44th District Rep. 2 race between April Berg, Mark James a toss-up for open seat
SNOHOMISH — Democrat April Berg and Republican Mark James are in the running for an open seat in the 44th Legislative District, which includes Snohomish and Lake Stevens.
The Tribune sent both candidates, James and Berg, a series of questions by email to their campaign email addresses. James did not respond by the Tribune’s deadline.
Rep. Jared Mead was appointed to the Snohomish County Council, meaning the seat has no incumbent.
Ballots begin being mailed Oct. 15.
The Tribune asked:
Q) What are your first
priorities if elected?
Berg: The top priority for any legislator should be helping our families and communities navigate the ongoing pandemic and its impacts on our economy, schools and quality of life. We need to provide emergency assistance for people at risk of losing homes and healthcare, provide relief for parents wrestling with education and childcare needs, and of course when a vaccination does become available we will need strong distribution and high confidence in its safety and efficacy.
Q) In short, what do you believe is the best next step to addressing chronic homelessness through Legislative action? How would you act on it?
Berg: We need proven housing and support programs that get people safely into shelter and keep them on a path to recovery and productivity. It’s not an easy solution given the interrelated issues of addiction, poverty, mental health, and trauma that lead to homelessness, and these experiences — and the risk of losing housing — are only worse in a pandemic recession. I would work with colleagues and experts to target people facing immediate risk of losing current housing, focus on the chronically homeless and those in need of acute care, and look for partnerships with foundations and businesses to stretch limited resources.
Q) In your view, what role should the state government have in regulating public behavior and liberties?
Berg: I support freedoms of expression and the rights of ALL people to peacefully protest, engage in free speech, and other basic protected liberties. I do not condone violence against people or property, which too often only inflame tensions and distract from legitimate protest movements. In Olympia, I will always fight to protect the rights of the people.
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