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Chamber hosts candidates forum


October 5, 2016 | View PDF

Candidates for the state legislature’s 44th District, which includes Marysville, spoke at a candidates forum hosted by the Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 30.

The four candidates will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot for those in the 44th District, which includes southeast Marysville, Lake Stevens, Snohomish and Mill Creek.

Position 1 Candidate Janice Huxford

This is Republican Janice Huxford’s first foray into politics. She co-owns a roofing business in Lake Stevens and said she wanted to be involved to support small-business owners.

“The only time my business has had to lay off employees was due to regulation,” she said.

She does not support Initiative 1433, which would increase the state’s minimum wage and make paid sick leave mandatory.

“As a good business owner I need to be able to make good business decisions that are best for my business and my employees,” she said.

Huxford hopes to push for more trade and apprenticeship programs. “You can start early in the schools and show there’s a plan for everybody,” she said.

In terms of mental health, she disagreed with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to veto portions of State Bill 6656, which would have allowed psychiatric nurses to fill psychiatrist positions at Western State Hospital.

“I will go to Olympia to re-instate those parts of the bill,” she said.

Position 1 Candidate John Lovick

Democrat John Lovick has served in the state legislature in the past, as well as serving as the Snohomish County Sheriff and County Executive, and as an appointed incumbent to the Pos. 1 seat.

Before politics Lovick worked in the Washington State Patrol for 31 years.

Lovick believes the legislature should make education its top priority. “We have to make sure that we put it at the top of everything we do,” he said.

To help the mental health problems of the state, Lovick said the legislature invested more than $100 million last year.

“We’re going to have to have treatment centers, triage centers, like I tried to start when I was county executive,” he said.

Lovick supports Initiative 1433. He said that a higher wage for low earners could mean as much as $2.5 billion added to the economy.

“And they’re going to spend that money,” he said.

He also believes the initiatives will encourage a healthier society. “We need to be able to allow people to take paid sick leave,” he said.

Position 2 Candidate Mark Harmsworth

Mark Harmsworth is the incumbent for the Pos. 2 seat for the 44th District. He is a Republican who has been a part of Mill Creek’s city government and is a small business owner.

“It’s time we sit down together, as Democrats and Republicans, and replace the B&O [Business and Operation] tax system, because it’s so onerous on our businesses,” he said.

He believes the state needs to assume its portion of education funding, but thinks current funds are sufficient to reach that level.

“I just think we need to spend the money we’ve got more wisely,” he said.

Last year’s legislature invested in mental health, noted Harmsworth, but more is needed.

“I think we need more investment from the state,” he said.

He doesn’t support Initiative 732, which would add a carbon tax to the state while reducing other taxes, although he does support solar energy.

“I think we need to be incentivizing new industries like battery generation, so that solar generation can store its power better, and smooth out the ups and downs,” he said.

Position 2 Candidate Katrina Ondracek

Democrat Katrina Ondracek is a Lake Stevens resident and is the executive vice president of the United Way of Snohomish County.

She is new to politics, but says she has a passion for social issues.

“Taking care of the basic needs, whether those are housing related or food related, and those are the issues I would really like to work on,” she said.

Part of that means supporting mental health issues.

“I was told there are about 1,400 units in Snohomish County for folks needing developmental disabled services, and there’s a waitlist of 9,000 people, There’s no way those individuals are going to get into units, and that’s a problem,” she said.

To fully fund education she hopes to look at the tax loopholes currently in Washington state’s laws.

“Some of them don’t appear to be doing what they were originally intended to do,” she said.

She doesn’t support Initiative 732. “Unfortunately this initiative just doesn’t work, and that makes me sad because we do need to put a cap on carbon emissions,” she said. “Even the Sierra Club doesn’t support it.”


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