October 26, 1998
Personal: age, 27; occupation, full-time campaigning; hometown, Redmond; family, single
Laura Ruderman says she believes an individual can make a difference and cites her own efforts over the past ten years working through the political process to give low income women business opportunities. It's also taught her that "it matters who makes our laws."
Ruderman, a former Microsoft manager, describes herself as a "new Democrat," a "young, fiscally prudent conservative, but someone who wants to give opportunities to everyone."
"I have a really big heart, to a certain point. When kids commit a crime, they need to know there's punishment," she said.
She called Referendum 49 "credit card spending" and said another solution would be to make sure motor vehicle excise taxes go towards fixing roads. Also, she said there needs to be more transportation alternatives.
On health care, she said patients aren't getting access to care because of insurance companies.
"We need to be sure decisions are made by folks with stethoscopes, not calculators," Ruderman said.
Ruderman has lived in the 45th since the end of 1997 and "worked and played" here the past five years.
She is a Wesleyan University (Connecticut) graduate who came to the state as a stage management intern.
But she realized that while it may have been a good hobby, it probably wouldn't do as a career.
She hopes that politics will be her career for at least the next two years.
Personal: age, 57; occupation, inactive orthopedic surgeon; hometown, Redmond; family, married, two daughters, four grandchildren
Like other incumbents, Bill Backlund says he should be re-elected because of the experience he has in Olympia over the past five years.
Likely chair of the Health Care Committee and 28-year resident of Redmond, Backlund says he has "more knowledge and workable solutions for the district and state."
If re-elected, he said he has four basic goals: hold government accountable through performance audits, make health care accessible to as many citizens as possible by holding costs down, solve the transportation funding problem, and work with citizens who have troubles with bureaucracy.
On education, he said that the legislature will have to look at what can be done to get money into the classroom, as well as charter schools and competency testing for new teachers.
Backlund trumpets issues Republicans have passed in the last four years, including welfare reform, getting tough on violent criminals and providing funding for transportation.
He was appointed to the House after Louise Miller left, then won two re-election bids.
Asked what he likes about being a legislator, Backlund, a former Texan, says it's "challenging and gratifying to pass meaningful legislation."
Also being a doctor, he says he's motivated to "try and solve people's problems."
Backlund is a former Captain in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army, was involved area chambers of commerce as well as Redmond Against Pornography.