Incumbent Tana Senn will face off with Mike Nykreim for the Legislative District 41 State Representative Position No. 1 seat in the Nov. 8 general election.
In the Aug. 2 primary, Senn (D) amassed 78.61% of the vote (27,958 votes) and Nykreim (Election Integrity Party) received 20.64% of the vote (7,339 votes).
King County Elections mailed ballots to registered voters on Oct. 19 and will post the initial round of results by 8:15 p.m. on election night.
The Reporter reached out to both candidates and asked four pertinent questions about the election. Each one was allotted 2,000 words for their responses.
Legislative District 41 covers all of Mercer Island and Newcastle, with portions of Bellevue, Renton, Issaquah and Sammamish.
** What do you feel are three of the most critical issues in the district and how do you hope to address them?
— Children’s mental health: Our community is facing a mental health crisis. Too many of our youth are experiencing depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. I am working to expand the child and adolescent behavioral health workforce, increase mental health in schools, and tackle issues such as climate change and gun violence, which are among the major stressors in young people’s lives.
— Cost of living: Seniors’ income is not keeping pace with inflation. Young adults can’t afford to move back to our community where they grew up. There are staffing shortages in schools, restaurants and hospitals. And yes, our district has poverty. Locally and on the state level, we must actively support and invest in additional affordable housing, childcare, social services and food access. I’m honored to serve on the board of Hopelink, chair the Children, Youth and Families Committee and actively work on these issues in the Legislature.
— Growing a just, equitable and responsible technology sector: Our district is home to a thriving technology sector. As businesses expand and innovate, especially in blockchain technology, we must ensure we build out a sector that considers environmental, workforce and equity implications. This past session I developed and passed legislation to create a Blockchain Policy Workgroup to explore these very issues. As an appointed member to that workgroup, I look forward to advancing its recommendations to the legislature.
** What’s your life philosophy and how can you apply that to district matters?
My philosophy has always been, “If you don’t like how something is going, get involved to change it.” After getting involved in school and city issues, I won a seat on the Mercer Island City Council and then the state Legislature. From passing the first update to the state’s equal pay laws in 75 years to banning the open carry of weapons at local government meetings and election sites, when I see something that needs to change, I go for it!
** What will you do in your role as a representative to support and strengthen the district?
I take representing five cities (and a town) and five school districts seriously. It is important to bring their challenges, needs and perspectives forward, which I do as a member of the Local Government Committee. As our school districts and local governments feel the pinch of inflation, job openings and reduced civility, we must ensure we continue to support our high-quality schools and teachers, celebrate the critical services our cities provide, and call on our personal store of social emotional skills to practice respectful civic engagement.
It has been a pleasure to bring dollars to our district for important projects like dealing with stormwater in Sammamish, the train trestle and Hero House in Bellevue, Boren Park in Newcastle and more. I am currently working with Mayor Nice and the Mercer Island Police Department to secure state assistance to replace our 1995 marine patrol boat that helps with safety on Lake Washington.
** What’s special about the district, and what are some improvements you feel could be made?
The 41st Legislative District is one of the most diverse in the state and is home to cutting-edge companies, great school districts and beautiful recreational spaces. As people flock to our area, the cost of living is going up, which squeezes out individuals and families who have few options on where to go and precludes families with young children from moving in. We must ensure our community continues to be a place that celebrates and welcomes diversity, sustains and develops a broad workforce base, and offers affordable housing, childcare, public transportation and social services to keep families strong and connected.
**What do you feel are three of the most critical issues in the district and how do you hope to address them?
Elections integrity — without valid documentation that only legal voters voted, then the agenda of “electeds” can not be validated.
Emerging massive crime, caused by hamstringing our law enforcement, and liberal judges have thrown our state into chaos.
State regulations making housing and new business and road development excessively expensive compared to national cost.
**What’s your life philosophy and how can you apply that to district matters?
Ensure policy nurtures children and family support.
**What will you do in your role as a representative to support and strengthen the district?
Effect a verifiable election system as we had 20 years ago. Then the citizen can be assured that they did in fact, elect those who are representing them.
**What’s special about the district, and what are some improvements you feel could be made?
Protecting the neighborhoods from crime, traffic and dense growth, also supporting quality education in cost effective infrastructure.
Growth Management needs to be properly enforced to allow for planned growth to accommodate new opportunities in the other 95% of our state with modern growth patterns that support our own children and their future households and businesses.