Michelle Darnell is running for State Senate in the 48th District against Patty Kuderer who ran for State House in Position 1 in 2016. Michelle seeks to be the change in Olympia people want to see.
I asked Michelle a few questions about her motivations, priorities, and how to accomplish them.
Me: What made you decide to run?
Me: What previous experience do you bring to this position?
Me: What are your top 3 priorities?
Transportation- We need to reduce congestion in my district. The current situation is unacceptable and is damaging to the economy, to families and to our environment. We also need to restore fairness. It is not fair that commuters on the Eastside are subsidizing Seattle to their own detriment.
Education- Every child in this state deserves an excellent education and a future. We now spend over $14,000 federal state and local per child per year and one in 4 does not graduate and still more are ill equipped for the work force. We need education reform and we need to better manage our resources. The money is not making it to the class room. Our teachers are stifled as they are bridled by top-down mandates that limit their ability to respond to the unique needs of each child and their community. This is not entirely a funding problem. We must increase the power of teachers, parents and students by increasing choice in education. We must not allow the WEA to continue to hold this state hostage.
Me: What do you plan to do to accomplish your top priorities?
I will sponsor a homeowner bill of rights and amendments to the Deed of Trust act that governs the non-judicial foreclosure process. This will restore integrity to the system and make the process fair and equitable. The banks must be held accountable for misrepresentations and for breaking the existing laws.
Transportation- The tolls on the Eastside have increased congestion and accidents and are unfairly burdensome to daily travelers. In effect taxpayers are paying tolls on roads they already paid for!
I would sponsor legislation to open the toll lanes back up to all commuters and drop the 3+ lanes back down to 2+. If we were unsuccessful here, I would at least increase exits to the tolls lanes to make them easier to enter and exit for local commuters.I would work to make sure WSDOT was diligently working to reduce congestion and not overly focused on emission reduction or revenues. Ironically, recent policy has likely increased emissions as people are now left idling on 405 in standstill traffic early any time of day!
I would seek out recommendations from transportation advisers and stakeholder to determine what other steps we could take to reduce congestion.
I also support providing tax payers with relief by reducing car registrations fees.
Education- I support increasing choice in education, through charters and vouchers, and will work to makes steps in that direction. Increased choice has improved education in other states and I would use these models to support recommendations in this direction.
I believe teachers should be treated professionally and great teachers should be compensated accordingly. I would not have supported capping teachers’ salaries. I do not teachers should be “graded” in accordance with top-down mandates or test but rather in accordance with the success of their students; are they inspired, and prepared for college or the work force?
Choice in education is good for teachers and students, increases parental involvement and inspires excellence and efficiency. I believe we can increase choice while protecting our schools from crony capitalism. The way to do this is to include teachers, parents and other stakeholders in the conversation about new and better ways of educating our kids, some we may not have even thought of yet! As a senator I will listen, and step away from the political rhetoric to consider “outside the box” ideas. The 48th district can and should lead this state and county in education innovation!
Michelle’s website is at https://www.lpkingcounty.com/michelle-darnell where you can find her Facebook and e-mail. If anyone would like to volunteer, please contact the campaign through the Facebook page or e-mail.
Candidates for office can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and answer the same questions, provide a bio and links to their campaign.