Election Watch 2016: Candidate Q&A — State Rep. District 32, Pos. 1

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Publisher’s note: We submitted questions to all local Washington State House of Representative candidates whose names will appear on the Aug. 2, 2016 primary election ballot. Here are responses received from those vying for the Position 1 in the 32nd Legislative District, which includes the city of Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle, Woodway, south Edmonds and nearby unincorporated areas of Snohomish County, the city of Lynnwood and part of Mountlake Terrace.

Cindy Ryu, incumbent, Democrat

Cindy Ryu
Cindy Ryu

Background: 
Ryu immigrated to Washington state in 1969 from Korea via Brunei and Manila. While serving as a Shoreline Councilmember, Ryu was elected mayor in 2008, becoming the first female Korean-American mayor in the U.S. She was first elected to the state Legislature in 2010 and was re-elected in 2012. She serves as vice chair of the Legislature’s Business and Financial Services Committee, and she is a member of the Transportation Committee, Rules Committee and the Technology and Economic Development Committees. She holds a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and an MBA from the University of Washington.

Q: If re-elected, what is your top priority?
Fully funding education. The one mandate in our state’s constitution is to fund common schools. So I am willing to spend the time in 2017 to work on a bi-partisan solution for great schools where every child has the opportunity to learn.

Q: What motivated you to run for this position? What do you want to see change?
As an immigrant, a local businesswoman and mother of three children in public schools, I wanted to pay forward what I had gained in terms of public education and economic independence. I also wanted to be a role model for keeping our representative democracy strong. The change I would like is for all my colleagues to work together in the interests of our respective legislative districts’ constituents on an interest-based manner.

Q: Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?
My experience in local office (Shoreline City Council and Mayor 2006-2009), as a business owner and Chamber of Commerce President (Shoreline), raising three children in the 32nd Legislative District, and having lived in four of the six 32nd Legislative District cities gives me broad perspective about what issues matter to the constituents of the 32nd Legislative District. As State Representative, my office has been responsive to citizen inquiries and reach out to our communities on a regular basis.

Q: How can people contact you if they want more information?
My campaign email is friendsforcindyryu@yahoo.com. For official business, contact my office at cindy.ryu@leg.wa.gov.

Keith Smith, challenger, no party preference

Keith Smith
Keith Smith

Background:
A Lynnwood resident, Smith is a manager at a large retail store. He has volunteered at the Snohomish County Juvenile Court, representing children who are in foster care, and at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society. A graduate of Mountlake Terrace High School, he received a bachelor of science degree from Central Washington University.

Q: If elected, what is your top priority?
My top priority is to get the State out of the disaster that is the McCleary lawsuit. We have been put into a situation by our current legislators that is spiraling out of control and will likely result in a massive collision between the State and the Courts.

Q: What motivated you to run for this position? What do you want to see change?
I am motivated to run for this position because I see how political gridlock is impacting every part of our State. Legislators are unwilling to compromise on anything, and that leads to special sessions, government waste, and higher taxes. We need common sense solutions to our problems, and not political grandstanding.

Q: Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?
I believe that I am the best candidate because I will bring a new perspective to Olympia. A perspective that will allow for compromise and effective policies that can help all Washington State citizens.

Q: How can people contact you if they want more information?
There is a “contact me” link on my website, keithwa.com. They can also email me at keithsmithrep2016@gmail.com.

Alvin Rutledge, challenger, Republican

Alvin Rutledge
Alvin Rutledge

Background:
An Edmonds resident since 1986, Rutledge has served as a Precinct Committee Officer and has owned a retail delivery business. He graduated from Bishop Blanchett High School and attended Everett Community College. He volunteers regularly for a variety of community organizations.
Q: If elected, what is your top priority?
Public education. You can’t talk about economic development and growth without basic education.

Q: What motivated you to run for this position? What do you want to see change?
I have been involved with both public and private organizations and we’re not going to succeed unless we find ways to work together. Many of the best ideas come from people who are actually delivering the services. I go visit all the people, ask them what works and what doesn’t.

Q: Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?
Neighbors make neighborhoods, not city governments, with the neighborhood planning process. As a neighborhood candidate I have  never been against (Seattle) downtown revitalization, and have frequently spoken of downtown as a neighborhood.

Q: How can people contact you if they want more information?
425-776-7130

You can learn more about all candidates in the online voter’s pamphlet here. The top two vote getters will advance to the November general election, regardless of party.

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