Washington State Lt. Governor Election 2020 Q&A to candidates.
By Mario Lotmore | Lynnwood Times Staff
Ahead of the Aug. 4 primary election, the Lynnwood Times sent four questions to the four Washington State Lt. Governor candidates who raised at least $20,000 by July 19. Those candidates were: Denny Heck, Marko Liias, Marty McClendon, and Ann Davison Sattler. A total of 11 candidates are vying to be the next Washington State Lt. Governor.
According the the Public Disclosure Commission, as of July 29, Heck raised $718,437, Liias raised $198,756, Sattler raised $92,089, and McClendon raised $22,529.
All primary election candidates were given 48-hours to submit their answers. The Lynnwood Times received responses from all of the four Lt. Governor candidates prior to our deadline. None of the candidates were allowed to see the another’s answers.
Why should Washingtonians choose you to be their Washington State Lt. Governor in January?
Heck: I have a passion for public service and, for this office, my experience counts. I have served in the legislature at both the state level (where I was House Majority Leader) and the federal level in Congress. I have also served in the executive branch as Chief of Staff to Governor Gardner. I began my adult career as a professional staff member in the legislature. With Lt Governor, the first question always has to be: is this person ready to be governor if necessary? I am.
Second, the Washington State Lt. Governor is the president of the Senate, where he or she breaks ties and maintains parliamentary order. They must be committed to presiding in a fair and civil way – it is the only way the process works. I am committed, and I have a long track record of demonstrating that commitment.
Finally, the Washington State Lt. Governor performs other duties as assigned (or self-assigned) and what a wonderful opportunity to make a difference. For example, the Lt Governor, by law, chairs the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations. As a state, we are going to need significant economic development for some time to dig ourselves out of the COVID hole, and we need as many voices as possible at the table who have experience in how best to do that. Indeed, we have an opportunity here to rebuild our economy in a fairer way and a more sustainable way. This starts with the state’s budget. We cannot underestimate the budget hole that the COVID recession is presenting to the state government or the difficulty of the choices the state will face next year in closing that hole. I’ve been through too many recessions and I know the wrong way to respond is to think we can cut our way to prosperity. We must maintain services especially at a time like this. I will be a voice for that.
Liias: I am the best choice to be our next Lieutenant Governor because I am the most qualified candidate for the job. I am the only person running for Lt. Governor who has ever served in our State Senate, and as Majority Floor Leader.
I have fought for progressive policy that keeps Washington at the cutting edge of governance in the US, including passing the most progressive paid-family leave program in the country, making WA the first state in the US to completely shift off of coal-powered energy reliance, and expanded access to college opportunities with the largest higher education investment in state history. My time in government has given me a deep understanding of how our state government works and the connections needed to pass meaningful reform.
I am running for Lt. Governor as the future of the Democratic Party, with fresh ideas that will keep us moving forward and put people first, not as a retirement job. I will spend every day as Lt. Governor fighting for progressive change that is inclusive and equitable, making sure everyone has a fair shot at success and opportunity. I would be honored to have Washingtonians across the state join me in that fight.
McClendon: Washingtonians should choose Marty McClendon for their next Lt. Governor if they want a candidate who will be a voice for the entire state. If they want someone who brings a breadth of experience across several policy areas and a long history of service and bringing people together.
I am the only candidate in this race who has lived and worked on both sides of the state, with strong connections to the agriculture industry and great experience and knowledge in healthcare, ministry, real estate, finance, and public relations. The only candidate with land use expertise to address the housing shortage challenge, who fully understands how important water rights are to farming, ranching and building as well as the only candidate that has laid out specific plans on what can be done to reform education, hold government accountable, and to strengthen families.
Being an Eagle Scout, you learn the meaning of serving others and it is even in our oath “to help others at all times.” Being a Pastor with an urge to help others has only increased with an understanding of how so many of us come from different walks of life.
Looking at this role, I am the only candidate that actually wants to be Lt. Governor to make life better for all Washington Citizens. I do not want to abolish the office or use it as a platform to advance a radical agenda or to bide my time to be Governor like the others.
Washington Citizens should vote for Marty McClendon for Lt. Governor if they want honest, common-sense solutions and if they want someone they can trust and who will fight for them and defend their rights.
Sattler: I am uniquely qualified to be our state’s next Lieutenant Governor. I am not a career politician looking for an easy backdoor into the Governor’s office, I am here to work for our Washington Neighbors. I am an attorney and have the legal credentials required for the office, but I am also a mom who has been living with the difficulty of trying to work, raise my children, and figure out how to educate them in this pandemic. I understand what so many of you have to deal with in the real world. I am running because, like so many of you, I have seen our elected politicians fail to address the problems that surround us and more of the same approach isn’t going to help us.
My young children’s years of pointed questions about people living alongside our roads, clearly needing help, caused me to doubt and question our current politicians. Even to kids, it was obvious that something was wrong. I had worked in a refugee camp where people had lost everything, fleeing violence; yet, it was more hygienic and humane than my kids’ hometown. Unable to find plausible explanations and wanting better for Washington, I had to speak out.
Tone deaf measures coming out of Olympia are one-sided and unbalanced. Current politicians throw money at problems first, asking questions later–this must stop. They’ve been in power so long they’ve forgotten to listen to neighbors or manage their spending. We cannot tax our way back to health from our current crisis. I’ll provide the critical check and balance we’ve lost, being a leader who seeks compassionate solutions while protecting taxpayers.
I will bring the fresh perspective direly needed in Olympia. We need a Lieutenant Governor fighting for families and businesses, not more of the same government approach. Let’s get this right for our children’s tomorrow, as well as for their today.
Fiscal Responsibility: We need to treat our state budget like it’s our own family budget. Accumulated waste must be cleaned out. For example, the current office holder’s budget has more than doubled, increasing 120% since he took office less than four years ago. Similar cost increases are rampant across our state government while many departments are failing to meet their own performance targets. More spending will only hurt hard working taxpayers and we need to treat taxpayer money with the responsibility it deserves.
Political Balance: We need more voices in our government that represent the diversity that makes our state so great. Having the same recycled policies and politicians is not helping us find the creative solutions we need to help our neighbors.
Homelessness, Addiction & Mental Health, Public Safety: There are a lot of people hurting on our streets and we need to be targeted with our tax dollars used to help them, not just continue spending without caring what happens. We need real solutions to address these important issues that will help people back into our society. I also support giving our police the training and support they need to be part of the solution.
In Washington state, 40% of jobs are tied to international trade. With the coronavirus pandemic disrupting global value chains across multiple countries and the increasing political tensions between the U.S. and China, how would you as the next Lt. Governor step forward on the international stage to share the message that Washington is a great place to invest and to create jobs?
Heck: There is no doubt that international trade is facing a retrenchment in the coming years. The pandemic has shown newfound vulnerabilities in long supply chains, and the uneven distribution of vaccines when they arrive will probably reveal still more challenges. Despite our high exposure to trade, this has the opportunity to be good for Washington. America will still be the world’s largest consumer, so shorter supply chains necessarily means more manufacturing here. And placing those factories in Washington means they can also serve the world’s fastest growing markets in Asia. We have a real opportunity before us.
I will draw upon a deep experience on trade issues. My most difficult fights in Congress were, in 2014 and 2019, securing reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, the federal agency dedicated to financing the sale of U.S. exports. And I was intimately involved in 2018 in redesigning the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which, just as its name implies, screens all manner of overseas investments in the US for national security concerns. Those experiences have given me not only a network of contacts but also a thorough understanding of the challenges and opportunities for U.S. manufacturers. When combined with my past success building a business, I believe I can describe Washington’s real opportunity in terms that will resonate with potential investors.
Liias: The Lt. Governor is Chair of the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations (LCEDIR), and often serves as a sort of diplomat for Washington State. This position is critical in connecting business leaders and legislators with foreign leaders, to nourish international ties and build stronger trade relationships that keep our trade-strong economy going. It will be the job of the next Lt. Governor to step forward on the international stage to share the message that Washington is a great place to invest, to create jobs, to work and to live.
I had the opportunity to be part of the Lt. Governor’s work on international trade already, attending trade missions with Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib to Spain, South Korea, and the Paris Airshow. In Paris, we focused on bringing small and medium sized businesses with us, including many from right here in Snohomish County, that would not have normally been able to afford their own ticket to the show like larger corporations like Boeing could. In joining the Washington delegation, these smaller companies were able to show their trade on an international stage and make relationships directly with foreign investors and buyers – this will be my priority for future trade missions, giving a platform to companies up and down our economy so they have greater access to growth opportunities that will bolster local economies across Washington.
Washington already has fantastic trade connections, let’s leverage that position into creating more jobs and development all over the state – particularly rural communities that could use more investment. Additionally, as we develop these new jobs, we must do so in a sustainable way. We already have ways to create family wage jobs that protect our planet, as our economy recovers, we need to redouble our efforts in making sure the new jobs we are creating are contributing to the green economy.
McClendon: One of the most important jobs of the Lt. Governor is to chair the economic development and foreign trade committee and with 13.5 billion dollars of Agriculture related trade every year that goes out of our ports, I am uniquely qualified and passionate about expanding trade, and growing our relationships and helping Washington prosper.
I am the only candidate on the ballot that grew up in a farming and ranching family and grew up working in and around orchards all across Eastern and Central Washington as well as a lifelong Washingtonian that truly appreciates the vast richness this state offers. I am also the best candidate to build new relationships with others because of my background in land use, real estate negotiation, ministry, and public relations through my media and nonprofit experience.
As a small business owner, I understand the environment that businesses look for in order to invest in Washington. Businesses look for a skilled workforce, stable and reasonable taxation and regulation, and low energy costs. I am passionate about education reform that opens many of our kids up to great jobs in the skilled trades, fighting to keep taxes low and removing redundant and costly regulations.
Sattler: Washington is currently one of the best states to operate a business, but voices out of Seattle are trying to change that by openly demonizing the businesses that create our jobs. Now they want to push those policies to Olympia. If COVID-19 has taught our tech companies anything, it is that they can operate remotely; meaning, they could leave our state thereby creating problems of job loss and public funding. I will use my platform to make sure we work with our companies to find mutually beneficial approaches and not try to use them as political scapegoats.
I believe that the Lieutenant Governor has the potential to help our smaller businesses with international trade. Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing have entire departments to handle regulatory aspects of doing business with foreign customers, but many small and mid-sized companies cannot afford them and miss out on opportunities. I can help those businesses to streamline the regulatory process to remove those barriers.
I will also make a great advocate and ambassador for our many fine industries. I have met with businesses from an electric boat manufacturer in Seattle to fruit and vegetable growers in Eastern Washington. I am willing to put in the hard work to understand our many industries and impress on other states and nations the superiority of our goods.
The involvement of the Lieutenant Governor’s office in international trade has fallen sharply in the past several years and I will make sure to provide our companies with the support they need. As someone who has done hands-on constituent services, I know how to provide customer service so businesses can focus on the topic of their industry
The Lieutenant Governor serves on and appoints members to over 100 different boards and commissions throughout the state. How will the Office of the Washington State Lt. Governor, under your leadership, seek out candidates from underrepresented communities for these appointments?
Heck: Diversity is not just a moral imperative; it is proven to make organizations operate more effectively. And for boards meant to represent the public, it is fundamental to our theory of government that those boards reflect the diversity of the public they speak for. For any appointments I have the power to make, I commit to ensuring that they reflect, at the very least, the composition of minority groups in the State. And I will use my voice to try to persuade others making appointments to adopt the same approach.
Liias: The Washington State Lt. Governor is in charge of appointing the Senate representation to these boards and commissions that generally guide policy decisions for the coming years. These appointments are not something to take lightly as we should only have the best at the table for these conversations that will inevitably direct our state.
I am proud that Governor Inslee has appointed the most diverse Supreme Court in the nation, I will follow his lead as I make appointments. Many appointments are in conjunction with Senate caucus leadership, for these I believe that the Senators appointed should be as close to subject matter experts in that specialty as possible to have the most constructive ideas for the conversation.
I will look at a Senator’s policy portfolio they have focused on, their committee assignments, and the expertise they bring to the table when I make these appointments. To the maximum extent possible, I will work with Senate leadership to ensure that equity and social justice are reflected in the appointments I make.
McClendon: As the father of three bi-racial kids and the husband to an amazing Filipino American woman, I am fully aware of the need to advocate for diversity and include a broad variety of viewpoints and experiences to represent everyone.
As Washington State Lt. Governor, I am committed to being inclusive and I would make sure that the invitation and opportunity were communicated and extended to all Washington citizens. As Washington State Lt. Governor, I would appoint subject matter experts to every board position and choose people that would really add real value for the citizens of Washington state. I will not appoint someone for political reasons.
Sattler: Right now, we have political favors weighing heavily on who gets appointed to boards. I want the best people appointed to our important boards. This means people who have the necessary technical expertise and others with relevant personal backgrounds.
Boards are supposed to act like miniature legislatures and if they don’t represent the communities they serve, they won’t be as effective. We have such a diverse state; it is home to people from so many backgrounds and that means we have many good ideas that come from them.
We deserve our boards to be impactful on their effectiveness not just populating them from favors.
If elected, how would you support the next governor’s policies be it a Republican or Democrat?
Heck: We are approaching a moment in our history where we must confront public policy choices that will have a massive impact on people’s lives. In the coming year, we will simultaneously confront the triple crises of COVID, deep recession, and a gaping state budget deficit while also having a once-in-a-generation opportunity to guide our communities through a rethinking of racial disparities. Each of those challenges and opportunities will require legislation ushered through the State House and Senate. I want to help shape those bills – I have strong ideas on how we should respond – and ensure that our State Senate functions smoothly so that the bills can be passed and delivered to the Governor’s Desk in an equitable and progressive manner.
Liias: Washington State Lt. Governor is a more unique in that it is elected independently from the Governor, meaning that the two very well could be of different parties. It also means that much of the work the two entities do operates entirely independent of each other. Lt. Governor Habib and Governor Inslee have had an incredible working relationship from promoting a green jobs future to partnering on Career Connect Washington to ensure higher education and degree pathways that are connected to advanced apprenticeship programs – work that I would like to continue building upon. However, previous Lt. Governor’s, like Lt. Governors Owen and Pritchard operated their office much more on their own, regardless of the Governor or the Governor’s party.
My priorities, regardless of who my Governor is, are the same: chart a bold, progressive path forward for our state. We must build an economy that works for all Washingtonians, not just the rich; we must invest in public education and workforce training to ensure there are equitable paths to opportunity and into the middle class; we must address the crisis of affordability in housing, health care, and child care that threatens our middle class; and, we must boldly confront the challenge of climate change and use this opportunity to build a sustainable, resilient economy for our shared prosperity.
McClendon: As the Lt. Governor, I will advocate for and support legislation and policies that: are fiscally responsible, reduce and streamline regulations, reduce the tax burden on all citizens, provide additional pathways to success for all our kids, protect and do not infringe upon your constitutional rights, and empower local jurisdictions to meet their community’s needs.
I will support legislation and policies that hold our government accountable to you and that support healthy families and small business creation as well as advocate for expanded trade.
Sattler: Instilled from my profession as a lawyer, arbitrator and mediator, I will do my job and work with the governor regardless of party. I am running for all of our Washington neighbors, not to play political games. I will also be vocal if I think the policy is for political gain at the expense of our neighbors.