41st Legislative District candidates tout successes to appeal to moderate voters
October 16, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
Redistricting shifted more Issaquah neighborhoods into the 41st Legislative District, alongside Mercer Island, Newcastle and parts of Bellevue and Sammamish.
The contest to represent the affluent, suburban district in the state Senate is between Mercer Island residents Maureen Judge, a Democrat, and Steve Litzow, a Republican freshman senator.
In 2010, Litzow defeated appointed incumbent Randy Gordon by 192 votes to represent the district in the Senate. The candidates battled to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. Fred Jarrett, a Republican-turned-Democrat and the current King County deputy executive.
“Fred Jarrett, who was an early endorser of mine and is very beloved and well-known in the 41st, has said to me, ‘Maureen, always remember that this is not a blue district, it’s not a red district. It’s a purple district,’” Judge said.
Each candidate is working to convince voters of his or her moderate credentials as the Nov. 6 ballot deadline approaches.
“No party has all the right answers, but with the Senate as close as it is, it forces everyone to figure out what’s a reasonable compromise, what moves it forward, what problem you are trying to solve and how we can get that solved,” Litzow said.
Local legislative candidates amassed a list of endorsements in the race for state House of Representatives seats.
41st Legislative District
Judge said the Legislature could benefit from the experience she gained in the business and nonprofit sectors.
“Olympia is so broken and I, given my experience, could really help end gridlock, reach across the aisle and really fix things,” she said. “That’s what my experience has been. I’m sort of a fixer.”
Both candidates also stressed bipartisanship as the key to success in a Senate chamber tilted 27-22 to the Democrats.
“I have a proven track record of working across the aisle, taking some tough votes,” Litzow said. “I’ve spent a lot of time and effort on improving our education system, which is the big issue in this district. I’ve got an independent voting record showing that I can make the tough choices, and that’s what this district wants to see.”
Judge, as Washington Toxics Coalition executive director, led a successful 2010 effort to pass a statewide ban on Bisphenol A, or BPA, in children’s products and sports bottles. BPA is used to keep plastic containers airtight, but is linked to health problems, including cancer and miscarriages.
“I felt that I was contributing to a healthier citizenry, and in that regard, it was incredibly gratifying,” Judge said.
In January, Litzow broke ranks and became the first Republican in the Legislature to announce support for same-sex marriage. The position rankled some constituents, but he said the vote showed a willingness to vote his conscience.
(Both candidates support same-sex marriage Referendum 74 on the November ballot.)
“For a Republican, it’s about personal freedom and individual responsibility,” Litzow said. “I don’t think everybody agreed with me, but I thought it was the right thing to do.”