Thanks to the impending departure of both incumbents, there are two wide-open races for state representative in state legislative District 1, which encompasses both the King and Snohomish county portions of Bothell.
In the case of Position 1, incumbent Rep. Al O’Brien, D-Mountlake Terrace, announced in 2008 he would not be running for re-election and has stuck with that decision, not filing for the upcoming Aug. 17 primary.
O’Brien’s office did not respond to a request for comment. A somewhat crowded field of five candidates is lined up, hoping to replace him. Their number includes former Bothell City Councilwoman and deputy mayor Sandy Guinn along with two other Bothell residents.
O’Brien has endorsed city resident Derek Stanford to take his place.
Running as a Democrat, candidate Vince DeMiero is a long-time journalism instructor in the Mountlake Terrace school system where he also teaches English, film and photography. He is the president of the Washington Journalism Education Association. Currently residing in Brier, on his Web site, DeMiero said he has lived in the District 1 area for 33 years.
For DeMiero, better funding for education seems to be the top issue in the campaign. He said that clearly Olympia legislators need to follow the state’s constitution and make education their top priority. As an educator himself, DeMiero said he does not believe Washington’s school systems can withstand further funding cuts.
“We’re not down to the bone, we’ve cut into the bone,” DeMiero said.
“I want the focus to be getting people back to work and on the economy,” said Guinn, who is running as a Republican. She used what she called Bothell’s recent successes as examples of how planning and cooperation among legislators — the latter being something Guinn especially believes she can help foster — can lead to economic successes. She described as hardly accidental the planning steps taken by Bothell officials that led to the recent announcement regarding plans for a McMenamins hotel and restaurant on Bothell Way Northeast.
Guinn lost her bid for reelection to Bothell City Council last year, but did not seem concerned that defeat hurts her chances in the present election.
“I focus on issues,” she said, adding she wants to emphasize what she sees as a strong need for Washington’s legislature to come together and work in the best interests of the state.
A Lynnwood Republican, Dick Lapinski said he has some strong disagreements with some of the actions of Gov. Chris Gregoire. Lapinski especially was critical of Gregoire’s hand in killing a proposal that would have had the state sharing in the profits of Washington’s Native American casinos. While he wants that plan put back on the table, Lapinski also wants non-Native American casinos to be on the same footing as reservation gambling halls.
For one thing, Lapinski wants non-Native American casinos allowed to feature slot machines, as well as card rooms. Mostly, Lapinski sees casinos as a revenue source for Washington, which he added desperately needs to better control its budget.
“The current legislature has an insatiable appetite for spending,” he said.
A second Bothell Republican in the race, Dennis Richter also slammed the state’s spending habits. According to Richter, Washington currently spends about $5,000 for every person in the state. What’s the proper figure? Richter believes that’s debatable, but it’s clear he feels $5,000 is simply too much.
Richter believes Olympia can cut spending while maintaining many programs simply by better prioritizing spending and being more efficient in the use of state dollars.
The economy is also on the mind of Democrat Stanford. He claims Olympia can jump-start the economy by accelerating capital projects, generating jobs in the short term and giving the private sector a chance to recover from the recent recession. Stanford quickly came out in favor of the “Jobs Act,” a referendum issue that would provide dollars for upgrading school buildings across Washington.
Stanford also believes the state needs to make changes in what he called its regressive tax system.
“The less you make, the higher percentage you end up paying in taxes.
“We must change this,” Stanford said.