Four candidates face off in 5th District primary
July 8, 2014
By Peter Clark
Voters will have four choices for state representative in the 5th Legislative District primary Aug. 5.
The two candidates who receive the most votes will run in the Nov. 4 general election.
Incumbent Republican Chad Magendanz will run again. He touts his expertise on educational issues and his willingness to reach across the aisle as reasons for residents to re-elect him.
“McCleary is going to suck all of the oxygen out of the room,” he said, referring to the Washington State Supreme Court decision requiring the Legislature to provide more funding for basic education. “There is a lot of work left to do and I’m increasingly in a position to do it.”
After serving as the president of the Issaquah School Board and now the ranking member of the House Committee on Education, he pledges to continue focusing on educational issues.
His two years in the job has left him with experience creating deals in an increasingly partisan environment, he said.
“The movement as a minority party member really surprised me,” Magendanz said, referring to the Democratically controlled House. “I’ve had allies from both sides. There are just so many ways to get stuff done in Olympia.”
He said he has the impression he has represented the district well.
“There’s been a lot of local support,” he said. “I think I reflect the district in many ways. I’m a pro-choice, fiscally conservative Republican.”
David Spring will once again run on the Democratic ticket with a concentrated campaign.
“I’m basically a parent from North Bend with a single issue — to restore school funding,” Spring said. “It is the paramount duty of our state Legislature to fund our schools completely and they’re not doing it.”
Spring, a teacher at Bellevue College, said he believes he has an educational insider approach to addressing his concern about underfunded public schools.
“Since 2000, the state has dramatically increased its corporate tax breaks,” he said. “Our property taxes and other taxes have gone up, but corporations are paying less. Requiring corporations to pay their fair share of state taxes will not harm them, because they can deduct their state taxes from their federal taxes.”
This election marks the fourth time Spring has run for the 5th District seat. He remains committed to the single message of his campaign.
“I will keep trying until our kids get the schools and the teachers they need,” he said. “I just want all kids in all our schools to have a fair chance. Our state supreme court has agreed with me.”
Newcomer Colin J. Alexander said he may be young, at 24, but he said he has the spirit and commitment to institute new ideas in the Legislature.
“I’ve always been told you need to be the change you want to see in the world,” he said. “I want to be that change.”
He also wants to focus on education. However, he said he can approach it from a different perspective, having recently graduated from college and experienced the difficulty of the job market.
“I’d like to see some education reform and not just primary, but secondary,” he said. “Instead of pushing people to four-year degrees, I want to put an emphasis on vocational schools. I want to see people get hired, so people my age could add to the economy instead of being a drain on it.”
The North Bend native said his degrees in economics and political science left him with a broader understanding of the government’s role within citizens’ lives.
“I understand the money side and the theory side,” he said. “Yeah, the other candidates have other experiences, but I feel like we need someone with theoretical knowledge. It’s more of the ‘whys’ instead of the ‘hows’ and I am bringing those ‘whys.’”
On the Web
No party preference
The final candidate, Ryan Dean Burkett, identified no party preference for his campaign. He runs a nontraditional campaign in which he said he would not create a website or put up campaign signs, but instead write letters to citizens.
“I just believe government should be acting in a different manner than it is,” Burkett said. “I believe it should be a resource for the people.”
He has many ideas for how to create sustainable growth and local protection with a position in the state Legislature.
“I’d like to look more into a state bank,” he said, highlighting the benefits it could offer to state agriculture and education. “It’s worked for North Dakota for the past 100 years. We could keep our money locally, invest more in small business and pick and choose where our money goes.”
Burkett also ran for the position in 2012. He said his years of customer service have left him with a keen idea of how to lead.
“In my 20 years I’ve had in the restaurant industry, I’ve taken care of people’s needs and wants,” he said. “I’m doing it in a different kind of manner, but I feel it’s the same.”
Burkett declined to submit a photograph to The Press or to the King County Department of Elections, saying he believes citizens should vote on what candidates say, not what they look like.
King County will send out ballots July 15. The deadline for new, in-person voter registration is July 28. Register in person at 500 Fourth Ave., Room 440, Seattle, or 919 S.W. Grady Way, Renton.
SnoValley Star Editor Sherry Grindeland contributed to this story.