U.S. Army veteran and PTA President Michelle Rylands on Thursday announced her campaign Thursday for state senator of the 31st Legislative District.
The combined King and Pierce county councils in January appointed Republican Phil Fortunato to fill until a special election this November the state Senate seat Pam Roach vacated upon her election last fall to the Pierce County Council.
As a mother of two children in Auburn Public Schools, Ryland said, she knows how vital a high-quality education is to children and families in the district and across the state.
“Our schools should not be funded by raffles or carnivals or box tops. We should not have to fund basic activities and supplies through charity. It is up to our state to fund basic education, and I’m tired of watching the Republicans and Phil Fortunato play games with our children’s’ future,” Rylands said.
Ever since her eldest son entered kindergarten nearly a decade ago, the former military police officer said, she has dedicated herself to improving schools, going from classroom mother to PTA president, in which capacity she oversees and coordinates the work of PTAs across the Auburn School District and the state of Washington.
Additionally, Rylands said, she and her husband, a federal law enforcement officer, owned DASH, a local oil and vinegar business that employed more than 10 people. In 2016, the couple shut the business down to focus on their family and respective careers in law enforcement.
“Both in the military and in business, there is no kicking the can down the road. Results are expected, and the bottom line is the bottom line, plain and simple. It’s time that our state Senate has leaders who can work together to get things done, rather than bicker over partisan ideology. I’m ready to get to work for our kids and for our communities,” Rylands said.
Rylands, a 911 operator with a local law enforcement agency, is president of the Auburn Council of PTAs, a proud Teamsters member and a new member of the American Legion in Auburn. She enters the race with the endorsement of King County Sheriff John Urquhart.
Rylands and her husband live in Auburn with their two sons, Colin, 12, and Chase, 10.