Progressive Party member Linde Knighton, left, wants to change the system and get Washington State Legislature back on track.
Coffee with the Candidates: Linde Knighton wants to make WA work for you
Linde Knighton doesn't have much money and is routinely refused media attention, but she's not going to let that deter her race in the 36th District for Washington State Legislature.
The Ballard News-Tribune sat down in the basement of her apartment complex and jumped straight into politics. Contrary to the name of this feature, no coffee was to be had, but she had no problem keeping the energy going and drilling through her talking points.
Knighton has to surmount the odds as the only third party candidate in a race full of Democrats, including legislative aides Evan Clifthorne and Sahar Fathi, Port Commission President Gael Tarleton, and Majority State Director Noel Frame. There is one Republican, too, Ryan Gabriel, former secretary of the 36th District Republicans. They are running to take the seat vacated by State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle.
Knighton grew up in New York State, went to college in Boise, Idaho, where she studied history, and then moved to Seattle. Just three years ago she moved to Ballard, where she currently resides.
Her party, the Progressive Party, was founded in 1912 by Theodore Roosevelt when he decided to run again four years after he chose not to continue his presidency. Though he failed to be elected that year, he gave possibly the best third party fight since the birth of the two-party ticket.
As the name suggests, Knighton is running on a more progressive stance. She hopes to shake up the stale antics of the Washington State Legislature, to do instead of say, and highlight major problems.
"We [the Progressive feel very strongly that if you can’t get a system to work, you have to change the system."
One of the problems is revenue, she said. Though other candidates have openly pushed for tax reform, she said she seems to be the only one serious about it. Not only does she want to have an income tax on the rich, she wants to end all of the tax loopholes that they are privy to.
She also proposes a windfall profits tax on oil companies and legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana.
With the money, one thing she would do is fully restore needed services, such as Disability Lifeline, mental health services and education.
She also wants constituents to show a little bit more muscle with the Legislature. There is something wrong, she said, when constituents are buttering legislators up to get what scraps are fed them, instead of being outraged by how much vital services are being cut.
"You voters hire the people who are in office, and guess what? That makes you the boss!" she said. "When you go in to talk to them about what they are doing, it’s not a begging session, it is a job review."
The campaign slogan displayed prominently on her website is "You're the boss!"
Knighton noted the difficulties of her being in a third party. People only recognize Republicans and Democrats, she said, and even if they are unhappy with their usual choice, they still fail to recognize the obvious alternative.
Furthermore, Knighton also has to fight her way through to make public appearances or participate in debates with the other candidates. Bizarre red tape is put up everywhere to prevent her from actually running a normal campaign, she said.
Moreover, her name is often passed over in media accounts of the race, instead focusing on the five main Democrats.
Knighton also ideologically refuses to glut her campaign with money and has only $3,000. "I think there is no reason for someone to spend over $15,000 to run for State Legislature."
So far, it shows through the material of her campaign. She has fewer signs, a not-quite-so-fancy website and spends far less time grooming herself to look pretty for the public. Her handouts are printed on cheap paper and not immaculately designed by an expert.
“[Too many races are determined Who looks cutest in a suit, who has a nice haircut, or who has the best smile,” she said.
Knighton acknowledged her chances at actually winning were slim, but did not seem to mind that.
"My attitude is if I don’t break through the primaries I'm still going to keep up what I’m doing," Knighton said. "I just wanted to find somewhere warm and dry where I could be in their faces daily."