October 19, 1998
The November 3 ballot
44th Congressional District
Senator Jeanine Long (R-Mill Creek) will have to defeat challenger Kerry Watkins if she is to return to Olympia. The 44th District is carved out of southwestern Snohomish County and includes north Bothell, Mill Creek and Maltby.
Personal: age, 70; occupation, state senator; hometown, Mill Creek; family, married, five children
Jeanine Long says she never thought she'd end up in the State Senate, but after fighting against electricity rate hikes in Snohomish County, a term on the Brier City Council, and three terms as a state representative she won a seat there in 1994.
Long hopes to return for another four-year stint where she believes the biggest issue will be the budget. She says she wants additional funding to deal with the mentally ill being released from the correctional facilities, and to find money for kids on the street.
She is chair of Human Services and Corrections, and serves on the Law and Justice and Ways and Means committees.
The prime sponsor on to bills addressing mentally ill offenders, she said her goal is two-fold: make the state safer, and provide more treatment for the ill.
She calls herself a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. "I believe in compassion without giving away the store," Long said.
She says she finds working in Olympia "a constant learning experience" where she interacts with lawmakers of different ages, philosophies and regional bents.
Long says she should be re-elected because of work on crime. "I think public safety is important to my constituents, me and my family," she said. "I have a good record, but it takes awhile to get things done."
A 30-year resident of the area, Long was the Washington Council of Police Officers "Legislator of the year" in 1996," and National Federation of Independent Business' "Guardian of Small Business," from '95 to '98.
Personal: age, 36; occupation, Boeing flight-line mechanic; hometown, Everett; family, married, two children
The issues define Kerry Watkins. He describes himself as both a liberal and a conservative, saying some things Republicans are doing categorize him as a Democrat. Yet he says he can't understand why the first thing Democrats want to do is raise taxes.
On social issues, he's "very liberal," supporting health care reform for the elderly, as well as basic health care for kids.
"Children in Washington State should have basic coverage if their parents don't make a certain amount," Watkins said.
On education, "I wasn't happy with the scores kids are getting," he said in reaction to a recent education forum.
"The problem is there isn't enough money for classrooms, or for teachers' back pockets," he said.
Watkins said schools should be exempted from I-601 tax limits to allow districts to deal with population growth.
A former commissioned Everett reserve police officer, Watkins said he used to believe in gun control, but as an officer saw the victims of crimes. He says if elected he wouldn't be for any legislation that stops someone from protecting their home or family, but draws the line at assault weapons. He admits he isn't very well known in the 44th District.
"With the exception of criminals I've arrested in Everett, nobody knows who I am," Watkins said.
He has lived in the area for the last dozen years. This is his first run for political office.