Governor Forum transcript – second hour

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Republican candidates:


Loren Culp
Joshua Freed
Phil Fortunato
Tim Eyman


First question:


Would you support reducing the amount of executive authority the governor has during emergencies?

Loren Culp:

That’s a very timely question, isn’t it? Do we want to leave the power that King Inslee is throwing around in the executive office? My office is no. Absolutely not. No one person should have this kind of power to shut down businesses, to tell people if they can open their business or close their business and tell people what they have to do in their personal lives. Absolutely not. This stay-home-go-broke order that Jay Inslee’s got, I never want to see this come around again. I believe in individual freedom and liberty, and you can’t have it with the governor having that much power.

Joshua Freed:

We absolutely need to limit the emergency powers. You can’t see it go on ad nauseam without the four corners’ contributing to that extension. Right now I believe it should be limited to 30 days. The four corners should have limited that power to be able to continue to extend it. There’s actually an initiative that’s going to be moving forward that’s going to limit the executive power to declare a state of emergency to 14 days. I don’t mind that and I think we have a government that is clearly showing that this governor has abused it. As I move forward and become governor of the State of Washington, I want to make sure that when a state of emergency is declared that it’s for a limited period of time. If it needs to extend and there’s a valid reason to do so, I don’t see the four corners standing against that. So we certainly do need limits on the power when it comes to declaring a state of emergency in Washington State. Because you can see that this governor has clearly abused his power. He’s put a thumb on the neck of businesses here in Washington State. Listen, Jay Inslee is taking measures that are putting businesses out, and making families be in a situation where they’re in a very vulnerable situation. I’m hearing these stories first hand going on the streets of Seattle and looking in the whites of eyes of folks that are now the first time in homelessness clearly shows that he has overstepped his power. And my case in federal court Attorney General Barr said Josh, clearly you showed that the governor does not have constitutional authority to do the directives that he has. So we as the citizens of Washington State, this is where we need to rise up. This is a unique time. We need to make sure that we’re enforcing our U.S. and state constitutions and not allowing our rights to be taken.

Phil Fortunato:

When the legislature passed the emergency powers thing, we were thinking earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes going off and all this stuff; and nobody was really thinking about this. So the governor I feel really took advantage of that, that we did not put that 30-day rule in there. So now we need to go back, we need to have a constitutional amendment to limit the emergency powers to 30 days. I mean 30 days seems to be reasonable if we have some kind of catastrophic even like an earthquake or this and that, but we need to also add that caveat that under no circumstances does that give him the right to remove anybody’s constitutional rights already protected under the constitution. So we need those two things to happen almost simultaneously. But when he’s doing these things – on March 5th I said to our caucus: “hey I’m done extending these things. As far as I’m concerned we no longer have an emergency, we have a crisis that we have to manage. If it’s not an emergency, the governor no longer has emergency powers.” So my position now is: “hey, you don’t have these emergency powers.” You know, I’m involved with one of the lawsuits, the winners and losers lawsuits also, that basically says it’s no longer an emergency, you therefore don’t have emergency powers. We need to have those constitutional amendments in there in order to protect the citizens in the future.

Tim Eyman:

What do you do when the governor doesn’t respect the law or the constitution? What law can you pass that will restrain him? And it’s a trick question. If they’re not respecting the law, you’re got to get rid of them and replace them with somebody that actually respects the constitution, respects the law. There is no substitute for it. You can’t pass a law that makes someone who doesn’t respect the law follow it. There is no restraint on that. And I think all of us are incredibly disturbed what we’ve seen where we saw the legislature kind of go along with it for a period of time, and then he basically subsumed to himself this new authority that no one knew even existed. And all of us are feeling that anger and that frustration that you have one person deciding for everybody at press conferences what the rules are going to be that day. And you need to elect somebody that actually respects the will of the people. When the people say this is what they want – and you know I was going to talk about $30 tabs eventually; might as well do it now. Jay Inslee said after three votes of the people for $30 tabs: “didn’t count, voters were confused.” When you have somebody that is that arrogant, you have to replace him with actually respects the will of the people. That’s all I’ve done for 22 years. We can’t pass another law to restrain this kind of out-of-control executive power, You just have to elect a new executive. I hope you’ll consider voting for me. Thank you.


Second question:


How will your administration work with the legislature to address the rising cost of housing and the cost of housing and the cost of living in our state?

Joshua Freed:

Well as a home builder, I understand a little bit of this issue for sure. We actually have a housing demand today of 245,000 homes across Washington State. We have 40,000 homes in Spokane alone that are needed, and by doing so we can actually move our state forward if we remove some regulations. Twenty-five percent of homes today are because of over-regulation in Washington State. There is a great cost to purchasing homes. Housing affordability has been pushed out of people’s abilities today in Washington State. We did have some jobs that were moving forward and now we have the highest unemployment in the nation. So we’re waiting to see truly what happens in the real estate market here in Washington State. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. But we need to – for instance I was permitting a town home in downtown Seattle, it was a six-unit town home. It took me two years to get that permit through. Yet I go to other jurisdictions and I can get something approved like in Snohomish County in 3-to-4 months. If we don’t have an ability to move forward quickly with the permitting process and we’re just seeing bureaucrats stand in the way of our ability to build homes, we’re going to continue to push out and grow that need. We’re going to go from 245,000 to 300,000, and it’s going to continue to get to a point where government is always is always continuing to grow. And the people – We The People – are going to see our ability to purchase a home move further and further away from our ability to do so, and it’s due to a large government bureaucracy that needs to be cut immediately.

Phil Fortunato:

So the housing affordability issue actually dovetails with homelessness. So when the affordable, the housing trust fund guy came in and did a presentation – I’m on the housing committee – and he said we’ve got $675 million for affordable housing. I said: “any of that money for condominiums?” No. “Any of that money for single-family homes?” No. So really you’re just warehousing these people. Unless these people are able to actually own a home they will never get out of poverty. So I ran a bill called the American Dream Act, and basically what we said is if you build a 1,700 square-foot starter home – 2-3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom – no impact fees, you can’t have a building permit more that $1,250, and we’re going to give the builder an incentive of a 4-percent B&O tax credit to build that house. You know as Joshua points out we need 250,000 new homes, but we need that starter home, we need a home that people can move from an apartment into a house. You can’t go from a $2,000 a month apartment to a $5,000 a month house. I mean every house is $450,000-500,000, so if we had a $250,000 house – basically that’s the Habitat For Humanity model – you can actually move that incrementally. But you need to have that incentive for a builder to be able to give up that lot that they could put a $500,000 house on. So I talked to many of the larger builders and we need to be building 25-30-40,000 of these starter homes a year in order to have that transition so we’re not spending more money building more government-subsidized apartments.

Tim Eyman:

How will I work with the legislature? Confrontationally is how I will work with them. We have had a Seattle legislature, a Seattle governor and a Seattle supreme court for I don’t know how long. And I want to have at least one branch of government representing everybody else. Jay Inslee said when he ran that he was going to veto any tax increase when he ran, and for 8 years he didn’t veto a single one. He signed into law 30 different tax increases raising them $50 billion. I want to make sure that I not only veto any tax increase, but any attack on the second amendment, and any bill that takes away our basic rights, which makes it – as Senator Doug Eriksen pointed out today when he endorsed me which I love you Doug, thank you for doing that – is that that forces the parties to work together in order to get a two-thirds vote to overrule the veto. That’s what’s happening too often right now. They’re all agreeing because our party has no power down there, no leverage. By vetoing lots of bills you’re forcing it to say: “the only way we can solve housing, taxes, any of it, is if both Republicans and Democrats work together.” Right now we have Democrats and Democrats working together, and that’s not working out well for us. In this upcoming legislative session, we’re going to see crazy land like we’ve never seen before. It’s really frightening because our party has no power. Hopefully in November we can vote for somebody that’s going to say confrontationally: “I’ll work with you by saying no.”

Loren Culp:

Currently we have a state government that thinks that it knows what’s best for everyone in every corner of this state, with blanket policies that cover everything. And that causes the price of land to go up. That causes the availability of buildable land to diminish, and we need to get more local control over our building, over our land use policies. I was just told today that Skagit County Dept. of Ecology said there’s no new wells going to be drilled in Skagit County. Well what does that do to the availability of land? It should be up to the local governments what they’re going to do in their counties. Because local government – the smaller the government is the easier it is for the citizens to control, and the people need to be in charge of their government. When you have blanket policies coming from the state, you cause chaos in everything. You cause prices to go up. So I will work with the legislature. I work with people from all walks of life in my current career. I did when I was in the military and I did as a contractor for 20 years. I know how to work with people from different walks of life, and we will come to an agreement that we need to get government off the citizens’ backs, and get more local control.


Third question:


What makes you different from past Republican candidates, and from each other?

Phil Fortunato:

I am the last remaining Republican senator in King County. So when every other senator and mostly almost any other Republican lost in King County in 2018, I gained two points. Now what that means is I understand the people that I represent. Hopefully they understand me. I gained two points in a year when we lost four senate seats and Republicans got killed. Thirty-nine thousand people voted for me. I’m the only real elected official here that’s had a substantial election. I ran four elections in five years. I know what I’m doing election-wise. So I think what makes me different is number one: I have experience; number two: I have an entire district that voted in my favor and increased, every single time I ran I got a higher percentage or a higher number of votes. So that and the fact that recently in a poll it said: “Fortunato is the best one to take on Inslee. You’ve got experience; you’ve got that track record; you know what you’re doing.” So I guess that’s what makes me a little different.

Tim Eyman:

Well obviously we have been in this battle 22 years together. I’ve done 17 state-wide campaigns, and state-wide campaigns are intense. They’re like nothing anybody’s ever experienced. It’s tremendous pressure and there’s a lot of effort made to try to distract you, and focusing like a laser beam on what’s important I think is a very critical role. So I’ve been through the process a lot. I made sure that when I announce my run for governor, that I was not going to be distracted by the other candidates. I was going to stay focused on running against Jay Inslee because I want their supporters to eventually vote for me. In the last couple of months, I’ve seen every other candidate go after each other and encouraged their supporters to go after each other. I don’t know how that brings us together as a party. I don’t know how that gains us more votes. We have to be unified after August because one of us is going to end up winning and running against Jay Inslee, and we should not be clawing each other’s eyes out thinking that that’s a good strategy. The strategy I’ve implemented is making sure that Inslee is the focus. I would ask the other candidates to not do this anymore, to focus and encourage your supporters to focus on not beating up on each other, but instead focusing on what’s important which is us beating Jay Inslee in November. I think we’re more likely to win if we’re all focused on that and not beating up on each other.

Loren Culp:

I’ve not been a politician. I detest most politicians. They tell you one thing when they want a vote and they want a donation to their campaign, and they do something else when they’re in office. We see that time and time again. I’m not running for governor because I woke up one day and decided: you know, I want to be governor. I’m running for governor because I was asked by citizens. Back in 2018 when there wasn’t an election, nobody was talking about an election, I stood up for citizens rights and that got me on the national news. I ended up writing a book that became a number-one best seller and I traveled around this state in 2019 talking to citizens about their rights, about the constitution, and where our rights come from which is from God, and government is instituted to protect those rights. And I had citizens start to ask me when I was traveling around this state every weekend speaking with groups of people all over the place: “would you please run for governor?” And as the voices got louder and louder into the summer of 2019, I looked around and I didn’t see any body else I could trust to stand up and protect my god-given rights that are secured by the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the State of Washington. So I talked to my wife, and I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t jump in with both feet to protect what we have: our freedoms and our liberties that are guaranteed to us by the rule of law. I was asked by citizens to run. I didn’t decide that I wanted to run one day. Thank you.

Joshua Freed:

Well I’m a problem solver. As being a business owner, and working in land development and home building, you have to solve problems each and every day. So there is an issue of experience here. There is a myriad of issues we are facing in Washington State, and my experience uniquely qualifies me to be the next governor of Washington State. Whether it’s running my own business for the last 15 years or having served on the Bothell City Council and then serving as mayor during the largest revitalization of a downtown in Washington. Or whether it’s the community service here and abroad that my wife and I have 23 years and our 5 kids are participating in, serving in the Philippines, working with the International Deaf Education Association, or most recently for the last 7-or-8 years going to Kenya, building health centers and drilling wells for the Maasai. We’re a family that’s dedicated to service. I’m ready to serve Washington State. Far too many people go to Olympia enriching themselves off of the process with connections to special interests, or enriching themselves throughout the initiative process. What we need is a true servant leader in Olympia, which is why when I go to Olympia I’m not going to take a salary. I’m actually going to donate it to a non-profit homeless shelter or a drug rehab facility. We have needs in Washington State, for somebody who’s willing to serve the citizens of Washington State rather than be served, which is why I’d appreciate your vote.


Fourth question:


The State Dept. of Ecology initiated a new rule in Whatcom County to reduce rural well water rights related the Hirst Fix. This will soon be expanded state-wide. How do you feel about this rule change and water rights in general?

Tim Eyman:

This is Jay Inslee’s plan. This is what he’s implementing. It’s very frustrating to people. I’m very close with Glen Morgan and Glen has taught me a lot throughout this campaign about a lot of these issues that frankly I wasn’t very familiar with. I’ve focused on taxes and putting limits on government’s power, but a lot of these things are new to me. And I think the reality is it’s got to be a team effort. Every campaign I’ve ever run, it’s always a team effort. If I win I need to build a team. I think these guys are part of that same team. This Ecology rule that they’re talking about is clearly infringing on people’s property rights. It is absolutely against the constitution, but if you have a governor that doesn’t respect the constitution, it really doesn’t matter. I believe we need to appoint people that actually respect property rights. It’s an area where I don’t think Jay Inslee or frankly any Democrat has ever truly respected it. I had my problems with Chris Gregoire for 8 years but she was kind of a normal Democrat. Gary Locke: for 8 years I watched him; I didn’t agree with a lot of the stuff he did. He was kind of a normal Democrat. Jay Inslee: I can’t even call him a Democrat anymore. There’s simply a disrespect for voters that I don’t think we’ve seen before. It is something that’s disturbing to me. No matter who you pick you’re taking a step up. I just hope you pick somebody that’s actually been in the fight for a long time and delivered results already.

Loren Culp:

When I’m governor, I will appoint someone to head the Dept. of Ecology that understands the role of government. As I’ve said with so many things, a servant role not a master. When someone buys a piece of property, their water rights should go with them. The government shouldn’t tell them that they can’t drill well, that they can’t access water. What does that do to the available land and housing prices? It skyrockets. Government needs to get out of our lives and out of our businesses, and we need more local control. That’s pretty much it.

Joshua Freed:

So I’ve sat in a unique opportunity serving in city government for a while, also running my own independent solely-owned business for the last 15 years, and in land development water is life. It’s one of the first things that you check as you go look for a new development, a new opportunity to build a neighborhood. So we actually in the City of Bothell went through a program of customer service to make sure that our land development desk really helped people when they came to the table to understand the process. Some jurisdictions stand in the way and make you almost feel like you’re a criminal or penalize you. What we need is true servant leadership in Olympia, not looking for ways that we block private property rights, but looking for ways that we are enabling people to be able to use their property. I mean water is life, water is essential to each one of us. I spent many years as I said in Kenya drilling wells to make sure that villages that never had access to clean water have that access. Here in Washington State, we have people that are actually putting meters on private wells, that they want to tax the very citizens on their private piece of property. This is extremely wrong. Access to water is essential. As governor I’m going to make sure that I fight for those rights for the citizens of Washington State so these takings of land which are against our constitution stops. We give access to water, we allow families to have the needs that they have. And ultimately we can start growing crops, we can start using our property in the way that we see fit. It’s back to personal responsibility, and constitutional rights.

Phil Fortunato:

What actually got me started in politics was water. In 1992 my company planted lawns. I have to make that distinction; if I said grass you might think marijuana. But my company planted lawns and King County passed an ordinance prohibiting more than 50 percent grass on an apartment complex, and that’s what ticked me off, that’s what got me going. People don’t realize you turn that water spigot off and everything stops: no development, no business, no nothing. The legislature passed the Hirst Fix, but this is a classic example of passing by rule things that the legislature doesn’t have authority over. So the legislature constantly says “if you want to pass a rule, you have to run it by the legislature and have legislature approval.” I told people with the Hirst Fix when they shut everything down statewide: go into your tax assessor’s office and tell them you want your property tax money back. If you want more money, the state, hey open up that land for development. Have the water rights available; they’ll develop the land; you’ll get more property tax. So in a time when your tax poor because of this COVID thing, they’re doing this which is going to further infringe on people, not only infringe on their rights but also affect our tax base. So it’s a just a stupid thing all the way around. But again, people don’t realize water is the key to everything. We don’t have a water shortage, we have a water storage shortage.


Fifth and final question of this format:


If the Republican primary winner is a candidate other than you, will you support and endorse that candidate?

Loren Culp:

Absolutely. The goal here is to get Jay Inslee and his far-left thinking out of office, and any one of these people sitting up here would be far better than him.

Joshua Freed:

Absolutely. That’s an easy answer. We have to defeat Jay Inslee, and I look forward to making sure that we move our state forward. I’m focused in my campaign right now – since I have a minute left to answer the question which you already have quite clearly – we’re having issue here with homelessness in Washington State and a rampant increase in crime, and it’s all connected to the drug culture. We see 21,000 homeless a night in Washington State. We need to turn that. Far too many people are on drugs and alcohol, and actually I see our government enabling them continue to move forward which is why I ran Initiative 27 in King County to shut heroin injection sites. We got 20 different jurisdictions to put a ban on heroin injection sites. We’re seeing this drug culture increase in Washington State where now, as a result, it costs $35,000 a year to support your heroin addiction so people are assaulting people on the streets. Assaults on individuals are up by 29 percent. Assaults on first responders are up by 40 percent. Crime is exponential on the increase under Jay Inslee where he’s letting 950 prisoners out of jail while we’re all under house arrest. We’ve seen murder increase by 41 percent and rape increase by 65 percent. Lawlessness is what is happening here. We’re a Gotham state today. I’ll be a governor that makes sure that we enforce the laws of the land. If you’re using heroin in our state you’re going to go to prison under the Freed administration, or we’re going to get you into mandatory treatment in a 1-year program that gets you on the pathways to success that I hope I have to opportunity to speak about in a little bit.

Phil Fortunato:

The answer is yes. I think we probably all already signed that thing for the state party also. But I’m going to take Joshua’s lead and dovetail into my homeless plan. So I have a series of legislative bills that number one: if you’re a criminal – prosecutors talk about homeless crime like it’s not real crime. To breaking into people’s houses to breaking into people’s cars, they’re stealing purses, they’re shoplifting. You hear them constantly say 30, 40, 50 times they’re arrested but they’re not in jail. Why not? Because the prosecutors are not prosecuting them. So I had a bill that said we’re going to take away the prosecutor’s discretion. The prosecutor gets one time to determine whether they’re going to prosecute. And people say “what can you do as governor?” As governor you can give them more prosecutors, so if you need more prosecutors that’s what we’re going to do. Now you’ve got the rest of these people off the streets that might be drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill, but they haven’t been caught doing crimes yet if they are criminals. But you’ve got to get them off the street and I’ve sponsored the Shelter Act which said: “alright the Supreme Court said we can’t get you off the street unless there’s a place to go. Fine, I’m going to give you a place to go.” We’re going to fence in an area. There can be a tent, there can be a sleeping bag, social services available, sanitation, and a police presence. You must commit to drug and alcohol treatment. If you don’t, you can’t stay here. You have to go somewhere else. If you need to go back to Kansas, you need to go back to Kansas. We’re not taking taxpayer dollars to subsidize your drug and alcohol addiction.

Tim Eyman:

Absolutely. No problem whatsoever supporting the other candidates if it’s not me, and I’m totally at ease with whatever the voters decide in August. I have to point out that by focusing in on Jay Inslee and making the focus and not attacking the fellow candidates, I believe I’m in a very strong position to make sure that the supporters they have are not going to resent the fact that I ended up winning. Unfortunately the other candidates have publicly said things about one another with grievances that are distracting and making it difficult where their supporters are going to have a difficult time coming together. And I really think that the idea of these kind of accusations are not privately being handled, it’s very, very public and it is not helpful. And I would request and I think it’s helpful for all of the candidates to not do that because I don’t think it helps them to be doing that. Ultimately one of us is going to win, and we all want to take out Jay Inslee in November, and we’re going to do it much more successfully if we encourage our supporters to not claw our other supporters, the other candidates supporters’ eyes out. Stay focused with the eyes on the prize. The eyes on the prize is beating Jay Inslee, and I don’t think your supporters like it when you’re attacking the other guys. What that does is it encourages them to go after them as well. Please stop doing that. Thank you.


For the remainder of the forum, each candidate was given the opportunity to ask the other candidates a question. Each candidate had 15 seconds to ask the question, and then the other three candidates had 30 seconds to respond.

First question from Loren Culp:


What do you feel the meaning of Article 1 Section 7 is and how will you apply it when you are governor?

Joshua Freed:

I look forward to representing the citizens of Washington. I think it’s appropriate that we have a fair and honest debate. I like what Tim is saying that we should be working together to be having our focus on Jay Inslee. There’s been unfortunate mistruths that have been spread forward by your [Culp’s] campaign that I think are terribly inappropriate, and you’re playing the game.

Phil Fortunato:

When I first wanted to run for office, my political mentor gave me a test. He made me read the state constitution and gave me a test. One of the questions was: does the state constitution prohibit an income tax? Most people think it does but it actually doesn’t. What it has is a uniformity of taxation clause; what it prohibits is a graduated income tax. And Article 2 Section 16 is my favorite which says if you’re an elected official 15 days before and during session, you can’t be arrested for minor crimes.

Tim Eyman:

I would clearly enforce all aspects of the constitution. I’ll be honest I have no clue what Article 1 Section 7 is. I’ll just admit it. But all constitutional rights are critically important. I absolutely believe that any of us is going to uphold the constitution, Jay Inslee will not for the next four years. I passionately believe the fundamental problem we have in the State of Washington is we have a governor that doesn’t respect us anymore. And I do; I’ve done for 22 years. I would ask for your vote as well.

Loren Culp follow up:

Article 1 Section 7 says that “no citizen shall be disturbed in their private affairs,” and that needs to be abided by. I realize that not everyone has the constitution memorized. I don’t have the whole thing memorized, but it’s something good to study up on.


First question from Joshua Freed:


People are looking for a committed servant leader. Would you continue to take a salary as governor?

Phil Fortunato:

Absolutely. And I look forward to taking your donation from your salary equal to my salary as governor so I could use it for a homeless project. So I appreciate that.

Tim Eyman:

I will take the salary. I’m not a wealthy man. The state has pretty much taken every penny I have, and so the reality is I’m going to be in government housing one way or another after this election: either Section 8 or in our governor’s mansion. Because this is an extraordinarily difficult job. I did everything I could with the referendum to keep all politicians from getting a pay raise. Unfortunately the system is so rigged, they blocked it from actually qualifying. So unless you’re wealthy, it’s a hard system.

Loren Culp:

That question included something about service, and I want everybody to know that I’m the only veteran on this panel that served in the United States military protecting our American way of life, up to and including my life. That’s a very important part of service. [Would you take a salary?] Yes. I’m not independently wealthy. I have to take care of my family, so yes I will.


First question from Phil Fortunato:


How are you going to fund transportation?

Tim Eyman:

Not with car tab money! Very clearly the voters have said emphatically they do not want higher car tab fees. I would make sure there’s no pay-per-mile tax. Jay Inslee: this is one of his major obsessions is making sure to do a pay-per-mile tax. We need to use existing revenues more effectively, and frankly the priorities of the government program the Dino Rossi and Gary Locke implemented in 2003 is the model. You look at the existing revenue; spend it more effectively. Not go with revenue first, you actually use existing revenue.

Loren Culp:

We don’t have a revenue problem in this state; we have a spending problem in this state. Like I mentioned earlier, the state budget has almost doubled in the last 10 years. There’s plenty of revenue, we just need to prioritize it.

Joshua Freed:

Olympia has plenty of money. They just have the wrong priorities. When I served on the East Side Transportation Partnership, I would continue to pound my fist saying that our plans need to be focused on congestion relief. Yet in the legislature this year they removed that as a requirement. I’m sick and tired of pet projects that come from Olympia without truly addressing the congestion needs that we have. We’ve seen congestion increase by 108 percent under Jay Inslee. It’s time to get cars moving again because we’re limiting the growth of our economy when we’re not putting our investment of our dollars in places that make a true impact in moving the majority of commuters.


First question from Tim Eyman:


Is attacking each other going to get us more likely to defeat Jay Inslee in November? Does it make it stronger or weaker a chance?

Loren Culp:

I don’t think pointing out differences and flaws in other candidates is attacking anyone. We have to get through the primary, and the Washington voters deserve the best leader for that task. And if you think things are bad now, wait till after the primary. Did anyone miss the 2016 election? We’re fighting for the executive branch of our government right now, and one of us has to get there and the voters need to know who it is.

Joshua Freed:

I think it’s quite clear: if you spend time attacking me, you’re not focused on Inslee and you’re right for the job. I’m focused on Jay Inslee. If we’re all shooting our arrows on Jay Inslee, then the person who makes it through the primary is going to have a candidate and the Democrat seat, and then we can finally take back what the Democrats have controlled for 35 years. This is our year. This is the one we’ve been waiting for. Politics is cyclical, and for 35 years we’ve had one party controlling the governor’s mansion, the longest run in the United States of America. Let’s take advantage of this. Let’s not waste our time.

Phil Fortunato:

When you look at pointing out somebody else’s flaws, is that really an attack or is that educating the voter on what’s the difference between you and somebody else? I guess that’s the question: is it an attack if we say “hey I’m better than so-and-so because he has this and I don’t”?


Second question from Joshua Freed:


So in your present position, how many people are you currently managing?

Phil Fortunato:

So in my present position I have a management of one, which is me. We used to have 30-some employees.

Tim Eyman:

In a campaign that we’re doing running for governor, it’s countless numbers of volunteers in every single county asking people to volunteer. We can’t order them to do it; that’s what Jay Inslee does. We ask people to participate voluntarily. That’s what you do with citizen initiatives, frankly. You can’t force people to do things. All you can do is encourage them to do it, and they’re being attracted I think to our campaign because of the idea that we’re focused on Jay Inslee. Differences on issues is one thing; doing criminal actual complaints against people seems to be a little over the line.

Loren Culp:

My current position: none. I’m on vacation full-time campaigning. I have been full campaigning for the last couple weeks. But in my past positions I’ve managed 10-to-20 people in my construction company for over 20 years, and when I was in the U.S. Army I was in charge of up to 150 people.


Second question from Phil Fortunato:


What are your plans to help keep more money in K-12 education and limit the damage from the budget cuts?

Tim Eyman:

One of the initiatives I sponsored several years ago was called “Fund Education First,” and it’s a basic idea that was actually introduced by the legislature in several different legislative sessions that said “let’s make sure that the highest-priority things get funded first, and when you run out of money the lowest-priority gets taken away.” That is exactly the kind of model we need to have. It is called “priorities of government.” This is exactly what Dino Rossi and Gary Locke did in 2003 when there was an actual budget crisis. They worked together looking at existing revenues and spent it more effectively. I think that’s a better way to go.

Loren Culp:

We need to cut through the bureaucracy at the state level. That sucks up a ton of money for education that doesn’t make it down to the local level. And also we need to send more of the responsibility and the power to our local school districts and to the parents.

Joshua Freed:

Education is a paramount responsibility of state government. We need to make sure that we’re fully supporting the schools in Washington State. Yet at the same time, I want parental education choice allowing parents to retain their dollars through what I call “educational tax credits” so parents can choose the educational choice that they want. We spend around $17,500 per student on average in Washington State. If we allow parents to keep even 2-to-4 thousand of their property tax dollars that go toward education, let them choose if it’s their private school or if it’s home school, that’s what we want.


Second question from Tim Eyman:


There’s going to be tremendous pressure in the next legislative session to raise taxes. What have you done over your career that makes it where people will believe you when you say “I will veto any tax increase” if that’s your position?

Loren Culp:

When I took over as Chief of Police in Republic, I cut 30 percent of the budget the first month. When I stood up for citizens’ rights back in 2018, I didn’t have a platform. I didn’t have anything to gain; I had my job to lose. That’s called “integrity,” when you do the right thing when nobody’s looking.

Joshua Freed:

I was the campaign manager for the “No New Gas Tax” initiative, and also when I was on Bothell City Council for 12 years I did not vote to raise taxes. Yet we saw incredible growth in Bothell as we attracted investors that saw the vision, and so we don’t have to increase taxes. I think of all tax dollars in forms of investment where we want to see a return on that investment. That’s how I’ll lead Washington State, always looking out for the dollars that the taxpayers entrust me with.

Phil Fortunato:

I haven’t really voted for a single tax increase of any consequence. Since I’ve been in the legislature I’ve been the anti-tax person. We’ve sponsored numerous tax cuts. One of the things you hear people say is our sales tax is regressive. I sponsored the bill that would eliminate sales tax on food and clothes which would give a greater benefit to lower-income people.


Second question from Loren Culp:


What is your campaign vision in a nutshell?

Joshua Freed:

Our campaign vision is in a nutshell to build coalitions across the State of Washington. We have certainly regional directors for building a grassroots base of support, but ultimately it’s gathering people around a common vision for Washington State. Seeing that we want to move the economy forward; seeing that we want to address the rise of crime and what’s happening in the drug culture in Washington that has not been addressed and actually see is being grown under this current governor. We’ve seen a state of lawlessness in Washington State and people are feeling left safe at home. It’s time to restore safety and stability in Washington State, and that’s the focus of our campaign.

Phil Fortunato:

One of the things is getting government off the backs of people is what appeals to a lot of people on a broad spectrum. Having that equality across the entire state, and having that as part of your message. But more importantly: having actual solutions. Many times everybody here simply states the problem; they don’t actually state the actual solution to solve that problem. So that’s what I believe is the appeal from my campaign across the state.

Tim Eyman:

In a nutshell: to save Washington from four more years of Jay Inslee. Honestly that is it. I fundamentally believe that when it comes to taxes, government power, executive power, property rights, second amendment, everything that we all believe in he has fundamentally taken us in the wrong direction. And after 17 statewide campaigns, I fundamentally believe that I’m focused and disciplined enough to be able to take the gauntlet which is ahead of us. And Loren is exactly right: this is patty cake compared to that future that we have ahead of us.


Closing statements:

Tim Eyman:

The people of the State of Washington have a choice in August: who is it that you want to challenge Jay Inslee? And fundamentally you have every right to not believe a single word you’ve heard tonight. Every single person running for office talks about what they will do if they win. I believe you should look at what they’ve actually done for you. With our efforts over the last 22 years – collectively – all of us have lowered peopled taxes significantly, lowered your car tabs, put property tax limits, put limits on affirmative action so that the government treats everyone equally, done performance audits. These are accomplishments that have actually made Washington a more conservative place despite the Democrats controlling everything for all these various years. What we say is interesting; what we’ve actually done I think is more important. I would ask you to also look at the campaign we’ve run, and during this campaign we’ve accomplished tremendous things: opening up our schools now, fighting for the second amendment in Bellingham and Edmonds and various cities – where Josh and I were down in Edmonds. Honestly what you’ve done in the campaign I think matters, and throughout this campaign I’ve gone everywhere with every fight I could fight, whether it’s Let Us Fish, whether it’s fighting Kshama Sawant’s head tax. When Jay Inslee said “Stay Home,” I went out there and defied that because you can’t run for office sitting in your office watching television. You have to be out there with the people, and I’ve done that for this entire campaign because I think you need to see what I’m willing to fight for now rather than promising you what I’ll do if I win. All of us will be better than Jay Inslee. It’s not even a close call. But I believe that we need to have somebody that’s been through this gauntlet over and over again that can take the hits, and no matter what they throw at me, I’m willing to come back again and again and again and take those punches because I’m used to it. It’s what I’ve done for 22 years, and fundamentally, I believe that Jay Inslee does not want to run against somebody that’s willing to take it to him, straight to him, and really focus on that. I’m doing the best I can. I believe there’s a lot of people and I’m really grateful for everybody helping, but in August you’re going to choose which one of us it’s going to be. I’m totally at ease with whoever you choose, but if you choose me you’re going to be choosing somebody that’s battle tested, that’s ready for the fight and will take it straight to Jay Inslee. I think that’s what it’s going to take to win, because too often our candidates haven’t been willing to take it to him. Thank you very much for listening, TVW I love you, and please check out our campaign it’s tim4gov.com. Thank you very much.

Phil Fortunato:

When you’re looking at a legislative candidate for an executive office you have to have somebody that has some experience that knows where the men’s room is. I’ll be honest with you if you get elected as a state representative or a senator, it takes you two years to figure out where things are even in the capitol building. So you need to hire somebody that knows what to do on day one. This is not the time for on the job training. So when we’re going into this legislative battle, Tim talks about him being battle tested. You know I went through four elections in five years. In 2017, I was one of the two races that they targeted for control of the state senate. They won in the 45th, they lost in my district. They spent 4 times more money than I had. They spent everything they could possibly do against me and I gained two points in 2018. So you need somebody that’s already gone through an election. You need somebody that had 37,000 people voting for him already, you need somebody that already knows what’s going on in the legislative process, knows the budget process, knows the transportation funding, housing issues and things like that. And you don’t have to guess what I’m going to do. You could simply say “what did this guy already do?” Go and look at the bills that I wrote. Go look at the bills that I sponsored. Go look at the votes that I took, and say “is this guy going to vote for taxes? Is this guy going to sponsor legislation to help protect property rights? Is he going to protect rural farmers and things like that?” One time I ran a bill called the Dual Sample bill, where I said the Dept. of Ecology can’t come out and take a sample without offering to give the farmer a sample so that he would have something to have tested to go up against the Dept. of Ecology, and they went nuts. They came in and testified and went crazy over that bill. So you need to have somebody that recognizes what’s important to protect the people, and many times it’s not a big thing, it’s not this big gigantic thing. It’s a whole series of small things. It’s a series of small regulations. It’s local enforcement people, land enforcement people, turning in anonymous reports of violations so that they can go out and inspect people’s property. It’s charging me for having a septic tank on my own property. I said: “under the Hirst decision you gave $300,000,000 to the tribes for mitigation for fish for people drilling a well. Well I got city water and I got a septic tank. I want some of that $300,000,000. I’m taking city water and putting back into the ground.” So you have a whole series of things, small little things. Cap and Trade, for example, where they couldn’t get it passed as legislation so they gave it to the Dept. of Ecology to administer by rule. These are serious matters that you need to have somebody with a wide spectrum of knowledge and expertise to be able to address that on day one. [Phil Fortunato’s campaign web site is philforgov.org]

Joshua Freed:

Thank you so much for the debate tonight. I appreciate the opportunity to speak about the issues that are important to us and certainly to the voters of Washington State. I believe that I’m uniquely qualified for the position of governor with the unique experience that I’ve had. I am a problem solver certainly in my business focusing on the issues that each and every business focuses on in Washington State. And as I was leading in the City of Bothell, we have to face that we are in difficult times and yet through it I was able to give tax breaks to seniors that were in a more difficult economic position. And through it all we painted a vision for the city and we had the largest revitalization in the state. Right now we’re facing a similar crisis here in Washington State where people are having to face the highest unemployment rate in the nation. We need somebody that is going to focus on uniting us, not dividing us. Jay Inslee doesn’t have the capability to bring us together. He’s dismally let down the citizens of Washington State, traveling on a Lear jet and saying that the burden of this crisis is too heavy for his shoulders, he wishes it was on somebody else’s. Well, governor, step aside because I’m ready to take that position, because I know that difficult times come and I’m willing to stand in the gap for the voters of Washington State. I’ll stand in the gap. I certainly have already. When I took my suit to federal court and fought for our religious liberties and won, Attorney General Barr called it a great victory. I will stand up for pro-life issues. I’m going to support our second amendment rights. I actually enjoy my second amendment rights every day as does my wife. I only have 25 guns which apparently is just a starter kit. But we see those rights continue to be under assault here in Washington State. We need to continue to push back. I’ll be a governor that supports our state and U.S. constitutions, and yes I’ve read fully both of them, and I’ll stand to advocate for the rights of the people as I already did. I beat Jay Inslee once in court and I’ll beat him again in November. Listen, I was the cosponsor of Referendum 90 already advocating for the citizens of Washington State for the most vulnerable among us. Day one I’m going to reverse the Sanctuary State status which has victimized children across our state. We have a rampant sex trade here in Washington State where average age 12 year old boys and girls are sold in slavery. That is an evil which we need to stand against which Jay Inslee allows here. We have people suffering dismally in Washington State with the highest unemployment rate in the nation. I’ve talked to them. I’ve met with them. I’ve sat on the sidewalk and heard their personal stories. For me this is not a political campaign, this is a humanitarian effort where we need to turn around what’s happening across this state when it comes to drug addiction. I think about the mentally ill. July 2018, two years ago, when the federal government comes in they take away certification, and now we have 30 percent of the homeless struggling from unaddressed mental health issues. I used to serve on the King County Mental Health Advisory Board. My own grandfather struggled with mental health issues. I am a uniter. I want to bring people together to address the myriad of failures under this current governor, and I’d appreciate everyone’s vote. Go to freedforgovernor.com. Thank you.

Loren Culp:

I’m not a career politician. I haven’t spent years making a living off the political process. In my opinion, we’re in the position we are because of career politicians. I come from the people. I’m a dad. I’m a grandpa of seven. I’ve lived in Washington State my entire life other than 4 years serving the United States military – the only veteran up here. I believe that Washington State is the greatest state in this country. I’ve lived all over the United States. I’ve lived in South Korea defending it against communism. I believe that law and order is what we need in this state. We need to bring that back. We need to bring back the rule of law, especially for our government that needs to abide by the chains of the constitution to respect citizens’ rights, and when the government abides by the rule of law, which the constitution is, that’s the rule book for our government. When it stays within the confines of the constitution, everyone in this state will feel much more individual freedom and liberty, and that’s the role of our government. I’ve spent my life taking care of my family, serving my country, building a business from nothing, and for the last 10 years protecting my community and putting bad people in jail and helping good people, and I will continue to do that as your governor. I want to bring this state back to the way it was when I was child growing up in the ’70s where we were free. We didn’t have a big government lording over us and taxing us to death. Our hunting and fishing was exceptional. People came to this state from all over the world, and that helps our environment at the same time. We need to manage our forest lands so there’s not catastrophic wildfires, and we need to bring back our fisheries. Our hatcheries need to be putting our full bore, we need more hatcheries, we need to take care of predators both on land and in the sea, and we need to increase the spawning habitat in our streams. I’m willing to work with the tribes, commercial fishermen and sport fishermen to make that happen. Sport fishermen and hunters donate basically through the Robertson Pittman Act billions of dollars for our environment. No one cares more about the environment than people that actually live it and walk it. I appreciate your support. My campaign web site is culpforgovernor.com, and I’m on Facebook at Culp For Governor. My campaign has the most donations in dollar wise for the last two months by a long ways. I have the most individual donors to my campaign and that’s been going that way for months. I appreciate your support. Thank you very much.

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