GSI Candidate Roundtable – Part 7

How can the legislature encourage a healthy economy across Washington and in the Spokane region, specifically?

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!

If you’re interested in hearing more from local candidates, then be sure to join GSI as we host the United States 5th Congressional District candidates for a debate on national issues that have a direct effect on our local community. Visit our the Business Advocacy section of our blog for more questions posed to the candidates.

Each week, we have been posting all of the answers to a different question in anticipation of the general election.  Check out which candidates answered this week’s question “How can the legislature encourage a healthy economy across Washington and in the Spokane region, specifically?”

3rd District Representative Pos. 1

Marcus Riccelli (Incumbent)

“I’m committed to creating good-paying jobs for men and women in Spokane. This means investing in strategic industries like aerospace and biomedicine to attract hi-tech jobs and keep Spokane on the cutting edge of innovation. It also means increasing access to the higher education and workforce training people need to excel in the jobs of the future, and keeping college affordable so that we are not pricing students out of their education. And it’s not just the number of jobs that matters. I will continue to fight to ensure that the jobs created and protected in Spokane offer the lasting economic security we need to thrive. I believe we have banked a lot of our economic future on the health care sector. As Vice Chair of the Health Care Committee, I am especially interested in working on policies that will spur on jobs and help this sector thrive. I also think the legislature can help by passing a transportation package and robust Capital Budget.”

Tim Benn

“High taxes and heavy regulations are the problems for businesses that employ people. I will stand against additional burdens. In my lifetime, I have watched manufacturing jobs leave Spokane area. I favor incentives to bring businesses here and train workers in our local colleges to meet their needs.”

3rd District Representative Pos. 2

Timm Ormsby (Incumbent)

“In Spokane, we have a high percentage of state taxpayer funded institutions and services. Examples include: WSU campuses in Pullman and Spokane; EWU campuses in Cheney and Spokane; Spokane Falls and SCC; K-12 public schools. These schools not only provide the hope for the next generation to meaningfully participate in the economy, they provide good family wage jobs to the employees. Also, Eastern State and Lakeland provide services and steady jobs. After adding all the Spokane based state employees throughout the many state agencies state investments clearly help our local economy. Additionally, the state makes large investments to our local health care providers and institutions which makes up about 20% of our local economy. Much of the taxpayer services are contracted to private sector for-profit and not-for-profit businesses as well. There are many good ideas to boost our economy, but we should not forget how important state investments are to our success.”

4th District Representative Pos. 1

Bob McCaslin

“See the policies in my previous answers! Also, we need to see more budget dollars come to the east side of the state, instead of going mostly for things in the Seattle area that we don’t use. The GMA, and the unfunded mandates that come with it, needs to be amended or reformed; I don’t like the one-size-fits-all mentality it brings.”

Diana Wilhite

“The goal to encouraging a healthy economy in Washington State is to provide effective and efficient government by limiting the scope and power of government. The State needs to define what its core functions are and then strive for excellence in these areas. By attempting to be all things for all people means that resources are spread so thin that programs do not achieve the desired results. By limiting the services provided by the State agencies, it would allow staff to improve the quality of the services and enhance public confidence in state spending. Review of the business and occupational tax code and tax credits should be done to see how changes could promote business growth and help to recruit new businesses.”

4th District Representative Pos. 2

Matt Shea (Incumbent)

“The legislature can encourage a healthy economy by understanding that it cannot legislate job creation, but that it can create an environment for businesses to create jobs. For example, we know that a completed North/South Corridor in Spokane will help the local economy, but not at the expense of commuters and small business owners via an increased ‘Gas Tax’. Those familiar with the legislative process know that we have the money to fund a completed North/South Corridor, we need simply to continue the fight without surrendering to anti-business, anti-growth policies like an increased ‘Gas Tax’.”

Josh Arritola

“The best way to lift up our community is to lift up the businesses in our community. Healthy businesses create a healthy economy, and a healthy economy creates a healthy community. When elected, I will work tirelessly to bring Boeing to Spokane, complete the North Spokane Corridor, reform B&O and L&I, and expedite business permitting that would allow businesses to get moving faster.

I’m running against Matt Shea because he has proven to be harmful to business. That is why major business organizations have retracted their endorsements of my opponent. I’m proud to be endorsed by the Association of Washington Business (AWB), Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA), Association of General Contractors (AGC) and the Association of Realtors.

We need to send more job creators to Olympia!”

6th District Senator

Michael Baumgartner (Incumbent)

  • “Continue to invest and improve k-12 and higher education to give our state the talented workforce it needs
  • Make Washington a more completive regulatory environment for small business by reducing L&I, UI and Department of Ecology regulatory costs.
  • Invest in key infrastructure such as the North South Freeway.”

Rich Cowan

“Every person who moves from public assistance to taxpaying status is a net positive for our economy, and even more so for that person. The move to retraining, education, and work must make economic sense for the person. We need policies that reflect this reality.

Worker retraining and enterprise zones are proven economic stimulators, especially when business, higher education, and civic leaders join in a common strategic enterprise. This is the vision for our University District. The legislature should continue to encourage and invest in such programs.

The interrelated economic areas of job-creation, education, and transportation are among the most critical to move forward in the Greater Spokane region. A transportation package that includes the North/South corridor and improvements to the Medical Lake and Geiger interchanges must be passed in the next session as it will create jobs now, increase safety soon, and serve as a tremendous economic stimulator for decades to come.”

6th District Representative Pos. 1

Kevin Parker (Incumbent)

“With clear priorities, budgets that are in control, and look to reward entrepreneurship not punish it.”

Donald Dover

“Creating a well-educated workforce is one the missions mandated by our state constitution. But the funding of that training goes beyond paying for the high school diploma. In the shadow of the McCleary decision, I am concerned that our higher education offerings in Eastern Washington are in danger of becoming underfunded. Worse, they could become irrelevant if they don’t address the needs of Eastern Washington employers. Keeping Spokane in the forefront of educating the adult learner has the potential for economic impacts rivaling those of Fairchild Air Force Base or the regional health care providers. Legislation enabling these programs needs to not be forgotten.”

6th District Representative Pos. 2

Jeff Holy (Incumbent)

“By replicating the environment establishing that business friendly attitude, welcome, desire to have a business site here and provision of long term certainty as to regulatory oversight that recently attracted Caterpillar to Spokane’s west plains.

Provide the transportation corridors & portals that allow a business guaranteed access to multiple vacant industrial parks in our region.

Keeping the Public Works Trust Fund funded.

Moving beyond that dynamic competition between the City of Spokane and Spokane County, and establishing common objectives.

And much more…….

If locally we can create that model that systematically does attract business to our region, our success will not go unnoticed. When we are successful, we hold potential to become that model copied by other areas in WA wishing to replicate our success.”

Ziggy Siegfried

“The legislature can encourage a healthy economy across Washington and in the Spokane region by protecting working families and individuals in our state. We need more family wage jobs.”

7th District Representative Pos. 1

James R. Apker

“In my opinion there are a couple of ways that the legislature can do this:

One, get the states debt under control.

Two, making sure that the state has a balanced budget with are rainy fund every single year.

Three, Eliminate regulations and taxes that hurt small business like the B&O tax.

Four, Opt out of Obama care completely.

These are just a few things that we can do.”


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