Ellen Craswell or Gary Locke. What voter could ask for a clearer choice?
Both Craswell, the GOP nominee, and Locke, the Democrats’ pick, have extensive political experience.
She served 16 years in the state Legislature. He served 11 years in the House, including five as chairman of the House budget-writing committee. Locke is now the King County Executive.
Beyond their time spent in the political trenches, the two have little in common.
Craswell, 64, a Christian conservative, says government should be aligned with Biblical principles.
Locke says religion and politics don’t mix.
Craswell wants to eliminate three of the state’s four largest sources of money by repealing the business and occupation tax, motor vehicle excise tax and the state share of the property tax within four years.
Locke says he wants to lift the state tax and spending lid to allow school budgets to increase along with enrollment.
He favors rolling back the business and occupation tax over time, and targeted tax breaks to encourage businesses to expand and provide employee benefits.
Craswell would repeal the Growth Management Act, which she says takes authority for land use planning away from local government. Locke would fine-tune the act to give more deference to local decisions.
The candidates also take very different approaches to education.
Craswell believes many state mandates, including education reform and bilingual education, should be repealed.
Parents and school boards should direct spending and policies, not the state, Craswell says.
Locke believes in the state’s education reform law, which sets aside time for teacher planning, and sets higher standards for student achievement.
Locke is also a social liberal, while Craswell opposes abortion for any reason except to save the life of the mother. She also opposes a gay civil rights bill and is against same-sex marriages or allowing gay people to adopt children or be foster parents.
Locke supports legislation to protect gay people from discrimination in housing or employment, and would sign a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
He does not support any restriction of abortion rights.
On taxes, the difference between the two again is stark.
Locke voted for one of the largest tax increases in state history in 1993 to help plug a $1.8 billion deficit. He also introduced three bills to create a state income tax, which Locke now calls a dead issue.
As governor, Locke says he would support increasing the state gas tax to pay for road improvements.
Craswell opposes tax increases for any reason.
She also opposes health care reform. Locke voted for the landmark 1993 law that required employers to pay up to half the cost of providing benefits for their employees.
It was repealed in 1995.
When the state takes up welfare reform in the coming legislative session, the two would again stake out opposite positions.
Locke says he supports a five-year, lifetime limit on benefits. But he would insist on exemptions for people in job training or education programs, or unable to work.
He opposes a so-called family cap, which would forbid increases in the welfare cash grant for any children born to women already on welfare.
Craswell believes true charity is voluntary and community-based.
She would like to see welfare abolished as a state-run program, but knows that probably won’t happen.
Instead she supports an 18- to 24-month limit on benefits, and programs that provide incentives and support for church and community-based assistance to the poor.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Where they stand …
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