Q&A 24th District Senate — Jim Hargrove

Democrat, Hoquiam

Age: 59

Served the 24th District in the Legislature for 28 years and chairs the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee. Professional forester with 35 years experience; owns and operates his own forestry contracting business.

He graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management. He and his wife Laurie have three grown children. Also chairs the Washington State Caseload Forecast Council.

Hargrove said he wants to serve again for the following reasons: 1) Create more jobs in Grays Harbor and the rest of the 24th district. 2) To continue to reform state government to make it more effective and efficient. 3) To help solve the budget-versus-education funding problem while not sacrificing the gains made in public safety.

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?

I propose we use the same approach with Basic Education that we have used to make improvements in public safety. In public safety we have had success reducing the crime rate by targeting “Evidenced Based Programs” at specific problems. Hopefully as we target specific issues, like improving the number of students who graduate and better dealing with students that disrupt the classroom, our overall results will get better. It will take an investment, and then if educational outcomes improve we will be successful both to the courts satisfaction and in actual results.

Do you support 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; Initiative 502 that would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution and possession; Initiative 1240 that would authorize up to 40 publicly funded charter schools; and Referendum 74 that would allow same-sex couples to marry?

1185 - Yes, 502 - No, 1240 - No, R74 - reject.

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 has a role. During my tenure we have introduced and passed tax credits for new jobs and new businesses. These have been good investments. Probably the best thing we did was the legislation I helped craft and sponsored that allowed rural counties to retain part of their state sales tax collections (.09 Fund) to improve infrastructure for job creation. This locally controlled fund has been used to fund the industrial water line in Aberdeen and sewer and water improvements at the East County Industrial park, investments at the Satsop Business Park and many other local infrastructure projects. Hundreds of jobs have been saved or created. The legislature has also passed specific funding for infrastructure improvements at the Port of Grays Harbor and recently the sewer improvements at the Satsop Business Park. Another effective job creating program is the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) and the money it sends via grants or loans to communities that have job creating projects. With tight budgets these economic development investments are always on the chopping block. We need to continue these programs and look for ways to streamline regulations that hinder job growth. A bill I sponsored that passed this year, SB 6406, finally combined the Hydraulics Project Application and the Forest Practices Application for forest management and timber operations. There are other laws such as Growth Management and Shorelines Management that have overlapping requirements that offer opportunities for reform.

The Harbor in large part depends on the infrastructure that links its major transportation corridors, with our bridges and thoroughfares undergoing constant maintenance and concern. With major projects in the Puget Sound area currently under way, what can be done to fix some of the long-term infrastructure concerns in more rural counties like ours?

Transportation is critical to the whole state; we have some specific funding streams for rural areas and these need to be expanded. We specifically need to change the way we look at old bridges. Currently, funding for repairs is always prioritized and new projects wait in line. We should change the funding formulas so we can compare the cost of a new bridge against the continual repair of old ones, taking into account the economic impact on the local areas from the closures for repair.

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?

I do not believe the state has a legal obligation to fund the courts better. But we have a moral obligation to help the counties, our partners in the criminal justice system, to better address their funding needs. Part of the work is to continue the prevention programs like drug treatment and mental health treatment as well as improvements in our supervision programs. These programs are keeping the crime rate down and saving the counties almost 100 million dollars every 2 years. Beyond that we need to look at giving the counties designated funding streams for Court funding.