Frockt, Daranciang weigh in on Eastside issues

The candidates for 46th district’s state Senate seat answer questions about taxes, guns and more.

Incumbent state Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) will run against Beth Daranciang, a Republican from Seattle, on Nov. 6 to retain his seat in the 46th Legislative District. The 46th district covers North Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore.

1. Please provide a brief biography.

David Frockt: I am completing my second term representing Northeast Seattle, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore in the State Senate following successful elections in 2012 and 2014. Even when my party was in the minority — most of my time in the State Senate — I earned a reputation as an energetic and effective legislator by passing significant legislation and local funding priorities by working with both Democrats and Republicans. I have passed more than 20 prime sponsored bills and worked directly on many more in significant ways virtually all of which required working together across the aisle. They ranged from requiring health insurers and the government to cover rare childhood ailments as well as early screens for things like autism. We passed legislation leveling the field for tenants seeking and trying to stay in housing; environmental protections to protect inland lakes like Lake Ballenger and Lake Washington; more aggressive legislation to penalize repeat drunk drivers, supports to our college scholarship programs for high achieving but underserved kids. When Democrats took the majority in the Senate in the 2018 session, I have continued to lead collaboratively as vice chair of the Ways & Means Committee by helping to break the stalemate and passing a $4.4 billion capital budget that invests in affordable housing, mental health, and school construction and our colleges and universities like North Seattle, Cascadia, UW Seattle and UW Bothell. We worked closely with the city of Kenmore and LFP on their priorities including Five Acre Woods, Moorlands Park and others. Our budget was passed on time (with no special session). It was balanced and currently has nearly $3 billion in projected long-term reserves. I continue to serve on the Ways & Means Committee, the Human Services and the Law & Justice Committees and previously on the Health Care and Higher Education Committees.

Beth Daranciang: I have a master’s degree in public health and have worked in the field of injury prevention both at Harborview Medical Center and Public Health – Seattle & King County. I’ve lived in the 46th District for 24 years and have raised my children here. My children have gone to public schools in Seattle and I have volunteered in each of their schools, serving as treasurer on the PTA/PTO boards for four years. I am currently the president of the Bothell/ North King Republican Women’s club. My husband has been a self-employed architect and contractor for almost two decades so we are familiar with the challenges of small business owners in this area.

2. Do you believe that taxes are calculated fairly to fund education in our state? If not, what would you change?

Frockt: The court has ruled that the Legislature has formally complied with its directives on education funding. I advocated strongly for paying the McCleary fine and for budgeting for the final tranche of the McCleary salary investments in the 2018 session. But the property tax changes that allowed this to happen were not totally fair to the Puget Sound area. I co-sponsored and helped pass a property tax cut for 2019 but we need to continue to tweak the local funding options and we need to find a way to reduce more permanently the state property levy even as we finish the job in special education, social workers, nurses and counselors so that local dollars do not continue to cover for areas where the state funding formulas are deficient.

Daranciang: Yes. Overall, it is calculated fairly. Basic education is now fully funded by pooled state wide property taxes which levels the playing field for “property-poor” districts and avoiding over-reliance on local levy dollars that create funding disparities between the wealthiest districts and those that are lower income.

3. Home prices and property taxes have been on the rise. How would you promote housing diversity and affordability?

Frockt: I have been a champion of expanding access to housing during my whole time in the Legislature. The role of the Legislature is to partner with local governments and provide them with some of the resources to develop and implement their own housing affordability policies that fit local conditions. This session, as capital budget writer, I helped ensure that there was significant funding for affordable housing projects around the Puget Sound area. I was also the prime Senate sponsor of the law we passed to prevent landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their source of income. We have more work to do to. Next session, we need to allocate more funding, make the regulatory framework work better for exciting new housing possibilities, and help localities find ways to generate their own funding for affordable housing. We also need to work with local governments on more sensible regulations and quicker approval so that construction costs are not driven up by delay.

Daranciang: Reducing government regulations would significantly reduce the price of homes. Zoning laws that allow more housing to be built need to be considered as well. Property and other taxes have been rising quickly and are making it hard for people to continue to live in this area. I pledge to vote for property tax relief and to make government live within its means so that the citizens are not unduly burdened.

4. Mass shootings, suicides and school security are big concerns in our communities. When it comes to guns, how do you balance safety with constitutional rights?

Frockt: I have been a leader in the Legislature on reducing gun violence with targeted, common-sense measures that can make a difference. One of these is Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which help families who wish to remove weapons from family members exhibiting suicidal or threatening behavior. I sponsored the bill that led to an initiative that passed overwhelmingly at the ballot box. This session, I introduced Senate Bill 6620, which would implement emergency response teams in schools, raise the age for purchasing a semi-automatic assault rifle, and require completing a federal and state background check to purchase a semi-automatic assault rifle, as already required for handgun buyers. It’s a comprehensive measure to keep schools and our communities safe. While that bill did not pass, elements of it were included in Initiative 1639. I have been spending the interim meeting with school officials, law enforcements, mental health counselors and others to work toward a comprehensive piece of school safety legislation this session.

Daranciang: We need to consider the root causes of violence as well as self-harm and seek to address them. Building up families and community organizations is the clearest way to promote well-being for our youth. Protecting children in schools should be a top priority and we need to continue to seek effective solutions, including utilizing school resource officers as well as potential technological tools.