Qutub, Cleveland differ on issues

Candidates point to experience in race to succeed Pridemore

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter


photoAnnette Cleveland is the Democratic candidate for the 49th District state Senate seat.
photoEileen Qutub, candidate for state Senate in the 49th Legislative District

Annette Cleveland's 2012 candidate survey

Download .PDF


Eileen Qutub's 2012 candidate survey

Download .PDF

The candidates

Eileen Qutub

Party: Republican.

City of residence: Vancouver.

Age: 64.

Occupation: Retired real estate broker.

Campaign website: Click here.

Major endorsements: National Federation of Independent Business, Clark County Association of Realtors, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, and former state Sen. Don Carlson, R-Vancouver.

Money raised in campaign: $37,655.34.

Annette Cleveland

Party: Democratic.

City of residence: Vancouver.

Age: 49.

Occupation: External affairs officer, Legacy Health/Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center.

Campaign website: Click here.

Major endorsements: U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Washington Education Association, Washington State Nurses Association, Washington State Labor Council and National Abortion Rights Action League Pro-Choice America.

Money raised in campaign: $105,079.87.

Voters will decide between Republican Eileen Qutub and Democrat Annette Cleveland to succeed state Sen. Craig Pridemore in the Democratic-leaning 49th District.

Pridemore chose not to seek re-election to the Senate in favor of a bid for election as state auditor, which was unsuccessful.

Cleveland is external affairs officer at the Legacy Health/Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center and previously worked 11 years combined as a congressional staffer for former U.S. Sen. Brock Adams, D-Wash., and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Cleveland’s party affiliation and campaign platform give her an advantage in the 49th District. She also has raised nearly three times as much campaign money as her opponent.

Qutub, however, has the advantage of six years of experience serving as an Oregon lawmaker.

Qutub, a retired real estate broker, served as a senator in the Oregon Legislature from 1997 to 2001 and as a state representative from 1995 to 1997.

The candidates’ fission on issues is similar to that in other Clark County legislative races.

Columbia River Crossing

The candidates split ways on the Columbia River Crossing project to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge.

Completing the project is one of Cleveland’s top priorities. She said the project is important to the state’s economic engine and public safety. She said she also supports including light rail in the project. The light rail component is integral to winning federal funding to complete the project, she said.

“Transportation planning must also be viewed from a regional and national perspective,” Cleveland wrote in response to The Columbian’s 2012 legislative candidate survey. “Portland and Seattle have invested in light rail. With Vancouver investing in light rail, as well, the potential exists for further connectivity in the future.”

Qutub said she’s skeptical that the bridge needs to be replaced.

“Some studies have shown there (are) 50 years of life left in the I-5 Bridge,” Qutub wrote in response to the same survey. “If this is the case, we should leave this bridge and build a third bridge either west or east of the current I-5 Bridge (to help ease congestion).”

The “studies” refer to seven-year-old information on the Oregon Department of Transportation website that stated that the bridge, with proper maintenance, “could serve the public for another 60 years.” ODOT removed the line from its website earlier this year. The agency explained that the information was incorrect and the bridge needs increasingly expensive maintenance.

Qutub also opposes light rail, which, she said, would not attract more passengers than currently ride the C-Tran bus system.

The candidates both oppose C-Tran’s Proposition 1 to raise sales taxes by 0.1 percentage point to pay for maintenance and operations of light rail and cover cost of construction of bus rapid transit on Fourth Plain Boulevard.

Cleveland prefers tolls to pay for light rail; Qutub prefers neither.

Medicaid expansion

Cleveland supports expanding Medicaid eligibility to 133 percent of federal poverty level, about $14,856 for one person, as outlined in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. In Clark County, The Urban Institute estimates an additional 28,600 people will be enrolled in Medicaid under the expanded program. About 60,000 county residents now receive Medicaid benefits.

“It is not in our best interest to have large numbers of people uninsured,” she wrote in response to the candidate survey. “This expansion of Medicaid will cover more people and will be paid for entirely by the federal government for the first three years.”

Qutub opposes the expansion. She said the state cannot afford it.

“There has to be a line somewhere,” she said.

The candidates also are at odds on these other measures:

• Initiative 502 to legalize marijuana. Cleveland supports it; Qutub opposes it.

• Referendum 74 to allow same-sex couples to marry. Cleveland supports it; Qutub opposes it.

• Resolution 8221 to create a constitutional amendment that would implement the Commission on State Debt recommendations regarding the state’s debt limit. Qutub supports it; Cleveland opposes it.

• Initiative 1185, requiring any tax increases posed by the Legislature to be approved by a two-thirds vote. Qutub supports it; Cleveland opposes it.

• Initiative 1240, to create a public charter school system. Qutub supports it; Cleveland opposes it.

Education, economy

Both candidates tout education and economic growth as high priorities.

Qutub said the Legislature should budget for education before budgeting for other programs and direct money to the classroom to improve student outcomes. Qutub said she would like to reduce “unfunded mandates on businesses” and offer incentives to hire and train new workers.

Cleveland also committed to “adequately” paying for public education.

“We also need to diversity our economy and work to attract new business to the area,” Cleveland said.

The candidates both support Resolution 8223 to create a constitutional amendment that deals with investments by the University of Washington and Washington State University.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Trends; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.