Koster announces run for Congress

From left, Snohomish County Council member John Koster speaks with Bill Walker of Arlington and Rod Henderson of Marysville, in the wake of his Jan. 13 campaign announcement at the Snohomish County Courthouse Plaza. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Snohomish County Council member John Koster speaks with Bill Walker of Arlington and Rod Henderson of Marysville, in the wake of his Jan. 13 campaign announcement at the Snohomish County Courthouse Plaza.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

EVERETT — John Koster acknowledged that he’d just finished his campaign for his third and final term on the Snohomish County Council in November of last year, but on Jan. 13 he threw his hat into the ring for an even bigger race.

The Snohomish County Courthouse Plaza was crowded with residents of the Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties, as they gathered to hear Koster make his official announcement of his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington’s 2nd Congressional District.

Koster explained that he’d received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls, and become the subject of a petition drive to draft him for Congress. Pledging to “answer the call,” he took aim at incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, whom he’ll be running against, by criticizing Larsen’s record on government spending, including his support of both bailouts and stimulus packages in the wake of the economic downturn.

“Rick Larsen offers Washingtonians a failed socialist ideology that punishes prosperity and produces mediocrity,” Koster told the crowd.

Koster touted his own “steady conservative political approach,” and spoke out against what he deemed as a larger and more intrusive government, which he feels is characterized by increased federal micromanagement and losses of both freedoms and personal wealth. He went on to link Larsen to congressional health care proposals and funding of ACORN, the latter of which he called anti-American.

“What has the federal government done so well that we want to give them our health care?” Koster asked his audience. “The last survey I saw showed that 63 percent of Americans are against government-run health care.”

If elected, Koster pledged to give voters “a government that takes far less from the people, because it recognizes that wealth is created in the private sector and belongs to you.”

Marysville resident Rod Henderson has rung doorbells for Koster during his County Council campaigns, and expects to do so again for his congressional campaign.

“I like his conservative views and what he stands for,” Henderson said. “He wants private enterprise more than government control.”

This will mark Koster and Larsen’s second fight for the same congressional seat. In the September primary of 2000, Koster led Larsen by 4,000 votes, but by the November general election of that same year, Larsen beat Koster by 12,000 votes, finishing with 50.01 percent of the vote to Koster’s 45.93 percent.

“Rick Larsen welcomes the opportunity to defeat John Koster for a second time,” said Brooke Davis, political director for Larsen’s campaign. “But now, Rick remains laser-focused on improving the economy in Western Washington.”

Davis anticipates a spirited campaign, but in the meantime, she identified unemployment reduction through job creation as Larsen’s first priority, citing his efforts on behalf of Washington state aerospace workers, in areas such as his push to land the Air Force Tanker for Boeing. Davis noted that Larsen, an Arlington native, worked to bring in $5.5 million to upgrade the city of Arlington’s waste water treatment plant, creating 50 jobs, and to bring $92,000 to create a safe route to schools on Gifford Avenue in Arlington, a road that he had walked to and from school on. Davis cited $1 million to expand the Child Development Center at Naval Station Everett as among Larsen’s other quality-of-life investments.

“Rick Larsen is an independent problem solver in our community with a strong record of accomplishment throughout the district,” Davis said.

For more information on Koster’s congressional campaign, you may log onto his Web site at, call his campaign team at 360-631-6055, or e-mail

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