Candidate Forum: 32nd District Pos. 1 candidates introduce themselves

Saturday, June 20, 2020

(Editor’s note: This is part of a series of responses to questions we’re sending to candidates running in the Aug. 4 primary election. We will present responses to our questions from candidates for state representative positions in the 32nd and 46th legislative districts. After these introductory questions, we’ll have issue questions for all candidates, with future questions coming from readers. Send questions for the candidates to

Shirley Sutton, Keith Smith, Cindy Ryu

By Evan Smith

Democratic 32nd District incumbent State Rep. Cindy Ryu faces two fellow Democrats, Keith Smith and Shirley Sutton, on the Aug. 4 primary-election ballot.

Smith, of Lynnwood, lost to Ryu and a Republican in the 2018 primary. Sutton is a former Lynnwood city council member. Ryu is a former Shoreline City Council member.

The 32nd Legislative District includes Shoreline, part of northwest Seattle, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County, south Edmonds, Lynnwood and a small part of Mountlake Terrace.

The top two candidates in the primary, regardless of party, qualify for the Nov. 3 general-election ballot. With no Republicans or independents running, the top-two primary is certain to produce a Democrat vs. Democrat general election.

The three Democrats recently introduced themselves with their answers to this question: What is your background for this position? Here are their responses presented in the order their names will appear on the primary ballot and in the voters’ pamphlet:

Legislative District 32, State Representative Pos. 1

Shirley Sutton (Prefers Democratic Party)

At Burlington Northern Railroad I gained experience in management and labor relations, developing strong mediation skills. I have a BA in law and justice, MA in education, worked in the Yakima Public Schools and Yakima Valley Community College. I directed adult basic education and coordinated school-to-work training with area high schools. At Edmonds Community College, I served as Director of Diversity Affairs and taught diversity and cultural trainings.

Keith Smith (Prefers Democratic Party)

I have lived in the 32nd district for the last 21 years. I am a graduate of Brier Terrace Middle, Mountlake Terrace High, Shoreline CC, and CWU-Lynnwood. I officiate high and middle school athletics within the district. I volunteer extensively within the district (Holly House, Old Dog Haven, Beck’s Place, Snohomish County Juvenile Court). I am a substitute teacher. And as a grocer, I am an essential worker in the fight against COVID-19.

Cindy Ryu (Prefers Democratic Party)

I have lived in North Seattle, Shoreline, Lynnwood and Edmonds since 1976 and raised 3 children who attended Edmonds and Shoreline Schools. I have extensive work history since I was 12 years old, including nursing assistant, medical transcriptionist, Management Systems Analyst / Records Manager for City of Seattle, Allstate Insurance Agent, Shoreline City Councilmember and Mayor. As State Representative, I chair the Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee. MBA and BS in Microbiology from UW.

Evan Smith can be reached at


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