Schools, jobs top issues in 39th District race

Incumbent Dan Kristiansen and challenger Linda Wright have similar priorities. They both value funding education, want to help small businesses and aim to improve the economy by creating more jobs.

And that could make their race for state representative serving legislative District 39, Position 1, a tight one. The two-year job pays $42,106 annually.

Kristiansen won the primary with 55 percent of the vote. Still, he beat Wright, running in her first campaign, by fewer than 3,000 votes. Wright beat him in King County; Kristiansen took Snohomish and Skagit counties.

On the issues, they both agree that education should be a priority for the state. And they both agree that school districts need to have more flexibility on how they spend their money.

Kristiansen believes the Legislature can help with that by getting rid of unnecessary mandates.

“School districts have different needs. They need flexibility and that can help solve the crisis,” Kristiansen said.

Wright, who ranks education as her top priority, wants smaller class sizes and wants the state to step up to fund different programs to teach music, choir and finances, among other things. This way, students are learning things that will be useful throughout life while becoming motivated by what they are learning, she said.

“We can train people to get jobs and be successful,” Wright said.

On charter schools, Wright opposes them because she believes there is not enough local control and they can undermine school districts. Kristiansen believes parents should be allowed to decide if charter schools are good for their children.

Kristiansen says his top priority is the economy. He said the economy needs to improve to generate the money to better fund education and pay for transportation and social programs. A way to do that is to reduce some regulations that are forcing businesses to move to other states.

“It’s sad to see families move away and businesses close their doors and move because they can’t compete,” Kristiansen said.

Wright also agrees that overregulation is harming the state. She believes that permits need to be approved by too many agencies. This increases the chance of miscommunication.

“I’m tired that in Washington state, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” Wright said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422;

What’s the job?

At stake is a two-year term as a state representative serving legislative District 39, Position 1. The annual salary is $42,106. The district includes parts of Snohomish, Skagit and King counties.

Dan Kristiansen

Residence: Snohomish

Age: 49

Party affiliation: Republican

Experience: Seeking a sixth term as a representative. Owns a home-based commercial real estate company.


Linda Wright

Residence: Arlington

Age: 56

Party affiliation: Democrat

Experience: Managed several small businesses. Employed as a Marysville School District school bus driver. Member of the SEIU Local 925.


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