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Governor candidate Joshua Freed
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GOP gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed says he’d ‘lead with true science and data’

Former gubernatorial candidate Joshua Freed. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Freed campaign)

Washington state’s primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 4, so voters have just under a week to submit their ballots. There are 36 candidates in the race for governor, including incumbent Jay Inslee. One of the GOP candidates, former Bothell Mayor Joshua Freed, says he’s not necessarily surprised by how many people are running for governor this year.

Washington state governor’s race by the numbers

“In one sense, I’m not surprised that so many people want to see a change in leadership in Washington state,” Freed told Gee and Ursula on KIRO Radio. “On the other hand, what happened is Jay Inslee made it free to run for governor this year; he made the argument that since you can’t go to gather signatures to get on the ballot, he’s going to let people run for free.”

Freed said he gathered a record-breaking number of signatures on a referendum he sponsors, so he thinks it could have remained a requirement. Regardless, he said he’s looking forward to going up against Inslee in November.

Managing the pandemic

If Freed were elected governor tomorrow, he says he’d move in a different direction from how Inslee has been managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What I would have done is properly funded public health, where under Jay Inslee, we dismally underfunded public health,” he said. “The money that we left in there, we actually, rather than planning for a pandemic, we spent money on planning heroin injection sites.”

He also believes that everyone has the right to work.

“I believe that every job is essential in Washington state. If somebody wants to work to provide for the family, they have the constitutional right to do so,” Freed said. “[Inslee divided] us in the groups of essential versus non-essential, pitting neighbor against neighbor by encouraging one to pick up the phone and report [their] neighbor to the governor if they’re trying to go to their non-essential job.”

Meanwhile, Freed says, there were billions of unemployment dollars sent to fraudulent accounts while people in Washington are still waiting to receive an unemployment check.

“People are very much suffering in Washington state,” Freed said.

He also said he’d reopen schools on time this fall.

“A lot of parents want to get back to work, and now, with the uncertainty of schools opening or not opening in September, October, when our economy really needs to get charging and moving forward. Now, what are they supposed to do?” Freed asked. “There were no plans, of course, to have their kids home. I think at the beginning of this, when Jay Inslee decided that schools were not going to reopen again, that was a wrong decision.”

Freed believes we should have taken the first few weeks to understand where we are with the pandemic.

“Now we’re understanding the numbers, thankfully, that not as many people are dying as we expected,” he said. “We always, of course, mourn the loss of human life. But we should have said, ‘Hey, kids, you’re going to go back to school in summer,’ because so many other states left their schools open and continued to operate. My concern is this is a detriment, of course, to the children and to our state as a whole. We need to get them back in to school and learning.”

Freed added that he would listen to science and data, though not the same science Inslee follows.

“I’d rather lead with true science and data rather than a position of being a bully,” Freed said. “… The best thing that we can do, as we heard from the 1918 Spanish flu, is get outside in the sun and breathe in clean air. That is the healer of which we all need — it’s nature healing.”

Freed says he’s “been reading a lot of different articles from multiple different sources,” including a naturopath doctor he’s been talking to over the course of the pandemic.

“I’ve spoken to consistently to a few different doctors who I won’t give their name on the air because they haven’t given that permission for me to do so, but four different doctors throughout the last four months that have been giving me sound advice throughout this process,” he said.

Freed believes it’s time to get back to work and reopen schools, noting that the death rate has proven to be lower than expected.

“Even the rise in cases that we’re just hearing about today, we’re seeing testing continue to increase, and access to that test, which is a positive thing. But we’re seeing the deaths go down,” he said.

“So let’s use the truth, not cause fear and bullying positions,” Freed continued. “But I think the more information people have, which thankfully is readily available in multiple places online or elsewhere — the information is power, and that’s how we should be able to lead moving forward here in Washington, not trying to intimidate people.”

Police reform

Freed doesn’t support defunding the police, but also does believe there needs to be training in place and resources provided for those on the front lines.

“I’m shocked at one of my Republican opponents who says we don’t need more training for police,” he said. “I think what a short-sighted, tone-deaf type of perspective to come from. … When I was mayor of the city of Bothell, I served on council there, we would always look to give adequate training plans to police and fire because they’re on the front lines.”

Police officers are dealing with crises at all hours of the day, and Freed says they need to be given the proper tools, which includes counseling.

“But also be able to quickly respond and understand how they move from a warrior type mentality to actually be a public protector type mentality,” he said.

“So I’m not for defunding the police, I’m making sure that they have adequate funds to have the training that they need and make sure that they’re supported,” Freed added.

As far as the “bad apples,” Freed says there are bad actors in all walks of life and police departments are no different. He said they should always look for ways to remove the people who aren’t acting and representing citizens properly.

“I mean the issue of racism, to me, I’ll be blatantly honest, is an issue of sin,” Freed said. “It’s a sin against one another. And when we’ve done that to another person, we need to apologize and look for ways that we can reconcile those relationships and seek forgiveness from one another.”

“One thing I love about Washington state and America is we are a place that is diverse, and I think we’re stronger because of our diversity,” he added. “And the more that we can celebrate each other’s different ethnicities and cultural styles, the better of a society that will be.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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