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July 16, 2012

Contact: McKinley Smith


Organization started by young professionals and recent college graduates endorses five higher education champions from both sides of the aisle

SEATTLE, Wash. – Graduate Washington announces its first ever legislative endorsements for the 2012 state legislative primary election. Senator David Frockt (D-46), Representatives Larry Seaquist (D-26), Hans Zeiger (R-25) and Derek Stanford (D-1), and Republican Chad Magendanz running for house position 2 in the 5th Legislative District have received endorsements for their dedication to higher education.

This bipartisan group of candidates was selected for endorsement based on their prioritization of higher education policy, past involvement in higher education advocacy, inside or outside the legislature, and innovative approaches to improving the state’s higher education framework. These early endorsements were made after analyzing legislative records and responses to the Graduate Washington endorsement questionnaire.

“In Olympia, these individuals will fight for accessibility, affordability and a strong quality of education for all of Washington’s students,” said Quinn Majeski, Chair of the Graduate Washington board. “They have made higher education a top priority. Now we’re making their successful election our top priority.”

The Graduate Washington questionnaire was distributed to every candidate who filed for the 2012 state legislative election, and the organization received almost 100 completed questionnaires from across the state. The organization will issue another round of endorsements in the general election.

A brief description of each endorsed candidate and an overview for their endorsement is included below:

Senator David Frockt (D) – Senator Frockt is one of the few true higher education champions in the senate, and will be in further diminished company with the likely departures of Senators Kilmer and Kastama. After moving up to the senate he inherited a spot on the higher education and workforce development committee, and without hesitation waded into the middle of policy development. Frockt sponsored and passed SB 6121, which required financial aid counseling to be provided by all of Washington’s higher education institutions.

Chad Magendanz (R) – In his questionnaire, Magendanz demonstrated a strong knowledge of current issues in higher education, including funding, financial aid, pipeline concerns, transparency and accountability. He is also knowledgeable about how things work down in Olympia, having served on the State School Directors Legislative Affairs Committee for several years before. His background in K-12 makes him well-positioned to champion for higher education as a critical part of the public education system. 

Representative Larry Seaquist (D) – Larry Seaquist has emerged as a real advocate for higher education since his rise to the helm of the house higher education committee. He commands the respect of his caucus and was instrumental in bringing the cuts to higher education to almost zero, saving further institutional and financial aid reductions. His passion for the issue and openness to engage with stakeholders of all backgrounds make him one of higher education’s most valuable legislator down in Olympia.

Representative Derek Stanford (D) – In many ways the democratic counterpart to Zeiger, Representative Stanford has been a strong supporter of higher education and students since being elected in 2010. He is the leader on governance reform in the house democratic caucus – sponsoring HB 2596, HB 2681 and HB 2709 in the last session alone – and as a member of the education appropriations committee he has fought to protect funding for both institutions and financial aid programs. As a legislator, his accessibility and openness to new ideas is unparalleled. 

Representative Hans Zeiger (R) – Representative Zeiger has made higher education one of his top priorities since being elected in 2010. He is always receptive to students and has been a leader on accountability, transparency and governance reform, including sponsoring and shepherding HB 2313, which required public comment at board of regents’ meetings.

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Founded in 2011, Graduate Washington aims to maintain and expand access to higher education for all students in Washington state through nonpartisan higher education advocacy, policy advancement, and support for higher education champions in the legislature. For more information about Graduate Washington, visit www.graduatewashington.org.