Q&A 19th Legislative District House, Pos. 2 — Tim Sutinen


Independent, Longview

Tim Sutinen wasn’t going to run for legislative office again, but had a change of heart several weeks after the filing period ended. Tossing his hat in the race, he managed to run a successful write-in campaign getting the required 1 percent needed to advance to the General Election.

Now, his name actually appears on the ballot for state representative. Voters won’t need to write his name in again.

Running as an Independent, Sutinen has a small technology consultant business in Longview with a dozen employees.

Last year, he and his son successfully completed a petition campaign to the Longview City Council calling for the removal of red light cameras. Sutinen said the cameras were removed in February.

Sutinen, 41, says as a state representative he would work to help attract jobs “by reducing regulations, introducing competition to L&I, reforming expensive unemployment insurance, lessen burden on small businesses.”

He says the state Legislature also ought to prioritize spending to be able to fund the core functions of government “without continual crisis due to uncontrolled spending in good times and then panicky cuts in tougher times.”

He also vowed to “be the representative of the people, not the representative of special interest groups of out-of-state mega corporations.”

With education funding critical in the next legislative session under court mandates, how do you propose the state deal with schools in the long run and what measures can be taken to comply with the court rulings that the state must “amply provide for the education of all Washington children as the first and highest priority before any other state programs or operations?”

Have each department of the state prepare a “Priorities of Government” list for the legislature with the information as to which programs are 1) mandatory 2) necessary 3) nice to have. That report also needs to have desired outcomes of the programs and how well those outcomes are being met. Once that information has been provided, then the legislature can go to work and prioritize the budget in a sensible manner, providing the necessary funding for education as the first priority.

How will you vote on the following measures on the general election ballot:

• Initiative 1185, which reinforces existing requirements that legislative actions raising taxes must be approved by two-thirds legislative majority or voter approval. YES

• Initiative 502 that would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution and possession YES

• Initiative 1240 that would authorize up to 40 publicly funded charter schools YES

• Referendum 74 that would allow same-sex couples to marry NO

Unemployment continues to be higher in Southwest Washington than in other parts of Western Washington. Does the state have a role in addressing the problem and what can or should be done legislatively to help spur job growth in your districts?

Yes. The state should: Reduce regulations on all levels; Change permitting processes to make it easier for companies and individuals with good track records with environmental stewardship to start new and expand existing natural resource businesses; Change child labor laws to make it easier to hire 15-17 year-olds so that they can get work experience and have a much better earnings potential when they grow up; Reduce the need for occupational licenses to truly those occupations that are hazardous. Most of the occupational licensing is simply anti-competitive, put in place by spineless legislators listening to their donors in various industries who want the state to prevent new competition from popping up.

Concerns from environmental groups over the marbled murrelet has led to the sate Board of Natural Resources to put on pause timber sales in Pacific and Wahkiakum counties on “potential habitat” that the bird has not yet occupied, putting a blow to county budgets that had anticipated those sales. Several utilities also pulled the plug on the Radar Ridge project over concerns the site was too close to marbled murrelet nesting habitat. What thoughts do you have to engage the state Department of Natural Resources as a legislator to tackle the marbled murrelet issue and do you think the murrelet issue could be as big a deal to the coast as the spotted owl was the rest of the Olympic Peninsula?

We must protect jobs, and access to natural resources as the first priority. This area cannot afford any more job losses. I will do everything in my power to open as much timberlands to harvesting as responsibly possible. We need economic vitality to be able to protect the environment and animal habitats. Together with other like-minded legislators I will negotiate with, and/or apply pressure on the DNR to get the best possible outcome for the needs of our counties and communities.

Grays Harbor County currently is involved in a lawsuit brought by its Superior Court Judges over what they believe is inadequate funding for judicial operations. Does the state have an obligation to better fund its courts and criminal justice system and what suggestions do you have for possibly solving this dilemma?

Yes. The state laws create the need for court trials, dictate the wages of the judges, and so forth, therefore the state should have a bigger part in funding the courts. A 2002 study found that only about 11 percent of the courts’ expenditures were funded by the state, last in the nation. I believe expedient court trials are important from many perspectives, so courts should be high on the “Priorities of Government” list.