City: Spokane, WA
Occupation: Coffee shop owner
Education: Undergraduate degree from Whitworth University; MBA from George Fox University; executive leadership studies at Harvard University.
Work experience: Owns several Spokane coffee shops; adjunct professor at Whitworth and Gonzaga universities; incumbent state representative; was working as a volunteer youth counselor at Columbine High School during the 1999 massacre that killed 13 and injured 21 others.
Political experience: Three terms in the Washington House of Representatives.
The Spokane-area community gathered Saturday morning to discuss the attempted bombing along the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March on Jan. 17. Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and state Rep. Kevin Parker co-hosted the forum, “Understanding Threats in Our Community,” on the Washington State University Spokane campus. Community leaders and residents discussed their concerns about, and possible solutions to, violence in the community.
When tragedies occur, like the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., or potential disasters like the bomb found Monday in downtown Spokane, state Rep. Kevin Parker tries to remember the lessons of Columbine. Among the most important, the Spokane Republican said, is to trust your instincts and use common sense.
Several area state legislators accepted campaign contributions from a BP employees’ political action committee after this year’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – including two Democrats in tough re-election battles. BP political action committees have given to almost 50 campaigns in Washington since the spill.
A Spokane legislative district tops the state for money raised by candidates, and is near the top for spending that money before the August primary. The 6th Legislative District – which curves around central Spokane’s core from the Whitworth area to the South Hill – is often a pricey political battleground. Its last three state Senate races have been the three most expensive in state history, with the 2006 contest between Democrat Chris Marr and Republican incumbent Brad Benson at the top of the list. Nearly $818,000 was spent in that race for a seat that pays just over $42,000 per year.
Among the most thankless jobs in the world is that of a political candidate in Washington state in the weeks before the August primary. The ability to continue the noble quest for elective office depends on voters who are just returning from vacation, on vacation or preparing for vacation.