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Monday, June 1, 2020

40th Legislative District primary election candidate information and FAQ

By Micah Evangelista

Six Washington state candidates are running for election to fill the open seat in the State House of Representatives in the 40th Legislative District.

The position one partisan office is a two-year term, currently seated by Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, who is retiring from her current position.

Jeff Morris, D-Anacortes, is the incumbent of position two and is running unchallenged for re-election.

The 40th Legislative District includes southern Bellingham, southwest Whatcom County, San Juan County and part of Skagit County.

The primary election will close on August 7. The two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, will proceed to the general election in late October.

 

40th Legislative District State: Representative Position One

Rud Browne is running as a Democrat. He is currently serving his second term on the Whatcom County Council and is the only candidate in the race that has been elected to public office in the past.

Born in Australia, Browne became a US citizen in 2002 and has been an active member of his community for the last 24 years, according to his website. At age 30, Brown started a hi-tech green business based in Bellingham called Ryzex. His company provided over 360 family wage jobs and lifted himself and three generations of his family out of poverty.

Brown has endorsements from organizations such as Young Democrats of Western Washington University, Whatcom County Deputy Sheriff’s Guild, Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense and Whatcom Democrats.

Brown’s campaign has received $47,377.78 in contributions. Of that, $43,569.53 is from individual donations.

 

Q: Could you give a brief overview of the issues that you are most passionate about and interested in improving for the 40th district?

A: “The main issues I am concerned with are affordable housing, affordable healthcare, living wage jobs and environmental protections.”

 

Q: Historically, college students report some of the lowest voter turnout rates of all eligible voters. What is the importance of getting more young people informed and keeping them engaged in the political process?

A: “When I was in my 20s I thought politics had little importance in my life, it was only later that I realized my government could decide if I had to go to war,to kill or be killed, if I would have access to healthcare or education and a thousand other things. It’s particularly important to be engaged over a long period of time, because only then will you be able to easily recognize a good leader when one emerges, and support them, or bad leaders, and quickly oppose them.”

 

Debra Lekanoff is running as a Democrat. Lekanoff  has served as the government affairs director for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community for the past 16 years, and for six years has served as chair of an Alaska Native Village Corporation Association.

As a Democratic woman of color, Lekanoff’s experience in her career has provided the opportunity to engage in vast issues and layers of government at international, federal, state and tribal levels, according to her website.

Lekanoff has received endorsements from the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws Pro-Choice Washington, Orcas Women’s Coalition, Washington State Labor Council, Washington State Patrol Troopers Association and the Lummi Nation.

Lekanoff’s campaign has received $59,402.42 in contributions. Of that, $33,524.64 is from individual donations and $20,900 from the Political Action Committee.

 

Q: Could you give a brief overview of the issues that you are most passionate about and interested in improving for the 40th district?

A: “While there are many issues important to the 40th District, I would prioritize investing in education and protecting our environment and natural resources to ensure that present and future generations have the opportunity to live happy, healthy and prosperous lives.

“Protecting the Salish Sea, working to preserve and rebuild native salmon populations, keeping water clean, and implementing environmentally friendly practices will maintain vital ecosystems in the environment and sustainable jobs within the community.

“Education for our children, young adults, and community members at all stages of life is an issue near and dear to my heart. As a working single mom, I want to make sure that every person in the community has access to affordable, quality education.”

 

Q: Historically, college students report some of the lowest voter turnout rates of all eligible voters. What is the importance of getting more young people informed and keeping them engaged in the political process?

A: “I believe everyone in our community should be informed and engaged in the political process, and it is important that representatives at all levels of government work to improve access and remove barriers to address voter disenfranchisement. I approach all issues with a lens that considers seven generations, because the decisions we make now impact current generations as well as multiple generations to come.”

 

Daniel Miller is running as a Republican. Miller is from Friday Harbor and is the former business owner of New England Collectables.

Miller graduated from Evergreen College with a degree in public policy and environmental studies. He also attended the University of Washington and Skagit Valley College.

Miller was the winner of the Republican primary for the position in 1996. He also was elected twice as a delegate to the county Republican convention and was a delegate to the state Republican convention.

Miller’s campaign selected the mini-reporting option. Campaigns that select the mini-reporting option on the campaign registration are exempted from filing campaign finance reports, as long as the the campaign does not exceed the total contribution and expenditure limits.

Miller has not held public office but most recently ran for state Senate against Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, in 2016.

 

Q: Could you give a brief overview of the issues that you are most passionate about and interested in improving for the 40th district?

A: “From the economy to homelessness issues, I feel that at this time I am the right candidate for this job in the upcoming 2019 session. I want to work on many issues. One thing is careful spending of our tax dollars, making sure taxes are spent well.

Miller is also interested in helping combat climate phenomena like ocean acidification, he said.

 

Q: Historically, college students report some of the lowest voter turnout rates of all eligible voters. What is the importance of getting more young people informed and keeping them engaged in the political process?

A: “One way to keep college students engaged is to bring forums to campus and rock the vote events.”

 

Tom Pasma is running as a Democrat. Pasma is from Bow, where he is a small business owner, rancher and a nonprofit leader. Tom and his wife Sue run Double S Quarter Horse Ranch. Tom is committed to making the district and state a better place, according to his website.

Pasma has received accolades for implementing green energy on his ranch and has been promoted as a model of sustainability in agriculture by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Pasma also works as an auctioneer and a volunteer firefighter. He has helped to raise millions of dollars as a volunteer auctioneer for organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, Friendship House, 4-H, and the American Quarter Horse Foundation, according to his website.

Pasma’s political experience includes former chair of the 40th District Democrats, current state committee member of the 40th District Democrats, co-chair of the Eastern Washington Committee and co-founder of the Rural Agriculture Caucus

Pasma has been endorsed by Skagit County Democrats, 40th District Democrats, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Puget Sound Council, Retired Public Employees Council of WA, Washington State Labor Council and Washington State Young Democrats.

Pasma’s campaign has received $24,020.04 in campaign contributions. Of that, $15,287.18 have been from individual donations and $3,200 from businesses.

 

Q: Could you give a brief overview of the issues that you are most passionate about and interested in improving for the 40th district?

A: “My campaign is called the new deal for Washington. That involves debt-free college for all, strong investments in green jobs and infrastructure that protects our quality of life.  In terms of debt-free college I believe technical and community colleges should be free, apprenticeships should be more supported and the State Needs Grant should be fully funded.

“I feel like a lot of these things lead from one to another. It starts with some of the basic elements like being able to find an affordable place to live, affording to eat healthy and being able to pursue higher education.”

 

Q: Historically, college students report some of the lowest voter turnout rates of all eligible voters. What is the importance of getting more young people informed and keeping them engaged in the political process?

A: “I was a young Democrat at one time, so I grew up with this. I’ve spent my whole life trying to get more people to vote. My campaign did a two-day voter registration drive earlier this month and it was very successful, but it’s not just a young person’s dilemma. Although it has become very easy to vote, a lot of people are so worried about what tomorrow will bring, they just don’t have the time sit down and actually take part in the process. In a way they’ve been left behind and that’s just not right.”

 

Michael Petrish is running as a Republican. Petrish grew up in Anacortes and has two children. He works as a union carpenter.

As a conservative, Petrish grew up with strong moral, ethical and religious convictions that make it natural for him to run as a Republican, according to his website.

Petrish originated from a background of both immigrants and refugees of Croatian descent that prospered from the ideals of free enterprise and hard work. Everything was earned through God-given talent and ability, achieved through faith in one’s determination and trust in America’s promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, according to his website.

Petrish has been endorsed by the Skagit County Republican Party, Pacific Northwest Carpenters in Action, Ironworkers Local of Seattle and Whatcom Republicans.

Petrish’s campaign has received $28,085.66 in campaign contributions. Of that, $17,733.27 have been from individual contributions, $5,875 from Washington Republicans, $3,000 from unions and $1,427.39 from businesses.

 

Q: Could you give a brief overview of the issues that you are most passionate about and interested in improving for the 40th district?

A: “I grew up in Anacortes working in the berry fields shoulder to shoulder with people of all races and backgrounds. It didn’t matter who you were or where you came from, what mattered is what you believed in and the work ethic you had. I’m passionate about where I live, I’m passionate about the people I grew up around. Keeping property taxes affordable for landowners to continue to prosper is necessary for growth in our lands.”

A few of Petrish’s main issues are keeping taxes low with less regulations, protecting quality of life and the environment and funding education that allows school choice, he said.

 

Q: Historically, college students report some of the lowest voter turnout rates of all eligible voters. What is the importance of getting more young people informed and keeping them engaged in the political process?

A: “I worked as a Representative for United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, there I worked with many young apprentices who work in trades because college wasn’t for them. No matter what area you go into, we need to instill upon the youth the belief that hard work, determination and vision can get you anywhere in this world.”

 

Alex Ramel is running as a Democrat. Ramel is driven by the idea that it is his responsibility to ensure a safer, better future for his son, according to his website.

He has spent most of his working life behind the scenes helping write legislation, organizing campaigns and building coalitions to fight the worst polluters in the world.

Ramel served as president of the board of Kulshan Community Land Trust where he  worked to make homes affordable for everyone.

Ramel has been endorsed by Skagit Democrats, Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund, Washington Conservation Voters and United Steelworkers.

Ramel’s campaign has received $53,020.81 in contributions. Of that, $46,882.99 have been from individual contributions, $4,068.75 have been from other and $2,069.07 have been self-contributed, according to the Washington State Public Disclosure Committee.

 

Q: Could you give a brief overview of the issues that you are most passionate about and interested in improving for the 40th district?

A: “We are in a housing crisis in Western Washington. Rents are rising, homeownership is out of reach for far too many people, more and more folks in our community are experiencing homelessness. I’ll be a strong advocate for fully funding the Washington Housing Trust Fund.”

“I’ve worked to reduce the pollution that causes climate change for most of my career. But last year I got a renewed wake up call when the worst forest fire season in history in British Columbia covered our community with smoke for more than a week. My son got a respiratory tract infection that took more than a month to heal. I’m running because Washington state can be a national example of bold climate action, implementing clean energy and saying no to new pollution.”

 

Q: Historically, college students report some of the lowest voter turnout rates of all eligible voters. What is the importance of getting more young people informed and keeping them engaged in the political process?
A: For the past five or six years, Western Votes has been a very effective avenue for registering students. But participation in the elections among those registered has still been low. I’m persuaded that part of the solution is to make sure that we are engaging students, at the local level, in issues that directly affect them through avenues like the Bellingham Tenants Union and on issues like university tuition and State Need Grants.”

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