Bill Bryant on the Todd Herman Show
Yesterday, Bill was on the Todd Herman Show, where he talked about his platform and the issues facing the state.
MYNorthwest.com's Eric Mandel also wrote about the interview.
Traffic jams and the increased movement of freight:
There are plenty of issues facing Washington State — Bertha, homelessness and education, to name a few. But, if elected, on his first day as Washington's governor, Bill Bryant says his top priority would be directing WSDOT to make the elimination of traffic jams and the increased movement of freight the new No. 1 priority.
"If you care about family wage jobs, if you care about middle class, care about truck routes," Bryant told KTTH's Todd Herman. "I'm not being facetious. You've got to care about the basics. It's fine to run off and talk about all these big social engineering programs, but at the end of the day you've got to make sure you've got truck routes, you need land use policies that support manufacturing. You need workforce development and apprenticeship programs. You take care of those basics and we'll keep our middle class and we'll keep it here. But we don't have leadership in Olympia right now that's really focused on doing the basics well."
The next thing on his political agenda would be announcing a four-year initiative to zero-base the entire state budget, which means picking a few agencies every year and reevaluating every program and tax incentive, giving specific goals of where they want that agency and the state to be in 10 years. He said the zero-based budget exercise looks at every program and tax incentive to ensure that they are either tied to job creation or investment so that there's a quantifiable objective.
"And if it's not achieving it, we get rid of it," he said. "That's going to eliminate a lot of the politics, because it's going to be driven not by who can get the most votes for their friends, it's going to be driven by is this returning a tangible benefit to the people of Washington State and for the most part I'm talking about the working middle class of Washington state."
Assessment of Bertha:
The Port of Seattle is one of the major financial partners of the tunnel, with the Washington state asking the organization to kick in $300 million to reconfigure Highway 99 outside the tunnel so that they could move freight over top. Bryant said he was "glad" they paid for that. His main beef is the lack of direct gubernatorial involvement and leadership for the project since Gov. Christine Gregoire was in office.
"What we're seeing there is not unlike what we're seeing at the Department of Corrections or Western State Hospital or with the state patrol or the Department of Commerce," he said. "We need some state leadership and we don't have it right now."
National and international issues:
"It's great to fly to Paris and think big thoughts about global problems, but at the end of the day a governor's got to make sure that kids learn and that traffic moves and that prisons work," he said. "And those may not be issues of immediate interest to (Inslee), but you know what, that's the job."
Bryant says policymakers have forgotten about the middle class, noting King County has seen jobs that pay more than $100,000 increase by 10 percent, but have lost 7,000 jobs that pay between $35,000 and $75,000.
"We have an economy that is servicing some people very well but it's leaving others in the shadows," he said.
"These schools, which are overwhelmingly meeting the needs of kids from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and families, these schools are tailored to meet the needs of these kids that the traditional schools aren't, so why do we all have to have exactly the same system?" he said. "Why the legislature and the governor would want to shut down an option that is working for so many and that's really an incubator for innovation that could be scaled up to traditional public schools, is something that escapes me."
Washington Teacher's Union and education:
"It doesn't matter if they have a lot of power," he said. "Their job is to be a union and represent the teachers. What you need is a governor who looks out for the needs of the kids.
"What we have is a total absence of leadership on education in the governor's office," Bryant said.
"I think we need to open up the HOVs," he said. "The objective of building these new lanes is to move traffic and if we've developed a system that's not moving traffic, let's fix it."
Banning assault weapons:
"I think there's a real misunderstanding in the public about what guns we're talking about," he said. "I support the second amendment."