Faced with a decision to participate in the rapid fire panel at the Shelton-Mason Chamber Forum on Tuesday night I declined to participate (along with Representative Kathy Haigh). As a first time candidate there are many things to learn. And during the first Shelton-Mason Chamber forum I participated in the rapid fire, as we candidates were told that we would have time at the end of the rapid fire session to address any question we felt needed further clarification or information. In watching the 2012 Shelton-Mason Chamber forum that proved true. In 2012 my opponent, who was a first time candidate at that time stated he opposed gay marriage, however at the end of rapid fire, he went on to clarify that he supports the will of the people regardless of his personal beliefs. (The YouTube video is available for those interested.) This courtesy was not extended, or an oversight occurred at the first forum of 2014.
I am not opposed to the tough questions. In fact I welcome them. I wish we had more of them. Tough questions require more than a red or green piece of paper. These issues have real people, real consequences and real impacts behind them. If being a legislator was about waving around strips of red and green paper, we should just send a local kindergarten class to Olympia.
In politics, there are what are called “hit pieces” and it is no surprise that the first hit piece on me is video shot by the opposing team’s staff from the first Shelton-Mason Chamber “rapid fire.”
Since I was not given an opportunity to respond to the first rapid fire, please allow me a few more moments of your time to respond to the income tax issue in hopes of giving you actual information instead of veiled inferences or misinformation.
The question asked was, “Do you support or oppose income tax to fund education?” If you have watched the video, or the commercial put out by my opponent, you will see that I struggled with this answer. The reality is that the legislature is being held in contempt of court over the McCleary decision and our inability to fund education. The reality is that this is a tough question. The reality is, we have to find a solution.
In truth, I do not support an Income Tax. Like many of you, my concern is that an income tax would be a “plus one.” The people of our district have shared that very same concern and clearly stated that they do not want an income tax as they see it as “just another tax” on top of an already heavy tax burden. I support the will of the people. Period.
And when it comes to funding education, we need to have the adult conversation and sit down to negotiate how to best fund our state’s paramount duty. This takes more than waving your green and red paper.
I think it is also important that when it comes to problem solving, one doesn’t just close their mind. You simply don’t problem solve from a position of “no.”
The reality is that you, the voter, the constituent and quite frankly the employer of those you vote into office deserve better than gotcha attempts. I am a quick study, and I did not wish to participate in the game again.
It is easy to follow along with others, and easy to say no. There is comfort in following the pack. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe. It takes courage and leadership to step away from the pack. I believe you deserve better and I believe candidates deserve better.
Tammey Newton, candidate for 35th District State Representative, Position 2