Political Op/Ed by Tammey Newton: Regarding Tuesday Night’s Forum


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.

Thank you.

Tammey Newton, candidate for 35th District State Representative, Position 2

4 thoughts on “Political Op/Ed by Tammey Newton: Regarding Tuesday Night’s Forum”

  1. So, just to be clear, Ms. Newton says she is personally opposed to a state income tax, she is aware her constituents are opposed to an income tax AND she supports the will of the people. If that is truly the case, then I’m not sure why actually answering the question should be much of a struggle for her.

    It should have been (and was, at least for her opponent) an easy black and white (or, if you prefer, red and green) answer not requiring much in the way of nuance. Unless Tammy’s ‘nuance’ is that once in office she would find it easier to ‘follow along with others’ and NOT so easy to say no to imposing an income tax.

    It seems to me that voting in someone who leaves the room when she doesn’t get her way, WOULD be sending a kindergartner (if not the whole class) to Olympia.

    According to KOMO, among other items in the current budget, the Legislature had no problem maintaining tax breaks for renewable energy or approving $7M for the UW to “create a Clean Energy Institute and a Center on Ocean Acidification”.

    In 2007 the people of Washington voted in a law mandating that utilities purchase renewable energy. Seven years after it was made mandatory, why do we still need tax incentives? And if (as we keep being told) the “Science is settled” on whatever we are calling the looming global catastrophe this week, why is there a need for more research? At least when we can’t properly fund K-12 education first.

    Maybe it’s just me, but if you say education is your highest priority – AND you are in contempt of court because you aren’t actually funding it that way, perhaps there should be a little less ‘nuance’ in the ‘adult conversation’ and a little more of hey, let’s make sure K-12 education is properly taken care of FIRST; then, if we still haven’t spent all our money, we can worry about our pet green projects.

    It *IS* settled science that it is most definitely NOT easy for the Legislature to say no, at least not to spending taxpayer dollars. If Drew MacEwen had the courage to say no in front of a small group of locals, that makes him much more likely in my mind to continue to say no in the Legislature.

    I supported Drew before the Forum and hope Tammy’s Temper Tantrum over a ‘tough question’ will change the minds of anyone who was considering voting for her to also supporting Drew MacEwen!

  2. I watched the entire debate online today and I was appalled by most of Tammey’s act, but her planned and excessively rude exit, followed by the somehow even more rude reentry was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Kudos to Representative MacEwen and the other candidates who stayed and remained calm under pressure. And, even more importantly, finished what they set out to do. The theatrics of of both Haigh and Newton were just that, theatrics. And that isn’t what we need in office.

  3. Although I do not remember the specifics of the first forum Tammey is speaking about, the moderator specifically stated BEFORE the lightening round that they would be able to clarify/explain any answers from the lightning round during their closing comments.
    I thought it was quite rude to just get up and leave – obviously at the same time and right on cue (Tammey looking over at Kathy while she had the ‘perfect timing’ phone call) as they both left together. Please tell me that’s not obvious?
    On the House and Senate floor our legislators can “Yea” Nay” or “Abstain”, so I believe the Chambers lightning rounds are valid and informative. Her attempt to blindside the Chamber with such behavior was wrong, and then interrupting Drew MacEwan”s summation with her attention grabbing walk in, was inappropriate. At that point she had forfeited her right to respond. BUT she just sat there. Well if its attention she wanted, she got it!

    I am looking forward to the League of Women Voters Forum. I’m sure they’ll be just as fair as the Chamber was.

    PLEASE if you don’t like the set-up, just don’t come at all. The lightning round was no surprise…. you shouldn’t be able to pick and choose what you participate in. All, or nothing. Rude behavior is not acceptable in my book…

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