Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, is touting his 15 years of experience in the legislature and his leadership role in the midst of economic uncertainty as he runs for re-election.
Springer was first elected to represent District 45 in 2004 and has served as deputy majority leader since 2014. He sits on the House Appropriations Committee, which creates the budget bill.
“There are challenges we are about to face in the way of the budget and effects of the pandemic,” Springer said. “There is very little experience in my caucus dealing with budget deficits like this.”
His Republican challenger, Woodinville resident Amber Krabach declined to be interviewed.
Springer said the legislature will likely have to look at freezing spending at a certain level while avoiding cuts to both K-12 and higher education as it creates its two-year budget next session.
Two years ago, the legislature approved large increases in K-12 funding in response to a state supreme court mandate called the McCleary decision. Springer said that funding will need to be protected, but also noted that the property taxes used to fund it did disproportionately affect property owners on the Eastside. He said he’d work to not increase property taxes in the area any more to cover costs.
Krabach wrote in her voter guide statement that she wants to reduce the tax burden and “reprioritize students and families as the center of K-12 education.” She lists preschool educator among her professional experience.
In his party leadership role, Springer is tasked with outreach to the business community.
Springer said a priority of his will be to mitigate the impact on small businesses as the state tries to replenish the unemployment reserve fund, which has been depleted in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions.
“The biggest issue for me is making sure that the governor’s office, in consultation with us, especially my business recovery team, is looking for ways to get businesses reopened,” he said. “We should be looking at ways in which business sectors can reopen, given certain public health protocols.”
In a questionnaire for the conservative Judeo-Christian organization iVoterGuide, Krabach said her degree in psychology has trained her to “look for core issues rather than being satisfied by quick fixes.”
“I've also been a stay-at-home mom for 16 years, which means I've spent most of my adult life fiercely advocating for other people,” Krabach wrote.
Springer said his demonstrated willingness to work across the aisle will be necessary for getting the state through an unprecedented virtual session and closing the gap in the budget.
“We just have a real dilemma in front of us here,” he said, "and it’s going to take us all pulling in the same direction.”