In their third debate, the candidates for governor were put in two “what if” scenarios that highlighted their different personalities and approaches to leading the state of Washington.
Imagine it’s Jan. 4, 2013 and the new governor is in office. What will he do during the first 60 to 90 days on the job?
Democrat Jay Inslee will be hiring his staff to support his lean management style, while Rob McKenna will be introducing legislation to create jobs.
“I’ll be recruiting, including from private enterprise, the most vigorous, dedicated people to the implementation of my lean management proposal,” says Inslee. “We need to get a bigger bang for the taxpayer’s buck,” says Inslee.
He also says he’d “do everything possible” to implement 75 proposals to get job creation going, including supporting a business and occupation tax cut, and helping software and biotech industries protect their intellectual property.
“We have a secret sauce here and that is innovation,” says Inslee.
Republican Rob McKenna took fewer swipes at Inslee in the Seattle debate, but one of them relates to the former Congressman’s frequent use of the words “lean management.”
“It’s kind of interesting that the Congressman talks about lean management so much he’s never actually used lean management, although he did run a congressional office,” says McKenna. “Do you want to bring Washington D.C. style tactics and politics to a state capitol where people are actually able to get things done, or do you just want the same old D.C. gridlock and partisanship?”
As for what McKenna would do during his first few months on the job, if elected, he’d bring a “packet of bills” to the Legislature to lower the cost of creating jobs in our state, especially for small businesses. He’ll also focus on funding schools adequately, saying there’s a need to “reform and innovate in the delivery of our public education system.”
Another scenario involves how Inslee and McKenna would respond to gun violence. Over the next four years they would be in office, several hundred people in Washington could be killed through gun violence brought on by someone who was able to obtain a gun even though he or she was mentally unstable.
If there’s a mass shooting in our state, how would they respond? What would each candidate do as governor?
Inslee says he would have a “no tolerance policy for violence in all its forms, guns, knives, clubs, fists or otherwise.”
“I think that’s important in our society, starting with teaching our young men not to be engaged in domestic violence and respect all women,” says Inslee. “I don’t think we should allow terrorists to get access at gun shows as they can today because there’s a loophole in our law.”
McKenna noted that after a mass shooting at Virginia Tech, he ordered a review of state laws.
“We found a number of flaws,” he says. Federal law was tougher, for example, someone committed for 14 days could lose handgun rights under federal laws. He also found our state data bases were not being kept up. McKenna’s legislation proposed after that shooting in 2007 was “the only significant gun control legislation to pass in the past 10 years” he says.
Beyond those issues, the candidates outlined different tactics for dealing with the state’s budget and funding public education without raising taxes.
Inslee says he’d like to find savings in health care growth and improve performance of state government. McKenna would take a more aggressive approach by capping spending growth in non-education parts of state budget at 6 percent per biennium.
In talking about budget issues, Inslee mentioned a couple of times that he was an economics major at the University of Washington.
“The fundamental problem with our fiscal condition is simply this, we have 300,000 people out of work, that is why I have focused like a laser beam on a job focus plan so we can build businesses in the private sector to get people back to work,” says Inslee. “I do not believe fundamentally we should be doing tax increases.”
“State budget has grown dramatically in the last 20 years. In fact, it’s about doubled from $16 billion to $31 billion a biennium,” says McKenna. “The first thing we have to do is live within our means.”
The candidates are set to debate one more time.
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By LINDA THOMAS, I’m an election geek; I’ve enjoyed three of these debates so far and look forward to the next.