Challenger Jack Michalek believes voters want a new senator in Legislative District 33. Incumbent Karen Keiser remains confident that voters want to keep her experience and values in Olympia.
The two face off in the Aug. 17 Primary Election. Both will advance to the Nov. 2 General Election. Ballots have been mailed by King County Elections. Voters must have the ballots postmarked by Aug. 17 in the all-mail election to be counted.
The 33rd district covers the Kent Valley and West Hill as well as SeaTac, Des Moines, Normandy Park and part of Burien.
“I have a feeling people want a change,” said Michalek, of Des Moines, a Republican who has knocked on more than 5,000 doors so far. “I’d love to make a good showing and get my name out there.”
Keiser, D-Des Moines, has served 10 years in the Senate. She was appointed to her seat in 2001 and won elections to four-year terms in 2002 and 2006. She served as a state representative from 1996-2001.
“I think I’m the better choice because my values match the district’s for economic stability, education and health care,” Keiser said. “People want someone who shares their values.”
Michalek, 69, ran and lost for a Port of Seattle commissioner position in 1991, his only other attempt at an elected office. He has lived in District 33 for 40 years and worked for more than 40 years in the transportation industry. He currently runs an aviation consulting business out of his home. He ran Aviation West, a ground-handling service company at Sea-Tac Airport, for more than 15 years before selling the business.
“I got fed up with everything going on in Olympia,” Michalek said about the reason he decided to run for the Senate. “I know how to run a business, run a budget and live within a budget as you hire and fire.
“It’s out of control in Olympia. We have to reduce government spending. We’re funding this and that and we don’t have the money.”
Michalek said one of his priorities would be to help small businesses by reducing the business and occupation tax or even allowing a new small business to not be charged the tax in its first year of operation.
Michalek wants education to be a top priority but he would prefer to see less money spent on administrators and non-teachers and more spent on the students.
As far as where to save money, Michalek said he wants to increase the budget and staff of State Auditor Brian Sonntag to find areas to cut.
“We should double his people so he can audit every place,” Michalek said. “There are people who quit universities, then get rehired and are double dipping and making twice as much money.”
Keiser, 62, said she will focus to save the budgets of two major programs.
“My priorities are education and health care,” Keiser said. “Beyond those, we can eliminate programs and make cuts.”
Keiser said it’s becoming difficult to know where to cut.
“At this point, I can’t tell you what I would do,” said Keiser, except that she would avoid cuts to education and health care.
While some voters might want a change in leadership because of the struggling economy the past couple of years, Keiser said she has found going door to door that people want representatives who will listen to them.
“People know me,” Keiser said. “I listen and I’m effective.”
Keiser pointed to a flood insurance bill she helped pass last session to protect Green River Valley businesses and residents from financial ruin as one of her key achievements. She also helped pass bills to ensure children get vaccines; improved safety in baby bottles by banning the use of a chemical used to make the bottles; and making health insurance more affordable for small businesses.
The Municipal League of King County gave Keiser a “very good” rating and Michalek a “good” rating.
Through Aug. 2, Keiser had raised $93,027 for her campaign and spend $24,661 while Michalek had raised $11,770 and spent $6,968, according to the Washington Public Disclosure Web site at www.pdc.wa.gov.
Legislators are paid $42,106 per year.
For information about the candidates from their Web sites, go to www.karenkeiser.com or www.votejack2010.com.