Republican candidate Dan Griffey, a 41-year-old firefighter and small-business owner, is again taking on Democrat Kathy Haigh, a 61-year-old veterinarian who has been in the Legislature since 1999.
Haigh beat Griffey in 2010 with a margin of less than 2 percent.
Determined to strengthen her 2012 race, Haigh decided to campaign with state Rep. Position 2 candidate Lynda Ring-Erickson, a Democrat who is running against Rep. Drew C. MacEwen.
“I haven’t had the strongest campaign, not as strong as Dan’s,” Haigh said. “This year we made an all-out effort.”
Education remains a priority for both candidates as the Nov. 6 general election nears.
Griffey said creating more jobs would generate enough property tax money to adequately fund basic public education, as mandated by the Supreme Court this year with the McCleary decision.
The court determined the state had not met its constitutional duty to adequately fund basic education and gave the Legislature a 2018 deadline to fix the issue.
“We can fund education from money from more jobs,” Griffey said. “If we are patient enough, we are going to see that, but not with the Supreme Court deadline.”
Haigh said she’s interested in looking at shifting property taxes by having institutions send funds collected to the state, to be redistributed to schools statewide.
“It would be advantageous for rural schools,” she said. “The plan would be nice, but I don’t see it happening.”
Both candidates say they have the interests of their rural jurisdictions at heart.
The driving force behind Griffey’s decision to run was to get things “back to the way they used to be,” he said.
“I remember what it used to be, what rural jobs we used to have,” said Griffey, who lives in Allyn. “We deserve better than bedroom-community status and should have jobs in the district.”
Haigh, of Shelton, supports decentralizing big-city schools, including the Seattle School District.
Haigh did not support legislation that would have taken away a teacher from each school.
“For a small high school, funding for one less teacher means one less classroom,” she said.
Neither candidate supports charter schools, saying they would negatively affect the funding of other public schools.
Griffey said that if he is elected, he will focus on changing the number of regulatory entities in the state, especially for those going through the business-license process.
He said he would like to see a master business license created, covering multiple jurisdictions a business works in and cutting down on paperwork.
He also wants to take a closer look at the Growth Management Act, which he said is negatively affecting District 35.
“Decision-making power is best decided at the local level,” Griffey said. “I would sponsor such legislation.”
Haigh agrees the GMA has “been a struggle” for the district.
“We really do have room for growth,” she said. “It’s really going to constrain us in a small area … it’s got to be a living, working document.”
They agree cuts likely are needed going into the next legislative session.
Both candidates say that after paying for priorities such as education, public safety and those who cannot take care of themselves, they would cut from other programs.
Griffey is against raising taxes, while Haigh says she would consider raising sales taxes in certain situations, including by eliminating sales tax exclusions for out-of-state shoppers.