Candidate Questionnaire: 40th Legislative District House

July 15, 2018

Note: Responses are unedited.

Rud Browne

Age: 59

Residence: South Bellingham

Occupation: Chair of the Whatcom County Council and Businessman

Education: Studied Engineering, Marketing, Refrigeration Apprenticeship, Private Pilot

Elected offices held: Whatcom County Councilmember – Elected in 2013 with 52% of vote, Re-elected in 2017 with 81% of the vote

Previous offices sought: Whatcom County Council: run twice, won twice

Community involvement: Items listed below are a partial list:

Current service:

Chair of Whatcom County Council,Board Member, North Sound Behavioral Health Organization,Member, Washington State Association of Counties Legislative Steering Committee,Member, Whatcom County Flood Control Zone District,Member, Rotary Club Of Bellingham

Previous service:

Chair of the Whatcom County Finance and Administrative Services Committee,Member, Whatcom County Planning and Development Services Committee,Board member, Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Board member, Whatcom Council of Governments,Board member, Whatcom County Ethics Commission,Board member, Whatcom Community Foundation,VP Ethics for the Vancouver Board of the Entrepreneurs Organization,Board member, Brigid Collins Child Abuse & Family Support Center,Member, Western Washington University CEME Advisory Board,Member, Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Access Steering Committee,Member, Whatcom County Developmental Disabilities Board,Board member, Northwest Clean Air Agency,Board member, Bellingham City Club, Member US Coast Guard Auxiliary Aircrew

Campaign website: www.VoteRudBrowne.com

Why are you running for office? I initially ran for the Whatcom County Council because I wanted to expand on my 20 year involvement and service within my community. After four years in local government I’ve decided to run for the State House of Representatives because I have found that almost everything we need to do at the local level is dependent on the priorities set by the state legislature within the budget they decide to give local governments.

What is the single biggest issue facing the candidate who is elected to this position? There is much more than one big issue but my top five are:

Housing affordabilityIncome inequalityClimate changeAccess to Healthcare, especially for childrenShifting the debate from what we spend on education to what we invest in educating our citizens

How will you address it? In the short term I would address Housing affordability by expanding the use of alternatives such as accessory dwelling units. In the long term I would adopt British Columbia’s approach to their housing crisis by taxing non-residents who buy residential property for investment purposes at a higher rate than Washington residents and then using the additional revenue collected to provide low income housing.

Why should voters choose you? I believe that the quickest, most powerful way to improve our lives is to elect proven, experienced leaders who know first-hand how to create family wage jobs, improve healthcare, and balance environmental and economic priorities.

What sets you apart from your opponents? I am a hardworking, progressive businessman who’s personally created hundreds of great jobs. Who comes prepared with real world solutions drawn from my 30 years of business experience, and four years on the County Council where I’ve built bipartisan consensus. That’s why I’m endorsed by Young Democrats, Sheriff Deputies, Teamsters, Elected Officials and hundreds of citizens.

Michael John Petrish

Age: 51

Residence: 1907 9th Street, Anacortes, WA 98221

Education: University of Zagrab| Fine Arts | Military Intelligence Journeyman Carpenter through Apprenticeship

Elected Office(s) held: Trustee in Local Union 70 |Elected to Executive Board of Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, representing six western States: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

Previous Offices sought: No public offices previously sought

Community Involvement: Volunteer Coach for the Anacortes Parks Department for boys and girls soccer & basketball | Anacortes Little League Baseball | Knights of Columbus & Lector at St. Mary Catholic Church in Anacortes.

Campaign Website: www.michaelpetrish.com

Why are you running for office? The fundamental truths of this nation, its history and the basic understanding about our republic are no longer taught in most schools and universities; and sadly, are no longer are a requirement for graduation. The absolute contemptuous disregard for authority and the rule of the law at multiple levels by our civic leaders and many elected officials is threatening the Constitution and our Nation’s sovereignty. This must stop! We should be a country of law and order, we need to abide by our laws and enforce them. If they are bad laws we should change them as provided in the Constitution, not arbitrarily write new laws or pick and choose which laws we will follow; otherwise problems like lawlessness and anarchy will prevail. I simply could no longer stand idly by and watch these attacks happen, especially against energy and construction industries of which I am employed and against the working families I represent. I plan to be working in Olympia to fix this debacle for the 40th District and our State.

What is the single biggest issue facing the candidates who is elected to this position? The taking of water rights on private property of Skagitonians created by the disastrous Hirst “Fix” legislation which exempted Skagit County. In 2001 WA State established a Skagit Instream Flow Rule (Washington Administrative Code 173-503) that allocated no water for the EXEMPT WELLS in the Skagit River Basin. Not only was this ruling scientifically unfounded, it was also a direct violation of the 1996 Memorandum of Agreement that contained a specific clause to protect permit exempt water well rights. The WA State Dept of Ecology recognized this error and the omission of the clause in the 2001 ruling. In 2006 the Department reached an agreement with Skagit County to correct this error and omission. The Swinomish Tribe then sued Ecology for violation of the 2001 Rule and in 2013 the WA State Supreme Court decided in their favor.

How will you address it? Refer to the law that has addressed this issue which was passed in 1945, RCW 90.44.050 “Permit Exempt Well” which states a domestic well for personal use of up to 5000 gallons a day does not require a PERMIT and implement it.

I read the article in SVH edition, dated January 24, 2017 where you reported the statement made by Ecology spokeswoman Kristin Johnson-Waggoner, that the research done by the Department of Ecology and the U.S. Geological Survey using groundwater models show that the Skagit River had little in common with well levels in the area.

This scientific research conclusion should remove the Skagit River Basin from the protected list.

We are instead dealing with a legislature that is ignoring true science upheld by hydrogeologists and basic physics. Water flows downhill and will always seek the lowest point, whether it is on the surface or underground. Aquifers in Skagit County are much deeper than the river bottom and have no connection to the river nor adversely influence its instream flow. River water comes from saturated surface water originating from rainfall and snowpack, neither of which we are lacking here in the State of Washington. True science should explain the way things are and not promote conjectures.

Why should voters choose you? I am the individual that most Americans would prefer to have in public service with whom they can relate with: one who respects the rule-of-law; one who is not a career politician but one who comes from a background built on the foundation of hard work, family life, faith and tradition.

As the “Citizen Legislator” I promise to be the voice of the people: to uphold law and order; to defend property rights, reduce taxes and eliminate needless government regulations on individuals and businesses.

What sets you apart from your opponents? Coming from a family of Croatian immigrants and refugees, with a strong American law enforcement family background, I am cognizant of what it takes for such families to become legal citizens of the United States. I am well suited to help the State of Washington participate in the enforcement of our federal immigration laws.

My early experience in commercial fishing instilled in me the importance of self-reliance, team work, and being a good steward of our natural resources. I will support sound solutions for current environmental challenges without impeding economic growth and / or raising taxes. Rural Americans make better stewards of their environments than career politicians do. The water crisis in Skagit County is one example of the numerous bureaucratic nonsense that only serve to provide employment security for elected and unelected public officials.

From 1995 to 2001 I was a civilian contractor to NATO & US Military in Bosnia. Working with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), I helped investigate and capture war criminals. Facilitated in meetings which brought about the much-desired Dayton Peace Accords amongst the warring nations (Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia) ending the war in the region. I also assisted the C.I.A. mission there to successfully remove Jihadi fighters from the former Yugoslavia. This intense firsthand experience will prove invaluable in addressing the security issues we face today in our nation, state, and schools while protecting the rights guaranteed under the US and Washington State Constitutions.

Alex Ramel

Age: 40

Residence: Bellingham

Occupation: Environmental Organizer

Education: B.A. from Western Washington University

Elected offices held: none

Previous offices sought: none

Community involvement:

Recent Employment History:

2015-present - Field Director, Stand.earth (formerly Forest Ethics)2008-2015 - Energy and Policy Director, Sustainable Connections

Volunteer roles:

Whatcom County Climate Impacts Advisory CommitteeBoard of Directors at Sustainable ConnectionsWorker Retraining Advisory Board at Whatcom Community CollegeBoard member Whatcom Conservation VotersBoard President at Kulshan Community Land Trust

Campaign website: www.AlexRamel.com

Why are you running for office? I’m running because the urgent issues facing our state need a coalition builder to bring people together and find common ground so we can move forward. Whether it’s building a clean energy economy, confronting the housing crisis, fully funding our schools or preventing gun violence, there are common sense solutions that have been on hold for far too long.

What is the single biggest issue facing the candidate who is elected to this position? I’ve knocked on thousands of doors this year, and there’s no question that the single biggest issue on the minds of people in this area is the housing crisis. Many people are impacted by escalating rents; many others are seeing rising property taxes. And many, many people are aware of and deeply concerned about folks experiencing homelessness in our community.

How will you address it? We need to make the state a full partner with our local governments and agencies to confront the housing crisis. That means funding the Housing Trust Fund at pre-recession levels - it’s the most important funding source for homes people can afford in Washington and it has about half the budget it did ten years ago.

I’ll also be a strong supporter of the Housing and Essential Needs program which helps prevent homelessness by supporting vulnerable people who could otherwise fall through the cracks. And we should also prioritize low-income weatherization and home repair; it’s much less expensive to maintain existing affordable housing than to build new units.

Why should voters choose you? My experience building coalitions and finding common ground makes me the best representative for our community’s values and priorities in Olympia. I was the founder of the Community Energy Challenge, which brought governments, energy companies, small businesses, and unions together to create one of the most effective energy upgrade programs anywhere in the county. We found a win-win approach that cut energy costs for thousands of homes, reduced pollution and created dozens of living wage jobs.

What sets you apart from your opponents? I’m a true coalition builder. Because of my strong stance on protecting our air and water, I’m the only candidate in this race endorsed by the Washington Conservation Voters. And I’ve also been endorsed by the United Steelworkers Local 12-591 which represents the refinery workers in Anacortes. Many people may not expect these two groups to see eye to eye, but because we’ve worked together to find common ground, we’ve built a good relationship and they trust me to be their representative.

Debra Lekanoff

Age: Preferred not to answer at this time.

Residence: Bow

Occupation: Governmental Affairs Director, Swinomish Tribe

Education: BA, Business Administration/Finance, Central Washington University. MA (Candidate), Public Administration, Evergreen College.

Elected offices held: NA

Previous offices sought: NA

Community involvement: EPA National and Regional Tribal Operations Committee, Washington State and Tribal Water Quality Standards Roundtable Participant, Coast Salish Gathering Coordinator, Community Action of Skagit, Northwest Indian College Foundation, Skagit Democratic Delegate, Salish Sea Ecosystem Board and Billy Frank Jr. Salmon Summit Board.

Campaign website: debralekanoff.com

Why are you running for office? First and foremost, I’m a Mom and have the honor being a community member of this beautiful place we all call home. I have served my entire 21 years of employment as a government servant to citizens. I chose to run because I want to re-build Community. I have witnessed political decisions that destroy the relationships between governments at the local, state, federal and international levels and have left citizens in critical situations. I am committed to rebuilding relationships and removing the barriers so we may unify our voices in the 40th district. I am a community builder who has the unique ability to work effectively with different levels of government. This allows me to bring voices together to address a challenge, determine a solution and implement a realistic plan that benefits all parties. I am committed to the strength of our communities and believe we all have a role to help this place be sustainable. We are the people of the Salish Sea, whether we call ourselves environmentalists, business and industry leaders, farmers, fishermen, grandmothers or advocates. I believe we live in the most beautiful district in Washington, from the lakes and mountains of Whatcom County to the powerful rivers of the Skagit, to the islands of the Salish Sea.

What is the single biggest issue facing the candidate who is elected to this position? Access to education at all levels poses a significant challenge in the 40th LD. Education of our children (K-12), young adults (18-24), and community members at all stages of life is an issue near and dear to my heart. As a working, single mom, I want to make sure that every person in the community has access to affordable, quality education.

I believe that Kindergarten should be the ‘next step’ in a child’s education not the first step. Children need access to early learning prior to beginning Kindergarten. I also recognize the need for growth in technical skills education, and that not every high school graduate wants to pursue a traditional four-year college degree.

How will you address it? To carry on the work of the Honorable Representative Kris Lytton, I plan to create new opportunities for educational resources at every level by implementing the most recent initiatives passed by the legislature and develop planned paths of success for each community member looking to learn.

Why should voters choose you? No answer given

What sets you apart from your opponents? With my 20 years of governmental service, I understand the value of collective action and negotiating to get work done. My experience in government affairs has provided me with the ability to bring folks to the table, be respectful and open to discussion, and ensure we move towards solutions that achieve our goals. In the past 20 years my career has been focused on helping those around us build healthy, safe, and prosperous communities. I am not the person you see at the podium, promising to get the job done. I am a strategic leader who gets it done with hard work and commitment, working to ensure that you have a representative in Olympia who will effectively serve you and your family.

My direct experience has been developing, engaging, and implementing policy, laws and regulations in Olympia and in Washington DC. I am not only the person on the ground, but I am the person at the keyboard and on the phone. The best part of my job is the ability to work with the community and value each role everyone has and what they bring to the table. The room is too small for egos, so I am a strong believer is leaving it at the door and coming to find a way to achieve the goal, and for you all, it is to respect and honor you by doing what is right.

Tom Pasma

Age: Did not respond

Residence: Bow

Occupation: Co-Owner/Operator Double S Quarterhorse Ranch, Professional Auctioneer


Western Montana College - Associates, Drug & AlcoholWestern Montana College - Business ManagementColorado State University - Equine Reproduction, Bovine ReproductionWestern School of Auctioneering

Elected offices held: None

Previous offices sought: None

Community involvement:

Volunteer Firefighter - District 5Vice President - Blanchard Edison Water AssociationSkagit County Boys’ & Girls’ Club - Board MemberCampfire Samish Council - former Board MemberFounder, President - Non-Profit LEAD (Leadership, Education and Advanced Development)Volunteer Auctioneer – Have raised millions of dollars for numerous charities such as Skagit Land Trust, San Juan County Fair, Skagit Valley College Athletic Foundation, Skagit County Fair, Puget Sound Junior Livestock Show, Numerous Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs as well as many others.

Campaign website: www.tompasma.org

Why are you running for office? I am running to be the next representative from the 40th district because we need a New Deal in Washington. For too many people, the cost of living has increased, good paying jobs are too few, and debt has kept people from achieving their dreams. My priorities are to make sure our state provides debt free college and worker training, invests in green jobs and infrastructure, and protects our quality of life by investing in social services and protecting our environment.

What is the single biggest issue facing the candidate who is elected to this position? The single biggest issue facing the candidate who is elected to this position is how we create jobs while transitioning to a clean energy economy. I’m the only candidate who is calling for a superfund for workers to ensure a just transition. We can’t just close our refineries and walk away from the workers and families impacted. Our friends, neighbors, and family who work hard in the fossil fuel economy should be able to walk across the street and get a job that pays just as well as the job they left. If they need training, we should provide it to them debt free. We have the people, the commitment, and the innovativeness to make sure that no one is left behind in a new, dynamic, green economy.

How will you address it? I will work hard to be a champion for workers, for students, and for our environment to make sure that our budgets reflect our values and we make the investments needed to help our people. For too long, we’ve lacked a bold vision for a just economy. We need a New Deal for Washington, and that means making the investments and passing the policies that help our people live healthy, dignified lives.

Why should voters choose you? I’m asking for voters’ support because I believe people are ready for new leadership with bold ideas for our district and our state. We can solve the problems facing people if we have leadership that prioritizes our people, creates a just economy, and makes a sustainable future.

What sets you apart from your opponents? I’m the only candidate who has a background in agriculture, has founded a nonprofit dedicated to helping youth develop into strong leaders, and has raised millions of dollars for organizations that help people across our district and state. I have never been paid to work for the issues I care about including supporting agriculture, unions, the environment, youth, and community health. I believe we need a representative who has never been paid by special interests, but has fought for positive change in the critical issues important to us.

Daniel Miller

Age: Did not respond

Residence: Friday Harbor

Occupation: Works at Antiques/Collectibles and Landscaping

Former owner of the very popular store in Friday Harbor ( New England Collectibles)


Attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia Wa /BA in PublicPolicy and environmental sciences.Attended the University of washington/Legal studies.Attended skagit valley community college.

Elected offices held: None yet, but has worked on Public Policy.

Previous offices sought: last office ran for was Washington State Senate 2016

Community involvement: Was involved with Relay for life/Raising money for cancer. Worked with community dinners/Thanksgiving dinners.

Campaign website: No answer given

Why are you running for office? There are very important issues coming up in the 2019 legislature. Ready to represent the 40th district well.

What is the single biggest issue facing the winning candidate? well, there are several issues facing the next representive from the 40th district. Transportation, taxes, jobs and the economy, property/water rights,educational issues and immigration. One thing is for sure we need to elect representatives this year who wont raise taxes willy/nilly and will spend washington state taxes well.

How will you address it? No answer given

Why should voters choose you? voters should choose me because I will represent the 40th district well. I can be counted on, to not raise taxes willy/nilly and spend our tax dollars carefully

What sets you apart from your opponent? First let me say that this campaign is like going into a neighborhood coffee shop with six flavors of coffee, all the kinds of coffee are great. But you have to find out what flavor is the best right now! which cup of coffee has the flavor and aroma that you want. Which candidate has the best flavor of the district now.Which candidate will be a good fit to represent the 40th district in Olympia 2019.I think that I have the right flavor right now. I Believe that if am elected I will spend your tax dollars well. I have no interest in going to olympia and raising taxes willy/nilly. I will work on water rights in skagit county and property rights generally and many other important issues.

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