Spokane County is on the cusp of becoming one of the Northwest's great places to live. Currently, we're still struggling with our own identity trying to be like our big sister on Puget Sound. However, with an ounce of imagination and our eyes on the future, we can become one of America's most livable communities.
It's up to us to put our vision in motion as we strive to control our own destiny. How? By electing strong leaders. Leaders who have the ability to look at the broad picture and translate that to the future. Men and women who understand that a community is only as strong as its weakest link. Elected officials who know that quality of life issues, such as clean air and water, parks and open space, go hand-in-hand with family wage jobs and affordable housing.
I was elected five years ago to move our community forward in a positive manner. My goals were simple: work with the state mandated Growth Management Act to control inappropriate development and protect critical areas; get control of a downward spiraling financial crisis; and bring dignity back to the office of the commissioner.
My record and that of the commission speaks for itself. Months after I was elected, we passed a critical areas ordinance. Within one year, Spokane County had an interim urban growth boundary. Throughout my term, I have fought to protect neighborhoods, the water quality of our lakes and the shorelines of our rivers. Spokane County is now recognized throughout the state for its financial stability and low taxes. And, of course, dignity is back in vogue.
This is just the beginning. We can accomplish so much more as we begin the 21st century. As always, there are some in our community who feel their own personal wealth outweighs the benefits of these changes to us all. So my first priority is to not lose what has been gained. Let us be vigilant and realize those same goals that I strove to put in place need to be nurtured and protected.
Looking to the future, I will work hard to see that Mirabeau Point becomes the recreation and learning center it has the potential to be for our community. Like Riverfront Park, Mt. Spokane and the Centennial Trail, Mirabeau Point is destined to become a focal point to build community values and pride.
Another of my priorities is to pass legislation that protects our sole source aquifer from hazardous material spill. Right now, there are more than 40 million gallons of fuels and other potential contaminants over our drinking water in tanks as large as 3.2 million gallons apiece and as old as 50 years. They need to be upgraded, checked frequently and have state-of-the-art containment systems. I will get the job done.
I'm upbeat and positive we can continue to build on a great foundation of community values. I thank you for the opportunity to be your county commissioner and would appreciate your vote in the coming election.
Cliff Cameron (D)
As County Commissioner in District l, I will lower taxes and provide more jobs for working families. In 1996 the County reserve was $4.9 million. Today, this surplus has grown to more than $30 million dollars and is currently growing at a rate of approximately $300,000 a month. The assessors office projects $40 million of new value next year, which will add to this surplus.
When elected I will vote for lower taxes.
I have been involved in several committees over the past several years. I was a member of the Horizon Land Use Committee and the Horizon Core Committee, which developed the city comprehensive plan. I was a member of the committee which developed the County Subdivision Ordinance. I was also a member of the Erosion Control Committee and the Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
In the last four years we have graduated over 18,000 students from Spokane area schools, yet we have only created 5,300 jobs. Consequently, graduated students do not have the opportunity to pursue a lucrative career in Spokane.
To reconcile this problem, I will develop employment centers to replace aging industries such as timber and mining.
The rest of the country has been financially prospering over the last four years while our local economy has been declining. Bankruptcies have climbed from 3,296 before the election in 1996 to 7,787 in 1999. Mortgage foreclosures are at an all time high, climbing from 90 in 1995 to 800 last year.
Home ownership in Spokane is almost 10 percent below the national average. We have almost 40,000 people renting homes instead of owning them.
When I am elected I will work to provide affordable housing.
When the Commission was elected, the jobs in the County were increasing at a rate of 1 percent, or about 5,000 people per year. Last year the population increased by merely 510 people.
I was born, raised and educated in Spokane. I have been married for 25 years to my wife Bonnie, and have one daughter, Jennifer, in college on scholarship. Proudly, I lived here during Expo '74, and during the construction of the Washington State Pavilion, the Federal Pavilion and the Washington Bridge. It was also a proud time for the community when it was announced Spokane was rated in the top 10 cities of the country. However, last year we were rated 161 out of 162 cities, and this year 159 out of 200 cities. This is a reflection of our elected officials, and their lack of vision for the future of Spokane.
4 When elected I will promise to:
4 Lower our current property taxes.
4 Bring common sense back into government by
creating the County Comprehensive Plan.
4 Create employment centers, which will
provide jobs for our children and future
Thank you for taking the time to read about my views, goals and objectives. Please vote for Cliff Cameron for Spokane County Commissioner in September and November. It's time to return pride and prosperity back to Spokane.
Bill Sprague (R)
While campaigning for the position of County Commissioner, I have learned of many situations that are facing our county. The comments range from not having a road graded on Oregon Road west of Highway 2, to why is it that the seated Commissioners do not seem to care about us, the people, who make up the county.
As your County Commissioner Candidate, first I will not be bought into office by the corporations and have to repay them in any way. I will work with them the same as I will work for you, the citizens of this county. I do not have a conflict of interest, due to an existing job, as my opponent of the Republican ticket seems to have, and is causing great concern among many citizens.
I am in no way connected to the special interest organization of this county nor am I connected to insider groups. That's one reason you do not see large signs of mine posted before the primary. I am here for you, the voters. After the primary, we will need financial help to win the general. This help will come from you, the people of this county.
As your commissioner I want to help everyone in an equal fashion. From someone who has the resources to build a home in a normal time period of 90 to 120 days, to someone who needs more time to raise enough money so their home is paid for when finished. I will not favor one over the other. And why should a commissioner favor one over another? Both parties are working hard to accomplish the same goal. Getting there may take longer for one than the other, but you should not be penalized if you need a little more time. County commissioners should display a kind-hearted attitude instead of a you-can't-do-it attitude. We need a can do attitude instead. This attitude should help bring jobs to our county, and in turn help with an affordable housing situation.
I have been married for 14-and-a-half years, have two children, five grandchildren and have lived in Spokane County for more than 50 years. My educational background is as follows: I have a Toast Masters, I have taken speech communication classes, law related classes and received a degree at Kinman Business University in business law and accounting courses.
In closing I would appreciate your vote for me, Bill Sprague, in the primary and in the general election. My web site is spragueforspokanecnty.com. If you have time, please stop by and read more of what we can do together.
Karl Wilkinson (R)
My Campaign is not about me. It never has been nor will it ever be. It is about people. It is about leadership for our future. It is about the future of our children, the future of our economy and the future of our Northwest quality of life.
My wife has her degree in social work and is a caseworker at S.C.A.N. Her passion is helping mothers and children who have been abused to have a better quality of life. My degree is in education and my passion has been in helping our kids have the tools they need to do well in life. I've discovered that our kids are having a hard time using those tools in Spokane County. Four years ago, there were over 5,000 new jobs created here. This past year new jobs were down to 1,700. Compare that figure with 4,124 high school graduates in the county and that is unacceptable!
Four years ago, we had a growth factor of 3 percent. Last year it was down to 0.87 percent. That is unacceptable! It is critical that we work together to turn that trend around. How do we turn things around? As a Marine in Vietnam, I learned the value of teamwork and cooperation. My experience as a professional in mediation and team building has taught me to help people get off their "positions" and talk about needs and interests. Someone once said "there can be a lot more done in this world if no one cared who got the credit." This county has a lot of "turf wars" getting in the way of the citizen's needs. Good leadership is about helping others be successful. It is about valuing people and treating all people with respect.
In education there is talk of getting back to basics. In this county, we have the opportunity to get back to the three R's of government: REPRESENTATION, REASONABLENESS and RESULTS. If we work cooperatively on those three areas, a fourth R will emerge -- REPUTATION, which brings RESPECT.
There are many people in Spokane County who are struggling to keep their heads above water. Most people in this county have to work hard for what they have. My wife and I have not had things handed to us on a silver platter. We have had tough times. When our son was shot and paralyzed, we went through very difficult financial stress. We know what it is like to have calls at dinnertime wondering when you will make your payment. We have experienced the humility that comes from having someone post foreclosure notices on your home of 20 years. Spokane needs leadership that has been in the trenches.
I appreciate the endorsements and support which have been given me from all walks of life. Mark Sterk, our county sheriff and the deputies association have endorsed me. The city police and firefighters from around the city and county have endorsed me. Business leaders, union members, social workers, nurses, doctors and homebuilders believe in my ability to represent their various needs and interests in a balanced reasonable way.
Serving 15 years on a school board has helped me realize that people are more important than politics. This campaign is about people. For 30 years as a scout leader, I have taught our youth to leave a place better than you found it. Let us work together to focus on the good things we have. Let us work together to enhance our Northwest quality of life.
board of commissioners
Kate McCaslin (R)
In 1996 I was extremely grateful for voters' support and trust. Since my election, I have worked very hard to fulfill their trust.
I've kept my promises. We've brought the county budget under control and built a healthy reserve while still making major investments in priorities like law enforcement and roads. This includes increasing the sheriff's budget to over $3 million -- a 21 percent increase -- in just two years. And this year for probably the first time in county history we were able to invest over $1 million from the general fund in roads.
On the revenue side of the equation we are keeping the lid on taxes. In fact, our property tax levy rate increase for the past four years was a total of 4 percent, one of the lowest in the state. Moreover, for both the year 2000 and budgeted for 2001, we set the property tax levy rate at zero percent, which has never been done before.
We have returned responsibility, accountability and civility to the County Commissioners.
In four years we have made tremendous progress. We have built a strong and secure foundation. Now, using this strong foundation we can move forward to overcome our community challenges:
4 Jobs. I am very optimistic about our community's
future! I believe that building upon our strong
foundation we will continue to make more
major positive changes that will help attract new
companies and help our existing companies
grow, thus providing limitless opportunities for
4 Roads. We simply must continue to build,
maintain and improve our roads and infrastruc-
ture to support new jobs and new growth.
4 Keeping our community safe. We will continue
working to fulfill a fundamental promise of
local government -- to keep our families safe
through giving law enforcement priority
Protecting and nurturing our quality of life. I believe that we can realize positive growth and new jobs and still retain the things that make our quality of life the best in the country. We must always work to protect and improve upon those things that make us special.
Our community is in the midst of a huge transition moving from a predominantly rural county to predominately an urban county. During this incredible time of change and transition I believe it is imperative that we focus upon the positive. To do otherwise, to focus instead on the negative and take only passing note of our strengths, will never allow us to reach our full potential and achieve prosperity for all of our citizens.
This transition is a test of our character, as individuals and as a community. Our challenge is to retain and nurture the very best of what has always been Spokane County, all the while working hard to correct and overcome our shortcomings. I believe we are up to that test and that challenge.
Now, more than ever we need solid, responsible leadership that can get things done. I believe I have proven I am up to the challenge. I hope I can count on your vote.
Sylvia Riddle (R)
Imagine that you are the owner of a sports team. Your head coach has requested a renewal of his four-year contract. He argues that the checking account is in good shape, the new uniforms are fantastic and, by the way, he feels that the team will start winning games real soon.
My opponent, Kate McCaslin, wants a renewal of her four-year contract.
What is her record? The County Reserve Fund had grown to $21.7 million and has now shrunk to $12 million. Among the "re-election" spending spree was a $1.2 million pool in the heart of her district. The pool includes $300,000 in amenities such as "tumble buckets, a rain drop and a large slide." Citizens requested a simpler but larger pool, covered, and long enough for competitive swimming.
So the County Reserve is "healthy" but is the county really healthy?
4 Bankruptcies have doubled.
4 Home foreclosures have quadrupled.
4 New job creation is down two-thirds, less than
one new job for each two graduates.
4 Low income households exceed 24 percent
compared to 15 percent in Seattle.
4 The county lost $279,000 in revenue from last
years smoking ban fiasco at the fair, and the
vendors lost thousands more.
4 The assessor's office is nearly two years
behind in getting new properties on the tax
rolls while existing property assessments keep
4 The Sheriff's deputies got $1.5 million in retro
pay in 1999 but that was after an arbitrator
forced an end to three years of no contract.
The deputies are again without a contract and
have been waiting 10 months.
4 The only new deputies added to the force
rather than transferred were nine new
deputies for traffic because the State Patrol no
longer polices county roads. These deputies
must write tickets to "pay their way."
4 The Sheriff was denied a "grant writer" to bring
in funds and a "public information officer" to
create a sex offender web site.
4 The Sheriff was denied nine civilians to replace
nine deputies in desk positions so that they
could then perform more serious duties. Two
would have been allocated to sex offender
4 The Sheriff has only enough deputies to
investigate 20 percent of burglaries.
My goals as County Commissioner are to:
1. Facilitate the creation of new jobs by making Spokane County friendly to new employers through streamlining, simplifying and de-politicizing the planning and permitting processes.
2. Provide positive leadership for the county so that government works smoothly and efficiently and the taxpayers are well served.
3. Work more progressively with the Sheriff and provide adequate funding, especially funding to deal with the sex offender problem.
Vote for me, Sylvia Riddle, on September 19.
Spokane strong mayor
When I was first elected mayor, I promised I would open up City Hall and let the taxpayers see where their money was going. A lot of people don't like what they've seen. But after a lot of effort, we have brought sunlight back into City Hall, making contracts and deals open to the public.
As strong mayor, I will assure that we never go back to a point where secret deals and cozy contracts make developers wealthy while the public is saddled with debt.
It hasn't been an easy process. It is hard for people to learn a new way of doing things.
Everyone knows there has been fighting among the new council members and the old ones. I have tried to keep the tone civil and the discussions productive, but sometimes political debate is going to be rancorous. Many people, including the staff at City Hall, are trying to learn how open government works.
For so many years, the instinct has been to make "the deal" behind closed doors. Some good decisions, and many bad ones, were made that way but now all the public's business--good or bad--will be conducted in the open. We're hiring an independent auditor to assure that all contracts are fair and all city departments are working in the public interest.
Some people say to me, "Why don't you just quit fighting about the parking garage and fix the roads?" The answer is simple. The parking garage developers are pocketing much of the money we need for our roads.
As strong mayor, I will move our new government forward to bring new jobs and opportunities to the Spokane area.
As strong mayor, I will take the money we're saving by running government openly and efficiently and dedicate it to speeding up road construction.
I will continue to encourage investment in the downtown, the Northside and the whole city. What you have seen during my first term as mayor are the painful first steps to air-out closed and sealed rooms. In the term ahead we'll see city government, citizens and the business community working together - in the open -- to bring a new prosperity to Spokane.
Some people are saying we need to be proud of Spokane. Let me tell you: I am proud of Spokane. I am proud of how the people have fought to shrug off a generation of stagnation and secret deals. I am proud of how we have opened up City Hall and saved taxpayers money.
They say, "Be proud of what you've got."
I say, "Be proud of what Spokane can become."
There are those who say that when I am mayor there will be a radical change in government. They are correct. I don't consider myself a radical, just an average citizen that has had enough of prevailing Spokane politics.
On January 27, 1997, the city of Spokane paid $26 million for a parking garage that did not include the land. The garage is worth $12 million. The taxpayers were defrauded by the Cowles Gang!
On July 27, 1998, the Spokane City Council approved a Sec.108 loan for $22.65 million plus a $1 million grant for the construction of a new Nordstrom building in conjunction with the redevelopment of River "Pork" Square. Spokane is the guarantor of this loan for private business. These parasites plunder the public purse and molest our grandchildren with public debt.
Even after gathering signatures to place the issue on the ballot, citizens were not allowed to vote on the redevelopment of River "Pork" Square. They were denied their constitutional right to referendum because it was passed as an emergency ordinance by the Spokane City Council. This ordinance was not an emergency because it was not necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety within the meaning of Article XI, Sec. 1 (b) of the Washington State Constitution.
The Washington State Supreme Court ruled against the right of citizens to vote.
The wrongs of the Spokane City Council and the Washington state Supreme Court has been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated. How many times do we burn the fingers of the taxpayers before we stop holding their hands to the fire with public private partnerships?
When the Parks Bond issue to acquire 5.66 acres of park land north of Riverfront Park for $3.491 million plus buyer's closing costs was presented to the voters in the fall of 1999, the voters were not informed that for the previous 20 years, Riverfront Park had had an average deficit per year of $600,000.00. This is unconscionable. Under my administration, citizens will be informed.
On September 27, 1999, the City Council considered the request of a citizen to move current consent agenda items eight and nine (both items relate to the Waste to Energy Facility) to the evening agenda. Mayor John Talbott requested that the items continue to remain on the consent agenda. Council members concurred against the citizen's request and voted in the room. Currently, when the City Council votes regarding the consent agenda, questions are not allowed from citizens, which is an unconscionable violation of civil rights. Under my administration, there will be access to testimony from citizens.
I am against tax increment financing.
It is my goal to steer the city toward a sanitary landfill and eliminate the incinerator.
I have no respect for the status quo. No one calls me a good ol' boy.
Spokane is undergoing the most significant social and economic change in over a century. So much focus has been given to negatives that we have lost sight of our magnificent positives. Unless we commit to a new direction, we will miss out on the greatest economic expansion in history.
4 Small business must grow faster with a new
City Hall customer service focus.
4 Because of limited local job opportunities, too
many of our chil-
dren leave home.
4 The River Park
Square dispute has
damaged our bond
ratings and threat-
ened vital city ser-
vices. The developer
needs to disclose all material facts and the part-
ners must come to the mediation table and
restore faith in public/private partnerships.
In adversity, I believe we can find opportunity. Our city's recent troubles are not insurmountable. We need a new approach -- someone who can step forward from the private sector and bring real-world business management experience to City Hall. That's what I have to offer as your new mayor: 25 years of sound business experience and civic leadership.
How will I do this? I will set a higher standard of performance for our city government by making a genuine commitment to serve neighborhoods equally, rather than special interests downtown or over in Olympia. Areas like Garland, Hillyard, Shadle, West Central, South Perry and Browne's Addition deserve their own plan for healthy development. What has the city done for your neighborhood lately?
What sets me apart from my opponents is that I come into this job without years of political baggage or a lifetime of cashing government paychecks. Instead, I bring years of working with good businesses in the Inland Northwest that have fallen on hard times. I have a proven record of bringing businesses back into productivity in the manufacturing, technology, timber, retail and agricultural industries. These are family-owned, local businesses that provide livable wages for hard-working families -- exactly what Spokane needs!
Ask yourself: Is Spokane better off today than it was three years ago when we elected our last mayor? Not on your life. Look at our embarrassing roads, the victim of political neglect. While millions of tax dollars are spent on Seattle's ferries and freeways, Senator West thinks the transportation solution on this side of the state is patching potholes? We can do better.
Thirty-seven percent of Spokane's children live in poverty. How can they learn and grow without enough to eat or a safe place to live? This can't continue. Spokane must take a new direction renewing our social capital with honesty and courage. Bonnie and I raised our four children in Spokane and we want to make it a place they will come home to in the future, a thriving, civil community we can all enjoy.
I challenge all citizens to join together with renewed civility and a collaborative spirit to pursue the common good so Spokane can achieve its great potential. To do anything less would be to forsake our children's future. Together let's turn adversity into opportunity, giving us the power to be proud of Spokane again. johnpowersformayor.com.
I appreciate the opportunity to write this open letter to the people of Spokane about why I'm running for mayor. It's difficult for me to put my hopes into just a few words, but if I had to choose, I would say this: I want Spokane to be great again.
Growing up here, I remember a vibrant city, full of pride at hosting the 1974 World's Fair, a city that pulled together to solve our most difficult problems. Somehow we've lost our way, and it hurts me to see Spokane sitting on the sidelines as cities all around us reap the benefits of a strong economy, but that can all change in just a few short days...
These are the problems I see and the solutions I propose:
The City Council must stop its bickering and focus on building a better Spokane. I've served on the City Council, and I realize it's not an easy job. But the current council is like a dysfunctional family lost on a cross-country car trip, more interested in placing blame than reaching their goal. The first thing I would do as mayor is call them in, sit them down and challenge them to attack problems, not each other -- to stop finding fault and start finding solutions. I used that same technique successfully as Senate Minority Leader, and I will make my experience work for Spokane.
The City should focus on decent streets and safe neighborhoods. The least we should expect from our city is to fix the potholes so we can get to work in the morning. The city's other main responsibility is public safety -- ensuring that our neighborhoods are safe when we come home at night. As mayor, I will use my experience as a City Councilman and a county deputy sheriff to ensure those basic services.
Government should lead or get out of the way. Every day in Spokane, private economic development groups are working to bring new businesses to the city, but the city is not a part of those efforts. As mayor, I will bring those groups together in partnership with the city. I will also order a "common sense" audit of city departments to scrap the meaningless bureaucratic hurdles and red tape that needlessly hassle citizens and stifle growth.
It is time for action -- not words. Spokane is a community rich in resources with strong, proud people. We can and should be much better. We must reclaim our status as a great place to live, raise a family and grow a business, and we can. But it is going to take a determination to bring people together, roll up our sleeves and get to work. We've wrung our hands over our problems for far too long -- let's work together for a better Spokane.
I have 20 years of experience in small business, law enforcement and local and state government. I can make that experience work for Spokane, but I can't do it without you. Join me, and we will make Spokane great again.
5th district -- Wash.
George Nethercutt (R)
When I first came to you to ask for this job, I said six years would be enough. Now, six years have passed and I am running again. I would like to explain.
In 1994, the Democrats were in control of Congress, as they had been for 40 years, and term limits were discussed as a way to remove deadwood from Congress. Then came the Republican revolution that swept me and a Republican majority into power.
Although I supported almost every bill to limit the terms of Members of Congress, we were not able to muster the two-thrids majority to get term limits written into the Constitution. Then the issue went to the Supreme Court that ruled that the federal government cannot tell the states who to send to Congress and for how long. This is up to the voters.
As the end of my six years approached, many people throughout the district urged me to reconsider -- to change my mind -- and continue to serve in Congress. I thought and prayed long and hard about this decision. I thought that the easy way out would be to come home and not have to worry about all the negative ads that I knew would be run against me. But then I thought that for me to term-limit myself when congressmen from other states do not, would place our district at an extreme disadvantage. It comes down to this: If I am the best person for this job, then the people of Eastern Washington should have the chance to say so, not some East Coast special interest group who cares very little about us.
I am proud of my efforts to improve our education system, lower our taxes, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, balance the federal budget, advance our nation's defense capabilities, help our farmers and improve facilities at Fairchild.
I have also fought for lower prescription drug prices and fought to eliminate the tax on our seniors' Social Security.
We also need to reach a common sense solution to the problem of saving both the salmon and our dams, and while I have worked hard for that solution, I have also fought the East Coast special interests that are trying to breach the Lower Snake River dams, which would devastate the economy of eastern Washington.
I have also worked hard to find a cure for diabetes. I co-founded and co-chair the diabetes caucus, now the largest caucus in the House. We need to push for the last bit of research that will eliminate this disease forever.Yes we have accomplished much, but there is so much more to do.
In my announcement speech this past July, I said I would rather be known as the congressman who admitted a mistake and changed his mind than the congressman who couldn't and didn't. I made a decision based on what was best for our district. Now you must do the same.
Richard Clear (R)
Clear declined to participate, citing his busy schedule and the small size of his campaign staff.
Tom Flynn (D)
In 1981, at the age of 20, I moved from my family home in Philadelphia to take my first job out of school in Spokane as a union carpenter. Since that time, I have built a career as a representative for the Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, a family with four beautiful children, and an ever-growing circle of friends in the Inland Northwest. That single move was the best decision I ever made.
Because of my love for this area and all of Eastern Washington, I have become increasingly distressed by the troubles facing Eastern Washington. Over the course of the past six years, the people of this district have struggled through poor economic conditions, grappled with the increasing costs of prescription drugs, and have been allowed to suffer huge losses at the hands of the Freedom to Farm Bill.
One of the unique challenges facing our district is the state of the region's economy. In speaking to business leaders, focus groups and other individuals throughout the area, the number one question was, "How can we make elected leaders responsible for moving the local economy in the right direction again?" In response to this concern, I released, "Boosting Spokane's Economy: An Economic Plan for Spokane and Eastern Washington." While this document does not pretend to possess all the answers for the local economy, at the very least it is my hope that it will help to bring the issue to the forefront of public conversation. Spokane has tremendous potential to be a flourishing regional economic center, and its success will only be as limited as the creativity of its leadership.
There has also been a great deal of talk this campaign about the proverbial "citizen legislator." My response to this rhetoric, put forth by candidates from both parties, is that I have been a hard-working man in this overwhelmingly working-class district for the past 20 years. I believe I know the interests of the people here better than any other candidate.
Although this is the first time I have campaigned for public office, this is by no means the first time I have stood for election. The people I now work for at the Regional Council of Carpenters elected me to help them improve their lives more than 12 years ago and to do some of the very same things I will do as a representative for the entire district on a federal level.
Those who have elected me have asked me to make certain they, after their working years, can retire with financial security and dignity. I have done that.
Those who elected me have asked me to see that they have basic quality medical coverage. I have done that.
Those who elected me did so to see that they get fair pay for their honest labor. I have done that.
You can and should expect nothing less from me as your next member of Congress from the 5th District. I firmly believe that, together, we can build a better America.
Tom Keefe (D)
I am running because I believe the first Congress of this new century is an opportunity for Eastern Washington to have a voice that will speak out against the special interests in Washington. The present climate of partisan bickering and endless gridlock, perpetuated by ideologues from both sides of the aisle, has earned the 106th Congress the title, "The Do-Nothing Congress." We need a new direction and a new voice next year.
Everywhere I go, people are talking about the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs. Concerned about this, I conducted a survey of pharmacies across the district and discovered that seniors here are paying 135 percent more than so-called 'favored customers' like HMOs and the federal government who are able to buy in bulk.
The brain-dead politics of Washington, with its life support system of special interest money, continues to ignore the desperate need of our seniors, many of whom are forced to choose between buying the prescription drugs they need or purchasing for their tables.
Why should members of the generation who fought in Europe and the Pacific to keep our nation free have to ride a bus to Canada to find affordable prescription drugs? The answer is that the pharmaceutical industry is one of the foremost protectors of the status quo in Congress. I want to fight to get a Medicare-based prescription drug program for our seniors.
An increasing number of Americans have long-term care needs. Since so much of long-term care is informal care provided by family members, the federal government should ease their tax burden and recognize their efforts by providing a long-term Care Tax Credit. This credit would be available to all people with long-term care needs, or to their family members providing the care. Financial support and insurance benefits should treat home care and nursing home care equally.
While the small towns and rural communities of Eastern Washington struggle to survive, servants of the status quo in Congress take their cues from corporate agribusiness and continue to support a farm policy that pushes family-owned farms to the brink of bankruptcy. Having lived with my family in a rural community for six years, I understand the pressures those communities face. I want to be their voice in Congress, demanding that the federal government help rebuild their schools, restore their economies and respect their way of life.
I want to fight to see that this next Congress eliminates the national debt so my children's generation can make their own decision without being saddled with my generation's past-due bills. Continuing to pay over $200 billion in interest on the debt is unacceptable.
I want to be a citizen legislator who remains grounded in the community he seeks to serve. I promise to go to Washington and stand up, speak out and fight for what I believe in, and not lose sight of the road that leads back home.
Maria Cantwell (D)
I am running for the U.S. Senate because I believe the people of Washington want to say good riddance to the politics of divisiveness, confrontation and alienation. In short, it's time to retire our senior Senator Slade Gorton (R) so that your voice will be heard -- for a change. And I believe I'm the only one in the race that can win in November.
Increasingly, elections seem to be more about raising money and less and less about substance. I can assure you that won't be the case in my campaign.
I am in the race because it is time to propose new policies to stop the alarming cost of health care and prescription drugs, to develop sensible laws for the digital age that will ensure our privacy, to reduce gun violence, to protect our environment, and to train and hire the best teachers anywhere in the world so that no child will be left behind.
As a state legislator, I fought for a basic health care plan. In Congress, I voted for the Family and Medical Leave Act. And in the Senate, I will battle again, this time to expand Medicare coverage to include prescription drugs. I will work hard to end drug price discrimination. Our seniors should never have to choose between paying for medicine and paying to keep a roof over their heads. As your senator, I will also press hard to pass a meaningful Patient's Bill of Rights.
Having spent the last five years working to advance Internet commerce, I am fully aware that it cannot thrive without a strong and reliable code of ethics regarding your personal information.
I will propose that companies conducting business online must be required to disclose how they collect and use personal data. You must be allowed to inspect and correct that data. Confidentiality of medical records must also be strictly maintained, and the government should have the authority to enforce these rules.
More than 4,200 American children were killed by gun violence last year. This must end now! Many of these deaths could have been prevented if only we enacted reasonable gun safety laws. Yet every time Sen. Patty Murray votes in favor of sensible gun safety legislation, Slade Gorton has been there to cancel out her vote.
It shouldn't be harder to get a driver's license than a concealed weapon permit. As your Senator, I will fight for child safety locks, close the gun show loop hole, while putting an end to gun sales by unlicensed dealers.
As you know, Slade Gorton has one of the worst voting records in the Senate on environmental issues. He has a real penchant for slipping measures into spending bills that would wipe out substantial environmental protections. The League of Conservation Voters have rated Gorton at zero percent and 11 percent the past two years. When I'm Senator, my name won't be synonymous with open pit mining operations, destruction of old growth forests and an indifference to the ongoing decimation of native salmon runs.
As senator, I will continue efforts to accelerate toxic waste cleanup and make the polluters pay. I will fight to protect our water quality, to preserve roadless areas, as well as providing lasting safeguards for our national parks and other natural treasures.
I am running for the Senate because I want to see the economic boon we are enjoying in the Puget sound spread throughout all of Washington.
The rural parts of Central and Eastern Washington must have the same technological abilities to participate in the 21st century. We can bridge the digital divide by promoting growth of e-commerce in our rural areas, while making essential investment in worker training and education.
I want to be your next senator because it is vital that we dramatically increase the salaries of our teachers, and to see that they have the information technology training to succeed in our information-based technology.
We share a common ground and the same concerns about our working families. I grew up in a working class Irish neighborhood in Indianapolis. I worked my way through college. My values have not changed.
We will win in November because our values and priorities are about the real people of Washington -- not the special interests and the powerful corporations. Together, we can do it. I would be honored to have your support.
Deborah Senn (D)
I have proudly served as your State Insurance Commissioner for the past eight years. I am now asking for your support to elect me to the United States Senate. I believe I've done a good job serving you, and I will be an effective U.S. senator.
I've spent my whole life working as a consumer advocate for everyday families. As an elected official, I have always told you the truth, always kept my promises, and I always will. I will fight for you and never give up until the job is done.
As your Insurance Commissioner, I have worked hard to protect the interests of Washington's working families. I wrote new regulations that allowed people with pre-existing medical conditions to buy insurance. I made sure that when you move or change jobs, you can keep your medical coverage.
Just this past year, I was a leader in the movement to pass a strong Patients' Bill of Rights in Olympia. And for the last seven years, I have fought for prescription drug coverage for our seniors. In this election year, you will hear many politicians make promises about prescription drugs. In contrast, my seven-year record of work and results stands out.
I have looked out for your interests--not the special interests. I'm proud of the fact my accomplishments have impacted real people. People like Jay Ellison, a husband and father of four, who I helped get the operation that saved his life. I forced Victoria Doyle's insurance company to pay for the drugs she needs to keep alive after her heart transplant. And I helped Christine and Dylan Malone, whose baby Ian got his life-saving nursing care after I stepped in.
I have been there for Jay, Victoria, the Malones and thousands of others as they faced the bureaucracy of an industry that too often puts a dollar value on human life.
Now I want to take all these issues I've worked on and fight even more strongly for you in the U.S. Senate. As your senator, I will work for a strong federal Patients' Bill of Rights, so all Washingtonians have the protections they need. And I will help make sure that seniors on Medicare get the prescription drugs they need.
Some politicians just talk and make promises. I give real service, not lip service. I get things done.
I will always stand by those in need. I will keep my word. And you can trust me to do the right thing. If you send me, Deborah Senn, to the U.S. Senate, I will serve this state of ours with passion. I will fight for you and your families, and I will never give up. I would be honored to have your vote September 19.
John Carlson (R)
We need real leadership in Olympia. Instead, the state budget has ballooned while problems go unsolved. I'll make these bold, positive changes:
4 Human Services. Olympia's failure to protect
-- abused children,
disabled adults, and
battered women --
is shameful. I'll
dismantle DSHS, re
placing it with an
effective and most of
4 Education. I'll replace
4,000 government bureaucrats (4 percent) with
4,000 classroom teachers -- in my first year. I'll
also finally enable teachers and principals to
remove disruptive students. Taxpayers provide
$7,000 per student, but much of it never
reaches classrooms. I'll return money, authority
and accountability to the classroom -- where
4 Property taxes. I'll cut a significant amount from
everyone's property tax bill. It's long overdue.
4 Transportation. Commuters statewide are stuck
in America's worst traffic. Unbelievably, our
governor has no plan for reducing it! Using
existing sales taxes on new vehicles, I'll launch
an aggressive program to expand our roads
for buses and cars.
4 Salmon. We'll save endangered salmon and
restore family fishing by removing all nets, tribal
and commercial, from our waters. Netters will
be fairly compensated for lost income and
4 Opportunity. I'll reduce community college
tuition by 50 percent, to increase accessibility.
Like most states and local government, we'll
use savings from contracting out and
competitively bidding some state services. If
politicians block this reform, I'll lead an
initiative giving YOU the final say.
My wife and I grew up here. We want Washington to be an even better place for our kids -- and yours. I've created and run a respected research institute and successfully led three statewide initiatives, including America's first "Three Strikes" measure. Last year I was honored as one of the University of Washington's 100 Most Influential Alumni of the Century. Let's end business as usual in Olympia and start solving our great challenges together.