As Legislative District 41’s second position representative, Judy Clibborn, plans to retire this year, the candidates for her open seat will face off this November for a chance to represent the district.
Mercer Island, Newcastle, and surrounding sections of Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish, and Renton, all lie within the boundaries of Legislative District 41. Democrat My-Linh Thai and Republican Michael Appleby are both running for what would be their first term in the Legislature.
(See more election coverage online at www.mi-reporter.com.)
Thai: My-Linh Thai is a Bellevue School Board President, a health care professional, and an award-winning PTSA parent who commits to improving education, opportunity and quality of life for Eastside families. My-Linh immigrated to Washington as a Vietnamese refugee with her family. She graduated from Federal Way High school with honors and went on to graduate from the UW School of Pharmacy. Her experience as a refugee has fueled her dedication to service. Her involvement at Somerset Elementary School PTA earned her the Washington State PTA Outstanding Advocate Award. My-Linh was elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2017 as Board Director for the Bellevue School District. She put her ability to listen, build consensus, and seek common goals ensuring all children reaching their human potentials. Her focus has been enhancing community engagement, establishing high expectations with diverse and challenging curricula, aiming to close the opportunity-gap, and improving services for students with special needs. My-Linh was also elected as Vice President of the Washington State School Board Directors Association in 2017. My-Linh and her family have lived in Bellevue for the past 10 years. Their two children attend high-school in the Bellevue School District. Her priorities include funding public education, protecting the environment, and building a community that centers equity, affordability, and sustainability.
Appleby: A Bellevue resident and father of two daughters attending Bellevue schools, Appleby has been volunteering and supporting a wide variety of groups and causes, including the PTA, which he says has given him experience understanding community issues. He is a small business owner and was previously in the investment and insurance industry where he retired early.He says technical high school taught him the skills needed to enter the work force prepared. After working as a machinist, he went on to college and earned degrees in economics and finance. He is bringing 30 years of financial and investment experience to work for balanced, bipartisan solutions that will move the state forward, he says. “Running government shouldn’t be by party but by policy.”
Do you believe that taxes are calculated fairly to fund education in our state? If not, what would you change?
Thai: No, I do not believe that taxes are calculated fairly to fund education in our state. Our tax system as a whole is regressive and unfair. In the short term, I’m supportive of a capital gains tax and closing corporate tax loopholes. In the long term, we need to look to adopt a tax system that is fair and equitable.
Appleby: A circular pattern has developed in our region where good schools and good jobs have increased our cost of living. Taxes and housing costs have both gone up. More and more families are being drawn here, primarily because we support our schools. The question is always about what we can do to keep it affordable. Holding the line on taxes and spending is critical to keeping our seniors and lower income neighbors in their homes. Working to keep our quality of life requires vigilance in setting priorities and spending levels. An adequate supply of housing can’t be met with current government policies. A continuation of public/private collaboration is our best path to more and affordable housing.
Home prices and property taxes have been on the rise. How would you promote housing diversity and affordability?
Thai: I intend to work in partnership with the state legislature to determine if there is a valid means to provide more opportunities for housing diversity, most especially through review of the current condominium liability laws. I would also like to engage in conversations around the Growth Management Act to ensure our state laws reflect thoughtful land use. And I’d like to work with municipalities across my district and with King County government, to learn how to best support them at the state level as we work in partnership to solve our community growth challenges.
Appleby: Our state continues to collect record revenues and our legislature spends more than we bring in. Washington State holds a leading place among the states, coming in at number six, in per capita indebtedness. Our state’s credit card is almost maxed. Legislators need to practice the same sound financial management our families and business leaders do. Our state constitution prohibits income taxes and they have been rejected by voters multiple times, most recently in 2010 by a wide margin. But Washington voters have also shown we believe in funding education. With record revenues we need to invest more in education, save for a rainy day, and give some back. If we show fiscal responsibility voters are more likely to entrust us with more when we ask.
Mass shootings, suicides and school security are big concerns in our communities. When it comes to guns, how do you balance safety with constitutional rights?
Thai: I support Initiative 1639. To maintain the balance referenced, the Washington state legislature has created a Suicide-Safer Homes task force, who will make annual report to the Legislature with the final report due on December 2019. More detailed information can be found at: http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=43.70.445.
Appleby: Every individual has a unique perspective as to what is most important to them. One’s personal safety is always at the top of that list. The United States Constitution gives us rights and with those rights come responsibilities. I support all current rules and regulations concerning firearms and increasing the age of purchase. Recent initiatives and increasing education requirements are sensible measures that will increase our mutual safety. Keeping a safe and inclusive community means respecting one another. Our community is what binds us; our mutual safety the common denominator. Being proactive is far better than reactive. Continued support and increased investments in our schools and mental health are the pathway to achievement.