By Evan Smith
The five candidates seeking the open 21st District seat in the State House of Representatives all sent recent statements about what the legislature should do to comply with the court order to provide full state support for basic public education.
The five are running for the position left open by the retirement of Democratic State Rep. Mary Helen Roberts.
The four Democrats and one Republican will appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot, with the top two vote getters in the primary, regardless of party, qualifying for the November general-election ballot.
The 21st 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 about complying with the State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision from the five candidates, in the order the names will appear on the primary ballot:
21st DISTRICT STATE REPRESENTATIVE Pos. 1
Scott V. Whelpley (Prefers Democratic Party)
As the only candidate in this race with school-age children, education is a vital issue to me.
My kids have great teachers who go to great lengths to provide a world-class education. But we need to do more to help them. We need to lower class sizes, provide universal pre-K and full day kindergarten, and ensure access to a quality and affordable higher education. State Superintendent Randy Dorn and teachers across the district endorse my campaign.
We must invest in our children and find the revenues necessary to fully fund basic education without cutting other important social services..
Dick McManus (Prefers Democratic Party)
We live in an oligarchy where a 2/3rds affirmative vote is required to raise taxes. Teachers’ wages have decreased by some 9 percent in the past six years. Reagan/Bush Sr. got us into debt $3 trillion. AWOL Bush added another $2 trillion by lying us into unjust wars. In a few years gasoline will be $10.00 gallon because we are running out of cheap oil and we have global warming. The bottom line is that Republicans are a party of psycho-talkers. I will ALWAYS vote with the majority of the Democrats in the state legislature..
Strom Peterson (Prefers Democratic Party)
The Supreme Court made it clear: we’re not meeting our constitutional obligations. Voters made it clear: the legislature needs to fulfill its duty to reduce class size and provide competitive teacher pay.
I’ll make school funding a priority without sacrificing important programs that working and struggling families depend on. We need to close outdated tax loopholes for out of state special interests and make sure they pay their fair share. And we must continue to find ways to make government more efficient and accountable to the people. There are no easy answers, but I will always put our kids first.
Justin McMahon (Prefers Democratic Party)
Washington has made a name for itself as a socially progressive state, but we have a hard time putting our money where our mouth is. The Supreme Court’s ruling in the McCleary decision illustrates how our legislature is woefully in violation of our State Constitution. If we don’t fully fund education by 2018, Washington’s children might have to file a class action lawsuit to force the legislature to fund their education. Any honest conversation about how to solve Washington’s education funding crisis must incorporate new, consistent, and dependable revenue streams rather than resorting to one time transfers and budget gimmicks.
Allen McPheeters (Prefers Republican Party)
Our state’s spending has skyrocketed. We spent $53.4 billion in the 2003-05 biennium. The budget for 2013-15 is $80.5 billion. That’s an increase of more than 50% in just ten years. (Data from fiscal.wa.gov.).
We have enough money, but we don’t prioritize properly. I support funding schools first. We can pull K-12 education out of the General and Capital funds and put it into a separate budget. We can insist that budget must be passed before the legislature can act on other spending. Republicans have proposed this (HB 1174), but the Democrats killed it in the Appropriations committee.