Blue Wave inspires local lawmakers seek changes in election guidelines

State representatives want lower requirements to pass school bond measures
By Dan Aznoff | Nov 15, 2018

The newly elected state representatives in the 44th Legislative District, which serves Mill Creek, are confident a stronger majority in the state house will allow them to provide much needed assistance to local schools with a simple change to minimum requirement for votes needed to approve bond issues.

Democrats John Lovick and Jared Mead, who will hold Positions 1 and 2, respectively, in the state Legislature for the district when the new session begins in Olympia next year, agreed that changes are needed to the approval process for school construction bonds.

The current state law requires approval by 60 percent of voters in a school district before bonds can be issued for construction of new facilities.

A majority of voters in the Everett School District voted to approve the $330 million Capital Improvement and Construction Bond in February that would have funded a fourth high school in the fast-growing southern portion of the district, as well as additional classrooms at Jackson High School.

But the total was 6 percent shy of the 60 percent super majority required by for passage according to state law.

“The number is just too high,” Lovick said. “Hopefully our new (Democratic) majority will be strong enough to at least start the conversation about lowering the percentage needed to something more reasonable, like 50 or even 55 percent.”

Mead agreed, suggesting that the state needs to adjust the percentages as well as the method it uses to calculate matching funds from public monies the state provides to schools.

“There are 30 portable classrooms at Jackson this year as a direct result of the state’s inability to match the investment in schools made by our community,” Mead said, while decompressing from the campaign with his wife in Hawaii.

“South Snohomish County is the fastest growing region in our state. These funds are needed to maintain the quality of education people we have come to expect from our local schools.”

Mead, 27, will become the youngest member of the state Legislature when the 2019 session begins in January. He collected 52.1 percent of the vote in the general election to defeat incumbent Mark Harmsworth, a Republican.

Mead was serving his first term on the Mill Creek City Council when he made the decision to run for the assembly in March. He claims to have knocked on 30,000 doors over the course of the campaign.

“People were drawn to the positive message I had to share,” Mead said. “And I listened to their concerns, and will start to work on issues like transportation and tax relief during the first few weeks of he session.”

The soon-to-be-father is filled with confidence that he can get things done in Olympia.

“My time as a legislative aid (to First District State Sen. Guy Palumbo of Maltby) taught me how the game is played,” he said with confidence. “We’ll get right to work on the issues that matter to the people in the 44th District.”

Mead admitted that he is not aware of how lawmakers in other parts of the state feel about the need to change election laws, stating flatly that he has not concerned himself with issues outside his own district.

“But that will have to change when the new session starts in Olympia,” he said with a smile.

Mead’s victory increased the Democratic majority in the state house to 51 seats. Republicans hold 47 seats.

Lovick will start his fourth term in the state house next year. His goals go well beyond the rhetoric of the election. He wants to be part of a tax relief solution that his constituents asked for during the campaign.

“Our property taxes are out of control,” Lovick explained. “We have to stop making promises and find real solutions.”

The veteran lawmaker fought off unsubstantiated charges leveled by his opponent, former Snohomish County Councilmember Jeff Sax. The Mill Creek Democrat finished with 56.9 percent of the vote in the district despite the accusations.

The campaign got nasty when Sax released documents from allegations of abuse in the 1990s that were denied by the victim before charges were ever filed.

In the race for the state senate seat in the 44th District, incumbent Democrat Steve Hobbs outpolled his opponent Doug Roulstone of Snohomish to earn a new term in Olympia. Hobbs collected 55.9 percent of the votes cast in the Nov. 6 election.

Hobbs told The Beacon he hopes to resume his leadership role as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee to find solutions to the congestion on the US 2 trestle between Lake Stevens and Everett.

Hobbs said he will task his committee to find solutions for the nonstop traffic on I-405 that connects his district with the Eastside communities of Bellevue and Kirkland.

Election officials in Snohomish County estimated the final voter turnout at almost 75 percent of the registered voters in the district. The 44th District covers Mill Creek, Lake Stevens and Snohomish, as well as portions of Marysville and Everett.

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