Civic activist Kurt Matter wants to fill the 7th District state representative position his Kettle Falls-area neighbor Steve Fuhrman is vacating at the end of the year.
Matter, 44, is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy to replace Fuhrman, a Republican.
A longtime orchardist who now operates heavy equipment for a construction company, Matter views himself as a compromise-seeking conservative.
He believes 7th District legislators have been too “narrowly focused” to find the common ground necessary to get things done. But Matter said he hopes to emulate Fuhrman’s “integrity and honesty.”
Squeezing the most out of the state’s education dollars is a high priority for Matter, who served on the Kettle Falls school board from 1988 to 1995. He represented the region on the Washington State School Directors Association legislative committee, and was named Educator of the Year in 1994 by the Panorama Superintendents Association.
“Seeing as how about 50 percent of the state budget is K-12 education, if that is not run right, everything else is in trouble,” he said.
Matter and his wife, Joanie, operated a U-pick peach orchard from 1975 to 1993. They have two daughters, ages 17 and 19.
Matter grew up in Longview, Wash., where his father worked for the Weyerhaeuser Co. He attended the University of Washington for 3-1/2 years.
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