Incumbent Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) is running against Michael Curtis, a Republican from Redmond, to retain position 1 in the 45th Legislative District. The 45th district encompasses part of King County, including Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish and Woodinville.
1. Please provide a brief biography.
Roger Goodman: Rep. Roger Goodman is completing his sixth term in the Washington State Legislature. Goodman is chair of the House Public Safety Committee, with oversight of the criminal justice system. He is also a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee. His legislative work has focused on reducing drunk driving and the harm from domestic violence, and also expanding early childhood education programs. Nationally, Goodman serves as vice chair of the Law and Criminal Justice Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Public Safety Task Force of the Council of State Governments. An attorney and criminal justice expert, Goodman directed Washington’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission in the late 1990s and he previously served in the 1980s and 1990s on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as Legislative director, counsel and chief of staff for two senior Democratic Members of Congress. Goodman is admitted to practice law in Washington State and Rhode Island, the First and Ninth Federal Circuits and the United States Supreme Court. He received an A.B. (artium baccalaureus) degree as a Senior Fellow from Dartmouth College; a Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University; and a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University, where he concentrated on social policy issues, including criminal justice, public health, education reform and economic security.
Michael Curtis: I was raised in Texas, moved here in 2000. It was here that I found my home. I am a technical cloud architect and have solved some of the biggest issues of our industry. I want to do the same for our state. Married for 14 years, a father of an amazing daughter and son, we have a highly culturally diverse family, and I cherish how that same diversity is reflected in this state. I am known for my direct and blunt discourse that is tempered with and eagerness to learn and understand everyone’s perspective. We have some great successes behind us and some challenges still ahead. To solve them I will use the same methods I have employed in the past; trust in the knowledge of my neighbor, respect for the views of those that I may not agree. Seeking the value of being challenged on my perspective, and believing in the principle that the best ideas survive all forms of scrutiny.
2. Do you believe that taxes are calculated fairly to fund education in our state? If not, what would you change?
Goodman: Residents in the Central Puget Sound, and especially in our area in East King County, are unfairly burdened with a disproportionate share of property taxes compared with the rest of the state. Last year’s legislative “deal” to boost public school funding — which I and every other Eastside legislator voted against — increased property taxes by 25 percent, even 30 percent in our area while property taxes declined elsewhere in the state. People on fixed incomes are in jeopardy of being priced out of their own neighborhoods and that’s not fair. Our area’s residents are paying more than their fair share of property taxes. In the next legislative session, we must find a means to restore more equity in the property tax burden across the state and we must generate revenue from other sources instead.
Curtis: Fair taxation? It depends on your definition. It’s true that people with the highest incomes in this state do pay the lowest percentages of those incomes in taxes, but states should not me taxing their citizens based on their success, should they? Is that fair? Most of this issue of “fair taxation” is a narrative created by a group that wants an income tax. They don’t discuss a reduction on taxes for lower incomes yet we have the highest revenues in the state’s history with more coming. No, the narrative is the same “we need more.” Why? Because those who want a “progressive income tax” know it gives them “exemption power,” the power to build loopholes (see IRS). Just look at the I-1631, the “carbon fee” initiative that they say taxes “big polluters” but exempts private jets and yachts, coal plants but not cars… is that fair?
3. Home prices and property taxes have been on the rise. How would you promote housing diversity and affordability?
Goodman: Our regional economy is booming more than any other area in North America, as hundreds of new people move here each week for high-wage opportunities. We are a victim of our own success, however, with snarling traffic and limited housing available. Although matters of housing and land use are local, the state government can still play a role in promoting more housing diversity and affordability. By generously endowing the state’s Public Works Assistance Account (or “Trust Fund”), the state can help local jurisdictions construct affordable housing, along with streamlining permitting for such projects. The state could also provide a voucher program to prevent homelessness by subsidizing rent for renters who are eligible for federal HUD Section 8 housing but who are still on waiting lists. To promote the construction of affordable condominiums, the Legislature must reform civil liability laws to protect developers from frivolous lawsuits. I will be working on that measure in the next legislative session.
Curtis: Home prices are driven largely by the cost of regulation, forced compliance with GMA, and bully tactics. Ideally if you really want to solve the long-term issue, dissolve the GMA and restructure it so that the power isn’t centralized the way it is. Secondly, we need to seriously reconsider mass transit. ST3 [Sound Transit 3] has been a continual money pit, that has reduced our transportation purchasing power and replaced it with a promise of 1900s technology to be completed by 2040. We need transportation that is future forward, not politically driven.
4. Mass shootings, suicides and school security are big concerns in our communities. When it comes to guns, how do you balance safety with constitutional rights?
Goodman: The guarantee of an individual’s firearm rights is much stronger under Washington state’s constitution than under the federal constitution’s Second Amendment, so the balance between firearms safety and firearms rights is particularly delicate. As a participant in this year’s legislative Mass Shootings Working Group, we have discovered how difficult — or impossible — it is to predict a mass shooting or find any useful patterns. The most practical approach to gun safety is to limit access to guns by the wrong people (convicted felons, domestic abusers, the seriously mentally ill, impulsive adolescents) rather than attempt to ban certain types of firearms. It is incumbent on us to institute common-sense reforms of our gun laws, including expanded background checks, raising the age of purchase/possession of long guns to age 21, criminal liability for gun owners who let guns fall into the hands of young people who have caused harm with the guns. The hardening and video monitoring of school entrances is an unfortunate necessity, as are properly trained school resource officers.
Curtis: Some horrible events recently have caused an uptick in the news cycle, but statically we still have a 400 percent decrease in school shootings since 1992. However, the solution is never going to be to ban things, any more than banning drugs worked in the drug war. If you want to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands, you must first focus on a universal ID system. To do that, the Democrats could embrace a state digital ID that would act as a firearm purchasing ID and a voter ID, both would have the same level of scrutiny.