WEST SEATTLE HERALD: Candidate for Governor Bill Bryant makes a stop in West Seattle

Gubernatorial candidate (R) Bill Bryant paid a visit to West Seattle on Tuesday, April 12 to have a meeting with local business leaders, hear their concerns and build support for his campaign. It's uncommon for Republicans to visit West Seattle, long known as a bastion of the Democratic Party but Bryant said he's had strong support in the past in West Seattle. Bryant has been a Port Commissioner sure 2008who announced his candidacy almost a year ago. "I've run twice county wide and I've always done very very well in West Seattle," he said.

Describing himself as "socially libertarian, fiscally responsible and pro environment" Bryant said he came to talk to people about education and transportation and small businesses in West Seattle.

Bryant and his wife live in north Seattle but he said they've looked at property here.  "I like the community, I like the neighborhood feel, and I think it has a solid base of small businesses. He was hosted by West 5 restaurant and lounge owner Dave Montoure and he was joined by attorney Phil Tavel to talk about the local aspects of those larger issues.

Regarding Education:

On education he said, "We need to have a Governor who's engaged in education and we don't. We need to put forward a proposal that's based on funding, equity and reform. One of those legs without the other two is not going to get us where we need to be." He noted that 25% of ninth graders will not graduate from high school. And we accept that....We willfully put kids into a system where we know somewhere around a quarter of them will fail."

Bryant supports a plan that would route students, boys especially, into tracks of their choice by "reinventing the last two years of high school." Some would go on to college, some would go to community college through "running start", and some would go into pre-apprenticeship programs in junior and senior years. "If we make the last two years of high school more relevant to what kids want to do when they graduate we will keep them in school."

Regarding Transportation:

Transportation, a big issue in West Seattle was a topic on the table and Bryant said, "We don't have a transportation system that's working well. The unique situation in West Seattle is that we have the industrial district and the port in between the neighborhood and downtown. Finishing Highway 509 which should go from the Port of Seattle to the Auburn-Kent Valley but now just goes to Normandy Park and stops. If you finished that (but the state is saying they might not get to it for years) we need to do that now. Then you would have an alternative for trucks to get to the south end and on to 405 or even 90 via Highway 18, without having to go to i-90 through the most urban part of the state.

The city is building a heavy haul corridor which will help move goods east and west, but ultimately, on some of our major freeways build more freight capacity.

Regarding the State Budget:

Bryant said his meeting also touched on his desire to implement a zero based budget approach for the state, "which we have not done in decades," and scrutinize all programs to make sure they "are moving us forward toward strategic objectives."

He believes that the state budget "is seen as a political document to get 50 votes in the House 25 in the Senate and one from the Governor. You get that, you wrap it up and go home. It's not how I look at a budget. I think a budget should be a building block toward some ten year goal. We should be looking at different areas where we want the state to be in ten years, whether it's Puget Sound or education or transportation and then make sure that every budget is moving us toward those ten year objectives."

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Mike Foster