To help voters learn more about local candidates for Washington State Legislature, My Edmonds News sent a questionnaire to each candidate for state representative appearing on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. We are posting these are we receive them.
Brian Thompson, a Republican, is a Washington native and Edmonds resident campaigning for the 21st District Position 1 seat, running against incumbent Rep. Strom Peterson, a Democrat and also an Edmonds resident. For 14 years, Thompson has owned and operated a local small business specializing in professional building and fire code design and consulting. He was appointed to Society of Fire Protection Engineers’ community outreach and advocacy committee and public policy task group, with members around the globe.
Thompson was previously elected state representative for architects and engineers on L&I Elevator Safety Advisory Committee; and was a former representative on Technical Advisory Groups to the State Building Code Council.
Q: Tell voters a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve lived in the district you’re hoping to represent, a general idea of what platforms/issues you’re running on, and other general information about yourself to let voters get to know you better.
My wife and I are native Washingtonians. We have lived, worked and played in District 21 for the past 14 years. We bought a home, started a small professional engineering consulting business, and are raising our four children here. A few years ago, I was an award recipient by Consulting-Specifying Engineer, who annually recognizes 40 engineers across the country under the age of 40 based on the individual’s “commitment to excellence in their academic, professional, personal, and community involvement.” The integrity, tenacity, and dedication I have honed as a small business owner in the Puget Sound are characteristics I will bring with me to Olympia as your state representative.
I entered this race in response to the call for citizen representatives to take a stand, having been equipped by my experiences and education for such a time as this. Among many meaningful things said by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands during times of challenge and controversy.” I appreciate the responsibility I will bear as your representative.
As a father, concerned citizen, and a resident of City of Edmonds, I have attended Edmonds City Council meetings and stood at the podium to offer public comment on the record. When it came to adopting FCC rules for allowance of 5G antennae sites, the city attorney instructed the council as to the allowable limits of their rulemaking prior to acceptance of public comment. In response to his statements, I adapted my presentation in that moment to more effectively communicate my concerns in a manner such that they would be actionable by the Council. The language ultimately adopted by the council went beyond that offered by city departments and incorporated my comments. My effective listening skills and ability to speak toward mutually acceptable language support my ability to work successfully with all parties in Olympia as your representative from Legislative District 21.
In my engineering practice, it is essential that I think critically and consider the consequences of my actions. That skill set is critical as a legislator in Olympia. With recent legislation, it seems our legislators have failed to fully consider the consequences of their actions. It is time to elect new leadership.
For example, when it came time for a final vote on allowing facial recognition technology earlier this year, our representatives approved it for Washington. But last year, studies reported the software to be “fraught with racial and gender bias.” It is all too convenient now in the wake of rising racial tensions for our out-of-touch career politicians to now claim to care about minorities.
With regard to comprehensive sex education (CSE), our representatives, from the comfort of their chairs in Olympia, voted to approve this legislation last year. Strom has said there is nothing offensive in the bill. Pardon me while I take offense to the blank check effectively written to OSPI which paved the way for a curriculum that imposes unhealthy conditioning, beginning in kindergarten, and explicit material in older grades. Yes, it is important for our children to practice being respectful of others. That has long been accomplished in an environment where it was still okay for you to be you. However, CSE opens the door for schools, where our children spend a substantial portion of their time, to lead them to life-altering decisions without the involvement of their parents. Having heard of bad experiences of female relatives involving males in our public school bathrooms, which if you were unaware are effectively open to use by either biological gender, demonstrates that students are not learning that respect is a two-way street. I fear some adults are forgetting this as well, and vow to promote the two-way street of respect in Olympia.
Q: What experience would you bring to the position you’re running for? Are there any issues in particular you are passionate about or plan to prioritize if elected?
I am currently serving an appointment with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (LNI) as a member of the Elevator Safety Advisory Committee where I represent registered architects and professional engineers throughout Washington state. I have twice been appointed by our State Building Code Council to serve as a member of Technical Advisory Groups in the triennial adoption of the State Building and Fire Codes. In the most recent adoption cycle, I stood up as an individual for public safety and petitioned the council for reconsideration of a particular proposed code amendment. I appeared at multiple public hearings in Olympia where I provided oral public testimony in addition to persuasive written testimony. My stated position received the written support of fire department officials in two area jurisdictions. Ultimately, my petition was granted, preserving the level of fire and life safety established by our codes.
In the previous legislative session, I helped our District 21 Senator Marko Liias (D) amend the text of a bill that had not been successful in prior years. Following my contributions, the Greg “Gibby” Gibson Fire Safety Act was passed in 2019. As your representative, I will continue to work with all parties toward the best outcome.
With the imminent introduction of a vaccine for COVID-19, I am prioritizing support for HB 1976 concerning vaccine safety. We have seen that even before Governor Inslee imposed his Stay Home order, the retransmission rate had dramatically dropped from where it was in February to a level at or below the target threshold, and while there was a rise in positive cases this summer, the limited number of hospitalizations and deaths during that time reveal that drastic intervention, such as compelling Washingtonians to receive an injection, is no longer warranted.
Q: The state budget is facing a budget deficit of nearly $9 billion including a $4.5 billion shortfall from the 2019-21 budget and another $4.3 billion shortfall from 2021-23 is anticipated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislators have proposed several options like implementing a state income tax, a capital gains tax, new taxes on business or making cuts in the budget. What are your ideas for addressing the budget shortfall?
I take issue with the assertion that the anticipated budget shortfall is “a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” This suggests that some tiny microbe came and took our money. The virus did not take our money. Gov. Jay Inslee imposed, and continues to impose extreme and sweeping measures as he claims to be “following the science.” I have a master’s degree in science and cannot explain how his proclamations are supported in science; they are not. To be clear, it is our leadership’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic that is the cause of our budget woes.
Recognizing that we all must make do with less, I am refusing to accept more than $500 from any single donor for my campaign and am limiting my campaign revenue to maximum $5,000. We all need to spend wisely and vote wisely.
I will vehemently oppose a progressive tax or state income tax, or other new taxes. My opponent, Strom, owns Cheesemonger’s Table in Edmonds, and has no problem taking money from other businesses. He voted for a 20% increase in taxes to professional businesses last year. Now is not the time to increase taxes on businesses or individuals.
Predictability is crucial to businesses’ ability to forecast and grow, and to individuals and families planning for their future. Therefore, when it comes to taxes, we should foster an environment where each business and household can be more confident in its income, and thereby promote spending which would inherently improve the amount of taxes collected.
Recognizing there is an existing shortfall imposed by Gov. Inslee, I favor reductions in government spending as the means to address the budget shortfall.
Q: If you favor budget cuts, what areas would you prioritize funding for and areas would you propose cutting?
I would prioritize funding for essential services. Due to the magnitude of cuts facing the state, the 15% currently contemplated by some departments may be insufficient. I would look for opportunities to eliminate redundancy, both within government as well as by reducing spending where that redundancy is found in private-sector and nonprofits already offering the same or better social services.
Q: Washington state, specifically Snohomish County, was the first place in the country to have a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Some have said the federal government was not prepared for the pandemic, forcing state and local officials to come up with their own plans. Do you have ideas for ensuring the state is prepared to resolve this (and future) pandemic crisis, regardless of federal government action?
Our state has the benefit of renowned medical researchers. Findings from University of Washington published in May revealed that the reinfection rate fell sharply in February and March, reaching the acceptable threshold level on or before Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation took effect.
State Department of Health (DOH) statistics have shown that the hospitalization and death rates which followed the positive cases when they peaked in March, have ceased to rise this summer when positive cases rose again.
Our state was and is prepared with experts capable of compiling data. Unfortunately, the governor’s extreme response to the data is an overreaction to the limited risk presented by COVID-19.
Q: Our nation is currently in the middle of a polarizing conversation about racism, particularly with regards to over-policing in communities of color. There have been calls for police reform, including but not limited to defunding the police and reallocating funds to other services that would replace a police response with social services. What are your opinions on this issue and what plans do you have to work on improving relations between police and communities of color?
I believe Washingtonians, by-in-large, are colorblind. In the absence of inflammatory news stories, we saw the majority of Washingtonians vote 20 years ago to abolish affirmative action, and sustained this position last November. Washington State Patrol employs a diverse population. Relations between police and the communities they serve are best handled at the local level.
Q: Additionally, if you do support defunding the police, how would you go about doing that? If not, what other plans do you have for police reform to ensure people and communities of color are treated equally?
We are safe when law and order is upheld. A solid police presence is a strong deterrent to criminal activity. Recent events have shown that full-length audio and video recordings of encounters with police can tell a different story than an excerpt of the same event posted by an individual. Employing technology on officers and their patrol vehicles to record their encounters can help protect the officer, the department and all citizens, by creating a clearer picture of what happened.
Q: Homelessness is considered one of the biggest issues in Washington state. What solutions do you have for resolving homelessness in your district as well as the root problems that often cause homelessness, like mental health, substance abuse and a lack of affordable housing?
I perceive homelessness to vary by individual locality, and therefore find it impossible for the state to provide a blanket one-size-fits-all solution.
Q: Many are concerned about rising housing costs in the region. With Sound Transit’s light rail coming to South Snohomish County in 2024, the area is anticipating population increases. What plans/ideas do you have to ensure there is enough affordable housing in your district for future residents while making sure those who already live here do not get priced out?
At the state-level, I would work to not increase property taxes. This has the result of benefiting homeowners, as well as renters to whom increases in property tax would ultimately be passed onto.
Q: Climate change is considered a priority issue for many. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have 12 years to make drastic cuts in global warming emissions to avoid worsened climate conditions and extreme weather patterns. Will climate action be a priority once you take office and if so what plans do you have to address it?
In assessing such an important issue with such far-reaching consequences, it is important to obtain the perspective of multiple sources. Unfortunately, there is a lack of independence among climate projection models. An article in Nature Climate Change from January 2019 found that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change employed improper rounding techniques, contributing to errors in its analysis and conclusions.
Therefore, I do not perceive climate action to be a priority.
Q: If elected, how would you work to support LGBTQIA+ voters?
I would not ask personal questions in order to determine a voter’s demographic. I am called to represent our legislative district, and each constituent deserves fair representation.
Q: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education locally and nationwide. Many school districts were not prepared for the impacts of the pandemic and there is uncertainty about how districts can continue to educate students. How would you work to support education through the current pandemic?
Support for education is best achieved by reopening the schools. Children are our best defense toward achieving natural herd immunity. More education of the limited risks of COVID-19, as well as the effectiveness of safety measures and treatments would help ease concerns of many teachers and families.
Q: Where can voters go to learn more about your campaign?
Visit my website at ThompsonLD21.com.