May 4, 1998

Front Page

Inslee, Ruderman in race for White's Congress seat

  by Andrew Walgamott
Staff reporter

   BAINBRIDGE ISLAND--Competition for Republican Congressman Rick White's 1st District seat stiffened last week. Former U.S. Representative Jay Inslee announced he was running for White's position. The 47-year-old Democrat joins Laura Ruderman, 27, former Microsoft manager, in the race. The winner will represent the district which encompasses Woodinville, Bothell, Kenmore, Redmond, North Seattle and Bainbridge Island.
   Inslee lives on Bainbridge Island with his family. He grew up in north Seattle, graduated from Ingraham High School in 1969 and the University of Washington Law School in 1973. Afterwards he worked as a "small-town" lawyer in Selah, which is near Yakima where he and wife Trudi raised their three sons, Jack, Connor and Joe. "I'm a person who's been raised, educated and who met my wife of 25 years in the Northwest and as a result I know the needs of our district," Inslee said.
   Inslee served in the state House of Representatives from 1988 until 1992 when he won a seat in the U.S. Congress. It was a short stint at the national level, though. He cast a vote for the assault weapons ban. Voters in his south-central Washington district didn't approve and he was brought back home in favor of "Doc" Hastings (R-Pasco). But it was a vote he doesn't regret. "I still believe it was right thing to do, to put the safety of children above weapons."
   Ruderman, a Redmond resident, announced her candidacy last month. She has worked at Microsoft for the past five years as a program manager. She said the experience "taught me about the power of ideas to change the world." Ruderman has also been active in an organization that provides low-income women with credit and business training so they can start or expand small businesses. "As an activist, I've brought people together to solve problems," she said. "I'll bring this same energy and commitment to Congress. I'll fight for common sense approaches, not partisan bickering."
   Until recently Inslee has spent his time as the regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from which he's resigned to campaign full time. While he avoided saying White's name in a telephone interview, he dropped Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's (R-Georgia) name several times. "I don't trust the care of our senior citizens to Newt Gingrich," Inslee said, adding that he was "dedicated to preserving Medicare and social security." He also said he would fight to strengthen public education and lower class sizes, and said he was committed to the environment. "It will be clear at the end of the campaign who's standing up for the environment and our way of life," Inslee said.
   Ruderman sounds similar. "I'll fight for Washington's families and to ensure that our nation's commitment to public education remains strong, to oppose harmful legislation that would weaken the quality of our air and water and threaten our natural resources, and to make sure that every citizen is guaranteed social security when they retire," she said in a press release.
   The two Democrats will face each other in the September primary.