By Amy Nile Herald Writer
Two candidates are vying to unseat Democratic state Rep. Luis Moscoso in the Washington House of Representatives.
Republican Ed Barton and Democrat Dave Griffin are challenging Moscoso for the second House seat in the 1st Legislative District. Neither contender for the two-year term has raised money to wage opposition against the incumbent in Tuesday’s primary election. The top two finishers, regardless of party, will advance to the Nov. 4 election.
The 1st Legislative District covers parts of south Snohomish and north King counties, including Bothell, Brier, Mountlake Terrace and parts of Kirkland.
Moscoso’s signature legislation, the Washington Voting Rights Act, is aimed at giving people equal opportunity to be represented by a candidate from their neighborhood. Some local elections use at-large voting systems, in which people vote citywide. The candidates do not necessarily represent the voter’s neighborhood. If Moscoso’s law passes in 2015, it would allow local governments to voluntarily switch to district-based voting.
Moscoso, 64, of Mountlake Terrace, defeated Griffin in the 2010 Democratic primary.
Griffin, 51, of Clearview, said he’s running again because he is unhappy with the progress his opponent and other lawmakers have made.
“Olympia is broken and we need a change,” Griffin said.
The operations manager doesn’t see himself as a politician. Griffin said he is not beholden to special interests or endorsed by any political party. He is, however, running as a Democrat.
“I’m the spoiler,” he said. “I’m the one who can split the vote.”
Barton, 43, of Bothell, is a business owner, certified public accountant and financial analyst. Barton considers himself a centrist with socially liberal, fiscally conservative views. The Republican said many of his positions on social issues are similar to those of his Democratic opponents, though his reasoning may be different. He favored legalizing recreational marijuana and same-sex marriage.
“People should be able to live their lives as they see fit,” he said.
The three candidates largely agree that transportation and education are key issues facing the district. They concur that it is critical for the state to fund transportation projects.
Moscoso and Barton have different ideas on how to pay for ways to ease commutes and provide the infrastructure needed for development. Griffin did not cite specifics on how to solve transportation issues. He said he does not support funding these projects with an income tax. Moscoso spent the better part of his career working for Community Transit, including some 20 years behind the wheel, and organizing its union. The now vice chair of the House Transportation Committee helped form the House rail caucus.
Moscoso wants to open commuter rail through the eastside corridor to clear congestion on the roads.
He suggests funding commuter trains on existing publicly owned rail, such as the line from Renton to Snohomish. He said the state could get that done within 10 years instead of waiting at least twice as long for Sound Transit. He said it would be far less costly than light rail.
“We do have alternatives to addressing the increasing volume of traffic,” Moscoso said.
He also has his sights set on bolstering the district’s manufacturing industry with freight rail.
“We need to define ourselves as the next hot bed of growth and development,” he said. “Helping the rail move forward is what I hope to be my primary legacy.”
Moscoso said the government needs to develop and regulate rail because private companies weren’t doing it. Barton prefers a more free-market approach.
With two daughters in public elementary school, Barton sees education as a key to driving economic growth and solving problems, such as crime. He supports satisfying the state Supreme Court’s mandate to adequately fund K-12 education with a levy swap. That is lowering local school property taxes and replacing the money with higher state property taxes earmarked for education.
“I don’t necessarily think adding dollars is the answer,” he said. “We have to look at how that money is being spent.”
Barton said Initiative 1351, the measure that would require fewer students per classroom, would only be effective from kindergarten to third grade. He’d rather spend money elsewhere.
Moscoso supports the smaller class-size initiative but doesn’t know how the state will pay for it.
Griffin, a father of two college students, said he has not decided on the class-size initiative. He supports the concept but believes the law could be problematic.
Griffin also is considering Initiative-591, which seeks to stop the government from confiscating firearms without due process and implements stricter background checks than what is required federally. Moscoso and Barton said they are against it.
Griffin and Moscoso favor Initiative 594 for universal background checks on firearms purchases. Barton does not.
Barton’s other key issues are reducing crime and ensuring there is a social safety net in place for those who need it. Moscoso also is working on measures to address poverty and public safety. Meanwhile, Griffin is focusing on the environment and issues for seniors.
Griffin failed to submit his candidate registration and financial information for his campaign with the state Public Disclosure Commission. He faces a $200 penalty if he files before his Aug. 21 hearing. If he doesn’t file before the hearing, the penalty increases to $300.
Moscoso has raised $51,085, according to state records. Barton has reported no money so far.
Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @AmyNileReports
Residence: Mountlake Terrace
Experience: Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee, member of the Government Accountability and Oversight and Public Safety committees, former Community Transit organizational improvement specialist, former Washington State Public Employees Association government relations director
Education: B.A. in Archaeology from the University of Iowa
Residence: Bothell (unincorporated Snohomish County)
Experience: President, G2 Web Services; co-owner of Glass Doctor of Seattle-Tacoma; former owner Port Gardner Yacht Sales of Everett; former U.S. Army National Guard Engineer Officer; former city of Mill Creek planning commissioner.
Education: J.D. from Northwestern California University, M.B.A. from Syracuse University, B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame
Residence: Clearview (unincorporated Snohomish County)
Experience: Eco Foam Recyclers operation manager, former Pacific Bin Corp. operation manager, former QFC manager, former McCorry’s cook and bartender, former Eastside Building Maintenance janitor
Education: Bothell High School, Everett Community College, Bellevue College