Primary election 2020: State Representative candidates, Districts 21 and 32

ith Aug. 4 primary election ballots scheduled to arrive in mailboxes this week, we are including a summary of those appearing on the primary ballot (races that have three or more candidates) for Washington State Legislature, by district. All information was taken from the Snohomish County Voters Pamphlet:

District 21 (Includes portions of Lynnwood and Edmonds):

Position 1

Strom H. Peterson
(Prefers Democratic Party)

Elected Experience: Incumbent State Representative, Chair of House Commerce and Gaming Committee, Member of Capital Budget Committee, and Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee; former Edmonds City Councilmember

Other Professional Experience: Local small business owner, The Cheesemonger’s Table; former President, Downtown Edmonds Merchants Association; former Board Member, Edmonds Chamber of Commerce

Education: B.A. University of New Mexico

Community Service: Coalition for Children of the Incarcerated, Board member Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Alderwood-Terrace Rotary, Leadership Alliance Against Coal, and Edmonds Community College Veteran Support Center

Candidate statement:

It is an honor serving as your state representative. As a longtime Edmonds business owner and former city councilmember, I put our communities first. I’m committed to assisting families and small businesses as we recover from the pandemic.

I’ve fought for Puget Sound and orca recovery, transportation safety, affordable housing, and addiction and recovery services. With your vote, we can do more: helping kids learn with quality childcare and schools, fighting climate change, getting people back to work, expanding job training, improving health care access and reducing cost, making prescriptions affordable, and supporting health workers. I ask for your vote.

For more information:


Gant Diede
(Prefers Democratic Party)

Elected Experience: PCO 21st LD Democrats; Treasurer Snohomish County DSA

Other Professional Experience: Mechanic at Boeing for 6 years; Certified in Server Administration

Education: Certified as Aviation mechanic; Certified as Server Administrator; Current Student at Edmonds Community College

Community Service: Engaged in Anti-war activism, relief and supplies for the homeless, beautification efforts of local trails

Candidate statement:

The Coronavirus has exposed many of the cracks in our society, and we must implement bold policies to ensure another crisis is managed better. There is going to be a conversation in Olympia about austerity in the aftermath, and that’s the wrong way to handle the crisis. I support Whole Washington’s bill for single payer; I support a 20 dollar minimum wage; I support increasing public housing; I support Whole Washington’s bill for single payer;

I support a 20 dollar minimum wage; I support increasing public housing; I support repealing the ban on rent control; I support progressive taxation to tax the wealthy companies and individuals who reside in Washington; I support creating a Washington Green New Deal. Thank you

For more information:

Brian Thompson
(Prefers Republican Party)

Elected Experience: State representative for architects and engineers on L&I Elevator Safety Advisory Committee; former representative on Technical Advisory Groups to State Building Code Council.

Other Professional Experience: Owner and operator of local small business specializing in professional building and fire code design and consulting for 14 years. Appointed to Society of Fire Protection Engineers’ community outreach and advocacy committee and public policy task group with members around the globe.

Education: M.S. Fire Protection Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Marquette University; Cold Regions Engineering, University of Washington

Community Service: Seattle Junior Hockey Association, Bloodworks Northwest donor, North Sound Church chaperone

Candidate statement:

Brian advocates professionally, promoting public welfare through application of science and engineering principles to protect people and their environment. He assisted Senator Marko Liias (D) in authoring amendments to new legislation known as the Greg “Gibby” Gibson Fire Safety Act, and successfully petitioned our State Building Code Council to reconsider amendments to state regulations.

Brian has a passion for our local businesses and families. He is committed to supporting economic recovery of employers and workers. He will stand against increased property taxes, protecting both homeowners and renters. Brian will fight for freedom and safety in our communities.

For more information:

Position 2

Lillian Ortiz-Self
(Prefers Democratic Party)

Elected Experience: Incumbent State Representative, 2014-current

Other Professional Experience: Everett School District Educator, Mental Health Counselor, Former Small Business Owner of a Private Mental Health Practice, Clinical Director of a Mental Health Center, Regional Coordinator for the Illinois State Board of Education, Education Advisor for Department of Children and Family Services

Education: Masters in Public Administration & Masters in Counseling from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa

Community Service: Chair for 6 years – Governor’s Commission of Hispanic Affairs; Co-Chair, Legislators Educational Opportunity Gap Statewide Committee; Past Member, Washington Achievement Accountability Education Workgroup and Discipline Task Force; and President’s Advisory Council Member, Everett Community College

Candidate statement:

Times are tough. The Pandemic has shown how important investments are in our local community. As State Representative, I’m proud of my proven leadership: equitable investments in early learning and K-12 funding, expanding technical and career training, increasing access to healthcare and affordable housing, enacting safer gun laws and protecting our environment.

As we address disruptions to our schools, colleges, and careers, I’ll bring focus and expertise to keep kids and families safe, learning and reaching their potential. Please join Nurses and frontline workers, Firefighters and State Troopers, Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Washington Education Association, and more supporting my re-election.

For more information:


Amy Schaper
(Prefers Republican Party)

Elected Experience: 6 terms as an elected Precinct Committee Officer, delegate to state party conventions, Snohomish County Republican platform committee, worked on numerous political campaigns and causes.

Other Professional Experience: Part owner of YT Ranch, a working cattle ranch. Full time business owner.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering – University of Washington

Community Service: March for Life, Life Chain, Volunteer with Cedar Park Assembly of God, Volunteer with Human Life of Washington, La Leche League, Seattle Cherry Street Food Bank, Burien Handbell Choir, Sunday School teacher’s assistant working with small children.

Candidate statement:

Amy Schaper is a strong advocate for choice in education and supports school vouchers. She is for easing the burden on families by reducing taxes and regulations. She will fight to defend your religious liberties and your 2nd amendment right to defend yourself and your loved ones. Amy is prolife and will fight against the planned parenthood lobby. Amy will also fight the sexualization of our children by working to repeal the comprehensive sex ed law. Amy is committed to represent you in Olympia with focus, determination, and energy. For real change this year, vote Amy Schaper for state representative.

For more information:


Willie Russell
(States No Party Preference)

Elected Experience: none

Other Professional Experience: Retired Professional in Media, Construction, and Animal Control. Owner of Monthly 125,000 publication …Love Express… Christian Based newspaper with guest writers from all faiths

Education: No information submitted

Community Service: Have involved myself in private partnerships with marginalized citizens to create over 1100 hundred new homeowners from those never expecting to own a home or those who have become homeless. Private partnerships in housing will create Sustainable development and Sustainable Freedoms. Involved in many organizations that promote inclusion of all people and organizations. Involved in reviews of problems within our criminal justice system. I support Citizen Review Boards to review all public employees.

Candidate statement:

We the People….. has been lost in today’s government. We have become an administrative government instead of a government For the People. I am not going to solve any problems or change anything if elected. What I do promise is that those in unincorporated Snohomish County and in 21st ld will have a voice that represents them and not any special interests. Service to the People and allowing the people to be apart of their community will be the start of this country moving back to We the People…. Hopefully you journey along!

For more information:

District 32 (Includes portions of Edmonds and Lynnwood):

Position 1

Cindy Ryu
(Prefers Democratic Party)

Elected Experience: Incumbent State Representative 2010-2020. Shoreline Mayor, Shoreline City Councilmember 2006-2009. Chairing the Housing, Community Development, and Veterans Committee. Also currently serving on the Appropriations and Consumer Protection & Business Committees.

Other Professional Experience: Small business owner and commercial property manager. Records Systems Analyst, City of Seattle. Medicaid Intake Officer, University Hospital. Admitting Officer, Harborview Medical Center.

Education: University of Washington, MBA 1983, Microbiology 1980.

Community Service — Boards: Shoreline Schools Career and Technical Education; UW Consulting and Business Development Center; Lynnwood Economic Development; Richmond Beach Community Association; Shoreline Chamber; Dollars for Scholars; Women in Government. PC-USA. Sunday School Teacher, Summer Feeding program.

Candidate statement:

I’m honored to serve as your State Representative. Our legislature has much work ahead of us as we recover economically and support our workers and local businesses. My priorities are protecting education funding, ensuring the safety of our communities, safeguarding the environment and pushing for more affordable housing. I’ll continue advocating for local businesses and jobs, and making Washington a better place to live, work, and raise our families.

I’m proudly endorsed by labor organizations like the Washington Education Association and Washington State Labor Council, the Mayors of Lynnwood, Edmonds, and Mountlake Terrace, King County Young Democrats, Planned Parenthood Votes.

For more information:


Shirley Sutton
(Prefers Democratic Party)

Elected Experience: Lynnwood City Council Member; Precinct Committee Officer

Other Professional Experience: Edmonds Community College: Executive Director of Diversity Affairs, 2006-2013; Director of Equity and Diversity, 2001-2006; Yakima Valley Community
College: Director of Adult Basic Education/English as a Second Language, 1998-2001; Yakima School District No. 7: Director of Homeless Programs, 1994-1998; Administrator of Career and Community Activities, 1992-1995; Director of Staff and Student Services, 1989-1992; Manager Labor Relations, 1986-1988; Burlington Northern Railroad: Labor Relations and Regional Manager Personnel, 1984-1988; Divisions Claims Manager, 1980-1984

Education: MA Education, 1997; BA Law & Justice, 1995

Community Service: Chair, Neighborhood Demographics Diversity Commission, Lynnwood; Urban League; NAACP; Black Women’s Coalition

Candidate statement:

The Coronavirus pandemic underscores the need to bolster public systems now and to assure future resiliency. My experience on the Lynnwood City Council taught me that every level of our public network and business community are essential for the vibrancy of our economy. We must immediately bolster jobs, small businesses and access to healthcare. We must also provide relief for homeowners and renters. As your legislator, I will continue to advocate for affordable housing, fair taxation, keeping public schools public to provide excellent education, and creating financial institutions that keep our tax dollars working for us in Washington State.

For more information:


Keith Smith
(Prefers Democratic Party)

Elected Experience: Chair of Advocacy and Diversity Committee, Snohomish County Council on Aging; Member, Snohomish County Children’s Commission.

Other Professional Experience: High School and youth sports official covering the Edmonds and Shoreline School Districts. Member of UFCW local 21, prior member Teamsters 38, and fierce advocate for the needs of workers.

Education: Graduate of Mountlake Terrace High School (2004); Associate of Arts, Shoreline Community College (2008); Bachelor of Science in Law and Justice, Magna Cum Laude, Central Washington University, Lynnwood Campus (2015).

Community Service: Volunteer Guardian Ad-Litem, Snohomish County Juvenile Court (2014-2016); Foster home for Beck’s Place, PAWS, and Old Dog Haven; Holly House Advisory Board.

Candidate statement:

I am an essential worker in the fight against COVID-19. Companies are failing to protect their employees. Workers need protections that keep them safe and allow our communities to get essential goods and services.

I am also a sports official for the Edmonds and Shoreline School Districts and a substitute teacher. I have seen how our communities and families are being let down by our backlogged unemployment system. I will go to Olympia to streamline our unemployment system, protect the workers we rely on most, and ensure government is protecting individuals, not corporate profits.

Endorsed by the Washington Stonewall Democrats.

For more information:


Position 2

Lauren Davis
(Prefers Democratic Party)

Elected Experience: Incumbent State Representative, 32nd District

Other Professional Experience: As the founding Executive Director of the Washington Recovery Alliance,
I’ve shaped public policy regarding mental health and addiction. At UW’s
Forefront Suicide Prevention, I directed school programs. Previously, I
worked in international development at the Gates Foundation and as a
Fulbright Scholar in West Africa. I spent my early career as a Head Start preschool teacher and started a small business in Ghana to fund education for girls.

Education: Brown University (Bachelor’s, Ethnic Studies)

Community Service: Past Member, King County Behavioral Health Advisory Board, Policy Committee, National Alliance on Mental Illness– Washington; directed adult English language learning program

Candidate statement:

As your Representative, I’ve successfully championed state Affordable Care Act protections, major investments in addiction treatment, landmark reforms to our criminal justice system and medical and dental access for our low income neighbors. When our behavioral health providers and bus drivers couldn’t access masks, I ensured these essential workers were protected. My focus going forward will be preserving public health and fighting for those hurt most by COVID—folks who’ve lost their jobs, seniors, undocumented families and small businesses.

Endorsements: King County Young Democrats, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, Unions representing teachers, nurses and grocery store workers, Alliance for Gun Responsibility

For more information:


Gray Petersen
(Prefers Democratic Party)

Elected Experience: First Time Candidate

Other Professional Experience: DSL and Fiber Optic Network Technician; Shop Steward for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 89. Customer Service Analyst; Technical Support Agent; Rideshare & Delivery Driver; Campaign Manager.

Education: Completed High School. Attended Green River Community College until unable to complete due to tuition and housing costs.

Community Service: Snohomish County Democrats Executive Board Member; I’ve also volunteered with Equal Rights Washington, Washington United for Marriage, Washington Families Standing Together, and Whole Washington.

Candidate statement:

Coronavirus has highlighted the cracks in a society that working families were already struggling in. We must save lives and provide the security people need.

As well as maintaining strong social distancing and mask policy, we must fully suspend evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs. We need a state single-payer healthcare system and a state homes guarantee. We need progressive tax reform so the wealthy and well-connected are not paying a lower tax rate than people who are fighting to stay afloat. It’s time working people had representation in our government. I humbly ask for your vote.

For more information:


Tamra Smilanich
(Prefers Non Partisan Party)

Elected Experience: As neighborhood association chair, I managed dissemination of community and State policy information, coordinated guest speakers such as city officials and judicial candidates, facilitated group discussion and oversaw board elections. As Precinct Committee Officer I brokered law enforcement accountability and public servant oversight.

Other Professional Experience: Seasonal Contractor for public and private schools. Worked for a non-profit. Currently own a business.

Education: B.A. Sociology and Social Welfare with background in criminal justice, statistics and mental illness. I’m educated on Agenda 21 and Green Energy- advocate for property rights. I take a holistic approach to solving problems.

Community Service: Interscholastic athletics coach. Citizen respondent for hearings.

Candidate statement:

For years, I’ve worked to curb domestic violence and restore usurped natural rights. My judicial advocacy work with lawyers aims to alleviate crowded courtrooms. As an experienced contract negotiator, I’ll promote small business growth by tax restructure.Owning a corporation, this solution will work. Addressing deficits, I’ll partner with Finance Committee ARM for small business tax abatement and we’ll still have resources to fund arts & public education. We can avoid state income tax.

The expanded health oversight leaves people susceptible to discrimination. My proposed legislation protects your privacy and right to equal and nondiscriminatory treatment.

For more information:


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