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Rep. Cyrus Habib, former Kirkland mayor Joan McBride switch candidacy spots for legislature | Update
Rep. Cyrus Habib with the 48th Legislative District and former Kirkland mayor Joan McBride have switched legislative positions for the 2014 Washington state election.
Habib, a Bellevue resident, initially endorsed McBride as she ran for the Senate position that is currently held by Sen. Rodney Tom, the Majority Leader and Majority Coalition Caucus member.
Last week, Tom announced that he would no longer run for Senate in the general election because of health and family-related issues.
“I am excited to work with Joan as a colleague who shares my passion for strong communities, good schools and a transportation system that works,” Habib said in a news release.
McBride will now run for Habib’s House Representative position after raising more than $70,000 for the Senate position.
“I originally ran for two reasons: to defeat Rodney Tom and bring my perspective and experience as a longtime Eastside Civic leader to Olympia and continue my record of service,” McBride said in a news release, who served four terms on the Kirkland City Council and two terms as Mayor. “With Tom out, my priority is to do what’s needed to make a difference on issues that matter — fixing transportation and transit, investing in our schools and families, and protecting our environment. I think I can make the most immediate impact as part of a dynamic team in the state House.”
In an interview, McBride said the decision to switch came after an “hour-and-a-half oa celebration” when Tom announced the news.
“It became obvious and apparent that many people wanted to dive into the race at that time,” she said. “The field was clear. This was a great opportunity for others who are interested.”
She said it became very apparent that Habib wanted the Senate position.
“What great good luck,” McBride said. “I would love to be called Senator, but I would love to be called Representative. I want to serve. I think it’s a wise decision. Our party doesn’t need rancor. Our state doesn’t need that. We’re just coming off a legislative session that a lot was left undone.”
McBride said it’s always been about serving the people the best way she knows how, not the particular office. If elected for the House position, she will join Eastside colleagues Rep. Ross Hunter and Rep. Larry Springer (D-45), himself a one-time Kirkland Mayor.
“I’m excited for Joan to join our caucus and efforts to complete 520, fund our schools and protect the character and quality of our Eastside communities,” said Springer in a news release. “She is a strong, principled voice for our region and will make an immediate, positive impact in the House.”
In addition to endorsements from Springer, Hunter and Habib, McBride has won support from County Executive Dow Constantine, Redmond Mayor John Marchione, Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen, and Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci.
“I know I speak for many when I say that I am thrilled Joan is going to campaign for the House, and we will see her in action next year in Olympia—where we desperately need her passion and commitment to our families and communities,” said Balducci.
Habib views his Senate run as an opportunity to bring common sense and a focus on Eastside priorities to a chamber “mired in gridlock and dissent.”
“I am proud to represent a district that leads the country in innovation and invention,” Habib said. “It is critical that we make the needed investments in human and physical capital to secure our continued prosperity and competitiveness. Unfortunately, the Republican leaders in the State Senate have punted on the most pressing issues of the day: education funding, transportation investments, and job growth. I am running to bring both my legislative experience and our district’s socially progressive yet pro economic growth values to the State Senate, where I know I can make an even greater difference.”
In 2012, Habib defeated Republican Redmond City Councilmember Hank Myers for a seat in the Washington State House of Representatives, garnering over 61 percent of the vote in the general election.
In addition to his position on the Rules Committee, Habib serves as vice chair of the committee on Technology and Economic Development, as well as on the Business and Financial Services and Transportation committees, reflecting his focus on job growth and innovation.
He authored and prime sponsored the Washington Jobs Act of 2014, the state’s first investor crowdfunding law. That bill, which allows Washington small businesses to raise money from a wide array of local investors, was the top legislative priority of the state’s entrepreneurial and technology communities.
McBride has already garnered strong community support as well with poll numbers showing Tom — a 10 year incumbent who had served as a Republican and Democrat — winning only 31 percent of the vote, with 26 percent favoring the lesser-known McBride early in the campaign.
McBride will formally kick off her campaign May 8, with friends, family and supporters at the North Bellevue Community Center.
She will continue to campaign full time, and looks forward to the months ahead. Although her team is still in the process of changing accounts with the Public Disclosure Commission and other promotional materials, she jokes that they “only have to change one word.”
“I want to thank so many neighbors, friends and supporters around the region for their help so far,” McBride said. “But while we accomplished our first goal faster than anticipated, we have a long way to go to the finish line in November. I look forward to meeting voters throughout the district and continuing to build on our incredible momentum as we move forward.”
A proven fundraiser and grass roots campaigner, Habib will also quickly begin campaigning for the Senate.
“I enjoy meeting voters in their neighborhoods, listening to their concerns and ideas, and translating those ideas into action,” Habib said. “I appreciate the opportunity to join — and improve the effectiveness — of the State Senate, and look forward to the campaign ahead.”