Issaquah representative to retire, run for lieutenant governor
January 3, 2012
Issaquah’s most senior representative in Olympia — state Rep. Glenn Anderson — does not intend to seek re-election in 2012 and plans to run for lieutenant governor after serving the 5th Legislative District for a dozen years.
The longtime lawmaker enters a crowded field for the No. 2 spot in the executive branch. Other candidates include incumbent Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, former State Sen. Bill Finkbeiner and Mark Greene, a Newcastle resident.
The office carries few significant responsibilities. The official duties include standing in for the governor if he or she is incapacitated, presiding over the state Senate, and serving on a handful of committees and commissions, such as the State Finance Committee.
The situation in Washington is “a mess, and it’s not getting any better. So, I’m going to give it a go,” Anderson said Dec. 28. “Doing what we’re doing now is a sure death train.”
Local voters elected the Fall City Republican in 2000 and subsequently in even-numbered years since.
Anderson said the lieutenant governor post holds little actual power, but said he plans to use the office to advocate for creating jobs, and funding and reforming education. In announcing a campaign for the post, he aimed at Owen’s record.
“He’s been in office for 16 years and so far, there’s not a lot to show for it,” Anderson said.
Owen could not be reached for comment. The sitting lieutenant governor has focused on championing substance abuse and prevention issues, and has served as chairman of the Legislative Committee on Economic Development & International Relations.
Anderson cruised to re-election last year against David Spring, the same candidate Anderson faced in a tight race in 2008. Anderson intends to serve through the remainder until the term expires next year.
“It’s been an extraordinary gift and a privilege to be allowed to serve the citizens of our community,” he said in a statement. ”I’ve been extremely lucky that so many constituents, regardless of party affiliation, felt as though it was important to be engaged and have helped in many ways with all the issues I’ve been called on to deal with over the years.”
In the state House of Representatives, Anderson fashioned a reputation for a backslapping style and championed education issues. He served as the leading Republican on Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Washington Learns 2006 Task Force and spearheaded other education issues, including Fund Education First — a budget reform proposal designed to improve school funding.
“When students have a good basic education, everything in life becomes possible for them,” he said. “It’s not something we should take for granted.”
Anderson also gained a reputation for independence. Earlier in 2011, the longtime lawmaker introduced legislation to trim the number of Washington counties and another measure to increase business-and-occupation taxes on high-revenue corporations. Though both measures failed to gain traction, both demonstrated Anderson’s colorful style.
“In the Legislature, moving the ball on any issue is about doing your homework and listening to people who know more than you. Lawmakers should always be respectful of differing points of view and personalities, and have a very low tolerance for proverbial ‘political manure,’” he said. “Be who you are, be genuine, be helpful and always remember there will be real, lasting consequences on people you will never meet when you make any decision or take any vote.”
Once Anderson departs the Legislature, Issaquah and the 5th District lose a high-ranking representative. He ranks 13th in seniority out of 98 House members.
His most significant contribution, Anderson said, has been “helping my constituents get the services they deserve out of government. Listening to and assisting constituents has been my top priority. Their lives are busy and helping them sort out some bureaucratic boondoggle so they can move on with what is important to them has always come first. Constituent interaction and input have been invaluable to me.”
Anderson did not elaborate on plans for life after the Legislature.
“While this chapter of public service is closing, the book is still open,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of encouragement to run for higher office from both Republicans and Democrats and I’m strongly considering that option.”
In addition to Issaquah, the 5th District includes parts of Sammamish and Renton, plus Maple Valley, North Bend and Snoqualmie.
Dan Catchpole: 392-6434, ext. 246, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or email@example.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.