On this page, we will present some of our candidate's perspectives on different topics and questions that may be of concern to the voters of the 13th Legislative District. It will not be exhaustive and we'll not be able to respond to every question website visitors may pose, but hopefully this page will shed some valuable light on Danny Stone's positions and ideas as he seeks to serve the voters of the 13th Legislative District in Olympia.
Item 4 - The "Carpet-bagging" Question
Some may say, "Hey, didn't you run for the House in the 12th Legislative District?" Yes, I did. In fact, I feel so strongly about seeking this appointment, that I'm moving my place of residence from my farmstead back to our family's house in the town of Almira. I'll be a 13th Legislative District resident and voter on October 8th. Yes it's a hassle, but I'm going to do it.
Four years ago, I moved to the 12th LD from Almira because my elderly parents needed to move to town, so we swapped houses. My father has since passed and my mother has moved to Spokane. Now, to clarify, our farmstead is less than two miles inside the 12th Legislative District which is also the Grant County line. After we moved, it was then that I began working with the Grant County Republicans. I had been serving as a PCO with the Lincoln County Republicans. You see, I was born and raised in the 13th Legislative District, went all 12 years of school in the 13th, have lived 20 years in the 13th, and was chair of the GOP in Grant County which lies almost entirely in the 13th. Only three current PCO's in Grant County live in the 12th, so most of those I worked with as Chair were 13th LD folks.
In my business, the majority of our farm ground is in the 13th LD. 1700+ acres of my family's farmland is in the 13th LD with only 230 acres and a farmstead lying in the 12th. The grain storage & marketing company I use is in the 13th LD as is the agro-chemical company I do business with. My fuel distributor is located in the 13th LD and when I need parts or equipment repairs, both 13th & 12th LD businesses help me out.
Our home church is in the 13th and many of my local friends live in the 13th. Major shopping trips mean we travel to towns in the 13th such as Moses Lake and Ephrata or we drive though the 13th heading to Spokane. Basically, what I'm saying is that I'm part of a community. Though some live a short distance inside the 12th LD, that community is generally focused on and more connected to the issues of life in the 13th Legislative District. All these things I've mentioned make me believe that I can genuinely and thoughtfully represent the voters of the 13th Legislative District. I hope my honest comments here will satisfy any concerns you have about the legitimacy of my candidacy.
First, I'm running because I love this state and this region. I think that much is required of those who have received much. As as I've said before, this place where I live is a great gift and I believe I should be a good steward of it, especially the land that I personally farm and manage. Additionally, I have a burden to show some stewardship over my state and region, so I feel compelled to offer myself to do just that as a state representative.
I recommend you check out the Washington State Republican platform. It is a very conservative document. It can be found at the following web address: http://wsrp.org/platform2016/
I served on the platform committee of the Grant County Republican Central Committee and I'm happy to announce that several of the important items which were part of our platform were included in the state platform committee. I support the state platform and think it is an excellent document. Congratulations to the platform committee on a job well done.
If you would like a copy of the Grant County Platform, just check out the party website.
I was once asked a question something like this. "You say government is too big. Which portions of government do you feel are too big? Also in specific terms, what exactly would you recommend reducing, eliminating, or leaving alone? Specifics, please. That is what is really lacking in politics today and could distinguish you from others. Do you have any innovative ideas for how the public sector can better serve its constituents?
Those are great questions. I'll attempt, in this article, to address them. When I referenced (elsewhere on this site) the statement, “The bigger the government, the smaller the people,” I was generally speaking about the excess control, power, and intrusion that government so often exercises over the lives of everyday citizens. Folks who are just trying to live, work and raise their families. We are told that our government is “of the people, for the people and by the people,” but so many feel as if their government is a separate, far-away entity that is out of touch with the cares, concerns and reality of their lives. Remember that statement, “Hello, we’re the government and we’re here to help you?” In this day and age, to many folks, it often seems more like, “Hello, we’re the government and we’re gonna tell you what to do.”
When I say that "government is too big," most probably think I'm referring to the size and scope of government. Well, in many ways, I am. I think the size and scope, of both the state and the federal governments, has gotten too big. As to the size and scope of our state government, I will mention a couple of things, but I’ll continue to evaluate this as I learn just what can be done to alleviate its continued growth. Each session of our legislature, it seems the other side of the aisle has lots of ideas on how to grow government and what new taxes should be levied to pay for them. And often, they just create more government and don't find or provide any funding to pay for them (they're called unfunded mandates). I want to help hold the line on that kind of governing so our state can be a place where businesses and families and schools and agriculture can prosper, not languish under those kinds of policies.
So, for specifics, let me admit that I'll be on a sharp learning curve if I'm selected to be your legislator. As I’ve said before, if you want a career politician, don’t vote for me. If elected, I’m sure I will get a quick education as soon as I get to Olympia. I’ve not been waiting until then to start, but I’m sure I’ll have a better idea then on what I would recommend or propose as legislative remedies. Examples of some things I’m concerned about now include the following:
Non-legislative rules & regulations -- There are unelected bureaucrats and boards making rules and regulations that were not approved by the legislature. Most of these are executive branch agencies given authority by statute to add to the Washington Administrative Code (WAC's) Often these rules & regulations adversely affect the businesses and families of our state. One such rule came down from the Human Rights Commission in the recent past. That was the controversial rule specifically prohibiting businesses and schools from creating a separate, gender neutral facility for use by those who prefer not to use the bathroom or locker room designated for their gender. I haven’t figured out how an appointed group of folks on a “Human Rights Commission” can have that kind of authority and I would like to see that authority reined in a bit.
The governor & "climate change" -- Another example is the obsession our current governor has with the “settled science” of anthropogenic climate change. In the past, he ordered the Department of Ecology to take serious action on climate change and to initiate a formal rule-making process to cap carbon emissions here in Washington because he said he just couldn’t wait any longer for the legislature to act. In a statement he released at the time, Gov. Inslee said “Carbon pollution and the climate change it causes pose a very real existential threat to our state. Farmers in the Yakima Valley know this. Shellfish growers on the coast know this. Firefighters battling Eastern Washington blazes know this. And children suffering from asthma know this all too well and are right to question why Washington hasn’t acted to protect them.” First of all, what’s “very real” to him certainly isn’t so to many climatologists. Secondly, I don’t believe most of the folks he mentioned “know this” and they’re most likely not asking that “why” question. So, because of controversial and “unsettled” science, we've had unelected bureaucrats working on rules that would undoubtedly end up costing you and me a lot of money. I believe power like that needs to be overseen by elected, legislative officials that really speak for the people. Now, the Carbon Tax Initiative (I-1631) is beating them to the punch and it must be defeated. VOTE NO ON I-1631!
The Attorney General & climate change -- Continuing the topic of climate change, we have a state attorney general that needs to settle down a bit. It's a shame that several years ago he joined with state attornies general from various states and with environmental groups tried to squash the free speech rights of fossil fuel businesses that question the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Their plan was to litigate (go after) these businesses to make them accountable for the “impact” of climate change. I wonder who they would have sued during the warming period of the middle ages when Greenland was green? There weren’t too many SUV’s burning fossil fuels back then. I'm not sure where there plans are now, but the questions remain, "Who will they go after next?" Possibly the elected officials, scientists or maybe climatologists that aren’t buying in? Maybe even you and I?
Religious freedom -- Also concerning the attorney general, there is the issue of him suing to deny the constitutionally protected religious liberty of citizens. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the citizens of the United States that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” The Washington State Constitution states in: “Article 1 Section 11 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM the following: “Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion;…” Still the State of Washington’s attorney general, apparently with the governor’s approval, seems bent on forcing businesses owned by people of faith to violate that faith in their business practices. It's a sad thing.
State control of land -- I believe there is too much state-owned land in Washington (as well as Federally-owned). I believe that poor management of state-owned timber land, or lack of management, has made much of that land in eastern Washington very susceptible to wildfires. I would be in favor of a moratorium on the State of Washington purchasing farm, grazing or forested land and I’m open to the consideration of individual counties controlling state-owned land within their borders.
Oppressive & unenforceable regulations -- I’ve heard stories of government auditing or regulatory agencies, when they find minor violations of rules, regulations or laws in business practices; instead of using that as a teaching/educational opportunity, immediately levying heavy fines or disciplinary actions against businesses; businesses which are extremely valuable to our citizens, our state’s economy, and our job market. An unverified story (that I was unable to verify) would be a perfect example. A quick synopsis is that a business was fined multiple thousands of dollars for missing one check box on a reporting form. The business and the jobs they created left the state. They’d had enough. If true, this certainly could have been handled differently. It is absolutely true, though, that I hear complaints all the time of the hassles and costs that excessive regulations, etc. cause our business community. As an example, one business regulation that affects us here on the farm has to do with the records that are supposed to be kept on any pesticide spraying if you spray over 1 acre during a calendar year. Is it really reasonable out here in the dryland wheat areas that a farmer on his 4-wheeler spraying field edges and around power line towers, etc. should have to come in at night and figure out how to record the exact location of every field edge on, likely, hundreds of acres in different fields (usually spread out over several miles) and know what the wind speeds, wind directions and temperatures were at all times during the day in all the places that he sprayed? Who makes these rules up and have they ever actually applied pesticide? Are they just trying to provide work for commercial applicators because farmers will give up trying to do this job themselves. This is an example of busy work and paperwork that could be eased. Small businesses are the life-blood of our economy. These businesses create family wage jobs to our citizens. Jobs which must be valued and protected. I’d like to seriously look at changing the atmosphere that creates burdensome regulations and rules.
Example of an oppressive/silly law -- And, while I’m on regulations that seem ridiculous, did you know that if you accidentally forget to sign your car’s registration when you put your tabs on; you can receive a $100+ fine. Now I know there are some law enforcement officers that would just have you sign it after they verify your identity, but why is this such an offense. Check their I.D., for goodness sake, and have them sign it. In my mind, it’s legal robbery to give a ticket for something so insignificant. That’s another example of government over-reach.
State-mandated testing -- I also think there’s way too much state-mandated testing of our K-12 students. There are way too many state and federally required tests conducted and required for graduation in our public schools. It’s like teaching your child to swim with a scuba weight-belt around their waist. We can’t give our children the highest quality education possible, when we are constantly testing them. Not to mention the incredible cost of all these tests that could be going toward educating our children. And, to top it off, the state can’t even settle on which tests to use. Should it be the WASL or the MSP or the End of Course exams or now Common Core has ushered in the era of Smarter Balanced testing. When my 19-year-old was in school, she participated in all those different tests. Students are diverted, sometimes for weeks, from their normal curriculum just to prepare for these tests. Often, teachers are unable to get through the planned curriculum they are supposed to be working on. Somehow this has to change. And while I’m on the topic of education, I think Washington State needs to opt out of Common Core. I know the bribing will be hard to turn down, but that program has a lot of negative baggage. I believe, by the way, that’s a topic every parent should investigate for themselves.
Excessive Taxation -- The tax revenue coming into the state coffers is significantly up over the past few years and is projected to continue that direction. It seems many in government want to find a way to spend every dime of it and at the feel we need to increase taxes. We do not need any more taxes in Washington. In fact, I think we could find areas where taxes could be reduced. Maybe it's time to reduce the state sales tax. Maybe it time to make the B&O tax actually fair. We need to stop taxing our small businesses on their gross income with the B&O. I want to work on proposals that will slow or stop spending growth and bring tax relief to our citizens. Finally, I want to help bring all this talk about a state income tax to a dead end. We should not impose any kind of a state income tax on the citizens of Washington.
Now, can I do something about these sorts of things as a state representative? I certainly hope so. I am a candidate because I want to make a difference. If I’m naive about what I can accomplish, so be it. I will go anyway and do my best to help make government work for the good of the citizens. It’s not supposed to be the other way around.