Ten candidates running for various government positions in the State of Washington discussed their views on tax reform, job creation, prioritizing core functions of government, state revenue and more during an Oct. 4 Candidates’ Forum at The Cedars on Salmon Creek Golf Course. The event was organized by the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters.
Each candidate was given one minute to introduce themselves and then were given a series of three questions with 90 seconds to respond to each. Candidates then had one minute for a closing statement. Candidates that participated in the Oct. 4 forum included Ann Rivers and Ralph Schmidt, candidates for State Senator, District 18; Adrian Cortes and Brandon Vick, candidates for State Representative, Position 1, District 18; Liz Pike and David Shehorn, candidates for State Representative, Position 2, District 18; Tom Mielke and Joe Tanner, candidates for County Commissioner, District 1; and Jim Malinowski and Julia Anderson, candidates for Public Utility District 1, Commissioner District 1.
Rivers, Schmidt, Cortes, Vick, Pike and Shehorn were all given one set of three questions, while Mielke and Tanner received a different set, as did Malinowski and Anderson.
During the forum, there was an overall consensus among the candidates that there is not a revenue problem in Washington State, but there is a spending problem. The candidates also generally agreed that the state legislature should prioritize the core functions of government, starting with education.
Cortes said he absolutely believes the legislature should prioritize the budget and that education should be at the top, followed by public safety and caring for vulnerable citizens such as the elderly and the disabled. Vick said prioritizing the budget is something that should have been done from the start and that part of the problem is that the legislature has taken all their energy and put it into other places instead of those “core functions.”
Pike said in order to prioritize the budget, the state needs to “spend less than we take in.” She also said she firmly believes the government needs to make it easier for business owners to run their businesses and hire people.
Shehorn agreed with other candidates that the legislature needs to emphasize education and public safety and also said there needs to be more emphasis on care for vulnerable citizens. Rivers pointed out that the Constitution clearly gives all of the core functions and said there is no revenue shortfall, simply a spending problem. Schmidt said he believes the tax system in the state needs to be reformed in order to help prioritize these core functions.
Mielke and Tanner were asked what they will do to build up the job base in Clark County. Mielke said he would look at the current regulations and fees imposed on businesses and determine why they have the fees they have and see what could be changed. He said there needs to be less regulation on small businesses, less impact fees and government should be more business friendly.
Tanner said that with at least 40,000 people currently unemployed in Clark County, he wants to make Clark County more friendly to job creation. He said he doesn’t believe the current government is friendly to job creation.
The two candidates for public utility commissioner, Malinowski and Anderson, discussed the issues that Clark Public Utilities is facing and the candidates talked about water issues, connection fees, rates and more. With a technical background and knowledge of utility operations, Malinowski said he believes it is important for a public utility commissioner to have a technical background. Anderson, however, said she believes the position needs someone who asks constructive questions and is there to represent the people, pointing out that she doesn’t think the technical experience is as important as a candidate who will listen.
In his closing statement at the forum, Cortes, who is a member of the Battle Ground City Council, said he serves with very “passionate and dedicated” individuals on the council and said they always work to put the citizens first, which he would do if elected to the position of representative. Cortes also pointed out that he and Vick’s race was unique because they are both republicans running against each other. However, he said it ultimately boils down to leadership and experience.
Cortes originally pulled out of the race for state representative, but missed the withdrawal deadline, so his name still appeared on the Aug. 7 primary ballot. After he received more than 31 percent of the vote in the primary, Cortes decided to re-enter the race, as he said it was clear voters wanted another choice. Otherwise, Vick would have ran unopposed.
During his closing statement Oct. 4, Vick said he could sum up why he wanted to become a representative in one word – passion. He said he is running for the country, the people and family.
The General Election is Tues., Nov. 6.
Learn more about each of these candidates at their websites:
• Ann Rivers – www.annrivers.com
• Ralph Schmidt (Schmidt did not submit information for the voters’ pamphlet)
• Brandon Vick – www.Electbrandonvick.com
• Adrian Cortes – www.adriancortes.com
• Liz Pike – www.lizpike.us
• David Shehorn – www.davidshehorn.com
• Tom Mielke – www.TomMielke.com
• Joe Tanner – www.VoteJoeTanner.com
• Jim Malinowski – http://jim-malinowski.com/
• Julia Anderson – www.ElectJuliaAnderson.com
Visit www.clark.wa.gov/elections to view this year’s voters’ pamphlet and read more about other area candidates.