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Ryu, Coday in close race to replace State Rep. Chase

Come November, Kenmore voters will have helped decide what could be, based on primary results, a fairly close race to replace longtime State Rep. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline.

Instead of running for re-election to the District 32, Position 1 seat she has held for roughly nine years, Chase chose to run for the state senate in the same district. Vying to replace her are two more candidates who call Shoreline home, Republican Art Coday and Democrat Cindy Ryu.

In the August primary, Ryu came out on top in a three person race, but not by an overwhelming margin. Breaking down the vote, in King County, Ryu won 42.5 percent of the vote to Coday's 36.5 percent.

In Snohomish, Coday actually finished first earning 42.9 percent of the ballots, while Ryu took 40.8 percent.

A former Shoreline mayor and current president of that city's Chamber of Commerce, Ryu has been emphasizing the differences between herself and Coday. One example is Ryu's support for Initiative 1098, which Coday flatly rejects.

If approved, Initiative 1098 would impose the state's first income tax on, backers say, only Washington's wealthiest residents while also cutting property taxes and reducing certain taxes on many small businesses.

"I know its not perfect," Ryu said of the initiative. "I know there are a lot suspicions."

But Ryu added that if she makes it to Olympia, she would promise to do her best not to allow the income tax to spread downward to lower income levels.

That the tax eventually could be imposed on lower income levels is part of the now familiar mantra of 1098's detractors, including Coday. Like most Republicans and others opposed to the income tax, Coday said that in two years a simple majority of Olympia legislators can impose the tax on more and more residents.

According to Ryu, the income tax helps address the alleged regressiveness of Washington property and sales taxes, taxes Ryu and many others say result in lower income residents paying a greater percentage of their income in taxes than the state's wealthiest.

For his part, Coday argues all taxes are ultimately regressive, with costs passed on as much as possible.

"The guy at the end of the line is the guy who pays," Coday said.

In general, on the issue of the economy and the recent recession, Ryu said she hopes Washington can learn from past mistakes.

"We have to keep in mind how we got here in the first place," she added.

"We need an attitude that says, 'yes,' we can do more with less... We can do an amazing amount in Washington state with the money on hand," Coday said during a recent candidate forum at the Northshore Senior Center.

That forum saw a few sparks fly between the two candidates after Ryu accused Coday of not supporting public education.

"She fabricated that," Coday said later, arguing that education is one of his priorities. He said legislators need to start taking seriously the state constitution's call to make basic education its "paramount" duty.

Ryu said she takes exception to Coday's support of charter schools and school vouchers. She said the ideas may have worked in some states, but she doesn't like the privatization aspects connected with either notion. To solve perceived budget problems, Ryu called for funding sources that previously flowed to education be directed back to education. She cited proceeds from the Washington Lottery as one example of former school dollars diverted to other purposes.

Moving on to a vastly different front, Coday said that as a physician he could be in a unique position to address what he sees as problems with emergency preparedness in the Puget Sound region. He said in the event of a major catastrophe such as an earthquake, among other issues, local hospitals may not be prepared to deal with sudden, mass casualties. Coday said most Puget Sound hospitals operate at or near patient capacity during on a regular basis.

For her part, Ryu said she hopes Democrats can take on one of the goals of the so-called Tea Party movement within the Republican Party. As is a Tea Party rallying cry, Ryu said legislators need to work to restore the public's faith in government.

"I would really like to see the Democrats do that," she concluded.

To find out more information about either candidate, go to cindyryu.org or artcoday.com.

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