are healthy for our representative democracy.
On a profoundly deep and personal level, I considered running for the Senate to help elevate the dialogue in that Chamber about the need for structural modernization of our tax system in order to meet our constitutional obligation to fund our paramount duty of public education. Our educational system from early learning through K-12 and higher education is reflecting the fact that we are on the march toward being a low tax, low service, low quality of life state. We are better than this as a state. We must enable our kids to have access to the opportunity of a world class education. We rely on tens of thousands from outside Washington to fill our best jobs, and soon we will reach a tipping point when our own children will find themselves unqualified for the best of the best and unable to achieve their dreams.
I have long expressed my personal respect for Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and my consideration of a campaign was no reflection otherwise. She is a good and caring person who works hard and cares passionately about our community. I endorse her for re-election for another term without reservation.
We have fallen from 11th in the nation in 1995 in personal income level of taxes to 37th today and, as a result, we have hurt our quality of life. We cannot continue to have Somalia level taxes and Denmark level services. While the Republican Party has become addicted to an anti-tax ideology almost regardless of data, reason or qualification, our own Democratic Party has become the party of government, too often willing to defend only equity, and not efficiency and legitimate reform.
We must confront these systemic challenges and seek a more entrepreneurial, energetic, moderate and responsible path together between the parties.
A grand bargain of policy is possible to fund and improve education but only through collaboration and consensus. We can move from an embarrassingly low level of high school graduation rate toward the top. We have it within us as an engaged, progressive, civically alive community.
Like so many others around the nation, I worry deeply about our addiction to campaign money and the impact of special interests on all sides. It is unfortunate that campaign financing now stands as a barrier to a healthy dialogue about real issues in even legislative races.
Our state is at a crossroads between mediocrity and greatness, and we are consumed with an attachment to the status quo of fear of change. We need citizen legislators who are impatient for big thinking, big improvements and real steps forward in quality of life. State government is lethargic and afraid of systems change. I will continue to fight to make major structural improvements that help real people living real lives everyday as I have since my first election.
I am honored to represent the people of the 36th District and look forward to continuing to do so.
Your partner in service,
(This blog post discusses campaign activity but is normally reserved for non-political topics.)