Crain, Ross challenge Moeller in 49th House

Republicans hope to break streak of Democratic incumbent being elected to six consecutive terms

By Lauren Dake, Columbian political writer



Jim Moeller

Age: 58.

City of residence: Vancouver.

Party: Democratic.

Past elected positions: Vancouver City Council, 1995-2003; Washington state representative, 2003 to present.

Current occupation: Chemical dependency counselor, Kaiser Permanente; Washington state representative.

Education: WSU, bachelor's in psychology, 1978; Hatfield School of Government, 2000.

Top endorsements: Washington State Association of CPAs, NW Credit Union Association, IAFF Local 457, Puget Sound Pilots, Washington State Auto Dealers.

Amount of campaign money raised so far: $36,872.35.

Carolyn Crain

Age: 55.

City of residence: Vancouver.

Party: Republican.

Past elected positions: Precinct committee officer 2012 to present.

Current occupation: Retired business owner, owned a bakery and electronics store.

Education: Western Business College.

Top endorsements: Rep. Paul Harris, Rep. Brandon Vick, Vancouver Councilman Bill Turlay, Vancouver Ford Dealership, Clyde Holland of Holland Partnership Group.

Amount of campaign money raised so far: $8,925.94.

Lisa Ross

Age: 47.

City of residence: Vancouver.

Party: Republican.

Past elected positions: None.

Current occupation: Certified public accountant.

Education: University of Alabama, bachelor's in philosophy; Western Governors University, bachelor's in accounting; Western Governors University-Washington, master's of business administration.

Top endorsements: Rep. Liz Pike, Bill Hidden, Jon Creedon, Mark Engleman, AJ Gomez.

Amount of campaign money raised so far: $7,031.42.

Republican Carolyn Crain, a steady presence in meetings all over town from city council to C-Tran, is once again vying to unseat the Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Moeller to represent the 49th Legislative District's second House position in Olympia.

Political newcomer Lisa Ross, a Republican, has also added her name to the list this year.

Moeller has been elected to the House six consecutive terms in a district where he has a Democratic edge.

For him, the biggest issue facing the state, and the district, is funding the state's public schools.

For him, there is only one solution: raising taxes.

He's open, however, to what type of tax — and believes sales, gas, business, and property taxes should "all be on the table."

His stance is in stark contrast to the views held by his Republican opponents.

"I don't think at this point in time we can afford to raise taxes," Crain said. "People are broke."

She would like to consider trimming some other budgets, including early childhood education and the Department of Ecology, to prioritize K-12 funding.

Ross, a certified public accountant, said "it's not a mystery how much it costs to run our schools." She said the state should pass the education budget first. She would look at trimming within the state's schools own budget, in particular the education service district's budgets, to find savings and ensure more money is being funneled directly into the classroom.

If re-elected, Moeller said, he would introduce a measure that he's pushed for nearly a decade that would create a searchable database shedding light on where lobbyists are spending their money. It would also require lobbyists to file their financial spending reports electronically.

Crain said she would spend her time in Olympia ridding the state of regulations she doesn't deem necessary.

She would write legislation creating a legislative oversight panel aimed solely at examining new "onerous and oppressive" rules made by state agencies.

"I would work to roll back extreme regulatory issues that are impacting the local area business development, one of those prove it or lose it," she said.

The panel, she said, would ensure there was a "scientific basis" for the creation of a new rule and would scrutinize the Department of Ecology in particular.

"Is there an ecology, environmental positive impact for what you're going to do, and can you give me scientific facts?" she said.

If voters choose to send Ross to Olympia, she said, her first priority would be creating jobs and passing what she calls "common sense measures."

For example, she believes too many people are being sent to jail for nonviolent crimes and she would like to see more "punishments fit the crime."

Crain said voters should elect her because she "seriously, seriously care(s) about the people."

Raising taxes would hit people hard, she said. And unlike her Republican opponent, she would not have to "put on training wheels to get past the first day."