Fourth District Rep. Mike Padden is House majority floor leader and chairs the Law and Justice Committeee. He holds political science and law degrees from Gonzaga University. A lawyer in private practice, he is married with five children.
Mike Padden believes government has undermined traditional families, and as chairman of the House Law and Justice Committeee he’s in a position to do something about it.
Padden, 48, also is a key player in efforts to require longer sentences for violent criminals, deny “good time” reductions in sentences, and yank amenities in prison, including TV.
His politics are shaped and inspired by his belief in God and family.
“I try not to wear my religion on my sleeve,” said Padden, a Catholic. “But it’s a big part of who I am. I am not going to say I am two kinds of people: religious on Sunday, and someone else when they are here in the Legislature.
“People try to say religious and traditional values are not part of the political debate, but the public doesn’t buy that. We need to get back to basic core values.”
For Padden, that means respecting the importance of the family and limiting the role of government - in some cases.
Government does have a role to play in making divorce harder to get, and in restricting abortion, Padden believes.
He plans to support legislation this session to reform the state’s no-fault divorce law, Padden said.
“Divorce is too easy. I think you should at least have to have a reason, and take a little time and have counseling as to the effect of divorce on children. There has to be more accountability than just saying ‘I’m having a midlife crisis, I’m outta here.”’
He also supports requiring informed consent and parental notification or consent before an abortion.
Cutting taxes to allow more parents to stay home instead of work if they choose also is important to him. So are policies that allow people to work from home, “to tend the home fires a little more.”
Now more than ever, Padden feels support for his views.
“The ‘60s anything-goes philosophy has hurt us tremendously, with the high divorce rate, the number of kids born out of wedlock. A lot of people, whether they are religious or not, are saying, ‘something is wrong here.’
“It used to be they’d say, ‘Oh you just want to go back to Ozzie and Harriet,’ but now even Democrats are saying, ‘Hey maybe they had something and we ought to go back to it.”’
MEMO: Also see the story under the headline “Republicans prepare to turn plans into law.”