Spring challenging Anderson for state’s 5th District seat

September 19, 2008

By Tim Pfarr

Glenn Anderson

Position: Representative, Seat 2, 5th District

  • Age: 50
  • Occupation: State representative, 5th District
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Alabama
  • Family: Wife Elisabeth

Fun facts

  • Favorite movie: ‘Saving Private Ryan’ or anything with Sean Connery
  • Favorite book: ‘The Power of Myth,’ by Joseph Campbell
  • Favorite cuisine: Chinese
  • Favorite beverage: Cran-raspberry juice
  • Favorite ice cream: Raspberry chocolate chunk
  • Favorite hobby: Reading history

Republican Glenn Anderson isn’t big on happy talk politics or attack politics. He comes from a business background and said he is a firm believer that residents should be able to trust their representative’s votes.

“I’m trying to represent the best interests of the people of this district,” he said.

While in his 20s, Anderson worked as a carpenter, longshoreman and volunteer firefighter. He also worked in aerospace and textile factories.

Anderson began working in the banking industry 25 years ago. Ten years later, he started his own business, working as an independent consultant.

“I’m a real big fan of entrepreneurialism,” he said.

He was first elected to the Legislature in 2000 as a representative of the 5th District.

“I thought my skills would be useful,” he said.

He has been re-elected every term since and is now running for his fifth term in office.

Anderson said the key issues for the next term are education, budgeting and transportation.

He is a member of a bipartisan group aiming to reform the education-funding model. Its goal is to get the state to fund the basic needs of all school districts in the state, he said, adding that the current system has increasingly forced taxpayers to pay for basic needs the state should pay for.

He said he also hopes to fix the state’s budgeting process.

“The budgeting process is just a nightmare,” he said. “It literally is like drunken sailors. In the process of trying to make everybody happy, we’re going broke.”

He said the state’s tax revenue growth rate is 6 percent per year and the spending growth rate is 16 percent per year, leaving the state in debt.

“There is an outstanding tax bill of $68.5 million and growing for residents of our 5th District, regardless of whether they received services for that spending or not,” he said.

For transportation, Anderson said we must reduce traffic congestion immediately. He said the combination of increased fuel economy, new hybrid technologies and high gas prices that discourage driving have resulted in decreased revenue from the state’s gas tax.

Transportation-related revenues that are now spent in the state’s general operating fund should be re-allocated to fund transportation construction, he said.

This term, Anderson has introduced 45 bills to the House, three of which have passed, and 39 amendments to bills in the House, eight of which have passed.

Out of 1,570 votes this term, he has missed only one, according to the Washington Votes.

He said he holds the No. 2 voting record against tax credits and deferrals.

“I would be willing to stand on my record every day,” he said.

He serves as the ranking minority leader on the House Higher Education Committee and as the assistant minority leader on the House K-12 Education Committee. He also serves on the House Appropriations Committee and works with various other committees, including the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee.

Anderson spent his childhood growing up in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. He worked his way through college, and spent five years living in Atlanta after graduating.

“There is no substitute for a good education,” he said.

After traveling to the Northwest, he discovered he enjoyed the region. He made the move to Western Washington in 1988 and spent four years living in Seattle before settling in Fall City, where he lives with his wife of 20 years.

Although he has no children, he has 13 nieces and nephews, and has been labeled “designated uncle” by his family. He also lives with two dogs, one cat, four sheep and one pygmy goat.

The King County Municipal League has ranked Anderson as a “good” candidate for the position. The league is a nonpartisan association that conducts the equivalent of job interviews with candidates in King County and rates them on their capacity to serve effectively.

David Spring

Position: Representative,  Seat 2, 5th District

  • Age: 56
  • Occupation: Researcher at the University of Washington, researching math and science education
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in math and science education from Washington State University; master’s degree in education, specializing in child development from the University of Washington
  • Family: Daughter Sierra

Fun facts

  • Favorite movie: ‘Gandhi’
  • Favorite book: ‘The Audacity of Hope,’ by Barack Obama
  • Favorite cuisine: Chinese
  • Favorite beverage: Apple juice
  • Favorite ice cream: Chocolate
  • Favorite hobby: Raising his daughter

Democrat and North Bend resident David Spring made a promise to his 8-year-old daughter, and it was a promise he said he intends to keep: He promised her a place to go to high school.

North Bend youths attend Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, a facility with a capacity of 1,200 and a student population of 1,500. Not even four lunch shifts are enough to give every student a place to sit in the cafeteria, and the gym is not big enough to hold a schoolwide assembly. More than half of the school’s students are from North Bend.

Three times in the past two years, bond measures to solve the problem by building a high school in North Bend have failed. It was the third and final failure in March that convinced Spring it was time to act.

He said one of the main reasons the bond measures failed was because voters were unhappy with the fact that the Legislature refused to financially support the building of a new high school.

Spring noted that the state constitution says funding education is the paramount duty of the state. He said the state only offered to pay for 3 percent of a new high school in North Bend, which is not consistent with the constitution.

“The state is completely ignoring the state constitution,” he said. “No other community in the state of Washington has been forced to pay for nearly 100 percent of a public school in the past 100 years. It is illegal and unconstitutional.”

Washington state is 46th in the nation in school spending. Spring said he will change this, but not by raising taxes.

He said property owners in the district (not just in the Snoqualmie Valley) pay 7 percent to 16 percent more in property taxes and receive 10 percent less in school funding from the state. This, coupled with the lack of school spending, makes the deficit in Washington state’s 5th District one of the worst in the country.

He also said he would not be able to afford a further increase in property taxes, and that his solution is to make corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

“Small businesses never get any tax breaks,” he said. “If small businesses can stay in business paying taxes, then so can big businesses.”

From 1985-1992, Spring owned and managed Wilderness Sports, a small business based in Bellevue.

He also said he has never taken money from a corporate lobbyist.

“Representatives are supposed to be representing the people in their district, not corporate lobbyists,” he said.

Spring grew up in Vancouver, Wash., and graduated from Hudson Bay High School and Washington State University, both with honors. He taught courses on problem solving and conflict resolution at Bellevue Community College for many years, and graduated from the University of Washington with his master’s degree in 2007.

He said he is different from other representatives in the Legislature because of his background, including his post-graduate work in education and child development. That background has given him a deep understanding of just how harmful poor funding and overcrowded schools can be to children, although he said he is running more as a parent than as an educator.

Spring comes from a family of Norwegian emigrants, and was only the second from his family to graduate from high school and the first to attend any form of college.

He said he is willing to discuss politics with anyone anytime.

“This is going to be a different kind of representation,” he said.

Spring has spent less than $10,000 on his entire campaign, and has no manager or treasurer. He has refinanced his home to run for office.

“I’m doing something that nobody running has done in probably 10 or 20 years,” he said.

Spring researched math and science education at the University of Washington until June. He is now campaigning full time.

The King County Municipal League has ranked him as a “very good” candidate for the position. The league is a nonpartisan association that conducts the equivalent of job interviews with candidates in King County and rates them on their capacity to serve effectively.

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