Big issues separate Senate candidates
By Mitchell Roland - Staff Reporter
Claire Wilson and Mark Miloscia disagree over whether a livable minimum wage is necessary for everyone, or just adults.
That and other issues were discussed at a forum last Wednesday for the state Senate seat from the 30th district. The district includes parts of Federal Way, Des Moines, Auburn, Algona, Pacific and Milton.
Incumbent Republican State Sen. Mark Miloscia is being challenged by Claire Wilson, who is the president of the Federal Way School District Board of Directors. Control of the State Senate hinges on a few key races, with this being one of them. The state Legislature is responsible for everything from transportation to determining tuition rates at colleges.
In the August primary, Sen. Miloscia received 47 percent of the votes while Wilson received 38 percent. But the Democratic vote was split between Wilson and third place finisher Tirzah Idahosa, which means that the Democrats received 53 percent of the votes while Republicans received 47 percent.
On the topic of the mini- mum wage, Wilson said that she supported raising the statewide minimum wage.
"If you're working, you de- serve a living wage," she said.
Sen. Miloscia said that he also supported a living wage for residents but "only for adults."
Wilson responded and said that everyone's situation is different, and that there are teenagers who have to support themselves. One of the major differences between the candidates came on the topic homelessness.
Wilson said that the issue needed to be handled like a "public health crisis."
But Sen. Miloscia said that Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency on homelessness three years ago but nothing had changed.
Sen. Miloscia said that society needs a "culture of responsibility" and can't have "professional homelessness."
On the topic of the drug epidemic, Sen. Miloscia blamed the city of Seattle for the rise in drug use and said that proposed safe-injection sites would make the problem worse.
"The jungles are rising," he said.
Wilson said that the best thing that the state can do is try to stop people from doing drugs in the first place.
"Prevention is one of the biggest things we can do," she said.
Another area of disagreement for the candidates was how to fund education.
Wilson said that her job in Olympia would be to "fully fund education."
She added that the Legislature "created unintended consequences" when creating the levy system for funding education.
But Sen. Miloscia said that levies are not solutions when fully funding education, and that different communities will always "have differences" in education funding.
Sen. Miloscia also noted that he was one of the senators that worked to fund all-day kindergarten.
On the topic of Sound Transit, Sen. Miloscia said that people are "fed up" with the agency and that it needed a series of audits.
"Sound Transit is a mismanaged agency," he said.
Wilson said that she wouldn't oppose more over- sight of Sound Transit, but "we have to continue to fund projects like Sound Transit."
During a period where the candidates asked each other questions, Sen. Miloscia asked why test scores continue to fall during Wilson's time at the school district.
Wilson responded by saying that scores were not falling, and that graduation rates were rising throughout the district.
"The graduation rate is 86 percent, which is one of the highest in the region," she said.
Sen. Miloscia then held up a stack of papers and said that "the numbers don't lie."
"The last six years our test scores have dropped by almost double digits," he said.
Wilson countered by asking Sen. Miloscia is he was still pro-life in light of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Sen. Miloscia responded by saying "I'm pro-life, I've always been pro-life, I've been consistent on that issue. My constituents know that."
At the end of the forum, Sen. Miloscia thanked Wilson for running against him and "holding me [Sen. Miloscia] accountable through the campaign."
"At the end of the day, I'm about accountability," he said.
Wilson closed by saying that her "expertise is in solving problems."
"I've spent my entire career working on behalf of students and families in the state of Washington," she said.
The ballots for the election have been mailed out to registered voters, and they must be placed in the mail by Nov. 6.