Education, Health Care At Issue -- 1St District Senate Candidates Agree On Problems, Differ On Solutions
When Republican Marshall Paris Sr. began running for the new 1st District senate seat, he thought he would save money and recycle his old campaign signs from his successful 1990 bid to represent the old 44th District.
But when the new 1st District stickers began peeling off the old signs, it confused some voters who are still trying to figure out what district they're in and whether Paris is running for the House or Senate.
Last year's legislative redistricting, done every 10 years following the U.S. Census, created the 1st that straddles the King-Snohomish county line and includes parts of Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, the Woodinville area, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and Martha Lake.
But while the district's communities cover a broad geographic area, all three Republicans and three Democrats heading into the Sept. 15 primary are from Bothell.
Unlike the Democratic race, where former Northshore School Board member Rosemary McAuliffe is heads above her opponents in name recognition with a $32,000 campaign chest to prove it, the Republican race may be tighter than some expected.
One of Paris' opponents is political newcomer John Yates, the other is former Bothell Mayor Bill Schatz."
All six candidates say they advocate change in the health-care system as a priority, though some differ on how they would do it.
"We have a health-care industry that has run away and is out of control," said Republican newcomer Yates, whose goal is to return credibility to the government by bringing in fresh leaders.
Yates favors establishing a state commission to control health-care costs, but opposes a state insurance system.
"Guaranteeing health care may be appealing at face value. However, like a carrot at the end of a stick, it could be a prelude to socialism and create another taxpayer burden," he said.
Opponent Paris, who served on the Legislature's Health Care and Corrections Committee and its Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, wants to explore the idea of taxing services to cover the uninsured. The health industry may be willing to accept controls on cost and tax services if other services are taxed as well, Paris said.
Schatz favors retaining a competitive market and opposes the creation of a state commission.
"We don't destroy the current system. What we do is modify the current system," he said.
The health industry could provide lower premiums if it had incentives such as caps on malpractice claims, he said.
Mandating standardized billings and claims could further reduce health costs, said Schatz.
"I think there is enough money available within the industry of health care. We just have to reapportion it."
COMMISSION IN FAVOR
All three Democrats favor creating a state commission to control rising health costs.
"My mission is to create a health insurance fund for part-time workers who don't have coverage," said political novice Danial Brownawell.
Brownawell, 26, who works two part-time jobs, said many friends his age who can't find a full-time job in their field work part time and have no health insurance.
"If the state can make a law that we insure our cars, they can sure make a law that we insure our people," he said.
The Cornish College of the Arts graduate, who would like a career as a playwright, envisions a state health-care system where employers pay a third, employees pay a third and the state plays a third.
Opponent Frank Ives favors a system where everyone is in the same risk pool and, therefore, rates would be reduced. Now, employees of larger companies can get lower rates than those who work for smaller companies, Ives said.
McAuliffe, a registered nurse, would like to see what the governor's commission on health care recommends. She favors providing care for everyone and controlling costs.
McAuliffe and Ives said they believe the state could reduce the need to finance emergency care of the uninsured if it spent the money on basic and preventative health care.
A closer look at the candidates:
OPPOSES SCHOOL VOUCHERS
-- Brownawell grew up in Bothell and works in circulation at a community newspaper and for a printing company.
He opposes tax waivers for parents who send their children to private schools. The money should be used to improve public schools, said Brownawell, who supports a small increase in sales tax to expand school programs such as Head Start. He also would like to repeal the new erotic music law which prohibits the sale to minors recordings deemed "erotic" by a judge.
Brownawell supports a state hiring freeze, reducing government travel expenses, and delaying the purchase of new state ferries. If more money is needed, he would support a luxury tax.
CALL FOR COUNSELORS
-- Ives, 40, owns a vending machine business and once ran for Pend Orielle County auditor in the '70s.
He advocates an optional all-day kindergarten in all districts supported by a parent fee. He would also like counselors and tutors at all grade levels.
To balance the state budget, he would first call for cuts in all departments, then propose raising property taxes to raise money for education.
BASING CLASSES ON NEEDS
-- McAuliffe, 52, owns and manages the Hollywood Schoolhouse, a rental facility. She served on the Northshore School Board for 14 years ending last year. She also chaired the Bothell Downtown Management Association.
She favors giving school districts more freedom in decision-making.
She supports closing tax loopholes and cutting across the board to balance the budget except for basic education, debt services and pension exemptions.
FAVORS LONGER SCHOOL YEAR
-- Paris, 64, owns an insurance agency and served on the Bothell Planning Commission and the governor's advisory committee on higher education before entering politics.
He supported the term-limits initiative during his first term as state representative of the 44th District and plans to serve only one term if elected to the senate.
He favors extending the school year from 180 days to 210 days. The number of administrators in Olympia and locally could be reduced and those people could be used in the classroom instead, he said.
Paris would like to forgo future pork-barrel projects and delay budget increases to agencies that do not affect children or education.
INCENTIVE FOR INVOLVEMENT
-- Schatz, 54, is director of corporate development for the Children's Home Society of Washington. He served as Bothell's mayor from 1972-74.
He favors mandating standardized testing of developmental and social skills of first- through third-graders. Parents and businesses would get an incentive to get involved in schools, such as credit vouchers on property taxes, he said. "Prudent use of existing funds, specifically at the administrative level should eliminate the need for new taxes and allow for improvement of schools," he said.
"I believe we have a spending problem in Olympia, not a revenue problem."
If cuts are needed, Schatz would favor reducing the "bureaucratic middle management." He also would like to see 1 percent of the budget directed toward the state's rainy day fund.
SUPPORTS MERIT SYSTEM
-- Yates, 45, is a medical examiner for insurance companies. He blames the state's budget deficit on mismanagement and opposes tax increases or investing more money in a "failing system of education."
He supports a merit system for teachers who would be reviewed by peers outside their district and a review board of principals. Parents who choose to educate their children at home or in private schools should receive tax credits, Yates said.
He favors creating a task force to review all state appropriations followed by appropriate budget cuts.
Yates would like to turn welfare programs into work-force programs for able-bodied men and women. The state could save money by employing welfare recipients, he said.
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