Gov. Jay Inslee and Loren Culp vie for role of governor
Emmanuel Son, Staff Writer
The Wash. Gubernatorial race for Governor is in full swing and as always, voting will end the same day as the presidential election-Nov. 3. The two candidates on the ballot will be incumbent Jay Inslee (D) and former Ferry County officer and Army Veteran Loren Culp (R). In the Aug. 4 primaries, Inslee was able to capture 51 percent of the vote with opponent Loren Culp receiving just 17 percent. Culp was able to pull off the Republican nomination, surpassing opponents Tim Eyeman (7 percent), Joshua Freed (8 percent), Phil Fortunato (4 percent), and Dr. Raul Garcia (5 percent).
A former 2020 presidential hopeful, Inslee is now seeking to get re-elected for a third term, with Washington not having any gubernatorial term limits. A re-election of Inslee will make him the second governor of Washington to win a third term, after Daniel Evans (R) who left office in 1977.
Currently, Inslee, who has the incumbency advantage, has 53% of support with Culp at 36% according to the most recent “Pulse of Washington” polls conducted by KOMO News in collaboration with Strategy 360. The poll also featured opinions about the most important issues to be discussed.
One of the most important issues facing voters is the COVID-19 pandemic. The state has recently seen 90,596 cases and 2,199 deaths. Whoever wins the governor’s race will have a critical job of handling cases while finding a way to reopen the state as President Trump left it to state governors on how they should reopen their states.
According to Culp’s website, he believes that COVID-19 is not a hoax and is more than a terrible case of the cold. For this, he supports the encouragement of public health, but believes that every citizen should make the right decision for themselves if the proper education and information is given out on the virus and how it spreads. He also believes that Gov. Inslee has overstepped his power stating that the governor has refused to educate citizens on the virus and has withheld important information and data.
Gov. Inslee has taken a more controlling approach to the pandemic. Gov. Inslee signed on May 31, Proclamation 20-25: 4, introducing his safe start plans for county by county openings. This is what the state has been doing to slowly reopen different activities and businesses with mask and social distancing requirements. From the Wash. State COVID-19 response website, Gov. Inslee writes that he still believes that staying home will be the safest thing to do right now and to limit the time you spend going out. He also has recommended that citizens shop local to avoid spreading the virus over county lines and to limit the amount of people you gather with who live outside your household. It is also asked that you get tested if you experience any symptoms.
The issue of the homeless crisis has also been huge for Wash. residents. In 2019, a point in time count showed that the number of homeless in the state had gone down. The number was set at 21,621 which was about a 3.1 percent decrease from previous years. However, that number has gone back up by 5 percent in 2020. According to King County’s website, January found that 11,751 people experienced homelessness with 47 percent of them unsheltered and 53 percent sheltered. According to 2020’s point in time data in Thurston County, there has been a 43 percent increase in unsheltered people.
While most of these numbers are not yet final, Culp and Inslee have laid out their solutions to solving this crisis. Culp states on his campaign website that he does not believe that the state has a homelessness problem but rather an addiction and mental health problem. Culp states that the role the government has on homelessness is to help those troubled individuals resolve their issue. He states that the government should not be enabling “people who are caught in downward spirals of addiction or other self-destructive behaviors.” He argues that Inslee has enabled such behaviors that have led to “people living in our streets in third world inhumane conditions.” On his website, Culp explains that a step toward achieving this goal is for the government to be a support to local and private charities and organizations.
From the governor’s website, Governor Inslee’s Healthier Washington plan strives to improve healthcare in Washington in order that people receive better healthcare throughout life and make more affordable care easily accessible. In 2017, Gov. Inslee signed an executive order allowing state workers to work with local public health, tribal governors, and other organizations across the state to work on an opioid response and to increase addiction treatment. Other approaches to this crisis the current governor has taken have been passing house bill 1388 integrating physical and mental health services and signing an executive order to reduce firearm fatalities and suicides. The governor’s website does state that plans are underway for plans to expand affordable housing options through additional resources and land use policies.
Other issues to later be discussed are environment, fish and wildlife, taxes, and labor unions. The gubernatorial debate will be held on Wednesday Oct. 7.