Mark Mullet, owner of Zeek’s Pizza in the Highlands, will challenge a longstanding Republican for her state Senate seat in Olympia.
An Issaquah councilmember for three years, he is the first serious Democrat candidate to challenge a seat in the Republican-held Fifth District in several years.
While Mullet considered running for Rep. Glenn Anderson’s open seat in November, the senator’s position is much more important to the Democrats maintaining power in Olympia, he said.
Mullet said he also hopes to be a better advocate for the cities than Sen. Cheryl Pflug. Issaquah is considering paying a lobbyist to speak on its behalf in Olympia, Mullet noted, adding that this should be Pflug’s responsibility, but she hasn’t been responsive.
Mullet, 39, was first drawn into public service after his father, Steve, ran his reelection campaign in Tukwila for mayor.
Seeing how his father had impacted his community was an eye opener into the world of politics, he said. “There is no better place to make a positive contribution in the lives of other people.”
He earned a master’s in public affairs from the University of Washington in 2008 and the next year took an unchallenged seat on Issaquah’s council.
Calling himself fiscally conservative and socially liberal, Mullet supports the governor’s effort to legalize gay marriage and would support further attempts to legalize medical marijuana.
On city council, he was the strongest supporter of providing zoning for collective marijuana gardens.
He doesn’t think major cuts should come from state workers, and would instead focus on reducing healthcare costs through transparency and health initiatives.
King County has had a successful program in reducing healthcare costs through similar methods, he said.
“I don’t think we’re in the mess we’re in because of state workers.”
His fiscal conservative flair comes through owning two small businesses, he says. He wants a more sustainable budget.
Father of four young daughters, education is his top priority for not only their sakes, but as a crucial tool for helping the economy to recover.
Maintaining roads and transit systems would be his second priority. Without good infrastructure, businesses can’t move goods around the country, he said.
From the start he won endorsements from Democrat state senators, including Majority Leader Lisa Brown. For Mark Mullet, an optimist, it’s an opportunity to impact people’s lives, he said.
“I feel all these problems we have can be solved, but there is a lot of hard work involved.”