The Edwards Agency

Local News

The Nov. 5th ballot: 44th Legislative District, Positions 1 & 2

44th Legislative District Dave Schmidt, Republican incumbent, is being challenged by Kent Hanson, Democrat, for Position 1. For Position 2, incumbent Bill Thompson, Republican, faces challengers Jerry Dickson, Democrat, and Frederick T. Gray, Natural Law.

Rep. Position 1

Dave Schmidt

Age: 42.
Party: Republican.
Occupation: Personnel Administration, Washington National Guard.
Family: Wife, Debi; two children.

   Dave Schmidt is seeking his second term, when he hopes to fund construction on SR-522, reform welfare, and acquire more space for more higher education students.
   "Last term, the House passed meaningful legislation in welfare reform, property rights, property tax relief, tough juvenile crime measures, reforming government in restructuring DSHS, and regulatory reform, only to have the issues fail in the Democrat-controlled Senate or to be vetoed by Gov. Lowry," Schmidt said. "It is my intention to continue to support these and other similar issues to see them through to completion."
   An issue which has gotten a great deal of attention was toll roads on SR-522, an alternative the Dept. of Transportation was looking at because of lack of funds and the prospect for a public-private partnership.
   "Locally, I opposed the toll road from the beginning," said Schmidt. "It took intense work and efforts to reach a consensus on the issue. In the 1996 session, it was my amendment to HB 2343 that killed the toll road project. The next priority is acquiring funding for widening SR-522."
   Schmidt has a background in banking and finance management with U.S. Bank, and is a former minister with the Northwest district of Foursquare Churches.
   Schmidt and his family have been residents of Snohomish County for 16 years.

Kent Hanson

Age: 53.
Party: Democrat.
Occupation: Appraisal supervisor.
Family: Wife, Poppy; son, Kurt.

   Kent Hanson works as an appraisal supervisor for Snohomish County, has served on the Everett Public Schools Strategic Planning Committees, is a delegate to the Snohomish County Labor Council, and is a member and officer with the Silver Lake Kiwanis.
   He supports legislation that creates and maintains family wage jobs, meets the needs of poor children, protects public education and creates property tax exemptions that would result in a 15 percent reduction for most homeowners.
   "I will bring a voice of moderation and reason to a House of Representatives which has been dominated by a narrow, ultra-conservative majority which has opposed labor, women's rights, public education, caring for poor children, environmental issues and civil rights," Hanson said.
   He contends that this state has "the most regressive tax system in the nation," and he will direct his plans toward tax relief for working families and small business.
   Hanson served as a communications intelligence specialist in the U.S. Army from 1962-65, has owned several small businesses, and has worked as an educational planner and evaluator.
   He has lived in Washington for 39 years.

Rep. Position 2

Bill Thompson

Age: 59.
Party: Republican.
Occupation: Laundry services manager.
Family: Wife, Gloria; two children.

   Bill Thompson is seeking a second term in the 44th District, where he was on the House Education, Commerce, and Labor and Natural Resources committees. He is a manager with 20 years management experience, and a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel with 18 years as an engineering officer, staff officer, and squadron commander, with two years as a nuclear weapons specialist.
   Thompson said it was difficult to be limited to a few priority items, given the hundreds of issues and thousands of bills during a term, but noted that the public school system needs to streamline and produce better quality education for all students.
   "More than ever before, today's children need a solid academic education to compete in the world marketplace," Thompson said. "If the public school system fails to meet these needs, parents must be provided alternatives such as charter schools and/or vouchers for private schools."
   Thompson believes that an additional gas tax is not necessary if the 25 percent which goes into the general fund is transferred to the transportation budget. "There also needs to be an index attached to transportation taxes to automatically adjust for inflation so that we don't have this funding crisis every four or five years," he said.
   Thompson's two other high priorities include addressing secure jobs and juvenile crime. He noted that in 1993-94, Washington received the largest business tax increase in its history, followed in 1994 by the second highest small business bankruptcy rate in the nation.
   "During 1995-96, we were able to reduce some of these taxes and punitive regulations that burden our businesses," he said. "Businesses that are fighting for survival can't provide secure jobs and a healthy, growing, competitive economy."
   As for juvenile crime, Thompson supports a process for quicker punishment to curb repeat offenses, and not waiting for multiple arrests before acting. "I support a juvenile boot camp similar to military boot camps, to provide a quick consequence on the first or second offense," he said. "This will be very effective, even though the first sentence will normally only be three to seven days. They will get the message."
   Thompson sees the cycle of education to jobs closely relating to juvenile crime and welfare, and says the lack of the former can lead to the latter.

Jerry Dickson

Age: 62.
Party: Democrat.
Occupation: Retired real estate broker.
Family: Wife, Margaret; one daughter.

   Jerry Dickson has spent nearly 30 years as a citizen advocate in south Snohomish County and north King County, successfully opposing the Mt. Forest landfill, siting of a major airport in Snohomish County and Redmond, and acting as the unpaid grassroots lobbyist against imposition of tolls on public highways, "especially SR-522."
   In the toll road fight, Dickson was chair of the Legislative Affairs and Petition Committee of the anti-toll group C.A.U.G.H.T. (Citizens Against Unfair Gouging Highway Tolls). "I wore holes in my shoes lobbying against toll roads," said Dickson. "Bob Drewel started calling me 'Shoeless.'"
   Dickson believes in the need to continue support of the Education Reform Act of 1993, improving and strengthening universal, quality public education. His priorities also include ensuring clean and safe food, water, and air; strengthen worker safety laws; working to fund highways, bridges, and mass transit; seeking greater support for police; and fully funding the DARE program.
   "After lobbying for two years against toll roads, I support an increase in our gas tax as the fair way to make our roads safer, reduce traffic congestion, and protect our bridges from inevitable earthquake damage," said Dickson. He cited a Reader's Digest article in September 1995 naming SR-522 as one of the five most deadly highways in the nation.
   Dickson strongly opposes Initiatives 173 and 177 (allowing school vouchers and charter schools) and supports "strong, safe schools, affordable and accessible higher education, encouraging lifelong learning," as well as a new four-year college in south Snohomish County to provide access for the "baby-boom echo children."
   Dickson also supports a ban on offshore drilling and strengthening oil-spill prevention measures.
   "We need to safeguard the health of our waters and air," he said. "We should reduce property taxes for landowners who protect salmon stream habitat and other critical areas. As a volunteer lake monitor on Echo Lake since 1992, I have come to appreciate the complexity and importance of Washington's 7,000 lakes and, by extension, Puget Sound and our ocean shores and waters."
   Dickson has lived in Maltby for 29 years.

Frederick T. Gray

Age: Did not provide.
Party: Natural Law.
Occupation: Did not provide.
Family: Wife, Martha.

   As a Natural Law Party candidate, Frederick Gray said he stands for prevention-oriented government, conflict-free politics, and proven solutions designed to bring national life into harmony with natural. These include "cutting taxes deeply and responsibly while simultaneously balancing the budget through cost-effective solutions to America's problems, rather than by eliminating essential services."
   The Natural Law Party platform criticizes the lack of preventive care allowances in Medicare and Medicaid, stating that "natural health care programs prevent disease, promote health, and cut health care costs by 50 percent."
   Gray also supports "proven educational initiatives and curriculum innovations that develop the inner creative genius of the student and boost educational outcomes," and an "all-party government" bringing together the best ideas, programs, and leaders from all political parties and the private sector to solve and prevent problems.
   "The NLP is introducing new ideas, new principles, and new solutions," Gray cited in agreement with the party platform.