Primary hopefuls stake out issues
Seattle Times staff reporter
Candidates say the issues range from education and health care to government accountability and tax reform.
Voters in District 11, which includes most of Tukwila and parts of Renton, Burien and South Seattle, will choose a political party and select from either four Democrats or two Republicans in the race for the vacated Position 2 representative position.
In District 37 — which is just north of District 11 and borders Lake Washington and includes parts of South Seattle, Renton and Tukwila — voters who select the Democratic ballot will choose between an incumbent or a challenger in two state House races. Republican candidates for both District 37 seats are unopposed in the primary.
As for the new, Montana-style primary, it will require voters, for the first time in nearly 70 years, to limit their choices to one party.
Four Democrats and two Republicans are vying for the Position 2 representative seat in District 11, which will be vacated by Rep. Velma Veloria, a Seattle Democrat who plans to join her husband in Cambodia, where he works for the American Coalition for International Labor Solidarity. Candidates for the state Senate and the first representative position in District 11 do not face primary opposition.
In the Republican primary, both candidates are focusing their campaigns on reducing unnecessary costs in state government.
Ruth Gibbs of Renton said she favors privatizing Department of Labor and Industries insurance to reduce its cost for employers and employees. She said most other states have privatized Labor and Industries insurance and doing so would eliminate a government agency.
Gibbs said she supports complete audits of all departments of state government and a uniform accounting system that would be posted online.
John Potter of Seattle said he would work toward eliminating wasteful spending in government. He cited the third runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as one example, noting that it would cost taxpayers and travelers millions but not greatly increase the number of flights serving the airport.
Potter said he also supports matching funds for community groups that do environmental restoration in places such as Hamm Creek.
In the Democratic primary for the seat, issues include tax reform and transportation.
Bob Hasegawa of Seattle said he would work with the community to develop a grass-roots, "progressive" agenda.
Hasegawa said the state should look at increasing its revenue base, noting that he supports creation of an independent commission to evaluate tax breaks given to large corporations. Hasegawa said the state should hold corporations, which receive tax breaks, accountable by ensuring that they create family-wage jobs in Washington.
Ed Prince of Tukwila said he supports increasing the reimbursement rate for doctors who see Medicaid patients. He also said insurance companies should be required to get approval from the state insurance commissioner to raise health-insurance rates more than 5 percent in one year.
Prince said he favors restructuring the business-and-occupation tax, possibly exempting small businesses for their first two years.
Rosemary Quesenberry of Renton said the state should create more public transportation and better coordinate schedules between ferries and buses.
Quesenberry also said she would market the state to companies that provide good, living-wage jobs by speeding up the permitting process and allowing tax credits. But she said companies that receive tax credits should be accountable and provide living wages and a complete benefits package to employees.
Marvin Rosete of Seattle said he favors promoting the state to companies, particularly those involved in manufacturing, to encourage them to bring jobs to Washington. He said those efforts could include tax incentives, such as giving businesses time to set up plants before taxing them.
Rosete also said the state should find new ways to make the traffic system more efficient and relieve congestion on highway entrances and exits.
Two Democratic incumbents are facing primary opposition for the two representative positions in District 37.
In the representative Position 1 primary, each candidate favors a state income tax and said education is a legislative priority.
Incumbent Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos of Seattle said she is working in the Legislature to "ensure that we are providing the classroom resources to give every child that chance of realizing their fullest potential." She said there is a "misconnection," and high-school graduates are not fully prepared for college.
Santos said she favors a graduated state income tax, saying the sales tax is unfair and should be reduced, and she supports eliminating the business-and-occupation tax and replacing it with a tax on net corporate profits.
John Stafford of Seattle said he favors increased funding in public education to prepare for projected enrollment increases in the school system.
Stafford also favors a state income tax, saying that the sales tax is regressive, and would restructure corporate taxes to encourage start-up companies. Stafford said he favors abolishing the state Lottery and replacing it with a direct tax and opposes increases in organized gambling.
The winner will face Kwame Wyking Garrett, a Seattle Republican, in the general election.
Both Democratic candidates in the representative Position 2 primary are backing education and health-care plans.
Jeremy Daniels of Seattle said he opposes charter schools and supports fully funding education, making "sure that the focus of education stays upon those who are being educated." Daniels said the state should continue to fund community colleges and technical schools, allowing people who are between jobs to get additional training.
Daniels said he supports universal health care to ensure that treatment is available to everyone who needs it.
Incumbent Rep. Eric Pettigrew of Seattle said the state should look into funding Initiative 728, which was approved by voters in 2000 to reduce classroom size, among other things. He said the state should also address the rising costs of health care, and he favors setting up a commission to find an equitable way to share health-care costs among individuals, the health-care industry and the state.
Pettigrew said the key statewide issue is the budget and an estimated $700 million shortfall, a hole he said could be plugged by finding new ways to generate tax revenue.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Aaron Alberg, a Seattle Republican, in the general election.
Matthew Rodriguez: 206-464-3192 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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