Editorís note: This is another in a series of questions and answers with the Washington State legislative candidates whose districts include parts of Mountlake Terrace and Brier.
By Doug Petrowski
Greg Rankich (D) may be the most unconventional of the candidates running for House Position 1 in District 1. Rankich is CEO and President of Xtreme Consulting Group, and a big Washington State University supporter. Last year Rankich, a 1994 graduate of WSU, committed $3 million to The Cougar Football Project to help the university expand Martin Stadium. Now he is running for the House post currently held by Rep. Derek Stanford (D), who is seeking re-election. Also in the race are Sandy Guinn (R) and Brian Travis (R).
Q. Why are you running for legislative office?
A. Iím running for State Representative because I believe Olympia can and should do better. Iím not a politician nor plan to make a career out of politics. Like every resident, I work hard every day, pay a mortgage, raise a family, and try to improve my community through my actions and donations. I believe Washington needs to get back to basics Ė creating jobs, investing in public education, and ensuring government is accountable to taxpayers. As the CEO of Xtreme Consulting Group, I have to make impactful decisions every day that affects many lives. As State Representative, I know I will make the same impactful decisions to make Washington the best state it can be. We must make responsible investments in all levels of education; create opportunities for living wage jobs; and demand that government operate a balanced and sustainable budget.
Q. What experiences do you bring that would benefit in the role of state Representative??
A. While I do not have a long track record in civil involvement, I have been involved as a Trustee for Washington State University, engaged in numerous local charities, and always looking to help those in need in my community. I think with my track record in the corporate world, I know I can help get Washington State back on the road to recovery.† I know how to ask the right questions and can think of innovative and creative ways to help with our stateís infrastructure, economy, and schools.
Q. Is there anything that can be done to ease the partisanship politics that slows or stifles legislative work in Olympia? ?
A. I believe our leaders of Washington need to leave the political party B.S. at the door and work together to better the future of all Washingtonians. I know I will personally work hard to create the type of bipartisanship that has been missing from our state government for years. I have been proven to be able work with many groups of different backgrounds and political ideas and have been instrumental in creating solutions that all parties come to terms.
Q. Are you in favor of increasing the contribution that state union members pay for their health care benefits from the current 15 percent closer to the average of 25 percent that workers in the private sector pay?
A. I believe the bigger issue is the rising costs of health care. We absolutely need to fix the health care crisis in America. While I think Obamacare has some good points, it also raises a lot of red flags that are going to cost everyone more in the end. In terms of this particular issue, I believe all fiscally responsible options need to be weighed and the state government needs to find a compromise that helps the state budget yet doesnít make a detrimental impact on state workers.
Q. Do you support Initiative 502, the legalization of small amounts of marijuana??
A. Absolutely. Initiative 502 will free our overburdened law enforcement and prosecutor resources to combat more violent and harmful crimes than marijuana use. A tightly-regulated system will also remove the criminal aspect surrounding the purchase and provide a new tax stream for our state.
Q. Do you support the stateís recently passed same-sex marriage law or do you favor changing the law to defining marriage in Washington state to between ďone man and one woman?Ē
A. Absolutely agree that it is the right of every American to have the opportunity to make their own decision on who they marry or how they want to live their personal life.† The best part of being an American to me is freedom — freedom to be who you are without being judged. America is the melting pot of the world and everyone should be open to understanding differences, being tolerant of these differences, and appreciate the freedoms we have like speech and religion. As CEO of Xtreme Consulting Group and through my prior work, I have traveled around the world and have seen firsthand that these freedoms we enjoy here are not available elsewhere.