Editor’s note: Candidates’ answers to these questions in the 23rd District, Position 1 race with Tarra Simmons and Janell Hulst appeared in the print edition of the Kitsap Sun ahead of the Aug. 2 primary. Visit kitsapsun.com to read them.
Democratic State Rep. Drew Hansen is seeking his sixth elected term, while Republican contender Paige Jarquin is hoping to unseat him on Nov. 8.
Hansen, an attorney who in 2019 expressed interest in the state Attorney General’s Office, will face Jarquin, a business owner who has lived in Kitsap County since 2018.
The Kitsap Sun asked the candidates to answer seven questions. Hansen’s answers appear below; Jarquin did not provide answers to the Kitsap Sun.
Current occupation: Lawyer/Legislator
Previously elected experience: Washington House of Representatives, 23rd Legislative District, 2011-present
Campaign contributions: $153,807.79
Q: Inflation is a challenge for many. What should the Legislature do to help those struggling with the rising cost of gas and food?
A: We should fully fund the Working Families Tax Credit to give working families some tax relief from gas, food, rent, and other costs. We should also look to enforce laws against price-gouging and anticompetitive practices.
Q. Police reform legislation raised the barrier for law enforcement to engage in vehicle chases of those suspected of a crime. Do you support the legislation as is, or do you think it should be changed?
A: I support changing this legislation. We need to balance the ability of law enforcement to do their jobs against the risk to bystanders from high-speed chases, especially where there may be other ways to identify a vehicle and arrest the driver after the vehicle is stationary — when the danger to pedestrians and other drivers is long past. We did not get this balance right in the current law, and I support a revision.
Q: Should the Legislature make drug possession a felony, as it was before the state Supreme Court found Washington’s law on simple possession unconstitutional?
A: When law enforcement (or anyone) finds someone using small amounts of drugs, the response should be to try to get that person into drug treatment. I absolutely do not support locking people up for long periods of time for possessing small amounts of drugs: that doesn’t solve the drug addiction problem but it costs a fortune.
Q: Should access to abortion be included in the Washington State Constitution?
A: Absolutely. Access to abortion is a basic human right, and we should recognize it in the Washington State Constitution.
Q: Washington state has struggled to provide beds for psychiatric patients, especially youth, and Western State has a waiting list of patients from the criminal court system. What can be done to ensure access to mental health care?
A: The University of Washington is constructing a behavioral health teaching hospital, which will provide learning opportunities for mental health clinicians and direct service for people in crisis. I strongly support more opportunities to train mental health professionals and more access to community mental health services.
Q: What can the Legislature do to address rising homelessness in Washington’s cities?
A: The Legislature needs to provide direct funding, as it has done in the past, to help communities house people who are housing-unstable. Kitsap County recently completed Pendleton Place, a 72-unit “supportive housing” facility where residents can access mental health, job placement, and other services all under one roof. I was thrilled to attend the ribbon-cutting of this facility and I hope we see many more facilities like this across the state.
Q: What can the Legislature do to help ferry service to ferry-dependent communities become reliable again?
A: The Legislature passed (and I supported) the strongest ferry funding bill in the last decade. Unfortunately, we are dealing with a global shortage of trained marine officers, which has hit Washington State particularly hard after a wave of retirements during COVID. We need to bring flexibility to the recruitment and working conditions of Washington State Ferries personnel so that we can compete successfully with the many other employers who are trying to hire maritime workers.
Campaign contributions: $33,774.91