Voters will have the choice between a little bit of everything in the legislative race for state representative, position two.
Incumbent Democrat Dave Paul is seeking re-election and Republican Bill Bruch and Progressive Taylor Zimmermann, both newcomers, have also filed for the seat.
Paul is seeking re-election after one term in office representing the 10th District. He spent his first term helping to secure funding for the Boys and Girls Club, mental health facilities and Ebey’s Reserve.
As the former vice president and dean of students for Skagit Valley College, Paul named education as a priority.
At the college, Paul said, he managed a staff of 80 employees, served 5,600 students and oversaw state, grant and student budgets of $5.5 million.
He has advocated for strengthening dual credit programs, such as Running Start, in high schools.
Paul sponsored two bills, one which lowered the cost of textbooks for low-income students, who he cites as being half as likely to participate in dual credit programs.
He has also supported legislation that would strengthen educational and retirement benefits for veterans and active service duty members.
His goals include continuing to look at issues such as health care, mental health and affordable housing in the rural areas of the district which he has been representing.
“It’s important to have that perspective from someone who’s from Island County talking to folks in the majority party about what solutions might work best for rural parts of the state,” Paul said.
He said he has had good conversations with folks who don’t share the same opinions.
“I’ll listen to anyone from the district,” Paul said. “My door is always open.”
A property manager and former La Conner town council member, Bruch said he is running for the first time to bring more balance and transparency to the House.
“Right now there’s too much disparity, and it would be nice to have more balance as far as getting things done,” he said.
Bruch supports lowering taxes and regulations as a way to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My No. 1 thing is to try and help small businesses get up and going again,” he said, adding that he also supports the opening of schools.
He is proposing tax credits for businesses and lowering the business and occupation tax.
To combat the housing shortage in the district, he is advocating for lower property taxes and streamlining the planning process, such as expediting zoning laws and permits.
Bruch pointed to the swift response and reconstruction of the Skagit River bridge.
“It shows you what we can do when we streamline the process,” he said.
He also suggested tax credits for developers as an incentive to build affordable housing.
Zimmermann is a clinical trials researcher for the University of Washington and decided to run as a Progressive, he said, because he supports collaborative teamwork and maintaining a non-partisan perspective.
“I want to get away from the political divisiveness of the red-versus-blue battle arena, because it’s not helping anybody,” Zimmermann said.
From protecting the environment to securing universal health care in the state to creating affordable housing, Zimmermann has many ideas for improvement.
He referenced the Seattle model of the $15 minimum wage and the ban on plastic straws as something he would like to see implemented for the whole state.
Zimmermann is a supporter of the Green New Deal and the bottle-can deposit program that’s used in other states like Oregon and California.
He advocates for the Whole Washington COVID-19 Urgent Response Effort, an initiative dealing with payroll tax helping to fund health care that is not tied to a job status.
Zimmermann also proposes luxury taxes on high-end items, such as yachts, and a vacancy tax, which would require large renters and financial institutions that have an excess of overpriced housing to pay a tax for every empty unit.
“I believe we need to have a more progressive tax structure, and the way to do that is to not tax the poor,” Zimmermann said.