Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, September 11, 2006


From today's Lewiston Tribune:
Cheney Republican says his background sets him apart

With a background as an educator, Tedd Nealey can't help but have some strong opinions about public education in Washington.

Nealey of Cheney is one of four Republicans on the primary ballot vying for the District 9 Legislative position 1 seat vacated by Don Cox. Caitlin Ross, a Democrat from Valleyford, is running unopposed.

The other Republicans are Glen R. Stockwell of Ritzville, Joe Schmick of Colfax and Steve Hailey of Mesa.

Nealey said his background in education sets him apart from the other candidates and gives him an advantage because the largest part of the state's budget goes to education.

Education needs to be supported, he said.

"I think right now our nation is at risk because our students are not doing that well compared to other nations," Nealey said.

"We're in a global economy and must have graduates who are able to compete in other parts of the world. I think we have a ways to go."

He believes there should be testing of students, like the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or WASL, in order to set a bar.

Public and private schools should have endowments or foundations to ease funding problems, he said.

"Colleges do it," he said, "so why can't we in high school?

"I'm not saying it's an answer overnight, but eventually those funds could build up."

He doesn't think the voucher system would hurt public schools, but instead may help them because they would have to think of ways to be better so students wanted to go there.

On the topic of how to improve health care access and insurance, Nealey said more insurance carriers are needed in the state for more competition. Health savings accounts should also be more widely offered, he said.

Other things he advocates are stressing prevention and healthy living.

"I'm not afraid of putting higher taxes on tobacco and liquor," he said, adding he also wouldn't be afraid of taking junk food out of schools.

Very low-income people should have state support for basic health insurance, he said.

He will not be voting yes for Initiative 933, intended to protect the use and value of private property.

His problems with it are it's close to a proposition passed in Oregon that he said led to thousands of costly cases filed seeking compensation from the state.

"I don't think 933 is the answer to the problem, not the way it's written," he said.

Nealey had some thoughts on business in the state, and said he would like to see some agencies streamlined, and would also consider privatization of some of them.

"We are not a business-friendly state," he said.

"We've chosen that because we don't have an income tax. I would do my best to support businesses in eastern Washington and keep regulations down."
I like Tedd's stance on school vouchers, more competition in the health insurance industry, and health savings accounts. I also agree with him that we are not a business-friendly state and need to decrease taxes and regulations.

I disagree that more "sin taxes" are what we need to fix health care or that we need to remove "junk food" from schools. I don't think that it is the job of the government to stress healthy living. The apron of the Nanny State is already too big.

I am also extremely disappointed that Nealey is opposed to I-933. I-933 is needed to protect us from the excesses of the radical liberal environmentalists from the Seattle area who care nothing about Eastern Washington. The non-rural majority of state legislators in Olympia have had many chances over the years to revise the state's Growth Management Act and ease its detrimental effects on rural areas and have not done so. It's time for the people to take matters in their own hands.

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