Election Watch 2016: Candidate Q&A – State Rep. District 1, Pos. 2

Publisher’s note: We submitted questions to all local Washington State House of Representative candidates whose names will appear on the Aug. 2, 2016 primary election ballot. Here are the responses received from those vying for Position 2 in the 1st Legislative District, which includes Mountlake Terrace, Brier and parts of unincorporated Lynnwood. To find your legislative district, click here.

Screenshot (536)Kyoko Matsumoto-Wright, Democrat

Q: Give us some background about yourself, such as your work, volunteer experience and history with the community.

I have been on the Mountlake Terrace City Council for nine years and represent our council at the Seashore Transportation Forum, Snohomish County Tomorrow, Snohomish County Cities and Towns, Association of Washington Cities, Affordable Housing Alliance, Snohomish County Affordable Housing Consortium and PSRC.  I am also a Snohomsih County Housing Authority Commissioner and a Washington State Real Estate Commissioner.  But most important, I am a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Bain and I am proud that I have been a working broker for 39 years. I am also a mom and raised my son in this community.

Q: If elected, what is your top priority?

I have a lot of things I want to accomplish but I know the first thing we have to work on is funding education.  Then I want to work on getting funding back to areas where we were forced to cut, like mental health services, homelessness and affordable housing.  The rest of my list is long and I know we need to work on them one at a time.

Q: What motivated you to run for this position?
I was first asked by State Rep. Al O’Brien to think about running when he retired.  That was years ago.  Then when I was on the city council, several people asked if I thought about running.  I did, but the timing was never right.  Well, the timing will never be right, so this time I jumped in.  I know that with my background I would  work well with others in Olympia.  I think that is why I kept getting asked if I would run.  I listen and I think about both sides of the issue and I vote in a way I feel would be best for the people.
Q: What do you want to see change?
I want people to start to work together.  To get something accomplished, even if it is one inch at a time.  That way we get something accomplished.  What good is it if nothing gets accomplished?  Why is negotiating a bad thing?  And who can negotiate better than a real estate broker and a mom?
Q: Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?
Because I know what I have been working on at a local level can be expanded to the state level.  And that is affordable housing, transportation and homelessness.  I am also interested in working on trying to solve the mental health and opiate problems and getting economic development to continue in this state without giving away everything to get them to stay.  I have been told I would be great because I actually listen to both sides before making a decision.
I know I can work with others well.  My list of endorsements prove I am respected by many peers in other cities, and at the county and state levels.  All my endorsements can be found at my website VoteKyoko.com.
Q: How can people contact you if they want more information?
They can email me at Kyoko@votekyoko.com.  And they can visit VoteKyoko.com to find out more about me.

Screenshot (535)Aaron Moreau-Cook, Democrat

Give us some background about yourself, such as your work, volunteer experience and history with the community.

I have a twenty-year career in technology, working at fast-paced start-ups in Seattle, Silicon Valley, and London. I have been involved in all aspects of a starting a small business, including my own which I sold in 2011.

After 15 years in start-ups, I joined Microsoft to be challenged in the corporate world. I now support a platform, Office 365, which hosts 60 million e-mail boxes worldwide. I am one of the organization leaders who is responsible deployments worth hundreds of millions of dollars in over a dozen countries around the world.

I was born in Seattle, grew up in the Snoqualmie Valley, owned a townhome in Woodinville, and in 2014 settled in Bothell to allow my young daughters to go through their education in the Northshore School District.

Q: If elected, what is your top priority?

I have two priorities which go hand-in-hand that I want to accomplish in my first year. My first priority is the removal of underperforming corporate tax exemptions and all exemptions that do not repercussions for jobs moved out of state. Removing just 5 percent of the corporate tax exemptions will be enough to fully fund public education to match the McCleary mandated minimum of $3.5 Billion (biannually).

Q: What motivated you to run for this position?

After 20 years in the technology industry, I have decided to give more of my time to public service. My daughters are both in Elementary School and I have developed a feeling to help others. The opening of the 1st District State Representative Position 2 felt like a good opportunity to apply my non-politician principals in Olympia. I am running a self-funded campaign, focusing on earning your vote and not try to raise campaign funds.

I am concerned that families and small businesses prioritize spending while state government continues to grow and spend beyond its means.

I believe that LGBTQ rights, are basic human rights. I believe that people should have equal rights that are not infringed upon due to gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion. I want to protect those who are constantly having their rights violated.

I first considered running for office in 2008, but I decided to focus on starting a family. Now that my daughters are older, I have decided it is my turn to get involved at the state level. I have been on the sideline of politics for too long.

Q: What do you want to see change?

·Government Accountability — The legislature needs to serve the people and have proper accountability for all programs, with provisions to review programs on a regular basis. The budget needs to be balanced to ensure fairness and that Washington residents are fairly served.

·Fully Fund Education — We need an honest plan to increase revenues to pay for education, without impacting other social services, to meet the McCleary Supreme Court ruling of 2012. Investing in education today means that Washington will have a thriving middle class for decades to come.

·Tax Reform — There needs to be a fair tax structure implemented with no special interest tax exemptions for corporations. I legislation to move B&O taxes from gross receipts to profit-based.

·Election Reform — Politicians should not make a career of working in Olympia or Washington DC. I support legislation to institute term limits for all elected officials; up to 6 years in the House and 12 years in the Senate for both State and Federal positions.

·Paid Family Leave — Our most important building block in society is our families and we need to support our family units with paid family leave.

·Women’s Rights — Women, as well as all people, should have the freedom to choose what is and is not right for themselves. I also believe women deserve to be treated equally.

·LGBTQ Rights – LGBTQ rights are human rights. I believe that people should have equal rights that are not infringed upon due to gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion. Protections need to be expanded so that all members of the LGBTQ community are treated with respect and not discriminated against.

·Raising the Minimum Wage — We need to raise the minimum wage to grow our middle class, ensure a livable wage and help families rise out of poverty.

Q: Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?

I am running because I believe the public service is not about business or privilege but representing the voice of your community. I am not a professional politician, but a hardworking citizen who wants to bring positive changes to our community.

I want to apply optimized budget principals in Olympia while continuing to fund social services, education and transportation. I believe my real-world experiences in the private sector will ensure my success as a State Representative.

Being self-funded gives me the freedom of not having my legislative votes dictated by special interests, but backed by voters like you. Compare me to other candidates, I am focused on the issues and not campaign funding. I hope to earn your vote.

How can people contact you if they want more information?

I am active on social media and e-mail. I will strive to respond to any questions.

Facebook — https://facebook.com/voteaaron
Twitter – https://twitter.com/amoreaucook
Web Site — https://www.moreau.us

Screenshot (545)

Darshan Rauniyar, Democrat

Q: Give us some background about yourself, such as your work, volunteer experience and history with the community.

I am a long­time Bothell resident and my wife Poonam is a pediatrician. Our two sons attend a local school. I am a  former candidate for the US House of Representatives 1st Congressional District, and have served on Board of Directors for several non-­profit and political organizations. I am an elected Precinct Committee Officer, past executive board member of 1st District Democrats. I recently served on Snohomish County’s Human Rights Commission and Parks Advisory Boards. I am a honorary member of United Nations Associations.

I have over 20 years of experience in the high­-tech sector holding senior level positions in management, marketing, sales and engineering while overseeing business enterprises. I earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Portland State University and Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering (BSEE) from Oregon Institute of Technology.

Q: If elected, what is your top priority?

I think our most critical issue is the lack of leadership fixing our traffic problem. The state passed the first transportation package in a decade and our area has almost nothing to show for it. Out of a $16 billion package, our area saw $10 million. So, we continue to be stuck in traffic instead of being productive or spending time with our families. That can never happen again.  Every one of the bottlenecks on SR9, SR 522 and Interstate 405 needs to be addressed and prioritized. This is simply a matter of tough negotiations. The money will be on the table. We need someone who will fight and negotiate for our region. I will be that fighter. For example, we have been putting our tax dollars into Sound Transit for years. While we have seen some rapid bus routes, we are a long way from getting the quicker, reliable transportation option which is light rail. In the Sound Transit Three proposal, there is no STILL no option for light rail to Bothell. That means it will be halfway through the 21st Century before we see light rail. That is unacceptable to me. Roads are not enough. We need to speed up the plan for light rail coming to our region.

My other critical priority is our public schools. Four years ago, the State Supreme Court made it clear that we are failing our kids. It’s hard to fathom why the State Legislature has yet to fulfill this obligation. Next year, the rubber needs to hit the road. I am ready to lead on class size, the academic achievement gap and graduation rates.   I believe strongly in fostering innovation and looking for new models of learning to ensure success at every grade in every school. A 23% dropout rate is not acceptable. Achievement gaps in communities of color are not acceptable. We need to continue to have strong standards for teacher excellence and common sense graduation requirements. I strongly support recommitting to technical education programs in our schools. Every student no matter their skill set needs a pathway to graduation. Everyone who is willing to work hard needs a place in this economy.

Q: What motivated you to run for this position?

Like so many of you, I’ve been disappointed at how slowly the legislature has responded to the Supreme Court to fulfill our obligations to our public schools. At the same time, I don’t believe we took a tough enough stand to fight for transportation dollars to improve 405, 522 and Highway 9.

We lack diversity in Olympia and equal representation. I will represent my constituent on issues and concerns that matter to them than own ideology, someone who can reach across the aisle to get things done for the people.

Q: What do you want to see change?

I will fight to make our Government accountable and transparent. We need to fix our tax system and make it fair for everyone. We need to fund education so there are no achievement/opportunity gaps and graduating kids are college and career ready. Policies based on equality for all – Women rights, LGTBQ right etc. The government working for the people and not for rich and the establishments.

Q: Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?

I believe my unique combination of business experience and progressive values will ensure we get results for the 1st District. I would be one of only a handful of legislators on the Democrat side with experience negotiating with Fortune 500 companies. We need that kind of experience in Olympia if we are going to make public schools our top priority and get our regions moving again

Q: How can people contact you if they want more information?
Email –info@darshanforhouse.com
Website — www.darshanforhouse.com

Screenshot (563)Jim Langston, Republican

Q: Give us some background about yourself, such as your work, volunteer experience and history with the community.

My wife and I returned to Washington over 15 years ago, settling down in Snohomish county near our family–all of whom have been active volunteers in our community.  We have committed our time and resources to the local Food Banks, sponsored and spent countless hours coaching and umpiring youth softball and baseball teams, and volunteered at summer camps.  We have prioritized instilling the values of community service, compassion, and hard work in our kids.  My wife was raised in Lynnwood and my family moved to unincorporated Snohomish county from Woodinville over two decades ago.  We have 3 adult daughters and a son (Eagle Scout) in public high school.  I am the oldest of 5 siblings, and my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. After graduating high school early, I worked my way through Montana State University.  After starting as an intern, I was offered a position and worked for an ABC news affiliate. I was employed by BNSF Railroad for 11 years and remain a union member. I also received my pilot’s license shortly after college.  Wanting to spend more time with family, I retired from the railroad and started a business with my brothers. We have commercial property investments, and the family founded and owns childcare learning centers with several locations in Puget Sound–employing over 300 staff.

A founding member of the Monroe Public School Foundation, I proudly support that organization.  Over the last 10 years as Cub Master and Scout Master, I completed and went on to teach hundreds of hours of Boy Scout and adult leader training courses–and in the process received many adult scouting awards.

Q: If elected, what is your top priority?

Basic education, let’s fund it!

Q: What motivated you to run for this position?

I have a desire to step up and help with the struggles we face as a parent, a citizen and tax payer.  It is time the voice of the people is heard.  Our children and families need advocates in Olympia to get our state back on track. We must work together to ensure every student is prepared for college, career and life.  I will work to eliminate unfair highway tolls and advocate the best available options to reduce congestion–resulting in more time with our families, lower costs for small businesses, and fewer hours wasted sitting in traffic-choked freeway lanes. Washington families deserve to keep more of their hard earned dollars, necessitating that the state work efficiently and competently.  I feel I can take on these assignments and now is the time.

Q: What do you want to see change?

The mind set in Olympia, we need common sense solutions and people willing to do wait it takes. There has to be fiscal responsibility and accountability for every dollar spent in all our agencies.  Olympia must look at how to complete tasks, instead of why we can not finish them.  Our state should help not hinder hard working people.

Q: Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?

I believe I can draw upon my life experiences to help craft and reform solutions in Olympia to more effectively meet the needs of the people. Those elected must listen and work together to find bipartisan solutions for the problems we face.

Q: How can people contact you if they want more information?jim@electjimlangston.com

Democratic candidate Shelley Kloba has not yet responded to our questions.

You can learn more about all candidates in the online voter’s pamphlet here. The top two vote getters will advance to the November general election, regardless of party.

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