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Friday, September 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hopefuls’ Prescriptions For Health Care Differ 6th District Democratic Candidates Diverge On Government’s Role

Judy Personett and Kerry Luciani have a lot in common.

They’re both Democrats. They’re both vying for the party’s nomination for the 6th District Position 1 House seat. They both have long careers in health care and cite health care as their major cause.

But they take very different approaches to healing health care’s woes.

Personett, 55, has volunteered in the Democratic Party since retiring as a Veterans Affairs nurse in 1994. She advocates government help for the poor and elderly.

Luciani, 34, calls himself a middle-of-the-road candidate, a non-politician who wants to cut government waste and regulations.

“It should be a live one, I tell you,” Luciani said of the election.

The survivor will take on Brad Benson, who is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Personett celebrated her birthday the day Rep. Jean Silver announced her retirement from the 6th District. The Republican decided not to seek re-election after 14 years in the Legislature.

Personett, who earned a doctorate in education, worked as a VA nurse for 22 years. Since retiring, Personett has taught, consulted, lectured and written about health-care management issues.

“Where’s our emphasis?” she asked. “It’s on raking in the money. I think that’s got to stop. The more I teach it, the madder I get.”

Personett said government should minimize the business of health care and focus on charitable care.

“I was just appalled at the way health care was going,” she said. “I decided I couldn’t do any more at the bedside. I decided we needed to look at our laws.”

Besides health care, Personett wants to focus on education to prevent crime.

Personett raised $9,115 in campaign contributions as of Wednesday, including $300 from the Washington Democratic Central Committee.

Luciani has raised almost half as much. Most of his donations are small, averaging about $75 each, compared to an average $95 per donation for Personett.

Most of Personett’s big donations are from political associations and labor organizations. Most of Luciani’s are from relatives spread across the country and from California residents.

“I’m really not a politician,” Luciani said.

He should have sore knuckles. As of Tuesday, he said he’s knocked on 12,774 doors - many that didn’t hold registered voters - to hand out campaign literature.

He moved to Spokane two years ago from the San Francisco area, where he worked for Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest health maintenance organization. He’s a health care analyst for Group Health Northwest, where he tries to save money and negotiate contracts with hospitals.

“Essentially what I’ve done is try to create efficiency and save money for any organization I’ve worked for,” he said.

Now Luciani wants to try to do that for voters, helping streamline government and cut regulations that hinder small businesses. He wants to keep property taxes in check, establish tax credits and deferments for certain industries and make the job pie grow instead of redistributing it.

His plans aren’t small - some would even require changes in the state constitution.

“I feel I’m the most sensible and central of the candidates,” Luciani said. “I’m not extremely liberal. I’m not liberal at all. I’m also not a right-wing zealot.”

, DataTimes MEMO: These 3 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. THE JOB The 6th Legislative District snakes from the Moran Prairie up to the Stevens County border, mainly following the Spokane River. It sprawls east to U.S. Highway 395 and west to Rambo Road. State representatives are paid $27,100 a year.

2. KERRY F. LUCIANI (D) Resume: 34, raised in Canada; moved to Spokane from the Bay Area in 1994 … Financial analytic coordinator for Group Health Northwest … Undergraduate degree in industrial engineering, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; master’s in finance, Golden Gate University in San Francisco … Member, Health Care Financial Management Association … Married, 2-year-old daughter. Finances: Raised $4,424 as of Tuesday, including a $2,100 personal loan. Why he’s running: “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m really kind of sick of the fork-tongued politician who lies to people and tells them what they want to hear.” Top priorities: Use health care resources more wisely; improve economy.

3. JUDY PERSONETT (D) Resume: 55, transferred to Spokane VA hospital from California in 1981 … VA nurse, 22 years; now a health care management consultant and adjunct professor at Gonzaga … Nursing degree, DePaul University, Chicago; master’s degree in counseling psychology, Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.; doctorate in educational psychology, University of San Francisco … Member, National Organization for Women … Single, three children. Finances: Raised $9,115 as of Wednesday, including $550 each from the Washington Teamsters Legislative League, Inland Northwest PAC, Spokane Firefighters Local 29 and Laborers International of North America 238. Why she’s running: “I was convinced that the current representation had truly forgotten us, and particularly forgotten the vulnerable seniors and children.” Top priority: “Health care - we need to put the caring back into it.”

These 3 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. THE JOB The 6th Legislative District snakes from the Moran Prairie up to the Stevens County border, mainly following the Spokane River. It sprawls east to U.S. Highway 395 and west to Rambo Road. State representatives are paid $27,100 a year.

2. KERRY F. LUCIANI (D) Resume: 34, raised in Canada; moved to Spokane from the Bay Area in 1994 … Financial analytic coordinator for Group Health Northwest … Undergraduate degree in industrial engineering, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; master’s in finance, Golden Gate University in San Francisco … Member, Health Care Financial Management Association … Married, 2-year-old daughter. Finances: Raised $4,424 as of Tuesday, including a $2,100 personal loan. Why he’s running: “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m really kind of sick of the fork-tongued politician who lies to people and tells them what they want to hear.” Top priorities: Use health care resources more wisely; improve economy.

3. JUDY PERSONETT (D) Resume: 55, transferred to Spokane VA hospital from California in 1981 … VA nurse, 22 years; now a health care management consultant and adjunct professor at Gonzaga … Nursing degree, DePaul University, Chicago; master’s degree in counseling psychology, Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.; doctorate in educational psychology, University of San Francisco … Member, National Organization for Women … Single, three children. Finances: Raised $9,115 as of Wednesday, including $550 each from the Washington Teamsters Legislative League, Inland Northwest PAC, Spokane Firefighters Local 29 and Laborers International of North America 238. Why she’s running: “I was convinced that the current representation had truly forgotten us, and particularly forgotten the vulnerable seniors and children.” Top priority: “Health care - we need to put the caring back into it.”

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