Jerry Cornfield article published Nov. 1, 2016
10th Legislative District: Spendy Senate race, 2 House seats
OLYMPIA— A heated race for state Senate is attracting much of the attention in the 10th Legislative District this election.
But voters also are choosing representatives for two state House seats in a district that encompasses Island County and parts of Snohomish and south Skagit counties. It includes Stanwood, Camano Island, La Conner and Conway.
Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, is seeking re-election against Democratic challenger Angie Homola. The winner will serve a four-year term in the Senate.
Bailey, 71, of Oak Harbor, served five terms in the House before unseating incumbent Mary Margaret Haugen, a Democrat, in 2012.
Bailey is chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which writes the budget for the chamber.
Homola, 56, also lives in Oak Harbor. She was elected to the Island County Commission in 2008, beating longtime incumbent Republican Mac McDowell. Homola, an architect, lost re-election four years later.
On the campaign trail, Bailey touts achievements in her first term including increased funding for public schools, a tuition cut for college students and no new general taxes. Bailey voted for the $16 billion transportation package in 2015 and pressed for separate bills to stabilize Island Transit operations and restore a popular commuter bus route linking Camano Island, Stanwood and Everett.
Bailey authored a 2014 bill enabling undocumented immigrant students to receive state financial aid after blocking a Democrat-sponsored bill the year before. She also voted to repeal a state rule ensuring transgender people can use public bathrooms of the gender with which they identify without discrimination; that bill failed to pass.
Homola, 56, of Oak Harbor, said she’ll focus on finding sustainable funding for public schools as mandated by the state Supreme Court in the McCleary case. She also wants to improve the provision of health care and mental health services by the state and reform campaign finance laws to increase transparency of donors.
She has criticized Bailey for not getting more money for district projects included in the $16 billion transportation package and not funding voter-approved mandates for smaller class sizes and annual cost-of-living adjustments for teachers.
Homola supports Initiative 1433 to increase the statewide minimum wage while Bailey opposes it.
The two candidates are conducting one of the more expensive contests this year.
Bailey had raised $403,420 and spent $243,334 as of Monday, according to online records of the state Public Disclosure Commission. Homola had collected $255,840 and spent $142,000 in the same period.
In addition, an independent political committee had spent $144,504 on mailers and television ads attacking Homola. The committee is funded by Bailey’s Senate Republican caucus.
• In the Position 1 race for state House, Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, faces the challenge of Michael Scott, a Libertarian, and a write-in candidate, Scott Chaplin, of the Democratic Party.
Smith, 65, was appointed to a House seat in January 2008, and re-elected three times. She serves on on the Capital Budget and the Technology and Economic Development committees.
She also is one of two House Republicans on the Education Funding Task Force. That bipartisan, bicameral panel is developing recommendations for the governor and lawmakers on how the public school system can be legally and fully funded by the Sept. 1, 2018, deadline in the McCleary case.
Smith said “some sort of levy reform” will be in the mix and possibly ideas for increasing the revenue stream for education. She said she opposes creation of a capital gains tax.
Scott ran against Smith in 2014 and finished with 23.7 percent of the vote. He was the only person to file against Smith this election until Chaplin arrived as a write-in.
In an email, he said running as a Libertarian is the best vehicle for trying to “break up the current system” and bring “positive change in our community.”
“Funding for education has been stalled, property rights in Skagit County have been taken, and drug abuse and suicide are at all-time high (in) our neighborhoods,” he wrote. On other issues, he’s called for term limits on lawmakers.
Chaplin, 54, of Langley, filed as a write-in candidate in October. He served two terms on the Board of Trustees of the Town of Carbondale in Colorado before moving to Washington. This year he is the campaign manager for Doris Brevoort, the Democratic candidate for Position 2 in the 10th District.
He backed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for president and described himself as a “Berniesque candidate” who will use his background in renewable energy to push the state toward a 100 percent renewable energy economy.
On education funding, he wants to close some tax loopholes and is open to an income tax on the “super wealthy.”
• In the Position 2 race for state House, Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, is up against Brevoort, a political newcomer.
Hayes, 50, of Camano Island, is seeking a third term. A sergeant with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, he said he would continue to seek ways to improve public safety, reduce the cost of transportation projects through regulatory reforms and end school districts’ over-reliance on local property tax levies to operate.
On education, Hayes said the final funding solution will require cuts in some areas of state spending combined with new revenue. He declined to say where he might cut or come up with the money, though he’s not supporting a capital gains tax.
Brevoort, 66, of Mount Vernon, is a retired educator who worked 25 years in Seattle public schools as a counselor and special education teacher.
She said her career in education better prepares her for the upcoming debate on how to meet the funding challenges posed by the McCleary case. She said she’d support closing some tax loopholes to generate revenue as well as pursue a tax on the capital gains of those earning more than $500,000-a-year.
She also wants to improve the availability and delivery of mental health services, increase the supply of affordable housing and clean up Puget Sound.
Brevoort criticized Hayes for voting against the $16 billion transportation package in 2015. He said he did so because it did not put enough money into maintaining existing state routes and highways. Hayes said he did sponsor bills to aid Island Transit and bring back commuter bus service linking Camano Island, Stanwood and Everett.
10th Legislative District
• Barbara Bailey
Residence: Oak Harbor
Experience: State Senate, 2013-present; state representative 2003 through 2012; Senate Education Committee, chairwoman; Navy League of U.S., national board of directors.
• Angie Homola
Residence: Oak Harbor
Experience: Island County Commissioner, 2009-2013; principal and sole proprietor of Straight Edge Architecture, LLC; Island County Planning Department, building inspector, 2001-04.
House, Position 1
• Norma Smith
Experience: State House, 2008-present
Website: http://votenormasmith.com/; former South Whidbey School Board member; special assistant to former U.S. Rep. Jack Metcalf.
• Michael Scott
Residence: Camano Island
Experience: Candidate for state House in 2014; former director/producer.
• Scott Chaplin
Experience: Two terms as elected member of Board of Trustees for Town of Carbondale, Co.; resource management consultant for local, state and federal agencies.
House, Position 2
• Doris Brevoort
Residence: Mount Vernon
Experience: Retired educator, Seattle School District
• Dave Hayes
Residence: Camano Island
Experience: State House, 2013-present; sergeant, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department