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Proud to Announce Campaign for Re-election to House of Representatives

April 12, 2014

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.

Thank you!

Your partner in service,


(This blog post discusses campaign activity but is normally reserved for non-political topics.)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2014 3:09 pm

    Great news, Reuven! — Sally Bagshaw

  2. mickey permalink
    April 14, 2014 8:08 pm

    Good decision. However, I doubt it was spurred on by anything other than the reaction you, undoubtedly, received over the weekend from fellow Democrats and Democratic fundraisers. Taking on Jeanne Kohl-Welles–certainly one of the finest state senators ever to serve the 36th district–would have been the height of hubris. To paraphrase Shakespeare: vaulting ambition and all that.

    Now that you’ve committed publicly to running for re-election to the legislature, how about repealing that outrageous $8.7 billion giveaway to Boeing? The company easily wrangled those taxpayer dollars out of you and your colleagues by promising JOBS in return for the payoff. Sadly, the charlatans from Chicago went back on their word before the ink was even dry. One thousand engineering jobs moved from Puget Sound to California is a lot more than a slap in the face. It’s a disgrace.

    I’d say you have a ready-made agenda for the 2015 legislative session. It’s never to early to get cracking on doing the people’s business, instead of doing the bidding of corporate thieves.

  3. Scott In Ballard permalink
    April 23, 2014 10:20 pm

    When even Mayor Murray—who you supposedly had such a close relationship with— PUBLICLY declares his support for Jeanne Kohl-Welles, just hours after hearing the news of your bold and aggressively ambitious power play for her seat, I think it underscores the real reason you withdrew from the Senate seat, Reuven, and had to endure a humiliating public retreat, back into the race for the seat you supposedly were tired of, after a mere 2.5 terms.

    You were obviously met with a barrage of negative reaction from influential Democrats—as you should have been; what exactly were you expecting? Did you think you were running against Pam Roach?

    And what exactly did you have against Senator Kohl-Welles? Where do you disagree with her on policy? Is it her strong and consistent support of our public schools that irks you? Are you angry that she won’t join that group of “Democrats” who are addicted to the campaign funding from High Tech/Hedge Fund/Billionaire Money and who, in return, give them a full assist, either publicly, or behind the scenes, in their ultimate goal of The Privatization of Our Public Schools?

    Real Democrats—the ones who are primarily motivated by the historic achievements, values and principles of our party—care more about DOING something to extend that proud historic tradition of progressivism.

    Ersatz Democrats—who think and vote like the moderate Republicans of days long past— tend to be focused on BEING something, and fulfilling a personal ambition to one day attain the very highest of state or federal offices, with “principles” being an ever-shifting set of amorphous, contradictory values and ideas, finely attuned to whatever they sense might “work” at any given moment, depending on the audience, the issue and what they perceive as the best response or emphasis then and there. And it is often completely different tomorrow, or once they’re “safely” elected and in the desired office.

    I think most of us unfortunately have come to see Senator Kohl-Welles as the former, and you, Reuven, as the latter.

    And, despite your attempts to spin this as something your “proud” of, I think most of us know it was a most shocking and humbling public rebuke for you. But hopefully it will also serve as a reality check, one that will make you take stock of everything and become clear about your reasons for choosing elective office and who’s side you’re on.

    You can’t serve both the Wall Street crowd that is salivating for our public schools AND claim to be supportive of the families who pay for those schools, send their children to those schools and love and respect the principals and teachers and staff at those schools.

    You have to choose which side you’re on. And if you say “there are no sides”, then that will only serve to confirm our very worst fears; that you’re either choosing the side of those who only see our schools as “a future revenue stream”, or you’re not insightful, brave or savvy enough to see the Big Picture and fight for your constituents.

    Now that you’ve done the right thing, for whatever reasons, and will not be running against Senator Kohl-Welles, we hope you’ll also do the right thing by us, your constituents, and not assist those who would send our state and our public schools, into the hellhole that Republicans and DFER “Democrats” have plunged Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, Florida and other states, leaving behind a privatized mishmash that few would call a true system of free, universal education, solely for the benefit of children and our entire society, and not diverted or diluted just for the private gain of the already very wealthy.

  4. Scott In Ballard permalink
    April 23, 2014 10:47 pm

    Sorry, the first sentence in the seventh paragraph should have read: “And, despite your attempts to spin this as something YOU’RE “proud” of, I think most of us know it was a most shocking and humbling public rebuke for you.”

    The version above reads “…something your proud of…” and my 8th grade English teacher is staring me down, in her silently judgmental way, scaring me to death once again, always demanding more, always ultra-critical, always pressuring me to “give it my all”. I hated her at 13.

    But a few years later I became editor of my college paper, a speechwriter for a couple members of Congress and I’m still a pretty decent writer today, much to her credit…and yes Mrs. Fenderson was just another one of those apathetic, indolent, entitled, parasites, unable to make it doing “real work”, and just living for those long, easy paid summers…and, of course, that HUGE pension that will let her and all those like her live in the lap of luxury for their final 40 or 50 years AT OUR EXPENSE.

    (I trust you and your readers will recognize satire when you read it, Reuven, because, in all seriousness, I’ve never seen anyone who cared more about her yearly mission: To take this group of adolescents with raging hormones and daily traumas and turn us into people ready to enter high school, and life, knowing how to speak and write the English language. And to summon the energy, somehow, to do it all again for a brand new group, every single Labor Day.)

    Neither Mrs. Fenderson, nor the state, nor the district, nor the principal, nor her students, nor their parents needed to pay millions to an “education testing corporation” to demonstrate her value as a teacher.

    Mrs. Fenderson demonstrated her “value add” every day and every year, especially in the month of June, as another 150 of her students walked across stage in their cap and gowns, with their ability to write, read and think dramatically improved from just nine months earlier.

    And no one had to pay her, or any “outside authorities”, one extra penny to prove it.

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