Ted Cummings and Mary May are the latest Democrats looking to trip up the long-running Republican foothold in the 4th District representive races.
However, conservative Republican incumbents Matt Shea (challenged by Cummings) and Bob McCaslin (who faces May) must feel confident in their chances for re-election – so much so they did not return questionnaires sent by this newspaper.
The general election is Nov. 6, and ballots have already been mailed.
Family? How long living in the area? Born and raised in Spokane, Married for 37 years to Denise, two grown sons. Currently living in Chattaroy on 150 acres with cows and horses. Employed by Kaiser Aluminum for 30 years, currently as a Mechanical Lab Tech.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? I believe that the words and actions of the incumbent should disqualify him from holding office. I want to work on growing living wage jobs with benefits, increase attendance in trade schools and apprenticeship programs and improve education, especially before and after programs, effectively gather state and federal funding for infrastructure and work on issues like affordable housing and healthcare. I do not believe we can achieve those goals with the incumbent in office and his desire to create a new state; new borders and walls will not solve our most pressing issues. I believe that the current representative has a message of fear and is actively working to divide us, and I believe the exact opposite, that we must all work together to build a better Washington.
What are your goals for the next legislative session? I would like to rebuild trust in elected representatives by showing the voters that the parties in Olympia can find common ground and work together to effectively and responsibly use tax dollars to make our state prosperous and sensible. We must act now to address affordable housing needs; our infrastructure needs and healthcare crisis. Showing progress in these areas will demonstrate to the public that their government works.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the 4th District in the immediate future? The 4th Legislative District is facing looming housing and infrastructure needs, as more people move in due to our growing economy, finding affordable housing and getting those workers to and from work are going to be our biggest challenge. We need to act quickly to identify areas that can be developed for housing and evaluate modes of transportation, the effects of that transportation and how that will incorporate with our current use.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? I am most surprised at I am most surprised at the number of people who say they are not interested in and do not follow politics. People will tell me they have no issues, they don’t want to talk about anything and that no one is going to do anything about their issue anyway. I’m surprised by the number of people who have bought into the whole notion of fake news and do not read their local paper or watch mainstream media. This lack of engagement and mistrust of government and media has surprised me the most and in my mind is a real impediment to improving our community and country.
What differences separate you from your opponent? I like the state of Washington and do not favor a new state. I want to work with all people not just those who look and think like me, I think our differences make us stronger and challenge us to look at issues in ways we might not have considered before and that collectively we make better decisions and learn to work and live together peacefully and successfully. I do not believe in right to work laws and know that those laws lead to a race to the bottom and hurt working families, the incumbent supports them. I believe in my government and do not believe in deep-state conspiracy theories or that our government is near collapse. I do not believe in a need for militias and find it disturbing that the incumbent promotes them. My difference with my opponent is not just a matter of difference of policy, it is a difference of character, I believe in the opportunity for all to live their lives as they see fit and find no danger or threat in them doing so. I believe in the rule of law and of science and reason and not in armed confrontation and in this too we are completely different. I reject hate and intolerance in all its forms and believe that these views are the result of fear and mistrust, I have lived my life responsibly and honorably and I hope my election will allow people to believe in their representatives and their government again.
Family? How long living in the area? I am married, with two children. My family and I have lived here in the Spokane Valley for over 11 years.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? With over 25 years of community improvement, city planning and policy work, I have seen firsthand that we deserve better representation at the state level to advocate for our needs, and to get our fair share here in the 4th Legislative District. With my professional experience and my desire to serve our community, I am confident that I will bring strong, balanced, fiscally responsible representation to our 4th District.
What are your goals for the next legislative session? My goals for the 2019 legislative session include working on healthcare and education legislation, as well as standing strong to bring financial resources to Eastern Washington. I am interested in joining the committees for health care and wellness, higher education, transportation and local government.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the 4th District in the immediate future? Most of the biggest issues we're facing in the 4th District are pretty universal: Health care, primary and secondary education, basic infrastructure, protecting our earned benefits, and taking care of our veterans. Beyond that, I think the most immediate issue currently facing the 4th District specifically is that our current representatives are not representing our best interests, or the true majority of our community. We deserve to have more than one view represented at the table when decisions are being made that impact all of us.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? I've personally knocked on over 2,400 doors, and I've had some wonderful, illuminating conversations with people from all backgrounds and political leanings. Speaking to people in our community has helped to determine and shape my community priorities. The top issues that continue to come up are concerns over access and cost of healthcare and prescription medications, kids receiving the best educations possible and having an opportunity to pursue more options in secondary education without the huge burdens of student loan debts, protecting our earned benefits so that seniors can retired with security and dignity, making sure that veterans receive the care and services they deserve, and making sure that we're getting our fair share of funding to maintain and improve our infrastructure.
What differences separate you from your opponent? My opponent holds extremely far right social and political views, while I am much more moderate. He has voted against issues that I support, including equal pay for women, paid family and medical leave, workers’ rights, and automatic voter registration. We deserve a balanced and inclusive representation of our community. I am not afraid to work on the hard issues, listen to all impacted communities, and find sensible, fiscally responsible solutions. I won't walk away from the table. I believe we are stronger united, not divided.