City: Spokane Valley, WA
Education: Graduated from Central Valley High School in 1976. Earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and history from Washington State University in 1983. Earned a master’s degree in school administration from Whitworth University.
Work experience: Salesman at Freedom RV. Elementary school teacher in the Evergreen School District in San Jose, California, 1983-94, and in the Central Valley School District from 1994 to 2016.
Political experience: Appointed to the Spokane Valley planning commission in 2012. Elected state representative in 2014 and 2016. Son of longtime Spokane Valley legislator Bob McCaslin.
Family: Married. Has two children.
- Web: votebobmccaslin.com
On this race:
Washington needs to increase education funding by an estimated $1 billion to fulfill the requirements of a State Supreme Court ruling. How would you suggest coming up with that funding?
Wilhite: It has been estimated that additional revenue for the upcoming biennium is calculated to be $2.8 billion. If this is indeed the case, then there is sufficient funding to meet the Supreme Court’s demand for increased spending for the K-12 system without raising any fees or taxes.
McCaslin: First, we need to prepare Washington students to compete for good, high-paying jobs. Second, know that the Majority Coalition Caucus in the Senate created a budget for 2013-2015 that invested an additional $1.7 billion into K-12 education over the 2011-2013 budget, meeting the state’s four-year balanced budget requirement, without raising taxes. It can be done! We will fund education by living within taxpayer means; after all, it’s their money. To fund education, we need a revenue stream that is predictable, successful businesses in our state and a return of our public lands to state control.
Do you believe the state should continue its moratorium on executions?
Wilhite: The governor has stated that he does not question the guilt of the nine men on death row, so then the judgment of the court needs to be carried out. However, Gov. Inslee says that problems exist in our capital punishment system. If that is the case then we need to review the judicial system and determine how to make sure that equal justice is applied everywhere. Justice must be blind.
McCaslin: No, all this does is increase the costs of appeals for as long as the Governor is in office – it didn’t commute sentences. I would work on judicial reform, which would reduce the timeline for appeals, so they don’t drag on for 10-15 years. I support the death penalty. Would you support higher gas taxes to pay for a transportation package? Why or why not? If yes, what projects would you like to see included in the package?
Wilhite: We must be creative in finding ways to fund transportation projects first before considering raising the gas tax. With the fuel efficiency of cars and the growing interest in electric vehicles, we need to look for new funding sources for transportation. If additional federal taxes are imposed we need to look at how the impact of this increase would affect the state’s economy. There have been several proposals regarding reforms in the Transportation Department that would result in cost savings. These measures should be implemented. Priority should be given to the North Spokane Corridor to complete the project.
McCaslin: No. We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. We have one of the highest gas taxes in the west. Citizens here expect me to work hard and go after common-sense reforms to generate money for a transportation package, not raise taxes. I would only support a transportation package that would seek governmental reforms. I want to see the North-South Freeway completed; I will push for that, but not at the expense of 4th District citizens. The core problem is how the state spends our transportation money.
Should the state continue freezing college tuition? Why or why not? If yes, how would you accomplish that?
Wilhite: The state should continue the freeze on college tuition for at least one more year and then evaluate the economic condition of the state as to funding of additional programs. House Bill 2720 was introduced in the legislature last session. This program called “Pay It Forward” would give another way for students to fund their college education. However, how this bill would be funded needs close scrutiny.
McCaslin: Yes. State universities have increased tuition every year since the Reagan era. If college tuition merely tracked inflation since then, student tuition at WSU would be $3,413 instead of $11,396! The Senate Majority Coalition has put a stop to that for two years. I would support something similar to that. It needs to be something a little more comprehensive that would hold higher education more accountable for its spending, like focusing on administrative salaries.
What should the state do about fishing consumption standards?
Wilhite: To raise the fish consumption standards means that changes to the water quality standards must be made. Substantial PCB reductions have been made since 1979 but the Spokane River Regional Toxic Task Force needs to continue to educate the public and create market incentives to improve water quality. All participants in the Washington economy should be incentivized to improve their environmental infrastructure. Increased water quality standards must be measurable to make sure that we are obtaining proven results. This problem was not created overnight so water quality will not be improved overnight.
McCaslin: Every person in the 4th District wants clean water and for Washington fish to be safe to eat. These standards have to be based on sound science, produce measurable environmental and human-health benefits, and ensure a competitive economic climate. I would vote for that. Some proposals would drive up our sewer bills over 300 percent, and our utility bills would rise by an estimated $2,400 per year. I would not support that.
Do you support the Growth Management Act? Why or why not?
Wilhite: The adoption of the Voluntary Stewardship Program in 2011 gives the 28 counties that decided to participate in the program a better alternative to meet the desired outcomes of growth management, using regulation as the last resort. According to the program, it was to be evaluated in three years to determine if the goals of agricultural and environmental stewardship are being met. Thus, this evaluation needs to be done before deciding what to do with the Growth Management Act.
McCaslin: I do not support the GMA. Each county is different and has different circumstances and resources. Local elected officials should be making these decisions, not the Growth Management Board. They have a one-size-fits-all solution for growth that infringes on citizen’s property rights. I believe many counties should have the choice to opt out, as they don’t have the population, budget and infrastructure to be physically able to do it.
|Bob McCaslin (R)||25,258||57.99 %|
|Diana Wilhite (R)||18,298||42.01 %|
OLYMPIA – Eastern and Western Washington are so different they should be two separate states, says a new bill that would set up a way to split them apart. Sound familiar? Maybe that’s because legislators from east of the Cascades have been saying it – and trying to find a way to divvy up the state – for at least 100 years.
OLYMPIA — Legislators being sworn in for the start of the 2015 Legislature.