Northwest NEWS

October 26, 1998

Local News

State Representative - First District

   by Andrew Walgamott
   The first district includes Brier and Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, and Kenmore, south Bothell and part of Woodinville in King County.
   Position 1

Ian Elliot
   Party: Republican
   Personal: age, 52; occupation, consultant; hometown, Juanita; family, married, two daughters
   Ian Elliot believes that he is the candidate for you because with his engineering background (Civil Engineer, Oregon State University), he makes reasonable decisions.
   In the next legislative term he sees glaring issues in transportation and growth management.
   On transportation: "That'll occupy a fair amount of our time," Elliot said, terming R-49 a small, half step towards getting projects started.
   He says that while the solution to traffic jams isn't necessarily building more freeways, transit won't work until the area reaches a certain population density.
   "Even if we force folks into busses, we still need to move trucks," Elliot said.
   Growth Management Hearings Boards, and appears to favor more local control. He said the board should give opinions to heed, but the ultimate answer on issues lies with local jurisdictions.
   Elliot fears that if the board angers enough people, someone will say growth management has to go, which would "probably be a mistake."He says that "nothing written in law is sacred. If it works, good. If it doesn't work, fix it."
   He called salmon and affordable housing sleeper issues which could become time and money sinks.
   Elliot previously served as a representative in the 1st District. He describes himself as a "conservative leaning libertarian."

Al O'Brien
   Party: Republican
   Personal: age, 54; occupation, retired police officer, adjunct faculty member; hometown, Mountlake Terrace; family, two sons
   Al O'Brien sees three big issues in the next term of the state legislature: education, transportation and housing.
   On education, this sometime City University instructor, says class sizes need to be smaller, and teachers need to be paid more.
   "To realize that, we have to reprioritize spending," O'Brien said. He says coming in $62 million under I-601 limits during the last legislative session was "not smart," adding that it will be harder to find money in the next biennium.
   He said "we have to up the ante for community colleges" which he said are the institutions producing people trained for today's high tech environment.
   On transportation, O'Brien denounces R-49, calling it "a bad idea, bad legislation."
   One solution he saw was a 5-cent gas tax indexed to inflation, which he termed "the only fair way to go." He said that there is less for roads due to inflation, mitigation and fuel-efficient cars as well as less federal money. "We have to bump up what we put in."
   Housing may be below some legislator's radar screens, but O'Brien said phasing out of federal low-income subsidies was going to push the burden on states. "We could get into a real trick," he said, adding it was up to builders, government and tenant organizations to figure out ways to produce affordable housing.
   He served as a Mountlake Terrace City Councilmember for five years. This would be his second term in the state house.
   Position 2

Jeanne Edwards
   Party: Democrat
   Personal: age, 70; occupation, former editor/reporter, retired from hospital marketing; hometown, Bothell; family, married, three children, five grandchildren
   Jeanne Edwards said the issue that interests her most is education and says that kids are "number 1" with her.
   Edwards says "We're on the road to improvement, but we have to continue putting more resources into [education]."
   She says that growth and transportation go together, but that just building roads is not the only answer, and, pointing to Interstate 605, questions how far out into the rural area highways will be constructed.
   Edwards, who chairs the Snohomish County Community Transit Board, wonders "what is it going to take to get folks out of single occupancy vehicles?"
   She describes herself as a political moderate from a Democratic family. "When everything is looked at, my concern is for the people who need help, and that's where the Democrats are."
   She called health care a personal issue, and says she "wants to see basic health care funded in this state."
   Edwards also said she would try to retain her Bothell City Council post she's held since 1992 if elected to the legislature. Before joining the council, she was a member of the Shoreline Hearings Board and Planning Commission, and is a current member of the Snohomish County Board of Health and the state Transit Association.
   At 70, she says she also has the energy for the two-year term at the state level. She has lived in Bothell since 1960.
   Mike Sherstad
   Party: Republican
   Personal: age, 33; occupation, sales; hometown, Kirkland; family, married, three children
   Mike Sherstad offers voters in his district a choice: "I trust my constituents. I believe they can make their own decisions. They don't have to have government make decisions for them." He says if they do, they should vote for his opponent.
   If re-elected, he said he would "reduce property taxes, encourage local control over education decisions, put money into transportation and deal with the Growth Management Act."
   He says the act prevents young families who inherit farms from developing, and said others have to move north and east of here to find affordable housing with the act's restrictions on where building is allowed.
   Asked why he was in Olympia if he believed decisions should be made locally, Sherstad replied, "repealing a lot of laws, revolving power back to the people."
   He says he really doesn't like the Capital, but that he and his wife have committed to one more term.
   Conversely, Sherstad says he has "so much more respect for the process" after two terms, but less for the people there.
   He sounds genuinely amazed by the "slow, arduous" institution, the checks and balances involved, but is dismayed by politicians who vote against their own bills.
   He terms himself a middle of the road Republican in the 1st District but in Olympia is seen as a right wing conservative. "I thought I was mainstream, but when you get down there, folks turn left."
   Sherstad is director of sales for a Redmond demolition company, Nuprecon. He has lived most of his life in the Finn Hill area.