Newcomer, old foe challenge Rep. Glenn Anderson

July 27, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Issaquah and other 5th Legislative District voters must narrow the field of state House of Representatives candidates from three to two in the Aug. 17 primary election. The top vote-getters advance to the November general election.

The race comes as a rematch of sorts for the incumbent, Glenn Anderson, and his 2008 opponent, David Spring. But newcomer Dean Willard hopes to clinch the GOP-held seat for the Democrats.

Glenn Anderson

Glenn Anderson

To understand just how much Democrats yearn to topple Anderson, rewind to the campaign kickoff for Willard.

In a clip immortalized on YouTube, state Rep. Geoff Simpson said “there is no one in the Legislature who is more despised by Democrats” than Anderson.

But Anderson, a Fall City Republican first elected to a 5th District seat a decade ago, shrugged off the partisan jab.

“I wish I had that kind of power,” he cracked.

Make no mistake: Democrats intend to pick up the seat, but the battle-tested Anderson remains a stubborn obstacle.

Constituents in Issaquah and other Eastside communities returned Anderson to the statehouse with comfortable margins in the last four elections.

Though the August and November elections could be bad for incumbents, Anderson described his experience as a benefit.

“There’s no on-the-job training required,” he said.

Though Anderson, 52, has been stuck in the minority since he arrived in Olympia as a freshman, he credited his backslapping style for helping him build relationships in the factitious Legislature.

“That’s what I’m known for — being honest, being direct and focusing on problem solving,” he said.

On the campaign trail, Anderson focuses on job creation. He proposed less business regulation as the elixir to bring more manufacturing jobs — and revenue — to the state.

He has a dire prediction for opponents of deep cuts to state spending.

“The state is headed toward a California-style bankruptcy implosion,” he said. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”

Anderson dismissed descriptions of Republican lawmakers as obstructionists, and said the minority party should act as a conservative counterweight to the Democrats in power.

“When it’s a really bad idea, yes, you should obstruct it,” he said.

David Spring

David Spring

The last contest for the 5th District seat pivoted on about 2,200 votes — enough to bring the contest to a nail-biting finish for Anderson and Spring. Only 19 votes separated them on election night.

In the end, Anderson pulled far ahead. The defeated Spring continued advocating for education, as he had throughout the campaign.

Since then, the North Bend Democrat said he has trekked door-to-door and talked to more than 10,000 East King County residents about how the state pays for education.

Spring — the only candidate with a child in a 5th District public school — has again made education the backbone of his campaign.

But the race differs from the 2008 contest. Though Spring opted to appear on the ballot as a Democrat, the local party organization bypassed Spring and endorsed Willard for the seat.

Under state election rules, candidates can declare a preference for a party — even if the party prefers someone else.

But Spring, 58, could be a possible thorn in the side of Democrats in Olympia. He decried what he described as “corporate corruption” in both parties.

“I didn’t sign on to rubber-stamp Democratic Party policies,” he said. “I signed on to represent the children and families of East King County.”

He called for legislators to reform what he described as the onerous tax burden for middle-class homeowners.

“I will vote no for any budget that does not solve this problem,” he said.

Spring hailed Initiative 1098 — a November ballot measure to impose a state income tax on the wealthy, plus cut property and some business taxes — as a step toward fixing education funding.

“We need to come up with solutions to these problems,” he said. “Otherwise, we’re going to be laying off thousands of school teachers in the next two years.”

Dean Willard

Dean Willard

Democrats hope the newcomer in the race, Willard, has the money and the high-tech pedigree to unseat Anderson.

Willard, a Sammamish information technology consultant and a former executive at Bellevue-based T-Mobile, brings a business background to the race.

Willard, 46, said a quality education system acts as the foundation for a high-skill, high-wage workforce. Though he lauded Anderson for supporting measures to improve education, Willard faulted him for not doing more to fund schools.

“Where Glenn has failed to show any leadership is failing to deliver the resources for the system to do what it’s intended to do,” Willard said.

Before he entered the race, Willard kept active in local politics. He helped a T-Mobile colleague, Joe Mallahan, in a failed bid for Seattle mayor last year.

Though the race includes Spring, the last Democrat to take on Anderson, the party has endorsed first-time candidate Willard in the upcoming election.

Willard brushed aside possible threats posed by the better-known challenger. Spring could siphon crucial votes from Willard in the primary.

“Name recognition is a very fragile thing in an election,” Willard said.

Willard said the district no longer shares the same conservative values as Anderson, a minority Republican in a capital dominated by Democrats.

District voters last elected a Democrat — former state Sen. Kathleen Drew — in 1992. Dino Rossi edged out Drew four years later. Republicans rode to victory in ensuing elections for the statehouse seats.

But the district has changed since Anderson ascended to the House in 2000. Issaquah and other cities in the district ballooned as the tech industry boomed and housing construction kept pace.

Willard said he could be a more effective representative for 5th District residents as a freshman Democrat.

“Their voices will be heard in the group that has to agree to anything of significance happening in the legislative process,” he said.

About the 5th Legislative District

The district encompasses most of Issaquah, including downtown and the Issaquah Highlands. The district boundary splits the city from the neighboring 41st Legislative District at 12th Avenue Northwest.

Beyond city limits, the district includes a large swath of unincorporated King County, as well as all of North Bend and Snoqualmie. Parts of Maple Valley and Sammamish also fall within the district.

On the Web

Learn more about the 5th Legislative District candidates online.

Glenn Anderson

David Spring

Dean Willard

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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3 Responses to “Newcomer, old foe challenge Rep. Glenn Anderson”

  1. jim vaughn on July 28th, 2010 10:37 am

    Beware of any candidate that supports Initiative 1098. In addition, to misleading the public about the property tax, fraudulent signatures, let’s add collusion to Initiative 1098

    I wrote three tongue and cheek initiatives that in spite of the initial humor have a serious message. My most popular was Initiative 1069 to change the state seal to a tapeworm dressed in a three piece suit attached the rectum of the tax payer. Around the vignette the words, “ Committed to Sucking the Life Blood Out of Each and Every Tax Payer.”

    My second initiative is a rebuttal to Bill Gates Sr. Initiative 1098. Ask yourself the following questions before you vote yes for Initiative 1098.

    1. Why would Bill Gates Sr. sponsor an initiative that would tax the rich?
    2. Does it have anything to do with the fact the legislature is preparing to give Microsoft a $100 million tax break and amnesty for $1 BILLION in tax evasion?
    3. After two years do you believe that the legislature would change the law to tax everyone?
    4. After reading section 1. below, do you believe our state is any different than Connecticut?

    Panhandling and Pick Pocket Tax For State Legislatures In Lieu of a State Income Tax

    Sec. 1. Whereas Initiative 960 was approved by the voters to prevent the following:

    In 1991, Connecticut was facing a revenue shortfall of about $2.7 Billion. Using that crisis, Connecticut’s governor pushed hard for a state income tax. The bill eventually passed. At the signing ceremony, Governor Lowell Weicker sounded optimistic. “When I sign this budget, Connecticut will be closing the book on its past and it’ll be facing toward the future.”

    17 years later, we have a good idea of what that future looks like: The income tax that was passed to close a $2.7 Billion deficit has been raised several times and now brings in over $7.5 billion a year. Add in the $350 million a year that the state currently receives from Indian Casinos, and Connecticut now collects nearly $8 billion more in revenue than it did in 1991.

    Despite all of those extra billions, Connecticut is still facing massive deficits $1.2 Billion this year and another $6 to $8 Billion over the next two years. How could this happen? In Connecticut’s case, out-of-control spending was the culprit. The point is that government knows how to get bigger. Try as they might to slim down, the natural order of things will always take over and ensure they grow larger than anyone thought possible. The only way to stop that, or at least slow it down, is by taking away their source of food: money and power. For this very reason the voters of Washington State passed Initiative 960 in an attempt to remove the tapeworm that is attached to the lower intestine of the taxpayers.

  2. Jon Viebrock on July 28th, 2010 9:05 pm

    I agree with the previous poster (Jim Vaughn) on the subject of 1098. If this monstrosity passes, we will end up with a state income tax, a state sales tax, and as soon as there’s a shortfall, property taxes will be jacked back up to, or even beyond, their current level. Furthermore, there is no chance that a state income tax will remain only on the wealthiest of our citizens. It will be expanded to include everyone at the earliest opportunity. Our state, and our nation, are spending way out of control. Every man, woman, and child in this nation, is on the hook for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. When politicians try to talk about prioritizing or cutting spending, that’s when the BS starts to flow.

    Politicians are always ready to cut spending, right after they get past the current urgent spending needs. Just like dopers who promise to quit right after they get done shooting the extra big bag of crank they just bought.

    We all know that the spending has to stop. The problem is that stopping the spending means cutting off old people, the sick, and the very young and poor, from benefits they are getting right now. It also means cutting the oil companies and multi-national corporations off the public teat they’ve been sucking dry for decades now, along with other subsidies too (corporate farming comes to mind). It means doling out harsh punishment (old Testament style) to companies that use taxpayer dollars to off-shore our jobs.

    Both parties are scared of retaliation by their core constituencies over these cuts. Neither party is willing to gore their own ox, and just wants to slaughter the other guy’s animal instead. This is why our current governmental system fails to address the needs of anyone but major campaign contributors.

    In spite of the colossal damage being done, I see no real hope for meaningful change. Our infrastructure continues to crumble, our schools are pathetically underfunded, we are about to risk losing police support for any but the most violent crimes, etc., etc., etc.

    Changing leadership from one party to the other has been totally ineffective at getting results. What the answer is, I don’t know. It will take some new kind of political thinking that we don’t seem to have right now.

  3. Bob Willson on July 31st, 2010 10:44 pm

    >> Geoff Simpson said “there is no one in the Legislature who is more despised by Democrats” than Anderson.

    Geoff Simpson has assaulted his ex-wife. If Geoff doesn’t like Anderson, then that means Anderson is good people.

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