Two Dems, one Republican vie for 36th District seat

Three hopefuls have signed on to run for a 36th District legislative seat that became vacant with the retirement of former Rep. Helen Sommers (D-Magnolia). Covering Queen Anne, Magnolia, Belltown, Ballard, Phinney Ridge, Greenwood and Fremont, the district is heavily Democratic by tradition, and two of the candidates are Democrats. Still, Republican Leslie Bloss has thrown her hat in the ring, as well. Here's a brief look at the three and why they're running for public office for the first time.JOHN BURBANKA longtime resident of the Phinney Ridge area, Burbank founded the Economic Opportunity Institute, which focuses on health coverage, education, retirement security and early childhood education for the middle class. Married with two children, he's also a member of the Washington Labor Council and once worked for the Fremont Public Association (now Solid Ground).Burbank also has a master's degree in public administration, and he helped write a policy that increased the wages for child-care workers, as well as developing a successful plan to provide health care to working-class families in the state, he said. "It's frankly criminal in this country that we don't have health care for everyone," Burbank said.He was also is the man behind the unsuccessful effort to impose a 10-cent tax on each latté sold in the state to pay for pre-kindergarten early learning education programs. Burbank would also like to see a 5-percent state income tax imposed on those making more than $200,000 a year, he said. That would raise $1.7 billion a year by his reckoning, and the tax would allow $200 million in property-tax cuts across the board and a $500 million cut in Business and Occupation taxes, Burbank said. "You'd still have $1 billion," he said of revenue that could pay for improved health care, among other improvements, for the middle class in the state.Burbank has been endorsed by, among others, 36th District Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, City Councilmember Nick Licata, Queen Anne resident and Port Commissioner Lloyd Hara and King County Executive Ron Sims, according to Burbank's Web site, which also lists the endorsement of Metropolitan King County Councilmember Larry Phillips.REUVEN CARLYLEA longtime Queen Anne resident, Carlyle comes from a hi-tech background and was involved in five start-up wireless and software companies. He's married and has four children, and Carlyle was a congressional page for Warren Magnuson, Tip O'Neill and Scoop Jackson when Carlyle was a teenager. "And that's what unleashed my passion for public service," he explained.Armed with a master's degree in public administration, Carlyle is no stranger to the political process. Two years ago, he wrote a bill to provide free college education for foster children, Carlyle said. "That bill passed the first year," he said, adding it had a budget of $2.8 million.Gov. Chris Gregoire also appointed him to a seat on the State Community and Technical College Board, and improving education is a focus of his campaign, Reuven said.So is the environment and transportation, he said. Carlyle favors a modified surface option to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, for example, and he describes the approach as "a once-in-200-years opportunity to unleash the soul of Seattle with a 21st-century waterfront." Carlyle would also like to see a state income tax instituted to ease what he described as regressive property and Business and Occupation taxes. The B&O tax is especially onerous because it's based on gross (not net) income, he said.Carlyle credits presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama for inspiring his run for office, according to his website, which also notes that he has been endorsed by, among others, a majority of the Seattle City Council and former Gov. Gary Locke. Curiously and like his opponent's website, Caryle's website also lists the endorsement of King County Councilmember Larry Phillips.LESLIE BLOSSA Republican from Fremont, Leslie Bloss is also running for the 36th District representative seat once occupied by Sommers.A real estate agent who's never held public office, Bloss acknowledges that the 36th District has been a traditional Democratic stronghold. "First of all, they needed somebody (from the Republicans) so the race wouldn't run unopposed," she said of one reason for running. The former Boeing worker and divorced grandmother also insists she's got a shot at winning. "I am a maverick," she explained. To be sure, Bloss is not a typical Republican conservative. She's pro-choice and supports "marriage equality," which is to say marriage between same-sex couples, Bloss said. "And there's a lot of Republicans who will not like that."Bloss is also a supporter of
Katie's Law, named after Katie
Sepich, a graduate student from New Mexico State University who was raped and killed in 2003. Sepich's parents thought her killer would be caught because of CODIS, a
DNA database, according to There was no match, so the woman's parents started a campaign calling for the collection
of DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony.The New Mexico Legislature passed the law in 2006, and 10 other states also have the law on their books, said Bloss, who has lobbied without luck to get the same law passed in Washington state. "Adam Kline wouldn't even give it a hearing," she said of the 37th District senator and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's a personal issue for Bloss: A female cousin of hers was killed by an unknown assailant, "and that person is probably still walking around," she said.It was around then that Bloss got interested in how things work in Olympia, she said, and it was an experience that left her frustrated with the state Legislature.Two key issues for her are education and transportation, she said. Education should be the top priority for the state, but it isn't, according to Bloss: "I think money is not being spent wisely."The current approach to transportation is "congestion by design," she said of what appears to be a determined government effort to force people out of their vehicles. "That's just not right," Bloss said.She pooh-poohs the construction of the South Lake Union Trolley, and says the only reason for the latest proposal for fixing the "Mercer mess" is because she thinks Mayor Greg Nickels is in Paul Allen's pocket.Bloss also favors retrofitting the Alaskan Way Viaduct. "We cannot afford to tear it down now," she said.Like her Democratic opponents, Carlyle and Burbank, Bloss plans to do a lot of doorbelling to get
her message across. She's been endorsed so far by state Attorney General Rob McKenna, conservative talk-show host John Carlson, controversial Fremont businesswoman Suzie Burke and former Gov. Dan Evans.Staff writer-at-large Russ Zabel can be reached at or 461-1309.[[In-content Ad]]