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Steve Litzow to run for state house

Two candidates have announced their intent to run for state representative following the news last week that current state Rep. Fred Jarrett would run for the senate.

City Councilmember Steve Litzow said he would be running as a Republican last Thursday. The same day, a Renton School board member, Marcie Maxwell, announced her candidacy as a Democrat. Litzow was just re-elected to his council seat last month.

Litzow said he would continue serving on the Council during his campaign, which he plans to begin in January. He said the environment, transportation and education were his top three priorities.

Maxwell, an Eastside realtor for 18 years, also listed economic development as an important issue.

“I’ve been working on quality of life issues for years in Renton and on the Eastside” she said. “I’m excited about the possibility of working in the state legislature to make a real difference on issues like transportation, education and economic development.”

While the Democrat and Republican have similar platforms so far in this race, Litzow said it is because the region’s issues haven’t changed in recent years.

“The issues in the region have stayed the same,” Litzow said. “And that’s what we need to focus on. We need to find better solutions at the state level.”

Both candidates were motivated to run for the position because it will be an open seat. Litzow feels confident running as a Republican despite the switch made by Jarrett.

“The district votes by candidate not by party,” Litzow said. “And this is a rare opportunity to run for an open seat.”

Litzow said he has four school-aged children in school ( three in Mercer Island public schools and one at Seattle Prep.) and wants the public education system to enable them to do well in today’s competitive global economy.

“Our education system has to make our children ready to compete in this economy,” he said. “We need more money in the classroom.”

Litzow also said he supports the WASL and he thinks the current adjustments being made to the standardized test are beneficial.

He also said regional traffic will continue to congest the area unless state leaders come up with immediate solutions.

“I think with Prop. 1 going down, it shows that we need to continue finding ways of solving the area’s congestion problem,” Litzow said. “The state needs to find ways to fix 520 as well as get more buses into the park-and-ride system.”

Litzow, who has served on the Eastside Transportation Partnership, received immediate support from fellow Islander Republican and state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

“Steve Litzow is a great fit for the 41st District,” McKenna said in a press release issued by Litzow. “With his drive, energy and experience building consensus around solutions that improve the region, Steve is the type of representative we need in Olympia to help meet the growing needs of the 41st District.”

Litzow just won his second term on the Mercer Island City Council. He was elected over incumbent Susan Blake in 2003 and ran unopposed this year.

Litzow is a technology entrepreneur who recently left his position as Vice President of Marketing for ShareBuilder Corporation of Bellevue when it was sold to INGDirect, Inc. in November.

Maxwell is married to a former Sheriff’s deputy and works for Windermere Real Estate. She also serves on the Kennydale Neighborhood Association.

Should Litzow win the House seat, he would vacate his Council seat in January 2009. According to city clerk Ali Spietz, the Council, minus Litzow, would interview and appoint a new Councilmember. Islanders would be able to apply for the job with the city clerk to qualify for the interviews.

All interviews, nominations and votes taken by the Council are required to be open public sessions, however, a closed-door executive session may be convened to discuss the qualifications of the applicants. The Council-approved appointee holds office only until the next regular general election, at which time a person shall be elected to serve the remainder of the term.

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