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Senator Mullet on Inslee endorsing opponent: ‘I thought he’d stay out of it’

Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) represents the 5th Legislative District. (Photo courtesy of Elect Mark Mullet)

Incumbent Senator Mark Mullet (D – Issaquah) is facing a bit of an uphill battle with Democratic opponent Ingrid Anderson in Washington State’s 5th Legislative District, who recently received the backing of Governor Jay Inslee. Mullet had a recent spat with Inslee over creating a special legislative session, and joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss.

Was Mullet hoping for Inslee’s endorsement as someone who doesn’t really back some of the policies the way his opponent does?

“I did not ask for the governor’s endorsement. I acknowledged going in that we had our differences, so I wasn’t going to put him in that situation. But I also kind of thought he would just stay out of it, and he made a different choice,” Mullet said.

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Part of the issue stems from the fact that Mullet has been one of the few Democrats asking for a special legislative session.

“We can’t govern the state right now unless we get down there and start solving these problems. With the unemployment security claim backlog, it’s really frustrating to keep telling people we’re working on it, but the reality is we gotta get down there and fix this stuff,” he said.

“Now the issue is how do we get resources and provide the support they (Employment Services Department) need, so we can try to get this thing caught up as quickly as possible, and I think the Legislature should be involved in solving that problem.”

Why does he think the governor is so hesitant to have a legislative session?

“I think there’s groups who are nervous that if we get down there for an election, that whether it’s their favorite program or who knows what, they have a fear of spending cuts, and I don’t know if there’s another way we can solve our challenge. We have to make difficult decisions and prioritize our budgeting, and I think that we’re gonna have to go down there and find ways to reduce spending,” he said.

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“Otherwise, we can’t balance the books. So I just think they’re hoping they can delay and delay and then maybe get tax increases after the election.”

Mullet says much of the pressure is coming from special interest groups.

“I think it’s the special interest groups who are really trying to protect their programs and are nervous about reductions in spending that are putting a lot of pressure on people to not have us down there … Going back to the spring, we had the Washington Federation of State Employees make it very clear that they were scheduled to receive a 3% pay increase on July 1. And their fear was that if we had a special session in June, that pay increase wouldn’t go into effect. And case in point, we didn’t have a special session in June,” he said.

“I was advocating that we not have that pay increase going to effect. I know the cities and towns at the local level were having to layoff staff, cut pay, and I thought the optics of having state employees receive a pay increase while other public employees across our state were going to do the opposite just didn’t seem fair.”

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.

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