Politicians put to the test in Speed Candidating

Rep. Zack Hudgins' son Sebastian sat in his father's lap, eating fish crackers while Hudgins talked politics with table after table of constituents.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:38pm
  • News

For the Kent Reporter

Rep. Zack Hudgins’ son Sebastian sat in his father’s lap, eating fish crackers while Hudgins talked politics with table after table of constituents.

“I’m on baby duty today,” he said, drawing a laugh from the people around the table.

The 11th District representative fielded just as many questions about his 11-month-year-old son as he did about the budget.

Hudgins was one of seven state House and Senate candidates who attended the Kent Chamber of Commerce’s Speed Candidating event last week.

Set up much like the speed-dating process, candidates interacted with Kent voters within an eight-minute time limit for each round. During the event, candidates rotated among tables where small groups of voters had the chance to hear each of their platforms and ask questions in an informal setting.

If re-elected, Hudgins plans to stay consistent with the areas he has already been working to improve.

“I’d like to continue focusing on the things I have been focusing on, bread-and-butter issues in the 11th District – good economy, jobs, that sort of thing,” he said.

As for solving the budget crisis that the state is currently in, he said he does not think there are any easy answers.

“I think we continue doing what we have been: looking for efficiencies, looking for savings,” Hudgins said. “It’s very difficult to raise taxes, so that means lots of cuts. So, generally, you try to have a balanced approach going in, but the voters have told us they don’t want to raise taxes. So I think we continue to cut back the services we provide and try to prioritize what we do provide. I think that’s the political reality we’re in.”

He said he does not believe an income tax will help solve the problem.

Fellow 11th District candidate Jim Flynn disagreed.

Flynn said he is in favor of eliminating the sales tax and implementing an income tax, which he thinks would be a better source of revenue for the state.

“That’s all I want to accomplish,” he said. “I think that’s the basis for solving our problems.”

Andy Massagli, who is running for 47th District, focused his ideas on improving the school system and how much money is wasted by the government.

He said he is invested in improving the school system because his children who are still enrolled at various stages of education.

“I think there are some problems with it,” Massagli said. “I think there are some good things with it. So what I want to do is I want to see efficiency, I want to see it funded first.”

He also said a problem within the government is wastefulness and the inability to be efficient when it comes to spending. Instead of looking at small pieces of the problem, voters and decision makers should be looking at the entire picture, as well as the cause and effect of all options.

“We to start thinking, ‘What’s best for the state, what’s best for everything,'” Massagli said. “We should want all functioning and well doing departments to do well.”

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