10th Legislative District
The 10th Legislative District encompasses all of Whidbey Island, Camano Island and their cities, as well as parts of south Skagit and north Snohomish counties, including the cities of Mount Vernon, La Conner and Stanwood.
House of Representatives, Position 1: Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, is running for her sixth term in the House. She is challenged by Mount Vernon Democrat Scott McMullen, a firefighter for 36 years with service in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves. McMullen’s father was the late Pat McMullen, a Skagit County prosecutor and state legislator.
In a meeting with the editorial board, McMullen expressed clear understanding of issues and a desire to address the state’s education, infrastructure and affordable housing needs as well as those of first responders.
The state has made a huge first step in funding for education, McMullen said, but he sees a need for more funding for school counseling and for career and technical training. A firefighter for Boeing, McMullen said he would make the interests of first responders a priority as he would the state’s transportation concerns, in particular the ferry system that serves his district.
Smith, in her more than 10 years in the Legislature, has demonstrated detailed knowledge and expertise on a range of issues, including technology, privacy, the environment, training for advanced manufacturing and mental health issues.
Smith, three years ago was instrumental in establishment of the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials at WSU Everett. The center, which recently held a symposium at which Smith spoke, is tasked with finding and developing alternatives to the rare earth elements that are crucial components in cellphones, batteries, monitors, wind turbines and other technology.
More recently, Smith was the primary sponsor for successful bills that developed regulations to protect privacy around “biometric identifiers,” the specific measurements such as palm prints, retina patterns and more that are likely to be used increasingly to identify people; outlined improvements to the state’s Regulatory Fairness Act; and was a leading voice in support of the state’s first-in-the-nation legislation to protect net neutrality standards after the Federal Communications Commission ended Obama-era protections.
Smith also plans to resubmit legislation that would make recycleable items more marketable by educating the public on preventing contamination of recyclables by other materials. Related to her JC Dream work, she also interested in developing processes to responsibly recycle the components of solar panels, to keep that a viable and affordable option to generate electricity.
Smith is practiced at “working across the aisle,” and is in close cooperation with 21st District’s Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, to make investments through the state’s capital budget in community facilities for mental health and addiction treatment.
Smith is a lawmaker who is able to think ahead regarding the needs of her district and the state and should be re-elected to a sixth term.
House of Representatives, Position 2: Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, is seeking his fourth term. He is a sergeant with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and a U.S. Navy veteran. He is challenged by Dave Paul, an Oak Harbor Democrat who is vice-president for student services at Skagit Valley College’s campuses in Mount Vernon and Oak Harbor and president of the Oak Harbor Educational Foundation.
Paul’s background in education, particularly at the community college and higher education level, could provide valuable insight to the Legislature, in particular concerning student financial aid, the educational needs of veterans and provisions for technical education and job training.
Paul said he understood the public’s “McCleary fatigue” on education funding issues, but pointed to work remaining on funding, and suggests lawmakers consider a deeper look at tax loopholes and a capital gains tax.
Hayes believes the Legislature has made great improvements in education funding, increasing the amount of the state budget dedicated to those needs to more than half, up for about 41 percent of the budget in 2009. Hayes said he’s willing to consider adjustments to the state’s funding formula, but is opposed to a capital gains tax because he believes it’s an income tax.
Hayes was the primary sponsor on several bills, most of them focused on law enforcement and traffic concerns, including successful legislation to develop uniform standards for driver’s training programs; a bill that updated regulations for cleanup of contaminated properties to include methamphetamine and transient accommodations; and posting the standards for reporting of suspected child abuse. Although not successful last session, Hayes also pushed to increase penalties for distracted driving and to remove the sales tax on feminine hygiene products.
Though they differ on several issues, both men demonstrate their commitment to the interests of their communities and district. Hayes, however, has proved himself an effective lawmaker, who should continue to represent his district.