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Candidates face off at Chamber forum
SMOKEY POINT — State Legislature candidates from the 10th and 39th districts answered questions from the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce during their candidates forum on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the Medallion Hotel in Smokey Point.
Democratic 10th District Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen was joined by her Republican opponent, 10th District Rep. Barbara Bailey, whose Position 2 seat is now being sought by Democrat Tom Riggs and Republican Dave Hayes, who also attended with Republican 10th District Rep. Norma Smith, serving in the Position 1 seat.
Kirk Pearson, now running for the 39th District Senate seat, left his own 39th District Representative Position 2 seat open for Republican Elizabeth Scott and Democrat Eleanor Walters to seek it. All three candidates were likewise in attendance, alongside Republican 39th District Position 1 Rep. Dan Kristiansen and his Democratic challenger, Linda Wright.
Haugen touted her chairmanship of the state Senate Transportation Committee, her senior status and a record of bipartisan support for her bills, which inspired Bailey to differ with Haugen’s accusation that the state House of Representatives had failed to pass a budget that had received 44 votes in the Senate.
“That’s because it was changed when it came to the House,” Bailey said.
“It was not changed,” Haugen said, as their exchange drew laughter from the crowd for going over their allotted time.
For her part, Bailey warned that Washington is at risk of not being a sufficiently friendly environment to businesses, and held up her own experience as a member of the minority party in teaching her how to pass legislation by bringing other Legislators on board and “not worrying about who gets the credit.”
Walters and Riggs both cited their business backgrounds, while their respective opponents Scott presented herself as a fourth-generation family farmer and Hayes noted his years of service in law enforcement. Like Hayes, Wright has roots in Marysville, albeit as a school bus driver.
One point on which many of the candidates agreed regardless of party was with regard to the tone of political discourse. Pearson not only echoed Bailey’s contention that working in the minority party had allowed him to build relationships across the aisle, but also argued that the negativity of Washington, D.C., is not reflected in the governance of Washington state.
“More than 90 percent of the legislation that we pass is passed unanimously,” Kristiansen said.
While Wright has organized town halls in Marysville on economic issues that have been attended by a number of her fellow candidates, Riggs pointed out that he was the only Democratic candidate to attend an area Tea Party meeting, while Scott taught overseas for several years, lending her the ability “to listen with an open mind to people with different backgrounds.”
On the question of a state bank, Hayes started with a simple statement — “I hate it” — but expanded his answer to condemn the institution of state banks for competing with free enterprise.
“I support it, which makes for a nice contrast,” said Riggs, drawing another round of laughter from the attendees, as he described state banks as an alternative to Wall Street for lending to local small businesses.
When asked what areas of the state budget they might cut, Riggs and Wright both mentioned tax loopholes, while Pearson explained the costs of tort liabilities and Kristiansen argued against statue duplications of federal regulations.