This is part of a series of candidate profiles Patch will be bringing you for the 2012 elections. Brian L. Gunn is running against incumbent Cathy Dahlquist for Position No. 1 in the 31st Legislative District.
NAME: Brian L. Gunn
OFFICE SOUGHT: State Representative, 31st Legislative District, Position 1
PARTY AFFILIATION: Democratic
TOWN OF RESIDENCE: Auburn, WA
CURRENT OCCUPATION: Software Performance Testing Engineer
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: After graduating with honors from the
University of San Francisco with a degree in English, I became a software testing engineer. I have worked in Information Technology for 24 years in various industries including finance, insurance, telecommunications, and I am currently employed in the aerospace industry.
WHAT IS THE MOST PRESSING ISSUE FACING VOTERS IN YOUR DISTRICT?
The 31st District does not include big cities like Seattle or Tacoma. The weak
economic recovery has hardly been felt at all in east King and Pierce counties. This is having a disproportionate effect on our young men and women who are having a hard time finding a job and paying for college as well as on people with disabilities, the elderly, and the homeless. Lack of adequate public transit options exacerbates the unemployment problem because people have a hard time getting to an interview to find a job in the first place. Recently, decisions made by our legislators in Olympia have consistently hurt those who are already suffering while protecting the profits of giant corporations. Lobbyists promise generous campaign contributions to elected officials who will continue to sponsor and vote for legislation that amounts to nothing more or less than corporate welfare.
IF ELECTED, WHAT WILL YOU DO IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS IN OFFICE TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE?
To correct the problems people face in the 31st requires us to elect legislators who are not under the influence of big money and dependant on special interest lobbyists for campaign contributions. My pledge to accept donations only from individuals who live in Washington State means I will answer only to my constituents and to the people of Washington. That will allow me to work honestly to close tax loopholes for giant corporations that do nothing to help the people of our state. Because those big multi-national corporations are not creating jobs in the 31st District, I’ll work to reform or eliminate the grossly unfair business and occupation tax that makes starting a small business here so difficult. Instead, I would support a valued added tax that would help Washington small businesses grow and be more competitive. I would support a State Bank to keep our tax dollars working for us locally in low interest
student loans and infrastructure projects that create jobs. We could make
our tax system less regressive with a capital gains tax and use the revenue to restore school funding and improve public transit. I don’t subscribe to the idea that things have to get much worse before they can get better. We have the resources to lift up our economy without pushing down those who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE REFERENDUM 74: SHOULD GAY MARRIAGE BE LEGAL IN WASHINGTON? BRIEFLY, WHY?
Washington’s Marriage Equality bill should be approved by the voters and become state law. We have a legal and moral obligation under the US and State
Constitutions to ensure that all persons are treated equally before the law.
Furthermore, I believe that two men or two women getting married in no way shape or form harms anyone else or detracts from any of the other married couples who live in our state. The right to marry the person you love is a civil right that must be available to every citizen on an equal basis.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE, INITIATIVE 502 TO MAKE SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA LEGAL TO PEOPLE 21 AND OLDER? BRIEFLY, WHY?
I support legalization of marijuana. We are spending an inordinate amount of
money to process people (a disproportionate number of whom are people of color) through our criminal justice system for possession of small amounts of marijuana. There are flaws with this initiative with respect to the DUI provisions being based on levels of THC in the blood that could make it impossible for users of medical marijuana to drive legally, so the legislature should take steps to correct this by changing the medical marijuana law to require evidence of impairment beyond the blood test for a DUI conviction.