Incumbent Democrats defend 32nd District state House seats

David Schirle (left) and Ruth Kagi.

David Schirle (left) and Ruth Kagi.

LYNNWOOD — Two candidates are challenging the incumbents in both House seats in the 32nd Legislative District.

The district covers most of Lynnwood, parts of Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway and surrounding parts of unincorporated Snohomish County. It also stretches across the county line to include Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

For position 1, incumbent Democrat Cindy Ryu, of Shoreline, is being challenged by Republican Alvin Rutledge, of Edmonds. For position 2, incumbent Democrat Ruth Kagi, of Seattle, is being challenged by Republican David Schirle, of Lynnwood.

Ryu, who is seeking her fourth term in the Legislature, said finding new funding to pay for education and meet the McCleary requirements will be top priority. At the same time, she said, many cuts have been made to other parts of the state government that some services may be degraded.

“We might have been eating our seed corn, such as infrastructure, public transportation,” Ryu said.

“At the same time we really haven’t really funded our schools or public employees such as teachers very well,” she said.

She advocates a plastic bottle tax and a 5 percent capital gains tax as two possible solutions.

Ryu also said the Legislature will have to look at hundreds of tax exemptions given to businesses, including those given to Boeing, to see if they’re really delivering the jobs needed.

Rutledge, who has run unsuccessfully for office in the past, said he’s primarily concerned that lawmakers aren’t responsive to the public.

“I’m just a regular citizen and I’m concerned the other citizens in the area don’t get to vote on issues,” Rutledge said.

He said he would seek advice on issues before voting.

“I would ask for the input of the people, to email me or call me,” he said.

Rutledge said he would attempt to balance the budget by cutting pensions for state elected officials. He said he’d also redirect money spent on services for homeless people to job training programs.

Ryu has raised $57,416 as of Monday, most recently from committees of the Washington Forest Protection Association, the Washington Beer &Wine Distributors Association, the Washington Society of CPAs and the United Services Automobile Association.

Rutledge has not reported any campaign contributions.

Kagi, who is seeking her 10th term in the House, said her biggest role in the coming biennium will be focusing on creation of a new Department of Children, Youth and Families that would take over programs now housed in several other departments, including Social and Health Services.

“There’s a real understanding on both sides of the aisle that DSHS is too big and children and families are suffering in an agency that, for the moment, is focused on Western State Hospital,” Kagi said.

“Children and families need a focus. They need visibility and a secretary that can speak to their issues at the cabinet level,” she said.

Her other top priority would be fully funding education starting from early learning through high school. She wants to bridge the funding gap by eliminating the bottle tax exemption, implementing a capital gains tax, and revisiting tax exemptions for businesses.

“There are a whole series of tax exemptions that we’ve given industries over the last 40-50 years that really aren’t appropriate any more,” Kagi said.

Schirle, who challenged Inslee for his congressional race in 2010, said he’s running to bring a change in attitude to Olympia.

“It’s principles over issues,” Schirle said. “I believe we’ve got so stuck in our politics on issues that we lose some of the principles.”

He said he sees transportation as one of the major issues to be resolved. An opponent of Sound Transit 3, he said the Legislature needs to emphasize roads, bridges and bus lanes over “choo-choo trains.”

“Choo-choo trains are 19th- and 20th-century technology,” he said.

He said to address larger volumes of traffic around Boeing there should be something more like an elevated tram or monorail. He also said revenue from tolling should go toward building more lanes, such as reversible peak-hour lanes on I-405.

Kagi has raised $121,836.98 in campaign contributions from groups such as Great Schools Great Kids, the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, SEIU Local 925, and K12 Inc.

Schirle has not reported any campaign contributions.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

The candidates

Position 1

Cindy Ryu

Age: 58

Residence: Shoreline

Party: Democratic

Profession: Commercial property management


Alvin Rutledge

Age: 74

Residence: Edmonds

Party: Republican

Profession: Retired

Website: None

Position 2

Ruth Kagi

Age: 71

Residence: Seattle

Party: Democratic

Profession: Commercial property management


David Schirle

Age: 68

Residence: Lynnwood

Party: Republican

Profession: Podiatrist

Website: None

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