Election 2020: Jeb Brewer, candidate for Washington State Legislative District 1, Position 2

Jeb Brewer

To help voters learn more about local candidates for Washington State Legislature, MLTnews sent a questionnaire to each candidate for state representative appearing on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. We are posting these are we receive them. 

Jeb Brewer, a Republican, is campaigning for the 1st Legislative District Position 2 seat now held by incumbent Rep. Shelley Kloba. He has lived in Washington state for 16 years and has been employed in the construction and restaurant industries. Brewer said his experience involves working with people to reduce waste, complexity, and business costs and improve efficiency. Brewer is also a licensed Washington State Home Inspector.

Q: Tell voters a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve lived in the district you’re hoping to represent, a general idea of what platforms/issues you’re running on and other general information about yourself to let voters get to know you better.

I’ve lived in the district for the past seven years, it’s a great area that I am proud to be part of. However, I decided to run for office because things are getting worse, traffic along Highway 9 and 522 was worsened by partially funded projects, homelessness is getting worse and not being solved as it expands out of Seattle, and lastly small business are struggling when they need to be supported as they create tax base and jobs.

Q: What experience would you bring to the position you’re running for? Are there any issues in particular you are passionate about or plan to prioritize if elected?

I’m a project manager and I’ve worked in small and large business, I’ve managed IT (information technology) teams, construction projects and operations for a restaurant chain. I get things done and know how to prioritize and solve problems that matter. I also look at problems with a perspective and expectation that things need to be done as efficiently as possible. Our government needs to be a lot more concerned about how we spend money.

Q: The state budget is facing a budget deficit of nearly $9 billion including a $4.5 billion shortfall from the 2019-21 budget and another $4.3 billion shortfall from 2021-23 is anticipated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislators have proposed several options like implementing a state income tax, a capital gains tax, new taxes on business or making cuts in the budget. What are your ideas for addressing the budget shortfall?

The easy way out is to say we need to raise taxes but I believe that we need to look internally at all departments and programs first and have a expectation of reducing waste and improving efficiency. This is what businesses do through Lean and Six Sigma practices and we need to expect this of our government. In addition, people and businesses are hurting now more than ever, this is not a time to be raising taxes.

Q: If you favor budget cuts, what areas would you prioritize funding for and areas would you propose cutting?

Education and transportation are the two things that we need to make sure are properly funded (with an emphasis on becoming more efficient).

Q: Washington state, specifically Snohomish County, was the first place in the country to have a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Some have said the federal government was not prepared for the pandemic, forcing state and local officials to come up with their own plans. Do you have ideas for ensuring the state is prepared to resolve this (and future) pandemic crisis, regardless of federal government action?

It is sure easy to place blame on this administration or that administration with who did or did not do what. However, it has become apparent that things could have been done better. We need to learn from this and build a better system that connects local through to national government crisis response and management. I believe that while the governor or president needs to have short term authority over a situation, we also need structure in place that does not place authorities control in only a few peoples hands for too long.

Q: Our nation is currently in the middle of a polarizing conversation about racism, particularly with regards to over-policing in communities of color. There have been calls for police reform, including but not limited to defunding the police and reallocating funds to other services that would replace a police response with social services. What are your opinions on this issue and what plans do you have to work on improving relations between police and communities of color?

See the below response.

Q: Additionally, if you do support defunding the police, how would you go about doing that? If not, what other plans do you have for police reform to ensure people and communities of color are treated equally?

I’ll address (questions) 6 and 7 together. I think we need to break down what the role of the police is — when I talk to law enforcement their intention was to be in a job that enforced laws not one of consoling and working with homeless issues. It seems that we have an opportunity to separate roles and create partnership positions that allows a police office to focus and be trained for managing criminal activity while there is another person who is trained as a consoler. This could function is a similar was a police and fire do today with police securing a site and then allowing fire to go to work.

As far as race relations, I think we need to push to get more people of color into these jobs and have them working in the communities which they live. Education and training is critical but involvement at a personal level is critical for true change.

Q: Homelessness is considered one of the biggest issues in Washington state. What solutions do you have for resolving homelessness in your district as well as the root problems that often cause homelessness, like mental health, substance abuse and a lack of affordable housing?

As mentioned, substance abuse and mental health are the root causes for much of the homeless problem and we need to address these issues. It is not okay for people to be living in parks and on sidewalks, it is not humane, and it is a health hazard as well as it leads to vandalism and other crime. First, we need more options where people in the middle of a mental health crisis can be taken for immediate help. Second, we need long term solutions that provide people the help they need for mental health and drug addiction. I’d like to see a environment where they can get the help as well as job training and education where they can then move back out into society. During this time, I also believe that they should be contributing to society in someway such as helping to clean up parks or build trail systems.

Q: Many are concerned about rising housing costs in the region. With Sound Transit’s light rail coming to South Snohomish County in 2024, the area is anticipating population increases. What plans/ideas do you have to ensure there is enough affordable housing in your district for future residents while making sure those who already live here do not get priced out?

Unfortunately, desirable places have higher housing costs. What’s important is that as these communities evolve (and) we need to ensure that (any) new building follows sustainable practices and supported by transportation infrastructure with roads and sidewalks.

Q: Climate change is considered a priority issue for many. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have 12 years to make drastic cuts in global warming emissions to avoid worsened climate conditions and extreme weather patterns. Will climate action be a priority once you take office and if so what plans do you have to address it?

I’m a proponent of sustainable building practices such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and would like to establish incentives for people and businesses who are conserving resources and following environmental friendly practices.

Q: If elected, how would you work to support LGBTQIA+ voters?

I believe that all people should be treated fairly and equally.

Q: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education locally and nationwide. Many school districts were not prepared for the impacts of the pandemic and there is uncertainty about how districts can continue to educate students. How would you work to support education through the current pandemic?

This is a difficult issue, I have three children of school age that have been straight-A students and all three are having difficulty with online education. It is important to get kids back in school as soon as possible.

Q: Where can voters go to learn more about your campaign?