By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
A new face will take over an open seat in the 39th Legislative District, which covers most of eastern Snohomish County.
Republican candidate Elizabeth Scott and Democratic candidate Eleanor Walters are vying for Position 2 in the district. They have already run for office, but neither have won.
Scott and Walters agree on some issues — they both say they will work with members of both parties, want less bureaucracy in education and hope to balance the budget. But they hold opposite views on a host of other issues, including on the initiatives that voters will be deciding upon during the Nov. 6 general election.
It was a crowded ballot in the primary to replace Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, who decided to run for state Senate in the same district. Walters, Scott and four others ran to take his place. Walters got the 29 percent of the votes, while Scott got about 26 percent.
Both candidates list fixing the economy as their main goal.
Scott, 46, who has taught at community colleges in Seattle and currently home-schools her children, wants to get rid of some regulations she believes hinder small business growth.
“Many other states have recovered from the recession but Washington state has not,” Scott said. “Our businesses are still tightening their belts.”
One way to improve the economy would be privatizing workers’ compensation to increase competition, Scott said. That would make the system more efficient while reducing health care costs, she said.
Walters, 57, who works as a mediator, wants to promote outdoor recreational businesses and create more agricultural jobs. Walters said that tax-reform is needed in the long run. Meanwhile, the business-and-occupation tax should be eliminated or modified, she said.
“It needs to work in favor of new and developing businesses,” Walters said. “It doesn’t do that right now.”
As for education, Scott said she believes the Legislature needs to give more control to local school districts and reduce the cost of state standardized testing.
Walters said she thinks the state needs a better, more direct way to get money into the classroom. She also wants smaller class sizes, although she did not provide an answer on how to pay for it.
The candidates disagree on charter schools. Voters in Washington will decide in November whether the state will allow the schools, which receive public funding, but are generally run privately or by nonprofits with usually non-union workers.
Scott is in favor of charter schools, saying they provide another option for parents. If problems come up, Washington can resolve them by looking for answers in other states that have already used charter schools.
Walters said she believes charter schools would only add another layer of bureaucracy, increasing the size of the Washington State Office of Public Instruction. She opposes any for-profit schools.
Another major issue on the ballot is whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Scott favors the current laws, which allow for people to use marijuana for medical purposes. She’s against legalizing marijuana because she said it will conflict with federal law. Walters favors the initiative, because she said it’s a chance to lower crime and to raise revenues through taxation.
For each candidate, this is their second run for public office. Scott lost in 2010 when she ran against Rep. Marko Liias in the 21st Legislative District seat in southwest Snohomish County. Walters lost in 2010 against Dan Kristiansen for Position 1 in the 39th District.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s the job?
At stake is a two-year term as a state representative serving legislative District 39, Position 2. The annual salary is $42,106. The district includes parts of Snohomish, Skagit and King counties.
Party affiliation: Republican
Experience: Worked as a teacher at four Seattle community colleges. Consulted for educational and political groups.
Party affiliation: Democrat
Experience: Works as a mediator in Snohomish. Worked as senior contract manager for Starbucks Corp.