Candidate Profiles: State Senator 18th Legislative District

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Ann Rivers

Ann Rivers

Address: P.O. Box 357, La Center, WA 98629

Phone: (360) 771-8133

E-mail: annrivers18@comcast.net

Age: 45

Occupation: Small business owner — public and governmental affairs

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science with natural science/history minors; secondary education teaching certificate

Party Affiliation: Republican

Web site: annrivers.com

1. What are the top three issues facing the state that you will focus on if elected in November: Restoring/reforming education, job creation/economy, balancing the budget, transportation/Columbia River Crossing, environmental, other?

1 - Jobs/economy — our quality of life begins with our ability to put a roof over our head and food on the dinner table.

2 - Creating a budget that works — without a budget that allows us to live within our means, the government will seek only to raise more revenue. Prioritizing spending, seeking efficiencies, and reform should supersede taxing our citizens more.

3 - Restore/reform education – Our state supreme court recently issued a decision that once again highlights that “education is the paramount duty of the state.”

2. What specifically do you intend to do as a legislator to push these issues at the state level?

1 - To promote a robust economy, we must create an environment in our state where small business can start, thrive, and expand. Part of that is reducing the onerous burdens of our unemployment and worker’s compensation systems as well as business and occupation taxes. Secondly, providing incentives with benchmarks and performance objectives to small businesses so that we can have a measurable outcome for the incentive they receive.

2 - We must prioritize spending to perform the core functions of government — funding education, public safety, caring for our most vulnerable, and transportation. Everything else is on the table.

3 - While the Supreme Court reasserted the importance of funding education, they did little else to define, with precision, what that means. I believe in a targeted approach where our dollars will do the most good for our students.

3. What legislative committees do you hope to gain appointment to and why?

Ways and Means — Currently, Southwestern Washington is completely without representation on the committee. I will do everything in my power to make sure that dollars are spent for the greatest possible impact at the least possible cost.

4. What is your position on coal trains from the Port of Longview passing through your legislative district? Is there a level of pollution that you would tolerate for the sake of job creation?

There are state and federal processes in place that the coal trains must observe in order to be permitted. It is essential that we allow the process to occur, otherwise every single project will become subject to gridlock. My concerns for this project, which have not yet been addressed to my satisfaction, include impacts on transportation especially is it relates to emergency services. With adequate environmental controls and these other issues resolved, I lean towards supporting the traffic of the coal trains and the desperately needed jobs they will bring to our region.

5. What is your position on Columbia River Crossing?

I am not convinced that the project we are looking at is the best project we can get. The process by which we arrived at the current project is completely flawed — otherwise we wouldn’t be looking at a bridge that will limit commerce and trade on the Columbia River while removing $100 million a year or more from the local economy in the form of tolls. The voters of this county have spoken three times that they do not support light rail in Clark County. The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that the sole purpose of the bridge replacement was to bring light rail into Clark County; the new bridge was to get buy-in from Vancouver to get light rail into Clark County. If there is a county wide vote on light rail or any other aspect of the project, I will abide by the will of the people but my entire district must be included in that vote.

6. As an elected official or activist, what has been your best contribution in the past year?

The amendment that I got passed to the transportation budget that prevents tolling on the I-205 bridge.

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Ralph Schmidt

Ralph Schmidt

Address: 3006 N.W. Astor St., Camas

Phone: (360) 834-5256

E-mail: ralph-for-senate@hotmail.com

Age: 70

Occupation: Retired

Education: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, California State University, Sacramento; MS taxation Golden Gate University, San Francisco; designated teaching credential, California State University, Rohnert Park.

Political Party: Democratic

1. What are the top three issues facing the state that you will focus on if elected in November: Restoring/reforming education, job creation/economy, balancing the budget, transportation/Columbia River Crossing, environmental, other?

Reform a state tax structure that is destroying the state economy and placing an unfair burden on the lower and modest income taxpayers.

Bring the state back into court ordered compliance with spending on education.

Alter policy and budget to create jobs.

2. What specifically do you intend to do as a legislator to push these issues at the state level?

Do what I can to change Washing State tax policy. Economic growth depends on spending.

Sales tax: One estimate is that those making an income less than $30,000 spend 80 percenttheir income on sales tax items; above $1 million, 20 percent. This does not produce economic growth.

Board and occupancy: This is gross receipts tax. The business must pay the tax even if the business had an income loss. If a business is failing, this tax will ensure that the business fails.

Real property tax: Even though the tax does increase as the value of the property increases, one can buy only so expensive a home. Renters pay this tax as the landlord will pass on the cost.

Because the state is taxing low and modest income taxpayers at the maximum and higher income at the minimum, the revenue stream has become inflexible. As a result the state is up against brick walls in funding priority programs. We are not adequately funding education. I wish that a toll on the Columbia River Crossing was not necessary. However, no opponent of the toll has provided an alternate solution. Given the current tax policy, I don’t think there is one.

3. What legislative committees do you hope to gain appointment to and why?

Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance — I have a master’s degree in taxation. I have worked for Visa International, a large financial institution. I have worked for California-Western States Life Insurance Company which provided health and life insurance. Higher Education & Workforce Development — I have a teaching credential. I have had a lifelong learning experience with schools.

4. What is your position on coal trains from the Port of Longview passing through your legislative district? Is there a level of pollution that you would tolerate for the sake of job creation?

This is a difficult problem for state and local government because the railroads as interstate commerce are regulated by the federal government. That does not mean that we should not try to have input into their decisions.

I would try to ensure that an environmental impact study be obtained even if the federal government is not required to do so. If the trains traverse the state then the environmental cost must be mitigated where possible. Coal trains are currently not covered so as to prevent coal dust explosions and not increase shipping costs. However, covers do exist which vent and still reduce pollution.

If we are forced to endure these trains, the coal shippers must pay the cost of train cars being covered. There are additional impacts on our district. I have heard different figures on the actual number of jobs involved. I do not think that this is just a pollution/jobs issue. I will admit there is much I have to learn on this subject. Given the concerns voiced by voters and businesses I will find some answers.

5. What is your position on Columbia River Crossing?

I lived in the San Francisco area when an earthquake crippled the Bay Bridge. The economic impact was horrendous. The I-5 Bridge has pylons sunk into sand slush. The smallest earthquake could cause the river soil to liquefy and the bridge to fall. The poor geologic conditions have meant that new pylons will have to be sunk hundreds of feet to bedrock. Recently the bridge has been closed to fix counterweight problems. Also consider congestion, crashes, and delayed freight shipping. Candidates that say that the bridge can last 50 years are whistling-in-the-wind. The bridge needs to be built now.

I do not like putting additional costs on working poor and modest income people. So I do not like tolls. However, given the tax policy of Washington State I see no alternative. No one opposed to tolls has offered a viable alternative.

The voters of Clark County should vote on having light rail now. Whatever voters decide the new bridge must be built to be able to accommodate light rail in the future. We will eventually have to have light rail. The cost of fitting for the future is small compared to the cost for our children.

6. As an elected official or activist, what has been your best contribution in the past year?

I am a state Democratic Central Committeeman. The Central Committee sets the rules, policy, and budget for the state party much as the state legislature does for the state.

I am writing a pamphlet on low sodium dinning in the Portland metro area. I am developing a complete normalized database on music aimed at music historians, librarians, musicians and listeners.