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First-time candidates compete for District 39 House seat

October 10, 2018
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Ivan Lewis (left) and Robert J. Sutherland are the ballot for a state House seat in the 39th Legislative District.
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Ivan Lewis (left) and Robert J. Sutherland are the ballot for a state House seat in the 39th Legislative District.

Two first-time candidates are vying for the Legislative District 39 state House seat held by Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish.

Kristiansen is not seeking re-election.

The district includes eastern Skagit and Snohomish counties and northeast King County. The state House position is a two-year term.

Democrat Ivan Lewis and Republican Robert Sutherland come from different backgrounds and offer differing views on key issues. But both want to ensure options when it comes to education and both said if elected they wouldn’t toe party lines.

Lewis, a 29-year old business owner and former first responder from the town of Startup, said he’s running for office because he feels the district needs to be better represented in the Legislature.

“I think for many, many, many years we have been represented based on ideological preferences, not on community needs,” he said.

Sutherland, a 58-year-old retired biochemist and Air Force veteran from rural Snohomish County, said he’s running because he wants to make a difference in the future of his children and believes there is room for improvement.

Sutherland also said he has experience serving all people, not just those of one political party.

“When I served in the military ... I served the entire country,” he said. “When I got into science it was the same thing. You don’t serve once sector of society or another ... and I go into politics with the same attitude.”

When it comes to education, Sutherland said he wants to see a systemic change in the way public and private education is offered in the state in order to give families more options for their children.

“I’m not a huge supporter of a one-size-fits-all education system. I’m not opposed to the public education system ... I just think if we have more options, that would be a good thing for parents and kids,” he said.

Lewis said he also wants children to have access to a meaningful education.

He said he is in the business of providing supplemental education through a Snohomish County branch of Kumon, an international after-school learning program that offers remedial and enrichment math and English for students in grades K-12.

In areas the candidates disagree, Sutherland said he believes state residents are overtaxed and over-regulated, while rights such as access to water and ownership of guns are being violated.

He said he wants to limit taxes and change how they are distributed, stand up for property rights and see transportation issues such as congestion on highways reduced.

Lewis said he will make no promises about reducing or preventing new taxes but does promise to support policies that are progressive and give weight to human rights, including improved access to health care and family-wage jobs.

He said reworking the health care system — making it universal or comprehensive — is the biggest issue for the state and would help solve other issues including mental health, addiction and homelessness.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

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