31st District Senate debate between Rep. Cathy Dahlquist and Sen. Pam Roach: Part I

The editorial staff of The Courier-Herald will be conducting an in-paper debate between Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, and Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw, the two candidates for the 31st District state Senate seat.

Pam Roach and Cathy Dahlquist

The editorial staff of The Courier-Herald will be conducting an in-paper debate between Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, and Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw, the two candidates for the 31st District state Senate seat.

The debate with be published in three editions, beginning this week. The format will be questions from the editorial staff, answers with rebuttals published in the following issues, and questions from the candidates to each other.

The general election is Nov. 4. Ballots for the all-mail election will go out in mid-October and must be postmarked by Nov. 4.

Question No. 1

• The state Supreme Court ruled the Legislature is not meeting its paramount duty to fully fund education. In the 2015 two-year budget if you are elected as 31st District Senator will you support a plan to fully-fund K-12 public schools? If so, please provide details and specifics of the plan. How much money will need to be allocated for K-12?  What are specific programs are you willing to see cut, if any, to balance the budget and fund schools?

Cathy Dahlquist

Serving on the Enumclaw School Board gave me a unique perspective into the impacts that funding reductions and burdensome mandates have on our local schools and most importantly, how these directly affect all our children.

As the state representative for the 31st Legislative District, I authored legislation that would require that the Education Budget be funded first, as our state Constitution directs; in a separate budget; similar to how the state funds both the Transportation and Capital Budgets. Over the last several legislative sessions, the state faced significant budget gaps which forced cuts in education.

In 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court called for additional education funding, but it also called for spending to be paired with reforms and accountability to ensure dollars are being spent in a way that supports student achievement.

By the end of the 2013 session, as the ranking member on the House Education Committee I helped write a budget that boosted education funding by slightly over $1 billion — the first increase in years. Despite this investment, Washington still needs to make significant increases in the next biennium, around $3 billion.  This lofty goal can be reached by finding a balanced approach to reforming the way we use levies for school districts, reforming teacher compensation to ensure we maintain high quality teachers and incentivizing business growth that creates jobs, as we strive to ensure our students have the best schools in our communities.

Pam Roach

Next year, the legislature will consider a budget that will continue the progress we made last session to fully fund K-12 education. As a member of the Senate majority coalition caucus, we have a plan to dedicate any new increases in revenue to meet our obligation to fully fund education.It is worth noting that, under our parties leadership, we have prioritized investment in education over other spending choices. In fact, the majority coalition caucus spent $1.7 billion more on K-12 in its first two years, and $2.4 billion more in its first four years.To put that in context, the growth rate of education investment in the budget in the budget was three times that of non-education spending. Although not strictly part of the Supreme Court’s mandate, we have frozen college tuition rates for the first time since 1987 reversing the trend of ever increasing college costs.

In next year’s budget proposal, we will continue our focus on fully funding K-12 education.

Question No. 2

• State why you are the best fit as senator for the 31st District. What specific strengths and knowledge do you bring to the position concerning the problems facing the 31st and the state? Please state why you would be effective legislator in Olympia for the next four years.

Pam Roach

To be effective you must work with both parties, in both chambers and with the governor. I demonstrated that I do that better than anyone else. The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation evaluated legislatures, state by state, across the country. Based on the bipartisan nature of my legislation and the percentage signed into law, I was rated the “most effective legislator in Washington state.” The study, published in The Washington Post blog, is based on data and not biased opinion. My opponent fell far short in the ratings.

I also work with citizens here at home. I chaired the defeat of a Valley Medical annexation that would have cost families thousands of dollars in new taxes. I helped stop an unwanted roundabout on Highway 169. I am working with farmers to reduce the elk population in our farmlands. Fourteen years ago I successfully lead the effort to save Lake Tapps and I’m still working there by just having lead the effort which stopped huge Department of Ecology property takings along the lake. I fight for individuals such as Doug and Ann-Marie Stuth who almost lost their beautiful granddaughter to Department of Social and Health Services.

Conversely, as school director,  my opponent lead the effort for a tri-party agreement between YarrowBay, Black Diamond and Enumclaw School District to build seven new schools in Black Diamond. Taxpayers in Enumclaw will pay thousands of dollars in increased property taxes while Enumclaw students are housed in 1960 style buildings. This, Dahlquist calls her “legacy.” I say there is another solution.

Cathy Dahlquist

The people have trusted me the last four years to represent them in Olympia and I am humbled by the responsibility. We have many challenges here in Washington. We can fix them, only if we leave partisanship at the door and all work together.

My private sector experience as a small business owner over the last 12 years gives me a unique understanding in setting priorities. State business organizations have awarded me their highest honors for keeping jobs in Washington State. Law enforcement has recognized my work by naming me their Legislator of the Year in 2012. I have a common sense approach to problem solving, along with outstanding qualifications to represent the people. The next four years will be highly focused on how to execute the details of our constitutional requirement of funding education.  After six years of service on the local school board, two years as president; the last four years in the Legislature serving on the Education Committee and two sessions as the ranking member; serving on the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee which reviews all tax incentives offered to Washington state businesses; the governor appointment to the Education Funding Task Force and the Quality Education Council. I bring the most hands-on knowledge from several different perspectives to help solve our current budget priorities as your Senator.

I promise to be the voice for the people of my district that has been missing in the Senate for too long.


More in News

New utility included in Enumclaw budget; final vote set for Nov. 27

Significant progress has been made on crafting a 2018 Enumclaw budget, a document that could forever change the way the city collects and disperses certain funds. The plan now under way would see creation of a stormwater utility probably by August of the coming year.

Proposed recycling center sparks environmental fears

A proposed material processing facility outside of Enumclaw has some local conservationists worried about how it may affect the Green River and other natural environments. “The location of this, next to this natural area, just is not right. It doesn’t make sense to us at all, for a variety of reasons,” said Bernie McKinney, president of the Green River Coalition, a non-profit preservationist group.

Mobile Impaired Driving Unit hitting the streets this holiday weekend

The MIDU is a self-contained 36 foot motorhome that has been retrofitted as a mobile DUI processing center and incident command post.

Two Enumclaw volunteers honored for work at library

Two members of the Enumclaw Friends of the Library were honored during the recent Friends’ Day, an annual celebration of King County Library System volunteers.

Abigail Hill, 19, is crowned Miss Washington by the 2017 title winner, Alex Carlson-Helo. Photo courtesy Jerry and Lois Photography
Local Miss Washington prepares for national stage

That’s right — Enumclaw is competing in Miss U.S.A. Abigail Hill, the city’s newest star, was recently crowned Miss Washington , clearing the way for her to compete nationally in the spring.

Beyond the Borders now travels from Sumner to Bonney Lake

Come December, it’ll be easier for youth, seniors, people with disabilities or low-income to travel between Sumner and Bonney Lake.

Early start to Crystal ski season

The outdoor season has officially greeted those heading uphill, with snow deep enough to enjoy.

Suspect faces possible ‘third strike’ after alleged car chase, kidnapping

A suspect with a long criminal history finds himself in “third strike” jeopardy, the result of an alleged robbery in Enumclaw and ensuing car chase out of town.

Why now is a good time for a flu shot | Public Health Insider

With the holidays drawing near, many of us look forward to travel or seeing family and friends. And just as our schedules get busier, it’s also the time of year when the flu starts to circulate. We turned to Libby Page, manager of our immunizations program, to get the scoop on flu vaccine.

Election 2017: Change in Enumclaw; Buckley mayor race close

The 2017 general election is over, and although the results are still two weeks from being certified, many candidates are in the clear to take up their elected positions come winter.

Get your fill of winter activities on Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier’s landscape undergoes a dramatic transformation in winter.