Daily Sun News: Better, not bigger’ tour makes stop
Bill Bryant, left, and Mark Miloscia pause in Sunnyside during their campaigns for state office.
April 9, 2016
SUNNYSIDE — A former Yakima Valley fruit exporter and a one-time King County Democrat are pushing for more government accountability.
Bill Bryant, formerly of Yakima County, is running for governor this fall. He is teaming up with Mark Miloscia, a candidate for state auditor, for what they call the “better not bigger government” tour.
Yesterday the two Republicans visited The Daily Sun News office.
“We’ve bumped into each other on the campaign trail and we’re saying remarkably similar things,” Bryant said of his partnership with Miloscia, a former Democrat who represents the 30th District in the state Senate. He previously served seven terms in the House.
Their common message is “zero-based budgeting.”
Bryant, a Port of Seattle commissioner, explains, “It’s really about focusing on results.”
They are calling for state agencies to be more accountable in how they are meeting their objectives.
Miloscia, 57, used the example of homelessness.
“Homelessness is down in the state but it’s up 18 percent in King County,’ he said, noting state agencies focus on spending rather than the “… root causes of homelessness.”
Bryant adds, “Too often we measure compassion by how much money we’re spending, not how many people we’re removing from the streets.”
If elected, they pledge to work together, providing a team approach to improving government efficiency. That includes agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources, which they note is seeing a drop in timber revenues and an increase in serious wildfires on its properties.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on government accountability.
However, his office staff noted the administration’s website at results.wa.gov. The site tracks progress towards meeting Inslee’s goals and measuring results.
In a wide-ranging discussion, Bryant, 54, said he is working on a plan to address education, his top priority.
He plans to formally announce a plan “…in a few weeks,” and said he is working with legislative and education leaders both in this state and nationwide.
The goal, he said, is to apply best practices to paying for education.
“How we fund education now is more convoluted than in other states,” Bryant said.
The state Supreme Court in 2012 ruled legislators were not meeting the state’s basic constitutional obligation to fund education equally for all children.
A Democrat for more than 20 years, Miloscia said he switched to the Republican party in 2014 because the GOP was more in step with his views.
“Democrats became hostile,” he said. “I felt like the party left me.”
Before moving on to continue his whistle-stop tour, Bryant encouraged Yakima County residents to vote this fall.
Though King County has a bigger population base, he said Eastern Washington can make a difference this November by increasing its voter turnout.
“Two-thirds of this state is outside of King County,” he said. “The difference is people in King County vote.”
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