The primary in a race like mine (with only 2 candidates) is largely a beauty contest, and you’re never sure who is voting. I was pleased to get almost 70% of the vote, which means that a chunk of the Republican base supported me, as well as most of the Democrats, or that Democrats voted much more heavily than Republicans. Who knows? Thank you all for your support – I will continue to do the best I can to manage the state in a rational way. It’s hard to make predictions from primary results when the races are close, but this is probably a pretty good predictor.
I’m pleased to have a long list of endorsements in this race from prominent individuals, organizations, businesses and the press. As always, I’m thankful for their temporary lack of judgment. The Seattle Times wrote a glowing piece endorsing me last week.
In House, Position 1, Democratic state Rep. Ross Hunter’s footwork helping push government reforms earns him another term in office — although that work is far from over. Within a sometimes uncooperative caucus, he helped secure key reforms to state pensions, public employee health care and K-12 education.
Hunter was first elected to the House in 2002 and has been a champion of public schools. As chair of the House Ways and Means Committee last session, Hunter played a key role producing a budget that held the line on spending and, especially important, did not cut the K-12 system or higher education.
Hunter’s work trying to ensure that businesses could create jobs is why he is one of only four House Democrats endorsed by the Association of Washington Business.I don’t have all the endorsements – being a budget chair in down times means you have to say no to some of your friends and that resulted in some groups being less than happy with me. I did the best I could in trying circumstances, and would make the same decisions again given the same fact scenario.
Education Funding Read More >>
I ran for this job 10 years ago because I was upset about the level of school funding. I had raised some money for science curriculum in Bellevue schools where my kids were and started wondering why it was that I was having to ask rich people for help funding basic curriculum needs. We could do this on the Eastside, but how did they do it in Yakima? It turns out that they didn’t, and hence a decade-long exercise.
The first 4 years I tried to take on the problem directly and kept running into walls. I’d make a loud noise and start over. I’m now a little smarter about this and have used a more strategic approach over the last 6 years.
· We (I found some allies) changed the legal definition of “basic education” to be what everyone thinks it ought to be – an education system that gives every child a reasonable opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college or participate in the workforce in a job that will support a family.
· We created an incremental funding plan to add funding over the next few years to fully fund our vision of what a school system should look like. A large fraction of the legislature, in both parties, supported this vision and joined the commitment.
· We also changed what we expect of both our young people and of the education system – the level of rigor needed statewide looks more like what Bellevue and Lake Washington already do, but it needs to be statewide and funded in a way more reliable than local levies.
This year the rubber meets the road, and we will be required by the court to adequately fund an education system. I’ve proposed a partial solution on my website and other ideas are starting to trickle in. A commission is meeting this fall to try to propose a solution. I’m not sure we will have bipartisan agreement this fall, but we are working hard to try to create a solution that has broad bipartisan support by the time we pass it during the legislative session.
I’ll continue to write about various proposals and post materials on my policy site, and on Facebook and Twitter.
A Personal Note
It’s been 5 years since I had a stem-cell transplant for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and I’m doing great. Last Saturday I rode 120 miles on my bicycle in Las Vegas to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They do great work supporting research and patient care. If you follow me on Facebook you’ve seen posts I’ve been making about my training regime all summer (a great way to lose some weight and lower your blood pressure.)
Should you feel moved to make a contribution you can find a link in the upper right corner of my policy blog page. As of this writing I’ve raised $6,410 for the cause. It turns out that 120 miles is a long way, particularly when it’s 98 degrees outside… The Hoover dam is just as amazing as I remembered it from 35 years ago. A great ride, and a great cause.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the legislature.
By Ross Hunter
Edited for brevity