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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.)
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.
October 16, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October 9, 2012
Join conversation at candidate forum
In 2008, fueled in part by the historic candidacy of Barack Obama to the highest office in the land, voters engaged in the political process in a once-in-a-generation way.
Though 2012 cannot recapture the sense of excitement, contests up and down the ballot merit some serious attention from Issaquah voters. So much attention is focused on the race for president, but Washington voters must decide important races for governor and other executive positions.
Voters also face a chance to make history through ballot measures to legalize marijuana and affirm the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
October 2, 2012
Voters can hear from candidates for the state House of Representatives and Senate on Oct. 9 at a forum organized by the Issaquah and Sammamish chambers of commerce.
The lineup includes the contenders for a 5th Legislative District House seat — Republican Chad Magendanz and Democrat David Spring — and the Senate seat — Democrat Mark Mullet and Republican Brad Toft.
The candidates in the 41st Legislative District, state Rep. Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton, and Issaquah Republican Tim Eaves — plus state Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, and Mercer Island Democrat Maureen Judge — also plan to attend.
State Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend, the uncontested candidate for the other House seat in the district, is also expected to attend.
The forum is from 3:30-5 p.m. at Blakely Hall, 2550 N.E. Park Drive. Organizers plan to focus on business and economic issues.