Young Democrats endorse Matthew Sutherland for state legislature

Growing up in eastern Washington helps Sutherland connect to needs of district

Duncan Thomson, Guest columnist

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The stereotypical politician is old, stubborn and anchored to massive corporate interests. Not Matthew Sutherland.

As a student at WSU, Sutherland received a bachelor’s degree in political science and is currently working on another for physics. He has been accepted into the graduate school at WSU to study global security policy, sits on the executive board of the charitable Michael F. Lange Foundation and is a member of the Washington Army National Guard.

Despite all his work outside his campaign, he has still established himself within the communities of Eastern Washington as a strong candidate. He has broken fundraising records going back to the mid-90s with only donations from individual supporters.

In person he is charismatic, passionate and knowledgeable. When I visited him to get some information for this piece, he discussed national politics, joked about the height of the ceiling in his office and told me his favorite part of campaigning was knocking on doors and meeting voters. When asked his least favorite part as a follow-up, he said it was calling for donations because it was a reminder of how much money factors into who gets a say in politics.

Sutherland grew up in Washington in a working-class household and went on to work in construction and join the U.S. Army, keeping with family tradition. He is aware that his background defies the image of a stereotypical Democratic politician.

For instance, conservatives are more expected to join the armed forces than those pushing for progressive healthcare reform. Sutherland does both. He lightly jested to me that, when talking about his background, people assume he is a Republican, but quickly shifted to a more deliberate tone and explained that such prejudices are unhelpful, and many core values cross partisan lines.

“At the end of the day everyone cares about how many jobs there are,” Sutherland said. “Is there economic growth?”

Sutherland is a pro-business candidate and centers much of his platform on helping individuals financially. He seeks to reduce tuition costs for students, promotes equal pay for women and wants everyone to have a fair shot at the American dream. In his eyes we must reduce partisanship around these types of discussions, and though he has a lot of ideas himself, he emphasizes the importance of listening to voters.

Sutherland’s open-mindedness and well-rounded background make him a compelling candidate. More importantly, however, he feels driven by the issues many of his constituents face because he has faced them himself. This sets him apart from politicians who rely on special interests for funding, are comfortable within the status quo and are distanced from those they represent.

If elected, Matthew Sutherland will be the youngest sitting Washington legislator and first current WSU student in recent memory. Anyone interested in learning more about him or supporting his campaign can do so at or visit his pages on Twitter and Facebook.

I encourage anyone interested in positive change, dynamic leadership and representation of WSU in Olympia to vote for him next November.

Note: This article represents a majority vote by the Young Democrats of Washington State University to endorse Matthew Sutherland for the 9th Legislative District in Washington. Several YDWSU members are part of the Sutherland campaign team, but no financial compensation or favors were given or promised for writing this article, and the author has no formal affiliation with the campaign.


This letter has been updated from its original version.