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Gubernatorial candidate Tim Eyman wants to return to ‘representative democracy’

Anti-tax activist Tim Eyman. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

If you still haven’t filled our your primary ballot, you have until Tuesday, Aug. 4, to get it postmarked or placed in a dropbox. There are 36 people running for the state’s top job, including antitax activist Tim Eyman, who wants to unseat incumbent Governor Jay Inslee.

When Eyman joined the Gee & Ursula Show on Friday, he said this election feels the same as his past campaigns.

“I’ve been at this for 22 years, I’ve done 17 statewide campaigns and 11 of them the voters voted for, and obviously most prominently $30 tabs, and strangely, it feels exactly the same,” he said. “I thought running for statewide office would feel different, but it’s the same stuff. Everybody attacking you, and pushing ideas you believe in, and counting on the voters to make the decision.”

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Candidates Joshua Freed and Loren Culp have also both stopped by the Gee & Ursula Show in the past few days, and were asked the same question: If you were governor today, what would you do differently in your response to the pandemic?

“I really would follow the South Dakota governor’s model, where she said she looked in the Constitution, [and] didn’t see anywhere in her power to be able to shut down a private business,” Eyman answered. “I think what you do is you elect people to lead you by persuading you to do certain things, whether it’s the mask, whether it’s businesses being shut down, whether it’s customers being taken care of. But she specifically said, ‘I’m going to treat you like adults.’ I don’t believe Jay Inslee has treated us like adults. He treated us like children.”

Eyman said Gov. Inslee overreacted to the challenge of COVID-19 and made it into a crisis.

“I think what I would have done is simply tried to persuade people of what best practices were and certainly not impose fines, or jail time, or anything if people didn’t listen to me,” he said.

Right now, Eyman says it’s one person deciding what the rules are for seven million people on a daily basis.

“I fundamentally believe that his executive power expansion has fundamentally changed our system of government,” Eyman said. “And we need to go back to representative democracy where we have hearings, we have votes in the House and the Senate, and if we’re going to do these things, we do them together. We don’t do them with one-man rule.”

Gov. Inslee has been using information from health officers to help guide the decisions made for Washington state during the pandemic to help slow the spread of the virus. Gee and Ursula asked who Eyman would look to as his experts.

“The problem that you have is that he suspended the public records act, so we have no way to second guess a single decision he’s making by shutting down open government and giving not the media or the public access to independent information,” he said. “We have no idea what the actual numbers are. What you would rely on are experts, but you’re not absolutely driven by them. You absolutely have to make judgments on what is best for the people in the state of Washington.”

Eyman says safety, liberty, and a strong economy are necessary for a functioning government.

“I think what we need to do is open up Washington, make things where it’s persuading people, not ordering people around. I think that’s a better approach, and I think it’s certainly more in line with the value system that most Washingtonians have, which is the government is there to serve us, not the other way around,” he said.

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If Eyman were to take office in January, he says he would make all businesses essential and masks would be optional.

“People would go about their lives and take care of themselves, and I would encourage them with best practices, whatever best practices they are,” Eyman said. “CDC used to say masks didn’t work, now they say they do work. Now there’s questions as to whether or not they are actually doing anything. You do the best you can to provide that information, but you don’t do it by threatening 90 days in jail unless you follow the orders of one person.”

“I’m just not comfortable running the lives of seven million people,” he added. “I trust seven million people to live their lives because that’s what I’ve done for 22 years — not by ordering people to support my ideas, but giving them the option to do it.”

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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