Federal Way political candidates are advertising ahead of the Nov. 4 general election. Below are fact checks on claims made by the 30th Legislative District candidates in their campaign literature.
This list is intended to clarify both positive and negative claims made by candidates and campaign flyers from each political party and not necessarily label them as correct or incorrect.
Although Rep. Roger Freeman is on the ballot, the Mirror did not include claims relating to his race as the candidate passed away on Wednesday.
Democrat Shari Song, Senate
Claim: Shari Song was called a carpetbagger, which is a political candidate who seeks election where they have no local connections. This stems from the belief that she simply moved to Federal Way for political gain, to be elected, according to flyers put out by the Washington State Republican Party and political action committee Working Families.
Clarification: Song said she and her husband lived in Federal Way 28 years ago when they were first married in 1986. Her two sons attended Federal Way Public Schools and she was actively involved in a Korean church. Her real estate career began in Federal Way in 1993 and she led the city’s Diversity Commission. Song thinks being called a carpetbagger is an exaggeration because while she has moved to other places, she’s always kept strong ties in Federal Way. Furthermore, she doesn’t own a primary home at this time.
“I own two small rental homes in Kent and Bellevue,” Song said. “When my kids graduated high school, we sold our primary home. Then when they needed to come back home, they moved to Bellevue. Our older son is still living with us.”
Claim: “Song supports a state income tax. She wants to make it easier to raise taxes and she opposes our voter-approved two-thirds requirement to raise taxes. Song supports higher property taxes, which makes homes more expensive for families and seniors,” states a pamphlet created by Working Families.
Clarification: Song denied all allegations and said she is fighting to lower taxes.
“As a small business owner, I know how hard these last few years have been for everyone,” Song said. “One thing I will focus on is giving our local companies first chance to bid on state contracts. Our tax dollars should be creating good jobs in our state.”
Claim: Song has claimed on several advertisements, interviews and in speeches that she is a real estate agent.
Clarification: Northwest Real Estate firm Berkshire Hathaway lists Song as an associate broker for 14 years on their website. The office is located at 622 S. 320th Street in Federal Way. They list Song’s specialities as buyers, condos/townhomes, new construction, relocation and residential sellers.
Republican Mark Miloscia, Senate
Claim: Flyers paid for by the Friends of Shari Song and a Planned Parenthood flyer stated Miloscia is pro-life and would restrict access to most forms of contraception, specifically the pill. The Planned Parenthood flyer also said Miloscia would “make abortion illegal, even if the woman’s life is in danger and even after a rape.”
Clarification: Miloscia agrees Song’s campaign ads are right in stating he’s pro-life and he leans that way because of his Catholic beliefs, however, he doesn’t oppose abortion if the woman’s life is in danger.
“I’m Catholic and the teachings that I follow are that all human life is precious and you don’t make the decision when you’re juggling between one person and another,” he said in a previous article from the Mirror.
He also said Song was wrong in stating he’s against contraception, specifically the pill.
“I’m obviously against abortion pills but other than that there’s really no issues,” he said. “I’ve never been on record saying I’m against the pill.”
Claim: Miloscia voted to cut $1.6 billion from K-12 public schools and to cut $800 million from colleges and universities. “The result is that our public schools are the most crowded in the nation, teachers are the lowest paid on the west coast and the state is being sued for underfunding education,” reads the flyer from Friends of Shari Song. “Miloscia’s votes caused large tuition increases and saddled our kids with more debt from student loans.”
Clarification: Miloscia pointed out that many people, Democrats included, voted on the $1.6 billion cut from k-12 public schools. He said he did not vote to cut $800 million from colleges and universities.
“I not only was one of the few people that did not vote for this, but spoke out against it,” Miloscia said.
Claim: Miloscia claimed that he was a substitute teacher for Federal Way Public Schools. Yet many Democrats, including letter writers, have questioned his credentials as a substitute teacher and they’ve noted that he was an emergency substitute.
Clarification: Federal Way Public Schools staff confirmed Miloscia was a substitute teacher in the district from December 2001 through August 2011. The Mirror requested public records regarding which school or schools Milsocia taught at, however those records will not be available until Nov. 7, after the general election.
Miloscia said his goal was to serve on every school at every grade level.
“I subbed for every high school and middle school and most elementary schools,” he said. “When you never turn down an assignment, you get called a lot.”
Democrat Greg Baruso, Representative Position 1
Claim: “[Baruso] will fight for performance audits and use his experience with managing and balancing budgets to make sure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely in Olympia,” according to a campaign flyer paid for by the Committee to Elect Greg Baruso.
Clarification: The Port of Seattle Fire Department could not confirm whether he had experience balancing any budgets. The Mirror was connected to at least seven different people within the department.
Baruso said he has worked for budgets in two charities he volunteers for and with his work at the fire department.
“I am part of the training program at the fire department and have to work within the department’s budget to figure out if we have enough money to bring in someone from the outside to train and things like that,” he said.
The two charities Baruso says he worked with are the Northwest Burn Foundation and the Washington State Firefighters Association.
Claim: “As a firefighter captain, he’s put the needs of others ahead of his own — saving lives and helping those in need,” according to a campaign flyer paid for by the Committee to Elect Greg Baruso.
Clarification: The Port of Seattle Fire Department Human Resources confirmed that Baruso was employed as a firefighter but could not provide more information.
Baruso said this is his 29th year working as a firefighter and his 10th year working for the training division.
“It’s my responsibility to stay up-to-date on the current training and to train folks to keep up with the current skills,” he said.
Baruso stated he helps others outside of work too.
“I’m never ‘off-duty,’” he said. “If I am not working but I see someone in need or a fire needs to be put out, I am there.”
Claim: “On the Diversity Commission he’s promoted opportunity and has been an award winning community volunteer,” according to a campaign flyer paid for by the Committee to Elect Greg Baruso.
Clarification: Jeri-Lynn Clark, the executive assistant with the city’s Diversity Commission confirmed Baruso’s time on the Commission and stated he has been the chair for the last two years.
Baruso said he received an award for FireFighter of the Year in 1999 and he was named Volunteer of the Year in 2005 at the Northwest Burn Foundation.
“Every day I live my life to keep people safe and protected,” he said.
Republican Linda Kochmar, Representative Position 1
Claim: “Linda is an experienced, common sense leader who gets things done by working with members of both parties to get results on real issues,” according to a campaign flyer paid for by the Citizens for Kochmar.
Clarification: Kochmar said she has worked “across the aisle” on human trafficking, DUI legislation, funding “disadvantaged business outreach in the transportation budget” and in freezing tuition increases for the biennial budget.
She said she’s also worked with Democrats to find funding for financial aid for students through the Real Hope Act, as approved by the State Senate. She also sponsored an amendment, House Bill 2028, which was adopted into DUI task force legislation to include driving under the influence of marijuana as well as alcohol. Her prime sponsored bills include House bills 2359, 2360, 4623 and 4696, according to the Washington State Legislature.
Claim: Some of these results she’s obtained include, “improve [sic] services to the most vulnerable in our community, including the homeless,” according to a campaign flyer paid for by the Citizens for Kochmar.
Clarification: Kochmar is working with Auburn Youth Resources to try to create housing for homeless teens. She said the city of Federal Way doesn’t have a Teen Drop-In Center, other than EX-3 and that the community needs a place for teenagers who have been kicked out of their homes to “have a place to go to shower, sleep and receive community services.”
She has co-sponsored (with Rep. Tina Orwall, a Democrat) human trafficking legislation House Bill 1291, to provide funding to help victims of trafficking. There was also an amendment that authorized the state-wide human trafficking committee, as well as bills such as 1292 (vacating prostitution convictions). And she also supported all-day kindergarten and “Breakfast After the Bell.” Both bills will help working families with limited funds.
Claim: Results on, “A package of incentives to bring more high-wage jobs to Federal Way,” according to a campaign flyer paid for by the Citizens for Kochmar.
Clarification: Kochmar said she has “consistently requested for over a year now” that the city of Federal Way work with her office, the Chamber of Commerce, Highline College, University of Washington Tacoma, and St. Francis Hospital to create an Innovation Partnership Zone in medical clustering through the Department of Commerce. She said following her introduction of this idea to the CEO of Seattle Children’s Hospital and to the CEO of St. Francis, Children’s purchased the old Circuit City building by Costco and plans to open a clinic soon that will serve approximately 4,500 patients/year, she said.
The Chamber has also discussed an interest in creating the partnership zone for Cybersecurity, which is a new program at both Highline Community College and the University of Washington Tacoma. An Innovation Partnership Zone is like a package of incentives because it can, hopefully in the future, allow for lowering the state B&O tax, among other things, and is used as a marketing tool, she said.
“I am still trying to get this done,” Kochmar said. “As minority assistant ranking on the Local Government Committee, I’ve worked on bills to provide support for cities, contractors, and local government.”
She added that she’s hoping to work to provide sub-regional authority to provide funding for community transit at a local level, rather than within a state-wide transportation revenue package.
In addition, Kochmar supported House Bill 2088 (aerospace training) and Senate Bill 5952 (aerospace tax preferences) to keep and retain high wage jobs for the region.
Kochmar said she secured $2 million for the Federal Way Performing Arts and Conference Center and supported a $1.3 million grant for the 30th District Multi-Service Center for veteran housing.
Republican Jack Dovey, Representative Position 2
Claim: “We elected him to the City Council and he helped build Celebration Park and create the Federal Way Police Department,” according to a campaign flyer paid and authorized by the Washington State Republican Party.
Clarification: Dovey said he served on an action committee that helped bring the park to the city and cast a difficult 4-3 vote while on the Council to initiate the creation of Celebration Park and forming the Federal Way Police Department. He said he and the Council planned the police department for 18 months and it was completed in five years. Dovey listed several early-1990s news articles from the Seattle Times, the Tacoma News Tribune and from other outlets that explain his involvement.
Claim: “Republican Jack Dovey is playing the blame game,” according to a campaign flyer by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee in regard to his unpaid property taxes, state and federal tax liens and lawsuits.
Clarification: Dovey said he takes responsibility for his actions and that the Washington Democratic Central Committee has manipulated the truth.
“It appears they own a printing operation majoring in ‘dirty politics’ to not deal with the issues,” Dovey wrote in an email. “My hopes are the voters in the 30th legislature will be more circumspect and recognize the desperate attacks on my character for only wanting to bring common sense to the legislature.”
However, in an interview with the Mirror, Dovey lists several reasons for the allegations. While he states his wife was responsible for paying the late property taxes, he also notes the state and federal tax liens and multiple lawsuits were the result of bad business deals — a shareholder left a business, a landlord didn’t disclose important information, and another business partner was convicted of embezzlement. The Mirror published this article on Oct. 10.
Claim: “It’s well documented that Jack Dovey has failed to pay his state, local and federal taxes. Now, he’s got a new scheme that according to expert policy analysis would steal from public safety, seniors, and college students to pay for basic education,” according to a campaign flyer paid for by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.
Clarification: Dovey said it is ludicrous to believe this claim that he would personally benefit from a scheme to steal from public safety, seniors and college students in a House of 98 elected officials. He said it is an unfair characterization and at worst a “clear insult to my character and integrity.”
He did say the state’s first priority is to fund basic education, as outlined in the State Constitution and that it is the “first and foremost priority for the budget. After education is properly funded, then every other funding need can be addressed, he said.
“This will be critical to create the framework for the funding going forward that each state agency and interest group can count on,” he said.
Reporter Sarah Kehoe contributed to this report.