17th District lawmakers

Washington State Sen. Lynda Wilson, left, addresses the crowd alongside colleague Vicki Kraft, a fellow Republican from Vancouver, during a legislative breakfast at Warehouse ‘23 on Nov. 8.

Photo by Rick Bannan

Although currently North Clark County is in the midst of the holiday season between Christmas and New Year’s, in a few short weeks the lawmakers of Washington state will be heading back to Olympia to craft policy.

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Sen. Lynda Wilson

Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-17

 

Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver
(Legislative District 17)

Age: 59

Political Experience: House of Representatives 2015-2016, Senate 2017-current

Education: Evergreen High School graduate, Clark College

Work Experience: Co-owner, Dewils Industries (third-generation kitchen cabinet manufacturer in Clark County, employing 120 people), extensive background in banking

Community Involvement: Past chair of the Clark County Republican Party, Clark County Veterans Court Board, Clark County Food Bank, Clark County Sheriff’s Santa’s Posse, and extensive community involvement and philanthropic activity through her business, Dewils, Industries.

Family: Married to husband Tracy; three daughters, three grandsons

What committees do you serve on?

Law and Justice, Labor and Commerce

What are your top priorities for this legislative session?

Holding the line on unnecessary tax increases; keeping our work focused on minor, mid-course adjustments typically handled in a supplemental budget year; and completing our work on time.

Are you planning on sponsoring any specific bills?

I will continue to work some of my holdover bills from last session and plan to introduce some new bills in the works related to domestic violence and public safety.

Do you believe the state should have stricter gun laws? How will you improve gun safety? 

I firmly believe the best way to improve gun safety is through education and proper training on the safe handling of firearms by law abiding citizens. Additional gun regulations do nothing to reduce crime, only punish law abiding citizens, and give a false sense of security to those wishing to further restrict our gun rights.

With many of the school construction bonds failing to gain the supermajority across the state, do you believe the Legislature should change bond proposals to a simple majority? 

No. The supermajority requirement is there to protect taxpayers from an excessive tax burden. As our economy continues to improve, bond approval rates should also rebound. Clark County has a very low participation rate in voting, so only a fraction of the people weigh in on issues as it is. 

Do you believe the Hirst Decision needs to be “fixed” or do you believe it to be a good law in coordination with the Growth Management Act? 

The Hirst Decision absolutely must be fixed. Water rights are a human right. Many families are being devastated by this state Supreme Court decision, jobs are lost as well as development being halted. It even creates quite the conundrum for lenders as they can’t lend on land that now no longer has a value and without a fix to the Hirst decision, will continue to have no value. As I’ve previously said, the GMA is in need of dramatic reform after 27 years of being enacted. We need to figure out what works, what are the goals, are they realistic, and how do we get to those goals in a common sense and logical manner.

Given the developments regarding transportation over the Columbia River, what do you feel needs to be done to ensure a solution will benefit Washington, and can the Legislature do anything to meet that end? 

We know we need a new bridge. In fact, we know we need three or four bridges. As bridge talks commence, I am committed to ensuring an open process that includes the public every step of the way, and protects Washington commuters from one-sided tolling that only benefits the state of Oregon. I feel the Legislature is moving forward in a positive manner now, reaching across to Oregon to begin discussion on the Interstate 5 corridor congestion issues, and begin to create a transportation infrastructure plan that looks forward to the next 50 years. The time is now.

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Rep. Vicki Kraft

 

Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver
(Legislative District 17)

Age: 48 

Political Experience: Currently serving first term in the state Legislature. 

Education: B.A. in advertising from Michigan State University 

Work Experience: Prior to being elected to the Legislature, senior account executive for Dell. Account executive for Pillsbury, Frigidaire and small businesses. Owned her own business doing grant writing for nonprofit organizations.

Community Involvement: Member of the Greater Vancouver Chamber, vice president for Cobblestone HOA, Clark County Veterans Assistance Center, Boys and Girls Club, Teach One to Lead One, Shared Hope International, Battle Ground Health Clinic and Vancouver Church of God

Family: Lives with husband, Paul, in Vancouver.

What committees do you serve on?

Capital Budget, State Government, Rules

What are your top priorities for this legislative session?

Improving fiscal responsibility and accountability of government, reducing taxes and regulations for small businesses, improving student education and achievement, reducing congestion along the I-5 corridor, public safety.

Are you planning on sponsoring any specific bills?

For the 2018 session, I will be introducing the following bills:

• B&O tax filing relief legislation — reduces the frequency of filing requirement for small business owners, which will help reduce regulatory burden for our small businesses. For example, currently businesses with an estimated annual tax liability of $4,800 file monthly. This bill will allow businesses with an estimated annual tax liability up to $9,999 to file annually instead which will help reduce the administrative burden for our small businesses.

• Farmers/current use legislation — allows farmers who are age 60 and above or who have a disability or are a disabled veteran and are no longer able to farm their land and/or want to retire to be able to remove their land from “current use” status and not have to pay the deferred taxes, nor any penalties or interest. The farmer must have actively farmed their land for at least the last 10 years prior to qualify.

• Annexation legislation — requires a general election vote and majority of the voters approving annexation for their area before a city/local government could annex them.

• West of I-5 bridge legislation — would appropriate $300,000 for a consultative study to determine the best option(s) for a bridge/connector west of I-5 to connect Southwest Washington and Oregon. This third bridge/connector would provide needed traffic congestion relief and improve freight mobility along the I-5 corridor and in our region.

Do you believe the state should have stricter gun laws? How will you improve gun safety?

No. I believe it is important to protect citizens’ constitutional rights. To improve gun safety I would support local voluntary promotion and participation for new gun owners to attend local gun safety/training class. I am not in support of making training classes mandatory.

With many of the school construction bonds failing to gain the supermajority across the state, do you believe the Legislature should change bond proposals to a simple majority?

No.

Do you believe the Hirst decision needs to be “fixed” or do you believe it to be a good law in coordination with the GMA?

I believe a reasonable, long-term solution needs to be implemented to fix the Hirst decision. Currently without a fix, rural homeowners in many counties are impacted and not able to build a home with a well for water on their own land. Banks won’t lend to these individuals due to the uncertainty being caused in rural communities as a result of this situation. This will negatively affect the economic development for rural areas and their citizens moving ahead. The recently proposed solution, introduced last week during the Legislative committee hearing on Hirst, includes a 350 gallon/day limit and $1,500 fine for these rural landowners. This is not a feasible or fair solution. If the same daily limit was put on those living in urban areas, I’m sure they would not be happy about these limitations, so why are rural residents being expected to live with this? I want to see a solution similar to Moses Lake Republican Sen. Judy Warnick’s bill SB 5239 from the 2017 session to make sure we properly resolve this issue for our rural communities.

Given the developments regarding transportation over the Columbia River, what do you feel needs to be done to ensure a solution will benefit Washington, and can the Legislature do anything to meet that end?

If the top priority regarding transportation over the Columbia River is to reduce traffic congestion on the I-5 corridor then we must truly increase traffic capacity by adding a third bridge across the river. A west of I-5 Bridge or connector will allow us to move traffic and freight directly off of the I-5 interstate and as a result, move traffic more efficiently along both the I-5 corridor and west bridge routes. A third bridge would also promote economic development by helping freight move more quickly and cost effectively through our region and state. This third bridge would also provide another pathway so there would be at least two bridges across the river before an I-5 bridge replacement project takes place with nowhere for traffic to divert to except Interstate 205 during years of construction. If people think traffic is bad now, this would be unbearable. My bill, which will be introduced this year (described in legislative/bills section above), would provide $300,000 for a consultative study to determine west of I-5 bridge options. The Legislature can pass this bill to help provide real traffic congestion relief for our Southwest Washington region and improve economic development for businesses across the state who use the I-5 corridor to transport their goods and services.

What is an issue that "nobody is talking about" that needs to be addressed by the Legislature?

Getting serious about improving fiscal responsibility and accountability to taxpayers as it relates to government and agency spending. This year I’m introducing legislation related to WATECH, which is the Central IT agency for the state. The bill will improve the fiscal responsibility and accountability of the Central IT agency serving the state. The agency, formerly known as Consolidated Technology Services, has continually been losing tens of millions of dollars over the last 5-plus years. As an example, WATECH lost $10 million in 2016 per a state Auditor’s Office audit completed earlier this fall. This bill helps streamline WATECH’s IT service offerings and operations in order to prevent future loss of taxpayer monies by this agency.

Sex trafficking prevention — this isn’t necessarily an issue nobody in the Legislature is talking about but we need to continue to increase awareness of this public safety issue in our local communities as well as work in the Legislature to protect children and keep this horrible crime from happening to them. During the 2017 session, I started a bipartisan caucus (group) in the state House of Representatives dedicated to working on sex trafficking prevention and 

related policy. I’m thankful for the legislative participation we’ve had on this important issue. I will be introducing a bill for the 2018 session, which will increase the penalty/fees up to $5,000 (vs. up to $1,000 currently) for adults who are convicted of committing an end-user sex-trafficking offense against a minor (child under 18 years of age).

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Rep. Brandon Vick

Brandon Vick, R-18

 

Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Felida
(Legislative District 18)

Age: 33

Political Experience: Third-term state Representative

Family: Wife Darci, daughter Makena

What committees do you serve on? 

Business and Financial Services, Ranking Member Commerce and Gaming, Assistant Ranking Member Appropriations

What are your top priorities for this legislative session?

A favorable solution to the Hirst decision and passage of a Capital Budget; expansion of property rights through changes to the Growth Management Act; favorable changes to the B&O tax, including the rate reduction on manufacturers that the governor vetoed last session.

Are you planning on sponsoring any specific bills? 

• I will have legislation to expand property rights by making changes to the GMA to allow for Accessory Dwelling Units on property in unincorporated counties. 

• I will have legislation to provide all of our manufactures with the same B&O tax rate that our aerospace industry enjoys. This measure was vetoed by the Governor in the 2017 budget, despite its wild popularity. Passage of this bill would have great economic impacts in Clark County. 

• I will offer legislation to provide for greater financial transparency on ballot measures and levies that appear on the ballot. 

• Lastly, I am working on legislation to reduce some of the mandates forced on our cities.

Do you believe the state should have stricter gun laws? How will you improve gun safety?

No. Crimes committed with firearms are not committed because of a lack of laws. Safety trainings and the willingness of our citizens to speak up when they suspect that an individual is a danger to themselves or their community are key in reducing gun violence or accidents. 

With many of the school construction bonds failing to gain the supermajority across the state, do you believe the Legislature should change bond proposals to a simple majority? 

No. As we have seen in 2017, citizens are more than happy to pass school bonds if there is a need and if the projects are well thought out. Battle Ground has been more hesitant to pass these measures, but the answer is not a lower vote threshold. The answer is a better bond package, a developed trust with the voters, and excellent voter outreach by the proponents of the measure.

Do you believe the Hirst Decision needs to be “fixed” or do you believe it to be a good law in coordination with the Growth Management Act?

Without water rights, there are no property rights. Hirst must absolutely be “fixed.” An unintended but positive result of the Hirst decision is that it puts the abuse of GMA Hearings Boards on full display. There has been an elevated level of discussion around these boards, and about the negative impacts of the GMA in general. I am hopeful that we will be able to make some positive changes to the GMA to help our citizens, and our communities. This Seattle-centric law is not working for the rest of Washington state.

Given the developments regarding transportation over the Columbia River, what do you feel needs to be done to ensure a solution will benefit Washington, and can the Legislature do anything to meet that end?

First and foremost, we need to get all impacted parties to the table. This not only includes the government officials from Washington, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., but the citizens and businesses who cross the river on a daily basis. A crossing project not only needs to make financial and structural sense, but it must have the support of those who will be paying for it. Real traffic congestion relief and freight mobility are paramount factors in these decisions. We must be able to deliver a series of real benefits to our citizens.

What is an issue that "nobody is talking about" that needs to be addressed by the Legislature?  

The rural/urban divide, or more appropriately put, the Seattle/Washington divide. Policy is often Seattle centric as the largest portion of legislators represent the Seattle area. While Seattle is enjoying an economic boom, those results are not being seen around the rest of the state. The goal of these discussions should not be to hurt Seattle, but rather how to empower the economic engines and resources of places like Clark County. We live in a very economically diverse state, and those differences need to be addressed and allowed to flourish as we move forward.

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Rep. Liz Pike

 

Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas
(Legislative District 18)

Age: 57

Political experience: Three-term Washington state Representative, former Camas City Council member

Education: Graduate of Battle Ground High School and Jennifer Dunn Leadership Institute. Owned Pike Advertising Agency for 18 years, spent 30-plus-year career in private sector advertising and marketing field.

What committees do you serve on? 

Assistant Ranking Member Local Government, Transportation, and Labor and Workplace Standards Committees

What are your top priorities for this legislative session? 

Fixing the deeply flawed Hirst Decision by the Washington state Supreme Court. Secondly, protecting working families from a new state income tax, a new carbon tax and any other punitive measures put forth by the majority party that seek to undermine constitutional freedoms.

Are you planning on sponsoring any specific bills? 

In addition to the dozen or so bills from the 2017 session that are still technically alive for the 2018 session, I am introducing a handful of additional new legislation: 

• Growth Management Act (GMA) soil classifications reform bill to protect landowners

• A GMA consistency bill regarding development regulations/comprehensive plans

• A disabled veterans bill

• A Labor and Industries reform bill regarding time loss benefits for injuries due to intoxication from drugs and alcohol in the workplace

Do you believe the state should have stricter gun laws? How will you improve gun safety? 

I will oppose new proposed measures that are unconstitutional. Such measures only punish law abiding gun owners and do nothing to prevent bad guys from getting firearms.

With many of the school construction bonds failing to gain the supermajority across the state, do you believe the Legislature should change bond proposals to a simple majority? 

I am not in favor of changing current supermajority requirements on school bond measures.

Do you believe the Hirst Decision needs to be “fixed” or do you believe it to be a good law in coordination with the Growth Management Act?

Fixing Hirst must be job one in the 2018 session.

Given the developments regarding transportation over the Columbia River, what do you feel needs to be done to ensure a solution will benefit Washington, and can the Legislature do anything to meet that end?

Citizens must be at the forefront of all new bridge proposals that come forward, since they will have to pay for it. Clark County residents have overwhelmingly voted to reject light rail on any bridge project. As I have in the past, I will continue to respect the will of voters.

What is an issue that "nobody is talking about" that needs to be addressed by the Legislature?

The connection between too many regulations and flaws in the GMA which have resulted in a lack of affordable housing and not enough family wage jobs in Clark County.

(1) comment

shebamutz

Thank you, Reflector, for this informative look at the Republican legislators in SW WA (no Dems asked???There are, believe it or not a lot of independents and
Dems who read the Reflector). Glad to see sort of a consensus on the need for another bridge. This Hirst water issue seems to get our legislators all riled up but I did not read any clear solutions from their points of view; easy to rant and hard to be a statesman or woman. I know many like to pander to the gun lobby, but being against required training is just nuts...I suppose someone taking this position is also in favor of voluntary driver training before getting a license to drive a vehicle. Stop being so afraid of the leadership of the NRA, bought and paid for by gun manufacturers, that you will not go along with an overwhelming majority of the rank and file membership and support closing background check loopholes...might even keep a gun out of the hands of someone who could do great harm...then again, might not, but what have you lost? Finally, with the Dems now in control of both houses in Olympia, let's see if the local GOP reps will work across that evanescent aisle we keep reading about, especially when it comes to meat and potatoes issues like finding workable and practicable solutions to the transportation problems facing our county. We need more consensus builders like a Julie Olson representing us in Olympia and Washington D.C. Finally to all our representatives: appreciate your opinions to which you are entitled, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

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