Wylie, Service diverge on issues in 49th District race

Incumbent touts her long political resume

By Lauren Dake, Columbian Political Writer

Published:

 

49th Legislative District, Position 1

Sharon Wylie

Age: 65.

City: Vancouver.

Occupation: State legislator.

Party affiliation: Democrat.

Endorsements: NARAL Pro-Choice; Sierra Club; Clark County Association of Realtors; Washington Council of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs; Planned Parenthood NW.

Total funds raised: $65,199.

Campaign website: www.sharonfor49th.com.

Anson Service

Age: 41.

City: Vancouver.

Occupation: Mental health clinic director, licensed mental health counselor.

Party affiliation: Republican.

Endorsements: Gun Owners Action League of Washington; Human Life PAC; Pacific Security owner AJ Gomez; Robert Service; Stephen Mosier.

Total funds raised: $8,213.

Campaign website: www.electansonservice.com.

Sharon Wylie

Age: 65.

City: Vancouver.

Occupation: State legislator.

Party affiliation: Democrat.

Endorsements: NARAL Pro-Choice; Sierra Club; Clark County Association of Realtors; Washington Council of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs; Planned Parenthood NW.

Total funds raised: $65,199.

Campaign website: www.sharonfor49th.com.

Anson Service

Age: 41.

City: Vancouver.

Occupation: Mental health clinic director, licensed mental health counselor.

Party affiliation: Republican.

Endorsements: Gun Owners Action League of Washington; Human Life PAC; Pacific Security owner AJ Gomez; Robert Service; Stephen Mosier.

Total funds raised: $8,213.

Campaign website: www.electansonservice.com.

The sales tax exemption for Oregonians and certain other nonresidents is one of the issues Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, could “argue from both directions.”

For her, it’s the perfect example of dilemmas lawmakers face. For her opponent, Republican Anson Service, “it’s probably his favorite topic of all time.”

They both believe the exemption helps local businesses and should continue to exist.

That’s largely where the common ground between the two candidates ends.

Wylie points to her long political résumé — once a lobbyist and a former lawmaker in Oregon and now the 49th District incumbent — as an asset.

“I was once Clark County’s lobbyist and I don’t consider lobbying a dirty word,” Wylie said at a recent candidate forum. “I represented the citizens of Clark County to the Legislature and I know the process.”

Wylie said she’s proud of the work she’s done scrutinizing the state’s tax breaks. She’s become a vocal proponent for pressuring the federal government to figure out a way to tax internet sales, saying states and local governments are hemorrhaging money without any action.

Wylie is currently the vice chairwoman of the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee and sits on the House Higher Education Committee and Technology and Economic Development Committee.

“I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do in the short time (I’ve been) in the Legislature,” she said, adding she was one of the first lawmakers to take a stand and sponsor a bill on oil train safety.

Her opponent, Service, is a licensed mental health counselor in Vancouver. He has said he’s currently working on taking the exams to become a licensed psychologist.

Service said he would like to be an approachable representative who translates wonky policy into information that is easily comprehended. Service said he prides himself on being a good communicator. Service declined requests from The Columbian to be interviewed over the phone or in person.

Previously, Service wrote he is running to stop “the pattern of our current representatives who have continually supported wasteful spending programs, such as the Columbia River Crossing TriMet light rail expansion into Vancouver.”

Service said at a recent candidate forum he would prioritize funding for the state’s public schools and fight to improve education. He said he would not be “swayed” by special interest groups who lobby lawmakers.

Service is a proponent of ensuring people have access to affordable health care and believes a key component of curbing crime in Vancouver is helping people with mental health issues. He touts fiscal conservatism and believes the state can fund its public schools without raising taxes.

When asked about public records showing that his home was in foreclosure proceedings in 2009, Service wrote in an email he was limited in what he could say by attorneys. He wrote “there was no foreclosure,” and documents appear to show he kept his home. The experience, he said, shows “there needs to be better and more effective laws on the books to protect homeowners from predatory lending practices and illegal acts by mortgage companies.”