Strom Peterson aims to bridge divide between business, environmental issues in Olympia
If he’s elected to the Washington State Legislature in November, Edmonds City Councilmember Strom Peterson told supporters Tuesday night that he intends to be “a small business owner that represents a lot of progressive ideas.”
The two-term city councilmember, who owns the Cheesemonger’s Table in downtown Edmonds and is known for his commitment to environmental causes, spoke before a large crowd during his campaign kickoff at Arista Wine Cellars.
Peterson announced in March that he is running for the Washington State House of Representatives’ 21st District seat being vacated by Rep. Mary Helen Roberts, who is retiring at the end of the year. Roberts made an appearance at Tuesday night’s event to announce her support for Peterson, noting that she had been advised by others not to make an endorsement given the crowded field running for the seat in the Aug. 5 primary — so far three Democrats in addition to Peterson have filed for Roberts’ post.
“I started cleaning out my office and came across this campaign literature from four years ago when I had quite a tough race, and I opened it up,” Roberts recalled, “and there was Strom. He was one of those who was working for me and working for the issues that we both agree on.”
Peterson’s work on the City Council will give him a head start in the Legislature, Roberts said, adding after years of observing those who are most effective in Olympia, “the people who come out of local government always seem to have that edge.”
Peterson said he is proud of his efforts to move Edmonds forward on a variety of issues, including the environment, transportation and business, and plans to use his commitment to those issues to find common ground with fellow lawmakers.
“I think I can be that person that reaches across the aisle, that finds some cooperation, that can build some bridges,” Peterson said. “I’m excited to go down to Olympia, be a small business owner that represents a lot of progressive ideas; to change the conversation.” He noted that when the city started investigating the feasibility of banning plastic bags several years ago, he worked with the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, the state grocers association and the grocers union “to craft some legislaton that worked for everyone – and helped the environment.”
“I want to change the conversation that small business and the environment are at odds on the issues,” Peterson said. “It’s just not true.”
At the end of Peterson’s speech, another of his supporters — 21st District State Sen. Marko Liias — told those gathered at Arista that given the crowded primary field, it’s important to donate money early and often to the campaign. In fact, Liias said it’s likely that $100,000 will be spent on the race to fill Roberts’ state House seat.