State Sen. Dino Rossi (R-Sammamish) of the 45th Legislative District said that he never expected 8th Congressional District Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) to announce over a year before the 2018 election that he wouldn’t seek a seventh term.
After reflecting on his own skills and experience, however, Rossi said that he realized he would be well-suited to the position. With the nation in $20 trillion of debt and arguing taking the place of lawmaking, Rossi stated that the U.S. “need[s] someone who can help bring people together.”
Over the past year, Reichert has come under fire for his support of Trump’s policies, which some constituents say do not align with the values of his district.
Eight Democrats have announced their candidacy for next year’s 8th District election, including Robert Hunziker and Jason Rittereiser of Issaquah, and Kim Schrier and Tom Cramer of Sammamish. Issaquah Councilmember Tola Marts had also been campaigning for the position since May, but withdrew from the race on Monday.
Despite being the first Republican to announce candidacy for the position, Rossi said he is not worried about contention in the district because he has a history of uniting the members of both parties in the effort to make legislation that appeals to everyone.
This past legislative session, Rossi served as vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee, the Legislature’s budget-writing committee. In this position, Rossi said that he reached out to his comrades across the aisle and ensured harmony between both parties.
“I balanced the state budget with the biggest state deficit in history, and I did it by working across party lines — something that’s not happening in D.C.,” Rossi said.
He believes that the silver lining to tough times in Congress is that “there is nowhere to go but up,” and is confident that he can be the needed peacemaker in fiscal decision-making.
Rossi noted that he balanced the budget “without raising taxes” and still made sure it was a budget that “proteced people in nursing homes, the mentally ill and people with developmental disabilities.”
“You can be fiscally conservative and still have a social conscience,” stressed Rossi, who serves those with special needs through his position on the Special Olympics Washington Board of Directors.
Rossi’s social conscience comes from his belief that everyone has a right to the highest possible quality of life, as the gift of life is “the greatest gift we’re all given” and “[living life] to its fullest is how you honor that gift.”
Rossi has served in the Legislature since being appointed last December by the King County Council to fill the seat of late Sen. Andy Hill, who passed away of cancer in October 2016.
However, this is by no means Rossi’s first political foray. He served in the state Senate representing the 5th District from 1997 until 2003, and again in 2012 to fill the seat of former Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-Maple Valley). Rossi ran for governor against former Governor Christine Gregoire in 2004 and 2008, and ran for U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) in 2010, but was unsuccessful in all three races.
Before entering the political world, Rossi made his mark in the real estate business. After “wax[ing] floors at the Space Needle to pay for college” at Seattle University, Rossi entered the world of real estate and bought his first apartment at age 25. A passionate businessman, he mentors young people who are just starting their careers.
His entrepreneurial spirit connects with his political goals as well; Rossi is determined for the U.S. to have a business-friendly atmosphere that encourages commerce, job growth and success.
“I want America to be the best place in the world to be an entrepreneur,” he said, so that “the only people who won’t have a job are those who don’t want one.”