October 17, 1995 in City

Candidate Targets Social Services Maleng Says He Would Eliminate Third Strike For Sexual Predators

By The Spokesman-Review

Republican Norm Maleng would dismantle the state’s social services agency and take away the third strike from sexual predators if he’s elected governor.

“Voters are demanding a change, not just in the size of government but in the direction of government,” said Maleng, who kicked off his second campaign for governor Monday with a cross-state bus tour.

The King County prosecutor also promised to roll back the business and occupation tax and increase the percentage of the state budget spent on colleges and universities.

At a morning press conference, Maleng showed he is fluent in the rhetoric for the coming campaign. He admitted that some of the finer details have to wait for future “white papers” on some issues.

“People wanted a safety net, government built a hammock,” he said in denouncing welfare in general and the Department of Social and Health Services in particular.

He wants to combine the department’s offices that control welfare payments with the Employment Security Department. That could speed welfare recipients’ return to work, he said.

He would create a separate “Department of Children” that investigated reports of abuse and neglect. He would move the offices of Juvenile Rehabilitation to the Department of Corrections.

The state should increase the percentage of state revenues spent on higher education by 1 percent a year for four years, Maleng said. He would do that by cutting other programs, rather than increasing taxes.

But when asked what programs he would cut to provide revenue for higher education, Maleng replied he would outline those savings later.

He said he would support more choice for public school students and their parents by letting school districts establish alternative schools.

He does not favor at this time a system of vouchers that would let parents use public funds to send children to private schools.

Maleng supported the 1993 Three Strikes Initiative, which requires persons convicted of three violent crimes to be sentenced to life in prison.

The law may be adequate for most violent criminals, he said. “But for predatory sexual offenders, it is one strike too many.”

Maleng estimated that the 1993 law adds about 60 people to the state’s prisons each year. Imprisoning sexual predators for life after two strikes refinement would add about 12 per year.

As a candidate for governor in 1988 and state attorney general in 1992, as well as the prosecutor of the state’s most-populous county, Maleng may be the best known Republican in the race.

Other announced GOP candidates include state Sen. Pam Roach of Auburn, former state Sen. Ellen Craswell of Poulsbo, state Rep. Dale Foreman of Wenatchee and Tacoma attorney Jim Waldo.

, DataTimes

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