Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


From today's Lewiston Tribune:
GOP candidate hears common themes

There are some common issues cropping up everywhere he has gone on the campaign trail, Steve Hailey said.

Hailey, of Mesa, is one of four Republicans running for the District 9 legislative seat vacated by Don Cox.

He is running against Glen R. Stockwell of Ritzville, Joe Schmick of Colfax and Tedd Nealey of Cheney. Caitlin Ross of Valleyford is unopposed as a Democrat.

One issue that people have continually brought up is access to health care, Hailey said.

"The answer to the health care problems in the state of Washington is a complete review of regulations," he said.

There are only two main sources of health insurance in the state, where there used to be 35 or more, he said.

"Increased competition in that field is going to lead to better services and lower costs."

There needs to be a review of business regulations that are restrictive in the state, he said.

Towns such as Clarkston are at a distinct disadvantage being on the border with Idaho, he said.

"We need to figure out how to make the business climate more attractive in the state of Washington," he said.

If he were elected, he would try to get on the transportation committee because he knows how important transportation is to the district, including the river system.

"The river provides a direct conduit to the coast and the world, and we need to protect that," he said.

Something else he would like to work on is the primary election system where voters can now only vote for candidates in one party.

He thinks through legislation, counties should be given the right to choose whether offices like sheriff, auditor and treasurer should be nonpartisan.

"If the county chooses, that would go a long way for people to have more confidence in the primary system."

Public education is something people are always talking about, he said.

"I think we are doing reasonably well with the money we have."

The Washington Assessment of Student Learning has caused heartburn across the state, he said, but the test has also identified problems.

Unfunded mandates such as No Child Left Behind are a hardship on rural communities, he said, and that is something that always comes up when he visits school districts.

"Unfunded mandates have to go, and we need to figure out some other way to solve the problem," Hailey said.

Steve Hailey

Age: 61

Occupation: Farmer

Party: Republican

Education: Attended Washington State University until drafted into the Army

Family: Married, two children, one grandchild

Political experience: Current fire commissioner in Franklin County

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