West Seattle Blog... » 34th District State House 2 http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 21:14:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Election 2010: Fitzgibbon leads Heavey for State House http://westseattleblog.com/2010/11/election-night-2010-34th-district-state-house-pos-2-race/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/11/election-night-2010-34th-district-state-house-pos-2-race/#comments Wed, 03 Nov 2010 03:01:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=54198 8:01 PM: The 34th District State House Position 2 seat – including West Seattle, White Center, and part of Burien – is the one that Rep. Sharon Nelson is leaving to run unopposed for the State Senate seat Joe McDermott is relinquishing for his County Council run. Four people filed to run, and the primary ended with Nelson’s legislative assistant Joe Fitzgibbon and King County Councilmember Jan Drago community liaison Mike Heavey as the top two vote-getters. Tonight’s results in this race will be here; more to come.

(Joe Fitzgibbon at his Election Night party at Skylark Café and Club [WSB sponsor])
8:19 PM: Tonight’s vote count is in. Fitzgibbon is ahead of Heavey, 55 percent to 44 percent. From the county website:

Joe Fitzgibbon 11809 54.80%
Mike Heavey 9472 43.96%

9:40 PM: This was considered a marquee race – open legislative seat, two Democrats facing off in the general – so we have talked to both Fitzgibbon and Heavey, and will add those video clips here as soon as they are uploaded. (added) We asked Fitzgibbon what he wants to do first in Olympia:

(Sorry about the blue squiggle in the video – no idea where that came from!)

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Election countdown: Quick toplines on tonight’s forum http://westseattleblog.com/2010/10/election-countdown-quick-toplines-on-tonights-forum/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/10/election-countdown-quick-toplines-on-tonights-forum/#comments Fri, 22 Oct 2010 05:36:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=53178

(Part 1 of 3 unedited segments comprising tonight’s candidates’ forum in White Center)
It’ll be the wee hours before we finish the full story, but for election-watchers, we wanted to let you know we’ve written a very quick first summary of tonight’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council-presented candidates’ forum in White Center’s Greenbridge neighborhood, featuring both candidates in each of our area’s open-seat races: King County Council District 8 and 34th District State House Position 2. That quick summary is up right now at partner site White Center Now. We also recorded the forum on video in its entirety – nothing artistic, we’ll warn you, but in case you want to see/hear for yourself, we’re putting it on the record in three unedited segments comprising the entire 2 1/2 hours – what’s embedded above is Part 1. ADDED 11:19 PM: And here’s part 2:

12:47 PM: And part three:

Again – full story to come!

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Election countdown: Doubleheader candidate forum Thursday http://westseattleblog.com/2010/10/election-countdown-doubleheader-candidate-forum-thursday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/10/election-countdown-doubleheader-candidate-forum-thursday/#comments Tue, 19 Oct 2010 17:40:48 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=52952 checkbox.jpgTwo weeks till the voting ends and the vote-counting begins. Maybe you knew who and what you’re voting for before your ballot even arrived; if not, one more advance alert about the last major candidates’ forum in this area before Election Day: Thursday night, the four candidates in the two major open races on local ballots are scheduled to be at the forum organized by the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, which is the resident-elected community council for White Center, among other not-yet-annexed areas between West Seattle and Burien. The forum’s being held barely a block south of West Seattle, at the Greenbridge YWCA (9720 8th SW; here’s a map), doors open at 6 pm Thursday, forum begins at 6:30. From the NHUAC website:

The following candidates have confirmed their participation.

for King County Council:
Diana Toledo
Joe McDermott

for 34th Legislative District:
Mike Heavey
Joe Fitzgibbon

The King County Council race is for the 8th District, the seat held by Dow Constantine before he was elected as County Executive a year ago (Jan Drago, appointed to serve until this election, chose not to run for the job); the 34th District race is for the State House, Position 2, seat that Sharon Nelson is leaving to run (unopposed) for the State Senate seat that McDermott is leaving to seek the County Council spot. (Researching? Voters’-guide links here.)

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West Seattle election countdown: Fitzgibbon-Heavey @ WS Kiwanis http://westseattleblog.com/2010/10/west-seattle-election-countdown-fitzgibbon-heavey-ws-kiwanis/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/10/west-seattle-election-countdown-fitzgibbon-heavey-ws-kiwanis/#comments Thu, 07 Oct 2010 18:59:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=51788 checkbox.jpgThis one’s too hot to wait for our nightly election update in 12 hours or so: The newest Kiwanis Club of West Seattle newsletter is out, and it includes word of both 34th District State House Position 2 candidates appearing at the club’s next weekly lunch meeting, noon Wednesday (October 13th) at Be’s Restaurant in The Junction (4509 California SW) – if you’re interested in attending but not a member, call 206-938-8032. That’s the only West Seattle forum/debate on the horizon right now.

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Update: 34th District Democrats endorse Joe Fitzgibbon http://westseattleblog.com/2010/09/happening-now-34th-district-democrats-endorsement-meeting-2/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/09/happening-now-34th-district-democrats-endorsement-meeting-2/#comments Thu, 09 Sep 2010 02:53:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=49007 ORIGINAL 7:53 PM REPORT: We’re at the 34th District Democrats‘ meeting in Fauntleroy, where it is standing-room only as the group gets ready to hear 34th District State House Position 2 candidates Joe Fitzgibbon and Mike Heavey make their respective cases for the group’s endorsement, with the general election just eight weeks away. They were the top two vote-getters, in that order, in a primary race that also included Marcee Stone – whom the 34th DDs had endorsed – and independent “Mac” McElroy.

8:08 PM UPDATE: The 34th District Democrats’ membership first voted to endorse these positions: No on I-1053, No on I-1100, No on I-1105, No on I-1107, Yes for the Seattle Schools Levy, in a “block” vote. That is a followup to endorsements that carry over from earlier in the year. And after hearing from King County Executive Dow Constantine, they also voted to endorse Yes on King County Proposition 1 – the sales-tax increase (two cents on $10) to raise $60 million to stave off some county budget cuts (including services, he pointed out, that are available to everyone in King County, not just the unincorporated areas). “We have to protect these services if we are to have a decent community in which to live,” he implored.

8:11 PM UPDATE: They are now considering the Fitzgibbon-Heavey race. Both are here, though neither spoke to the group before the vote.

8:38 PM UPDATE: That endorsement goes to Fitzgibbon, 96 to 31. He is thanking the group for its support (iPhone photo added above – Fitzgibbon standing, 34th DDs chair Tim Nuse seated). We interviewed each candidate on video after the vote (clips added 10:59 pm):

9:14 PM UPDATE: The meeting is adjourned, after two more endorsement votes – in two municipal court races, after the first ballot didn’t result in either candidate getting a 60 percent majority per group rules, the second ballot resulted in dual endorsements, both in Edsonya Charles vs. Ed McKenna and in Karen Donohue vs. Mike Hurtado. The group also passed a resolution supporting Streets for All, on the urging of past and current City Council candidate Dorsol Plants of Highland Park – that calls for the city to allot $30 million a year to improvements such as sidewalks.

POSTSCRIPT: Other notes – 34th DDs chair Tim Nuse condemned the anti-Muslim climate that has led to Koran-burning events and the New York City mosque controversy, saying “This has got to stop” … Knowing that its legislative seats are all going to Democrats, 34th leaders urged support for D’s elsewhere in the region who are in tight races, most notably incumbent State Sen. Claudia Kauffman … The 34th State House #2 race is one of two for “open” seats on the West Seattle ballot; the other is King County Council District 8, where Councilmember Jan Drago was appointed to hold the seat this year but is not running for election – top primary votegetter State Sen. Joe McDermott, already endorsed by the group, was at tonight’s meeting, as was a representative of his opponent Diana Toledo‘s campaign; Jerry Toledo told us she wanted to be at the 34th DDs’ meeting but had been asked to be at the Discovery Park news conference about last week’s fatal shooting of a Native American carver … In addition to McDermott/County Council, the list of previously endorsed candidates/measures was presented as this: Sen. Patty Murray, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, State Rep. Sharon Nelson for State Senate, State Rep. Eileen Cody, Yes on 1098, Yes on 52, No on 1082, Charlie Wiggins for State Supreme Court, Steve Rosen for Municipal Court, William Gregory for Municipal Court, Michael Spearman for Court of Appeals.

SIDE NOTE: Just noticed this analysis of the Fitzgibbon-Heavey primary voting – with a map – done by a political consulting firm (linked by PubliCola) – in West Seattle, there was a clear east-west divide.

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Election 2010: Endorsement(s) ahead for 34th District Democrats http://westseattleblog.com/2010/09/election-2010-endorsements-ahead-for-34th-district-democrats/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/09/election-2010-endorsements-ahead-for-34th-district-democrats/#comments Tue, 07 Sep 2010 21:03:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=48851 Just eight weeks till the general election, and of course voting will start a lot sooner, because of the mail-in system. West Seattle ballots will include two races for major seats with no incumbents in the running, and tomorrow night, the 34th District Democrats are scheduled to decide who to endorse in one of those races. They’ve already endorsed State Sen. Joe McDermott for King County Council Position 8 (he and Diana Toledo are the candidates in the nonpartisan race), but their original endorsee in the 34th District State House Position 2 race, Marcee Stone, didn’t make it to the general, so they have to decide between Joe Fitzgibbon of Burien and Mike Heavey of West Seattle. While Heavey took himself out of the running for the pre-primary endorsement, he tells WSB today that he does plan to seek the 34th DDs’ endorsement tomorrow night. The meeting’s at 7 pm tomorrow (Wednesday), The Hall at Fauntleroy; the agenda says other endorsements TBD might be discussed as well.

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Primary Election 2010: Final results are in http://westseattleblog.com/2010/09/primary-election-2010-final-results-are-in/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/09/primary-election-2010-final-results-are-in/#comments Wed, 01 Sep 2010 20:10:48 +0000 JasonG http://westseattleblog.com/?p=47977 We brought you the first round of King County’s primary election results back on August 17, and today comes official word that the county’s results have been finalized. (We confirmed this with County communications specialist Katie Gilliam.)

The top two finishers in each race advance to the November 2 general election, which means Joe Fitzgibbon and Mike Heavey for 34th District House Rep #2, and  Joe McDermott and Diana Toledo for King County Council District 8.  

For the local race results, the only official change from primary night’s results is that Joe Fitzgibbon has inched ahead of Mike Heavey, by an oh-so-slim margin (we reported on August 20 that this shift was starting to happen).

Local results: 

34TH DISTRICT STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 2
(Rep. Sharon Nelson isn’t running for re-election – she’s unopposed for State Senate in LD #34)
Fitzgibbon first 34%, Heavey second 32%,  McElroy third 18%, Stone fourth 14%

(Note: Early returns on primary night had showed Heavey at 34% and Fitzgibbon at 33%)

KING COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 8 (nonpartisan)
(Councilmember Jan Drago isn’t running for the seat to which she was appointed early this year)
McDermott first 60%, Toledo second 19%, McEvoy third 13%, Fahey fourth 7%

In another LD #34 race of note, Eileen Cody captured 81% of the vote against 18% for Ray Carter.

Full results are here.

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Primary Election 2010: New #1 in 34th District House #2 race http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/primary-election-2010-new-1-in-34th-district-house-2-race/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/primary-election-2010-new-1-in-34th-district-house-2-race/#comments Fri, 20 Aug 2010 07:10:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=46398 checkbox.jpgA change at the top in the 34th District State House Representative Position 2 results, after the latest vote count made public by King County Elections: Now Joe Fitzgibbon is ahead of Mike Heavey, by 186 votes out of more than 22,000 counted in this race so far. Again, the finishing order won’t change what happens next – both Fitzgibbon and Heavey are going to the general election, since it’s extremely unlikely that the 3,000-plus-vote gap between them and #3 Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy would completely close – but for politics-watchers, it’s interesting to keep an eye on the daily updates until the election is certified at month’s end. No change in the King County Council District 8 race, which has gaps big enough that none are likely – it’ll be Joe McDermott vs. Diana Toledo in November.

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Primary Election 2010: Newest results just published http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/primary-election-2010-newest-results-just-published/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/primary-election-2010-newest-results-just-published/#comments Wed, 18 Aug 2010 23:33:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=46321 checkbox.jpgKing County Elections got 95,000 more ballots in the mail today – the highest single-day delivery, which they say is unusual because that usually happens Election Day – and expected to include at least 40,000 in the second run of primary results. Those results were just made public – see them here. The order hasn’t changed in our area’s biggest race, 34th District State Representative Position 2, but Mike Heavey‘s margin over second-place Joe Fitzgibbon narrowed to 21 votes. Complete look at that race, after the jump:

Mike Heavey Prefers Democratic Party 6215 33.43%
Joe Fitzgibbon Prefers Democratic Party 6194 33.32%
Geoffrey Mac McElroy Prefers Independent Party 3433 18.47%
Marcee Stone Prefers Democratic Party 2652 14.27%
Write-in 95 0.51%

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Primary Election 2010: Heavey, Fitzgibbon leading 34th Pos. 2; McDermott, Toledo leading County Council http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/primary-election-2010-the-first-results/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/primary-election-2010-the-first-results/#comments Wed, 18 Aug 2010 03:19:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=46253 (Scroll down for updates – now that numbers are in, we’re off visiting campaign parties)

(King County Elections photo from their HQ, cars lined up to drop off ballots by 8 pm)
The first and only results that King County is making public tonight have just come out. In our area’s two major races – each with four candidates going for an open seat, and the top two advancing to November once ALL the votes are counted and the election is certified:

34TH DISTRICT STATE HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE, POSITION 2
(Rep. Sharon Nelson isn’t running for re-election – she’s unopposed for State Senate)
Heavey first 34%, Fitzgibbon second 33%, McElroy third 19%, Stone fourth 14%

Full results here

KING COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 8 (nonpartisan)
(Councilmember Jan Drago isn’t running for the seat to which she was appointed early this year)
McDermott first 59%, Toledo second 20%, McEvoy third 13%, Fahey fourth 7%

Full results here

All King County results are linked here. We’ll add other highlights of interest shortly, and we’ll be adding candidate reaction as we get it. Meantime, if you still haven’t voted – it’s not too late – you can mail it till midnight at Riverton Heights (near Sea-Tac; see our earlier story).

COVERAGE BEYOND THE NUMBERS

(Tim Fahey being interviewed by Q13′s Parella Lewis, with Mac McElroy looking on outside his pub)
8:41 PM: We were at Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy‘s party at his Triangle Pub in White Center when the results came in – with at least four other members of the media sighted. Now we’ve moved on to Fauntleroy, to Mike Heavey‘s campaign party, a gathering of family and friends (iPhone photo at right, as the candidate posed with varying combinations of people from both those groups). Both locations so far have been full of good cheer, despite the varying results. McElroy’s party also was visited by two other candidates – Ray Carter, the “reluctant Republican” challenging Democratic Rep. Eileen Cody, and Tim Fahey, who is currently fourth of 4 in the King County Council race. We are moving on to other locations shortly. Just interviewed Heavey, who foresees the general-election campaign, apparently against Fitzgibbon, as “a battle for the ages” – with voters being asked to choose “what kind of Democrat” they support. 10:16 PM: We’ve also caught up with Joe Fitzgibbon, whose supporters were celebrating at Heartland Café in the Admiral District:

Video from the frontrunners, coming up. And again, tonight’s vote is nowhere near final – King County Elections will release vote totals daily, until the final results are out on September 1st – two weeks away. ADDED 12:25 AM: Quick comments on video from Heavey, Fitzgibbon and McElroy:

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Primary Election Day 2010 in West Seattle: The Fauntleroy scene http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/primary-election-day-2010-in-west-seattle-the-fauntleroy-scene/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/primary-election-day-2010-in-west-seattle-the-fauntleroy-scene/#comments Tue, 17 Aug 2010 16:56:55 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=46173

Polling places may be history but one Election Day tradition lives on … signwaving at busy intersections. We checked out 35th/Fauntleroy and the Fauntleroy overpass to get a Primary Morning overview, and, in addition to State Sen./King County Council candidate Joe McDermott, we found three candidates in the election’s most-watched race, with a sign-waver on behalf of the fourth:

At left, that’s Marcee Stone at 35th/Fauntleroy – while on another corner at the intersection, Mike Heavey had a costumed campaigning companion:

(Why a lion, you ask? It was a little loud for conversation along the bridge entrance, but we’ve got a message out to inquire.) Then to the north, on the Fauntleroy pedestrian overpass, Joe Fitzgibbon swiveled for a smile while maintaining the wave:

The overpass also held a signwaver on behalf of Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy:

If you’re a candidate and plan to sign-wave during the pm commute – let us know – we’ll likely be back out on patrol. Meantime, MAIL YOUR BALLOT (procrastinators that we are, we are heading to the Post Office right now ourselves)! Infolinks, including the online voters’ guide, are here. (Advertising disclosure: The Heavey, McElroy, and Stone campaigns are running paid political ads on WSB.)

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Election 2010: Vashon forum, 2nd report: State House quartet http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/election-2010-vashon-forum-2nd-report-state-house-quartet/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/election-2010-vashon-forum-2nd-report-state-house-quartet/#comments Mon, 02 Aug 2010 00:28:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=44656

(WSB video of each candidate’s opening statement)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

It may be challenging to be a non-Democrat running for office in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, with three Democrats also on the ballot, and at least one news source declaring them the only candidates, but Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy nonetheless scored a touché moment at the end of the 34th District State House Position 2 candidates’ forum on Vashon Island Friday night.

His closing statement was the last one, and it included his suggestion that his three Democratic opponents “never met a tax they didn’t like.” The three – Joe Fitzgibbon, Mike Heavey, Marcee Stone – had each voiced support for a “progressive income tax.”

After McElroy finished, Heavey broke format to address the audience: “Can we take a straw poll? How many of you are in favor of a progressive income tax?”

A majority of the 40-plus attendees raised their hands. Heavey: “Against?” A few hands went up. as was the case when he asked, “Abstain?” He concluded, “Well, then, keep in mind we [Democrats] represent you.”

McElroy parried back, “I’d just like to see you all come up with the same definition of what a ‘progressive income tax’ is.”

One person in the audience somewhere – affiliated with McElroy or not, we have no idea – clapped.

The exchange was the zingiest part of the forum, moderated by Vashon-residing Seattle University law professor Craig Beles and broadcast live on Voice of Vashon TV (which has posted the full video of this forum and the County Council District 8 forum that followed – here’s our earlier story on that).

(From left: McElroy, Stone, Fitzgibbon, Heavey)
Back to the start: We captured each candidate’s opening statement on video, and those clips are featured at the top of this story – keep in mind that since the forum was on Vashon, the openers reflect that, but if you haven’t seen these candidates yet, it gives you a sense of who they are, how they speak, what they find important.

As with the County Council candidates’ forum we wrote about earlier, the opening/closing statements bookended a fast-moving half-hour in which each candidate got one minute to answer questions written by audience members, read by Beles. First up: How would you create jobs?

McElroy, who runs Mac’s Triangle Pub on the West Seattle/White Center line, brought that to his signature theme, helping small businesses. He spoke of ensuing the state has accurate information on small businesses, then consolidating “redundant” programs to create a sort of SBA (Small Business Administration) II. That, he said, would generate jobs that don’t “go offshore.”

Stone, who lives in West Seattle and works at a law firm, suggested that “go(ing) forward with shovel-ready projects” would create jobs – and used the Highway 99 tunnel as an example: “No more political handwringing … we can’t afford it any longer.” She also stressed the importance of funding retraining programs such as those at West Seattle-headquartered South Seattle Community College.

Answering next, Fitzgibbon – a Burien resident who has been working as legislative assistant to Rep. Sharon Nelson, who currently holds the job for which he and the other 3 are running – focused on the Clean Water Act. It has stalled in the Legislature the past two years, but may, in his view, have a better chance next year because of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. He said passage would get some projects going, creating jobs.

Heavey, currently working for King County Councilmember Jan Drago, said he sees job creation in two tiers, short- and long-term – saying he agreed with Fitzgibbon that the “shovel-ready” projects in the Clean Water Act could help create short-term jobs, while in the long term, he sees “invest(ment) in the education system” as crucial, particularly science and math, since most new jobs are in fields relying on those skills. He also briefly mentioned Referendum 52, on the November ballot seeking voter approval of a bill that would lead to energy-retrofitting projects at schools around the state (and would extend the bottled-water tax that’s currently scheduled to end by 2013).

Asked about state finances, Fitzgibbon voiced “support for a progressive income tax” and said the budget deficit would “have to be addressed through revenue increases and cuts to places we’re not getting our money’s worth.” Heavey said he’d rather raise revenue than cut services, but then startled (audibly) at least one person in the room by saying he thinks voters will pass Tim Eyman‘s Initiative 1053 to reinstate the two-thirds-majority requirement for taxes, which would then require “some deep conversations about what role government should play.” McElroy said he expected to find some “efficiency that can be gained” in budgeting, adding, “This fantasy world that we’re living in that we’re going to raise taxes and raise taxes without looking at what we’re getting for them is a dead-end street,” though he added the qualifier: “I’m not against taxes.” Answering the question last – the order varied question by question – Stone observed, “All three (opponents) have touched on different aspects of what’s really happened here: We have a lack of leadership in the Legislature – that causes citizens’ initiatives … I agree with Geoff here that we need to do something different; I hope to be the one to do something different,” which she said would include her signature issue, public campaign financing.

Staying on the money theme, the candidates were asked their views on reinstating a statewide motor-vehicle excise tax (which was killed a decade ago in a process started by Initiative 695). Heavey: “I think it’s a good idea,” noting it links to one of his key platform points, initiative reform. He observed that he thought “at least two others would agree with me” from among his opponents, which brought McElroy to open his subsequent answer with, “I am not fundamentally against taxes,” explaining that he considered the motor-vehicle tax “a stopgap measure” because “I believe, as does Marcee, that we need to have the testicular fortitude to go in and change the tax system in toto.”

Stone: “I would agree that we need to bring it back, but municipalities need to levy their own as well,” to help invest in transportation. As for what form that should take, she said, “We can’t go on building highways, widening freeways” – light rail, buses, “things like that,” deserve more attention.

Fitzgibbon: “Yes, we need the motor vehicle tax” – and he elaborated on Stone’s point, saying it’s a problem that gas taxes are constitutionally limited to highway spending, though “luckily for this community, that means marine highways [ferries] too.”

That brings us back to a ferry-system question asked early in the forum. Asking for the candidates’ “analysis” and proposed “solution” to Washington State Ferries “spending a lot of money on overtime,” the question appeared to refer to a series of KING 5 TV news reports.

Stone called the situation “unconscionable and despicable … seems like double-dipping,” and called for “oversight.” Fitzgibbon said the Legislature “must establish clear guidelines for travel time and overtime pay.” Heavey offered that “the best solution is to engage our employees … those who know where we can save money are those who work there … engage them … to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” McElroy said he suspected this type of situation could be found “duplicated” in other areas of the state government and needs a close review.

If you’re elected, what are your three legislative priorities? the four were asked.

Heavey listed ballot-initiative reform (noting that while you can file an initiative for $5, it cost more than $400 to file to run for office), the “stormwater bill,” and “getting transportation back on track” through a “broader interpretation of the 18th Amendment” – the aforementioned requirement that motor-vehicle tax money goes toward highways.

For Fitzgibbon, the three are the Clean Water Act, the “limited service pregnancy centers” proposal (requiring “medically accurate” information to be provided by the centers that Fitzgibbon said “deceive” pregnant women, often by “misleading them into not having an abortion or not knowing what their choices are”), and marriage equality: “I feel very strongly we’ll look back and wonder how it took so long for us to allow everybody to marry the person they love … We will be very embarrassed in 20 or 30 years to realize it took so long to pass that.”

For Stone, the pregnancy-center issue, on which she said she “would like to take an activist approach”; she also listed the “employee-privacy act,” and the “Impartial Justice Act” (public funding of state Supreme Court campaigns).

And Mc Elroy listed “getting the right information to help our small businesses” as well as “legislation that allows for objective results for our teachers, holding (them) and administrators accountable for the progress they’re making with our students,” and an “overarching transportation authority” to coordinate the multiple modes of transportation, rather than having them overseen by many separate entities as they are now.

As with the County Council forum, the closing-statement time included a mention of written questions that had gone unasked and an invitation for candidates to incorporate answers if they chose. One of those questions was about differentiating themselves from their opponents; Heavey touted his private-sector work experience as well as his government work experience, noting he’d been a member of the Inlandboatmen’s Union while working at the Mukilteo ferry terminal. “I think my broad experience and skills wil make me an effective legislator.”

Stone, who had mentioned earlier in the forum that she had been endorsed by the IBU, went on to list other endorsements (including the 34th District Democrats) in her closing statement, also touting her experience having been “a working woman my whole life – I know what it takes to raise a family , run a household,” and she said it’s vital to guarantee workers paid sick leave, while identifying the “progressive income tax” as the most important issue: “We need to send somebody (to Olympia) with the guts to stand up there and say, this is what has to happen.”

Fitzgibbon said he would “like to broaden the tax base by using a progressive tax structure” but noted that it would have been nice had the Legislature decided to reduce the sales tax too. As for differentiation, Fitzgibbon cited his experience working at the Legislature, King County Council, and being on the Burien Planning Commission “prepares me well to be an effective advocate for this district right from the start.”

As pointed out atop this story, McElroy said that while his opponents seemed to be all in favor of taxes, plus “there wasn’t a social program they didn’t like,” he doesn’t think there’s a “whole lot of money to be found” in new taxes, yet whatever system is devised, it “needs to be constitutionally bound.” He once again noted his experience running a business, as a differentiator and qualification.

WSB coverage of this race is archived here (newest to oldest). Disclosure: The Stone and McElroy campaigns are currently running paid political ads on WSB.

]]> http://westseattleblog.com/2010/08/election-2010-vashon-forum-2nd-report-state-house-quartet/feed/ 3 2010 primary election: Ballots arriving; candidates talking http://westseattleblog.com/2010/07/2010-primary-election-ballots-arriving-candidates-talking/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/07/2010-primary-election-ballots-arriving-candidates-talking/#comments Thu, 29 Jul 2010 23:04:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=44488 checkbox.jpgTwo days after King County Elections announced the August 17 primary ballots were in the mail, they’re arriving (ours just showed up). The big decisions for West Seattle (and neighboring communities) are in two open races with four candidates each, which the primary results will narrow to two for November: 34th District State House Position 2 (WSB coverage archive with “candidate conversation” stories here) and King County Council District 8 (WSB coverage archive here; watch for “candidate conversation” stories in the next week). Two candidate forums are coming up – tomorrow on Vashon Island, the candidates from both races are expected at Courthouse Square (see the end of this article) for a forum to focus on the State House race 7-8 pm and the County Council race 8-9 pm; then next Thursday, August 5th, the Seattle League of Women Voters presents a candidates’ forum downtown, with the County Council race (and those vying for two Supreme Court seats). Back to voting: August 17th is the deadline to postmark your ballot; the county has a list of voter resources on this webpage.

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Race for the 34th: Candidate conversation – Marcee Stone http://westseattleblog.com/2010/07/race-for-the-34th-candidate-conversation-marcee-stone/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/07/race-for-the-34th-candidate-conversation-marcee-stone/#comments Mon, 19 Jul 2010 22:01:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=43242 (EDITOR’S NOTE: With a week and a half till ballots are mailed for the August 17th primary, we’ve been taking a closer look at the candidates in two contested local races. Today, we conclude a weeklong series of stories about WSB conversations with the four contenders for 34th District State House, Position 2. Previously: Our report on Joe Fitzgibbon ran here); our report on Mike Heavey was here; and our Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy interview here.

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

She has the official Democratic Party nomination and the endorsement of the 34th District Democrats.

Marcee Stone also has something that Democratic legislative candidates in the 34th District (map) don’t usually have: Same-party challengers.

According to King County’s online election records, this is the first time in a decade that any 34th District legislative race has had more than one Democrat (in 2000, 2 Democrats challenged Dow Constantine in his winning State Senate campaign). But then again, it’s been pointed out, this is the first open seat in almost two decades. And until the “Top Two” primary system was implemented two years ago, there was no chance for two members of the same party to make it to general election.

Stone, a 57-year-old West Seattle resident, says it “means a lot” to voters when they hear she’s “the official Democratic candidate” – and when they hear about her “deep roots in the community.”

(5/12/2010 photo by Dina Johnson, from the 34th DDs’ endorsement meeting)
“I was brought up here, I brought up my daughter here – that element of life experience has really developed some trust right away,” she explains – trust that she has to build with voters who don’t already know her as local Democratic activists do. “I’ve had two careers in my lifetime – I’ve raised a family, owned a home, sold a home, paid my taxes, educated myself and my daughter – I think I have the values and the judgment to take
forward into the legislative session … I’m here to benefit the community the best of my ability. The fact I’m not taking PAC or corporate money allows them to have more trust in me – I’m not there to service any other type of agenda.”

The finance point is something on which she is living the philosophy that she espoused during the past few years as board president of Washington Public Campaigns, an organization that advocates public financing of election campaigns. She gave up that role in order to make the run for office, but emceed WPC’s recent awards banquet, held in West Seattle. And the topic naturally comes up several times during our hourlong conversation at a Junction coffee shop:

“Not to try to paint myself as a one-issue candidate, but one of the things that’s important to me and others is the real impartiality of our state Supreme Court. I’d like to see public financing of the state Supreme Court [campaigns] happen — [this past session] we got close to having it happen on the floor of the Senate … (but it) didn’t happen. I hope to work (on this, if elected to the Legislature) with (Snohomish County Rep.) Marko Liias. We have to protect our state Supreme Court(‘s integrity).”

Stone feels that her background working on this issue would give her a jump-start past the typical legislative rookie. “Though I would be a first-time legislator, it’s not my first time around the block – I have a good ability to really stand on my own feet and represent the people of the district, and not be bent to the wind of the interests down in Olympia itself, and I think that has to be the bottom line for me, what’s best for the district, not just is this the correct environmental or labor or educational thing to do – it really boils down to, what’s my connection to the people living here.”

She says she senses a “disconnect” right now between those people and their representatives, and she hopes instead to “foster a connection and collaboration with the people in the district, let them know what legislation is coming down the pike, (find out) what they might be interested in, so they can let me and the leadership know, and then they would need to let their friends (and others) know that this legislation is coming up, and that they need to make phone calls and send e-mails (to let legislators know they want something passed).”

Stone hopes to translate that interest into an improved two-way communication system, though she’s not certain yet what form it might take – she just knows that there’s more information potentially available on more of a real-time basis than is easily accessible to constituents right now. That also could help legislators call attention to issues that aren’t getting the attention that they seem to merit. For example: “I’m not hearing anybody talk about the Family Medical Leave Act that was passed in 2007, passed with a shorter amount of time, a smaller amount of money, limited in terms of scope … now there’s $50 million coming from the Obama Administration to the states to implement this, so this is an opportunity for us to let people know – I can say, ‘are you interested?’”

She envisions an easier way to reach out to organizations and others outside the district, too, to build coalitions – even short-term ones centered on certain issues or builds – to get something done. “That’s the way I was able to do it in 2008 on the ‘local-option bill’ with Washington Public Campaigns; we had folks in every district.”

Another issue she views as important: Tax reform. She supports Initiative 1098, but: “I’m disappointed in the scope of that – also disappointed we can’t find leadership in the House to address the hard question of tax reform … When I started running, I was amazed at the number of people who told me the progressive income tax is important.”

What does she say to those who say, there must be something else to cut, before you start talking about new taxes? “I think they’ve cut to the bone, I don’t think they can cut any more. They managed to balance the budget this session by doing a whole variety of things – everybody has had to take some of the brunt of the situations,” including furlough days for some state employees. “I just don’t know where we can get (more) budget cuts.”

Meantime, “we need more money for education … I don’t know how many more little taxes we can take that will let us fund education (even) to the bare minimum that we are at now.” But back to the subject of why she is disappointed in Initiative 1098 – for one, she wishes legislators had implemented an income tax, “rather than waiting for an initiative … that would have been a very brave and courageous thing to do.” Also, she’s disappointed “that there is no offset for the sales tax – people who make less than $50,000 are spending a large percentage (of their income) on sales tax. But I know I spend less now than I did before, so (the state is) not going to be getting the sales-tax (revenue) they need.”

In addition to tax reform, Stone also is interested in finding a way to make paid sick leave available to more workers. “There’s got to be at least a bare minimum. If you’re a young mom and your kid gets sick, you’re going to wind up losing your job.” She also is concerned about helping jobless people, and about health care: “Anything we can do to make the social safety net safer.”

What can government do to help create jobs? Effective training, for one – she mentions the programs at South Seattle Community College, and Referendum 52, which, if approved by voters in November, will retrofit school buildings for energy efficiency. “That’s a wonderful example of (creating) jobs while helping the environment.” She hopes that economic improvement will also lead to “more green industry along the Duwamish,” and points to alternative-energy projects in other parts of the state.

Environmental advocacy is one of the other focuses she’s hoping for if elected: “I want to get involved in the Blue/Green Alliance, to help hold that coalition together” though Rep. Sharon Nelson is leaving the House seat for which Stone is running, moving (running unopposed) to the State Senate. (Coalition-building/maintaining is a specialty, she says, because of her community-activist background; she does not see herself as much of a “compromiser,” though.) Stone also thinks “a carbon tax … makes more sense than ‘cap and trade’” and she thinks the so-called “polluters’ tax” should come up to two percent … we need to get polluters, producers of fossil fuel to be paying for their fair share of cleanup costs … The people who are making all this money on oil, we need to get them to pay for part of (that). It’s mindboggling to me that we have one lobbyist in Olympia for BP alone.”

She expects transportation issues to be another focus: “Transit in this community is very, very important. We’re going to be lucky when the Spokane Street Viaduct is done … but when they decide to start building the tunnel … I think people are still worried about the (Alaskan Way) Viaduct, (not realizing that) it will remain up while they dig the tunnel, so when that’s done, they tear (the old viaduct) down. People are kind of confused about this … I do get some questions, mostly about access to downtown.” Also regarding transportation/transit, she supports “legislation to allow local jurisdictions to have their own motor-vehicle excise tax. People will pay for what they want to use.” And she would like to see pedestrian-safety laws toughened.

From the possibilities if she’s elected, we backtrack to why she’s running. She says she got involved with party politics right about the time she became involved in a fight over neighborhood cell-phone towers. “People … would say, you really should run for office – that kind of got my interest piqued a little bit. Post-cell phone towers, I looked for an issue I really wanted to delve into … tax reform, maybe working with NARAL, insurance reform – but when I saw a presentation on public campaign financing, I really thought, ‘that is something that we really need – it’s at the heart of everything.’ I would think, there’s no way I could (run for office), where would I get the money – I think that stops a lot of good people.”

Believing she should “try to make government more accountable and transparent,” she continued that work, and then, came the domino effect (Dow Constantine being elected County Executive, State Sen. Joe McDermott running for Constantine’s old County Council seat, Rep. Nelson seeking McDermott’s Senate seat) that led to the open position. “When the opportunity presented itself, I’d done some homework … I think I can do a great job.”

What does she see as an underplayed issue in the campaign? “One of the issues that got dropped last year due to special interests busing in supporters, the ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ – That was disappointing, to say the least, that our leaders didn’t have the gumption, really, to stand up and do the right thing … a young woman in dire circumstances with nowhere to turn, doesn’t have your typical clinic available to her, goes to one of these centers instead, is given an over-the-counter test and then shown lots of videos regarding why someone shouldn’t have an abortion. I think that’s wrong. Then they won’t give them any (other) information. I think we need to make sure this passes (next) time … to let people know what they are all about. They promise the moon, and then when it gets down to brass tacks, the girl is usually left to fend for herself.”

During our conversation, she had harsh words for the Legislature’s failings more than once, so we ask what she views as one of the past session’s accomplishments. The campaign-financing issue comes up again: “They limited the campaign contributions that candidates in municipalities can take – if you were under a certain population (size), not Tacoma or Seattle, you could take unlimited amount of corporate contributions.” She cites a Federal Way campaign in which she says a developer “spent $234,000 on a particular candidate.”

Asked toward conversation’s end what she wanted to talk more about, Stone mentioned education reform — she thinks teachers are getting something of a bum rap. “There’s been an awful lot of blame going toward teachers. A lot of people are trying to blame them for the way things are. But if we fix the funding system, we should be able to get what we need. … Teachers need to be at the table when they discuss whether or not, or how, to reform the teacher-evaluation process.”

She mentions some of her alma maters when discussing her ties to various communities in the 34th District – Holy Family School in White Center, Kennedy High School in Burien.

Most memorable moments of the campaign so far? “The nomination and (34th District Democrats’) sole endorsement were absolutely gold, and I was really proud of that, because it was something I have worked very hard for … it meant a lot to me that people heard my message.”

ENDORSEMENTS: Here’s her current online list

FUNDRAISING: $28,743 in contributions as of this morning (7/19/2010), compared to $31,616 for Joe Fitzgibbon, $29,650 for Mike Heavey, $5,112 for Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy, per the state Public Disclosure Commission website. (To see who has given Stone money, go here.)

WHITE CENTER – SEATTLE OR BURIEN? “I’m fine either way … What I hope is that they just don’t hopeto get overlooked. I want them to get annexed, but don’t really have an ax to grind as far as which one. I think that both cities (Seattle and Burien) should be free to go in and lobby, it essentially is up to the citizens of White Center. Right now, it’s just sad to see that it’s being postponed yet again. … It might be one of those opportunities where the Legislature steps in with the GMA (Growth Management Act) and figures out how to get some funding so that they are more appealing.”

Find out more about Marcee Stone at her campaign website here; see her Facebook page here; read recent Web-wide news stories mentioning her, as indexed by Google News, here.

Last Tuesday, we published the story of our conversation with Joe Fitzgibbon; last Wednesday, it was Mike Heavey; and last Thursday, it was Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy.

Registered to vote? If not – today’s the deadline (unless you’ve never registered in this state before)! Details here.

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Race for the 34th: Candidate conversation – “Mac” McElroy http://westseattleblog.com/2010/07/race-for-the-34th-candidate-conversation-mac-mcelroy/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/07/race-for-the-34th-candidate-conversation-mac-mcelroy/#comments Fri, 16 Jul 2010 04:59:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=43112 (EDITOR’S NOTE: With less than two weeks till ballots are mailed for the August 17th primary, we’re taking a closer look daily at the candidates in two contested local races. This week, we are bringing you stories about WSB conversations with the four contenders for 34th District State House, Position 2. We began Tuesday with Joe Fitzgibbon (story here); continued Wednesday with Mike Heavey (story here); tonight, Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“Do something different,” exhorts the white lettering on the back of Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy‘s campaign uniform, a black T-shirt.

After all, he did something different.

For one, the 46-year-old entrepreneur filed to run as an “independent” in the heavily Democratic 34th Legislative District (map), running against three D’s.

For two, instead of more classic campaign activities, he’s focused on one that’s led us to bump into him multiple times each week for the past few months: He’s been attending neighborhood council and association meetings around the district.

When it came time to sit down and do an official interview for our series of candidate conversations, though, we wound up on his turf – Mac’s Triangle Pub, feet from the West Seattle/White Center line.

Of course, we asked about the meeting strategy. “I’m a firm believer that the job of representative is pretty clear – I’m running to represent the people of the community – and the more-active ones go to community meetings. If there’s a way I can leverage my time across a broad demographic, it’s by going to community meetings, partly to wear my shirt, to say hi, and partly to hear the concerns of my potential constituency.” (He’s going to festivals, too – the photo below is from last week’s West Seattle Summer Fest, and this weekend, the Vashon Strawberry Festival is on his calendar.)

So far, we asked, what are the concerns he’s hearing?

“Because i work in a bar and have had a lot of people come across my door – people by and large want employment and a sense of security that comes from employment – they want an education for their children -
the potential for a better future … Everybody bitches about the traffic and would like to have roads that don’t have holes in them, that get where they want to go, don’t deal with traffic jams … I figured i would go out and just listen which is why you don’t hear me say much at these meetings for the most part – I am just there to
listen to the concerns of the people that are going to be voting for me, so that when I get voted in, I’m actually listening to those voices, rather than the voices of a party.”

And as the lone non-Democrat in the race, he is blunt about what he sees as the differences there: “I’ll tell you this, a (political) party’ s main role in life is to elect members of their part. My goal is to represent the people of the 34th District.”

Not that he’s anti-Democrat, he says: “If this was a (predominantly) Republican district, I’d be having the same conversation. … There’s an awful lot of time wasted on ideology and dogma …”

Wasting time does not seem to be part of his repertoire. He bought the pub five years ago, according to his online bio, just a few years after getting an MBA at the University of Washington, which followed a few different careers, including a decade in the U.S. Navy. This is his first venture into politics, though it is clear he sees it more as a natural step in community involvement, rather than yet another career.

“I’m a member of the White Center Chamber of Commerce, and four years ago I got involved in the (White Center Community Development Association) in a number of ways, most notably the Spring Clean – I went out and started cooking burgers (for volunteers) … it went from 100 people the first year to 560 people this year. The benefit to the community is huge. … It’s nice that I have a network to bring (people in to help) but the real heroes are (those) who organized folks, and the chamber, and the CDA, who got everybody out there. Ever since I bought this bar, I invested myself in this community – it was an investment in my own future (too) – more good businesses are better than fewer … There’s a changing demographic in White Center, Southwest Seattle, North Burien, ostensibly due to depressed property values, but (it’s also) one of the last places close to the city center, an opportunity for people to come in and create community. (So) to the extent that I can (provide) a safe place for communication and community, I can help, and make a couple dollars … and that’s all I’m making …”

He trails off and then picks up again about his business. “I’m not just the bar owner, I’m the bartender. I love to cook, take pride in the food I serve, but I also take pride that a single woman can come here and feel safe at any hour, and many do … once you feel that sense of security in the community, you have a toehold. There’s a lot of people who like the old Rat City thing – they are well-served down the street. I’m interested in the new White Center, a new vision of what a community can be.”

And as one of at least five Independents running for the Legislature this year, he says he’s looking for a new way to collaborate politically. “Figure out what your commonalities are, what do you want, what do I want, so we can work together. I’m a huge proponent of small businesses. Small businesses are not susceptible to representation by lobbyists, but … they employ more people and pay (more) taxes. I’m not against taxes, I think they’re great.”

However, McElroy is not in favor of Initiative 1098, which would create an income tax for people earning more than $200,000 a year, calling it “shortsighted” and likely to “ultimately fail … the people I know who have a wad of dough will move somewhere else.” At a different point in the conversation, he elaborates, “The high-earner thing, I think, is socially divisive. I think it’s just as divisive as the tax measures that came out of the special (legislative) session – they were going to raise taxes anyway, who did they raise taxes on? Not even my customer base – my folks pay $4.50 for a microbrew. The people getting taxed are the folks that buy a half-case of Budweiser, a bottle of pop and a pack of cigarettes. They’re the ones that get hit, and they’re the ones that can least afford to get hit. … We can tax everybody in the world and transfer the money, (but) that’s going to be nonviable and nonsustainable. The only sustainable model for taking care of our children and our environment, the social safety net, the only way we can take care of all these things, is to create more value – the one area that just happens to be the one I have more experience in – I am an MBA and own a small business, I understand about creating more value. I’m a firm believer in, if we figure out how we can solve the mortality rate of small businesses in the first five years, we’re going to help everybody.”

He’s not talking subsidies, he is quick to say – but rather, about finding out what works for successful businesses, to help others emulate them. And he doesn’t think economic pessimism is warranted right now, either. “Are we in the very worst situation we’ve ever been in? No … but we’re treating this economy situation like it’s the end of times, and it’s unrealistic, unrealistic to think we’ll continue to (raise taxes) … we need to create a sustainable model that mitigates the economic ups and downs.”

McElroy sees the business model as one for other services. “We are one of two states with a constitutional mandate to provide K-12 for children. I think that’s awesome, but we don’t treat children as the customer – we treat teachers as the customer – the Washington Education Association.” He thinks it should be easier to remove “inept” teachers from their positions. “The only way we will have a say beyond our own graves is if we take care of our kids first. … We need to take the lessons we have lernaed and teach children so they can move forward and not make mistakes we’ve made. (But) our society doesn’t seem to be based on that, the two-party system is not based on that. … I am not trying to create a third party. I’m trying to create an environment where people aren’t choosing the lesser of two evils.”

Part of what he sees as the problem is that political leaders won’t act courageously to do something unpopular that nevertheless seems to be the right thing to do. While at two points in our conversation he uses the usually derisive term “Obamacare” to refer to the recently passed health-care changes, he also suggests the president should have been able to do more. Recalling the time before the presidential election, McElroy says, “It seemed like the nation was of a mind, we’re one of the richest nations but even less-rich (ones) have universal health care, I thought, ‘that’s awesome, that’s so in keeping with us walking the talk’ … (Obama) was the epitome of, you can do anything in America. I think the country had more hope in that period of time than since (President John F.) Kennedy said, ‘We’re going to go to the moon’. It’s not for nothing that people were excited about health care – but (the eventual result) wasn’t health care, it was insurance reform, and it was more of the same.”

He’s also disappointed in where health care has gone on the state level. “I think Washington was courageous with our health-care system, and I think that, second to education, that’s something we should have figured out how to continue. We didn’t. We cut funding, ostensibly because we figured out the feds would pass this new health-care thing that would somehow mitigate those costs.” He says the issue needs “forward-thinking leadership that goes beyond the next election,” since the population’s getting older and more likely to need more care.

As for where the money’s coming from: “Politically speaking, it’s the wrong time for more taxes. So what do you do? If you can’t create more revenue, then you have one of two choies. It’s not cutting, it’s creating efficiency. I understand we’ve cut the fat, cut the meat. How about if we stop cutting, what if we look at it from the perspective of creating an environment where small businesses could succeed – and I’m not saying we should be cutting the B&O taxes. But don’t make it any more onerous (for businesses to succeed).”

More than that, McElroy suggests, the state should find ways to help those businesses succeed. “I would commission a study – there’s a small-business commission that reports to the governor, the most recent information is four years old … maybe they provide (prospective entrepreneurs) with information that would be geographically based. You have to take a test to drive a car or cut somebody’s hair or file nails, why shouldn’t you be responsible for information that will help you not be blindsided by the (various licenses and fees faced by entrepreneurs)?” He jumps from there into a recollection of how many different permits, taxes, licenses, fees he learned about while getting his business going. “Like the square-footage tax (from the city) – I didn’t know about that. Is that my fault? Probably. I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I’m not a moron either. So if I can be blindsided, others probably are. … If you get sideways with the state at one point, is that a hospitable environment in which to run a business? The state has become adversarial with small businesses …”

Which, he believes, is a bad move, given that small businesses create so much of the state’s jobs. “They’re voters, taxpayers, the most responsible people in the state. … I can’t come up with an example of where I felt the government was really on my side. I can’t get the police to come here, and thank God I haven’t had a fire, though I’ve had people sick on the street … At the end of the day, aren’t we interested actually in paying for all these programs, and aren’t we depending on the folks who are making money to pay those taxes? It ought to be a very symbiotic, friendly relationship. (But) the Republicans hate the Democrats, the Democrats hate the Republicans, and they all hate me because I don’t represent anything that they understand.”

Despite that, he is confident he would be able to make his mark in the Legislature. “I have a track record of success in starting at the bottom of several things I’ve done in my life. I started out at the bottom in the Navy and came out well-regarded, got out and the civilian population had a much-lower view of my skillset and experiences than the Navy did … I was homeless for a period of time. But I started working at a company … started with driving a truck, and moved on up.” He says the pattern continued with his pub: “This was arguably the worst bar in White Center, which would have made it the worst bar in the district … but we’ve created a sense of community, and a comfortable place for people to come.”

He also expects that, if elected, he would be dealt with respectfully and appropriately: “Anybody who would spend the time and money you have to spend to get elected – I expect that people are motivated from within because they have a sense of service. And I’m going to talk to them about that, and about the people, going to give them the same choice I’m giving the voters, going to do my best to create a nonpartisan coalition. … Frankly, I’m not interested in the politics, I just want to get some things done. … Change is upon us, whether I get elected or not. The way things have been going, the status quo is not going to work for much longer.”

If elected, McElroy vows to keep in personal touch with constituents, the way he’s going around meeting people now. He promises online updates, “to say this is what I’m doing, this is how I’m doing, this is what I expect, just be in constant contact” – and that means in person, too. “In the past couple months, I haven’t met anybody that represents me. I hadn’t met (Reps.) (Eileen) Cody or (Sharon) Nelson … I’ve been here almost five years. I only met (State Sen.) Joe McDermott because I introduced myself to him (at an event). I was introduced to (King County Executive) Dow Constantine someplace … An effective representative needs to be out with the constituency.”

In one regard, he says, “I feel like I have already won” because the voters have so many choices in this race: “If you accept the premise that choice is inherently good, and that folks are vying for the opportunity to represent you, not the right to move up through the party, then you wonder why it wasn’t until I ran that we had more than one Democrat (in the race).”

If he is so disinterested in the political machinations, then, we wonder, why even take this route?

McElroy recalls learning that his father had once longed to run for office – “but it was shortlived, my mom said, no way in hell will I be married to a politician.” At the time, he says, they were living near Washington, D.C., and “I did have the benefit of them taking me to all the museums and landmarks … and we traveled the country, so I did get a sense of how the representation system had to work. … I’ve always been patriotic, thus my service in the Navy, always interested in caring for other people. I’m the oldest of five – my folks adopted my brother and two sisters from Appalachia, then got pregnant, so I went from being an only child at 9 to the eldest of five at 11.”

But, he says, he didn’t really understand how government could affect his life until he opened the pub, and “started getting really upset about the fact I was paying more in taxes, fees, permits and licenses than I was taking in for myself – especially when you have debt, and you’re employing people …” And he’s fought to keep that status, he says: “I was on track to buy another bar, but the economy went (south), the real-estate values went down, my personal level of income went down, I became a roommate as opposed to having my own place, because I’m not going to let my business go – when things are not going well, you have to mitigate, cut your overhead, it’s simple math.”

McElroy’s bottom line – Instead of complaining, he’s trying to move up into a position where he can help make change happen: “Mom always said, if you’re going to bitch about something, man up and do something. The time is now. I have the education, I have the language, I have the personality, and I have the fire.”

ENDORSEMENTS: Here’s his current online list

FUNDRAISING: $5,112 in contributions as of tonight (7/15/2010), compared to $29,650 for Mike Heavey, $29,156 for Joe Fitzgibbon, $28,693 for Marcee Stone, per the state Public Disclosure Commission website. (To see who has given McElroy money, go here.)

WHITE CENTER – SEATTLE OR BURIEN? We asked this by e-mail. McElroy’s reply: “The White Center area has an inherent value, and we need to come at this issue from a position of knowledge. To date, neither Seattle nor Burien has come to us with an adequate proposal that shows us what benefits the community will receive and in turn how much it will cost the citizens. Another concern is that neither of these cities have the resources to service our social needs like Police and Fire. Both are taking cost cuts in these areas. Prior to any decision, organizations like the White Center Chamber of Commerce and the Community Development Association need to reach out to our diverse community to learn what our local citizens have to say as well.”

Find out more about Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy at his campaign website here; see his Facebook page here; read recent Web-wide news stories mentioning him, as indexed by Google News, here.

Tuesday, we published the story of our conversation with Joe Fitzgibbon; Wednesday, it was Mike Heavey; and coming up tomorrow, Marcee Stone.

Registered to vote? If not – do it by Monday. Details here.

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