EVERETT — After flipping Position 2 in the 10th Legislative District in 2018, Rep. Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor, is making his first bid for reelection. In the Aug. 4 primary election, Paul will face two challengers, Republican Bill Bruch from La Conner and Progressive Taylor Zimmerman from Mount Vernon.
Up for grabs is a two-year term in the House representing the 10th Legislative District, encompassing all of Whidbey Island and Camano Island, as well as parts of south Skagit and north Snohomish counties, including the cities of Mount Vernon, La Conner and Stanwood.
The top two in the Aug. 4 primary, regardless of party, will advance to the Nov. 3 general election.
Paul, 52, an administrator at Skagit Valley College’s Mount Vernon campus, said he wants to continue advocating for the needs of his constituents.
“I worked really hard to listen to anyone who wants to talk to me and try to have a more balanced approach to representing our district,” Paul said. “I hope I’ve earned the trust of folks that I am going to do that.”
As vice chairman of the House Education Committee, Paul said he has communicated with school leaders in the 10th district and beyond about what classes might look like in the fall. He anticipates school will likely be a combination of remote learning mixed with face-to-face interaction.
Paul said the COVID-19 crisis has reinforced to him the need for a strong health care system. He supports the phased approach to reopening the state and said it was disappointing to not see better national leadership during the pandemic.
“I think it is really important we have leaders that value health care and public health,” Paul said.
During his two years in Olympia, Paul said he worked to put money into the state’s Housing Trust Fund and to lower the real estate price tax for middle class Washingtonians to keep housing affordable and available.
“I try to find solutions wherever possible that are common sense and reach across the aisle,” Paul said.
Bruch, 55, is running to shift a state House that he said is a little too far left.
“The majority party has such a disparity in voting it is very difficult to get a lot of legislation through that represents the citizenry,” he said. “I want to get down to Olympia to provide some more balance in the voting.”
In his hometown of La Conner, Bruch said nine small businesses have closed during the shutdown and that to assist the economy business must reopen as soon as possible. Bruch said Gov. Jay Inslee has abused his power with all the mandates and that they are no longer necessary.
“Personally, I really don’t believe there is a quote-on-quote emergency anymore,” he said, citing the decrease in the death rate in Washington state.
Bruch said he can’t justify keeping schools closed given statistics, data and science that show “the risk of illness from COVID for children is far less than the typical seasonal flu.” He said vulnerable teachers could instruct remotely using a big screen or a teacher’s assistant.
As the owner of a property management company, Bruch said he is familiar with what it will take to improve affordable housing in the region, including streamlining the process to make it cheaper to build. He said he likes a tough love approach similar to the city of Marysville to help individuals experiencing homelessness help themselves.
He is a proponent of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Base and opposes the state-mandated sex education program.
Zimmerman, 34, said his bid for office is a result of the frustration he feels toward the “squabbling, divisiveness, inaction, pettiness and self-righteousness” of our leaders.
“When nonpartisan, open-minded people get involved, we can take our democracy back from the political machine that has perfected the art of capitalizing on corruption, inequality, divisiveness, empty promises and the gridlock,” Zimmerman said.
Partisan government continues to present false choices, according to Zimmerman, between options like business-killing taxation or inhumane cuts that harm the most vulnerable, or between handling a pandemic and saving the economy.
He said the solution to the former is to move from a regressive tax system to a progressive system that raises revenue from the people and large corporations that can afford it.
As a clinical trials specialist for the UW Health Science Library, Zimmerman said he can speak to the reality that we can’t return to school or business until we have a vaccine and that thinking in dollar signs is foolish.
“It is painfully obvious that reopening for the sake of the economy only serves to further damage the economy while putting more lives at risk,” he said. “That is not a tradeoff, it is really a lose-lose situation.”
Zimmerman said having a home must be treated as a human right and he also supports Whole Washington, a single-payer, universal health care proposal.
In the race for the 10th district’s lone Senate seat, only one challenger awaits Sen. Ron Muzzall, R-Oak Harbor, who was appointed to the seat in October of 2019 when Republican Barbara Bailey retired after a 17-year legislative career. Helen Price Johnson, a Democrat and Island County Commissioner, is vying to unseat Muzzall.
Both will advance to the general election.
Ian Davis-Leonard: 425-339-3448; email@example.com; Twitter: @IanDavisLeonard.
Ian Davis-Leonard reports on working class issues through Report for America, a national service program that places emerging journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. To support Ian’s work at The Daily Herald with a tax-deductible donation, go to www.heraldnet.com/support.
What’s at stake?
A two-year term in the House representing Position 2 in the 10th Legislative District. The 10th Legislative District encompasses all of Whidbey Island and Camano Island, as well as parts of south Skagit and north Snohomish counties, including the cities of Mount Vernon, La Conner and Stanwood.
House, Position 2
Residence: Oak Harbor
Experience: First term in the State House of Representatives; Current Oak Harbor Educational Foundation president; Oak Harbor Rotary Club member; formerly Newark (Ohio) School Board member & Kiwanis Club member; volunteered in public schools for 16 years
Residence: La Conner
Experience: La Conner Town Councilmember 2016 – 2017
Residence: Mount Vernon