Traffic, taxes tops for 39th District candidates


Herald Writer

Candidates for the 39th Legislative District agree on a couple of things. Residents want relief from traffic congestion and property taxes, and they want better schools.

But how to achieve those goals is where they disagree.

The 39th District includes Arlington, Darrington, Gold Bar, Granite Falls, Index, Lake Stevens, Monroe, Snohomish, Sultan and Skykomish.

  • In the race for state senator, incumbent Republican Sen. Val Stevens will face Democrat Fredda Smith and Libertarian Craig Chase. All three are from Arlington.

    Stevens has been criticized by Smith.

    "She’s claims to be a child advocate, and yet she’s voted against some measures that would protect children," Smith said. "She has supported changes in the definition of abuse to exclude bruises and welts. That is something I would never do."

    Stevens said Smith doesn’t understand the legislative process and said "nebulous definitions" confuse the work of the Department of Social and Health Services.

    "Those things are really left up to the interpretation of the individual social worker," Stevens said.

    She said state policy has given social workers an impossible task. She said a priority for her is to fund social services so that caseworkers have reasonable loads.

    Smith thinks government needs to make the Growth Management Act work by making sure the infrastructure is in place before allowing development to happen. She supports increased funding for public transit.

    Smith also wants to see equity among school districts so all children have the same chance to succeed. She supports reducing class size, raising student standards and attracting quality teachers with fair salaries.

    Stevens wants to see control of the schools get back in the hands of local districts. Also, she supported legislation to keep Initiative 695 in place and out of the courts because a majority of voters in Snohomish County passed the measure.

    "What voters need to recognize is that I am an experienced legislator, and I know how the system works," she said. "I’ve taken on DSHS, a large state agency, and my efforts are gaining recognition. I’ve poked the dragon in the eye, and I’m not afraid to take on any bureaucracy."

    The Libertarian, Chase, supports less government.

    "I want to pare down government to the minimum services needed and return the other services to the private sector," he said.

  • In the race for state Representative, Position 1, incumbent Rep. Hans Dunshee, a Democrat, and Dan Kristiansen, a Republican, see traffic congestion as something the state needs to address. Both men are from Snohomish.

    Kristiansen thinks east Snohomish County is too rural to benefit from light rail. He favors van pools.

    "There’s a bus that goes from Darrington to Arlington to Boeing in Everett every week day," he said. "There are only a handful of people on it. This is a case where we could save money by using van pools."

    Buses should be for roads such as I-5, he said. He favors more interstate lanes and improvements to Highways 9 and 92.

    Dunshee thinks the answer to road construction is to bring more gas tax money to Snohomish County.

    "For every dollar that Snohomish County taxpayers put into the gas tax pool, we only get 64 cents back," he said. "The rest goes to rural Eastern Washington counties. We need to rework the formula so that we get more of our money where the problems are."

    Dunshee also thinks money in the school construction account should be allocated to local school districts.

    "Last year the Legislature put enough money in the account to double the money local school districts will get from the state to build schools," he said. "That money needs to be allocated, and we need to get our share."

    In Kristiansen’s view, the problem in funding education lies in administrative costs.

    "The state pays about $7,900 per student each year," he said. "Only $3,000 of that is used for the real costs of education, the books, the teachers. The rest is administrative costs.

    "We need to make curriculum a priority along with teachers," he said. "All the candy-coated facilities shouldn’t override the education our children are getting."

    Kristiansen would like to see property taxes lowered. Dunshee said he will work for a way to protect individuals from businesses selling information about them without consent.

    The third candidate in the race, Libertarian Robert Donat of Arlington, has dropped out and decided to support Kristiansen.

    "I met with him, and we are close on most issues," he said. "Because I don’t have the kind of money the other candidates in this race do, I decided I can’t compete with them."

    Donat, 33, said he is concerned about Dunshee’s voting record.

  • In the House Position 2 race, a couple of newcomers are vying for the seat, which is being vacated by Rep. John Koster, R-Arlington, who’s running for Congress.

    Democrat Liz Loomis of Snohomish faces Republican Kirk Pearson of Monroe. They both see transportation as a big issue.

    "I want to use a common-sense approach," Loomis said. "My opponent supports I-745, but that’s not common sense. About 40 percent of commuters use public transportation. We need a combination of public transportation and road improvements to help with our traffic congestion."

    She said building more roads won’t work because, much like a purse, "if you buy a bigger one, you just fill it up."

    A system of van pools and minivans in which residents could call to reserve rides is an idea she likes.

    Pearson said the problems on Washington’s highways are resulting in more road rage, and the infrastructure needs to be built to handle the traffic.

    "I’m not against transit," he said. "But we are losing business and trade because we have the third most congested roads in the nation. People don’t want to bring their companies here because of the traffic."

    Loomis sees privacy as a big issue and would work for legislation that would block businesses from selling personal information.

    Regarding schools, Loomis thinks they need to be equipped with the latest technology to make students job-ready when they graduate.

    "We need to look for new innovative ways to educate our youth," Pearson said.

    Pearson wants to allow health care decisions to be made by individuals and their doctors without the state playing a role.

    Loomis said she wants to work toward affordable health care premiums for elderly and handicapped people.

    The third candidate, Libertarian Christine Lawniczak of Monroe, wants to make government more responsible and less expensive. She seeks better use of tax dollars and wants to help ease the tax burden on small businesses.

    Talk to us

    > Give us your news tips.

    > Send us a letter to the editor.

    > More Herald contact information.

  • More in Local News

    Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

    Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

    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.

    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.

    Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
    Driver arrested in fatal crash on Highway 522 in Maltby

    The driver reportedly rear-ended Jeffrey Nissen as he slowed down for traffic. Nissen, 28, was ejected and died at the scene.

    Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
    3 charged with armed home invasion in Mountlake Terrace

    Elan Lockett, Rodney Smith and Tyler Taylor were accused of holding a family at gunpoint and stealing their valuables in January.

    PAWS Veterinarian Bethany Groves in the new surgery room at the newest PAWS location on Saturday, April 20, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    New Snohomish hospital makes ‘massive difference’ for wild animals

    Lynnwood’s Progressive Animal Welfare Society will soon move animals to its state of the art, 25-acre facility.

    Traffic builds up at the intersection of 152nd St NE and 51st Ave S on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Here’s your chance to weigh in on how Marysville will look in 20 years

    Marysville is updating its comprehensive plan and wants the public to weigh in on road project priorities.

    Mountlake Terrace Mayor Kyko Matsumoto-Wright on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    With light rail coming soon, Mountlake Terrace’s moment is nearly here

    The anticipated arrival of the northern Link expansion is another sign of a rapidly changing city.

    Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
    1 dead in motorcycle crash on Highway 522 in Maltby

    Authorities didn’t have any immediate details about the crash that fully blocked the highway Friday afternoon.

    Photographs in the 2024 Annual Black and White Photography Contest on display at the Schack Art Center on Thursday, April 18, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Black and white photos aren’t old school for teens at Schack Art Center

    The photography contest, in its 29th year, had over 170 entries. See it at the Schack in Everett through May 5.

    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)
    Everett mom charged with first-degree murder in death of son, 4

    On Friday, prosecutors charged Janet Garcia, 27, three weeks after Ariel Garcia went missing from an Everett apartment.

    Dr. Mary Templeton (Photo provided by Lake Stevens School District)
    Lake Stevens selects new school superintendent

    Mary Templeton, who holds the top job in the Washougal School District, will take over from Ken Collins this summer.

    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.