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Candidates for governor get friendly

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

It was all smiles and hugs between two gubernatorial candidates on Wednesday at a political forum in Federal Way.

Former state senator Dino Rossi, the Republican candidate, and King County Executive Ron Sims, one of the Democrats, were friendly to each other and made not-so-sly comments about state Attorney General Christine Gregoire’s absence.

“It’s usually just the two of us (at these events),” Rossi told the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce audience.

Not so, said Morgan Brilliant, a spokesman for Gregoire’s campaign. He pointed to a list of 21 recent events that Gregoire has attended since September and said she will attend a candidate event in Tacoma on July 21.

Gregoire couldn’t attend the Federal Way forum because she had a court appearance scheduled, Brilliant said.

Sims and Rossi spent about an hour answering questions from the audience and plugging their platforms at Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club.

Sims, the King County Executive, sees three major issues: Education, renovating the state’s tax system and transportation. Illustrating the last point, he was late to the event because of traffic congestion.

The state’s current tax system isn’t working, Sims said. He favors a state income tax with some provisions. One of those is altering the state business tax to collect on the profits of a sale and not the total dollars of a sale.

“They are paying a grossly unfair tax,” Sims said.

Property tax needs to drop and all or most of the sales tax needs to go, he added.

Rossi pointed to his private and public careers for why he is best for the state’s highest office. A commercial property owner, Rossi said he understands what business owners want from state government -— specifically, fewer needless regulations and assistance navigating government bureaucracy. He wants to establish a state office to do both tasks.

“My job (as governor) is to create the environment so you folks can compete,” Rossi said.

The audience applauded Rossi for that statement, and he had all the

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