A former King County prosecutor became the latest Republican to get into the race for the U.S. Senate on Thursday, saying he wants simpler taxes and better conditions for the military.
Chris Bayley, 59, said his most pressing goals are to raise money and get better known so he can have a chance to beat Rep. Linda Smith of Vancouver in the GOP primary and Sen. Patty Murray in November.
“My emphasis through March is on fund-raising,” said Bayley. “We have to re-establish my identity.”
Bayley served as King County prosecutor from 1971 to 1978, then worked as a private attorney and a corporate lawyer for Burlington Northern. He later worked in international finance and consulting and helped run political campaigns.
In his announcement, Bayley set out general goals on taxes, education and the military. In a later interview, he acknowledged that he couldn’t be specific on some points.
He wants to abolish the current tax system and replace it with a simpler, flatter tax. Most people should be able to fill out a one-page tax form, he said.
The details of that system should be worked out in debates next year in Congress, he said.
“I’m not promoting any of the various tax (proposals) right now,” he said. “I’m not being specific. I want to see what happens.”
Most families that own farms or businesses should not have to pay inheritance taxes when the owner dies and the operation is passed on to heirs, he said. He isn’t sure, however, what the cutoff should be for the size or value of that business.
Most of the money the federal government spends on education should go to schools as grants with no strings attached, Bayley said. Eventually, the federal government should do away with the Department of Education, he said.
“The way you start is by taking the money away,” he said.
Bayley said the military needs more respect and a clearer mission, and said he would seek a spot on the Armed Services Committee if elected.
He said he wouldn’t comment on the situation in the Persian Gulf or Bosnia right now because he didn’t have the facts that a member of Congress would.
Although he wasn’t ready to say how he would sort out conflicts between requests for more equipment and for better benefits and higher pay for the troops, Bayley said the troops need “more attention.”
“We have to make sure they are adequately paid,” he said.
Although Bayley criticized Murray in his announcement, it is Smith who presents his first challenge.
Earlier this week, she called him the latest candidate put up by establishment Republicans who believe she can’t be controlled.
Through Dec. 31, Smith had raised just over $1 million and had some $365,000 in the bank. Bayley’s fund-raising began in earnest Thursday.