A Shoreline resident, Gentry Lange, announced his candidacy with the Green Party for King County Executive.
Lange, 30, a real estate agent with Credential Northwest Realty Associates, announced his candidacy on June 22. This is Lange’s first time seeking office, although he says it is by no means a spur-of-the-moment decision.
“I have been working with activists on the black box voting situation for a couple of years,” Lange said. “I am running for King County executive to highlight issues surrounding secrecy.”
Issues Lange is concerned with include voting reform in King County and Washington state, “common-sense” solutions for traffic and transportation and sustainable development technologies.
Although he has never run for office before, Lange served as campaign manager for Andy Stephenson, a Democratic candidate for Secretary of State in 2004, and has been an independent journalist and political activist in other statewide campaigns.
Lange advocates for remedying the voting system by eliminating companies like Diebold from the King County Election system, saying corporations do not deserve the right to keep the process secret from inspection.
“Using proprietary software, Diebold, and companies like it are metaphorically counting our elections behind closed doors,” Lange said. “And then announcing the elections results when they are done.”
To address traffic congestion, Lange advocates assessing research on traffic behavior to address problems such as tailgating, and relying on public awareness, rather than punishment and enforcement. Traffic-related issues, such as wearing seat belts, have improved due to public awareness, he said.
“Certain traffic rules are ignored in the Northwest,” Lange said. “But we can get good compliance through public education.”
Lange will be working with a cameraman who works for his campaign during the summer, to film traffic situations in order to highlight them and explain solutions in greater detail.
Regarding sustainable development technologies, Lange says instead of promoting biotechnology with more corporate giveaways and tax breaks, he favors a movement toward sustainable technology, such as biodiesel, composting and rain barrels.
“The important thing is to look at incentives for the individual, not just tax breaks,” Lange said, “and what sort of incentives that can be put in place that help promote.”
From a small town outside of Chicago, Lange attended the University of Washington and graduated with a BA in political science. He is a volunteer reporter for Seattle Indymedia and Real Change and is a board member of Washington Public Campaigns, a group dedicated to attaining public funding for Washington’s electoral process.
He intends to maintain a Web log about his campaign at www.gentrylange.com.
“I am obviously not an expert about everything under the sun,” Lange said. “This is a useful way to respond to people in the public forum and not just give a quick sound bite.”
Joe Szwaja, who ran for U.S. Congress in 2000, is volunteering with Lange’s campaign. He said although this is Lange’s first time running for office, he believes it is a good race for a Green party candidate to run.
“It is a very good race for a Green knowledgeable of the election system,” Szwaja said. “The Democrats and Republicans have made a mess of the election and there’s room for a knowledgeable person outside of the most powerful parties.”
Lange’s “kick-off” is set for July 9 at Swaja’s house in Ravenna. To register, call 206-523-3278.