Local candidate for governor decries long-shot label
August 28, 2008 · Updated 3:41 PM
MARYSVILLE He's never held or even previously run for public office and has virtually no name recognition.
He's also got a grand total of about $6,000 to spend on his campaign, most of it his own money.
Nevertheless, running as an independent, Marysville resident James White, 42, insists his campaign for Washington governor is not some quixotic quest, that presiding in Olympia is not out of his reach. He's not shy about knocking the media for what he said is its fixation on the candidates of the two major parties.
"People need to know there are other names on the ballot," White said. "A lot of times voters end up focusing on the lesser of two evils not realizing they have choices."
White noted there are 10 candidates running for governor, not just two. With what he called a statewide network of relatives working for him, White insists of the eight lesser-known candidates, he has the best chance of upsetting one of the more recognizable names in the race.
"I think I'm doing a good job of promoting myself and talking to people across the state," he said.
While White talked a lot about transportation, health care and education, there is obviously one issue very close to his heart and that is reform of the state's family court system.
By trade a plane inspector for Boeing, White said he has spent several years working as an advocate for families that are, as he described it, "trapped" in the courts. The passion stems from personal experience. During a custody battle for a son he has not been allowed to see in four years, White feels he got railroaded by the current system.
White particularly had some had some extremely negative comments about former Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart, now running for the U.S. House of Representatives. According to White, the congressional candidate was involved in the custody dispute between White and a former girlfriend. In no uncertain terms, White accused Bart of neglecting his duties in the case.
Bart's campaign did not return a phone call asking for comment for this story, but White said in the past Bart or a Bart spokesman has described the Marysville candidate as "a dissatisfied customer."
"This goes far beyond being a 'dissatisfied customer,'" White said, adding several times he feels his rights in the case were ignored by Bart and the presiding judge.
"They are so absorbed by their own power, they think they are above the law," White said, adding that problem extends into the political arena far beyond the family court system.
"A lot of this is holding public officials responsible," he said, adding that can be done by forcing elected officials into doing the jobs they are supposed to be doing, by eliminating overspending and waste.
Among other examples of government mismanagement, White pointed to what he called Gov. Christine Gregoire's mishandling of the state's transportation issues. He said Gregoire did not even attend her own governor's safety conference and instead of fixing what he called well-known problems on Highway 2, her administration last year proposed a $1.2 million study of the roadway.
"People have been dying on that highway for years," White said, adding what is needed is action, not further study.
In taking about Washington's education system, White again talked about financial irresponsibility and simple waste.
"We have the potential for world class education here, we just need to get it back on track," he said.
White also insists Washington could provide affordable, basic health care for all.
"I think we can afford it, I think the money would be there if we were to hold people accountable," he said.
While he now works for Boeing, White has a degree in criminal justice from Everett Community College and worked for a time as a state corrections officer. He is single for now, but not for long. His marriage to another Marysville resident, Dori Seibert, will happen before the campaign raps up. He admitted the couple will have to put their honeymoon on hold.
In summing up his thoughts, White again touched on what he feels is the bias of the media towards the two major parties. But he also talked about what he thinks are some of the strengths of the state as a whole, particularly its people.
"I think we have some of the most open-thinking people around, people who can make miracles happen," he said.