By Evan Smith
The two candidates running for the open state Senate seat in the 1st Legislative District recently sent statements about their priorities in the legislature.
Republican Mindie Wirth and Democrat Guy Palumbo are running on the general-election ballot for the position that Democratic State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe is giving up after six four-year terms.
The two responded to a question about their legislative priorities and preferred committee assignments.
The 1st Legislative District includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell including the Maltby area.
Here are statements from the two candidates in the order their names will appear on the ballot and in the voters’ pamphlet:
Mindie Wirth (Prefers Republican Party) —
Education is my focus, and the reason why I entered the election this year. Not only do I want to contribute to finding a solution to fund basic education, as a Mom with kids in our public schools it is critical to me that our children graduate career and college ready. Right now approximately 25 percent of incoming freshman in Washington State will not earn a high school diploma, and Washington State is the No. 2 importer of talent in the country. In our K-12 education, I want to focus on solutions that have demonstrated success in meeting kids at their learning level, not just a one-size-fits-all approach. In higher ed., I want to see an expansion of degree programs to meet the needs of available jobs in this region, and will work to reform and expand vocational education as we see demand for skilled tradesmen surge as the greatest generation transition into retirement. However, at the end of the day, the most well-funded, robust education offering means very little if students come to school unprepared to learn due to circumstances beyond their control; whether due to the effects of mental health, hunger or living situation. For these reasons, I would be honored to serve on the Early Learning and K-12 Education, Higher Education or Human Services, Mental Health and Housing committees.
Guy Palumbo (Prefers Democratic Party) —
I hope to serve on the Senate Transportation and K-12 Education committees.
As an elected Fire Commissioner, I have seen how my experience running a small business can be an asset. Fire District 7 has run budget surpluses for the past two years while still raising salaries for fire fighters and increasing our reserve fund by over 400 percent. We can be fiscally responsible while still treating labor with respect. I’d bring my public and private sector experience to ensure the state budgets responsibly.
Clearly traffic and transit are top issues in the 1st District. I’d work to ensure we get our fair share of transportation projects. The state passed the $16 billion gas tax while sending less than 1 percent here. My priorities are to fix bottlenecks on Rt. 9 in Clearview, SR 522 in Maltby, Paradise Lake Rd./SR 524/SR 522 intersection, and another lane north of Bothell. We should ensure that the Bus Rapid Transit line on I-405 works for us if Sound Transit 3 passes.
In our K-12 schools, we need to lower class sizes, get our kids out of portables and provide safe sidewalks to school. I would also like to focus on early learning. Data shows we get a huge return on investment by addressing the opportunity gap early and I want to work on further expanding early learning and preschool opportunities.
Evan Smith can be reached at email@example.com.