Governor Forum transcript – first hour

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Republican candidates:


Loren Culp
Joshua Freed
Phil Fortunato
Tim Eyman


Opening statement

Loren Culp:

Alright, thank you for having this and welcome everyone. I am Loren Culp, candidate for governor of Washington State. I’ve been a lifelong resident of Washington. I was raised in Jefferson County on a small farm outside of Chimacum, Washington, and I went to grade school and junior high there, and then lived in Republic, Washington. My parents moved us over there, I met my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been married 43 years this year. We have two sons, seven grand-kids, that live in this state. I’ve been a U.S. Army soldier. I was a sergeant in the 101st airborne division. I also went to drill sergeant school where I helped turn civilians into soldiers. I served overseas for my country under one of the greatest presidents of my lifetime: president Ronald Reagan. I served from 1980 to 1984, and then after that I started into construction in the Olympia area. Three years later I started my own construction business, which I ran that for over 20 years in the Olympia area. Then at the age of 49, I realized my childhood dream and became a police officer. I’ve been a narcotics detective for over three years, a patrol officer, a canine handler, and currently the Chief of Police in Republic. I believe strongly in individual freedom and liberty, and I believe that our government is out of control. We have a governor that acts like a dictator instead of a public servant. He has the job of overseeing the executive branch of our state government, not every aspect of our lives and our businesses. I intend to bring freedom and liberty back to this state so that we are free to make decisions for ourselves, for our families, and for our businesses. I appreciate this time that we have to express our views. Thank you.

Joshua Freed:

Joshua Freed. Very nice to see everybody tonight. … I’m running for governor because I’m looking at the myriad of issues that need to be addressed here in Washington State and the failures of our governor. I just recently got back from touring all 39 counties in our state after 14 days, and I’m finding the message is consistent and clear: people are ready for a new governor in Washington State. The evidence of the failure that I’m seeing is, I was downtown just two weeks ago serving meals to 150 individuals living in the streets of Seattle, and heartbreakingly enough, I’m finding as I looked in the eyes of these folks coming up to get a grilled cheese and a water and some fruit, is they’re in first-time homelessness. So, out of the 150 people that came, I spoke to eight that were for the first time in the last few weeks in homelessness, and they’re [homeless] as a direct result of the directives of this governor that are very unconstitutional which he says are driven by science and data, clearly they are not.
So it’s time to bring back safety and civility in Washington State; get businesses back to work. We need to reopen Washington. Because businesses are suffering–individuals are suffering. We have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. I served as mayor of the City of Bothell for a period of time and oversaw the largest revitalization of a downtown of Washington State. I also served on the Puget Sound Regional Economic Committee and the Joint Legislative Committee for the Chambers of Commerce, [which] addressed issues when it came to economic development. I’m uniquely qualified to address what’s happening in our state as we’re seeing crumbling businesses and people struggling and the highest unemployment rate in the nation. We need to get people back to work; then we can see how during this period of time. Jay Inslee has considered some people essential and some people non-essential; I think that we are all essential. Certainly we all need to provide for our families. Government is not the answer. I [believe] removing government from that program, removing that burden, and allowing people to move their companies forward, their families forward; it is definitely essential today. So, [I will also focus] on what’s happening in the drastic increase in crime in Washington State. Under Jay Inslee we’ve seen murder increase by 41 percent and rape increase by 65 percent. Homelessness has drastically increased under the directives of our governor. So, for me it’s time that we take back our government, we shrink what’s happening in Olympia, shrink state government by 25 percent, so we can leave more money in the hands of those who make it. I’ll be a governor that’s representing the citizens of Washington State, not just special interests in Olympia. So I look forward to the people’s vote and thank you so much for all the folks that are listening in online tonight, on TVW and certainly those listening on the radio. We have a lot of work to do. I’d be honored to earn your trust in this campaign, so we can take back Washington and make sure that this is a place where businesses and families can thrive. Thank you.

Phil Fortunato:

My name is Senator Phil Fortunato and I want to be the next governor of Washington State. Among our panelists, we go to these forums quite often and actually we all pretty much say the same thing: we all want less government, we all don’t like Jay Inslee, and we all think he’s doing a horrible job as governor. What I want to do is, I want to draw the distinction of what makes myself different. A little bit of background: I’ve been married to my wife 44 years; this year it’ll be 44 years. We have five children. My first three sons joined the Marine Corps. My number four son said he didn’t want to join the military so I suggested the Air Force. It’s always nice actually to – you know, recently, where things are opening up – it’s nice to be out in a crowd where you can see people and engage the crowd. Doing it on Zoom is like watching a rock concert on TV, you know; it’s not the same as being there.
I am the only [candidate] among this crowd here that has actually done things to reduce taxes. I haven’t voted for a single tax increase. I received the award for Senator of the Year for protecting property rights from the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights. The Conservative Union gave me the Conservative Achievement Award for a conservative voting record. I’m the pro-gun person along with Senator Wilson in our caucus. Many people don’t recognize that the very first bump stock bill actually banned semi-automatic firearms. We were able to successfully change that to just banning a piece of plastic.
So, when you’re looking at the state economy and you’re looking at the way the governor handled this COVID thing–this is a total disaster. I mean when we first were given a briefing of what this was going to be, it was going to be 10,000 people were going to die and there were going to be hospital beds out in the street, and it was going to be catastrophic. A couple, 2-3 weeks later, it’s pretty obvious that you could go to Costco or Fred Meyer or whatever and not pass on an infectious disease as long as you had some kind of health care protocol in place. I believe it was March 26th when I wrote my first letter to the governor and said, you need to open up the rest of the state. You need to be able to tell people, come up with a health care protocol, run it by the Dept. of Health, open up your business. There’s absolutely no reason to put every mom-and-pop business out because you determine that it’s not essential. This essential/non-essential stuff just drove me nuts. In addition to that, you know, here I am a state senator and I am reduced to writing letters to Santa Claus. I write letters to the governor and I get the same response I get from Santa Claus, nothing. That’s one of the reasons that Senator Ericksen, Senator Padden, Representatives Jesse Young and Vicki Kraft, and myself, had a press conference on March 5th saying “we need to go into special session, we need to stop this” – and I’m glad the governor did today stop the 3 percent increase on state employees – but we need to go into a special session and reign in this budget. It’s an $8 billion shortfall that we have to deal with in January, and this is not the time for on-the-job training. Thank you.

Tim Eyman:

My name is Tim Eyman, and I’m not just running for governor, I’m running to fix a broken system. For the last 22 years, all of us together have been putting ideas before the voters and actually implementing a conservative agenda by reaching out to people that are Republicans, that are Independents, that are Democrats, and finding those areas where we all agree. And the one thing we agree on is Jay Inslee is absolutely destroying this state right now. That brings us all together. I think I’ve got a secret campaign manager that’s taken over my campaign who’s doing everything he can to help elect me governor because every-day he’s making more decisions that are hurting more people; doing things that are so dumb and so out of control that he wont even acknowledge six of blocks in Seattle that have been taken over, that are lawless, and he says ‘that’s news to me.’ We have done lower car tabs, we’ve done limits on property taxes, we’ve implemented performance audits; we’ve saved the taxpayers $43 billion over the last 22 years with citizen participation–people actually getting involved. This is the passion of my life. This is the reason why I feel so passionate about running for governor because I’ve done it with ideas for 22 years, and I’m asking people to just simply vote for ideas one more time in November; by voting for me, you’re going to put limits on taxes, you’re going to get your $30 tabs, you’re going to have somebody that’s been fighting for you for 22 years that’s been doing everything he can to confront a broken system.
I believe Jay Inslee has done so many things that are so bad for the people of the State of Washington, and I’ve actually done something about it while running.
I’m so proud that our lawsuit to open up the schools succeeded at getting the schools opened up this November.
We did a lawsuit on essential versus non-essential.
Some people criticize us saying lawsuits take too long; many people are not going to make it to November; we need to open Washington now; [reopen Washington] by being proactive.
Most candidates give speeches on what they will do. I’m doing everything I can to deliver results for now right now; like these lawsuits and the battles we’re having on the 2nd Amendment in Edmonds and in Bellingham, being called by the Bellingham City Council President saying ‘you got ‘700’– 2nd Amendment people to send me emails – because of you.’ I said: ‘I can’t make anybody send you an email.’ But, if you’re attacking the 2nd Amendment during this emergency it is something the citizens have to do something about and we cannot just sit on our hands.
I passionately believe that this state is ready to vote for a different kind of candidate. The one thing that I think our candidates have had a problem with, for the last 40 years, is they’ve just been a little too nice. I’m doing everything I can to highlight the ways Jay Inslee has failed us; doing everything I can to draw that contrast. I’ve taken the hits for 22 years. I believe that I’m uniquely qualified to be able to take on Jay Inslee and let the voters know once and for all that he needs to go.
Thanks for your time.


First question:

How would you have managed the COVID crisis?

Joshua Freed:

Well I would not have made the essential versus non-essential, winner versus loser which is happening in Washington State. I believe that science, if you truly addressed it and used it, would show that the death rate is around 0.1 percent. By making essential versus non-essential, Jay Inslee is literally killing Washington. As I’ve toured around the state, I see the evidence of that, and sadly hearing stories of businesses and people’s livelihoods that they’ve worked on for such a long period of time actually being shut down. They will never reopen again. It’s typically small businesses that provide 80 percent of the jobs in the workforce in Washington State and across our nation. But under Jay Inslee we’ve seen that he’s benefiting large businesses, letting big-box stores stay open. He let liquor stores be open, he let pot shops be open, he let you get an abortion during this period of time, and yet he didn’t allow people to go to church. Which is why I brought my lawsuit in federal court to fight for our spiritual liberties. Because it’s important that during a time of crisis we’re able to go meet with our spiritual advisor. And thankfully we had a victory in court. Even Attorney General Barr congratulated me on the win that we had in court, showing that we have the rights and Jay Inslee does not have the constitutional authority to shut down spiritual gatherings. So, I would make sure that all businesses in Washington State are able to move forward and operate. I’m going to make sure that people can keep themselves safe. We have the freedom. Our freedoms have been violated during this period of time, and it’s time for us to take those back. Thank you.

Phil Fortunato:

Well again, the governor and I parted company when he said ‘essential and non-essential.’ It seemed the reasonable thing to shut things down to figure out what was going on for a week or two, to figure out and get a handle on things. But after that it became pretty apparent that you could operate in a safe manner if you have a health care protocol in place. I don’t understand why you could sell a house at the time but you couldn’t sell a car. You know, my district is sort of a mini-Eastern Washington. In my business, I’ve been traveling the state, all corners of the state for 20 years, and my district which is sort of a little microcosm, I’ve got cattle ranchers, I’ve got dairy farms, I’ve got vegetable farms, and I’ve got suburbia; that’s my district. I mean they’re not the scale of Eastern Washington, but I had two berry farms go out of business. The governor shut down schools and he shut down restaurants. Who drinks milk? I mean they still need to milk the cows and they are having to dump this milk. I mean you have small little mom-and-pop stores who’ve put their entire life savings into a store to open it up, or a little mini restaurant or whatever it is, and the governor’s telling them “you cannot open, you’ve got to shut down for four months.” How in the world are you possibly supposed to stay in business? You know when you talk about giving tax credits and bonuses to businesses to get them to start up, how are you going to do that if you’re already out of business? So my deal was: have a health care protocol in place, open up your business, run it by the Dept. of Health. People are not going to go to your business if they don’t think that you have a good safety protocol in place. So it’s in your interest to have that–but there’s no reason to shut you down.

Tim Eyman:

Well the first thing, how would I handle it? Better! Better, because it couldn’t have been worse. I really fundamentally believe that he violated the constitution, basically taking everything over and deciding for 7 million people how they need to live their lives. The South Dakota governor ended up saying ‘I can’t find anywhere in the constitution that gives me the right to shut down a private business.’ So what she did was she tried to persuade people to do the needed things. She talked to people and tried to persuade them. Jay Inslee basically took over the lives of 7 million people, and I just don’t think that’s our form of government. I want to have one person that trusts 7 million people. That’s the approach I would take. But at a minimum I would keep representative democracy going, where you would actually have 39 counties deciding for themselves. The idea that there are counties in the State of Washington that have no incidents at all, yet he shut them down the same as all the others, is nuts. And that’s the approach that he took. I want to make it where people are making decisions for their own lives, to encourage them to do certain things, but not mandate it. I am unnerved by how much he seems to be enjoying the power. He seems to revel in it. He seems to enjoy it. And people are suffering right now, and he calls them ‘heartless and cruel’ when they actually disagree with him. It’s unnerving to me. And I want to be [a governor] that’s been doing what I’ve done for 22 years which is to listen to people, and actually listen and not actually call them names if they disagree with me.

Loren Culp:

So if I understand you correctly the question was: “what would I do if I was governor and COVID happened,” right? Well I’m not real good at making word salad, so I’ll just answer the question. If I was governor, I would have press conferences with the medical professionals to explain to the citizens what’s going on, what they should do to protect themselves, what could happen if they don’t, and then as governor make sure the supply chain is open for the medical equipment and personal protective equipment that was needed. [I would] then let individuals citizens and business owners and families make that decision for themselves. Article 1, Section 1 of the Washington State Constitution says that the power is inherent in the people, and the government is there to protect citizens’ rights. What we have now is a governor who doesn’t understand the role of government, and he doesn’t understand the restrictions that the constitution puts on our government. As governor I understand that, and I will leave it up to the individual citizens to decide what’s best for them, for their family, for their business, and give them the correct information.


Second question:

The state is facing a projected $9 billion budget shortfall. How would your administration deal with the size of this deficit?

Phil Fortunato:

So it’s interesting that you say ‘$9 billion’ because when they said ‘one’ I said ‘three’; when they said ‘three’ I said ‘six’; when they said ‘eight’ I said ‘ten’; so you’re splitting the difference there. So this really brings home the message that whoever you hire as governor – which is what you’re doing, you’re hiring somebody as governor – has to have the knowledge and expertise and know where the money is, know how things work, know how the budget works and all of that. Now I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been a senator for 4 years. Four years isn’t all that much but it’s a heck of a lot more than zero. So, we need to reduce the size of government. How are we going to do that? The most common way to do that is we need to reduce the number of state employees. The governor did stop the 3 percent pay raise, that was one thing, but we need to do a 5 percent pay cut across the entire state including elected officials. But we also need — what I want to do is — encourage early retirement of those people in the upper block. They are the most expensive people on the payroll. If you do a lay off – typically you lay off from the bottom up and that would remove the people that are actually providing the services to people when you go to the Dept. of Licensing, or wherever the heck it is you are going. Those are the worker bees. I want to keep the worker bees but then [encourage the early release] of those people that are closer to retirement, get them off the payroll immediately. You’d have a little bit of a hit on the pension fund, but that would be a way to reduce the state workforce and try to start reigning this in. After that you need to zero-base budget agencies on a yearly basis.

Tim Eyman:

Fundamentally, we’re having this huge drop in revenue because Jay Inslee shut down the state. He ended up saying that whole swaths of our electorate are completely non-essential and not needed. So whenever I see things about ‘COVID has caused this loss of revenue,’ it is not COVID that caused it. It’s the overreaction that Jay Inslee had to it. Going into the next legislative session, I believe that the revenue drop is going to continue because he is not opening up Washington. I don not want to cut anybody’s pay. I want to open up Washington so we can generate the tax revenue to be able to pay our public employees what they’re worth, and unfortunately Jay Inslee is making that job harder. The only area where he actually didn’t fund government was public health. That’s where he really screwed up. But the big point I would stress going into the next legislative session: you can’t raise taxes in this environment. That’s all I’ve done for 22 years is make it harder for the government to raise taxes. Make sure to veto any tax increase that comes down the pike. Four more years of Jay Inslee: it’s carbon tax, income tax, pay-per-mile tax, any tax he can. The next legislative session there’s going to be tremendous pressure to raise taxes. I want to make sure that we have somebody in there that’s actually fought to lower your taxes and actually implemented the policy of a two-thirds requirement of the legislature to raise taxes. I would veto any tax increase, making sure that the only way it passes is with a two-thirds vote. Thank you for the question.

Loren Culp:

Eight to ten years ago, about the time Jay Inslee took office, our state budget was about $30 billion, and since then it has almost doubled to about $60 billion. I don’t know about anybody else but I don’t see improved roads or improved services from our government. We don’t have a revenue problem in this state; we have a spending problem. We have a government that’s out of control, and people in office that don’t understand their role as public servants, and the confines that the constitution are supposed to be in place to control our government. I will appoint department heads when I’m governor that understand the servant role of government. I will get government off [the people’s] back and out of their pocketbook. I have complete faith in the citizens and the entrepreneurs in this state to bring this state back to where it needs to be; back to freedom and liberty, and get the government out of our lives and out of our businesses. As Ronald Reagan said back in the 1980’s, “government is not the answer, government is the problem,” and we need less of it. I will appoint people to those positions that understand that the role of our government is as a servant, not a master.

Joshua Freed:

The answer is not government – we need to get out of the way. We have 57,000 pages of regulations that stand six-feet tall in Washington State. We have red tape that’s put on farms in Eastern and Central Washington and our rural areas, written by people from downtown Seattle, that have never set their foot in an orchard or on a ranch, and yet they make these dictates. I’ll be a governor that brings the Farm Bureau to the table, or the Cattlemen’s Association. We need fair representation in Olympia. If you are powerful or well connected and can afford a lobbyist, you have a seat at the table. Under the Freed administration I’d invite all people to the table. We have solutions that we need to put out there [so] we can move our economy forward. The best answer to a budget that is lacking by $9 billion is to get our economy up and running again by removing those taxes. The first bill that Jay Inslee signed out of the legislature this year was an increase in the B&O tax. Why is it he continues to put pressure on small businesses? We need to remove those type of taxes to clear a path forward for economic recovery. As I led the City of Bothell we never had to increase taxes for 12 years, yet I oversaw the largest revitalization of a downtown in Washington State, because we painted a vision for Bothell, and now we’re going to paint a vision for Washington State to move it forward. So the longer he keeps us under his thumb, he truly continues to kill Washington. We need to remove that pressure and allow businesses to continue to grow. I’ll certainly stand in the face of any attempt of an income tax or any new taxes. We have plenty of money in Washington State, we just have the wrong priorities.


Third question:

Washington State environmental agencies are continuously adopting rules restricting property rights. If elected, what will you do to remedy abuse of state agency powers?

Tim Eyman:

Win the election first of all. It is probably one of my greatest frustrations of the last 22 years of passing these citizen initiatives over and over again; making it tougher to raise taxes, lowering our taxes, and yet the people that we have running against the incumbents simply do not take it to them, the way that I think we need to, in order to win the race. Now I fundamentally believe the reason why many of our candidates have lost over the years is that they were really nice, respectful people of the people they’re running against, and they also played this game of attacking one another during the primary, spoiling it for the eventual winner. I’ve done everything I could to stay laser-beam focused on running against Jay Inslee because Jay Inslee is the problem and unless we get him voted out of office, we can’t do anything. We have to win the election, and the focus that I have on running against Jay Inslee and not running against these guys is, I think it puts me in a position if I win in August and get to run against him, all their supporters will not be mad at me. But, over the last couple of months I’ve seen all of them go after one another, bringing up all sorts of things, and encouraging their supporters to go after one another. I don’t understand how that’s a winning strategy; how that’s going to bring everyone together? I want to invite every single one of them to not do that anymore, for us to focus in on Jay Inslee and to not be distracted by one another. At the end of the day, our supporters want us running against him, not running against each other.

Loren Culp:

That’s the situation we find ourselves in because of the liberal thinking, the far-left thinking that Jay Inslee brings to the state government and the people that he appoints to head departments. I will appoint people who understand the role of government: to be a servant to the people, to get out of their way and let them live their lives and run their businesses. No one cares about your health or the environment more than the farmers and the ranchers and the people who own the land. I will appoint people to the department heads who understand the role of government, that understand the rules that are laid out in the constitution and the rule of law. We will bring law and order back to this state. We will bring freedom and liberty back to this state, by having people heading departments – like the Dept. of Ecology and all the other departments – who understand their role as a servant to the people.

Joshua Freed:

Well I understand first hand how environmental agencies can impact your business. I run a real estate development company. I’ve owned my own company for 15 years, and the cost of homes has [largely] increased as regulations continue to increase. We see property rights taken away with extensions to buffers on streams, I’ve even seen buffers put on ditches. So, as the environmental agencies continue to take our own properties [through regulations], we’re seeing it get to a point where it’s unattainable to purchase a home here in Washington State. So, [these agencies] they do need to be reigned in. Yet, at the same time I believe, that it is personally upon me, when you read the bible in Genesis, we have a call to care for the environment. God invites us into that. So at the same time we have to have a fair balance. But I’m thinking about Jay Inslee who claims that he is an environmental governor yet he’s spent $750,000 on a study to remove the dams on the Snake River. That’s not ‘green.’ Those dams provide power to up to 800,000 homes – clean energy. Those dams provide water to Eastern and Central Washington, growing the food that feeds the world. Ultimately if you remove those dams, those barge tows would have to be replaced with 1,050 semi trucks. So we need to have environmental agencies that are truly looking out for the environment, caring for the folks that are on the farms, caring for us here in Washington State, without taking property rights. We have a constitution – both a U.S. constitution and a state constitution – you cannot continue to take our land, which they are doing, through regulation. I’ll stand against that as governor.

Phil Fortunato:

So this is actually in my wheelhouse. I sit on the environment committee and what I do is Clean Water Act compliance consulting on construction sites like Joshua’s, and my job is to have them be able to build their project without dumping dirt in the water. Now I’ll just use these numbers, I’ll throw them out there: I can do 250 turbidity units on a house, on a building project, and it would cost roughly $300 per house. They want you to be down to 25 turbidity units which is roughly $5,600 per house. Environmentally: no significant difference. I mean it’s a big number when you look at it you go, “yeah I would drink that.” So there’s no environmental benefit. If I’m going to spend money environmentally, I want to get an environmental benefit. In order to replace the heads of the departments, you have to know who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy. Somebody said to me, “what’s the first thing I would do?” and I said, “first thing I’d do is fire the Secretary of Transportation. I think he’s doing a horrible job.” Right? So you have to know who the players are and you have to know who to fire and who to keep. The burdensome environmental regulations, some of which by the way came to us from the initiative process, where it used to say, you need these three things to [be designated] a wetland. You used to have, a certain type of water, a certain type of soil, and a certain type of plant; they [the regulators] changed that and said you only needed two of the three. So now you get this little low spot and they go ‘wetland,’ and all of a sudden you [have] lost your property. You know, if you simply said “in order to have a wetland you have to have water,” that would eliminate 90 percent of the encroachment of what they’re trying to do.


Fourth question:

What ideas or plans do you have on how to preserve jobs in the state and encourage more jobs to come to Washington?

Loren Culp:

Well currently, we have an environment where private industry is not promoted. It’s depressed because of regulations and taxes, and as a private business owner for over 20 years before I became a police officer, I know that regulations and taxes are strangling our businesses; especially our small businesses. Then [when you] add to that what Jay Inslee has done with this COVID fiasco, deciding what businesses can be open and which ones [must] be closed. Getting government out of the way, reducing regulations, reducing taxes, letting citizens decide what’s best for them and their business, and just having government get out of the way. Deregulate a lot of things. Starting from day-one, I’m going to be cutting regulations. This state has never reduced regulations and never reduced taxes, that I know of, in the last 35 years. That’s the main goal of government; just to get out of the way, make it [easier for people to conduct business]. We’re going to lose businesses, we’re going to lose citizens if things continue the way that they have and they way that they are. We need to free the entrepreneurial spirit, let Washington residents get back to work, get back to their business, and get government out of their way. Thank you.

Joshua Freed:

Well I’ve actually been a job creator. I’ve been a small business owner for the last 15 years. I have employees, and I’m always looking to make sure that their salary is received. We have continued to, of course, pay our employees during this stay-at-home crisis. We’ve not relied on the state government for the answer. I’ve taken that personal responsibility. So I’ve hired people; I’ve fired people; I’ve made those tough decisions. I’ve run my company; I manage a $60 million budget per year for my own company. So I’ve not just dreamed about creating jobs, I’ve actually done that, and I think that’s one of the unique things about me personally as I’m running for governor.
So anyway when it comes to policies in Washington State, we need to have a holiday for new businesses with the B&O tax. It’s the most regressive tax that we have. It’s the first increase that Jay Inslee made this year was an increase in the B&O. That is a great[ly] repressive tax. It’s one of the most repressive taxes and regressive taxes in the United States today. So we need to allow, maybe for a three-year period, where they don’t have to pay a B&O tax on gross goods. I’d certainly like to see 57,000 of those pages of regulations sunset every three years or five years. What happens right now is department heads are writing these regulations and [place] onerous burdens on small businesses as their trying to move their companies forward. And certainly I would never support a head tax. We continue to see that come out of socialists, in downtown Seattle, with Kshama Sawant, but I would fight against [these types] of policies. We need to create opportunity zones here in Washington State to take the government out of the way, to allow small businesses to thrive.

Phil Fortunato:

Thank you. One time I gave a talk in front of the bankers association and I said: “you know, I stuck up for you guys on the senate floor and I don’t even like you people.” Because they came out and said: “an income tax isn’t one of our issues.” I said, “well it should be one of your issues.” I said, “you know why a business wants a site in Washington State? Go to the Dept. of Commerce web page; we don’t have an income tax and we have cheap power. Well we fixed the cheap power with the 100 percent clean energy bill that the governor passed. Your electric bill is going to go up 30 percent in the next 10 years.” And I said, “if we institute an income tax, that’s going to be the governors congestion relief act. Businesses will move out of the state; businesses will not site here, and the highways will be clear.” I said, “the amount of government regulation that is put on businesses, if every state agency came into any business, you would not be able to operate.” I had a small business for 40 years, I’ve been a contractor, and here I was, it was many years ago in the House and I’m listening to regulation that I did not know even existed. I said, “if they want to increase the penalty on this from $5,000 to $15,000 – whatever the heck it was – they would put me out of business.” So here I was listening to a law that I had no idea existed, and it would have put me out of business. So those are the kinds of things, the regulatory things, that different agencies do that people don’t even know about until they come into your office and they wind up shutting you down. So yes, you need to have deregulation across the entire thing, and my first bill repealed 22 pages of state law.

Tim Eyman:

Well I would do exactly what we’ve been doing for 22 years together, and that is to actually reduce the tax burden that we have. That alone, all the initiatives we’ve done together, we’ve saved the taxpayers $43 billion. But what I’m most proud of is that in 2007 before the Great Recession, we were able to pass this two-thirds requirement of the legislature to raise any tax. And we passed that together and then the economy went down. Democrats overwhelmingly controlled both chambers and the governor’s mansion, and the government actually got smaller than the year before. Sounds like what we’re facing right now. For the next two years they didn’t raise a single tax. It wasn’t because they didn’t want to, but because we together were able to stop them from doing it; by making sure that we don’t raise taxes and by making sure [of that because,] under no circumstances do you think we’re going to tax our way out of this hole, that Jay Inslee gave us, that is going to be the best way to actually take care of the taxpayers. Lower their taxes. The average taxpayer is the least represented individual in the political system. That is what we’ve been doing for 22 years together. But [also] making sure that they do not raise taxes. The next legislative session, the pressure on them to raise taxes is going to be stratospheric, and I believe what you need is somebody that has already delivered for you for the last 22 years doing this – not talking about it but actually delivering. Thank you.


Fifth question:

Working with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, how would your administration envision K-12 education moving forward this next year and beyond?

Joshua Freed:

Well I’m a strong proponent for parental educational choice. I think we’ve got to a point where we’re hearing from so many people that you can choose what or who you want to be. Well if that’s true, let parents choose the educational option that’s best for their children. Certainly we need to remove the cap on charter schools, but what I would love to see is educational tax credits, [so] that we as parents, can [use that money for] private schools, [or the school] of our choice. And right now, we’re seeing that all our money is sent to Olympia and then dictates come down from OSPI. Comprehensive sex education was passed at two in the morning, where TVW had to put the disclaimer of “this content of explicit material.” So, we’re compromising the minds of the most innocent kids – five, six and seven year old kids – and then we’re letting Planned Parenthood go as the health option in the middle schools, and then they want 13 year old kids to get abortions. That’s why I was a co-sponsor on Referendum 90, that’s why I was a lead contributor to Referendum 90, because we had the opportunity to take back as parents and make sure that we’re protecting the most vulnerable among us. We have the responsibility for our kids. Yes, it’s a paramount responsibility of government to [fund] education, but it is ultimately the parents responsibility. Let us have the tools to pick a school choice for our kids so they get the education that they so deserve. It was so interesting, OSPI for the first time ever chose that comprehensive sex education must be taught in all 294 school districts. [Yet] they have never got[ten] to a point that says math, science or any other subject has to be taught. Comprehensive sex: our kids are being violated and I’m going to be a governor that will protect those children.

Phil Fortunato:

So I actually ran the Parent’s Rights Bill which would allow parents to have the right to opt out of all this stuff if they didn’t like it. I also ran a bill that would’ve given you a property tax credit equal to the school levies that you’re currently paying so the money would not go to the state and come back to you. It would simply not go there to begin with, by giving you an exemption and letting you keep that money. It would give the people $800 – $1,200 if you have your kid in private school or home school. If every private and home school parent sent their kid to public schools, the state would be bankrupt. You would have to build so many more new schools and hire so many more new teachers, the state simply couldn’t afford it. So they are actually doing this disservice to the rest of the citizenry, and they deserve to get some kind of tax break for it. I was also co-sponsor on R90 and a supporter. I was also responsible for getting almost every senator in our caucus to be a co-sponsor on it as well, to push it through. But you know, you want to have comprehensive sex education that tells a little boy or a little girl it doesn’t matter what body parts you have you can choose what gender you are – it’s madness. If you want to have comprehensive sex education that’s age appropriate, give the child some biological information and send the information back to the parents and say “parents, this is what you should be discussing with your child.” It should not be included in any school curriculum at all.

Tim Eyman:

Well I fundamentally believe that the greatest accomplishment we have done during this campaign is the Open Schools Now, lawsuit which actually forced them to open the schools this fall. They were actually talking about keeping schools shut down until January. We were able to get three single moms and three young boys, they all ended up doing this lawsuit, and we had this brilliant attorney highlighting the fact that the paramount duty of state government is to educate our kids. How is Jay Inslee’s shut down fulfilling that? By bringing that forward we didn’t just make a campaign promise, if you elect me, we will open up our schools. We are opening them now because we were proactive, we were aggressive; because I don’t want to just talk about this stuff I’m going to do, I want to actually deliver while running. This is such an extraordinary accomplishment; these single moms, these three single moms did more for education for every child in the State of Washington, than Jay Inslee has done. Think about that. These three women were willing to put themselves out there, be the tip of the spear, go to court and say, “I have a fundamental right and my kids have no internet access.” Jay Inslee locked them in my house to the point where they cannot get a good education. Open Schools Now. That is how you get a good education: face-to-face interaction with teachers, good teachers. We’re paying them a lot of money. They deserve it. I think we appreciate teachers more than we’ve imagined right now. I love my kids. I like them better when they’re at school than when they are in my own home. Thank you.

Loren Culp:

My daughter-in-law is a school teacher. My grandmother was a school teacher. Our teachers are good people. They want what’s best for the children. But the Superintendent of Public Instruction, please research who’s running. We need a new one. We don’t need to be teaching that bananas and carrots and cucumbers are sex toys to our children in school. It’s absolutely disgusting and it needs to be done away with. We need to have parental choice. Parents need to be able to decide what’s best for their children and where they are going to be educated. That is the most important thing: parents are in charge of their children, not the state, not bureaucrats; parents. And if parents want to home school or send their children to private school, or to a different school in a different zip code, that should be up to them. Giving parents the choice of where to send their children creates competition, and competition in the workplace or competition in education, breeds excellence. You know, everybody brings up their standards. We need to get back to the basics of teaching our children things that will help them in life. We need to get back to getting the trades in high school. The trades all across this state are screaming for employees. We need to get that back in the schools, so that children who decide that they don’t want to go to college have a pathway to a good paying job right [out of] school.



Sixth question:

How will your administration address the mismanagement within Employment Security Department?

Phil Fortunato:

Well you would have thought somebody would’ve said, “Gee I’m sending this unemployment check to the Cayman Islands? That’s kind of odd.” You would have thought somebody would have said that. You know, remember when they say that you know you got an $8 billion-$9 billion [budget shortfall] thing; that doesn’t include [the] employment security thing, [where someone has] to fill that hole. They are going to wind up raising unemployment taxes or whatever, or they’re going to put that burden on the general fund; but this goes back to [good administrative] management. I’m telling you, I’m sitting here, I’m a state senator, I’ve got experience. The person hired by the governor to run the Employment Securities is a, “Campaign Bundler,” and her big claim to fame is, “Hey I raised a lot of money for him and his presidential campaign and his governors race, and that therefore qualifies me to run the Department of Employment Security.” So, again it gets back to appointing good people, people that you know and trust, that can do a good job – with a resume, [who] actually have some experience in that and want to go to the Cayman Islands, or Nigeria, to get that money back.

Tim Eyman:

A billion dollars to Nigerian princes. A billion! I get constant emails from single moms that have been waiting nine weeks for checks that they actually put money into. They’re still waiting while Jay Inslee immediately sends a billion to Nigeria. It is so maddening and frustrating because as a candidate you can’t help all these single moms that deserve a check. It would make sense if he sent the money to the single moms and Nigerian princes immediately. You would understand that because you’re trying to get the money out. He immediately sent the money to the Nigerian princes but he didn’t do it for the single moms. What can I do to take care of this? Make sure he doesn’t get four more years. He has so failed us on so many different levels. He has set the bar low. Really when you think about it, anybody in this room would be a better governor than Jay Inslee is. You have to think about how bad that is. Everybody would be better. My 12-year-old daughter – I adore her – she would be a better governor than Inslee is. But for 22 years, I’ve been doing everything I could to hold government accountable with performance audit initiatives and all the things we’ve done together, I promise you I will not send a billion dollars to Nigerian princes. That [fact] right there; I will be better than him.

Loren Culp:

Employment Security had two things they had to do right: protect the taxpayers money and pay people their benefits. They miserably failed on both of those things. That’s incompetence. There are safeguards in place. I’ve dealt with unemployment as an employer and as an employee. When someone applies for unemployment, Employment Security checks to see if they’ve been employed in this state and if they have benefits coming. And then they send out a notice to the employer, who checks and agrees or disagrees with ‘yeah that person worked for me.’ Those things were discarded when Jay Inslee threw this economy into the toilet and shut everybody down. Stay home and go broke–that was Jay Inslee’s plan. Unemployment just started shoving money out the door apparently, but not to the people who deserved it. They apparently sent it oversees, [which is] absolutely ridiculous and that person is still employed. That’s incompetence at the Employment Security Department and at the governors level. I’ve been in leadership my entire life. I was a 19-year-old U.S. Army soldier; became a sergeant with drill sergeant school; ran my own business for over 20 years; and have been a police officer and chief of police for the last 4 years. I know how to lead and you do not let people that incompetent remain in leadership positions. Period.

Joshua Freed:

Well I think the president has taught us all you fire the project manager, and Jay Inslee has failed to fire the project manager, the person leading the Employment Security Department. We’ve seen a billion dollars, an open gaping hole of our tax dollars, go out of our sate/country during this time. I’ve traveled around the state as I’ve mentioned, all 39 counties recently and as I talk to [homeless] people in parks, or in orchards, or on farms, they have been waiting for 6-to-8 weeks. I’ve talked to legislative aids that are getting calls and actually now told by the Employment Security Department, to not [return] calls anymore. They don’t want to hear from you in Olympia. Yet this person continues to sit in her seat. Jay Inslee doesn’t have the resolve to fire somebody. I’ve run a company. I’ve had to hire people; I’ve had to fire people. I’ve managed employees before. I understand what that means. You cannot benefit political activists by leaving them in a place while our tax dollars flow out of the state. Listen, our governor was ranked the worst governor by the Kato Institute. [Inslee] was number one! You know what else we’re number one on? We have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. People truly are suffering in the State of Washington today. They don’t have a governor who is aware. He admits himself just four days ago that he is dismally unaware of what’s going on. They gave an inch on Capitol Hill and they took six blocks. It is time to make sure that we are retaining fiscal responsibility in our state, making sure that our employees in the state get the help that they need, and when they find themselves in unemployment, they should find that a check is coming to them rather than to go out through a gaping hole to a foreign country.


Seventh and Final question:

Under Governor Inslee’s leadership, our state has become extremely divided. What is your plan to unite us?

Tim Eyman:

The first initiative that I was ever actually a sponsor of was the one that limited affirmative action by saying the government has to treat all of us equally. If we applied to a university, if we try and get a government job, if we try to get a government contract, the government should treat everyone equally. That basic principle, Jay Inslee doesn’t believe in that. {In Jay Inslee’s opinion,] some of you are essential; some of you aren’t essential; some of you are from Seattle; some of you people aren’t from Seattle; I’ll represent the people of Seattle (not very well). But at the end of the day [his actions say], if it’s a campaign donor, you’re essential. When it’s actually somebody who opposes his agenda, you’re non-essential. That is what breeds division. What also breeds division is denial that people even exist. These six blocks in downtown Seattle, this is a lawless zone. When I went down there I saw people screaming at me, yelling at me, and I told them “no, I’m not leaving.” They’re not used to hearing “no” down there. But I acknowledged they existed. Jay Inslee said it’s news to me that this is even happening. You want to have division? Say people don’t exist at all. As frustrated as I think those people were – saying, “I don’t like the limits on affirmative action you did,\; I don’t like your lower car tabs” – they saw I had the stones to actually show up and actually be there. I [believe] that that’s something they can at least acknowledge and admire to a certain degree, that even if I don’t agree with his politics, at least he was willing to acknowledge my existence.

Loren Culp:

I don’t care where you come from, what your race is, what your sex is: we are all citizens of Washington State. The great thing about our constitution and the enforcement of the rule of law under the constitution is that it treats all citizens equally. The law is blind, right? If it’s enforced, if the constitution is the law of the land which it says it is, then it should be followed and all citizens are treated equal under that law. I don’t care if you live on the east side of the state or the west side of the state, we all live in this great state of Washington and I intend to bring all citizens together. I’m hearing from people who are supporting my campaign that have been lifelong democrats. They’re voting for a republican for the first time in their life because they see what I stand for. They’ve heard me speak, they’ve seen my website, and they know that I will not rule like a dictator, like Jay Inslee [has and] is. I believe in the rule of law. I believe in individual freedom and liberty, and that transcends both sides of the aisle – liberals and conservatives. So that is what I intend to bring back to Washington State, individual freedom and liberty, and everyone is protected equally under the law.

Joshua Freed:

Well we’re all created equal in God’s eyes. I’ve always been taught that we’re supposed to look at each other equally, and by doing so then you have mutual respect. What happened in downtown Seattle with the riots was not respecting a life that was lost and taken most violently. What they did is they created an autonomous zone which is they want it to feel like it’s a street fair. I went down there myself. I did a video, met with some people there on the street, and when you try to understand what’s going on, you can see just sheer chaos that is what’s going on. It is sheer lawlessness. Lawlessness is actually more dangerous than communism or socialism. Both are horrible for sure, but when you get to a point of lawlessness it creates a terrible environment. Listen, Jay Inslee is not the answer to bring reconciliation to what is happening here in the state. This is not something that just happened overnight. It happens [over] a period of time. We need to find mutual understanding–when people [feel] that they have been victimized. We need a leader that doesn’t create essential versus non-essential, loser versus winner. What happens here in Washington State, we have the powerful and well connected; if you have a lobbyist. Jay Inslee is not the answer to bring reconciliation. I actually have my Masters [degree] in marriage and family counseling. I’ve brought people on very opposite sides of the table together, and as mayor of the City of Bothell, I worked with republicans, democrats, independents, and green; to create a vision for downtown Bothell and you can visit that vision today. We made it a reality as we worked together and brought people together with a common vision. In Washington State, we need reconciliation and we need a vision. We need hope again. I’ll be that leader that instills that hope and paints that vision.

Phil Fortunato:

You know, touch a little bit on Seattle. I actually had my hip replaced last week so I was in the hospital when all this stuff was going on, and what struck me as interesting was when they painted over the word ‘police’ and they wrote in, ‘Seattle Eastside People Precinct.’ It reminded me of Animal Farm when the pigs started writing all the rules on the side of the barn. [One of] the biggest surprises I had was how many people hadn’t read Animal Farm and knew what I was talking about. When I ran my homelessness program, I put my list of bills together – this is how to solve homelessness, bang-bang-bang – a series of legislative bills. I started off with graffiti and I said, “if you allow graffiti – graffiti is a sign of social decay – if you allow graffiti the entire neighborhood goes down to hell.” And that’s exactly what they did. They allowed that little bit of a creep, we’re going to give you a little more, a little more, a little more, and now what happened? You’ve got guys down there with guns, you’ve got illegal firearms going on. You’ve got people declaring themselves an autonomous zone. My question that comes in is, “Are they going to be able to vote in the next governors election?” I guess that’s the question. But when you look at it, we have an urban-centric approach to the way that we operate in Washington State with very little emphasis on the benefit that Eastern Washington brings us.; t’s like Western Washington liberals look at Eastern Washington with scorn and say “oh, those people.” I say, “I love Eastern Washington because they’re normal people over there.

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