Learn more about where Rep. Drew Stokesbary stands on the Legislature’s most pressing issues, and policies he will fight for if re-elected
My mom was a teacher in Washington State for 25 years, and her father was a teacher before that. My dad’s parents both taught at the Washington State School for the Deaf. Coming from a family of teachers, I’ve always understood the importance of quality education. I’m proud to have been endorsed by Public School Employees of Washington, the union representing 30,000+ educators and other K-12 school support professionals.
Now that I’m a new father, I want good schools more than ever. Schools should have the resources they need to succeed, and we must ensure those resources are used wisely. That’s why I’ve been endorsed once again by Stand for Children, an organization that, like me, “strives to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, graduate high school prepared for, and with access to, college or career training.”
When I was first elected to the Legislature in 2014, the State had already been held in “contempt of court” for failing to constitutionally fund K-12 public schools. A few months later, the Supreme Court ordered a $100,000 per day fine until education was fully funded. Through my work on the House Appropriations and Education Committees and other bipartisan negotiations, I’m proud to have helped create and pass landmark education funding reform legislation last year. The new system will dramatically increase funding for Auburn, Enumclaw, Sumner and White River School Districts (while still reducing total property taxes for those districts starting next year), increase accountability and transparency of your tax dollars, and ensure K-12 funds are spent on things that matter like textbooks and smaller class sizes.
Kids deserve our first dollar, not our last dime. I will continue be your advocate for better schools and better outcomes.
Taxes, Jobs & the Economy
I have served on the House Finance Committee for both of my terms in the State House. There I have helped defeat tens of billions of dollars worth of new taxes proposed by the Governor and majority-party Democrats, including new or additional taxes on income you earn, energy you consume, bottled water you drink, services you hire professionals to perform, the house you sell, the car you trade in, and the things you buy on the internet.
Since I was first elected in 2014, biennial state general fund spending was $33 billion. By the time the Legislature passes the next biennial budget, that figure will grow to over $50 billion, a 50 percent increase in just four years. (Has your own household income risen by 50 percent since 2014?) With state revenue growing so quickly, more taxes are clearly not the answer, and I’ll continue to fight unneeded tax increases.
Instead of more taxes, the Legislature needs to better prioritize state spending. As the deputy budget writer for the House Republicans, I’ve worked hard to identify and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse, but more work remains. We must also reform our state budget process to avoid committing to such large and rapid spending increases. I’ll continue pushing for these reforms if I’m re-elected.
Our state’s overall economy is growing rapidly (which is why the state budget has grown by 50 percent in four years without new taxes), but some segments are doing better than others. While the tech sector is flourishing and Seattle is booming, rural jobs are disappearing. I want to ensure an opportunity for all Washingtonians to be successful, including an ability to maintain a rural way-of-life without sacrificing employment opportunities. Our economic growth is also threatened by some politicians’ pursuit of incredibly misguided policies, like a potential new tax on energy consumption or Seattle’s “head tax” on jobs. In Olympia, I’ll continue to advocate for policies that grow the economy and create jobs, not ones that disincentive such behavior. That’s why I’ve been endorsed by a litany of organizations that promote job creation, including construction contractors, home builders, independent grocers, hotels and restaurants, and retail stores.
Too many families are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. Unemployment and underemployment remain high, and I will fight for jobs every day in the Legislature.
Small businesses are responsible for half of the jobs in our region, but state government continues to make it difficult for them to grow and create new jobs. I know this from personal experience. As an attorney, I’ve had to help small businesses navigate government bureaucracies. I don’t think it should take an attorney to run a small business in this state, and that’s why I’ve been endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business.