Chad Magendanz transitions from school board to Legislature

November 13, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Chad Magendanz

Republican Chad Magendanz triumphed in the race to represent Issaquah and the 5th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives, and in the process, set up a vacancy on the Issaquah School Board.

Magendanz defeated North Bend Democrat David Spring, a candidate for the seat in 2008 and 2010. The challengers vied to succeed retiring state Rep. Glenn Anderson, a Fall City Republican and lawmaker for a dozen years.

“I’m really looking forward to getting out of campaign mode — which has been the focus for the last year — and rolling up my sleeves and really getting into the tough problems to solve down in Olympia,” Magendanz said a day after the election.

Magendanz said decisions made in Olympia often frustrated the school board and Issaquah School District leaders.

“I had walked into the job thinking that local control was going to allow me to have a much bigger impact on the decisions that were being made for kids in the Issaquah School District,” he said. “It didn’t take long to realize that the decisions were being made where the money was spent. Yes, we do locally fund — unfortunately — a good chunk of our education with local levy dollars, but really, the decisions being made for our kids are being made down in Olympia.”

By the numbers

Chad Magendanz: 56 percent (33,026 votes)

David Spring: 44 percent (26,462 votes)

The recent state Supreme Court ruling in McCleary v. State of Washington ordered the Legislature to fully fund basic education by 2018. The ruling often factored into discussions as Magendanz and Spring canvassed for votes.

“We’ve already made some pretty significant cuts, so there’s not a lot of fat left,” Magendanz said. “We’ve got our challenges ahead.”

The district is a combination of suburban and rural areas stretched from Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass, and from Carnation to Black Diamond.

Kevin Carns, political director for the state House Republicans, said Magendanz fit the education-focused district.

Issaquah School Board plans to address vacancy

Issaquah School Board members must decide early next year on a successor to Chad Magendanz.The presumptive state representative plans to step down from the board in early January, not long before the legislative session starts in Olympia.Once Magendanz resigns, board members then call for applicants from community members and, after public interviews, should select a replacement by mid-winter.In September, Magendanz stepped down as school board president and handed the reins to Brian Deagle, as the legislative campaign demanded greater commitments.

“To win in suburban King County is a whole lot different than Spokane County,” Carns said. “So, we don’t have an ideological test. Chad just fits the mold of somebody who has got a great background and can bring a lot to the table.”

In Olympia, Magendanz is likely to inherit Anderson’s committee assignments — Education Appropriations & Oversight, Education and Technology, Energy & Communications.

The election outcome also creates a vacancy on the Issaquah School Board. Magendanz intends to resign from the board to serve in the Legislature.

Members appointed Magendanz to a vacant seat on the board in October 2008, and he then ran unopposed for the seat in November 2009.

Carns said the House GOP organization sought candidates involved in local government and community organizations — qualifications on Magendanz’s résumé.

“Your challenge is, how do you recruit high-quality people to a fairly low-paying job where you get the crap beat out of you every two years?” Carns said. “You’ve really got to appeal to people’s sense of community service.”

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