John Kartak (left) and John Lovick.

John Kartak (left) and John Lovick.

Rep. Lovick and Mayor Kartak differ on almost every issue

Voters will know clearly their views on new taxes, sex ed law, pandemic response and police reform.

The contest for a legislative seat between Democratic Rep. John Lovick and Snohomish Mayor John Kartak at times has been overshadowed by the words and actions of the Republican challenger.

At stake is a two-year term in Position 1 of the 44th Legislative District, which encompasses the cities of Mill Creek, Snohomish, Marysville and Lake Stevens.

Lovick, 69, is seeking a third term in a second tour as a House member from the 44th District. He serves as speaker pro tem, making him one of the chamber’s most recognized, and respected, members.

A retired Washington State Patrol trooper, Lovick began his political career on the Mill Creek City Council. He won a state House seat in 1998 and was in his fifth term in 2007 when he was elected Snohomish County sheriff. He was appointed Snohomish County executive after the resignation of Aaron Reardon. He ran for a full term in 2015 but lost to another Democrat, Dave Somers. A year later, Lovick was picked to fill a vacancy on the Snohomish County Council.

The Mill Creek resident, who has two grown children, describes himself as a “servant leader” and says his experience is critically needed as the state deals with the pandemic and the economic downturn it’s triggered — and looks to heal a racial divide that has sparked a season of civil unrest.

“Elections are about leadership and results,” Lovick said. “We need leaders to enhance unity, diversity and strength.”

Kartak, 55, was born in Seattle, raised on a farm in Snohomish County and has lived in the city of Snohomish since 1996. He worked as a general contractor from the age of 19 until getting elected Snohomish mayor in a hard-fought election in 2017. He has five grown sons.

He touts his experience as a business owner handling demands of budgets and payrolls, and as mayor ensuring critical services are provided to residents.

Running against the tenured Lovick is “an honor,” he said, but the incumbent sides too often with the liberal fiscal and social policies authored by Democrats in Seattle and King County.

“He’s done a miserable job representing our small town, East County values,” Kartak said, pledging to seek “normalcy as we understand it, not normalcy as Seattle understands it.”

Since May, a spate of controversial public comments and social media posts concerning protests have earned Kartak much attention, not all of it positive and some strongly negative.

Earlier this month, for example, he briefly shared a mocking image of protesters being run over by a car on his personal Facebook page. He called it a “terrible mistake” and “deeply apologized. The last thing I would want to do is offend my community.”

Such incidents are likely a contributing factor to why his campaign has failed to garner financial support from the House Republican Caucus to which he aspires to join. He said he understood.

“My heart is completely in this. The community always expects that from me,” he said. “It certainly concerns me how rabid the politics can be. My name is associated with racism. My name is associated with willful violence. This is how wacko and wacky it’s gone.”

The two differ on pretty much every substantive policy issue.

Lovick backs a capital gains tax, which he calls a “wealth tax,” to help plug a budget shortfall. He also supports a low carbon fuel standard, which could drive up gas prices a few pennies a gallon, and embraces the Sound Transit expansion, which has led to much higher vehicle registration bills for many in the district.

Kartak opposes new taxes and increases in existing ones. He backed Initiative 976 to lower the cost of car tabs and ditch vehicle valuation methods used by Sound Transit.

Where Lovick voted to restore state agencies’ use of affirmative action in hiring and require comprehensive sex education in all public schools, Kartak opposed both. Voters in 2019 repealed the Democrat-backed affirmative action measure with Referendum 88. This year, the sex ed mandate is on the ballot with Referendum 90.

Regarding the pandemic, Lovick is calling for creation of a panel to evaluate “what went right, what went wrong and what we can do better” in terms of the state’s response.

Kartak contends one thing Lovick could have already done is not sit on the sidelines while Gov. Jay Inslee issued emergency proclamations and the budget shortfall became known.

Had lawmakers gone into emergency session, they could have “started making small, reasonable cuts” to avoid deeper ones later, and weigh in on the governor’s decisions on the health crisis.

Lovick said he disagreed with the governor’s decision to not call a special session. “I would have gone. We didn’t do it and now we’re not going to start until Jan. 11,” he said.

Policing is another point on which they differ.

Lovick is on a policy team assembling bills to ban no-knock warrants, gather use-of-force data, strengthen the process of de-certifying law enforcement officers and carry out other reforms.

Kartak isn’t pushing any new policies. Rather, he said, he will “loudly and boldly stand with our police. We need to be resolute in supporting them.”

Confronting and easing racial tensions is a matter of most concern for Lovick.

“Healing this racial divide has to be our top priority,” Lovick said at a forum hosted by the Mill Creek Chamber of Commerce. “It is worse than anything I’ve seen in many, many years.”

Entering the final weekend, Lovick had collected $168,873 in contributions to Kartak’s $23,747. And the incumbent had spent about 80% while the challenger reported expending about half of his total.

Most of Lovick’s largest contributors are Democratic Party organizations, labor unions, tribes and political action committees for such groups as charter schools, auto dealers, insurers, dentists, lawyers, card room operators and hospitals.

Kartak’s top donors are family members. He’s also received support from Republican Snohomish County Councilman Sam Low and the county Republican Party.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Ariel Garcia, 4, was last seen Wednesday morning in an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Dr. (Photo provided by Everett Police)
How to donate to the family of Ariel Garcia

Everett police believe the boy’s mother, Janet Garcia, stabbed him repeatedly and left his body in Pierce County.

A ribbon is cut during the Orange Line kick off event at the Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘A huge year for transit’: Swift Orange Line begins in Lynnwood

Elected officials, community members celebrate Snohomish County’s newest bus rapid transit line.

Bethany Teed, a certified peer counselor with Sunrise Services and experienced hairstylist, cuts the hair of Eli LeFevre during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Carnegie center is a one-stop shop for housing, work, health — and hope

The resource center in downtown Everett connects people to more than 50 social service programs.

Everett mall renderings from Brixton Capital. (Photo provided by the City of Everett)
Topgolf at the Everett Mall? Mayor’s hint still unconfirmed

After Cassie Franklin’s annual address, rumors circled about what “top” entertainment tenant could be landing at Everett Mall.

Lynnwood
Lynnwood woman, 83, killed in wrong-way crash following police pursuit

Deputies said they were chasing a man, 37, south on Highway 525 when he swerved into northbound lanes, killing an oncoming driver.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

People walk along the waterfront in front of South Fork Bakery at the Port of Everett on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port of Everett inks deal with longtime Bothell restaurant

The port will break ground on two new buildings this summer. Slated for completion next year, Alexa’s Cafe will open in one of them.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

The Temple of Justice is shown Thursday, April 23, 2020, at the Capitol in Olympia. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)
WA high court: DUI breath tests valid, machine results not at fault

A state Supreme Court ruling reversed an earlier Kitsap County decision that found alcohol breath tests inadmissible as evidence.

People fill up various water jug and containers at the artesian well on 164th Street on Monday, April 2, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Washington will move to tougher limits on ‘forever chemicals’ in water

The federal EPA finalized the rules Wednesday. The state established a program targeting the hazardous chemicals in drinking water in 2021.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
US 2 to partially close late Friday near Lake Stevens

The state Department of Transportation will detour drivers during the 10-hour closure between Highway 9 and Highway 204.

Pat Clayton works on putting in electrical wiring at the new Helion headquarters on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s Helion eyes Central WA for groundbreaking energy venture

Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority commissioners approved a letter of intent with Helion on Tuesday.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.