Candidate Q&A: 23rd District state representative, Position 1

This is part four in a series of Q&As with candidates for local office in the Nov. 6 general election. This Q&A: Sherry Appleton and Tony Stephens, 23rd District House of Representatives, Position 1.

Members of the state House of Representatives are elected to two-year terms, are paid $42,106 a year and receive the same benefits as state employees.

Sherry V. Appleton
Residence: Poulsbo
Occupation: Legislator
Education: College, no degree
Online: www.sherryappleton.com

Herald: What qualifications do you have for this job?
Appleton: Eight years on the Poulsbo City Council, lobbyist/advocate for 11 years, state representative since 2004.

Vice chair, State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee; vice chair, Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee; member, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee; chair, Working Families Caucus.

Western Legislative Academy, one of 39 chosen from 13 Western states. Toll Fellow, one of 40 across the United States from all three branches of government.

Commissioner, Sentencing Guide-lines Commission; member, State Council on Aging, Office of Public Defense.

Herald: What are your top five priorities if elected?
Appleton: Jobs (family wage jobs); fully funding education as mandated by the Supreme Court in McCleary case; access to affordable health care; closing tax loopholes; and representing the citizens of the 23rd Legislative District. Also, to add to my priorities, keep advocating for the most vulnerable in our society and funding adult day health.

Herald: How would you accomplish your priorities?
Appleton: As I always have — by working with people across the aisle, introducing bills that address the issues that are my priorities, collaborating with stakeholders on the issues, using my leadership skills and being a voice for those that have no voice.

Herald: What makes you different from your opponent?
Appleton: I don’t know my opponent, I only know my own skills and experience. In this economy and with the complex issues that we deal with, I believe my experience is an asset. I have experience in every facet of government because of my previous career and use it for the betterment of my constituents.

Herald: What’s the most important job of an elected official?
Appleton: I believe that being an elected official is a position of trust, that you must be a “truth teller” and that you represent your constituency to the best of your ability.

Tony Stephens
Residence: Poulsbo
Occupation: Technician with Northrop Grumman
Education: Primary Leadership Development Course; primary, basic and advanced Noncommissioned Officer Courses; Professional Instructor Course; Drill Sergeant School; Military Mountaineering Instructors Course. Two years with City Colleges of Chicago, some third-year courses with the University of Maryland, Advanced Information Sys-tems Course with Topeka Technical Institute.
Online: www.stephens4statehouse.com

Herald: What qualifications do you have for this job?
Stephens: The primary qualification is representation. We vote overwhelmingly every two years to say NO to an income tax. Our two representatives and our senator to Olympia are three votes for an income tax. Their opponents are three votes against an income tax.

We vote overwhelmingly every two years to require a two-thirds majority for the raising of taxes. Our two representatives and our senator are fighting the two-thirds requirement tooth and nail. Their opponents favor the view of the people.

I am more qualified to represent the people of the 23rd LD because I agree with the people of the 23rd Legislative District.

I have served people my entire life as a leader and as an advocate. I spent 20 years in the U.S. Army Infantry. In addition to my military service, I have been a union steward with the IBEW and a precinct committee officer.

I know poverty, having grown up in it. I know hard work. I know personal charity. I took care of my wife who suffered for two decades with the cancer which finally took her life in June, and my sons, both of whom came back wounded and completely disabled from war, but none of that excused us from service to others. I know the value of the common businessperson to the economy of the State.

Herald: What are your top five priorities if elected?
Stephens: One, respect the initiative process by defending initiatives against assault by the Legislature. Two, increase the number of jobs by getting the government out of the way of small businesses and new startups. Three, fund education first, and separately. The Constitution says this is Olympia’s “paramount” duty. Four, push money and authority down to the cities and counties where it is best used. Five, remove every vestige of UN Agenda 21 — Sustainable Development from the State of Washington.

Herald: How would you accomplish your priorities?
Stephens: By supporting legislators who have already been working on these issues, and convincing those legislators who are unaware of them. By keeping the people informed of the goings-on in Olympia.

Herald: What makes you different from your opponent?
Stephens: She simply does not understand the power of the free individual. She pushes for more government and more expenses. She actually believes the government can create a job. I know free people create a vibrant economy. The government does not have anything; it did not first take from someone. That stops that person from using those resources to do efficiently, what the government can only do inefficiently.

Herald: What’s the most important job of an elected official?
Stephens: Article 1, Section 1 of the Washington Constitution says the government of this State exists to protect and maintain individual freedom. That is the primary job of every elected, appointed, and hired official and employee in the state government.


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