Young people and Hispanics are not a force in state politics — at least not yet — but Santiago Ramos wants to change that. He's 25, Mexican-born and...

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Young people and Hispanics are not a force in state politics — at least not yet — but Santiago Ramos wants to change that.

He’s 25, Mexican-born and in the middle of a run for the state House in the Eastside’s 48th District.

“I want to be a voice for my generation,” Ramos said. But the insurance agent from Kirkland has a tough road ahead of him. His opponent in Tuesday’s Democratic primary is Deb Eddy, a former Kirkland mayor who has the support of party leaders and a lot more money in the bank.

Eddy says she alone has the political and regional experience to replace Democratic Rep. Rodney Tom, who is leaving his job to run for the Senate this fall. The winner of the primary will face Republican Bret Olson, a former staff member for former U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn, in November.

“I really like the idea of making government work better,” Eddy said. “That’s kind of my passion.”

The 48th District covers some of the state’s wealthiest suburbs, including Bellevue, the Points cities and parts of Redmond and Kirkland.

Eddy has raised about $63,000, while Ramos has raised about $11,000. Ramos said he is limiting individual contributions to $500 to avoid the appearance of being beholden to donors.

Deb Eddy

48th District, Democrat

Age: 56

Work experience: Five years as executive director of Suburban Cities Association, co-founder of Washington Appleseed, a public-policy nonprofit group, and currently a public-affairs consultant

Political experience: Six years as a Kirkland City Council member, including two as mayor

Education: Law degree, University of North Carolina; bachelor’s degree, West Virginia University

Web site:

Santiago Ramos

Age: 25

Work experience: Insurance agent for Farmers Insurance in Bellevue

Political experience: Volunteer for political campaigns, including Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign and Dave Ross’ 2004 congressional campaign.

Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Washington

Web site:

The Municipal League rated Eddy “very good” and Ramos “adequate.”

The candidates have similar platforms, saying they would focus on improving the state’s road, transit and health-care systems. Both also say more money is needed for education.

Ramos says he wants to wean the state from its reliance on oil and help the environment by promoting the use of ethanol fuel.

According to Eddy, the new health-care bill passed last spring by Massachusetts state leaders, which requires all residents be insured, could inspire a similar effort in Washington. Progress needs to speed up on transportation projects like a Highway 520 bridge replacement, she said.

In Olympia, “There’s an energy that, OK, maybe we can take on these things,” Eddy said.

Ramos said he can bring a newcomer’s spirit to the job that Eddy can’t match.

He and his parents moved from Mexico to Kirkland in 1991 and he attended Rose Hill Junior High and Lake Washington High School. His family owns several Mexican restaurants in the area. Until now, his only political experience was volunteering for political campaigns, including Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000 and Dave Ross’ congressional run in 2004.

His own campaign has attracted nearly 100 volunteers, he said.

Ramos said he should be elected based on “my determination, my willingness to listen.”

“I have more of an open mind on issues,” he added, “and I can listen to both sides.”

Eddy moved to the Eastside in 1980 and in the ’90s served six years on the Kirkland City Council, including two as mayor. She left office to become executive director of the Suburban Cities Association. She helped broker deals on behalf of 37 member cities for five years before leaving the job in 2004.

Her experience gives her knowledge of the political landscape on a local, state and regional level, she says. Unlike Ramos, she said, “I have actually done this work. I know how it’s done.”

An attorney by training, Eddy co-founded a nonprofit group last year that promotes pro bono legal work and she now works as a public-affairs consultant.

Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or