Politics & Elections

2020 Election: Candidates explain why they are running

The 2020 primary election will be held on August 4, meaning that ballots will be mailed to voters starting July 17. At this point, the candidate filing deadline has passed, and the candidate withdrawal deadline has passed as well. All candidates currently running will be on the ballot in August.

In preparation for the 2020 election, the Lynnwood Times reached out to candidates and asked them why they filed to run for office and what they think they can bring to the position. For this issue, the Lynnwood Times reached out to the candidates for the following races: Legislative District 21 Positions 1 and 2, Legislative District 32 Positions 1 and 2, Legislative District 44 Positions 1 and 2, County Council Position 4 and Congressional District 2.

Legislative District 21 State Representative Position 1

Strom Peterson (D): No response received.

Gant Diede (D): I filed to run for office because I have never felt represented by any elected official. Wages have been stagnant for decades, healthcare costs are spiraling out of control, housing is no longer in reach for people of my generation or younger, and we are facing the existential threat of climate change and are on a 10 year timer to deal with it.

I have seen elected officials offer platitudes while voting to bail out banks, refuse to support actual healthcare reform, and believe that rejoining the Paris Accords will be enough to combat climate change. Many elected officials are not taking these issues seriously, whether it is because of corporate campaign donations or just due to their upbringing or career.

I think it is time to change that. I promise to fight for actual progress in healthcare and climate change. It won’t be easy, but someone has to start.

Brian Thompson (R): Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said many inspiring things, including, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” With the unprecedented time of challenge and controversy facing our community, I have been called to take a stand.

I stand for families, freedoms, and justice. I am passionate about supporting economic recovery of employers and workers. I will stand for homeowners and renters by opposing increased property taxes.

I am a native Washingtonian, raised in a blue-collar Christian home; my father was a union machinist. My wife and I have lived in Legislative District 21 fourteen years, raising our school-age children. As a professional engineer, I own a small business where I daily interpret the letter and intent of the law to protect people and their environment. I will protect us.

Legislative District 21 State Representative Position 2

Lilian Ortiz-Self (D): Yesterday I filed for re-election. It has been my honor to serve as your State Representative for the 21st LD. We have all been fighting for equitable and fair opportunities and resources for all residents of our State. Now more than ever are those gaps evident. If given the chance, I will continue to use the experience i have gained serving in leadership, to address the two biggest issues facing us today, public health and getting our economy working for all.

Amy Schaper (R): No response received.

Willie Russell
Willie Russell

Willie Russell (states no party preference): WE the PEOPLE…….

I filed because the people deserve a servant of THEIR IDEAS instead of the being Governed by politicos who forgot those who elected them. The PEOPLE are the SPECIAL INTERESTS! Representation is hard work as we must listen and then act on our neighbors needs in government. THEIR needs-not mine! I bring experience as a marginalized citizen, which no other candidate can claim. Six plus years of the current leadership and look where we are. Good or bad is a personal perspective that I allow individuals to make, not party affiliations. I am running because I believe that the citizens of the 21st have ideas that have not been heard or acted upon and I believe in 


and if the citizens want a voice in the 21st I promise to be their voice!

Legislative District 32 State Representative Position 1

Cindy Ryu (D): I’ve had the honor of serving as State Representative of the 32nd Legislative District for 10 years. I chair the Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee, with jurisdiction over State Parks and Emergency Management and Preparedness. I lived in North Seattle, Shoreline, Lynnwood and Edmonds since 1976. My children attended schools in Edmonds and Shoreline Schools. I attend the United Presbyterian Church of Seattle located in Edmonds.

Our Legislature has much work to do as we recover from COVID-19 economically and to support our workers, families, and local businesses. My priorities are: protecting education funding, ensuring the safety of our communities, safeguarding the environment and pushing for more affordable housing. I will advocate for local businesses and jobs, the most vulnerable, and making Washington a better place to live, work and raise our families. 

I am proudly endorsed by Mayors Nicola Smith, Mike Nelson, and Kyoko Matsumoto Wright. 

Keith Smith (D): I filed for office because I see how companies are failing to protect their employees. I am an essential worker and, I know workers need protections that keep them safe and allow our communities to get essential goods and services. Our current legislators have not been outspoken about the challenges frontline workers are facing. I have worked with to highlight the needs of workers during this pandemic.

I am also a sports official for the Edmonds and Shoreline School Districts and a substitute teacher. I have seen how our communities and families are being let down by our unemployment system. I am working with Rick Larsen’s office on what assistance gig workers have. There is not leadership on this issue from the incumbents. I will go to Olympia to streamline our unemployment system, protect the workers we rely on most, and ensure government is protecting individuals, not corporate profits.

Shirley Sutton
Shirley Sutton

Shirley Sutton (D): My values and community commitment came from my upbringing in Yakima. When my parents were denied bank financing to start their grocery, community members donated. We thanked them by offering store credit during hard times. At Burlington Northern Railroad, I gained extensive experience in labor relations and management. After earning my MA in education I worked for Yakima and Edmonds Community Colleges. As Lynnwood City Council Member, I championed human services and affordable housing.

Coronavirus demands resilient public systems to help people access jobs, healthcare, and relief for businesses, homeowners and renters.  

As legislator, I will support fair taxation, financial institutions that make our tax dollars work for taxpayers, and oppose transfer of public school funds to for-profit charters. I’ll oppose private prisons.

I won’t be beholden to Super PACs, big business lobbies, or dark money interests. I am a strong leader for justice, equity and people in our community.

Legislative District 32 State Representative Position 2

Lauren Davis (D): No response received.

Tamra Smilanich (Non-partisan): I recognize many voters lean towards partisan politics, yet political parties often, narrowly select a group or business to aid while leaving others out; this is a stray from the desire of the governed to have equality. Lauren Davis’s voting record does not surprise me, as I recognize the political industrial complex is high pressure as Olympia swarms with noncitizen lobbyist.

Over the years, I have championed for the re-activation of “common law” as the judicial and legislative branches have become narrowly focused; the question is, have the two branches morphed into a tool for monetary gain or political persecution? From my frequent visits for citizen advocacy in Olympia since the mid 2000’s, it is apparent, improvement of government service is needed so all people can be treated fairly and can reach their full potential which we sovalue in our society.

Gray Peterson (D): No response received.

Legislative District 44 State Representative Position 1

John Lovick (D): Leadership matters! For the last five decades my public service has included serving in the Coast Guard, State Patrol, county sheriff and executive, on the city council and in the legislature. I know first hand that our state has never experienced anything close to the crisis that we are facing now.

As we navigate the economic fallout of the pandemic, we need to make calculated decisions as a community that will preserve small businesses and create jobs in Snohomish County, while protecting our families and most vulnerable. That’s why I am currently working with state officials to create a statewide pandemic preparation and response task force. The task force will look at our response to the pandemic and tell us what went right, what went wrong and what we must do better.

I am running to continue to provide leadership with results to our community.

John Kartak (R): Our Legislative District, from Mill Creek to Marysville, includes a wide variety of sociopolitical perspectives.  The immense value of this reality should be at the center of the work being done on our behalf in Olympia.

I was recently asked to run for State House for the same reason I was asked, years ago, to run for my current position, Mayor of Snohomish.  Just like this District, Snohomish is a full-spectrum city with multiple viewpoints.  Many felt disenfranchised and heartbreakingly-divided.  

Now, well into my third year as Mayor, I have been regularly and repeatedly thanked by members across this whole community for working hard to build relationships, foster unity, and most importantly, to represent everyone in Snohomish -not just those I think I agree with.  

I bring relationship, representation, and fiscal responsibility.  As a father first and businessman second, I will be sure families, businesses, and cities are properly represented.

Legislative District 44 State Representative Position 2

Mark A. James (R): While serving as a city councilmember, I was encouraged to consider running for a state representative position by my friend and Mayor, Jon Nehring a little less than a year ago.With him and several others encouraging me onward I did take a serious look into it. I watched several committee meetings and sessions earlier this year and it was painfully obvious that the House was terribly unbalanced. When one side is so much larger they tend to move about legislation as they please without any serious consideration from the other side and that is not my idea of a representative government – it’s time to change that, and bring balance back to Olympia.

I will use my time, experience, and ability to foster community values, increase government efficiency and maintain transparency for all of Washington State, by promoting policies that keep our state safe, clean, and vibrant.  My commitment is to make government work for the people, cut spending and fight efforts to raise taxes.

April Berg (D): My family and I have lived in Snohomish County for over 20 years. We have seen firsthand the community’s growth and its subsequent challenges, including over-crowded schools, a lack of affordable housing and too few living wage jobs.

As a School Board Director for the Everett School District, a Planning Commissioner for the City of Mill Creek, a former small business owner and a former aerospace employee, I have the experience needed to lead as our community faces unprecedented challenges. 

The three issues I will prioritize in Olympia are economic security for working families and small businesses, education opportunities from early learning through career training, and transportation investments to keep our region moving.

My background reflects the 44th District– a commitment to community, a believer in great public schools, an understanding of small business and aerospace. I will focus on simply getting the work done — in the immediate tough times, and as we explore the reforms and opportunities that can help us build a stronger future.

Anne Anderson (D): I am running for State Representative because I care deeply about our community.  As a nonprofit executive with experience helping others through the fallout of crisis: pulling people out of poverty and helping them overcome the psychological impact of trauma to navigate complex systems in their darkest hour, I am uniquely qualified to help our district in the aftermath of COVID-19.

My experience stretching and building budgets, advocating in Olympia, and working with people at every level of the socioeconomic spectrum, gives me a unique ability to hit the ground running. Investment in infrastructure, small business, health and human services are crucial components to bringing back our economy. I will listen respectfully to all members of our community and act in their best interest. I have the support of the working heroes of our community including firefighters, nurses and union workers.  I would be honored to earn your support too.

County Council Position 4

Jared Mead (D): No response received.

Amber King (D): I come from working-class roots with experience building coalitions, effective communications, and bring budgetary and policy knowledge to represent our district. Currently, a contract administrator in the construction industry, medical billing professional, and have over 30 years in the food and beverage industry. Experience in state and federal government, small business owner, local ski instructor, Ford Family Foundation cohort participant, IWW Union member, Former AFSME, and SEIU member.

I have worked across borders for healthy communities and just economic policies that focus on serving the underrepresented and under served as well as our planet.  I intend to focus my efforts on the economic rebuilding of small businesses, supporting labor, and ensuring we can safely restart and rebuild our economy, schools, and recreation in a healthy and supported manner.

Delia O’Malley (I): Two decades ago, I made Snohomish County my home. I volunteered as a CASA here for over half those years, lending my voice in court to abused and neglected children. When a lack of follow-through and organizational oversight threatened children’s safety, I rallied my peers to address the problems constructively.

As a community, partisanship hasn’t interfered with our COVID-19 response as we restock food banks, celebrate graduates, and comfort isolated seniors together. In our government response, partisanship has taken priority over people. I believe Snohomish County’s path to recovery shouldn’t be shaped by party politics and special interests. It’s time to lend my voice as an independent to County Council, as we develop programs shaping our county’s future. I believe our council is well-intended, but disconnected from the most vulnerable residents they serve. If elected, I’d strive to include those risking the most in our holistic recovery as a community.

Brenda Carrington (R): No response received.

Congressional District 2

Rick Larsen (D): It is an honor to represent the 2nd District. I am running again to continue to support middle class families, workers and veterans, and fight for an economy that works for everyone. I am focused on addressing the impacts of climate change, protecting our environment, expanding access to high-quality affordable health care, ensuring veterans get the care they need and protecting the right to vote. I am also working to help our communities get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Timothy Hazelo (R): I believe that my background of 21 years in the Navy, 8 years military contracting, multiple years in corporate America and dozens of countries visited give me a big advantage over a career partisan politician in not only local affairs but country and global affairs. Take for instance in the 1970s about 70% of our elected officials came from a military background, today it’s only about 21%. With that said we are more partisan than I can remember. What I and other military candidates bring to the table is the ability to not see a partisan vision but to see a common goal and have the ability to work as a team to reach it! The fact is I will step up and be your representative in Washington and Washington DC bringing common sense back to the congress while fighting for our district, State, Constitution and way of life.

Tim Uy (R): No response received.

Kari Ilonummi (R): No response received.

Carrie Kennedy (R): No response received.

Cody Hart (R): Over the last several years, I have been using my expertise as a professional engineer to expose hundreds of millions of dollars of waste, fraud, and abuse that government has allowed through ignorance or incompetence.  At the same time, I have been fighting rampant discrimination against veterans and minority owned businesses.  I am tired of hearing that no one will be held accountable, and that raising taxes is the answer.

I have a better answer, and I actually have the skills needed to fix these problems.  I will hold government accountable, and will work with others.  That is why I decided to run for U.S. Representative. 

I am the only candidate who actually has experience holding government accountable, who is an infrastructure expert, who has served honorably in the military, and who owns a small business.  Most importantly, I promise to put our Country and region’s needs above partisan politics.

Jason Call (D): I’m the only Progressive candidate seeking to represent Washington’s 2nd Congressional District.  While corporations are well represented, the working class has little representation. Our economy functions for the wealthy, yet millions suffer daily from poverty, homelessness, substandard wages, and lack of healthcare.  I seek to join Pramila Jayapal in fighting for Medicare For All and a Green New Deal.  I support a federal jobs guarantee in the new Green economy.  It’s time to eliminate homelessness, end systemic racism, cancel student debt, provide tuition-free college and vocational training, reduce military spending, and eliminate endless war. I will strive to ensure living wages for all workers, eliminate tax loopholes and offshore havens for corporations, eliminate the Social Security cap, and institute a wealth tax. I’ve been an activist and educator my whole adult life. We need activists in Congress. Our campaign takes NO corporate PAC money. I humbly ask for your vote.    

James Golder (R): I believe that Congressman Rick Larsen is doing a good job in representing the progressives in this district I am a Republican and I will represent a different constituency. I believe it is time for a more conservative approach. Thank you.

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