June 17 saw the Clark County Republican Women hosting another “get to know your candidates forum” luncheon at Club Green Meadows, this time to give voters a chance to question and get to hear candidates for the legislative candidates vying for election this year.
Attending the event to answer potential constituent questions were, Paul Harris (17th legislative district position 2), Brian Peck (17th legislative district position 1), Ann Rivers, Jon Russell and Brandon Vick, all 3 vying for the nomination to replace Jaime Herrera in the 18th legislative district, Craig Riley (49th legislative district position 2), Bill Cismar (49th legislative district position 1) and Brice Chandler, incumbent 15th legislative district representative.
Candidates attending the luncheon, but not participating in the question session were John Jenkins (Vancouver city council position), Alan Svehaug (Clark County Commission), Peter Van Nortwick (Clark County Assessor) and Daniel Weaver (Clark County Assessor).
After enjoying a delicious ham lunch, candidates sat down and began taking random lessons from those who came to hear where they stood on relevant issues. Questions were submitted by paper and placed in a basket, then randomly chosen to be asked. Due to time constraints, not all questions were asked, but enough to give voters a better view of who the Republicans have running for office.
With a mixture of humor and seriousness, candidates each answered the random questions in short statements.
Brian Peck stated he supports a balanced budget, privatizing the liquor control board, the Puget Sound Ferry system and would like to see e-verify, the free system to conform citizenship, implemented for receipt of entitlements.
Bruce Chandler added that he would like to see e-verify mandated for public employees statewide as well.
Ann Rivers said she would like to see the state budget written by the state auditor write the budget and legislators explaining each piece of extra spending they try to attach to the budget.
Adding some humor to the afternoon, in reply to whether or not they would support e-verify to determine citizenship on hiring, Bill Cismar answered “si,” drawing an expected laugh from all in attendance.
Recalling how his incumbent opponent, Jim Jacks boasted of being governor Gregoire’s “mouthpiece” in Clark County in the 2008 election, Bill Cismar stated, “Gregoire doesn’t need a mouthpiece, she needs an ear piece,” indicating the governor needs to listen to taxpayers, not dictate to us.
Also in regards to Jack’s often stated “listen and learn” stand in 2008, Cismar said he would listen to main street and take that to Olympia to tell them instead of just listening to senior party officials. Cismar says Jacks “listened and learned” from Olympia, not from small businesses.
With the recent slate of tax increases and yet another burgeoning budget shortfall and seeing that Jim Jacks voted lock-step with the majority in passing those bankrupting taxes, I agree.
Indicating how the new taxes have hurt small businesses, Brandon Vick said the B & O Tax should be renamed the “B & O Penalty.”
Craig Riley expressed his desire to increase jobs and lower taxes to a more reasonable level, alleviating the burden on small businesses and the average taxpayer.
Jon Russell said he advocates cutting off public unions from contributing so heavily to campaigns, especially those that serve their interests.
In another questioned posed, whether or not the candidate would support another should they not receive the nomination, Harris and Peck both reminded all they had no opponent from the GOP in a humorous manner.
All said yes, but Jon Russell left the audience a bit confused when he replied, “I will if they’re pro-life.” Jon knows that every single person sitting at the table with him is pro-life, so it remains unknown who that was directed at.
Be it a cheap shot or seed planting to suggest another in his race isn’t pro-life is unknown. Jon should explain that strange comment.
In all, though it was very informative luncheon and I have no regrets in going. A young lady sat at my table that had never been to one of these forums and also said she learned a lot.
Thanks must be expressed for the efforts of the Clark County Republican Women in hosting these forums and making candidates openly available to voters.
I hope you make the effort to attend the next one. Not only will you enjoy a great meal, you will come away with a better idea of what candidates running for office intend to do.