Candidatesvie for 42nd District positions

Published on Thu, Oct 26, 2006
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Candidates vie for 42nd District positions

Seattle native Jesse Salomon, 30, earned his bachelor of arts degree in political science and economics from Western Washington University in 1999. While at WWU, he was elected to vice president of associated student legislative affairs from 1997 to 1998 and full-time legislative liaison for WWU student affairs, in Olympia in 1999.He also interned in the U.S. capitol building with former U.S. House of Representatives leader Dick Gephardt and congressional member Adam Smith and spent six years serving on a board of non-profit organization that helped homeless youth find employment.

He earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 2002, and worked as a prosecuting attorney for the Lummi Nation Business Council until 2006, focusing on child welfare and natural resource issues.

Top contributors to his campaign include the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee the 42cd Legislative District Democrats, the Washington Education Association, the Washington State Labor Council and the NW Washington Builders and Construction Trades Association.

What are your top three goals as a state legislator?
Preventing urban sprawl, and making wise investments in education and health care. We should make sure that growth as much as possible happens within existing urban boundaries around existing urban cores because I don’t want to see it sprawl into farmland. The other part of that is you have to make farmland profitable as farmland. To do that, you have to look at market-based incentives such as developing a clean and renewable energy industry that farms can participate in and benefit from.

As a senator I can help target technical assistance grants to develop those capabilities. I can direct research and development money toward clean and renewable energy projects. Another way to preserve farmland is to purchase development rights from landowners at a reasonable rate.

When I worked in Olympia I sat down with then Governor Locke, who called himself the ‘education governor’ and said, “You’re taking money away from the state need grant, which helps middle and low income students attend college, and putting it into scholarships for high achievers. Our concern is that these higher achievers often don’t need scholarships because they’re statistically more apt to come from higher income backgrounds. So you are closing the door to education for many low-income students.” As a result he tripled the state need grant funding.
On healthcare, there are number of specific things we can do to make sure individuals can buy into various group insurance plans at an affordable rate. What doesn’t sit right with me is that pharmaceutical companies are making record profits while our pharmaceutical costs are rising 15 percent per year. I think the system is broken and I think the pharmaceutical companies have a lot of power over the legislature and that needs to be changed. My opponent has received tens of thousands of dollars from insurance and pharmaceutical companies and I can’t help but believe this has some bearing on whose behalf he votes on. Pharmaceuticals need to be thought of as a public good and not just a for-profit industry.

What are some things you think you could do best for Blaine and Birch Bay?
I would like to make sure that housing developments are built in accordance with infrastructure needs. Right now there isn’t enough infrastructure and traffic is getting bad on Birch Bay-Lynden Road. Infrastructure should be quickly stepped up through developer impact fees and supplemented with state appropriations to avoid traffic problems. I also want to see more wise investments in early childhood learning. Excellent education helps everyone.

What is your position on I-933?
It’s a radical, unnecessary step. It requires local government or taxpayers to reimburse any landowner for any perceived loss of profit because of land regulations. How in the world would we evaluate that?
I had a debate with Dale Brandland, who voted to gut the Washington State Growth Management Act. The bill he voted for sent land use cases to superior court. And I asked him, ‘If you’re petitioning for better enforcement of the growth management act, do you think a prosecutor who’s dealing with criminal cases is going to have time for that?’
But the bottom line is that it will destroy our ability to manage growth, period. That’s the intent. It’s cleverly worded, but that’s what it’s designed to do. I believe in sensible growth management regulations, therefore I oppose I-933.

Dale Brandland grew up in Port Angeles. He earned his bachelor of science degree in police science and administration in 1975 from Washington State University. He also worked for the Bellingham Police Department, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Navy. He lives in Bellingham with his wife Jean and their two children.

He has received most of his campaign contributions from business and labor groups such as Anheuser-Busch, Citigroup, Farmer’s Group insurance, Pfizer, AT&T, BP, the Association of Builders and Contractors, the Washington Medical political action committee, according to the state public disclosure commission’s web site.
Other endorsements include the Bellingham Police Department, the Bellingham Fire Department, the Association of Public School Employees, and the Washington State Federation of Employees.

What are your top three goals as a state legislator?
I think the primary issue is going to be health care but I will also focus on elder abuse in our nursing homes and identity theft.

As a member of the Blue Ribbon commission, I can say I think that’s really going to be the driver on whatever legislation is going to happen this year. But I’m going to be putting more of an emphasis on personal responsibility. The generation that’s coming up is projected to not live as long as their parents. I think we are eating, drinking and smoking ourselves into poor states of health and then complaining about the costs. Washington is in the 20th percentile as it relates to obesity, we have type II diabetes, and that should be diagnosed as adults but it’s showing up in children.

I think what we need to do as we approach the health care crisis is put a stronger emphasis on health. For example, Washington state is one of the largest employers in this state and we should be looking at ways to make Washington state employees healthier. For example, if part of the requirement for employment that there be a periodic health screen checking a person’s body mass index, cholesterol and blood pressure, we can provide incentives to get those things down and get them into a normal range.

I also would like all of us to start looking at the whole issue of health savings accounts, incentives for staying healthy and things we can do at a local level. One of the groups I’ve been working with is Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Access, a local non-profit organization funded primarily by St. Joseph Hospital. They’re looking at recruiting new doctors and they have a program to help people wade through this insurance system, I think we need to be investing in things at a local level because groups like that are doing a lot of good work. But there are no quick and easy answers to solving the problems of our health care system.

I’ll also be working legislation on the identity theft issue. But I don’t know if I’ll be working on the elder abuse issue. Part of the problem is that elder abuse is that’s its to hard to quantify. We may need to pass legislation that will allow us to gather data a little more appropriately

What are some things you think you could do best for Blaine and Birch Bay?
I think the thing that I do best for Blaine and Birch Bay is due to my previous role in local government. I think I know what goes on in local government. Frequently what happens for small communities is the legislature will pass bills and then they will pass the bill in the form of an unfunded mandate. I think I’m a pretty good watchdog for that sort of thing.

I also have a pretty good idea of what’s going on at the border. I think the thing that I have the greatest hope for is that we will find away to expedite for honest, law-abiding citizens to travel across that border. I passed a bill on biometrics a few years ago, but we had to delay the implantation of that because the federal government came out with the RealID act.

I am also the ranking member on capital budget committee for the senate. I was just able to allocate some money for the Deming library. I was very influential in getting $1.75 million in funding for the East County Resource Center in Kendall. So my role is a good way for me to be supportive of small jurisdictions.

How would you help solve funding problems for Fire District 13?
One of the things that comes to mind is consolidation and having the fire districts in the county consolidate their resources as a way to save money, it won’t solve the problem entirely but it could have an impact a little bit.

I have to say, though, if it weren’t for the volunteer fire departments, I believe there would be lot of dead people in this county. Volunteer firemen are often your first responder for medical emergencies.

They are an invaluable resource to this community. One thing the state might be able to do is to improve the incentive for volunteers to be on the department. They may create some sort of retirement system.
I don’t know what you can do but we have to keep that system going and it might require the state to come up with something innovative.

What’s your position on I-933?
I’m for it for a variety of reasons. One, I think government at all levels needs to be thinking about the impact of their decisions on property owners. I think if you’re going to devalue my property I should be compensated for it. I-933 is the product of some of the decisions that have been made by government across the state. When government goes to a guy who has a five-acre farm that has a seasonal creek running through it and tells him he has to have huge buffers on each side of this thing and there’s no scientific research to say these buffers are appropriate, then you’ve just devalued this person’s property. I think it’s appropriate to have buffers on streams, but I think there is room for a middle ground here. I don’t think anyone wants to see our environment destroyed.

Jasper MacSlarrow, 30, is a former aide to U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen. He moved to Whatcom County in 1992.

He is married to Tiffany MacSlarrow, a first grade teacher at Skyline Elementary School in Ferndale. The couple lives in Bellingham.
What do you feel qualifies you to be a state legislator?
I graduated from Ferndale High School, and share the values of Whatcom County.

Additionally, I have been working for our local U.S. Congressman Rick Larsen for the past four years and am experienced on solving local problems and getting things done.

This combination of being local and experienced, I believe, has prepared me well to serve the 42nd legislative district in Olympia.

Name your three biggest accomplishments as a member of Larsen’s staff or in public life.
Being Congressman Larsen’s point person on keeping the Intalco aluminum smelter in Ferndale open was an extremely difficult but ultimately rewarding experience. We worked tirelessly to keep electricity rates low and save the plant from closing. Hearing Alcoa announce it will open another potline at the plant and hire 170 new workers was a proud moment in my life.

I also handled border issues for Congressman Larsen, and we came to the conclusion that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was not adequately preparing for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, something that will be extremely important for our region.

Cleaning up the Nooksack River dump site. I was notified about an illegal dump site that was leaking toxins into the Nooksack River, a potentially hazardous and dangerous situation.

I brought the Nooksack Tribe, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Whatcom County, and the Environmental Protection Agency to the table and we were able to identify $252,000 to clean up the site.

Do you favor or oppose Initiative 933? Why?
I strongly oppose I-933, and urge voters to vote against it this fall.
The biggest issue facing Whatcom County is that of growth: finding a balance between the influx of people into our communities and protecting out quality of life. I-933 would destroy our ability to plan for growth locally and force governments to either pay or waive when decisions are made.

For this reason, the Agriculture Preservation Committee in Lynden has come out in opposition to the initiative, and I stand with our local farmers on this matter.

Doug Ericksen, 37, was born and raised in Bellingham. With the exception of attending college in Taiwan and working in Alaska and Olympia for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, he has lived in Whatcom County his entire life.

He is married to Tasha Ericksen, and has two young children. They live near Ferndale.

Outside of your experience in office, what qualifies you to be a state legislator?
I have a broad range of educational, work, and life experience outside of my eight years in the state house that provides me with the breadth and depth of understanding to represent our great area. I have a BA in Government, I have a MA in Environmental Policy and Political Science, I have worked in the private sector, and I worked for the Department of Fish and Wildlife the year we passed major salmon legislation. My time working in Taiwan and the relations I have built with Taiwan officials could help open more overseas markets for our farmers.

One of the things I learned in the private sector was customer service and the importance of communication. I make sure to do all that I can to stay in touch with the district, make myself available to all people on all sides of issues, and provide solutions in Olympia based on Whatcom County values.

I grew up here and I have deep sense of respect for the people and the history of our area.

Name your top three accomplishments:
Bringing people together to work as a team to protect good jobs at Intalco, working as lead Republican in the state house to pass a solid transportation package in 2003 and 2004 that is funding major projects in Whatcom County, and never forgetting that all power flows from the people and that the government that governs least governs best.
What new legislation would you propose to protect salmon, help small timber land owners and correct past legislation?

When the government makes new rules and laws it often impacts that small business owner or in this case the small timber land owners the hardest. We need to make rules reasonable so that people are not forced to sell their timber lands for residential use because the regulatory burdens are so high. We need to reform our regulatory system to allow small business owners greater power in determining how rules are created. We need to reduce the mandates on local governments so that they can work with local conditions to create the communities that they want.

Do you favor or oppose Initiative 933, yes or no? Explain.
I am very proud of the strong support that I receive from our farming community here in Whatcom County. Marty Maberry of Maberry farms and Lesa Boxx of Boxx Berry farms serve as my re-election committee co-chairs.

I support private property rights. There is much confusion about what the true impacts of I-933 would be. People need to understand that regardless of how they vote on this we need to address the crucial issue of private property rights in our state.

For those who want to vote yes I remind you that we will need to make some changes to the initiative so that it works as intended and to those who vote no please remember that we still need to address the issue.
The best way to handle this issue is to send a majority of legislators to Olympia who support and respect private property rights and who will work to solve this problem.

What are three things that could benefit Blaine/Birch Bay that you could help make happen in the coming legislative session?
Solve the traffic issues in Birch Bay by enhancing the Grandview-Blaine Road-Birch Bay/Lynden Roads issue. We also need to provide workable relief to the railroad crossings. In Blaine we need to work on I-5 access issues. Second, build dedicated bike and walking trails connecting the communities and areas together.

This will promote a healthier lifestyle and allow adults and kids to move safely between areas without a car. Third, continue efforts to promote local control of decision making so communities can grow how they want to and we must continue to work to improve the small business climate in these areas

Editor’s note: District 42 candidates Kelli Linville and Craig Mayberry will be profiled in next week’s issue of The Northern Light.