Local candidates discuss taxes, climate

Potential representatives disagree on initiative to reduce carbon emissions



Washington’s 9th District State House Democratic candidates Jennifer Goulet, left, and Matthew Sutherland, right, share their vision of what they plan to implement if elected Wednesday afternoon.

CARMEN JARAMILLO, Evergreen reporter

The Foley Institute hosted can­didates Matthew Sutherland and Jennifer Goulet for a ques­tion-and-answer session Wednesday.

Sutherland is running for the Washington State House of Representatives in the 9th District against incumbent Joe Schmick (R). Goulet is running for the other 9th District seat against Rep. Mary Dye (R).

The candidates talked about issues including student debt, taxes, repro­ductive rights and gun control.

Goulet said the main issues she is running on are education and taxes. She said she just finished her bachelor’s degree at age 40 and is distressed by the amount of debt she is facing while also trying to figure out how to help pay for her daughter’s education, who just graduated from high school.

Sutherland said his main issues are health care and education. He said K-12 in Washington needs to be fully funded with lower class sizes, and investment in higher education must return to pre-recession levels.

Sutherland and Goulet both said they are in support of reforming Washington’s tax code, specifically the business and occupation tax which taxes business owners. They both also proposed a tax on capital gains.

“I want to make sure that our larg­est corporations and most wealthy individuals are paying their fair share, and those who receive tax breaks or subsidies are being held accountable,” Goulet said.

Sutherland and Goulet differed on their stance on the proposed “car­bon tax,” Initiative 1631, which comes before the voters on the ballot this November.

Sutherland said he cannot sup­port the initiative if it unfairly burdens Washington’s working-class families. He said there are other ways to help reduce carbon emissions while also investing in infrastructure in Eastern Washington.

Goulet said she supports the initia­tive because “something must be done” about climate change, and said it’s a good opportunity for Washington to lead the rest of the nation.

If I-1631 passes, it will be the first tax on carbon emissions in the nation and Washington will have the first govern­ment in the world to initiate one via a referendum.

Goulet said she was opposed to Initiative 732 in 2016, a similar ini­tiative which failed 60 percent to 40 percent, but she believes it has been reformed to provide protections for Washington’s middle and lower class.

Goulet first challenged Dye in the 2016 election and received 33 percent of the vote with Dye receiving 67 per­cent.

Goulet said she first decided to run against Dye when it came out that Dye had asked students lobbying on behalf of Planned Parenthood if they were virgins in January 2016.

She said she takes issue with many of Dye’s positions, including her stance on climate change, and that’s why she is running against her.

“I thought, somebody needs to run against this lady and then I thought, I am a somebody,” Goulet said. “For so many reason she has to go.”

Sutherland said his opponent, Schmick, is not transparent with his constituents and is in the pockets of large insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

Sutherland said that by declining to debate him or participate in public forums, Schmick was not listening to his constituents’ needs.

“My opponent doesn’t want to be accountable to his constituents,” Sutherland “I think it’s incredibly important that people are showing up to listen to the people they’re going to be representing.”