As the Nov. 7 Election Day deadline approaches, voters are being asked to consider a range of candidates for various positions in local and state government.
The most high-profile election comes in the 45th state Legislative district, where Democrat Manka Dhingra is facing off against Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund.
The seat will decide the balance of power in the state Senate where Republicans currently hold a one-vote majority. If Dhingra were to win, it would mean all branches of state government would be under Democratic control.
One of Dhingra’s biggest concerns is fixing what she says is a flawed tax system the Legislature approved last session to fully fund basic education.
It relied heavily on increasing property taxes in the 45th and other urban districts to offset costs in more rural parts of the state leading to dramatic increases in tax burdens.
She also hopes to address education inequalities and create more public infrastructure.
Englund said a vote for her would preserve the balance of power in the Senate, which she says is necessary for good governance.
She hopes to reduce sales and property taxes, find fixes for congestion and fund education and said the state should look at how it spends the money it already brings in instead of raising more revenue.
In the 48th District House of Representatives race, Libertarian Michelle Darnell is running against incumbent Democrat Patty Kuderer.
Darnell describes herself as a “wealth creation” candidate and said capital gains taxes hurt business and residents.
She supports a smaller state government presence with taxes.
Housing affordability is a priority for Darnell, but she said it should be left to the developers and that regulations should be cut back to facilitate more inventory creation.
Kuderer said she would support a capital gains tax, and that the current regressive tax structure should be adjusted to make it more equitable for working people.
Kuderer agrees with Dhingra that the education funding mandate enacted through higher property taxes was unsustainable and should be fixed next session by taxing corporations instead of homeowners.
She hopes to create a public infrastructure bank at the state level that municipalities could use to purchase land or build utilities.
Both Dhingra and Kuderer support light rail expansion.
Three Redmond City Council positions are also being contested.
In position 2, Byron Shutz is facing off against Steve Fields, who ran for mayor in the last election.
In position 4, Tanika Padhye is running against Eugene Zakhareyev, and in position 6, Jeralee Anderson and Jason Antonelli are contesting the position 6 seat.
Shutz is running to increase affordable housing, decrease traffic congestion and to continue creating urban centers.
Schutz has said looking at whether a 10 percent affordable housing unit per new development requirement is adequate to meet the lack of units in the city.
Working with regional organizations and other cities to find solutions is also important to the success of housing and traffic programs, Shutz has said.
Fields has told The Reporter he is focusing on how to steer the city through the boon in growth in recent years and maintaining the quality of life for residents.
He has repeatedly said the city needs to develop better data analysis for measuring the success of programs it implements.
Fields also wants to mitigate traffic concerns, such as congestion and a shortage of parking.
He hopes to steer to city to look at different avenues to increase housing stock like using public funding or allowing different types of units such as micro housing.
In the position 4 race, incumbent Padhye has said encouraging transit expansion and use could help move drivers by getting more people out of their cars and reduce congestion. Padhye was appointed to fill a vacated seat earlier this year on the council.
Padhye has said many of the issues the city faces stem from the growing economy in the city and region.
She hopes to increase affordable housing by creating incentives for developers, as well as possibly reexamining the percentage of affordable units developers are required to build.
Padhye said the council could look at lowering the percentage of the median income families need to fall under to qualify for affordable housing to help struggling families.
Zakhareyev, Padhye’s opponent, has said he hopes to be a representative for his constituents on a city council he views as unresponsive to citizen concerns.
If elected, he would lobby the county and Sound Transit for more bus routes instead of, as he described it, betting so heavily on the Sound Transit 3 expansion for light rail.
He is skeptical of giving developers tax cuts in an attempt to incentivize them to build more housing units in the city, a position that both sitting members of the council, Padhye and Shutz, have expressed support for. He questioned the measure’s effectiveness.
In the final race for position 6 on the council, Jeralee Anderson and Jason Antonelli are squaring off.
Anderson is a transportation engineer and is running a platform largely based on addressing congestion and other traffic problems.
Anderson has said she would like to try and find creative solutions for traffic, as well as be a part of the decisions on how the city spends its transportation money.
For housing, she would like to see a policy going beyond county minimums for affordable housing, such as increasing the number of affordable units in new developments, similar to other candidate’s positions.
Antonelli has also addressed affordable housing, saying there should be diversity of housing in neighborhoods.
On traffic, he has been wary of projects like converting Cleveland Street and Redmond Way into two-way streets, saying these won’t help alleviate congestion on major north-south corridors.
Antonelli has said he wants to make more capital investments in the city and reassess business licensing and impact fees that businesses and corporations pay to the city to ensure they’re offsetting the effects the businesses are having.