The 2022 primary election for District 36 state representative position 1 this August features a crowded field of candidates that voters will have to whittle down in a critical race.

Candidates Elizabeth Tyler Crone, Jeff Manson, Julia Reed, Nicole Gomez and Waylon Robert are all running for the legislative seat currently held by Rep. Noel Frame, who is running to replace District 36 Sen. Reuven Carlyle after he announced he would not seek reelection.

At a June 15 forum hosted by the Queen Anne and Magnolia community councils, the candidates answered a series of questions ranging from school funding to infrastructure priorities to help local residents decide. [The following are excerpts of candidates’ responses edited to summarize some of the key points made during the forum.]

What is your plan for meeting the state’s obligation to provide high-quality education for all students?

Crone: “... There is a particular moment in which our schools right now need a cheerleader. When I’ve talked to PTAs, principals, parents, teachers across our district they want full funding now. ... The way that I’m going to achieve this is 1. by being a champion and being relentless and 2. working to close corporate loopholes; 3. thinking about ... it’s time for an income tax so that we become the least not the most regressive state in this country in terms of how we have income...”

Manson: “This last legislative session we did get some additional funding COLA for teachers and also some more funding for counselors, nurses and some other staff positions, which is good, but I think it’s just the first step in the right direction. Our state constitution says that it’s a paramount duty of the state for a good reason, that we have to be able to educate our children first because it’s the morally right thing to do, but also they’re the economy of the future and the citizens of the future, so we need to increase funding more ... we need to do that with progressive revenue sources.”

Reed: “... I think one of the things we most need in our school system especially is a renewed investment in workforce development and career and technical education and pathways to help young people connect to work after school while they’re still in school. ... I think we need to be thinking how we are helping young people reengage in school, and a critical part of that is increasing their access to hands-on learning. So, as someone who’s worked in workforce development and youth apprenticeship development for a lot of my career, that’s something I really want to invest in when it comes to thinking about fully funding our schools...”

What’s your vision for the ideal tax and revenue structure for Washington state?

Robert: “It’s critical, one, that we have a tax structure that works for working families ... and so to me that means that I would support an income tax. I do support the capital gains tax, however I think that we need to lower our sales and property tax.”

Gomez: “... So, essentially the tax that I would also support would be an income tax if that were to come before us ... as well as a tax on an excess of wealth. ... That is something that I am committed to as well as any other things that would guarantee getting more money into the pockets of working people.

Crone: “... My vision for an ideal tax and revenue structure in our state would be an income tax. ... I see an avenue and have been listening to and learning from Reuven Carlyle about how we can bring in the revenue we need to fund our obligations such as our first question, excellent, excellent public schools and the services and the safety nets that our most vulnerable among us...”

What are your priorities for infrastructure in Washington state and the 36th District?

Manson: Well, in the 36th District, I would be remiss if I didn’t first mention the Magnolia bridge. ... We need to replace it with something similar or exactly what we have there right now. ... The Ballard bridge is a particularly old bridge and also needs to be replaced or fixed in the coming years. I think those are the most emergent issues for the 36th district in the coming years, but generally speaking, we need more funding for transit and pedestrian and bike infrastructure, as well as maintaining our existing roads and infrastructure.”

Reed: “... I’m really passionate about bringing zero carbon transportation solutions to our streets, to our cities. I think it’s essential, especially in a city like ours, but I think that that has to work in tandem with our critical infrastructure pieces. Replacing the Magnolia Bridge, replacing the Ballard bridge are going to be essential. ...”

Robert: “So, one, is the Magnolia bridge. I think it needs to stay where it is. ... We’re going to need state, federal, county and city cooperation on all that, and I’ll be a champion on the budget. ... I think it’s critical that we maintain our existing infrastructure. ... I think that, third, we’re going to need more investment for freight mobility. Our city’s tax base, 30 percent of it is maritime and industrial, so it is critical that we invest in our freight corridors...”

What role should the state play in dealing with substance abuse, and do you see this as a policy priority?

Gomez: “I work in healthcare quite a bit, so for me, I look at it through a healthcare lens and a mental healthcare lens. I want to make sure that we are funding those programs that need to be funded so people can get the help that they need. The mental healthcare right now, we need to have additional funding for mental heath care workers ... We need additional programs that are allowing more people to pursue that as a career option.

Crone: “The crisis we’re facing around substance use is a top concern for me, and it is a top priority for me. ... But the concerns I’m hearing most are really the substance use crisis amongst our teens, and that’s a grave concern for parents. ... I’ve worked extensively in HIV response, and from that experience of the HIV response and the public health background is to take a harm-reduction approach ... So what does this mean? It means creating and investing in services that our young people need when they are struggling with addiction. It means investing in the services and support that the most vulnerable amongst us need ...”

Manson: “This is a real problem ... and I agree with Tyler that a harm-reduction approach is the right one to bring. ... I will specifically speak to our unhoused residents of Seattle who are experiencing substance abuse issues: I think it’s a good time to remind ourselves that housing needs to be the first step. It is almost impossible to take any steps towards substance abuse or mental heath recovery without some sort of housing ... But it needs to be a harm-reduction approach, and again, it’s the state’s duty to fund it.”

What can the state do to deal with rising rents?

Reed: “... I think that one of the biggest things the state can do is help to make investments in affordable housing. We talk about billions of dollars for roads and bridges — I think we need to be talking about that level of investment in our human infrastructure as well, especially in our housing. And I also think the state can be making it easier for us to build modest additional forms of housing all across the state. ... We’ve been under-investing in our housing. We have the fewest number of housing units per household of any state in the nation. We’ve got to turn that around. ...”

Robert: “... So, there’s a few things I think the state can do. One is subsidizing mom-and-pop units in our state and subsidizing existing units that are housing people making 50 percent of our area median income. That is a bill that has gone before the Legislature, and I’d be willing to champion it, sponsor it. I think, two, it’s the state acquiring more existing affordable units in our district, and it’s putting more investment in the housing trust fund, which is the primary funder of constructing and preserving affordable housing, and I think, too, we need to partner with the city of Seattle in developing land that make sense ...”

Gomez: “The thing that I think is important to consider is things like a rent stabilization program. Oregon recently passed this program, and it could be a smart way to go. There’s a bill put forward by Rep. Macri a couple of sessions ago, and it was essentially talking about preventing rents from rising over 7 percent plus inflation annually ... it’s based off of the Consumer Price Index. You can also make it a little stronger because California also has a similar bill ... It’s a way that we could potentially help ease the burden on people who are renting.”

What further gun safety or other measures can the Legislature take to prevent mass shootings in Washington state?

Crone: “One, we are going to ban assault weapons period, end of story. Two, we are going to roll back immunity for the gun industry as we have done, for example, around opioids. Three, we are going to have licenses in Washington state for you to be able to get a gun. Four, we’re going to address this as a public health emergency crisis that it is, putting investments in the safety nets and community supports that prevent it in the first place. ... Those strategies include investing in lower-income communities, communities that need supports. ... Another key piece of it is the importance in investment in mental health. ...”

Gomez: “I think, right now, that some of the things we can do as a state to reduce gun violence are basic mental health supports ... and also ending qualified immunity, and being able to have a ban on assault rifles — those types of policies that are out there are things that we can do. There’s been proposals before. We’re still working on them at the legislative level, and I hope to be able to take part of that.”

Manson: First, we just need to ban assault weapons. A few years ago we raised the age from 18 to 21, but we should just ban them outright. We can do that in Washington state, and we should just do that in the next session. Another thing that we can do is allow cities and counties to impose tougher restrictions than the basic state restrictions. Right now that’s not allowed ... So we need to change that state statute so that Seattle or Edmonds or other cities or counties can impose further restrictions. ...”

Reed: “... I think that long since the beginning of my campaign I’ve said that weapons of war have no place on our streets, and I think it’s long since time to have an assault weapons ban. ... I think we need to end state preemption. I think we need to hold the gun industry accountable. I think we also need to think about investing in mental health care. We know that the vast majority of gun deaths in our state and in our country are death by suicide.

Robert: “So, I think where the state can make a difference here is, one, expanding extreme risk protection orders to every county, which enables a loved one or provider to take away somebody’s ability to purchase or possess a fire arm. It’s on the state laws, but we need to bring funding and ensure it is in place. Two ... it’s banning high capacity magazine fire arms. ... An 8-year-old, when I asked what’s important to them, said their own safety, so I think whoever gets in this seat needs to lead on this issue.”