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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Legislative District No. 48 State Senator

Term: 4 years Salary: $46,839A Senator must be a citizen of the United States and a qualified voter in the legislative district served. The Senate is made up of 49 members, one from each legislative district in the state. One-half of the membership of the Senate is elected at the General Election held in November of each even-numbered year. During legislative sessions, the Legislature is called upon to: enact or reject legislation affecting public policy in the state; provide for the levy and collection of taxes and other revenue to support state government and assist local government; and appropriate funds for these purposes. The Senate also has the exclusive power to confirm certain gubernatorial appointments. Although laws are enacted only when the Legislature is convened in formal session, policy issues and the general operation of state and local government are under continuous review by legislators serving on permanent and interim study committees.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Candidate picture

    Michelle Darnell (L) Paralegal

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    Patty Kuderer (Dem) State Senator, Attorney

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Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this office?

What are the three most important issues facing the state and your district?

What is your idea of a fair, balanced and equitable tax system for our state?

What is your experience with and position on participating in coalitions?

What experiences have you had that prepare you for this position?

What will be the area of expertise you will bring to the Legislature?

What responses to the drought would you propose or support as a representative of your district?

Phone (360) 720-6899
Email michelle4washington@gmail.com
Party Preference Libertarian
Town where you live Kirkland
Experience (300 characters max) I am a foreclosure defense paralegal. I am a homeowner advocate in the WA Fairness Act mediation program where I help my clients negotiate mortgage resolutions with banks. I have been a citizen lobbyist and activist since 2011 on this issue. I am the current Chair of the Libertarian Party of KC.
I am running because my community needs a responsive, common sense voice in Olympia. My campaign experience has given me unique perspective. Over the years, I have seen voters misled to elect the same sorts of leaders over and over. As a consequence, I have observed our problems get exponentially worse, despite increasing state revenues, so obviously money is not the issue here. Complex problems require complex thinking. We cannot continue to allow the partisan tug of war to control our state and hold our citizens hostage. I am the only candidate without a D or R by my name. I am not controlled by special interests or political party affiliation. I am a hardworking, passionate, determined, common sense populist. What I lack in support from a major party or special interest group, I work to make up in human resources. I have a very large and growing network of professionals, and community citizens that I can call on for policy advice and support.
Education - We must not only fund education, we must reform the system. Top down mandates are stifling our teachers ability to meet the unique individual needs of our students. We spend over $14k per student per year and one in four does not graduate. We must work to empower teachers, parents and students by increasing educational choices.

Transportation - We must hold WSDOT accountable. Congestion impacts families, our economy and environment. I will work to respond to the current transportation crisis in my district by getting the community involved in the solution.

Housing Affordability - The cost of available housing has skyrocketed. The repeated increases in property taxes add insult to injury. I will work with industry professionals and sponsor legislation based upon their recommendations. Growth is inevitable. We must remove barriers to sensible development. A 180 day permit process should not take 2 years!
I believe the sales tax is fair because it is based upon consumption, and therefore remains within the control of the individual. In a healthy business friendly environment, sales tax revenues would be sufficient if funds were managed appropriately and government services were minimal and efficient, providing for essential services in an efficient way.

I do not agree with an income tax. It discourages productivity, is arbitrary and easy to abuse. The sales tax could be made more fair by exempting more items or exempting people who fall below the poverty line.

Property taxes are increasing and a burden,, particularly seniors who are on a fixed income. Seniors are being force from their homes because of this, the lack of transportation options and the rising cost of living.

I would reduce or eliminate the B&O tax. We must work to hold government accountable. Siphoning more money out of the local community kills jobs and creates poverty and economic hardship.
I have served on a number of boards. At this time, I am the Chairperson for the Libertarian Party of King County. As a foreclosure defense paralegal, I represent homeowners in mediation defending their homes. I have been doing this for 6 years and have successfully help negotiate resolutions, without litigation. I hope to take this skill to Olympia.

My goal in running is to help end cronyism in our state. I believe to do this, we need leaders who can rise above party politics and are not beholden to special interest groups. I also hope to inspire others to get involved and participate in local and state politics. I want to prove that you do not need to be wealthy or have a law degree to perform your civic duty. We can make a difference in our own sphere of influence. I would also hope to leverage technology to make sure the voters in my district are well informed. Information is power.
I have been a citizen lobbyist in Olympia, and have developed relationships with a number of legislators and trusted advisors. I organized a board and helped draft the by-laws for our current county libertarian party. I have run 2 previous campaigns and raised more funds than any other third party candidate for legislative office in WA and earned 29% of the vote in 2016. I believe the work I have done politically and professionally in the last decade has prepared me for the office. Further I have grown a network of professionals in various industries who I can call on for policy recommendations specific to my district. I feel I am more in touch with the realities facing most of the people in my district as they struggle to keep up with the cost of living and taxes.
I believe my knowledge of the housing market, the judicial environment, and my contacts in various industries will be beneficial to my role as a Senator of a district struggling with housing and development issues. We must work to maintain the quality of our community while managing growth and be responsive and inclusive of all people in the district. I have also lived in several other communities and this will help me understand how the interests of other districts may interplay with my own. I have raised 3 children, who attended both public and private schools in various districts. This will help me offer perspective as a parent as we negotiate sensible education reform. As a paralegal, I am adept at research, drafting and analysis. This will help me as I work with policy advisors to draft legislation.
I am not sure what drought you are referencing here. It appears there is no drought in WA: “Washington is drought-free for the first time since 2013. It's the only Western state without a hint of drought”.[http://www.capitalpress.com/Water/20160401/drought-officially-vanishes-from-washington-landscape] http://lwv.thevoterguide.org/v/lwvwa17/c/login!submit.do?code=BC7E7BT7

I do think we need to better manage our state resources and lands. We have witnessed an increase in fires each summer. Part of this is due to the lack of management. The in adequate management is putting homes and people at risk. I would move toward more private management of our lands. Our forests are a tender box as a an unintended consequence of years of attempting to preserve the environment by leaving it undisturbed.

Phone (360) 870-8559
Email info@pattykuderer.com
Party Preference Democratic
Town where you live Bellevue
Experience (300 characters max) Elected Experience: Appointed to State House in 2015, elected by voters in 2016. Appointed to State Senate in 2017. Professional Experience: A former prosecutor and city attorney, Patty’s legal practice is now devoted to helping the disadvantaged, and those facing discrimination.
I got into politics because of education, including funding, and it remains my top priority.
Education, Transportation and Affordable Housing. Not surprisingly, health care has also become a major issue.
We have the most regressive tax structure in the country. That is because we rely mainly on three of the most regressive tax methods – sales, property and B&O (a tax on the gross revenue of business, but with nearly 700 exemptions, we give away more than we collect). This results in the bottom 20% of earners paying 16.8% of their income in taxes, while the upper 1% of earners pay 2.4%. This is backwards and not sustainable. To solve it we need to revise our entire tax structure to make it progressive and less reliant on regressive methods; and we need to create a for-profit, public infrastructure bank that would eliminate having to pay Wall Street (currently $3.2B) in debt service on loans we have with the large banks.
I have experience building coalitions when I worked for The Peace Alliance, as we sought to increase the groups helping to fight the epidemic of gun violence, especially among youth and young adults. My position is that coalitions can be very effective when all groups are on the same page, and I am open to working in coalitions. But as they say, the devil is in the details.
Growing up in a family of 9 kids, I learned early on that my life was not just about me, to care about my neighbors and community as if they were my family, and that the most valuable thing I have to give someone is my word. My legal training, work as a prosecutor and city attorney, and plaintiff’s trial work, give me a sense of how interrelated our issues are and to see the ‘big picture,’ which helps when trying to solve tough problems.
Education, healthcare, and the justice system are the areas I know the most about; however, I tend to do deep dives into any issue I work on.
I would look first to the Department of Ecology, who’s job it to respond to water shortages, resolve water conflicts, and in general to know the best management practices in this regard. An update to their Drought Management Plan is due this year and will contain additional suggestions for drought response. For me personally, I advocate water conservation – from practical, water efficient appliances, to monitoring personal consumption such as simply turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth. I also oppose privatizing water sources.

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