Meet the candidates: 38th Legislative District, Senate

What’s the job?

At stake is a four-year term as a senator in the state Legislature. This seat is for the 38th Legislative District that covers parts of Snohomish County including Everett, Marysville and the part of the Snohomish Valley west of Highway 9. The annual salary is $42,106.

Election Day: Aug. 17, ballots are scheduled to be mailed out July 30. The top two vote-getters will proceed to the general election in November.

Jean Berkey

Age: 71

Occupation: Senator

Residence: Everett

Website: www.jean

Party: Democratic

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington (1973)

In her words: “I represent all the people in the district, all 120,000, and not any special interest group. I’ve built a reputation as someone who listens, gathers the facts, weighs them and then makes a decision.”

Priorities: Supports small businesses, including advocating for tax credits that will allow them to hire more employees.

  • Will continue to fight for a four-year university in Everett and supports keeping higher education tuition fees down.
  • Plans to work with educators and the private sector to stress financial education in schools.

    Notable: Loves rock hounding. Plans to name her rebuilt beach cabin on Whidbey Island “Rock Haven.”

    Nick Harper

    Age: 31

    Occupation: Conservation director at the Cascade Land Conservancy, an environmental land organization

    Residence: Everett

    Website: www.nick

    Party: Democratic

    Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Washington (2001), Juris Doctorate from Seattle University School of Law (2004)

    In his own words: “My wife and I love Everett. This is our home. We want to raise a family here. We haven’t seen leadership that represents people in this district, particularly working-class families.”

    Priorities: Thinks state should fully fund public schools. State college tuition rates need to stop climbing so young people don’t get priced out of an education.

  • Snohomish County is one of the fastest growing in the state and he wants to plan smartly for that growth.
  • Views alternative power and other innovations as critical for the state’s economic success.

    Notable: Enjoys golfing and can shoot par at the Cedarcrest course in Marysville. He doesn’t use a golf cart.

    Rod Rieger

    Age: 45

    Occupation: Owner of Audio Video Security Systems Inc.

    Residence: Marysville


    Party: Conservative

    Education: Lyle High School at Lyle, Wash., (1983) and some college at Everett Community College

    In his own words: “An individual citizen can make a difference. I used to think it didn’t matter but, yes, you do matter, if you are willing to pick up the reins and go for it and deal with the garbage.”

    Priorities: Compelled to run for office after watching the state budget “go completely out of control.” Would like to see a more hands-off approach by government when it comes to issues such as gun rights and parenting.

  • Supports back-to-basics education reform that would limit public education to foundation subjects such as reading, writing, arithmetic and geography. It’s not teachers’ job to “teach political ideology.”
  • Wants less taxes for businesses, which can’t afford any more taxes, he said.
  • Notable: Served in the U.S. Marines. He first became involved in politics as a signature gatherer for Initiative 695, which sought to cut car tab fees.

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