Chris Reykdal speaking at NPI's 2014 Spring Fundraising Gala
State Representative Chris Reykdal speaks at NPI's 2014 Spring Fundraising Gala (Photo: Lincoln Potter/Samaya LLC)

State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Chris Reyk­dal (D‑22nd Dis­trict: Olympia, Tumwa­ter) is set to become Wash­ing­ton State’s next Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruc­tion after fresh results show it’s become math­e­mat­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble for him to lose.

“We are up over 28,000 votes with less than 18,000 to count in our race. We have achieved a math­e­mat­i­cal vic­to­ry,” Reyk­dal not­ed in a Face­book update for back­ers of the cam­paign. “Thank you every­one for your incred­i­ble support!”

Chris Reykdal speaking at NPI's 2014 Spring Fundraising Gala
Super­in­ten­dent-elect Chris Reyk­dal speaks at NPI’s 2014 Spring Fundrais­ing Gala (Pho­to: Lin­coln Potter/Samaya LLC)

The elec­tion is due to be cer­ti­fied in a week, and Reyk­dal will for­mal­ly take over for incum­bent Randy Dorn in Jan­u­ary. Oppo­nent Erin Jones has con­ced­ed the race in one of the classi­est con­ces­sion mes­sages we’ve ever seen.

She writes:

It is time to con­cede the race for OSPI to my oppo­nent, Chris Reyk­dal. He ran a great race, and I wish him all the best in his new role.

As for me, I believe there is a rea­son for every­thing. I believe the right doors will open to do the right work. I just need to be patient and lis­ten. There have been mul­ti­ple job offers, but I won’t com­mit to any­thing right away.

Thank you so much to my friends, col­leagues, stu­dents, and, espe­cial­ly, fam­i­ly, for your sup­port! Thank you for con­tin­u­ing to believe in me, no mat­ter what! Thank you for being my strength when I was weak, for being my courage when I was afraid.

Thank you, most of all, for your love!

The video is even bet­ter, and we rec­om­mend watch­ing it from start to fin­ish.

Reyk­dal is the first can­di­date in years to jump straight from the Leg­is­la­ture to the Office of the Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruc­tion (OSPI).

Sup­port­ers say Reyk­dal’s leg­isla­tive expe­ri­ence and rela­tion­ships will be use­ful over the next few years as the Leg­is­la­ture grap­ples with McCleary compliance.

Cur­rent Super­in­ten­dent Randy Dorn has been very vocal in chid­ing the Leg­is­la­ture for fail­ing to meet the state’s para­mount duty, but his demands for more school fund­ing and an income tax have gone unheeded.

Mean­while, his deci­sion this year to sue sev­en school dis­tricts for ille­gal­ly rely­ing on levies to fund basic edu­ca­tion was met with wide­spread condemnation.

Dorn is loud, but very inef­fec­tive, crit­ics say.

Reyk­dal’s tenure as Super­in­ten­dent promis­es to look rather dif­fer­ent. Reyk­dal back­ers say he’ll be a bridge builder who will make the posi­tion of Super­in­ten­dent much more rel­e­vant, par­tic­u­lar­ly with respect to address­ing McCleary.

(The Super­in­ten­dent does­n’t have a vote on the bud­get like law­mak­ers do, and does­n’t have veto pow­er like the Gov­er­nor does, but does have a bul­ly pul­pit and can be an effec­tive advo­cate for school funding.)

Reyk­dal is notably a father of chil­dren cur­rent­ly in pub­lic schools — his kids Carter and Kennedy often accom­pa­nied him on the cam­paign trail, demon­strat­ing incred­i­ble patience and matu­ri­ty at events their father had been invit­ed to par­tic­i­pate in — and has expe­ri­ence as a teacher and a school board mem­ber in addi­tion to a state leg­is­la­tor. Reyk­dal’s record in the House is very pro­gres­sive; he mem­o­rably vot­ed against new tax cuts for Boe­ing and spon­sored leg­is­la­tion to increase trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty of Wash­ing­ton’s ini­tia­tive process.

The vot­ers have now cho­sen him to join the state’s exec­u­tive department.

We at NPI con­grat­u­late Chris on his vic­to­ry and look for­ward to see­ing him take over as Wash­ing­ton’s next Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruc­tion in 2017. We stand ready to work with Chris to ensure our para­mount duty is met as quick­ly as possible.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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