Sen. Fortunato emphasizes repeat offenders, homeless in bid for governor
Republicans hope to put up their best candidate to take on Governor Jay Inslee in the general election. Sen. Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn) joined the Jason Rantz on KTTH to discuss what differentiates him from the other candidates, emphasizing his legislative experience in combating repeat offenders and homelessness.
Why would a state senator make a better candidate to take on Gov. Inslee versus a former city mayor or a police chief?
“I’m the only guy that actually knows what’s going on. We go to these forums and sometimes — a forum is different than a debate where they ask you a question and you just give an answer — you don’t get the comment on somebody else’s answer, for example, and why it wouldn’t work or what kind of legislation that you would have in place to actually do what they’re saying,” Fortunato said.
“So, for example, when they’ll say, I’m going to get the homeless off the street. Well, how are you going to do that? What legislation are you going to propose? So I’m the only guy that actually has,” he added.
What is one of the bills Fortunato would tackle and push through, in the assumption that he can at least get bipartisan support?
“You hear people constantly say things like, ‘that guy’s been arrested 25 times. Why isn’t he in jail?’ And the answer to that is the prosecutors are not prosecuting. And now, recently, you heard Seattle saying they’re not going to prosecute car theft — this is getting absurd. I had a bill that says if you’re a prosecutor, you get one time to determine whether or not you’re gonna prosecute somebody. After that, you must prosecute him,” he said.
“What can the governor do? The governor can give you more prosecutors, and the governor can give you more judges to prosecute these people, and get them through the system, and get them incarcerated.”
Fortunato also hopes to reform the manner in which homeless encampments are dealt with, without enabling drug and alcohol abuse.
“The Supreme Court said you can’t get homeless people off the street unless there’s a place for them to go,” he said. “And I drafted a bill called the Shelter Act, which is actually modeled on a successful program that’s been used elsewhere. When you give them a secure area, … you give them a tent, a sleeping bag, you have social services, mental health counseling, drug and alcohol counseling, and you have a police presence.”
“The key point there is no drugs, no alcohol,” Fortunato added. “So every time they have these tent cities, for example, when they’re allowing drugs, and alcohol, and you’re not doing anything, you’re just turning it into a Nickelsville. So when I ran the bill, the Democrats said to me, ‘There’s no evidence that denying people drugs and alcohol helps them.’ I said, well, there’s plenty of evidence that says if you allow them to continue with drugs and alcohol, it certainly hurts them. And you can’t take taxpayer dollars and continue to fund somebody’s drug and alcohol addiction.”
Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.