State Sen. Liz Lovelett, D-Anacortes, is defending her seat against Republican Daniel Miller in the Nov. 5 general election.
Lovelett, a former Anacortes City Councilwoman who was appointed to represent the 40th Legislative District in February, said she is ready to continue her work on environmental, transportation and education policy.
Miller, who has run unsuccessfully for several legislative seats in the district, said his priorities are to reduce government waste, preserve individual liberty and stave off tax increases.
The 40th district includes San Juan County, southwestern Whatcom County and northwestern Skagit County, including Anacortes.
Lovelett said she wants a focus of her next term to be on electric transportation infrastructure, starting with the state ferries.
“It saves us in diesel costs, it saves us in carbon emissions,” she said. “It’s a real win-win, win-win.”
She said experience in local government is surprisingly lacking in the state Legislature, and it has been particularly helpful for her in housing policy — an issue at which city and county governments are at the forefront.
“My local land use and affordable housing experience will be very helpful in a housing conversation,” Lovelett said.
If elected she said she wants to take a look at loosening some of the restrictions on growth present in the state Growth Management Act, potentially expanding developable land in cities suffering from low housing supply.
Miller said he is most concerned about individual liberties, about not raising taxes and about paying attention to transportation issues and water rights.
He said government spending is out of control, with legislators more concerned with funding state agencies than the interests of their constituents.
He believes the state’s coffers are flush enough that an economic stimulus might be appropriate.
“I want to look at the possibility of giving everyone in Washington state a tax rebate,” Miller said. “I’d love to have it done at Christmastime. I’d like it to be substantial.”
Homelessness is also a big concern, though Miller said private and community entities should play a larger role.
“We need treatment centers for homeless people. There’s a lot of reasons for why people are homeless,” he said. “I want to have hearings on homelessness in Olympia and look at the different ways homelessness has really skyrocketed in the past five or six years.”