For Libertarian Randy McGlenn II, the best way to get something done is to do it yourself. After years of watching voters elect Democratic leaders in the 3rd Legislative District, and after years of hearing stories of residents feeling they weren’t being represented, the longtime IT worker decided to run against incumbent Democrat Marcus Riccelli in 2014.
He didn’t make it out of the primary, earning less than 8 percent of the vote.
So he ran again. And this year, Riccelli and McGlenn were the only two candidates entering the primary on Aug. 2. McGlenn won less than 30 percent of votes. But that hasn’t slowed his enthusiasm.
“I can sit back and grumble all day long about what somebody is doing, but if I want to see that change, I have to be that change,” McGlenn said.
Before registering as a Libertarian, McGlenn shared political opinions with both Republican and Democratic parties. He said it wasn’t until Nancy Pelosi’s infamous “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” line in 2010 in regard to the Affordable Care Act that he started to distrust established politics completely.
And that mindset carried over to state and Spokane politics, specifically to the historically Democratic 3rd Legislative District, where McGlenn says Riccelli has had a one-way voting record: strictly Democratic.
“First and foremost, we should represent Spokane,” McGlenn said. “Not the Democrats, not the Republicans: Spokane. That’s something I can do better than either party.”
Riccelli, who has held the seat since 2012, doesn’t see things the same way. While he agrees it’s good for voters to have choice in an election, he thinks his track record speaks for itself. Since 2012, he’s won the general election by about 60 percent of the vote or more.
And while his voting record in Olympia favors Democratic-sponsored bills, he recently worked with Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, on a bill that allowed Washington State University to open a medical school on its Spokane Campus.
“I’m not a Democrat, Republican or a Libertarian – I’m a member of this community,” Riccelli said. “Party doesn’t matter if you’re delivering for your community.”
If elected, McGlenn said one of the first points of order would be to crack down on Washington corporations that aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. That means cutting tax breaks to companies such as Microsoft and Boeing, which save millions in incentives each year, and working on getting larger industries to settle in Spokane instead of moving closer to Olympia, where McGlenn says they’re able to successfully lobby the Legislature.
“We need to end the ‘sweetheart deals’ with Boeing, Microsoft and other large businesses on the West Coast,” he said. “Because the rest of us are picking up the tab.”
But in the meantime, McGlenn plans to continue canvassing and informing voters of other parts of his platform, which includes better funding for mental health services and education. He also wants to simplify tax codes overall, and to find ways to make Washington’s government more efficient.
His campaign has raised $1,100, most of which is donated by individual donors. He’s spent $700.
Riccelli said he agrees that fixing tax loopholes and keeping jobs in the state is important for him and his constituents.
Leading up to the general election, his campaign is focused on engaging voters on the planned upgrades to the North Spokane Corridor, getting healthy foods in school and beefing up health care, specifically mental health services. He also wants to expand Spokane’s film industry by incentivizing it through tax breaks, and increasing the minimum wage statewide.
When it comes to the election process, Riccelli looks at it like a job interview. For the past two cycles, he believes he’s been the best fit, and in his opinion, this upcoming general election is no different.
“Whether my opponent is from one party or another, or the same party, I look forward to a robust discussion,” he said. “I look forward to making my case to voters on why I should be rehired.”