Senate candidates to replace Val Stevens split on issues

Kirk Pearson is known to many people in eastern Snohomish County. The Republican has served as a representative since 2000 in the 39th Legislative District.

Now, he’s running for a new job: state senator.

He’s seeking to replace Sen. Val Stevens who is retiring after 20 years in office.

Pearson’s facing Democratic candidate Scott Olson, who ran unsuccessfully for state representative in 2006 and 2008 in the same district against Rep. Dan Kristiansen. Olson served on the Sultan City Council in the 1990s.

Pearson received the most votes in the primary with the 57 percent of the vote. No other candidate was in the race.

Olson wants to make the state more friendly to businesses, and he says the state is overregulated. He believes the tax system is in need of a reform, but he says change is going to take time.

“We are stuck with this 80-year-old horse that isn’t going to make it to the final stretch,” Olson said.

Olson wants a tax system that encourages entrepreneurship and investment. The state also can invest to create jobs in the environmental field in the short term, he said.

Pearson cites his main priority as creating jobs.

“I want more people to get to work, so there’s more money to fund education, senior services and public safety,” Pearson said.

Pearson said the state needs to be more business friendly. Washington has too many regulations that are pushing businesses out of the state. He is in favor of legislation to help create jobs and wants people to buy local.

Pearson is also against increasing taxes.

Pearson has voted against gay marriage and opposes legalization of marijuana. Olson is in favor of those issues.

Pearson favors Tim Eyman’s initiative that requires a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to increase or add new state taxes.

“It will make us work together,” he said.

Olson disagrees with that idea. He said if the initiative passes the parties wouldn’t work together. Instead, it will only give power to a minority party to block new taxes. Olson said he is not in favor of taxes, but sometimes there’s a need for them.

“It’s going to tie our hands if it takes two-thirds to do something,” Olson said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@

What’s the job?

At stake is a four-year term as a state senator serving legislative District 39. The annual salary is $42,106. The district includes parts of Arlington, Monroe and Sultan plus rural areas of Skagit and King counties.

Scott Olson

Residence: Monroe

Age: 60

Party affiliation: Democrat

Experience: Served on Sultan City Council in the early 1990s. Volunteer with the Monroe Chamber of Commerce.


Kirk Pearson

Residence: Monroe

Age: 54

Party affiliation: Republican

Experience: Served six terms as District 39 representative.


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