Editorial: Ryu and Kagi for 32nd District House seats

By The Herald Editorial Board

32nd Legislative District, House of Representatives

The 32nd District straddles the border between Snohomish and King counties and includes parts of the cities of Lynnwood, Edmonds, Woodway and Shoreline.

Position 1

Rep. Cindy Ryu, a Shoreline Democrat, is running for her fourth term in the House. She is challenged by Republican Al Rutledge of Edmonds, who has run for city and legislative posts, including against Rep. Ruth Kagi in 2014 for the district’s Position 2 seat.

Rutledge, who is retired, believes change is needed in the Legislature and wants to see an increase in responsiveness from lawmakers to citizen correspondence. Regarding education funding, Rutledge believes lawmakers should end funding for legislators’ pension plans.

Ryu, who emigrated from South Korea as a child, is a former Shoreline city council member and was elected mayor in 2008. She and her husband own and manage retail and commercial space.

Ryu is vice-chairwoman of the business and financial services committee and has served on finance, rules, and technology and economic development committees.

Ryu intends to pursue legislation on affordable housing and hopes to find ways to encourage builders to increase units. She also expects that legislation that would reform the state’s current regulations on payday loans will return and she intends to oppose anything that would weaken those rules, considered some of the strongest in the nation.

She also wants to see the Legislature pass the Voting Rights Act, which under the leadership of Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace, passed the House, but failed in the Senate. With Moscoso’s departure from the House, the legislation will need a new champion, which could be ably taken up by Ryu.

On education funding, she doesn’t believe a levy swap will be a workable option; taxpayers, she said, will want to keep their tax dollars in their own districts. She would consider a capital gains tax to increase revenue for education funding.

Ryu wants to see reform of the state tax system, including the sales tax and the business and occupation tax. The sales tax is regressive, she said, and the B&O tax is unfair and discourages small businesses.

Ryu has represented her district well and should continue her work in the Legislature.

Position 2

Having served since 1999, Rep. Ruth Kagi, a Seattle Democrat, is running for a 10th term in the House. She is challenged by Republican Dr. David Schirle of Lynnwood.

Schirle is a podiatrist and physician’s assistant who retired from the U.S. Army as a major after a 35-year career, serving during the Vietnam and Iraq wars and later working as a medical contractor for the Department of Defense in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Schirle says he is running to effect change in state government, seeking fewer laws, less regulation and reduced spending. He holds that the Legislature has provided the necessary funding for K-12 education and should ignore the mandate of the state Supreme Court to provide additional funding. He also supports additional spending for transportation to expand highways lanes.

Kagi, since her first term has focused on issues related to early learning and child welfare. Her recent Early Start Act will expand early learning opportunities for low-income families. Kagi also sponsored legislation that has now helped 4,000 high school drop-outs to earn their GEDs.

Kagi has been named as co-chair of a commission that will begin work in November to study the creation of a new state department of children and families, breaking those duties off from the Department of Social and Health Services.

Kagi said she intends to reintroduce legislation she has sought in recent sessions that would require safe storage of firearms in homes with children, using guns safes or trigger locks. She has supported legislation to increase the minimum wage, provide paid family leave and assure equal pay for equal rights for women.

Regarding education funding, Kagi says the Legislature must provide full funding for education without making cuts to social services. She is supportive of levy reform, believes that eliminating tax loopholes could return significant revenue to fund education and says a capital gains tax should be paid by the top 5 percent of the state’s wealthiest residents.

Kagi is an accomplished legislator who has dedicated her lawmaking to children and families. She has earned a 10th term.

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