Promising Islanders a rematch featuring a stronger and better challenger, GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi made a campaign stop on Mercer Island earlier today, sharing his plans to make Washington the “worst place to be a criminal and the best place to start a business.”
Rossi, 48, a former state Senator from an Eastside legislative district, compared and contrasted what the incumbent has done and what he would do differently before an audience of about 80 Island Rotarians at the community center just three weeks after Gov. Chris Gregoire visited the same room. The Republican candidate spoke for about 30 minutes after having lunch with the group, sharing his views and criticisms of the governor’s handling of public education, public safety, transportation and business issues in the past three years. He also stated that he and his family and staff planned to finish what they had started during the last campaign in 2004: defeating Gregoire.
“With your help, we’re going to win again. This time the recount is going to go in our favor,” Rossi said after noting that several recent polls show he and Gregoire are in a statistical dead-heat race.
Rossi explained that the amount of support he has received so far — both financially and politically — is better than it was four years ago.
“I had no idea of how much voltage was on the other side of that switch,” Rossi said of the support he had in October, when he announced he would run again.
The GOP candidate said Gregoire had spent the past four years releasing prisoners, ignoring small businesses, raising taxes and has been “reckless at best” when it comes to state spending. He vowed to change that and promised he would not raise taxes.
“You have a tangible choice in this election. Usually, you don’t have a tangible choice,” said Rossi.
He suggested that the state find ways to cut spending instead of raising taxes — some of the highest in the nation. He criticized the state’s reliance on the gas tax and “sin” taxes from alcohol and cigarette sales.
“Sin taxes are so easy to raise,” he said. “But they are already so high that they are one of the highest in the nation.”
Rossi also shared his plans, if elected, to fix the state’s congested highways without raising taxes. He said he would use state money generated from new-and-used car sales taxes to fund the $15 billion worth of needed highway projects across Washington. He also suggested that the state should eliminate the “regressive” death tax, which hurts small businesses, and said he would help make Washington a better state for local businesses.
“I want to make Washington an entrepreneurial state,” Rossi said.
After describing his past of consistently defying the “nay-sayers” who have periodically tried to dissuade him from accomplishing his goals, Rossi shared some of his experiences in the commercial real estate business as a state Senator and the encouragement he received to run for public office. He credited his wife and four children for pushing him to run for governor again and shared a story about his 16-year-old daughter’s competitive selection for a summer volunteer program through the Vatican in Italy.
“All is good in the Rossi family,” he said.