Issaquah legislators improve attendance, special session votes

July 9, 2013

In the 2013 legislative session for Washington, state Rep. Jay Rodne was No. 7 on the list of most missed votes of state lawmakers. tabulates and reports the information annually. The nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has been doing so every year since 2002.

Six local legislators missed fewer than three sessions.

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Republicans vote both sides of abortion issue

March 12, 2013

Issaquah’s 5th District Republican representatives split on a recent vote of a controversial bill.

The Reproductive Parity Act passed the state House of Representatives March 1, mostly along party lines, with a vote of 53-43. Its language would require health insurance providers who cover live births to cover abortions. With those in favor wanting to protect the coverage of pro-choice options and those opposed attempting to protect a provider’s core values, 5th District representatives Chad Magendanz and Jay Rodne played interesting roles.

Magendanz, of Issaquah, was the only Republican in the majority of voters. He took a fiscal view of the bill that separated him from his party.

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Legislators’ priorities reflect education, transportation needs

January 15, 2013

Lawmakers confronted a familiar scenario as the Legislature convened Jan. 14 — a budget shortfall, opposing pressures to preserve essential services and rein in government spending, and a court mandate to spend more money on education.

Mark Mullet

Mark Mullet

Chad Magendanz

Chad Magendanz

Observers expect education and transportation to rank as the dominant issues in the 105-day session. The state faces a $900 million budget shortfall for 2013-15 and, in the meantime, faces a court order to increase education funding by 2018.

In addition to the statewide issues on legislators’ docket, a lobbyist hired by city leaders to represent Issaquah is in search of support for local projects, including dollars to upgrade transportation infrastructure and Lake Sammamish State Park.

Issaquah is also focused on securing state dollars for a transportation improvement district in North Issaquah near Costco headquarters and high-traffic retail centers.

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Chad Magendanz starts role as state representative

January 15, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 15, 2013

State Rep. Chad Magendanz, a former Issaquah School Board member, took the oath of office Monday to represent Issaquah and the 5th Legislative District in Olympia.

Chad Magendanz

Chad Magendanz

Magendanz, a freshman Republican and 17-year resident in the district, succeeded longtime former state Rep. Glenn Anderson in the House of Representatives seat.

Magendanz is the assistant ranking member on the House Education Committee, and also serves on the House Higher Education and House Technology & Economic Development committees.

“It is an honor to be trusted to represent the people of the 5th Legislative District,” Magendanz said in a statement. “Having been involved in education reforms for several years, I am looking forward to continuing the education reform and funding discussion in my exciting new role.”

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Issaquah legislators receive key commitee assignments

December 26, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 26, 2012

Local lawmakers received or retained influential committee assignments — and the ability to shape state policy on education, transportation and other priorities — in the next legislative session.

Recent changes in how the state Senate operates changed prospective roles for local legislators. Though Democrats claim more members in the Senate, Republicans announced a plan in early December to instead put a bipartisan caucus in place to run the chamber.

With help from Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, and Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach, Republicans received a 25-24 majority. Under the proposal, Tom is poised to serve as majority leader and oust Democrats’ chosen majority leader, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle. (Until redistricting last year, Tom, a former Republican, represented some Issaquah neighborhoods.)

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Brad Toft: State Senate race is too close to call, despite Mark Mullet’s lead

November 8, 2012

NEW — 12:10 p.m. Nov. 8, 2012

The contest for the 5th Legislative District state Senate seat is too close to call, Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft said Thursday, despite a 3,307-vote lead for Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet.

The race attracted attention in recent weeks for the insults the candidates lobbed at one another and, for a time, observers said the match-up could determine state Senate control. However, Republicans did not gain enough seats on Election Day to crack the Democrats’ majority in the chamber.

Mullet held about 54 percent — or 23,216 votes — to Toft’s 46 percent — or 19,909 votes — among more than 43,000 ballots counted in the race so far.

King County Elections is scheduled to release additional results at 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

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Acrimonious 5th Legislative District contest could reshape state Senate

October 16, 2012

Mark Mullet

Brad Toft

The candidate no longer in the race looms over the contest for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat.

Cheryl Pflug, a Republican former senator and erstwhile candidate, is a constant presence in the race — in television spots supporting the Democrat in the contest and in diatribes from Republicans.

The acrimonious race to succeed Pflug pits the Democrat, Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet, against Republican Brad Toft, a manager for a national financial services firm and a Snoqualmie resident.

In a race focused on the economy and education, distractions abound — including Toft’s past legal troubles and accusations of dirty campaign tactics from both sides.

Toft entered the race late last year, before Mullet announced plans to run and Pflug filed for re-election.

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Next King County sheriff faces tough decisions to reform agency

October 16, 2012

The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office could hinge on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

John Urquhart

Steve Strachan

The contentious race pits Sheriff Steve Strachan, a former Kent police chief, against John Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman.

King County Council members appointed Strachan as sheriff in April, not long after former Sheriff Sue Rahr resigned to lead the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, or state police academy.

Though the election is to fill the Rahr’s unexpired term through 2013, the next sheriff faces a landmark effort to reform the agency in response to audits critical of policies put into place under Strachan’s predecessors.

Strachan, a SeaTac resident, served as a police chief and state legislator in Minnesota before accepting the Kent post in 2006. In the Minnesota Legislature, he helped pass legislation to reduce the blood-alcohol limit to 0.08 percent. Rahr tapped Strachan as the chief deputy, or No. 2 spot, at the sheriff’s office in early 2011.

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Meet congressional, legislative candidates at forum

October 9, 2012

Hear from the candidates for offices in Olympia and Washington, D.C., at a candidate forum cosponsored by The Issaquah Press, the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters.

The lineup for the Oct. 18 forum includes candidates for the state House of Representatives and state Senate, plus a candidate to represent Issaquah in Congress. The forum includes candidates in contested and uncontested races.

The event is not a debate. Candidates offer opening statements to the audience and then answer a series of questions from the moderator, Publisher Debbie Berto.

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Legislators Judy Clibborn, Jay Rodne run unopposed for re-election

October 9, 2012

In November, local voters face a choice in most legislative contests, but a duo of lawmakers from neighboring districts is certain to return to Olympia.

State Rep. Jay Rodne is guaranteed to represent the 5th Legislative District in the House of Representatives for another term, after nobody stepped forward to challenge the North Bend Republican. In the neighboring 41st Legislative District, state Rep. Judy Clibborn did not attract a challenger.

In 2010, Clibborn and Rodne cruised to re-election against little-known opponents.

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