This week’s question for state legislative candidates:
What are some obstacles you foresee for the legislature next session, and how do you plan to overcome them?
Over the next few weeks, GSI is hosting an online candidate forum for all state legislative candidates running in Spokane County this year. Don’t know which district you live in? Find out here! Click here to read previous Candidate Roundtable Interviews.
3rd District Representative Pos. 1
Marcus Riccelli (Incumbent)
“I believe the McCleary decision will be a part of every funding discussion that we will have next session which will make it difficult to garner investments in other areas. I will continue to do what I have done the past two years, tirelessly advocate for the issues and projects that matter most to our area. I will work with the community and across the aisle with our local delegation to ensure our priorities not only get the attention they deserve, but are delivered on.”
“I plan to work on small simple bills that directly address specific problems. Last legislative session, as a citizen, I worked on HB 2191 and the bill was passed in both chambers unanimously. This common sense bill eliminated conflicting jurisdictions for building code enforcement by Department of Early Learning licensing regulations and local codes. Education will be on the forefront of policy consideration when I am elected. Training for the future workforce is critical.”
3rd District Representative Pos. 2
Timm Ormsby (Incumbent)
“The largest obstacle to come before the next Legislature will be the disconnect between the expectations for state funding needs (education, social programs, etc.) which will exceed the state’s ability to pay for them with current revenue. It will be an enormous challenge to meet our constitutional, statutory and contractual obligations while, at the same time, meeting the minimum expectations of the people for state supported services without additional revenue. There will have to be an honest and realistic discussion about necessary spending for critical state services and the inadequacy of state revenue with the public and within the State Legislature.”
4th District Representative Pos. 1
“There are always obstacles when it comes to doing anything meaningful. Here are a few – I know as a freshman legislator, I will find barriers to: 1.) sponsoring meaningful legislation, 2.) being heard in committees, and 3.) voting for or against bills that come my way. Much of this can be dealt with effectively if you don’t care who gets the credit. Also, you have to be stubborn to hold on to the principles you believe in, but be willing to listen and respect others point of view while still disagreeing with them.
Last of all, funding everything that comes across a legislator’s desk is impossible. There is only so much money in the budget, so it’s important to keep in mind that anything that helps bring more funds into the state coffer without raising taxes is a great thing to get behind! That’s where my focus will be!”
“The major problem is making sure that the legislative budget stays within the revenue income stream and does not add any additional financial obligations. This means we need to look at all programs and prioritize what are the primary obligations of the State to our citizens. The question of what constitutes basic education will need to be determined. Another problem will be finding funds for the transportation budget that will give eastern Washington the dollars needed for the North Spokane corridor plus other pressing maintenance issues. Bridging the Valley is another transportation issue that has to be brought back to the table with regard to resolving traffic safety and congestion.”
4th District Representative Pos. 2
Matt Shea (Incumbent)
“The next legislative session will be dominated by efforts to increase taxes to pay for projects and programs – however, we have sufficient funding to complete projects (like the North/South Corridor here in Spokane County) without the need for increased taxes – especially the ‘Gas Tax’, which would have an irreversibly negative impact on small businesses in the 4th District.”
“In a minority government we must work to protect our businesses and Eastern Washington’s transportation priorities from an activist governor and legislature.
My legislative priorities are business and transportation. As a business owner I know the struggles of starting and operating a business in our regulatory climate. 96% of our businesses are small businesses and we have the second highest small business failure rate in the country. To help create an environment friendlier to business owners we can: fix the clogged transportation system and open up unemployment insurance and workman’s comp insurance to private bids.
The number one transportation priority for Spokane must be the completion of the North Spokane Freeway. A completed Corridor would create massive and sustainable economic development: create 10,000 new jobs, save 9.4 million work hours per year, and save 1.7 million gallons of gas a year.”
6th District Senator
Michael Baumgartner (Incumbent)
“Seattle Liberals will continue to want to spend more than the state can afford and adopt anti-economic growth measures that will hurt jobs. We can continue to overcome them by keeping our Eastern Washington led Majority Coalition Caucus in control of the Senate.”
“If re-elected, I see my opponent as a major obstacle to progress. Olympia needs less legislative-speak and more business background. We cannot allow the obstacles of previous sessions to be the obstacles of the next session. The first lesson learned when making movies is that the investor will not tolerate budget overruns. The taxpayer is the investor in our state government and she or he is calling for a vote of no-confidence.
Time is money on a movie set and so it is in our state capitol. Just last year, my opponent played a leading role during one of the longest and most expensive legislative sessions in our State’s history.
Simply blaming Seattle and the Supreme Court does not get the job done. I have worked with outside investors, our local labor force, civic and business leaders who initially were hesitant; but eventually we managed to come together to complete projects and realize profits for all.”
6th District Representative Pos. 1
Kevin Parker (Incumbent)
“The Budget. There’s almost 3 billion in additional revenue is projected to come in with 8% growth, however OFM is projecting a shortfall, not a deficit. We have at least 1.7 billion in maintenance spending and 6 million mostly for pay raises and millions more in pensions that have to be spent in the next budget. In addition we have the McCleary decision to contend with.
Part of budget process is understanding what spending is necessary and how we can find reasonable solutions to the issues at hand. These are big challenges, but I’m eager to be on the budget committee again and work to find the solutions.”
“Unfortunately, I foresee that the next legislative session may be bogged down by the budget process, and this might result in one of the longest sessions to date. The obstacle: deciding how best to keep our state business friendly, while maintaining the services that our citizens have come to expect. Everyone will have an opinion on how best to do this, and everyone will be passionate in promoting and defending their positions. My hope is that the process can be done with all parties exercising the highest degree of civility.”
6th District Representative Pos. 2
Jeff Holy (Incumbent)
“The coming 2015-17 budget cycle is going to be a fist fight. Even with projected continued revenue increases, the WA State Supreme Court’s constitutional interpretation of Article 9, Section 1 addressing K-12 education funding appears to make budgetary demands that may dramatically affect the ability of the State to provide those other priority governmental services that only state government has the ability to provide. The priorities or responsibilities of government have not changed, only the mandated queue in which such priorities will be funded.
The challenge for the legislature is to find common ground, not only from a partisan aspect, but also from the context of both House and Senate perspectives. With budgetary pressures, the solution is to be objective oriented and results driven rather than creating partisan or agenda driven divides. “
“Funding Public Education is very important, especially under the Federal mandate. I plan to overcome this by supporting any form of non-regressive revenue to achieve this.”
7th District Representative Pos. 1
James R. Apker
“I see the biggest obstacle for the next legislative session is the status quo politics as usual in Olympia. Overcoming this will take building relationships and alliances with liberty minded people who will buck said status quo.”