The candidates for 3rd Legislative District state representative, position 1, were asked the same questions on key issues. Here are their answers to two questions, read about their top priorities, plus thoughts on school funding and using a gas tax to fund the North Spokane Corridor online at www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/ sep/24/candidate-qa-benn-riccelli/
What is your position on gun control? What changes would you propose?
Benn: 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.
Riccelli: When approaching gun laws I have two priorities: protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and preventing criminals and domestic abusers from easy access to guns. This is why I support expanding background checks to prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying guns online or in private sales. However, I oppose creating a state registry or other licensing beyond what law enforcement officials already keep on sales from federally recognized dealers.
What is your view of the legalization of marijuana and it becoming available in local stores?
Benn: 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?
Riccelli: As vice chair of the House Health Care Committee and an advisory board member for Daybreak Youth Services, which helps teens fighting addiction, I am deeply concerned about underage substance abuse. Washington voted to legalize marijuana to dissolve the unregulated market and replace it with a safe and transparent marketplace that can restrict underage sales. The revenue generated will be used for regulation, enforcement and substance abuse education – especially for youth. “Business as usual” wasn’t keeping our kids safe. As legalization continues to unfold, I will work hard to ensure the health and safety of our community come first.
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