State Sen. Liz Lovelett, D-Anacortes, is defending her seat in the Aug. 6 primary election against Carrie Blackwood, Daniel Miller and Greta Aitken.
Lovelett, who was appointed in February to represent the 40th Legislative District, said she wants to continue her work in Olympia on green jobs, affordable housing and homelessness.
Blackwood, a Democrat who is a Bellingham lawyer specializing in workplace law, is running on a platform of aggressive action to address wealth inequality and climate change.
Miller, the only Republican in the race, said he opposes skyrocketing taxes and fees.
Aitken, a Democrat, did not respond to requests for an interview, and did not attend a candidate forum in Skagit County.
The two top vote-getters in the primary will move on the Nov. 5 general election. The winner of the general election will serve through 2020.
The 40th district includes San Juan County, northwestern Skagit County including Anacortes and southwestern Whatcom County.
Lovelett took office six days before the cutoff for new legislation, yet managed to get six of her bills to the governor’s desk.
These bills protected Blanchard Mountain from logging, introduced orca safety education in boat licensing, and protected the privacy of children in foster care, she said.
Before her appointment to the Senate, Lovelett served five years on the Anacortes City Council. She said her perspective on how legislative decisions affect local government is too rare in Olympia.
She mentioned legislation requiring police departments to purchase body cameras, something she supports. However, the legislation came without any additional funding for the departments, meaning many cannot afford to implement the legislation, she said.
If elected, she said her first priority will be to address climate change. She said she is working on bills to promote solar power and help retrain workers currently in fossil fuel industries.
“The preponderance of evidence is that we are not just in climate change, we are in climate crisis,” she said.
Blackwood, who is running for office for the first time, said the political climate on issues such as equity and the environment are finally to the point where she believes real change can be accomplished.
“Now more than ever, we’re starting to build momentum,” she said.
If elected, she said she would fight for a progressive income tax — shifting the tax burden from low and middle-income homeowners to the wealthy — and for a statewide $15 minimum wage.
“As a state Legislature, we have the ability to look at minimum wages and address our regressive tax system that’s hurting both small businesses and homeowners,” Blackwood said.
While she lacks legislative experience, Blackwood said her job and history of advocacy provides a framework for how to organize and bring people with differing views together.
Miller said one of his first priorities in Olympia would be to hold hearings to determine if a correlation exists between certain medications and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
“There are a lot of smart people who think there’s a correlation,” he said.
He said he is frustrated with attacks on freedom of speech by “certain corporations and certain government agencies,” but wouldn’t clarify his comments.
“I don’t really want to go into the details,” he said.
Miller said he would oppose raising taxes or implementing an income tax, instead saying funding could be found by addressing mismanagement and searching for missing money in Olympia.