First elected to the state House in 2012, Democrat Steve Bergquist has deep family ties and community connections in the 11th Legislative District, which stretches from Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood to Kent.
Bergquist is the best choice in the race for Position 2, which failed to draw a serious challenge to the incumbent.
A public school teacher, Bergquist serves on the Education, Rules and Appropriations committees.
During the 2022 session, he introduced bills to address school staffing shortages and make retirement benefits more secure for firefighters and law enforcement officers.
Bergquist expressed concern about raising taxes but offered no specifics about how the state would meet rising public sector salaries in contract negotiations.
Noting that he hears public safety concerns from constituents, Bergquist wants to revisit some of the police reforms passed in 2021. Specifically, Bergquist supports measures allowing greater freedom for police to pursue suspects, and he wants to provide “more tools” to police than referrals to treatment programs for people arrested with small amounts of drugs.
Although Bergquist supported unsuccessful legislation that would have preempted local land-use laws to build denser housing in cities across the state — a position counter to that of the editorial board — he wants to bring local leaders to the affordable housing discussion.
Bergquist faces Jeanette Burrage, a Republican.
Burrage was a state legislator in the early 1980s. She was a King County Superior Court judge for five years before losing her reelection bid in 2000. She also unsuccessfully campaigned for seats on the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. She served on the Des Moines City Council, before resigning early when a controversy emerged over her employment as a Sea-Tac bus driver.
In 2016, a jury found Burrage not guilty of fourth-degree assault for slapping a 6-year-old autistic boy. Burrage resigned from the Des Moines City Council after the incident came to light, and the district fired her.
Strongly pro-police, Burrage would repeal the Legislature’s previous law enforcement reform measures. She would revisit the state Growth Management Act to build housing in areas now off-limits to development.
Bergquist is a better fit for the district. Voters should reelect him to Position 2.