Momentum Grows for Tola Marts in Race to Replace Reichert



Marts Picks Up More Than Two Dozen Endorsements from Elected Officials


ISSAQUAH – Councilmember Tola Marts, Democratic candidate in the 8th Congressional District, announced a new round of endorsements today from many current and former elected officials. In addition to a number of state legislators, more than a dozen local mayors and city councilmembers from across Washington have endorsed Tola. Momentum for Marts has continued to grow following Dave Reichert’s surprise retirement announcement last week.


“With Dave Reichert retiring, the momentum is on our side in 2018 to elect a Democrat to Congress from the Eighth District. The strong, early endorsements for my campaign from so many excellent leaders shows our broad range of support,” said Councilmember Tola Marts. “No other Democratic candidate has a single endorsement from a current elected official – a reality that reflects my experience and deep ties to this district. With help from our hundreds of grassroots volunteers and donors, I’m ready to debate and take on whomever the Republicans put forward.”


NEW endorsements:


State Senator Karen Keiser (D)

State Senator Patty Kuderer (D)

State Senator Guy Palumbo (D)


John Stokes, Mayor of Bellevue

Marlla Mhoon, Covington City Councilmember

Mary Morgan, Ellensburg City Councilmember

Mariah Bettise, Issaquah City Councilmember

Stacy Goodman, Issaquah City Councilmember

Mary Lou Pauly, Issaquah City Councilmember

Bill Ramos, Issaquah City Councilmember

Paul Winterstein, Issaquah City Councilmember

Dennis Higgins, Kent City Councilmember

Sheree Wen, Deputy Mayor of Medina

Ed Prince, Renton City Councilmember

Tom Odell, Sammamish City Councilmember & Former Mayor

Kathleen Huckabay, Sammamish City Councilmember

Tom Vance, Former Mayor of Sammamish

Chris Roberts, Mayor of Shoreline

Amy Ockerlander, Duvall City Councilmember

Mike Sando, Former Enumclaw City Councilmember


Already endorsed by:


State Senator Mark Mullet (D)

State Senator Lisa Wellman (D)

State Senator Patty Kuderer (D)

State Rep. Shelley Kloba (D)

State Rep. Mia Gregerson (D)

State Rep. Tana Senn (D)

Former State Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D)

Tola Marts Statement on Women's Health

The campaign of Councilmember Tola Marts gave the following statement to The Stranger about Tola's views on women's health and reproductive rights:

“Councilmember Tola Marts is a passionate champion for reproductive health and rights, and unequivocally believes in fighting for the constitutionally protected right to abortion access. If elected to Congress, he will fight tooth and nail against President Trump and other Republicans who have made attacking Planned Parenthood a weekly event. Unlike Dave Reichert, Tola Marts will work to expand access to women’s health care across Washington and the rest of the country, including efforts to break down the disproportionate barriers that women in rural and underserved areas face when seeking reproductive care.”

Read the full article here.

The Stranger: "Marts is also the only elected official running against Reichert"

The Stranger gave its first impressions of Councilmember Tola Marts:

"Even though he's built like a viking, he puts you at ease. As an Issaquah city councilman, Marts is also the only elected official running against Reichert, and he's come straight out the gate advocating for a specific policy: two years of free community college for all."

Read the full article here.


State Legislators Endorse Tola Marts for Congress

Councilmember Tola Marts, Democratic candidate in the 8th Congressional District, announced endorsements today from a number of current and former Washington state legislators for his campaign against Rep. Dave Reichert.

 “Our campaign continues to grow, and I’m proud to have received the strong endorsements of such wonderful leaders. These experienced elected officials know that we can’t afford to take any chances next year in the effort to defeat Dave Reichert,” said Councilmember Tola Marts. “My wife and I raised our family in the 8th, and I’m thankful that so many people are responding to our campaign’s message of lifting people up, helping the vulnerable, and ensuring basic rights.”


Endorsed by:

State Senator Mark Mullet (5th LD)

State Senator Lisa Wellman (41st LD)

State Rep. Shelley Kloba (1st LD)

State Rep. Mia Gregerson (33rd LD)

State Rep. Tana Senn (41st LD)

Former State Rep. Marcie Maxwell (41st LD)

Tola Marts on Washington State Indivisible Podcast

Councilmember Tola Marts was interviewed for the Washington State Indivisible Podcast, hosted by Issaquah's own Stephan Cox. The podcast is a deep dive into why Tola is running for Congress, the issues that he's passionate about, and his plan to win in 2018.

Listen to the podcast here.

Issaquah City Councilmember Tola Marts Announces Campaign For Congress In The 8th Congressional District

Issaquah City Councilmember Tola Marts Announces Campaign 

For Congress In The 8th Congressional District

If elected, first bill would give every kid the chance to go to college



Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017Tola Marts 425-503-5110


Issaquah - Issaquah City Councilmember Tola Marts announced his campaign today for Congress in Washington’s Eighth Congressional District. 

“I decided to run for Congress because I worry that America’s standing as a place where dreams can happen, and opportunity can be seized, is slipping. I also worry that with all the political division and partisanship, we’re losing our sense of community. I’m running because I believe our government can do better: lifting people up, protecting the vulnerable, and ensuring basic rights,” said Tola Marts

Marts was elected to Issaquah City Council in 2009 and became Council President in 2012. He won reelection in 2013, and is chair for the Services and Safety Committee. In 2017, Tola is running unopposed. He is also the chair for the Sound Cities Association Public Issues Committee, and serves as an SCA representative for the King County Growth Management Policy Council and the Regional E911 Leadership Group.

“We know that education is the best investment we can make towards long term prosperity. Most Americans, still, don’t have college degrees. But the jobs of the future will demand it. Which is why if elected, my first piece of legislation will be to make two years of community college free for all Americans. It’s hard to imagine more we could do to fulfill the promise of the American Dream than to give every kid the chance to go to college,” added Marts. 

Marts began work for Intellectual Ventures Lab in 2012, where he helped create innovative health care solutions for the world’s poorest people. There he manages a team of engineers who developed health care solutions for international aid organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, UNICEF and the WHO. Between 2012 and 2014 Marts travelled to Africa and Asia as part of developing humanitarian technology. 

Marts volunteers for the Issaquah Meals Program and with St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, where he was elected to the vestry.

Marts lives in Issaquah with his wife Tracy and his two children, Sophie and Aidan.



A Plan For Our Schools And Our Kids

Early Childhood Education

Studies have shown that quality early educational programs have a huge impact on student success and achievement. Quality programs have low teacher turnover, low student to teacher ratios, and high teacher qualifications. Kids who have access to these programs graduate at higher rates (74%), and have higher achievement scores than kids who don’t.

I support funding quality early education programs as part of our paramount duty as Washingtonians.  [1]

Education Outcomes: Technical skills, Preparation for Higher Ed

Georgetown University’s Center on Education & the Workforce estimates that by 2020, nearly 2/3 of all jobs will require training beyond a high school diploma. New models for our youth include options for trades like carpentry, dental assistance and others can provide a path to the middle class at less cost than a bachelor’s degree or higher levels of academic credentials.  

We need to provide these options for students in the 8th CD that account for the best career fit for them. The students that choose the trades are success stories because they are making a choice that puts them on a great career path. 

I support continued investment in vocational and technical schools as well as partnerships with our regional employers to prepare our students for work in more technical fields. Education that fits for all our students means they have the best chance to thrive in our economy. [2]

Discipline and its Disproportionate Effect

Students of color face harsher discipline and are more likely to be pushed out of school than whites. 40% of students expelled from U.S. Schools each year are Black. Often these students of color are also placed in the foster care system: 50% of children in the foster care system are Black or Latino. 30% of foster care youth entering the juvenile justice system are placement related behavioral foster care cases. 

 Schools in the 8th CD are educating ¼ of the total population of the district. Of those students 22% are ethnic minorities and half of them are Hispanic. 14% of the incarcerated population in Washington are Hispanic. If the disciplinary trend holds for these students, the rate of incarceration for them would be unacceptable.  

I believe we need a comprehensive review of disciplinary policy in our public schools, and interventions and support for both educators and students that provides a more inclusive strategy for keeping youth in school. [3]



[2] US News & World Report, 5/2/14

[3] Prison Policy Initiative from U.S. Census 2010 Summary File



Ensuring Affordable And Accessible Health Care

I believe that health care is a right.  It must be affordable and accessible to all. We need to cover as many people as possible, with prohibitions against charging different premiums based on health status, denying coverage to those with pre-existing health conditions, and setting annual and lifetime limits on individual coverage. We must retain the 10 essential benefits required by ACA:

  1. Ambulatory patient services (Outpatient care)
  2. Emergency Services (Trips to the emergency room)
  3. Hospitalization (Treatment in the hospital for inpatient care)
  4. Maternity and newborn care. 
  5. Mental health services and addiction treatment
  6. Prescription drugs  
  7. Rehabilitative services and devices 
  8. Laboratory services
  9. Preventive services, wellness services, and chronic disease treatment 
  10. Pediatric services

President Obama and Democrats have acknowledged that the ACA has problems.  They have asked Republicans for their ideas for fixing the law.  The House Republicans have voted to repeal, undo, or defund the law 54 times but have refused to work with Democrats to fix the law. 

The AHCA passed by the Republican house is a terrible law!  Under this law states can apply for waivers exempting insurers from the essential health benefits requirement.  States are permitted to opt-out of mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions.  Insurers may be able to place annual and lifetime limits on individual coverage.

The CBO score of the AHCA concludes that persons with health care coverage would be reduced by 24 million by 2026. I

Premium changes would vary significantly by age: "Under the legislation, insurers would be allowed to generally charge five times more for older enrollees than younger ones rather than three times more as under current law, substantially reducing premiums for young adults and substantially raising premiums for older people." This would lead to a greater mix of younger enrollees, which would lower overall premiums over the longer-term.

Two reports from Center for Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that the ACHA would shift $370 billion in Medicaid costs to the states, which would then be forced to cut coverage and services, which would make health insurance far less affordable in high-cost states, particularly 11 states in which the tax credit would have been more than halved. 

Projected figures for deficit reduction have ranged from $337 - $150 billion over a decade.   Social security expenditures would decrease due to earlier mortality.  Medicaid expenditures would increase due to reduced access to birth control because of the defunding of Planned Parenthood.  

The bill repeals all of the taxes levied to support the costs of Obamacare.  It substitutes tax credits for subsidies.  .  Health care would not be affordable and accessible to all.

Dave Reichert voted against the AHCA on May 4, but he waited until the morning of the vote, after he had been told that the votes were there for passage, to announce his no vote – a cold political calculation, not a profile in courage. [1]

Look beyond the bill’s quasi-mandate and tax credits, and the Obamacare replacement bill is a $600 billion tax cut, with the benefits going almost entirely to the wealthy. To pay for its spending, Obamacare included several taxes on couples making more than $250,000, like a 3.8 percent surtax on investment income and a 0.9 percent surtax on wages. Last year, those levies brought in about $27 billion, according to Wall Street Journal analysis of IRS data. Repealing them would cost about $275 billion over the next decade; which is to say, it would transfer $275 billion from public-health spending to the richest 1 or 2 percent. Other provisions, like repealing the limit of flexible spending accounts and expanding health savings accounts, will also disproportionately benefit the rich. [2]

But moreover, while the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, we shouldn't be replacing it with something that will hit working families hardest. We should be improving the ACA instead. Here are three ways we could do that. 

1)Since affordability is a big issue, the federal government could spend more money to bring down the costs that individuals and families face. This could be done directly by raising the level of subsidies available for plans purchased on the exchanges, or raising the income thresholds at which the subsidies phase out—or both.  Alternatively, the government could offer more generous subsidies to insurance companies, particularly those serving high-risk populations, so they wouldn’t have to raise premiums as much or impose larger deductibles. 

2)One of the big problems that insurers are facing is that too few healthy people, and too many sick people, are signing up for the plans sold on the exchanges. For insurers, that changes everything.  Faced with higher claims per enrollee than they expected, they seek to raise their prices, which makes healthy people, especially young healthy people, even less likely to sign up the following year.  If unchecked, this process could lead to a spiral of rising prices and falling enrollment. An obvious way to address this problem would be to drastically raise the fines that people face if they don’t purchase insurance. 

3)Lower the age for Medicare to 55 and establish a public option – a government-run insurance plan -  to compete with private insurance plans offered through the public exchanges. [3]

A fix not discussed in the article is the negotiation with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug costs. 

 [1] and Wikipedia

[2] "The GOP’s Plan is Basically a $600 Billion Tax Cut for Rich Americans," by Derek Thompson, March 7, 2017, The Atlantic

[3] "Three Ways to fix Obamacare," by Jon Cassidy, October 26, 2016, New Yorker magazine:


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