Patty Kuderer is running as the incumbent for the 48th District House of Representatives Position 1 as a Democrat. The Reporter caught up with her to discuss her policies, platforms and experience.
The 57-year-old lawyer was appointed to the position last year by the King County Council to replace Ross Hunter when he left to head the state’s Department of Early Learning.
Kuderer said education and funding for education are her top priorities. She has volunteered for the Chinook Middle School Parent-Teacher Association and said she has seen the value of supporting quality teachers and administrators.
She thinks that good public education is the key for kids to compete in the global economy, but said the legislature needs to fully fund basic education.
“Our constitution is one of two, I believe, in the country where we have the paramount duty to fully fund education right in our constitution,” she said.
She did not support Charter schools, saying their funding mechanism would have essentially taken money from the general fund. While they would have been funded through lottery money, other programs which had been receiving that money would have to turn to general funds to continue to operate.
“I’m all for choice schools as long as there’s transparency and accountability, but that’s what was lacking,” she said.
Congestion on Interstate 405 is another issue she hopes to address.
“We need a modern transportation system with options for all commuters that don’t just rely on the singe car method,” she said. “We also want to have the bus rapid transit. I’m a proponent of light rail, I think that it’s going to be very, very important for us going forward.”
She supports Sound Transit 3, but said a lack of affordable housing in her area adds to congestion as people who work in her cities are priced out of housing and forced to commute to work.
This ties in with income inequality, she said.
“If (people) would like to live here they can’t find an affordable place to live,” she said. “We’re not going to just solve transportation by just building light rail and all that, we’re going to have to focus on affordable housing.”
Closer scrutiny of the State Route 520 bridge demolition off Medina is also on her radar and she signed a letter asking the Governor to halt deconstruction until more environmental permits have been obtained.
How police should integrate body cameras into their work is also important to Kuderer, who said she will encourage local departments to work with the community to develop a best practices policy.
Her experience as a lawyer has helped her quickly digest bills and imbued her with leadership skills, she said.
“I think that the best legislators are those that understand when it’s time to listen and when it’s time to lead, and I feel that I have those skills and talents,” Kuderer said. “…I didn’t go to Olympia with the intent of keeping a job, I went to Olympia with the intent of doing a job.”