This is part of a series of candidate profiles Patch will be bringing you for the 2012 elections. Incumbent Christopher Hurst is running against Lisa Connors for Position No. 2 in the 31st Legislative District.
NAME: Christopher Hurst
OFFICE SOUGHT: State Representative, 31st LD, Pos. 2
PARTY AFFILIATION: Independent Democrat
TOWN OF RESIDENCE: Enumclaw
CURRENT OCCUPATION: Retired Police Commander
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: 25 years in law enforcement, Airline Transport Pilot and State Legislator
WHAT IS THE MOST PRESSING ISSUE FACING VOTERS IN YOUR DISTRICT?
To begin with, working on our economic recovery and jobs is my first priority. Without a strong economy, we will never have the money to fund education properly – first things first. We are now recovering from the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression, which was caused by a global banking meltdown that began in 2007. We have passed strong laws to keep such an event from ever happening again in our financial markets, but we are still recovering from the damage.
I also feel that we need strong public safety laws to protect honest law abiding citizens, because without public safety, nothing else in society will work. As a 25-year veteran police Commander and Detective, I have been working to pass laws to protect citizens from violent crime and sex offenders.
I also know from my years in police work, that our first line against kids becoming involved in drugs, gangs and crime is a good education system. We need a dedicated education budget and for the legislature to fund education first! Those are my top three priorities in the legislature, and really, they all work together.
IF ELECTED, WHAT WILL YOU DO IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS IN OFFICE TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE?
I have been working to make our state budget sustainable. I started by cutting my own legislative pay last year to help make ends meet. State government is doing more with less, and it starts with me. Although I was one of the first to take this voluntary pay cut, most legislators have also done so.
We passed a best-in-the-nation 4 year balanced budget law. That means that we now have not only a two year balanced state budget, but the budget is not allowed to create a deficit in the following two years. I was a leader in the push for this legislation that was passed by both Democrats and Republicans.
We are also forcing more government efficiencies and passed reforms to the public pensions for new hires that will save billions of dollars in the years to come – money we can now invest in education. We are also eliminating unfunded mandates that were bending our state spending curve higher each year. We created a constitutionally protected Rainy Day Fund that the voters also approved, which during good times, will allow us to save for a rainy day.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE REFERENDUM 74: SHOULD GAY MARRIAGE BE LEGAL IN WASHINGTON? BRIEFLY, WHY?
I voted no on the floor of the House when the measure was before me.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE, INITIATIVE 502 TO MAKE SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA LEGAL TO PEOPLE 21 AND OLDER? BRIEFLY, WHY?
I will vote no on this initiative because marijuana use and sales is a violation of federal law. If Washington were to legalize marijuana, no tax revenue would be collected or available as the federal government has already said that they would seize the money from the state as proceeds of illegal criminal activity and prosecute those involved in the process. That makes no sense.
Additionally, we have enough problems with young people using illegal and prescription drugs and people on public assistance with substance abuse problems. Do we really need to make it worse by making telling folks that marijuana is legal?
Finally, if Washington “legalizes” marijuana and tells its citizens that it is, but a citizen gets caught at a park, on the water or crossing the border and is arrested by a federal agent, they will be charged and convicted of a federal drug crime and keep that conviction for the rest of their lives, seriously hampering any chance of getting a job, renting or buying property, getting a loan, going to school or succeeding in live – that’s not fair.