Legislative Q&A: Guy Palumbo, candidate for State Senate, 1st District

Guy Palumbo

Editor’s 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

The race for the State Senate position in the 1st District is shaping up to be a close one, with small business owner Guy Palumbo (D) providing a strong challenge to the long-time incumbent Rosemary McAuliffe (D).

Dawn McCravey (R) is a third candidate in the running for the post. Only the top two vote-getters in the Aug. 7 primary election move on to the November ballot.

Q: Why are you running for legislative office?
A: I believe we can do better for the citizens of the 1st District and the State of Washington. I am running for State Senate because I believe my life experiences and proven success as a leader, community volunteer and small business owner uniquely qualify me for the job.

After 20 years of the same leadership, it’s time for some new ideas.

It would be an honor to work on the challenges that we face here in Washington. I want to have a positive impact on the more than 1 million school children in our state. I want to focus on our true job creators, small businesses. More than anything, I want to make our government work efficiently for the taxpayers.

Q: What experiences do you bring that would benefit in the role of State Senator?
A: What was intended to be a government run by everyday citizens with a diverse set of experiences has become an organization of professional politicians, the majority of whom have never worked in the private sector.

The breadth of my professional and personal experience would be an asset in Olympia. I have worked as a janitor to pay for college and have worked with CEOs of leading companies. I have worked the night shift in a warehouse and managed multimillion dollar technology projects. More recently, my wife and I invested every penny we had to follow our American dream of owning a small business.

Unlike the career politicians in Olympia, I understand what everyday citizens are going through today. I understand what it’s like:
– To work two jobs to pay for college and still graduate with over $30,000 in school loans.
– To see your spouse laid off in 2009 after almost 10 years at a company.
– To pay 100 percent for health insurance for my family, and my employees, only to see rates go up double digits each year while service declines.
– To have a mortgage that is underwater.

Owning and operating my small business has also given me a unique insight into what it takes to create jobs in this state. Fifty-three percent of the private sector workforce is employed by small, local businesses. That is where we need to focus our efforts.

Q: Is there anything that can be done to ease the partisanship politics that slows or stifles legislative work in Olympia?
A: First and foremost, we need to start electing leaders who are independent thinkers. We need leaders who will fight for the people they represent, not vote 100 percent of the time for the lobbyists who fund their elections. The best idea for the state should always prevail regardless if the idea comes from the left, right or center.

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: This particular issue is subject to the new labor contract being negotiated between the governor and the unions. I do believe all fiscal options need to be on the table to get our budget in line. There are many policies, including this one, which we need to look at to bring fiscal discipline back to state government.

Q: Do you support Initiative 502, the legalization of small amounts of marijuana?
A: I support initiative 502. At a time when our budgets are stretched thin, we can spend law enforcement dollars in more important places. Additionally, the over $500 million per year the state will receive in tax revenue will help bridge funding gaps for important priorities.

Q: Do you support the state’s recently passed same-sex marriage law or do you favor changing the law to defining marriage in Washington state to between “one man and one woman?”
A: I support same-sex marriage. The bill that was passed contained an important exemption for religious institutions so they will not be subject to lawsuits if they choose not to perform same-sex marriages.

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