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Primary 2018: Election preview – 32nd Legislative District


August 3, 2018

With the Aug. 7 primary election fast approaching, the Edmonds Beacon last week sent out a questionnaire regarding hot-button issues in the area to those running to maintain their seats our oust incumbents in the 21st Legislative District.

This week, we focus on the 32nd Legislative District. It includes Woodway, Esperance and the southern portion of Edmonds (including Westgate), as well as the cities of Lynnwood and Shoreline.

The questions are the same:

  • Opioids are being used more and more and seem to be more accessible than ever. What ideas do you have to help combat what many are calling the “opioid epidemic?”
  • Some citizens complain about affordability in the district. What are some ideas you have to help make this area more affordable for people to live in?
  • Homelessness is a big issue in our state, and it is becoming more of an issue in the 32nd District. What are some strategies you have to help reduce the rate of homelessness in the district?
  • What is your stance on gun control in regards to background checks and potentially raising the age of purchase to 21?

Candidates also could add brief closing comments.

State Senator

Maralyn Chase, an Edmonds Democrat, has served in the state Senate since 2011. She will be challenged by Democrat Jesse Salomon and Republican James Wood of Edmonds.

Chase is chairwoman of the Economic Development and International Trade committees. She was elected to the state Senate in 2010 and serves on the State Transportation and Senate Rules committees. She is co-chair of the Legislative Rail Caucus. She serves on the Attorney General’s Sunshine Committee, Washington State Task Force on Trafficking of Persons, and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Trade Policy.

Chase said her priorities include addressing regressive taxes, climate change, broadband for all and fully funded public education.

Prior to her election to the state Senate, Chase served four terms in Washington's House of Representatives. She earned her MA in 1974 at the University of Washington, taught in the political science department and operated a specialty contracting business.

Chase has received the Rachel Carson Award from the NW Center for Alternatives to Pesticides and the Legislator of the Year Award from the Minority Business Advisory Council.

Salomon is deputy mayor of Shoreline. He is a 10-year attorney with King County’s Department of Public Defense, former child welfare prosecutor, and community leader.

He said his priorities are addressing critical needs in education, livable wage jobs, the environment and fiscal accountability.

Wood, a first-time candidate, is a fire lieutenant going on 17 years of service. He also has served in the U.S. Navy as a rescue swimmer prior to 9-11. After the terrorist attacks on New York, he felt a need to continue his military service in the Washington National Guard, where he became qualified and served as a Green Beret. After serving approximately 25 years in public service, he said he continues to see a need to serve and spur a return to principled common-sense leaders in government.

Maralyn Chase

Opioids: Opioids are the leading cause of accidental deaths in Washington state. Snohomish is one of the counties hit hardest, and it grows worse. However, the county’s program of providing Naloxone prevents deaths.

In 2018, I co-sponsored a bill addressing opioids. The supplemental budget will fund treatment programs, Naloxone distribution, and overdose monitoring. I applaud Snohomish County's excellent opioid project and the City of Everett's lawsuit against Purdue Pharma.

Affordability: We need a fair tax system. In Washington state, wealthy earners pay 2 percent of their income in taxes while low-income earners shoulder almost 20 percent. Property taxes could be held stable until a homeowner sells. Forbid taxing utilities such as water, sewer, and electricity. Stocks and bonds should be included in the tax base as per Washington's Constitution, producing more funds for essential projects. Retirement funds would be excluded.

Homelessness: We need a Department of Housing, similar in scope to the Department of Transportation. Public housing could be made available as part of infrastructure. Stop pricing out the poor, elderly and young from our cities.

Gun control: Gun violence is epidemic in Washington state. Legislators banned bump stocks in 2018. I support raising the age to purchase semi-automatic assault rifles to 21, requiring expanded background checks, and gun operation license renewals. I commend the Edmonds City Council's ordinance requiring lock boxes for firearms.

Additional comments: Washington state must defend its citizens, economy and environment. I am committed to single-payer healthcare, quality public education and affordable housing. Washington provides leadership on immigration rights, net neutrality and amendment rights.

Jesse Salomon

Opioids: Doctors need to write fewer opioid prescriptions. As a public defender, I’ve worked with thousands of addicted clients. Access to treatment, via drug courts or regular health insurance, reduces criminal behavior. Studies show that taxpayers save $2-$2.50 for every $1 spent on treatment, largely because of avoided jail costs and lower crime rates.

Affordability: We need to decrease property taxes. To deal with revenue reductions, we should do better at measuring program outcomes to support successful programs and cut ones that don't work. We also need to audit corporate tax loopholes and close ones that aren’t creating jobs.

The legislature should adopt successful models for creating affordable housing. For example, Shoreline requires that 20 percent of new apartment units be rented at below market rates in exchange for incentives like property tax reductions. This policy has created hundreds of affordable units.

Homelessness: We spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fight homelessness. But we need to improve service coordination between government-funded programs to better move people into stable housing and mental health care rather than keep people in long-term homeless encampments.

In high cost areas, I support rapid rehousing subsidies to prevent people from becoming homeless due to rising rent.

Gun control:I support enhanced background checks, raising the age to purchase, safe storage of firearms, and mandatory gun safety training.

Additional comments: I have personally visited over 10,000 homes in every neighborhood during this campaign and talked to thousands of people. It’s clear people want a change.

James Wood

Opioids: First, we must reframe the opioid crisis as an epidemic of addiction rather than abuse, per se. Second, our land borders and ports of entry should be secured against smuggling. Third, we need to expand the Department of Justice efforts to prosecute medical professionals and drug manufacturers and distributors for unlawful practices, which feed the opioid epidemic. Fourth, evidence-based treatment, including medication-assisted treatment, needs to be expanded in Washington state. We must call on Congress to change the restrictive law that prevents Medicaid from reimbursing treatment at certain residential facilities with more than 16 beds.

Lastly, we must not enable addicts by placing them in environments that allow their harmful activity to continue.

Affordability: I have knocked on thousands of doors and visited with many anxious retirees on fixed incomes. They express that they will likely need to sell their homes and move away because they cannot afford the increases in property taxes and don’t qualify for the property tax exemption program for seniors and disabled. It is not right that elected leaders overlook that with the increase in property values come an increased tax-assessed value, thus an increase in tax revenue; then the legislature increases the tax burden beyond that.

Homelessness: Seattle created its homelessness crisis, and now it is trying to make it worse by insisting on a more bloated government that the big, bloated government created in the first place. There are those who are authentically homeless – people who, because of unfortunate events, have become unsheltered. These people want help. Street people do not deserve your tax resources, nor should they be allowed to continue their behavior.

Gun control: The solution is not the creation of more laws. We must enforce existing gun laws and prosecute offenders. Regarding increasing the purchase age for certain firearms to 21, it seems strange to me. We afford 18-year-olds the status as adults giving them the ability to defend our country by serving in the military where they can use true military weapons, but some are advocating taking away their constitutional right because some think they are mentally underdeveloped.

Representative, Position 1

Democrat Cindy Ryu, who has held the House Position 1 seat since 2011, will face Republican Diodato Boucsieguez and centrist Keith Smith.

Ryu is serving her fourth term in the House of Representatives. While a Shoreline city councilmember, she served as mayor, becoming the first Korean-American woman mayor in America. In Shoreline, she served as president of both the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce and its Dollars For Scholars Chapter, helped improve numerous public parks, build its first City Hall and created Shoreline’s Green Business Program.

Ryu is a 49-year resident of Washington, and lived previously in South Korea, Brunei, and the Philippines. She received a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and an MBA in operations management from the University of Washington.

Ryu chairs the Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee, with jurisdiction over tourism, veterans and community resilience. She advocates for small-business owners, public schools, public transportation, public safety and environmental and consumer protection.

She seeks increased access to affordable housing and home ownership.

Smith, a lifelong Washington resident, has lived in the 32nd district for 19 of the last 20 years.

“I went to high school here and grew up here,” he said. “I have watched this area grow up from a mostly wooded community to a buzzing little urban center, and I am excited to watch it grow into a major metropolitan hub. With this growth, it is important to maintain as much of what makes our community special as possible.

“From the little shops in Edmonds, to the park at Echo Lake, to Lynnwood’s flag (Wilcox) and Candy Cane Parks. I have worked in this community, and I volunteer to make it a better place to live. I spent two years as a Volunteer Guardian-Ad-Litem, where I advocated for foster children in Snohomish County, and currently volunteer with Beck’s Place. Now I want to go to Olympia so I can continue to fight for this community that I call home.”

Boucsieguez is a first-time candidate. He was a canvasser for Bill Bryant’s 2016 gubernatorial run and for the Republican Party in 2017. He graduated from the University of Washington in political science, history and communication-journalism.

At the UW, he was director of outreach for the College Republicans and senator for the Associated Students.

“I am running to be the voice for common-sense millennials in Olympia,” he said. “There are politicians who have been in office for years that have done nothing but endlessly raises taxes and support reckless policies that harm our communities.”

Cindy Ryu

Opioids: Many start out in the doctor’s office for legitimate reasons. Providers already limit the number of pills they prescribe, yet fear of addiction is causing some patients to forego needed pain, so a robust option of alternative pain management methods must be offered.

Unused opioids should be disposed of properly, so I support requiring and increasing drug take-back sites to keep medications out of the wrong hands.

Affordability: Many, including seniors on fixed income, are spending 50 to 60 percent of their monthly income on housing – and that is not sustainable.

My bill, HB 2382, promoting the use of surplus public property for public benefit, is one of seven affordable housing bills we passed this year. As the cost of land continues to rise, the money nonprofit developers have to construct housing on that expensive land is stretched thin. Now, certain government agencies can sell surplus land at a discount or make it free to nonprofit affordable housing developers and for-profit developers who commit to renting at below-market rates. I will work on including WSDOT surplus land.

I will continue to work on increasing the number of units for both rental and ownership by reducing barriers to building, and help people age in place by increasing housing assistance and re-formatting property tax exemptions.

Homelessness: Increase the number of housing units, continue to advocate for capital investments in transitional housing units, increase supportive services.

Gun control: I support reasonable background checks and raising the age of purchase to 21 years old.

Keith Smith

Opioids: I have volunteered to help drug addicted parents in Snohomish County. Often, I witnessed parents be told there are no treatment beds available when they want to get clean. Instead of putting resources towards people who do not want help, we need to make sure we have resources available to those who do. Many lives would be changed, and saved, if we use our resources effectively.

Affordability: We have the most restrictive condominium laws, and the fewest condos of any major city, leading to high prices. Increasing the amount of housing available will help. I also support programs that would train people for solidly middle-class jobs, allowing them to afford housing.

Private-public partnerships can create affordable housing, too. In Shoreline, the community came together to build affordable housing. I saw how excited recipients were to be given safe, permanent, affordable housing.

Homelessness: Many homeless people have mental health or addiction problems. We need resources invested in their treatment. The savings from addressing the problem instead of arresting the same people multiple times can be reinvested into our communities or given back to people by reducing taxes.

Gun control: Currently, you need to be 21 to buy a handgun, but only 18 to buy a rifle. The rules need to be uniform. Treating them differently makes no sense. I fully support a law-abiding citizen’s right to own a gun, but the key part of that is the person needs to be law-abiding. Therefore, I fully support strict background check requirements.

Additional comments: Open government is extremely important. Cindy Ryu voted to exempt herself from many of the provisions of the Public Records Act. That is unacceptable. I am committed to fighting for transparent government. The people have a right to be informed, and I will always fight for that right.

Diodato (Dio) Boucsieguez

Opioids: Around 20 percent of health-care visits are due to musculoskeletal problems, and opioids are frequently prescribed to combat the pain. We also need more narcotics officers on the streets, as well as adequate funding to grow and effectively maintain an informant network so that we can aggressively attack the illicit opioid market.

Affordability: ST3 has hurt families like mine who have had to work harder to garner enough money to pay the ST3 tax, a technology that will be outdated by its completion and a project that is, once again, over budget. I will fight to lower the tabs down to $30, which my opponent failed to do. There are taxes on almost everything from a dance tax to feminine hygiene products. Taxes are an essential component to the maintenance of civilized society. However, the imposition of such taxes must be examined.

Homelessness: Homelessness is developing into a major problem in the 32nd District because of the inclusion of a portion of north Seattle in our district. Seattle, in its failed attempt to fix the problem, neglected to distinguish between two types of homeless: those who want to live and die on the streets and those who want to get off the streets and self-ameliorate. We need to focus our resources on those who want to better themselves instead of those who do not.

Gun control: I am staunchly against adding any more limits to Washington’s constitutionally granted Second Amendment rights. I disagree with raising the age of purchase to 21 because I believe that 18-20-year-olds are no more dangerous than 21-24-year-olds. I purport that state and federal agencies must work together more so that no one who should possess a gun by the laws already on the books can obtain a firearm.

Additional comments: For too long we have had politicians in Olympia who have spent years being pawns of the state and national Democratic Party and going along with every feckless policy proposed, including Senate Bill 6617, ST3, and the unconstitutional state income tax, a policy that is in the state Democratic Party’s platform.

I present to the voters of the 32nd District a new face with fresh ideas unfettered by the chains of party politics.

Representative, Position 2

The seat is vacant after the retirement of Ruth Kagi. Hoping to fill her seat are Republican Frank Deisler and Democrats Lauren Davis and Chris Roberts.

As the founding executive director of the Washington Recovery Alliance, Davis said she works to change policy and educate the public around addiction and mental health. After nearly losing her best friend Ricky to addiction, Davis championed 2016’s Ricky’s Law, one of the largest investments in addiction treatment in state history.

She helped launch Forefront Suicide Prevention, where she directed mental health programs in schools. Previously, she worked in international development at the Gates Foundation and as a Fulbright Scholar in West Africa studying education reform. She spent her early career teaching Head Start preschool and started a small business in Ghana to support education for girls.

Roberts, a member of the Shoreline City Council and the Puget Sound Regional Council executive board, says he has advocated in Olympia for children. He and his wife actively volunteer at their son’s school.

Roberts is a teacher, union member and small-business owner who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats. He has a doctorate from the University of

Washington in political science with an emphasis on law, society and justice.

Frank Deisler did not respond to the Beacon’s questionnaire.

Lauren Davis

Opioids: I am fortunate to serve on state and local planning councils that address the opioid crisis. We need a system of treatment on demand. People recover when they are met with quality treatment within their window of willingness. Furthermore, we need significant investments and recovery support services – such as housing and employment and peer support – that help people stay in long-term recovery.

Affordability: We need property tax relief, particularly for seniors, coupled with revising our condo laws to increase multifamily residential housing stock in our urban centers. We must also make historic investments in the Housing Trust Fund to build more units of affordable housing and invest in public-private partnerships and other creative means of incentivizing affordable housing construction.

Homelessness: We need to invest in family homelessness prevention models like those successfully piloted under King County’s Best Starts for Kids initiative. We also need wrap-around services that address the root causes of homelessness, including trauma, as well as permanent supportive housing for our neighbors living with behavioral health challenges.

Gun control: I strongly support enhancing firearm background checks and raising the age of purchase to 21, both of which will hopefully be accomplished by approving I-1639 in November. I am grateful for the sole endorsement of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

Additional comments: I’ve met so many neighbors at the door whose families have been impacted by mental health, addiction challenges and housing instability. These are my issues of passion and expertise and, if elected, I will be a bold leader in these areas.

Chris Roberts

Opioids: I favor a holistic approach, and worked with other mayors in the region to address this epidemic. Addiction is a social and medical issue that can’t be solved through the criminal justice system. I supported funding for ambassadors to help first responders connect individuals with existing services and treatment.

We should expand proven addiction treatment programs and consider expanding access to anti-addiction medications and ensure that people are covered for access to treatment.

Affordability: We must make our tax system more fair and reduce the burden of taxation on those who can least afford it. We have the highest sales tax rate and we pay the highest median annual property tax in our area. Our tax system is unsustainable.

Availability and affordability of housing are linked. We should create more housing affordable to people of all income levels, by promoting responsible development near transit stations – development that contributes to additional parks and traffic mitigation and retains the character of a community.

Homelessness: The goal with any program is to make homelessness brief, one-time, and rare. We need to work to keep people in their homes. Anything we do must be with the aim of empowering people to escape homelessness. For any solution to show results, root causes of homelessness must be addressed. I support more shelter funding, and will work with experts in housing and homelessness to create real paths for those who wish to become permanently housed.

Gun control: I favor universal background checks and raising the age to purchase firearms.


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