We are fortunate that the state of Washington and King County issue voters’ pamphlets that include candidates’ biographical information and statements. Elections officials do not alter or edit submissions from candidates. Candidates typically make the most of this great opportunity to communicate with voters.
I opened the King County Official Local Voters’ Pamphlet (Edition 3) to city of Enumclaw council candidate submissions, including Juanita Carstens’ statement on page 34: “My vision as an elected official is not to tell you what you need and are going to get, but to listen to your wants and needs and get the City to that point. As an elected official it would be my duty to make tough financial decisions that promote a safe and healthy environment for you to raise your families and live in peace. It would be my job to make sure you have streets that are drivable, utilities that run efficiently and parks that are attractive and inviting. I would strive to make City policies friendly toward current and future business. Additionally, it would be my responsibility to do this in a way that doesn’t increase taxes to our Citizens. As your elected City Council Member I pledge to work with you towards these goals.”
As I continued looking through the pamphlet, I decided to check out city of Auburn candidate submissions, including Frank Lonergan’s statement on page 25: “As an elected official it is not my place to tell you what you need and are going to get, but instead, to listen to what your wants and needs are and get the city to that point. As an elected official it is my duty to make tough financial decisions that promote a safe and healthy environment for you to raise your families and live in peace. It is my job to make sure you have streets that are driveable, parks that are safe, attractive and inviting and to make it convenient and attractive for you to support local business. It is my responsibility to do this in a way that doesn’t add more and more tax burden to you the citizen. I pledge to you that I will constantly work to those goals and work diligently to keep our services under local control, not farm them out elsewhere.”
While these statements are virtually identical in both content and order, it is unlikely either or both candidates were able to know in advance what the other would submit. And because the statements are not identical, it is improbable that this situation resulted from an error on the part of election officials. I’m left to wonder how this came about. Why would council candidates in separate cities submit essentially identical statements?
John S. Mayers