King County Municipal League evaluates primary candidates

The King County Municipal League has given incumbent Democratic 32nd District State Rep. Ruth Kagi its highest candidate rating, “outstanding.”

The League, in ratings announced July 2, also gave Democratic 32nd District state senate challenger Chris Eggen its second highest rating, “very good,” while giving incumbent Democratic State Sen. Maralyn Chase its third highest rating, “good.”

The district, which includes Lynnwood, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County, and parts of Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace, also includes Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle in King County.

Republican Robert Reedy, who is challenging Chase and Eggen in the Aug. 5 primary, blasted the Municipal League after its candidate evaluation committee gave him a “not qualified” rating and noted that he had not completed a candidate questionnaire or appeared for an interview.

“I will never go in front of them,” Reedy said Thursday. “I find them uneducated, sophomoric, rude and a bunch of full-of-themselves punks.

“My statement to the voting public is, ‘If you vote the way the Municipal League tells or orders you to vote, you will not only get bad government, you will deserve it.

“In the past they have tried to put forth that all of my college education is via “diploma mill.’ I suggest when they grow up they should try college; I know that would be hard for people who already know everything there is to know.”

Chase is seeking a second four-year term in the State Senate after serving nine years in the State House of Representatives. Eggen is in his second four-year term on the Shoreline City Council.

Republican Alvin Rutledge, who is challenging Kagi in the primary and Nov. 4 general election, also got a “not qualified” rating.

League officials said that they had been unable to contact either Chase or Reedy and that neither had completed the League’s questionnaire.

A League spokeswoman said July 3 that these notations came after at least five attempts to contact each candidate.

The spokeswoman said, however, that the volunteer raters were able to make judgments based on Chase’s performance in office and Reedy’s recent campaigns for other offices.

The Municipal League did not rate incumbent 32nd District State Rep. Cindy Ryu, who will be alone on the primary ballot.

Kagi is seeking a ninth two-year term in the State House of Representatives. Ryu is seeking a third two-year term in the House.

The League did not rate candidates in the 1st Legislative District, which includes a small part of King County in addition to most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell.

The nonpartisan League says that it rates candidates on involvement, character, effectiveness and knowledge but doesn’t consider political affiliation or stands on issues.

The Municipal League says that its annual candidate evaluations use trained volunteers to research, interview, and ultimately rate candidates for local offices, using non-partisan criteria to:

  • “Provide voters with unbiased, citizen-driven information to inform electoral decision-making;
  • “Promote the continued practice of good and open government;
  • “Improve the caliber of public officials; and
  • “Improve the quality of public policy.”

The League said that this year it brought together more than 50 volunteers to evaluate candidates.

The League placed about 70 candidates into five categories: Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Adequate, or Not-Qualified.

The Municipal League says that its ratings attempt to answer the question: How well might a candidate do the job?

Reedy disagreed Saturday with the League’s claim to be non-partisan, saying, “They always endorse the female, liberal Democrat.”

The League says that its process is similar to a job interview – with a diverse group of citizens serving as hiring managers. The League says that it acts as a “Better Business Bureau” for voters.

The League defines its five candidate ratings this way:

  • Outstanding – Has made numerous outstanding contributions requiring skills related to the office, is a path-finding and respected leader, brings knowledge and creativity to issues facing the office.
  • Very Good – Makes significant contributions, is a skilled builder of consensus, inspires confidence in the way he/she would serve, is thorough and attentive to issues.
  • Good – Has been active and effective in many roles, is capable of moving people to productive action, has strong record of participation in problem solving, shows satisfactory commitment to tackling issues.
  • Adequate – Has a record of participation and interest, is effective on specific issues, has provoked questions about suitability as an office holder, will need significant time/energy to fill gaps in knowledge.
  • Not Qualified – Doesn’t appear engaged, has a record that casts doubt on ability to be productive, hasn’t demonstrated ability to deal with responsibilities of office, has narrow focus, inflexible attitude or is otherwise troubling.

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