Newcomer Crain faces off against Moeller

Incumbent Democrat has been re-elected five times in 49th District

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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Jim Moeller's 2012 Candidate Survey

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Carolyn Crain's 2012 Candidate Survey

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Jim Moeller

Party: Democratic.

City of residence: Vancouver.

Age: 57.

Occupation: Addiction medicine counselor at Kaiser Permanente.

Campaign website: Click here.

Major endorsements: Delta Dental, International Association of Firefighters 452 (Vancouver), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48, former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard and The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

Money raised in campaign: $98,476.

Carolyn Crain

Party: Republican.

City of residence: Vancouver.

Age: 53.

Occupation: Retired baker.

Campaign website: Click here.

Major endorsements: Human Life of Washington, Gun Owners’ Action League; Clyde Holland of Holland Partner Group apartment development and management company; Clark County Republican Party; Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver.

Money raised in campaign: $8,079.

Political newcomer Carolyn Crain, a Republican, has challenged five-term incumbent state Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, for his seat in the 49th District.

Moeller has been re-elected five consecutive times in the Democratic-leaning 49th and has raised 12 times more in campaign money than his opponent.

Crain has launched a campaign against him because she would like to see change in the 49th District. Her platform prioritizes job creation by loosening up environmental regulations, reprioritizing state spending, and requiring photo identification to register to vote and a change in law that would specify citizenship status on driver's licenses.

Moeller said family-wage jobs are his chief priority. He said health care and completing the Columbia River Crossing Interstate 5 Bridge replacement are two other issues he's most committed to fighting for.

Job creation

Moeller said he supports job creation through directing state capital improvement and transportation money to "building local shovel-ready infrastructure" and federal rail improvement dollars to the Port of Vancouver. He voted for the Jobs Now Act. The law authorized $500 million in new general obligation bonds for projects around the state

and is projected to create 18,000 jobs, 9,000 of which would be long-term.

Crain said she believes onerous state Department of Ecology regulations have hampered the state economy. As a lawmaker, she said she would work to provide "oversight" of the department regulations "to create a balance between the economy and the environment."

Medicaid expansion

Moeller said he 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 low-income people will be enrolled in Medicaid under the expanded program. About 60,000 county residents now receive Medicaid benefits.

"The more people who have health care with reforms, (including) medical homes and/or outcome-based treatment, the less expensive health care becomes for all of us," Moeller wrote in response to The Columbian's 2012 candidate survey. "A single-payer, government option health care plan is cheaper and more efficient for the vast majority of Americans. This has been proven the world over. No nation is considering privatizing their health care industry."

Crain said she opposes the expansion of the federal program in the state. She wrote in response to The Columbian's 2012 candidate survey that federal programs don't take into account each state's "economic environment and unique programs in place to meet the demands placed on them by their own voter-elected initiatives and propositions."

"We can and should create a better state-based Medicaid system for our citizens that will meet the health care laws of our state," Crain said.

Education

Crain said K-12 education funding should focus on student outcomes rather than an amount. She said there is waste in the public school system, and academic outcomes have not improved with increased spending. She suggested that the problem needs to be corrected before increasing the K-12 budget.

Moeller said Washington needs to comply with the state Supreme Court's ruling earlier this year that the state fails to fully fund K-12 education, as required by the state constitution.

However, what that amount would be "needs better definition." He said the biggest needs for additional money are in early learning and basic education, such as school buildings and buses; all-day kindergarten and compensation for teachers.

Both candidates agree that businesses can do more to assist with reducing tuition at higher education institutions. Business investment can help universities meet the businesses' employment needs and make postsecondary education affordable for students.

Both also support Resolution 8223 to create a constitutional amendment to give University of Washington and Washington State University greater freedom to invest their pension, retirement and other public funds to obtain a higher rate of return on investment.

CRC

Moeller said he supports completion of the Columbia River Crossing Interstate 5 Bridge replacement project as soon as money is available to do so. He said he also favors including light rail in the project.

"We need options to get around, not simply more asphalt," Moeller said in response to the candidate survey. "We would be increasing the transportation options and joining 54 miles of an existing light rail system (in the Portland metro area) that we didn't pay any capital costs for."

Crain opposes the existing version of the project. She said the bridge has decades of life remaining. In the meantime, a third bridge should be constructed to meet the needs of commerce, she said. She said she opposes light rail on the I-5 bridge because light rail is expensive and provides few benefits.

The candidates also differed on the following issues:

• C-Tran's Proposition 1 to raise sales tax by 0.1 percentage point (a penny on a $10 purchase) to pay for maintenance and operation of light rail and cover bus rapid transit for Fourth Plain Boulevard. Moeller supports it; Crain opposes it.

• Referendum 74 to allow same-sex couples to marry. Moeller supports it; Crain opposes it.

• Initiative 1240 to create a public charter school system. Moeller opposes it; Crain is undecided.

• Initiative 1185 to require any tax increases posed by the Legislature to be approved by a two-thirds vote. Crain supports it; Moeller opposes it.

The candidates agree on these other issues:

• Initiative 502 to legalize marijuana possession for people 21 and older. Both candidates oppose the initiative.

• Resolution 8221 to create a constitutional amendment that would decrease the state's debt limit. Both candidates support it.


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