Democrat Mark Mullet claims lead in state Senate bout

November 6, 2012

Mark Mullet embraces wife Sabath at Zeeks Pizza on election night moments after initial results give him a lead in the race against Brad Toft for the 5th Legislative District’s state Senate seat. By Greg Farrar

UPDATED — 9:25 p.m. Nov. 6, 2012

The unexpectedly ugly race to represent Issaquah in the state Senate neared a coda Tuesday as Democrat Mark Mullet claimed a lead in initial results.

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Legislative candidates focus on education at forum

October 23, 2012

Candidates staked moderate positions and touted the importance of education as the contenders for offices to represent Issaquah in Olympia gathered for a candidate forum Oct. 18.

Education emerged as the signature theme in the races to represent local constituents in the state Senate and state House of Representatives. Candidates also tackled issues related to taxation, transportation, land use and — as lawmakers prepare for more budget cuts next year — government spending.

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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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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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Personal stories define Referendum 74 discussion

September 25, 2012

Dana Alixander (left) and partner Sage Alixander stand on the staircase of their Sammamish home with their California-issued marriage license and photographs chronicling their life together. By Greg Farrar

In the moments before the state Senate voted on a landmark same-sex marriage bill Feb. 1, Dana Alixander joined other supporters in the gallery overlooking the chamber.

“I was there, waiting for history to happen — and terrified that it wouldn’t,” she said in a recent interview.

Legislators, after impassioned debate, passed the bill and sent the measure to the state House of Representatives for consideration. In February, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the legislation as supporters looked on from the packed State Reception Room at the Capitol.

The measure, Referendum 74, goes before voters on the November ballot. Opponents to the same-sex marriage law gathered enough voter signatures to put the measure before the electorate.

R-74 is the centerpiece in a high-dollar, high-profile contest in the national battle between same-sex proponents and foes.

Alixander headed to Olympia to support marriage rights — a long-running fight for the Sammamish resident and partner of 22 years, Sage. (In 2008, Sage and Dana got married in California before Proposition 8 outlawed same-sex marriages there.)

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State legislators earn bipartisan honor

August 21, 2012

Local current and former legislators earned recognition Aug. 16 for efforts to legalize charter schools in Washington.

State Reps. Glenn Anderson, R-Fall City, and Deb Eddy, D-Kirkland; state Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, and Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island; former state Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley; and other lawmakers earned the bipartisan recognition from the Washington Policy Center.

The nonpartisan public policy research organization honored legislators with the 2012 Champion of Freedom Award.

“We are honored to recognize these legislative champions of charter schools in our state who helped make the case to reform education and put the issue before our state’s citizens this fall,” Washington Policy Center President Dann Mead Smith said in a statement.

Issaquah legislators earn bipartisan honor for charter school efforts

August 19, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 19, 2012

Local current and former legislators earned recognition Aug. 16 for efforts to legalize charter schools in Washington.

State Reps. Glenn Anderson, R-Fall City, and Deb Eddy, D-Kirkland; state Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, and Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island; former state Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley; and other lawmakers earned the bipartisan recognition from the Washington Policy Center.

The nonpartisan public policy research organization honored legislators with the 2012 Champion of Freedom Award.

“We are honored to recognize these legislative champions of charter schools in our state who helped make the case to reform education and put the issue before our state’s citizens this fall,” Washington Policy Center President Dann Mead Smith said in a statement.

Senate is familiar territory for Sammamish’s Dino Rossi

July 17, 2012

State Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson (left) administers the oath of office to former and current state Sen. Dino Rossi, R-Sammamish. Washington Senate Republicans

The next senator for the 5th Legislative District also held the post before the most recent occupant.

Republican Dino Rossi, a Sammamish resident, represented Issaquah in Olympia from 1997 until December 2003. In January 2004, Republican Cheryl Pflug succeeded Rossi and, after Pflug resigned to accept a state board post, King County Council members returned Rossi to the state Senate.

Rossi is not expected to serve for long. The next senator — either Mark Mullet, a Democrat and Issaquah City Council member, or Republican Brad Toft, a Snoqualmie businessman — is due to assume office in late November, after King County Elections certifies the Nov. 6 election results.

Rossi is not a candidate for the seat and, besides, after the November election, the political boundaries for Rossi’s neighborhood shift into the 45th Legislative District due to redistricting.

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Former Sen. Cheryl Pflug reacts to Dino Rossi appointment

July 17, 2012

Cheryl Pflug, former state senator for Issaquah and other Eastside communities, lambasted the appointment of Dino Rossi to fill the seat Pflug vacated late last month.

Cheryl Pflug

The sharp statement from Pflug, a Maple Valley Republican, came July 10, a day after the King County Council appointed Rossi to the seat as a caretaker until after the November election.

“I’m angry and appalled at the tactics of my former Senate Republican leadership, and I think they and Rossi shame themselves by trying to play godfather,” she said in the statement.

Pflug also endorsed Mark Mullet, a Democrat and Issaquah City Council member, in the race for the Senate race. Mullet is running against Brad Toft, a Snoqualmie businessman, for the post.

“This has been brewing for awhile, and I did tell Mark that he could put my name in the voters’ pamphlet,” she said in a later interview.

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