Graduate Washington has made the following endorsements in the 2014 election. Endorsements were made after reviewing questionnaire responses, interviewing candidates, and analyzing legislative records when available.
Frank Chopp must balance dozens of competing interest and personalities at a time in his role as Speaker of the House, but he never loses sight of how students are affected by the policies of his chamber. As Speaker he has pushed for increased financial aid funding and supported important higher education governance reform measures. Although the relationship between Chopp and university administrators can be strained at times, his commitment to keeping post-secondary education affordable and accessible for all students is unswerving.
To learn more about Speaker Frank Chopp, please visit his website.
Not so far removed from college himself, Joe Fain clearly understands the challenges that are facing this generation of current and prospective college student. He has been an advocate for important pipeline programs such as Running Start, which ease the transition from K-12 to post-secondary education and lessen the burden on students and families. One of the legislators responsible for the recent tuition freeze, Fain is an important voice for students in the State Senate.
To learn more about Senator Joe Fain, please visit his website.
Senator Frockt is one of the strongest advocates for students in the Washington State Senate. Since moving up to the Senate he has worked on legislation to improve financial aid counseling, fought to protect the GET program, and helped craft a balanced tuition freeze that also provided necessary funding to colleges and universities. Perhaps most notably, Senator Frockt has been a driving force behind the move to find a dedicated funding source for our colleges and universities – a crucial step forward in creating a stable funding system for higher education.
To learn more about Senator David Frockt, please visit his website.
Now in his sophomore term, Representative Hansen has emerged as a true workhorse on the House Higher Education Committee. Not only has he taken a leading role in the discussions around a dedicated funding source, but he is also response for a series of bills addressing wonkier – but equally critical – policies in higher education. These include early course registration for veterans, important changes to the Opportunity Scholarship program, and improving access to information on financial aid and academic outcomes for high school students.
To learn more about Representative Drew Hansen, please visit his website.
As the father of two young children, Matt Isenhower watched the decline of Washington’s higher education system with dismay. As a State Senate hopeful, he is ready to do whatever it takes to make sure everyone’s child has the opportunity to receive a high-quality public education. Isenhower is committed to increasing financial aid, improving wrap-around services and protecting affordability mechanisms like GET. Just as important, he favors a dedicated source of funding to support these critical services.
To learn more about Matt Isenhower, please visit his website.
Senator Kohl-Welles has been a longtime, passionate supporter of higher education. A vocal advocate for freezing tuition to preserve affordability, she was deeply involved in the budget negotiations that yielded the first such relief Washington students and families have seen in decades. In the past two years alone Kohl-Welles has sponsored successful legislation to reform remedial course placement in community and technical colleges, improve financial aid literacy, and protect graduate students in fee-based programs from dramatic cost increases – a few new items on the long list of pro-student policies she has passed during her time in office.
To learn more about Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, please visit her website.
Since taking office in 2013, Representative Magendanz has pushed legislation to improve access to higher education for veterans and National Guard members and make degree earning potential data more readily available. A former school board member and ranking member of the House Education Committee, he has also advanced many bills that further college preparation and access in our K-12 system. Magendanz background and experience make him an important advocate for higher education as part of our broader public education system.
To learn more about Representative Chad Magendanz, please visit his website.
Gerry Pollet has used his position as vice chair of the House Higher Education Committee to push strongly for greater funding for our colleges and universities. Pointing to the obvious correlation between declining state support and rising tuition, he deserves substantial credit for drawing attention to the mismatch. Working with graduate and professional students from the University of Washington, Pollet was also responsible for important consumer protection legislation around “fee based” programs that quickly balloon in costs beyond simple tuition.
To learn more about Representative Gerry Pollet, please visit his website.
As an Associate Director at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and Trustee of College Spark Washington, Representative Chris Reykdal is intimately familiar with how our public institutions operate. He firmly believes in higher education as a means of socioeconomic advancement, while at the same time leveraging his policy-rich background to sponsor and pass legislation improving performance at our colleges and universities. A combination of knowledge and application on issues ranging from student debt to dedicated funding make Reykdal a clear higher education champion.
To learn more about Representative Chris Reykdal, please visit his website.
No one has done more over the past two years to increase student involvement in higher education governance that Marcus Riccelli. In his freshman term he was instrumental in passing legislation to set up student advisory committees for provosts and other administrators handling fiscal matters – an accomplishment that earned him the honor of being the Washington Student Association’s Legislator of the Year. A former student lobbyist for graduate students at the University of Washington, Riccelli knows that having students at the table provides an important voice for affordability and accessibility.
To learn more about Representative Marcus Riccelli, please visit his website.
Passionate about protecting access to college and relentlessly engaged with all higher education stakeholders, Larry Seaquist has been the driving force behind many of the most significant victories for students and families over the past several years: holding the line on budget cuts, tuition increases, and critical financial aid programs. Unafraid of standing up to members of either party, he will also be the most steadfast defender of higher education as the legislature attempts to tackle the multi-billion dollar McCleary mandate.
To learn more about Representative Larry Seaquist, please visit his website.
A recent graduate of the University of Washington herself, Melanie is ready to make higher education one of her top priorities in Olympia. She wants to secure a dedicated source of funding for higher education and is especially concerned with creating strong protections that keep the money from being swept away for other uses. Like her prospective seatmate Rep. Zeiger, Melanie would be a strong voice for a transparent, accountable, and well-funded higher education system in Olympia.
To learn more about Melanie Stambaugh, please visit her website.
When we first endorsed her in 2012, we predicted that Gael Tarleton’s depth of policy knowledge and commitment to higher education would make her a force in Olympia – and we were right. From fighting to save the GET Program to working behind the scenes to end the trend of higher education divestment, she has emerged as a very important ally in Olympia. Her presence in the legislature and on the House Higher Education Committee is a boon to those who believe in a strong and affordable higher education system.
To learn more about Representative Gael Tarleton, please visit her website.
Newly appointed in Seattle’s 43rd District, Brady Walkinshaw wasted no time in getting up to speed on the issues facing students in Washington State. He is helping to develop a funding plan in the face of McCleary, participating in the College Opportunity Scholarship work group, and advocating for more financial aid to help disadvantaged students. A former program officer at the Gates Foundation, alumni regent of Princeton University, and recent graduate himself, Walkinshaw brings a valuable perspective and work ethic to the legislature.
To learn more about Representative Brady Walkinshaw, please visit his website.
Few candidates can claim as much personal effort in preparing and encouraging students to pursue a college degree as Mike Wilson. As a high school teacher he leads AP classes that earn college credit, runs after school study sessions to help struggling students, and has set up a scholarship fund to help his recent graduates complete their first year of post-secondary education. Wilson’s experience informs his deeply held belief in student leadership and an affordable and accessible higher education should be affordable for all Washingtonians.
To learn more about Mike Wilson, please visit his website.
Now in his sophomore term, Hans Zeiger has a long and sterling track record on higher education issues. He successfully passed legislation that brought greater efficiency to our colleges and universities and mandated public comment periods at board of regent meetings. He also supported legislation that would improve access to credit transfer information, limit differential tuition, and increase student involvement in governance. Credit should also be given to Zeiger for being one of two dozen Republicans to support the passage of the Dream/Real Hope Act. For all these reasons and many more, he deserves another two years in Olympia.
To learn more about Representative Hans Zeiger, please visit his website.