Updates: Besides Toms Pasma, Jeff Morris and Chuck Carrell, none of the remaining candidates have responded to our questions as of today. This includes Gulleson from whom I still expect a response based on his earilier email.
1. The Pubic Disclosure Commission (PDC) database doesn't list Justin Van Dyk (see above). This could mean that he hasn't filed the required forms with the PDC which were due within 2 weeks of becoming a candidate.
2. In the Sunday Herald (Aug 8), the Our View editorial encourages us all to vote in the primary. That's good to hear. But at the bottom of the first column the Herald editors also point out "And we only interviewed candidates who were running serious campaigns in our community." In the race for the 40th, they appear to have omitted interviewing John Swapp and Justin Van Dyk without explaining why they felt these candidates were not running serious campaigns. At least in John Swapp's case, he was at the Rome Grange forum and has distributed campaign material. So I have to believe that he is doing some serious campaigning up this way, and I don't know what the Herald's motivation is in writing what they did.
Updates: Tom Pasma was first across the line with Jeff Morris and Chuck Carrell not far behind. Dusty Gulleson, who indicated on Tuesday that he would respond, has yet to submit. The other candidates, besides Doug Revelle who has said he has stopped his campaign, have yet to respond at all. Congratulations to all three. I certainly appreciate timeliness and openness from those in government, or wishing to be there, and I’m sure many other voters and citizens do as well.
When I sent my email to the candidates last Monday two questions were included. The motive for my email was two-fold. First, I have an underlying concern that access to and attention by our public officials is insufficient to sustain a vibrant connection with us who elect and empower them. How do those officials make themselves available to us, or are we ignored? Second, I wanted a better understanding of the possible relationships between my representative and me.
The two questions I asked the candidates were “Why should I vote for you?” and, “What is important to you?” The questions were framed to evoke answers around what the candidate thinks is important to the citizen, and what the values of the candidate are.
The answers from each candidate are included in a separate post for each that follows this post. The reader can judge the quality of the answers for themselves. Other candidates who respond after today will also have their answers posted. Note however, they will have had the benefit of seeing these first responses. Tom, Jeff and Chuck stuck their necks out which is appreciated by this writer.
Updates: Donna Miller's website is now linked on the Herald website. That leaves Justin Van Dyk's site still unlinked there. His website is http://www.electvandyk.com/. I'm not sure whether the Herald has missed it, or if Justin just hasn't provided them the information. In either case this is a barrier to the voter. Herald, Justin….please help the voters out.
Tom Pasma's campaign manager responded yesterday morning that Tom is working on the response to my questions. He joins Dusty Gulleson as the only candidate who is reading and responding to emails from voters (at least this one.) Dusty still needs to get his response in, by the way.
More on Friday
Besides their positions on issues, I value where a candidate stands on accessibility. Are they available to the voter, and in what ways? When they are in the middle of a campaign I expect they would be quite attentive to voter inquiries. Their attentiveness now may be an indicator of how accessible they will be when elected, although there is no certainty in that.
Email access is probably the most widespread method for contacting people ever. So I decided to email the candidates and ask two questions. Most of the candidates for the 40th District have websites which Sam Taylor and the Herald have listed on-line (again the Voter’s Pamphlet is of no assistance.) Two candidates haven’t provided website info (Van Dyk and Miller,) and one link doesn’t appear to work (Pasma.) Googling the candidates also yields contact info. Ultimately, I did find email addresses or on-line forms to contact all candidates. Although I had to dig for Pellett’s.
Within an hour of sending my email to the candidates, I received acknowledgement from two of them (Gulleson and Revelle.) Now, two days later I have received nothing from any of the others. So things aren't looking too encouraging as yet on the "response to email test."
This year’s primary Voter’s Pamphlet is really short of information about the candidates. Of the contested races, only the Whatcom County Council candidates have any biographical information or candidate statements included. And yet there are several other races in play that are vital to our community. The pamphlet does note that information on other races can be found on the Washington Secretary of State’s website at http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/whatcom. This is part of the continuing story of the decline of printed media in the face of the far lower costs of on-line distribution.
But the Voter’s Pamphlet is particularly sad. It is the only piece of information that theoretically gets to every voter. No internet access or newspaper subscriptions are required, no dependence on receiving mailers from every candidate is necessary. In the pamphlet, candidates can, and do, provide mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and website urls in addition to their bios and statements. For those voting citizens who may not have access to the internet, or who are disabled, or don’t have access to other reliable sources, the question becomes just how good is their access to candidate information? Is it possible we are disenfranchising some of our citizens?
Over the next two weeks of this primary campaign, I’m going to look at this and maybe some other questions, specifically for the 40th District State Representative races (Positions 1 and 2.) I’m not sure what I’ll find, but I’ll post my observations here on a frequent basis.
I received an email yesterday from Doug Revelle, candidate for Position 1, 40th District State Representative. In response to my email inquiry to him earlier in the day, I was sorry to hear that he has stopped his campaign for health reasons. I wish him the best. We will miss his ideas.