Issues

The Top Three

Fiscal Responsibility

Residents of the 41st district are fortunate to have access to high quality jobs at thriving companies and in industries like Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, and Microsoft. These corporations along with many other large and small businesses in this area have created tremendous economic and population growth. Yet, residents still feel as if there is not enough disposable income available in their paychecks at the end of the month to take care of their families.

“Tax fatigue” is taking its toll. I will work to ensure that your hard-earned tax dollars are spent wisely and that the State stays within it’s budget. Every dollar spent needs to be accounted for and requires close scrutiny to make sure we’re seeing positive results. Government transparency is imperative. You have every right to know where and how your hard earned tax dollars are being spent. I will not support a state income tax, capital gains tax, or an increase in any new tax revenue from our already over-taxed residents. We need to start with a top to bottom review of where we’re currently spending your money before anybody asks for more!

Education

My wife, Liz, has been a teacher for 22 years. She has her PhD in Teacher Leadership and has educated students from elementary school to the University level. Education is one of my top priorities, not only for my children but for yours as well. I hold teachers in the highest regard as they are responsible for educating the future leaders of our country and they should be paid accordingly.

The state constitution describes public education as the state’s “paramount duty.” ALL of our children in the 41st district, and throughout Washington State, should have access to a world class education and the State legislature has an obligation to create an effective education system that prepares every student for success. I will insist that this must be a top priority in Olympia.

Washington has made substantial strides in funding public education, with the McCleary Decision, as over half of the state’s budget is now dedicated to schools. We need to hold our school administrators accountable to student performance, graduation rates, and effective allocation of funds while providing transparency to parents and taxpayers. Even now, despite all your tax dollars, many schools lack what they need to prepare students for their futures. Education of our children is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It is an issue that impacts our states ability to compete for jobs now and in the future. I will advocate for a non-partisan, solution oriented approach, to ensure our schools are fully funded and perform at the highest levels in the United States.

Transportation

As a Sammamish resident who commutes daily to work, I understand how frustrating our traffic can be. Our friends and neighbors in the 41st district spend A LOT of time in traffic and frankly, aren’t very happy about it.

Despite rumblings of not enough revenue, Sound Transit collected $1.3 billion in 2017 from tax revenue (sales, property, and car tab taxes).  This is an increase of 116.6% in 5 years with the passage of Sound Transit 3 (ST3) in 2016. Sound Transit expects to collect $2.0 billion in 2018. Much of what is done at the state and county level in regards to transportation is to tax the individual drivers until it becomes so expensive and so difficult to drive that they are diverted to public transportation.

I believe that you can and should decide on your best method of transportation! Regardless of how you travel (car, train, bike, bus) the transportation tax revenue you are paying should be used for improvements that are desperately needed so we can get traffic moving again and YOU can spend less time on the road and more time with your families. The state spends millions of dollars annually, mostly repairing our current infrastructure and yet, King County officials cry out that they do not have enough revenue to adequately maintain roads and they need an additional $400 million dollars in funding otherwise, we could see closure of bridges and roads. The toll lanes, bike lanes, and now the ST3 rail, have done little to nothing to relieve traffic congestion. State government road work has not kept pace with our growing population. We are left with wide open toll lanes that only the wealthy can afford, and a light rail system that will be outdated by the time it’s completed in 2040! Sound Transit needs to be reformed and held accountable for poor management of your tax dollars, cost over-runs on ST3, and skyrocketing car tabs need to be rolled back.

We need to remove the government red tape standing in the way of needed road construction and innovative traffic solutions. These solutions can’t and won’t come from the Washington Department of Transportation.  Recently, WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar stated “Congestion is not a failure on the state DOT’s part-it is a problem we simply cannot solve”. I will advocate for WSDOT to operate with fiscal responsibility and to operate within their budget, to improve roads as promised, to come up with new technologies and ideas to improve the flow of traffic, and to stop current and future tolling. I will vigorously pursue increasing lane capacity, not lane restrictions and propose a measure to ensure the car tab tax to fund ST3 is rolled back to a more affordable cost for voters.

Click here for a related article from the Seattle PI

Other Issues

Jobs

Washington is not only a beautiful place to live but an attractive place to start a business. Companies thrive here because we don’t have an income tax, we have a highly educated work force, and of course, we have the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Yet too often government stands in the way, hampering job creators with red tape, high taxes, and little help. Businesses, especially small businesses, regularly find the government to be a hindrance to their success, rather than a collaborator. New businesses should be exempt from a B&O tax until they have reached a sustainable revenue to keep their business afloat and encourage both innovation and entrepreneurship.

Washington should be the number one place Americans choose to start a business. Our policies should encourage and support companies to move to our area and employ our residents. I opposed Seattle’s misguided head-tax on jobs, which would have harm the entire region and would have ultimately hurt those who most need the security and dignity of a good job. I will advocate for removing policies that hurt job growth and stability and limit their success. I will oppose a state income tax and any further initiatives that will tax the people and harm our economy. Businesses are looking for stable and business-friendly environments and tax structures.   

I will support equal pay for women initiatives.  Washington State has one of the most complex and expensive workers’ compensation systems in the nation.  Even after the passing of reforms to the system in 2011, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries raises costs on employers without making the required improvements to the system.  I will advocate for true workers’ compensation reform that addresses high incidence and cost of occupational disease claims and the reforms the complex process for calculating workers’ benefit levels.

Helping the Vulnerable

I feel privileged to have spent much of my life serving and sacrificing for others to help make the world a better place. Throughout my 25 years in the military, I had the opportunity to work and live in numerous countries around the world providing humanitarian relief as well as life-saving medical care to severely underserved populations on 4 different continents. We freed small towns and villages from overwhelming tyranny and liberated women from oppressive governmental control. The memories of Iraqi women raising their purple finger after voting for the first time will forever remain etched in my mind. These experiences drive my desire to continue to help others.

I believe in treating ALL people with compassion and respect. I will advocate for programs that provide assistance to struggling families during difficult times, the elderly on fixed incomes who need property tax relief so they don’t lose their homes, the homeless veterans who need job retraining, and those in need of medical or mental health services.

Our current government spending on social issues and programs rarely focuses on sustainable solutions. These failed liberal policies, often times perpetuate the problems and lead to more government spending and further government dependency. I will work to provide common sense, pragmatic solutions to empower and protect the most vulnerable residents of our beautiful state..

PSE Powerlines

PSE has proposed “Energize Eastside” an 18 mile rebuild of an existing powerline extending from Redmond to Renton.  While the Eastside wants and needs reliable electricity, this project cuts through dozens of Eastside neighborhoods, brings more large unsightly poles and lines, threatens the safety of our families, harms the environment, removes more of our beautiful Northwest trees, and wastes our money.

There are better solutions to our electricity issues. We have seen new innovations all over the world that provide better electricity solutions while reducing greenhouse gases. The technology dinosaur proposed by PSE does nothing to cut greenhouse gas emissions and doesn’t invest in any new energy technologies of the future such as solar, wind, or batteries and grid management.  PSE justifies the need for the new powerlines by claiming a rapidly increasing demand for electricity, however, even though the Eastside has had tremendous growth, consumption is declining due to conservation and efficiency with energy saving lightbulbs, TV’s, appliances, and smart thermostats. What we really need is better reliability, especially during storms, and an emphasis on new cleaner technology.  PSE’s CEO foresaw the potential of batteries two years ago and stated:

“[PSE is] working to integrate battery storage into our grid. We’ve seen from other utilities across the country that battery storage has great potential for balancing out intermittent renewable energy sources as well as meeting peak customer demand and providing backup power during outages.”

– Kimberly Harris, CEO of PSE  Cleantech Alliance interview, Feb. 2015

Yet, PSE is still pushing for these particular power lines.  Why? Because PSE stands to make over $1 billion in additional revenue over time by charging higher rates for electricity.  Interestingly, my opponent has received donations directly from PSE.  Let that sink in for a minute and then take a look at this PDC report filing at: http://web.pdc.wa.gov/rptimg/default.aspx?batchnumber=100808272

Government Transparency

I believe in an open and transparent government.  My opponent does not.  According to her voting record on 2/23/18 she voted YEA on Senate Bill 6617 to EXEMPT legislators from the public records law. This was a vote to shield government communication from the public. Let that sink in for a minute.

In early 2017, journalists from The Seattle Times and Northwest News Network filed public records requests for documents related to the ongoing debate on education funding in the wake of the McCleary decisionThey were requesting lawmakers documents such as emails, calendars, receipts, investigative reports, recorded phone calls, text messages, web browser data – any and all government communication that was done on the taxpayers dime. 

These records tell us who is trying to influence government agencies and officials, or how those in power are spending time and money. Access to these records are crucial for a functional democracy that holds elected leaders accountable.

 A 1972 ballot measure, Initiative 276, passed by voters and ultimately created the state’s modern public-records law stated “Our whole concept of democracy is based on an informed and involved citizenry”. “High on the list of causes of this citizen distrust are secrecy in government and the influence of private money on governmental decision making.”  The voters have voiced their feelings consistently on issues of access to government communication for over 45 years.

With the passage of Senate Bill 6617 last year, newspapers across Washington state made history with front-page editorials. Twitter went berserk. Phone calls and emails, meanwhile, flooded Gov. Jay Inslee’s office in record-breaking quantities.  Voters were not happy with the passage of Senate Bill 6617.

Ironically, even after she was on the wrong side of the government transparency issue, my opponent was recently endorsed by the Seattle Times.  She continues to receive money from public interest groups, private corporations, and businesses. This type of behavior is what leads to overwhelming distrust in our elected officials and our media. Enough is enough!

Veteran Advocacy

The challenges of transitioning from active duty military service to civilian life for post-911 military veterans can be significant and overwhelming.  As a 25-year military veteran myself, understand the issues well.  I am perfectly situated to advocate for the military veterans in the 41st district.  From VA healthcare access to education and jobs, our veterans should have access to all that Washington State has to offer as a thank you for serving our country.  I have been involved with several nonprofit veteran advocacy groups in our state and I know the resources needed to help service members who are transitioning from military to civilian life.

Zachuse Creek Fish Passage and Stream Restoration

We are facing the extinction of one of our native fish in Lake Sammamish, the Kokanee Salmon also known as “the little red fish”.  The Kokanee salmon are a culturally and biologically significant species that has gone from 18,000 to less than 20 remaining fish in the last 5 years.  Increased building and development has led to a loss of habitat and reduced water quality.  As areas are cleared to build housing developments, dirt, silt, and mud end up in the streams and creek beds which can kill off the Kokanee.  One way to ensure the species can not only live but thrive is to control future development around the known spawning areas, replace fish blocking culverts, and to educate and control storm water pollution. We all want to make sure that we can continue to enjoy the beauty that makes up our Eastside communities for decades to come.

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