Party: Independent R
City: Spokane, WA
Occupation: Co-owner of day-care center
His words: "I don’t think a lot has changed. I still don’t see a City Council that’s focused on the issues that I’ve heard about over the years, being active in the community."
His pitch: A long history as a district resident and previous work lobbying City Hall for school safety measures in the northeast are both reasons voters should support Benn's candidacy, he said. He criticized the current City Council for focusing too much on ideological issues and being forced to backtrack on certain decisions when he said they stepped outside their authority. More needs to be done to inform residents in the district about planned construction ahead of completion of the North Spokane Corridor highway, he said, and the homelessness issue in the town should be addressed by restricting the flow of illicit drugs onto Spokane's streets.
Work experience: Owns a child day care center, Little Precious Ones, with his wife in the Minnehaha neighborhood of North Spokane.
Education: Graduated from Faith Christian Academy in 1996. Received associate degrees from Spokane Community College in general business, business management and marketing in 2005. Received child development associate’s degree from Blue Prints for Learning in 2011.
Political experience: Defeated in 2017 campaign for the northeast district seat by City Councilwoman Kate Burke. Defeated in 2012 and 2014 general elections as Republican candidate to represent Legislative District 3 in Washington House of Representatives, both to Marcus Riccelli. Current chairman of Minnehaha Neighborhood Council. Led effort to challenge day-care regulations that he says are duplicative and burdensome.
Family: Married. Two adult sons, and a daughter in high school.
On this race:
What is your top priority and the main reason why you are running?
My top priority is to represent and advocate for the rights of the citizens of the 3rd District regardless of party positions. I am concerned with maintaining small businesses for a vibrant economy. I am running for office because I believe I can bring fresh ideas that represent the average citizen to Olympia. As a husband, a father and small business owner, I am concerned about families, education and our local small businesses. My goal is to make Washington state family and business friendly.
The McCleary vs. State ruling calls for legislators to move toward fully funding basic education by 2018. How would you suggest legislators find money to do so?
Compulsory education is from age 8 through grade 12. My research of education systems in other states and countries shows that we can do a better job with the funding that’s already available. The funding is there but it’s not making it to the classrooms. Far too many dollars are spent on things that don’t directly educate our children. Instead, it’s widely distributed to countless public-private partnerships, contracted entities and other government agencies. These funds do not make it to the classroom for student use. Education funding is so complicated even accountants can’t tell you where the money is going.
Would you support a gas tax to help pay for the completion of the North Spokane Corridor and other infrastructure repairs?
The north-south freeway has been a political football for 50 years. Because Western Washington politics dictate spending priorities, funds for the freeway completion have been allocated several times yet every time the funds have been used elsewhere. I will oppose higher gas taxes for families in one of the highest gas-taxed states in the country. For years, Spokane residents have invested in Western Washington projects. It’s time Spokane gets its fair share of highway dollars without additional taxes. Completion of the freeway is important because it will bring jobs in product distribution and manufacturing.
Gun control is a hot discussion topic across the nation. Are things fine the way they are or would you like to make changes? If so, which changes?
In recent gun incidents, the main issue was mental health. Improving health insurance to cover access to mental health care and tracking of mentally ill patients will regulate the most dangerous population. In several incidents, the guns were licensed and the background checks were completed. Strengthening families who can report and ask for help has reduced violence more than regulations.
What is your view of the legalization of marijuana and it becoming available in local stores?
I am concerned about underage usage now that retailers will be advertising the product. My experience in Olympia has shown me that the legalization of marijuana made every governmental agency appear to have the munchies for new programs paid for by marijuana taxes. I saw a plethora of bills grabbing for these tax dollars. However, the cost of the bureaucracy being constructed to control the sale of marijuana means there will be no tax money left. Actually, I believe there will be a deficit. If it wasn’t controlled when illegal, how can we control it now that it’s legal?
|Marcus Riccelli (D)||11,602||57.71 %|
|Tim Benn (I)||6,900||34.32 %|
|Randy McGlenn II (L)||1,603||7.97 %|