Lisa Brown and John Moyer will have plenty to argue about as they compete for north Spokane’s state Senate seat over the next seven months.
But Monday they sounded a remarkably similar theme on welfare reform as Democrat Brown announced she would give up her safe House seat to challenge Republican Moyer.
Spokane needs “a working economy with good jobs,” Brown said in her campaign kickoff speech to about 70 people. “I support raising the minimum wage, but I don’t think that alone is the answer.”
Students need a good education. Schools, union apprentice programs and state job training efforts need to be coordinated. And welfare recipients need affordable child care when they start work, said Brown, an associate professor of economics at Eastern Washington University.
Moyer - who has not formally announced but said Tuesday he will seek re-election - also talked about the need to reform welfare.
“I want people on welfare back to work but not without good jobs and child care,” said Moyer, 73, a longtime physician who has retired from private practice.
Schools need to do a better job of teaching the basics, he said. Spokane should become a model for a state program in which the state splits the cost of a worker’s salary with employers who hire welfare recipients.
Welfare is likely to be a hot topic in the campaign because the Third District has one of the highest number of welfare recipients in the state.
At her campaign announcement Monday, Brown, 39, said she wanted the state to recognize family values by “valuing real families.”
“There’s room for more than one type of family to be considered the norm or the ideal,” said Brown, herself a single mother with a 4-year-old son.
Crime prevention should mean more than arresting more criminals and building more prisons, she said. It also should mean preventing child abuse and neglect, reducing drug and alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy.
“It may take a generation to turn things around,” she said.
With Democrats holding a one-seat majority in the Senate, the race could be critical to either party’s hopes of controlling the chamber next year. Because of that, the Moyer-Brown race is likely to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The district usually elects Democrats, which is a plus for Brown. It usually re-elects incumbents, a plus for Moyer.
On Monday, both candidates decried the high cost of political campaigns and said they hoped to keep spending down.
But neither offered a clear plan to accomplish that. Brown asked supporters to volunteer five hours of their time and five hours’ wages to her campaign. She said she’d consider a limit on how much to spend after she can “figure what is a reasonable amount.”
Moyer said he would consider placing a cap on spending as long as it wasn’t so low that he’d be unable to get his message to voters. He wasn’t ready yet to estimate what that limit could be.
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