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Spin Control

Posts tagged: gubernatorial debate

Triple-header debate night

Political junkies can watch a debate triple-header tonight, or as much of three different matchups as they can stand.

The second presidential debate, this one a Town Hall style matchup, starts tonight at 6 p.m. Pacific. The 90-minute debate is live on the three major networks, the cable news channels and C-Span. If you have the TV on, you'll actually have to work a little bit not to see it.

At 8 p.m., the final Washington gubernatorial debate takes place in Seattle at KING-TV, and will be carried in Spokane on KREM-TV Channel 2, which is part of the Belo network. At 9 p.m., KSPS-TV Channel 7 will air the U.S. Senate debate; it was taped last Friday afternoon (our story is here) and aired in Seattle that evening, but this is the first time it has been broadcast in Spokane. (Editor's note: An early version of this post listed the wrong time for the Senate debate.)

Democrats are gathering to watch the presidential and gubernatorial debate at the Obama campaign Spokane field office, 239 W. Main. No word yet on a Republican gathering to watch the festivities.

McKenna v. Inslee, round 3, in Yakima

Rob McKenna began his opening statement in Spanish. Jay Inslee talked of “bucking hay” and working to pass a levy to build a local high school.

And while Washington’s two gubernatorial candidates mostly continued long-running arguments over jobs, health care and school funding, Tuesday night’s debate in Yakima at least gave them a chance to air new disagreements over immigration and driver’s licenses.

Appearing before the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce which are meeting in the Central Washington city, state Attorney General McKenna managed a long introductory comment in Spanish about how happy he was to be appearing in front of a group with which he’d previously worked.

Former U.S. Rep. Inslee stuck with a simple “Buenas noches” before mentioning he’d been a farmer, lawyer and legislator in the area.

Despite the new venue, and some new topics, the candidates exhibited some of the same animus. Asked about solutions to the region’s farm labor shortage, Inslee said it would help to have a governor who understood the issue.

“We have to have leaders who won’t use immigration as a wedge issue. One of the parties uses immigration, and the fear of immigration, as a wedge issue,” said the Democratic nominee, who clearly meant the Republicans.

Immigration is primarily a federal issue, McKenna said. If Inslee was really interested in it, “he should’ve stayed in Congress…rather than quitting, halfway through his term.”

Asked whether the state should change current law and only issue driver’s licenses to legal residents, McKenna said yes: “The idea that you can obtain a driver’s license … without proving you’re a legal resident of the country does not make sense.”

Inslee said it should only require that a person applying for a license “is who he says” and lives in Washington. “I don’t think we should make it impossible to drive.”

As usual, they clashed over the possible expansion of Medicaid, which provides health care for low-income residents and could be expanded under the federal Affordable Care Act if the state chooses. It’s a good idea, said Inslee, because the cost of people without health insurance is really a “hidden tax” passed on to people who have insurance. He managed to sneak in a mention that his sons were born at the local hospital.

Treating the expansion like it’s “free money” and growing Medicaid to cover one in three state residents would be a mistake, countered McKenna. “Medicaid is a good safety net, but it is not insurance, it’s welfare,” he said, accusing Inslee of a “Washington, D.C., mentality.”

Both insisted that they would find more money for public schools without raising taxes, although Inslee said McKenna is already suggesting a state increase in the property tax. McKenna replied that’s really a tax “swap” – an accounting maneuver involving state and local property tax levels, suggested by legislators of both parties to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling. It’s Democrats like Inslee who have the record of raising taxes in recent years, McKenna countered.

Inslee v. McKenna, tonight at 7

Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee go mano-a-mano tonight at 7 p.m. in Yakima in front of the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce convention.

It will be the third gubernatorial debate, the second since the primary election, and the first in Yakima that anyone can remember.

You can watch it live on KSPS-TV, Channel 7 on your TV dial, or on the website of the co-sponsor Yakima Herald here.

And of course you can read all about it in tomorrow's Spokesman-Review, and on spokesman.com

Gov debate: Who’ll bring more change?

VANCOUVER – Washington voters unhappy with their state government won’t see much change unless they stop a 28-year string of Democrats in the governor’s office, the Republican attorney general contended in a debate here Wednesday night.
“I’m not the one who’s been in Olympia for the last seven years,” the Democratic former U.S. representative congressman countered.
In their first debate since the primary, Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee clashed over coal trains, the need for a supermajority on tax increases and the need for light rail on a new bridge over the Columbia River. . .

To read the rest of this post, click here to go inside the blog.

McKenna to Inslee: two-thirds majority

Why do you think the two-thirds majority is undemocratic when voters have approved it repeatedly

Inslee: I believe in democracy. It gives people who vote no more power than people who vote yes.

McKenna: Voters are going to have the fourth opportunity, likely to pass it again. He'd be likely to overturn the voters will again. Another example of people in charge of Olympia for years not getting it.

People of this state have the right to decide how they're going to govern.

Rapid fire questions:

Huskies or Cougars: Both Huskies

DB Cooper dead or alive: Both dead

Aplets or Cotlets: Both Applets

Umbrella in rain: No Inslee, Yes McKenna

Clams or Mussels Clams Inslee; mussels, McKenna

Privatize liquor working:

Wazzu vs. Oregon ducks? Both Cougs.

Gov debate question 4: Coal trains

Where do you stand on coal ports

McKenna: The state does not get to stop coal shipments, that's government by federal law. They need to go through strict environmental standards… People in ports are hurting, they're desperate for good-paying jobs, they want these jobs recognizing the projects need to meet strict standards. Wouldn't we rather have these jobs when they're going to come here or go to Canada.

Inslee: There are pluses and minuses. Pluses in the jobs for construction and in the ports. Some minuses from long trains bisecting communities. In Washougal, they're concerned about 2-mile long trains running through town 18 times a day. We need to have a cummulative assessment, up and down the line, and for multiple ports. That is the direction we are going.

McKenna: I agree the transportation impacts have to be analyzed. If the ports are here, we are more likely to get crossing improvements.

Inslee: It's not a slam dunk they'd go to Canada. It costs more money there

Gov debate Question 3: Education

Would you be brave enough raise taxes for education?

McKenna: The voters have been very clear on not supporting higher taxes. Not raising tax rates is not the same as raising tax revenues. Revenues are projected to go up. We need to prioritize. (Democrats) running Olympia for the last 28 years haven't directed the increases to education.

Inslee: I have a plan to find a way to get more financial resources for education. We are first in the high-tech jobs that we have, but 46th in production of students to take those jobs. I've focused like a laser beam to get people back to work, that will create revenue.

What about higher education?
Inslee: We need a job creation program to create more resources and have money for colleges. We need to use the Lean Management that businesses use and put them to work in government….and take that money and put it into higher education and K-12.

We need to bring down health care costs or it will “eat us alive.”

McKenna: Talk about higher revenues by having more people employed. But that hasn't happened in Olympia. The people running Olympia have cut funding for higher education and ratcheted up tuition…They've cut the share going to higher education from about 16 percent 20 years ago to about 8 percent today. We need to get back to at least 50-50 (between the state and education.) We need to dedicate more of the state revenue that we have.

Inslee: I've heard my opponent talk about giving money back to education. First time Republicans had control of the Legislature, they cut money out of education… The fact is, as an attorney general, six times in a row, he asked for additional money for his bureaucracy while we were leaning out colleges. As for numbers, we are going to do hundreds of millions of dollars on lean

McKenna: I did not support their education cuts. I called Republican leaders and said any cuts to education would be wrong. When we asked for more money it was for work the Legislature had asked us to take on.

Question 3: What will you do about Medicaid

Inslee: I'm glad the lawsuit was rejected by the Supreme Court…Breast cancer survivors can get access to health care. On Medicaid expansion, we know everyone is paying about $1,000 a year to pay for people who don't have insurance…a hidden tax in our insurance bill.

I believe we should use Uncle Sam to take that burden off us.

McKenna: My mother had breast cancer…and I deeply resent politicizing breast cancer. Supreme court didn't reject the case. They told us we were right on taking away Medicaid funding, and the individual health insurance mandate is not constluttional under the commerce clause. Instead they called it a tax.

Nearly one in three Washington residents would be eligible for Medicaid. Is that the safety net we want? I think that is not the vision we want.

Inslee: That's like Custer won the Little Big Horn. If this lawsuit had succeeded, women with breast cancer would not be able to buy health insurance.

McKenna: Women of the state would not get to choose the policy they want. Now the federal government gets to tell you what kind of insurance you get.

Gov debate question 2: How will you increase jobs in SW Washington

Inslee: Building the bridge is one of the most direct things we can do.

I want to build a working Washington. I want to get up every single morning figuring out how to jump start the economy. I have a plan on the internet. It's not partisan. Need a research and development tax credit. Innovation based businesses need to get access to research from Washington State University. I want to remove those restrictions.

McKenna: 7 percent of the jobs have gone away. I remember what it was like when my dad was unemployed (in the 1970s) Focus on private sector job creation. They need ongoing relief: B&O tax relief for small businesses. Regulatory relief.  Workers comp. Unemployment insurance relief. Not another agency..

Inslee: Washington state's very unique … on airplanes and software. We need to lead on clean energy and agriculture. We need to protect intellectual property.

They don't need government picking winners and losers. They need relief across the board.

Question: What's the problem with your opponent's plan.

McKenna: ;It's not the state's job to structure the economy.

Inslee: The plan for Labor and Industries is not going to fly, it's been rejected three times… We need a governor to do some common-sense things…like access to broadband. I'd help consumers and businesses get access to financing…We are not picking winners, except for Washington..

Governor’s debate question 1: Columbia River Crossing

VANCOUVER —  Do you support the new bridge over the Columbia River and how will you pay for it?

Rob McKenna: Everyone agrees the crossing is too important to jeopardize. important for regional and national commerce. … How it's going to be paid for. The heaviest burden falls on Washington taxpayers. Clearly the burden will fall more on washington commuters than oregon's. We need to slow down and make sure we have a sustainable plan. It's one-third each from Washington, Oregon and feds. Need to slow down and have a good plan.

Jay Inslee: It is a national imperative for the economic wellbeing of this country. .. Failure is not an option in building this bridge. All of us are going to do some hard work on building some consensus on the financing package. Clark County residents need to weigh in… This bridge will not be built unless we figure out how to get light rail on it…I will do that.

McKenna: Light rail is not necessarily the priority of Washington. It is in Oregon. We'll see in November.

Inslee: It is a reality of federal law. We'll need to find a consensus on light rail.

Governor’s debate: Could be a slight delay.

VANCOUVER — Waiting for Paul Ryan to finish his speech to the GOP convention before the debate goes live on Portland television.

Gov debate at 8 p.m.

VANCOUVER — Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna are set to debate at 8 p.m. at the Washington State University campus here. Organizers are checking the lights and sound levels and tossing out practice questions.

First question: What will you do about the Columbia River crossing. That's the big transportation issue here as commuters move back and forth between Vancouver and Portland.

It was also the first question guessed in a carpool full of reporters driving down from Olympia. We also guessed it might be the second and third question, too.

We'll see if it's the first question in the debate.

Format is pretty simple: No opening statements. Alternating first answers to questions from a moderator, with each candidate getting 90 seconds to respond. Each candidate gets to ask the other two questions.

Debate scheduled to last one hour.

One of the organizers said they were happy but a bit surprised to land the debate a few weeks ago. The last gubernatorial debate in Vancouver was in 2004, she said..

Wi-Fi connection seems good, so Spin Control will live blog the debate.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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