18th District rivals Pike, Shehorn at odds on key issues

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

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David Shehorn's 2012 candidate survey

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Liz Pike's 2012 candidate survey

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photoLiz Pike

!8th District candidates

Liz Pike

Party: Republican

City of residence: Camas

Age: 52

Occupation: Owner of Pike Advertising Agency

Campaign website: Elect Liz Pike

Major endorsements: Association of Washington Business, National Federation of Independent Business, Clark County Association of Realtors, Building Industry Association of Clark County, Washington State Farm Bureau

Money raised in campaign: $63,374

David Shehorn

Party: Democratic

City of residence: Vancouver

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired computer systems engineer

Campaign website: Elect David Shehorn

Major endorsements: Central Labor Councils in Clark, Skamania and west Klickitat counties; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48; International Association of Fire Fighters local union 1805 (Clark County Fire District 6); Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest; and Women’s Democratic Club of Clark County.

Money raised in campaign: $8,719

Clark County voters in the 18th District will choose a successor this fall to longtime state Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, who will no longer live within their voting district.

Their choices are Republican Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, and Democrat David Shehorn. Pike, previously a Camas City councilwoman, was recently appointed to temporarily fill a legislative vacancy in the House of Representatives. Shehorn is Democratic chairman of the 18th Legislative District and sits on the board of the Clark County Democrats.

Pike arguably has gained more momentum than Shehorn. Her recent legislative appointment to the other House seat in the 18th District allows her to tout actual state representative experience, and she's raised about seven times the amount of campaign contributions as Shehorn.

The two candidates also differ on this fall's hot political topics, including the Columbia River Crossing, education, state marijuana laws and same-sex marriage.

On the proposed project to replace the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River, Pike said she could eventually support a new Columbia River Crossing, but in the meantime

she'd like a less expensive third bridge built to help ease traffic problems. She said she thinks building a third bridge near the Port of Vancouver would be smart.

She said she is against tolls on the CRC and she is opposed to including light rail on the new bridge.

Shehorn supports building the Columbia River Crossing, noting that the plan needs to be tweaked to address the Coast Guard's recent concerns about the height of the future bridge. He also supports extending light rail from Portland across the bridge.

"The current I-5 lift bridge is vulnerable to significant and disabling damage due to (a high-magnitude) earthquake," Shehorn wrote in response to The Columbian's 2012 legislative candidate survey. "Light rail is a catalyst for improved transportation and enhanced job opportunities within the metropolitan area. It is an efficient transportation mechanism for moving the most people for a reasonable cost."

Shehorn supports tolls to help pay for the bridge, and he supports toll discounts for frequent bridge users and car pool participants.

Pike and Shehorn both oppose Proposition 1. That ballot measure would raise sales tax by 0.1 percentage point in the C-Tran district as a way to pay for light rail operations. Shehorn said he doesn't support that specific plan as a way to pay for light rail.

Pike is opposed to the ballot measure in part because she thinks all residents in Clark County should get to cast their vote on light rail operations, not just those living in the C-Tran district.

"All residents pay sales tax, regardless of where their home is," she wrote in her questionnaire.

Education

Both candidates said state lawmakers need to re-prioritize their spending to make sure K-12 schools are receiving enough money to provide a basic education to all children. The State Supreme Court's McCleary decision in January determined the state was failing at that task.

Pike proposes reforming education at all levels, including "merit-based pay based on student academic achievement," allowing charter schools in the state, and putting money into "alternative learning models including facilities such as the Clark County Skills Center," she wrote.

Shehorn does not support a ballot measure this fall -- Initiative 1240 -- that would allow charter schools in Washington. To comply with the McCleary decision, Shehorn said, state lawmakers must "carefully evaluate and reallocate funding for some state-provided services, as well as evaluate additional revenue sources."

On the topic of taxes, Shehorn opposes Initiative 1185 -- to require lawmakers to pass any tax increases with a two-thirds vote instead of a simple majority -- because "the constitutional majority rule has served us well for over a century," he wrote.

Pike supports the ballot measure on taxes because voters have approved similar initiatives before. She added: "If state legislators would respect the will of voters and spend less than they take in, there would not be a need for voters to continually pass initiatives of this type."

Jobs, social issues

Shehorn said one thing lawmakers could do to increase jobs is to create incentives for businesses to hire people, such as giving a company that hires new workers a three-year reprieve from paying a business and occupation tax. B&O taxes are based on businesses' gross income rather than their profit.

He also has said that some compromises might need to be made when it comes to regulations on businesses, and that people should be encouraged to buy more local products.

Pike has said lawmakers could help businesses by reducing Department of Ecology regulations, such as stormwater runoff rules, and by privatizing the state's industrial insurance program run by the Department of Labor and Industries. Industrial insurance covers the financial impact of any injuries or ailments caused while on the job. She supports repealing the B&O tax.

Shehorn said he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, while Pike said she opposes same-sex marriage.

Shehorn supports Initiative 502, which would allow the recreational use of marijuana. Pike opposes that ballot measure.

Shehorn and Pike advanced in the Aug. 7 primary after each earned more votes than a third candidate in the race, Democrat Ryan Gompertz.

Orcutt lost his eligibility to run for the seat this year because the district boundaries changed following the 2010 Census. Orcutt is seeking election in his new legislative district, the 20th.

Ballots for the Nov. 6 general election will be mailed to voters Oct. 15. State legislators earn an annual salary of $42,106, plus a $90 a day allowance to cover expenses such as food and lodging while on state business.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523; http://facebook.com/reportermathieu;http://twitter.com/col_politics;stevie.mathieu@columbian.com.