This is the final installment of the in-paper debate between Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw, and Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn – the two candidates vying for the 31st District seat in the state Senate.
The general election is Nov. 4. Ballots for the all-mail election are out now and must be postmarked by Nov. 4.
The third debate was to be two questions from the candidates to their opposition and a final summary of the candidate’s position.
Dahlquist is the only candidate who sent questions and a summary statement.
The parameters for the final debate were the candidates were to send questions to The Courier-Herald and the questions would then be forwarded to the opposing candidate.
Roach sent an email through her campaign staff, signed Citizens for Pam Roach, stating she would not be participating in the candidate questions. The previous week she had agreed to send questions but said she was too busy that week. The decision was made to move the candidate questions to the final debate to give Roach more time.
On Friday, an email was sent to Roach with Dahlquist’s questions, which had been received on time. She was informed it was well past deadline for sending questions but she could write a summary of her position for the final debate. It also was noted Roach was not obligated to answer any questions.
Following the email with Dahlquist’s questions, Roach’s campaign staff left a phone message that the senator would send two questions.
Her staff was told of the newspaper’s concern that it appeared unfair to send questions after the senator had seen Dahlquist’s questions. I stated I would look at the questions and decide how to proceed.
A Roach staff member responded that neither the staff nor Roach had looked at the questions, stating, “The format is very time consuming for her (Roach) given the rigid schedule she has to keep each day.”
As of the press deadline Monday, Roach had not sent a summary, questions or responses to Dahlquist’s questions.
Dahlquist’s questions involved a couple of hot-button issues that have cycled through the campaign from the beginning.
One of Dahlquist’s questions involved allegations of travel gifts Roach received on a trip to Azerbaijan during the last legislative session and allegations of “inflated reimbursements.” Dahlquist asked when Roach would “pay the taxpayers back?”
The Legislative Ethics Board dismissed the Azerbaijan complaint Sunday, writing there was, “lack of reasonable cause to believe the (Ethics in Public Service) Act has been violated.” The board wrote it was reasonable to conclude the activities were “sufficiently related to her legislative duties.”
Roach’s expense report became an issue during the August primary when Dahlquist’s campaign filed a complaint with the Senate administration.
Following the complaint, Secretary of the Senate Hunter Goodman and Keith Buchholz, Senate attorney, calculated Roach owed the state more than $4,500 for mileage and other expenses, which the senator paid back.
The Dahlquist campaign made a second complaint Sept. 25 to the Senate administration alleging further problems with Roach’s expense reimbursements.
A decision has not been released.
Buchholz wrote in an email to Chad Minnick with the Dahlquist campaign, “We treat seriously all accusations of misuse of public funds. Although I realize it’s easy to make certain assumptions and the allegations that flow from them, we are not allowed that liberty. We also are cognizant of the statutory prohibitions on our taking certain actions, particularly when that action is requested within a few weeks of a general election.”
The other question Dahlquist sent involved Roach’s history in her caucus and with colleagues.
She wrote: “There is a well documented history of your abusive and demeaning behavior amongst colleagues, staff and constituents. In January of 2010, Senate leadership banned you from caucus for creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. In a public letter, they documented your pattern of abusive outbursts spanning your entire tenure as a state legislator. After 24 years, how will you respectfully represent your constituents?”
• Rep. Cathy Dahlquist Summary:
“I have been honored to be your state representative in Olympia these past four years. Political bickering costs the taxpayers precious resources needed in education, transportations and job creation. Voters expect results from their legislators and I have earned a seat at the table to do just that. Through cooperation and teamwork I am successful in getting things done for my constituents. My two-year appointment as the ranking member on the House Education Committee allowed me to increase education funding by over $1 billion without raising taxes. I was the only Republican selected to write and negotiate the education budget.
“My work has been recognized and celebrated by both labor groups and the business community. Being selected as the “Legislator of the Year” by the Fraternal Order of Police; “Guardian of Small Business” from NFIB; and “Cornerstone of Business” by Association of Washington Business has been humbling. I prioritize ensuring our community’s most vulnerable students are protected. For that I’ve been recognized with awards by Washington State Association of the Deaf, the Children’s Alliance, and the Career & Technical Education Association.
“Working more than 25 years in the private sector, for a fortune 500 company and owning a small business, politics hasn’t been my career. I bring the basic knowledge of how to use money wisely, how to prioritize needs and wants, and how to listen. With your vote, I will be the voice for the people of our district that has been missing in the Senate for too long.”