Former Sen. Rodney Tom announces campaign for state senate

Rodney will run for 48th district senator after not seeking reelection in 2014.

Former Senator Rodney Tom recently announced that he will ask 48th District voters to send him back to Olympia as their Senator.

“I hear people in my community saying how much we need thoughtful, moderate, and independent voices in government right now,” Tom said. “They want a Senator who cares more about the bottom line than the party line.”

Tom said he is proud of his progressive record of defending reproductive rights and his early support for marriage equality. And he said he has always demanded accountability for every dollar we send to Olympia.

“I’ll be a socially progressive and fiscally-responsible voice,” Tom said. “We aren’t Seattle, we’re the Eastside. Eastside voters want that balance from their Senator.”

Tom said education reform was the reason he first ran for office and remains his top priority.

“One of the most rewarding achievements I’ve had as a public servant was pushing through the McCleary decision to require fully funding public education,” Tom said. “And those funding reforms that a bipartisan group of us championed have increased K-12 school funding from 38 percent of the state budget to now over 50 percent.”

“Fully funding education took a lot of hard work,” Tom said. “But funding for our schools is only half of the equation. Now we need reforms to put our best teachers in front of the class, so every child has access to a world class education.”

Tom said he has been inspired by the stories of young undocumented immigrant students who now have access to in-state tuition rates and college funds because of the DREAM Act that he worked to pass in 2014.

Tom said he believes people on the Eastside are weary of angry politics.

“Divisive politics are making people unfriend each other on social media and in real life,” Tom said. “While I can’t help people with their Facebook, I can give them a chance to vote for a moderate, independent Senator. Maybe we can take a step to a more thoughtful, rational approach.”

Rodney Tom has been elected by 48th District voters four times since 2002. A lifetime Eastsider, he and his wife of 29 years, Deborah, have two grown children.