1st Legislative District, House of Representatives
The 1st District, split between Snohomish and King counties, covers the cities of Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Bothell and part of Kirkland and south Snohomish County communities west of High Bridge Road. Served by I-405 and Highways 9 and 522, transportation issues are key to constituents.
Both House positions drew three candidates, requiring the primary election to determine the top two candidates for the General Election.
Rep. Derek Stanford, a Democrat, has held his seat since 2011. He is running for his fourth two-year term. His challengers are Colin McMahon, who listed no party preference when filing for the election, and Josh Colver, a Republican.
Colver, a Bothell resident, graduated from Shoreline Christian High School last year. He is co-founder of a political advocacy website and considers himself a constitutional Libertarian who is an anti-tax advocate and supporter of term limits.
McMahon is a public defender in Snohomish County and Tulalip tribal courts. Although he served as a delegate for Bernie Sanders, supportive of Sanders’ social justice positions, he believes an anti-business attitude among Democrats is hampering jobs and development.
Colver and McMahon represent their ideas well, but Stanford’s record of past accomplishments in the House qualifies him for re-election.
Stanford, even after the state Supreme Court’s rule that the Legislature has met its obligation regarding K-12 education, recognizes that work remains to fix deficiencies in special education funding, funding inequities among districts and classroom construction necessary for lowering class sizes.
Stanford, a statistician and data scientist with consulting business, also is among a contingent of Democrat legislators who are willing to step up and talk about the need for reforms to the state’s tax system, which he believes places an unequal burden on working families and the poor. At the same time, however, Stanford also is advocating for changes to the state’s business and occupation tax because it taxes gross receipts, a sore spot with many small businesses.
Stanford continues as an advocate for transportation problems in his district, specifically the choke point at the interchange for Highway 522 and I-405 and improvements to Highways 522 and 9.
On gun safety, Stanford has been supportive of safe-storage proposals and purchase restrictions for those involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.
And Stanford has the respect of his peers in Olympia. Among committee appointments, he serves on appropriations and rules and is chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee and state Caseload Forecast Council.
Rep. Shelley Kloba, is running for re-election, after winning her first term in 2016. Her challengers are Republican Debra Blodgett and Libertarian Matt Seymour.
Blodgett, with experience in the escrow industry and as a sales consultant for a fashion designer, has been active in local Republican Party politics, including service as a precinct officer and on the state party’s committee. While Republicans pushed a property tax swap to resolve the education lawsuit, Blodgett says it is now time to ease the property tax burden.
Seymour has worked in property management and a small business owner. He shares Blodgett’s desire to manage budgets to reduce taxes. Seymour says his experience in property management will inform his work on housing issues, using zoning, permitting and transportation infrastructure to better meet demand for housing.
Kloba is a former Kirkland city council member. Prior to her election to her seat, she had already spent time on school funding and other education issues as the legislative director of the state PTA.
Kloba shares her seatmate’s concerns that despite the increase in education funding, some local districts are now disadvantaged by the state’s education funding formula and the state still is not meeting its full obligation to pay for basic education. Kloba wants to return flexibility to local school districts to make funding decisions based on their students’ needs.
Kloba sees potential to increase revenue by eliminating tax incentives that don’t meet a public interest and also is wants reform of what she sees as a regressive tax system in the state.
Regarding traffic congestion in the district, Kloba wants an emphasis on affordable housing near transit routes and telecommuting that could reduce demand for roads.
Kloba, like nearly all lawmakers, did vote to approve a hastily considered bill that attempted to sidestep most legislators’ responsibilities to public access of emails and other records. After a public uproar and at the request of legislators, the legislation was vetoed, but the issue was left unresolved. Kloba, who dealt with public records requests while on the Kirkland council, now advocates starting at square one with the issue to find a solution that provides transparency for the legislative process.
Kloba, in her first term, has demonstrated knowledge on education issues and a commitment to student needs and the larger needs of her district constituents. Her background as a city council member has earned her committee assignments on commerce and gaming, where she is the acting chairwoman; technology and economic development, for which she is vice chairman; and transportation.
Kloba and Stanford have made a good team for the 1st District and should be returned to their posts.
Correction: An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly described one aspect of Debra Blodgett’s past employment. She worked as a sales consultant for a fashion designer.