Spokane Valley Online
The Spokane Valley News Herald
City of Spokane Valley, WA
Biviano, Shea have spirited campaign

10/19/2012

By MIKE HUFFMAN
Managing Editor

 

No one could ever accuse the 4th District representative race between Republican incumbent Matt Shea and Democratic challenger Amy Biviano of ever being boring.

In the end, voters will have to make up their mind between Shea – a tea party favorite among area conservatives who took 60 percent of the vote in the primary election – and Biviano, who says she is taking a more moderate stance if she gets the chance to join Rep. Larry Crouse and Sen. Mike Padden, who are both Republicans running uncontested races.

Voters will have to decide whether an incident last fall whereby Shea was involved in a road-rage incident where he displayed a gun makes any difference, or whether campaign mailings by Biviano – depicting a faceless man with a gun pointed at the viewer – are appropriate.

Still, it’s worth noting that a Democrat hasn’t won a 4th District seat since the mid-‘90s. But Biviano has received support from conservatives like Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and Spokane Valley City Council Member Chuck Hafner, good friend of the late Bob McCaslin, longtime 4th District state senator.

Both candidates recently returned questionnaires to the Spokane Valley News Herald.

Amy Biviano
SVNH: Age?
Biviano: 37.
How long have you lived in District 4?
Eleven years. My husband and I chose his hometown, the Spokane Valley, to raise our boys for its excellent quality of life, business opportunities, green space and quality schools. We moved the family here in 2001, and we are proud to call the Spokane Valley home.

Why did you decide to file for this office at this time?

It all started with a dinner table conversation with my husband. As a CPA, I was frustrated by the fact that yet another one of my small business clients was declaring a loss for the year but still had a significant check to write for their B&O taxes. My client is a local business without a large lobbying effort, so they pay a higher tax rate than Chase Bank and the over 400 others who receive special interest tax loopholes. That inequality coupled with the fact that our schools never seem to have the funding support they need was on our minds. My husband reminded me that none of our 4th Legislative District state representatives were even challenged in 2010, and that if I really wanted to change the business environment, it was time someone with tax experience stepped up. I took his advice and I'm thankful everyday for his love and support.

What issues do you feel are most pertinent to Spokane Valley-area residents going into the next legislative session?

With over 90 percent of the businesses here in the Spokane Valley employing less than 40 employees, small business and the economy are the most pressing issues for our residents. I believe the economy is our biggest threat to family values, as we are working harder today than ever before and seeing less return on our hard work. I've talked with mothers who tear up telling me about the long hours their husbands spend away from the family traveling to find a good paying job or taking on that second or third job just to provide for their families. We must give our entrepreneurs a fighting chance and make our region better for businesses to thrive and to keep our families safe and productive. It's time for tax reform and we need a CPA to do it right.

I also hear every day about how concerned our residents are about public safety. We need safe streets for our kids to play and for our seniors to feel safe in their homes. I have been working with our sheriff's office to craft policies that will reduce domestic violence, which is a huge problem in our community. According to the YWCA, the Spokane Valley has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in our state but our low reporting rate means that roughly 94 percent of all of the families affected are not safe. This problem not only affects the public safety at large, taking resources that could be used elsewhere if we had a more effective way to keep these families out of danger, but it also affects our school systems, forcing our teachers to first address this social problem before they can even begin teaching the basic skills our kids need to succeed. I will continue working across the political aisle and with our law enforcement leaders to help keep our families safe.

What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops?

I've met with over 13,000 residents and business leaders so far in this campaign, with door belling, voter forums, neighborhood gatherings and local events. We've heard a lot about how the economy and public safety have directly affected our lives. I have been pleasantly surprised to see how many people are truly engaged this cycle, as unfortunately we know that the party politics and infighting have made many people decide that their vote doesn't matter. Instead, I hear every day that Spokane Valley residents are ready for leadership that will work hard for them every day and will listen to both sides of every issue.

You and your opponent have had a bit of back-and-forth in the press and some controversy. Any final thoughts on how the campaign has played out?

This race has been about educating our voters on the sharp contrast in this election. With public safety and the economy on everyone's minds, it is appropriate that our residents see the background check for both candidates and be able to make an informed decision about us. My team and I have been working very hard to reach out to our voters in many different town halls and forums to be sure that folks are informed about the policy differences between us, and we hear very positive feedback at the doors. I wish that Matt would have given some of his time for a direct debate, but he has chosen to attend only one closed-door voter forum with the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce so far and did not allow us to tape the event so that more voters could better understand his positions. I know that our voters understand that a campaign reveals a lot about how hard the candidate will work once in office, and I expect to receive strong support from the thousands of residents I have spoken with.

Why should people vote for you instead of your opponent?

The stark choice in this election centers around moving our community forward with a representative focused on the needs of our district rather than a politician who simply advances his own ideology without compromise. I have the tax and business expertise as well as the deep relationships on both sides of the political aisle to reform our tax code, strengthen our economy and protect our public safety from day one.

Good politics are a lot like a good marriage -- we'll never agree on all policies and positions but having the respect for others' points of view allows us to listen to the other side and take the best solutions to our community's problems no matter who thought of the best idea. While Matt Shea has strong ideological beliefs, he has proven that he doesn't work across the aisle well nor even work within his own party, as we see with many prominent Republicans supporting me and my positions. He has been focusing on the national issues of trying to nullify federal law, a proposition he knows is un-Constitutional and just wastes legislative time that could be spent creating smart budget solutions or solving local problems, rather than keeping his attention on small businesses, families and education here in the 4th district. I am ready to strengthen our community and be effective from day one.

Matt Shea
SVNH Age?
Shea: 38.
How long have you lived in District 4?
Twenty years total.

Why did you decide to file for this office at this time?

I want to honor the sacrifice of our veterans by ensuring government protects our God-given unalienable rights to life, liberty, property and the ability to defend the same so that our children and our grandchildren can live in peace and prosperity and freedom.

What issues do you feel are most pertinent to Spokane Valley-area residents going into the next legislative session?

I think there are five main issues:

  •  1. Getting government out of the way of our small businesses so they can create jobs and get Washington working again;
  • 2. Passing a balanced budget amendment to the state Constitution so we quit passing the buck, literally, to future generations;
  • 3. Passing an amendment to the state Constitution making the two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes permanent, so don't have to vote on it every four years;
  • 4. Re-Prioritizing transportation dollars to roads so we can fully fund the Sullivan Bridge project and the north-south freeway; and
  • 5. Eliminating/reducing unfunded mandates on our local school districts to give them flexibility to ensure money is getting into the classroom (this includes treating hydropower as renewable which would dramatically cut actual and projected electricity rates for our school districts).

What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops?
The only surprising thing is how adamant people are, compared to four years ago, about government living within its means "just like all of us."

You and your opponent have had a bit of back-and-forth in the press and some controversy. Any final thoughts on how the campaign has played out?

It is unfortunate that my opponent has resorted to negative campaigning and hit pieces that are for the most part patently false. She moved here from Seattle and that type of downtown Seattle politics just doesn't sit well with folks here in Spokane Valley, which showed in the primary results (60 percent to 40 percent).

Why should people vote for you instead of your opponent?

Experienced:

  • Decorated Army combat veteran
  • Constitutional attorney
  • Small business owner

Proven

  • 100 percent voting record for small business
  • Five-star rating from We Believe We Vote for my stance on life, marriage and family
  • Consistently endorsed by the Washington Association of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS)
  • A-plus rating from the NRA and endorsed by Gun Owners of America
  • Rated "Outstanding…One of CAPR’s Top Ten Washington State Representatives" (Citizens Alliance for Property Rights)
  • Ranked the most-conservative State Representative Lifetime (Washington Conservative Union)

Effective Conservative Leadership

    • "Matt is a dynamic and energetic leader who stands on his principles. That’s exactly the kind of leadership that’s needed in Olympia." Dave Windom, my 1st sergeant in Iraq
    • "One of the most effective legislators in Olympia even winning Rookie Legislator of the Year in 2009." Rep. Cary Condotta, HROC chairman
    • "Rep. Matt Shea is an insightful and tenacious champion for small business." Patrick Connor, Washington director, National Federation of Independent Business
    • "From pro-life issues to defending traditional marriage Matt has been a leader in every major battle the last four years." Cindy Marshall, Spokane County Republican Party vice chairman
    • On my idea which resulted in major worker's compensation reform... "It may have been the best-timed, if not the best, idea of the session." The Spokesman-Review, May 28, 2011.
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