Dan Kristiansen (left) and Linda Wright

Dan Kristiansen (left) and Linda Wright

39th District House candidates focus on education spending

Candidates seeking a state House or Senate seat in the 39th district say they’ve set their sights on improving mental health care, reducing drug abuse and figuring out how to fully fund public schools, as required in the McCleary ruling by the state Supreme Court.

The 39th district encompasses parts of Snohomish, Skagit and King counties. It includes Monroe and communities to the east along with Arlington, Granite Falls and Darrington.

House seat 1

Republican Rep. Dan Kristiansen is seeking another two-year term in the state House of Representatives. He’s challenged by Democrat Linda Wright.

Kristiansen, who lives close to Monroe, has been a state representative since 2003. Wright, of Arlington, is a union representative who negotiates school district and government contracts.

Kristiantsen considers himself a local boy who happens to have “an odd job” as a lawmaker. His family has been in the Monroe area for three generations.

Education funding is a concern for every community in Washington and local levies used to cover basic school operations are “the most egregious tax in the state,” he said. Legislators need to redirect money to cover education costs. It’s going to require someone who is willing to vote based on reason and conviction, not just on party lines, he said.

“I think solving the problem without doing substantial harm to everything else we want government to do for us will be the biggest challenge in my career,” Kristiansen said.

He also wants to beef up mental health care and substance abuse prevention in rural communities, he said. The state already is putting money toward those issues, but it goes to more densely populated areas and leaves people in small towns struggling to find help, he said.

Wright worries about health care in general, especially for low-income families and seniors on fixed or reduced incomes. There’s a lack of affordable housing in cities and a lack of transportation from rural homes to city jobs and services, she said.

“We’ve just created a quicksand of poverty for people,” Wright said. “There’s no way they can ever climb out.”

She thinks money to pay for public education could be found by eliminating tax breaks, cutting down predatory lending and increasing working class wages, which would bolster the state’s tax base.

“I just believe that I’m the voice of the people, I’m the voice of the working class,” she said. “I’m kind of tired of the good old boys’ club.”

House seat 2

Republican John Koster and Democrat Ronda Metcalf are competing to take over the second position in the House. The winner of the election would replace Republican Rep. Elizabeth Scott, who opted not to pursue re-election.

Koster, of Arlington, previously served three terms as a state representative and was on the Snohomish County Council for 12 years. Metcalf, of Darrington, is the general manager of the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe and served eight years on the tribe’s council.

Koster decided to run for the spot because he feels the House needs experienced members.

His first priority would be reviewing the roles and rules of state agencies. He wants agencies such as the Department of Corrections or Department of Transportation to be held accountable when work is not up to par. He also wants to review policies to see if there are unreasonable burdens on property owners and small businesses.

He aims to find funding for education without creating new taxes. The would mean prioritizing money and potentially pulling it from other programs to boost the education budget.

“It’s going to take someone who can work with both sides of the aisle to get this done, and I can do that,” he said.

Metcalf thinks some redirection of money for education is needed, but her focus is on getting dollars shifted from urban to rural areas. When money is freed up in the budget, it tends to go to larger cities, she said. She wants more support for small schools.

“We’ve got some serious problems around McCleary,” she said. “We should look at every opportunity to move around funding.”

She thinks the state could draw from untapped revenue, such as unclaimed lottery prizes.

She also sees mental health care and drug treatment as lacking in rural areas and wants to direct more resources toward law enforcement programs that take down “nickel and dime dealers” as well as big-time providers of opioids, she said.

“I’m really ready for Olympia,” Metcalf said. “That’s where I think my next stop is.”

Senate seat

Republican Kirk Pearson is running unopposed to keep his seat in the state Senate, a four-year position.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

District 39, House of Representatives position 1

Name: Dan Kristiansen (incumbent)

Residence: Monroe

Age: 53

Party: Republican

Experience: State representative since 2003

Website: dankristiansen.org

Name: Linda Wright

Residence: Arlington

Age: 60

Party: Democrat

Experience: Union representative

Website: electlindawright2016.com

District 39, House of Representatives position 2

Name: John Koster

Residence: Arlington

Age: 65

Party: Republican

Experience: Three terms as state representative, 12 years on Snohomish County Council

Website: electjohnkoster.com

Name: Ronda Metcalf

Residence: Darrington

Age: 55

Party: Democrat

Experience: General manager of Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, eight years on tribe’s council

Website: rondametcalf.org

Talk to us

More in Local News

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Separate road rage incident ends with fatal shooting in Lake Stevens

A man, 41, died at the scene in the 15300 block of 84th Street NE. No arrests have been made.

Nursing Administration Supervisor Susan Williams points at a list of current COVID patients at Providence Regional Medical Center on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of Providence patients in medical limbo for months, even years

About 100 people are stuck in Everett hospital beds without an urgent medical reason. New laws aim for a solution.

Lynnwood man arrested, released on $25K bond after road rage shooting

Deputies arrested the suspect, 20, for investigation of first-degree assault on Tuesday.

Mt. Baker visible from the summit of Mt. Dickerman on a late summer day in 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Hornets pester hikers on popular Mountain Loop trails

“You cannot out run the stings,” one hiker wrote in a trip report. The Forest Service has posted alerts at two trailheads.

Most Read