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Litzow’s campaign for District 41 Senate seat focuses on economy

Mercer Island Councilmember Steve Litzow is walking his way toward the 41st Legislative District Senate seat. The candidate has already visited 3,000 houses in his campaign for the November election.

“It’s all about door-belling. I hope to hit 20,000 doors by Nov. 2,” Litzow said.

The Republican is running against Democratic Sen. Randy Gordon (D-41, Mercer Island), who took the seat from Fred Jarrett in February when the latter became deputy King County executive.

This is not the first time that Litzow has campaigned for the state Legislature. He ran for the House seat in 2008, but lost to Democrat Marcie Maxwell. But this year, he said, the state’s political climate is much different.

“Every conversation I’ve had is about jobs, the economy, spending and taxes, which is a dramatically different environment than in 2008, when the issues were education, transportation and the environment,” Litzow said.

The Islander added that he is ready to confront the state’s economic woes, yet it will be no easy task.

“I’m optimistically paranoid,” he said. “There is a palatable level of anxiety among the people I’ve met in Bellevue and Mercer Island. The economy may be coming back, but people are still out of jobs or nervous that we’re not getting out of this soon enough.”

Litzow said he would like to see a state government model that reflects the one former Gov. Gary Locke introduced approximately 10 years ago.

“I’m supportive of Gary Locke’s priorities of government. You have to ask, ‘What are the outcomes you want from government? What are the priorities?’” he said. “I realize that we’re at the tipping point. If we don’t fund reform of how the state government operates, we’ll end up like California, which has every tax in the world and is on the brink of bankruptcy.”

Litzow brings up these issues with the Eastside residents he visits. The more houses he door-bells, the more clearly he realizes the level of anxiety out there.

Yet despite the struggling economy, people are still donating to Litzow’s campaign. So far, the Islander has earned more than $40,000 — “slightly more than in 2008,” he said.

“The economy is not helping much with contributions, but people are fired up,” he said.

In addition to representing the Mercer Island City Council, Litzow holds seats in several regional organizations. He is a member of the Bellevue College Foundation Board and the Summer Search Board, a nonprofit organization that mentors at-risk students. He also has a regional assignment to the Eastside Transportation Partnership.

The Reporter will cover candidate Randy Gordon’s campaign in an upcoming issue.

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