Read the story here: The Seattle Times
In 2015, Olympia passed a $16 billion transportation tax package. It had been 10 years since the last large investment which was called the “Transportation Partnership Program.” Our region has been experiencing explosive population growth over that time period and we desperately needed to invest in our transportation infrastructure.
Unfortunately, the 1st Legislative District didn’t receive adequate funding to alleviate some of the worst traffic in the state. You can view the budget documents on the LEAP website. We received only $10 million in road projects. The project list incorrectly counts the 132nd/405 interchange as being in the 1st District when it’s actually in the 45th District. We didn’t receive any of the Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety Projects or the Transit Projects.
Our District can’t afford to wait another 10 years to fix these critical transportation issues. Our next Senator is going to have to fight to get funding in supplemental transportation budgets for the projects in our District. There is also an opportunity to work regionally to obtain federal funding for projects through the FAST Act.
Fixing our local transportation network is going to require effective leaders who can get results.
The best part of campaigning is getting the chance to knock on doors to find out what voters care about. Over the past few months, our campaign has knocked on doors in every corner of our District. We had the pleasure of speaking with thousands of individuals and here are the themes we heard time and time again.
1) Political fatigue
It doesn’t matter if it was a Democrat, Republican or Independent door, people are very frustrated with the state of our politics. They are fed up with the Presidential race, fed up with both party establishments, fed up with Olympia and fed up with what they see as a lack of results for the issues they care about. There is a disconnect between what people want from their government and what they are being provided by our system.
2) Transportation and traffic
There is no question that as a policy matter, we heard about traffic, roads and transit the most. Our District has some of the worst traffic in the state and voters are feeling it. Our roads have become more congested as a result of the 520 and 405 tolls and the lack of investment in our infrastructure (transit and roads) over the past 10 years. The effects are not only visible on major highways like 405, but also on our arterial roads. It’s creating unsafe situations as drivers try to avoid chokepoints. Traffic is getting worse, not better.
3) Olympia’s special sessions
There is a very real frustration that Olympia can’t get their work done on time. Families and small businesses in our district have to deal with their own budgets in a timely manner. The lack of compromise in Olympia, which causes them to go into overtime to get their work done every year, is eroding faith in our elected officials.
4) Property taxes
I heard this concern from voters from many different backgrounds. I heard it from seniors on fixed incomes. I heard it from folks living in mobile home parks. I heard it from people in single family, affluent neighborhoods.
Our District contains some excellent school districts and I found that many people were quite happy with their schools. There is definitely a growing concern about the use of portable classrooms and the lack of safe streets to schools. Additionally, the gridlock on finding a solution to school funding under the McCleary Supreme Court ruling is a concern.
One common theme across the district was the formation of small neighborhood groups who want to have a say in how their community grows. The population growth over the last 10 years has put a strain on our quality of life. Growth impacts many areas that we deal with on a daily basis. It affects our roads, the safety of our community, our parks and our schools.
As we went travelled around, we found a number of groups that were organized to allow the public to have their voices heard. While this is not an exhaustive list, some of those groups include: OneBothell, Save Shelton View Forest, Friends of North Creek Forest, No UW Dorms, Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance, Stop 405 Tolls, Neighbors to Save Wellington Hills, Save Our Trail and the Clearview Community Association.
Listening to the concerns of voters, and then delivering results once in office, is the job of any elected official. Unfortunately, what I have heard from voters is that our representatives are failing on both of those counts. As an example, there wasn’t even a single town hall meeting during the legislative session.
If you vote for me, I promise to be an accessible representative. I believe deeply in the public process and have proven that during my time as Chair of the Snohomish County Planning Commission, as well as a Fire Commissioner. You won’t just hear from me once every four years during an election. Listening to you year-round and getting results for you will be my priority in Olympia.
1st Legislative District Senate seat
Strengths: Small-business owner; impressive public-service résumé
WITH the retirement of a longtime state senator, voters in the 1st Legislative District have a chance to reshape their delegation with more effective representatives. By far, the best choice is Guy Palumbo.
Palumbo will serve the state and his district, which stretches from Kirkland into South Snohomish County, in what is likely to be one of the most consequential legislative sessions in state history.
The highest priority is for lawmakers finally to pass a comprehensive solution to fully fund the state’s K-12 education system. An impatient state Supreme Court has held the state in contempt for almost two years now. A more local concern for the 1st District, which was near ground zero during the abysmal Interstate 405 tolling rollout, is transportation.
On education, retiring Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, has been too aligned with the powerful Washington Education Association, often obstructing rather than advancing compromise solutions.
Palumbo is a Maltby Democrat who owns a dog-boarding business. He also worked as a manager at Amazon and possesses an impressive public-service résumé. He is an elected Snohomish County Fire District 7 commissioner and was appointed to the Snohomish County Planning Commission in 2011, serving as chair for two years.
Well-versed in the options before the Legislature, Palumbo has the right approach, supporting local-levy reform, some new revenues and shifting to a carefully constructed approach to statewide collective bargaining for teacher contracts. Importantly, he also acknowledges that any new money must be spent on improving outcomes for students.
He is challenged by state Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Bothell, who was not able to engage in a sophisticated conversation about the McCleary problem. Critics are disappointed that he, as vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee, did not show more leadership on solving the I-405 tolling problem as it unfolded.
Also running is Mindie Wirth, a Microsoft manager, co-president of the Northshore PTSA Council and community volunteer. The Bothell Republican is a thoughtful advocate for schools but is too close-minded on the question of whether new taxes are needed to solve the court’s McCleary mandate.
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