State hopefuls differ widely

By KATHY KORENGEL

Herald Writer

Candidates for state representative for the 38th District, which includes Marysville and Everett, share similar concerns with national candidates: education, transportation and health.

Voters in the district also have an unusual number of minor party candidates vying for legislative seats.

For position 1, incumbent Rep. Aaron Reardon, D-Everett, is running against Republican Allen Huang and Libertarian Blythe Brockway.

Reardon, who is finishing his first term as a legislator, also works as a project coordinator for the city of Everett. A lifelong resident of the area, he’s a volunteer in community groups, such as the Downtown Everett Business Association and the YMCA Invest in Youth Campaign.

In the Legislature, Reardon, 29, worked on proposals to raise standards of accountability in public education and to retrain displaced workers and reduce unemployment taxes for businesses.

If re-elected, Reardon said he’d work to reduce school classroom size, expand prescription drug coverage and increase privacy protection for consumers to ensure personal information is not shared among businesses without consumers’ consent.

Reardon said voters should send him back to Olympia because he’s kept his promises, and he’s familiar with the district.

Huang, 37, moved to the United States from China 12 years ago on a student visa and became a citizen in March. He works as a software engineer in Seattle.

Huang, of Marysville, is a member of a civil rights group, the Organization of Chinese-Americans, and of the Northpointe Homeowners Association.

Huang said that as a legislator he’d advocate sending state funds for education directly to school districts to use as they see fit, expanding Highway 9 to serve as a major freeway for the area and cutting business taxes.

He said voters should choose him because he has more life experience than Reardon, he can get things done and, given his background, he can help expand state trade with China.

Huang also said he questions Reardon’s hiring by the city after he was elected to the Legislature to represent a district that includes much of Everett.

Reardon responded that he was offered the city position two months before he was elected. Reardon added: "This district has a tradition of electing people focused on the issues."

Brockway, 25, of Everett, works as an emergency room secretary at Providence Everett Medical Center. She’s lived in Everett most of her life.

Brockway said that as a legislator she would push for a smaller, less-intrusive federal government. She also would advocate lower taxes and the abolition of laws that curb personal freedoms, such as seat belt or helmet laws.

For position 2, incumbent Rep. Pat Scott, D-Everett, is being challenged by Gregory Dean Lemke of the Reform Party and Libertarian Howard Gross.

Scott, 62, a Montana native, has been a district representative for 16 years. Prior to that she was an aide for 10 years to U.S. Rep. Lloyd Meeds, a representative from Everett who served until 1979.

She has worked with the city of Everett for 21 years, currently as community relations officer for Everett Transit.

In the Legislature, Scott has worked on legislation to prevent child abuse and drug abuse. She’s also been active on transportation issues.

If re-elected, she said she would work for long-term solutions to the area’s traffic woes and for fewer students per classroom and higher teacher salaries. She’d also urge legislators to address required changes in shoreline development guidelines, which can be costly for small municipalities to implement, in a way that sets reasonable cost and time limits on small cities.

Scott was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 1999 and said treatments have not affected her performance as a legislator.

She was excused from a majority of votes in this year’s legislative session, according to the House’s Web site, but she said most of those votes were not heavily contested.

"If I thought I could not do justice to my job due to my health, I would have to resign," Scott said.

Lemke, 37, is a lifelong state resident. He works as a security officer at Providence Everett Medical Center.

Lemke opposed Scott in the 1998 general election, taking 29 percent of the vote.

He previously was an aide on disability issues to former state Rep. Dick van Dykec of the 39th District, and served on the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues.

If elected, Lemke said he would work to raise wages for long-term care health workers, and encourage the establishment of patient savings accounts for long-term care.

He also said he’d lift the spending limits of Initiative 601 to address the area’s transportation needs.

Howard Gross, 72, is a retired diplomat and native Texan. He’s lived in Marysville for 14 years.

Gross said he’d been a Republican precinct committee manager, but decided his political views were closer to those of the Libertarian Party.

"A person should do anything he wants to or chooses to do, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone," Gross said.

As a legislator, Gross said he would push for less federal interference in state government.

He’d also like to help reform the education system, by endorsing charter school or voucher programs and by having federal education money go directly to schools.

The government should be working to "repeal laws, rather than enact them," Gross said.

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