Gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed walks a middle line for homelessness
Governor Jay Inslee has a new challenger as he seeks a third term in the governor’s mansion next year — former Bothell Mayor Joshua Freed.
Freed, a real estate investor and former marriage and family counselor, joins Sen. Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn), Republic Police Chief Loren Culp, and Maple Valley program manager Anton Sakharov as Republicans who have declared their candidacy against the incumbent governor.
Joshua Freed made a name for himself statewide in 2017 when he sponsored I-27, a citizen initiative to ban safe injection sites in King County. The initiative gained enough signatures to be eligible for the ballot, but the King County Superior Court barred it from voters.
“When our legislators are not listening to the voice of the people anymore, when our imitative process is being attacked and then courts are being used to push down the will of the people, that makes certain people want to rise up,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “And so that’s why I stepped in the race.”
Joshua Freed: Time to stop leaving people behind
“State government is currently leaving a lot of people behind,” Freed said. “So if we leave care and compassion in the hands of government, we’re going to dismally fail.”
There’s no question whom Freed thinks of when he refers to people left behind by government. He pointed to the people sleeping outdoors and the drug overdoses on the streets of Seattle — especially in the wake of Western State Hospital’s de-certification — as evidence of government failing to take care of citizens.
However, unlike other political players in the Seattle region, Freed walks a middle ground between conservative and liberal when it comes to solving the crisis.
“The far Left side and the far Right side actually are in the same camp when it comes to the homeless situation,” he said. “The far Right side may say, ‘Just lock them up, incarcerate them, we don’t want to see them anymore.’ The far Left side just says, ‘Let them continue whatever they were doing.’ The result is the same.”
Rather than just throwing homeless addicts in jail or keeping the status quo, Freed wants to see lasting solutions that will help people turn their lives around. Freed has done service work with his family in the Philippines and Kenya, and finds it important “rather than just to stand in a seat of judgment and point at people … to bend down on the sidewalk and say, ‘How can I lend you a hand?'”
“We need to take the next step and make sure that people have a place to go to get the help that they need, to get off of these drugs, and become productive members of society,” he said.
However, he still does want to see laws enforced and people “pay[ing] the penalty for their crimes.” He said that with an increase in drug addiction comes an increase in crime.
“These folks are injecting seven to eight times a day, so they’re not in places of work doing well and succeeding — they’re actually finding their support for their addiction in your car and your backyard,” he said. “And so people who are taxpayers and law-abiding citizens, their own livelihood, their own safety, is impacted … and the government is ultimately enabling it.”
Not only does he want the government to stop enabling crime, but he wants the government to be truthful to taxpaying constituents.
“The lack of transparency and accountability in state government is a huge issue right now,” he said. “We have a governor who takes millions of dollars in political contributions, then goes behind closed doors negotiating contracts.”
Like candidate Jay Inslee back in 2012, Freed promised Dori that he would not implement new taxes as governor — but Freed said that unlike Inslee, he intends to keep that promise.
“I will not raise taxes if I’m governor of this state, and there will be no state income tax,” he stated.
For more information about Joshua Freed and his campaign, visit his official campaign website.
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