Jack Walsh is running for Legislative District 30, State Representative Pos. 2.
Candidate’s name: Jack Walsh
Occupation: Small Business Owner
1. Why are you running for the Legislature?
For many years, I have been deeply involved in the community and have actively worked on building a better place to live, raise a family and do business. Although I have helped many others run for office, I have had no desire to do so myself until recently.
The ever-increasing tax burden on families and small businesses, the growing homelessness crisis, which in reality is an addiction and mental health crises, and the continual intrusion by government into our personal lives, our families and our businesses has made me realize I can no longer stand on the sidelines. I am committed to do all in my power to bring greater integrity, common sense, and fiscal soundness to Olympia.
2. Will you pursue/support any state legislation for reforming police departments?
We need to seek to have the best quality and most highly trained law enforcement officers in all of our agencies. There needs to be continual training in communication skills, conflict resolution and de-escalation, recognizing mental illness, promoting voluntary compliance, etc. Defunding the police is not the answer. Training, which is essential, would be one of the first things cut if law enforcement budgets were defunded.
3. How do you plan to prioritize racial equity in Washington?
Greater equity will be achieved through greater economic opportunity. Prior to the COVID crisis, Black and Hispanic unemployment rates were near the lowest on record and the gap between them and the white unemployment rate had shrunk as well. It is critical that in the rush to address the reduction in state revenues that measures are not taken that will further hamper the economy. As businesses once again flourish, economic opportunity will be restored.
Another factor impacting economic opportunities for minorities is the disparity in high school graduation rates between races. A significant step to increase graduation rates would be to provide parents with a greater choice in schools, including charter schools. Families should be allowed to place their children in the school that works best for them.
There should also be a greater emphasis in high school on not just college preparation but also training for the trades, by preparing students for trade schools, apprenticeships and other opportunities. Schools should also be teaching how traits, skills and characteristics such as communication, integrity, work ethic, customer service, team work, problem solving and self motivation lead to greater success in the workforce, which in turn leads to greater economic opportunity.
4. What will you do in the Legislature to address homelessness and affordable housing in your district?
The challenge facing the homeless living on the streets and in encampments is not so much an issue of housing as it is of addiction and mental health. Enabling people to continue addictive behavior is neither compassionate or safe for those who are experiencing homelessness or for the community at large.
Drug, shoplifting and related laws must be strictly enforced. Prosecutors and courts cannot continue the catch and release system presently in place, which encourages police to ignore violations. At the same time, addiction recovery programs and mental health facilities need to be made available immediately. The state needs to provide greater funding for addiction and mental health programs, rather than spending on programs that treat the symptoms of the problem rather than the cause.
Housing affordability is a related but separate issue. Although there are a variety of causes for escalating costs, one that should be addressed by the state legislature is over regulation. It is critical that regulations be reviewed and then refined or eliminated when no longer relevant. Regulations drive up costs for developers and builders and the enforcement of regulations drives up the cost of government.
For more than 30 years, the Growth Management Act has impacted development in the Puget Sound area. Although it may have been enacted with the best of intentions to reduce urban sprawl, it is driving up the cost of housing. It is past time for a total review of the Growth Management Act and the regulations it creates.
5. Where do you stand on Referendum 90 and Senate Bill 5395, and why?
I strongly oppose SB-5395 and support R-90. SB-5395 claimed to be scientifically accurate and age appropriate. It was neither. Although I am not opposed to sex ed that is truly scientifically accurate, age appropriate and wisely administered, this bill took control out of the hands of local school boards who are closer to the parents and placed it in the hands of government bureaucrats in Olympia. It is a prime example of government overreach.