Q&A with 1st District State Rep. Derek Stanford

Derek Stanford

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

Democratic State Representative Derek Stanford finds himself in a crowded field of candidates in his bid for re-election to Position 1 in Legislative District 1. Stanford is up against Brian Travis (R), Greg Rankich (D) and Sandy Guinn (R) in the Aug. 7 primary election; the top two vote-getters move on to the November general election.

Q: Why are you seeking re-election?
A: I’m running because I believe Olympia can do a better job of supporting middle-class families like mine. I want to continue my work advocating for jobs and improving the economy so the Puget Sound region can thrive.

Q: What work as a legislator are you most proud of from your past term?
A: I’m very proud of my work to get construction moving on the UW-Bothell Science Building. If we are going to limit the impact of future economic recessions, we need to make sure we have a highly skilled workforce with an emphasis on engineering, math and science skills. This capital investment goes a long way toward creating those opportunities for workers.

Q: Has redistricting made the task of running for re-election more difficult?
A: The district is a little different but my focus is the same. Every family out there has felt the impact of this recession. Even though the district has changed, I believe every elected official in Washington needs to focus on job growth and getting this economy moving again.

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: The premium contribution rates vary depending on deductible, out-of-pocket expenses, and family size; it doesn’t make sense to consider it without looking at the full picture of compensation.  According to a Seattle Times report in 2010, most state workers were paid less than their private sector counterparts; since then, our state workers have made major sacrifices including cuts in pay and reduction in benefits. I believe that all options are on the table, but we can’t oversimplify the state budget into a single sound bite.

Q: Do you support Initiative 502, the legalization of small amounts of marijuana?
A: We have spent billions on our police and prisons in the last few decades trying to stop people from using this substance. It has not worked. I am concerned that we are not focused enough on violent crime. So, I will support this as a way to re-prioritize our public safety dollars.

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 it because I believe people have a right to make their own personal decisions about religion and who they love. To me, it’s a matter of fairness and equality.

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