44th Legislative District: House Position 2: Loomis, Hope outline their priorities for government

The former mayor of Snohomish and a Seattle police officer are in a hotly contested race for the 44th Legislative District state House of Representatives seat.

Democratic Rep. Liz Loomis, a business owner and former Snohomish mayor, who was appointed to the vacant seat last year, is being challenged by Mike Hope, a Seattle police officer and gym owner.

Hope, 33, a Republican who lives in Lake Stevens, lost to Rep. Hans Dunshee in 2004 and 2006. His experience in business and law enforcement, give him valuable insight at a time when the state government is looking to save money, he said.

If elected, Hope said his priorities include balancing the budget without raising taxes; promoting safety projects for Highway 9 and U.S. 2, including a bypass in Monroe; eliminating the WASL, and reducing K-12 classroom sizes.

Loomis, 38, who lives in Snohomish, describes herself as a bipartisan lawmaker who teamed up with Republicans this year to increase penalties for sex offenders and to secure millions of dollars to improve safety on U.S. 2.

Loomis said she would fight to hold the line on state expenses and work to prioritize spending on transportation, education and health care.

If elected, Loomis said her priorities include funding all-day kindergarten and expanding high school trade and apprenticeship programs; completing transportation projects promised with the 5-cent gas tax increase in 2003, securing funding for highway safety projects and working to reduce traffic gridlock. Loomis said she supports expanding bus service in the county and is willing to consider commuter rail.

Both candidates support efforts to build a new University of Washington branch campus in Snohomish County. Loomis said she prefers a site in Everett. Hope said he prefers the Marysville option.

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