By Evan Smith
Appointed incumbent Democratic 21st District State Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Republican challenger Jeff Scherrer and Green Party candidate Bob Lewis recently sent statements about what the legislature should do to comply with the court order to provide full state support for basic public education.
The three will be on the Aug. 5 primary ballot along with independent candidate Ed Wegner, who announced in mid-June that he is withdrawing from consideration and giving his support to Republican Scherrer.
The top two vote getters in the primary, regardless of party, will qualify for the Nov. 4 general-election ballot.
The 21st Legislative District includes most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood, all of Mukilteo and part of south Everett.
Here are statements on complying with the State Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary decision from the candidates in the order they will appear on the primary ballot:
21st DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE Pos. 2
Lillian Ortiz-Self (Prefers Democratic Party)
As a school counselor in the Everett School District, my top priority is to ensure my students, and students across Washington state, succeed. It’s simple really: when our children succeed, our state succeeds.
It is up to us to meet our paramount duty and fully fund education including reducing class size. Our first step should be to take a tough look at corporate tax loopholes that cost our state hundreds of millions each year. I am eager to return to Olympia and get back to work finding creative, and collaborative solutions for education funding and other challenges facing our state.
Bob Lewis (Prefers Green Party)
To fully fund education, lawmakers should immediately convene a special session and pass a 5%-10% capital gains excise tax, generating $500 million to $1 billion annually. Then, audit corporate welfare, discontinuing subsidies for corporations profiting over $500 million a year.
Afterward, pass a statewide $15 minimum wage, which would: increase local and state tax revenues from current minimum wage earners by up to 60 percent, reduce welfare, and lower violent crime.
Democrats and Republicans weren’t elected to violate our Constitution. They’ve had since 2012 to fix the problem they created. Instead, they voted for corporate greed over our children’s future.
Jeff Scherrer (Prefers Republican Party)
The McCleary decision will very likely dominate the upcoming legislative session.
Understanding that the court has set a deadline of 2018 to fund K-12, and that for forty years we have been using the same tactics regarding our state’s schools, this will prove a real test of how well lawmakers can work together. Real, serious negotiations on how the money is spent needs to take place and take place fast.
It will take real tenacity in Olympia, as I have demonstrated in the past, to reverse the trends we have previously seen and put our schools on the right track.
Ed Wegner (Prefers Independent Party)
Wegner announced his withdrawal and support for Scherrer June 18, well after the May 19 deadline for withdrawing from the ballot.