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Woods, Ducheane face off in November election

POULSBO — Jokes are sometimes made about races where it’s practically impossible to tell two candidates apart.

Voters will not have that problem in the race for the 23rd District State Representative, Position 2 between Beverly Woods and Terry Ducheane.

While the two agree on what the biggest issues are, their solutions are as different as black and white.

Incumbent Woods (R — Poulsbo) has served in the position since 1999, for two straight terms. She and her husband also own an operate a small business together in Poulsbo.

Ducheane (D — Tracyton) was defeated by Woods for the same position in 2002. He works as a driver for Kitsap Transit Access and rehabilitates residential properties. He has not held public office before but has been involved in politics, including serving as an aide for former State Senator Ted Haley.

Both candidates agree the economy is one of the largest problems facing Washington.

In Ducheane’s opinion, the shift of jobs overseas is the problem. He favors creating more living-wage jobs in manufacturing-based businesses focused on sustainability and responsibility. One way to encourage this, he said, is through tax reform. Ducheane favors a state income tax if the legislature works toward a balanced budget and an end to the sales and business and occupation taxes.

“Instead of companies like Boeing getting a $3 billion break, which is the amount we were in the hole two years ago, everyone needs to pay their share whether they’re paying $25,000 a year or $3 billion a year,” Ducheane said. “They need to pay their fair share to keep the roads going, keep health care going and keep schools going.”

But Woods said legislation creating an environment more conducive to business can stimulate the economy. During last session’s $1.6 billion deficit, Woods wanted the legislature to pass “meaningful” legislation that would have stoppered the budget hole. Some of those measures encompassed tort reform, including medical malpractice and liability insurance; unemployment insurance reform; and regulatory reform. All these are hurting business and, in turn, hurting everything else that revolves around the economy, Wood said.

“If we had passed the legislation we needed to pass to get this economy rolling, then your unemployment rates would be down, your welfare rates would be down and the rates of people who need to be on basic health care plans ... would be down,” Woods said.

Education is another area where both 23rd District candidates agree reforms are needed.

Woods said she’d like to allow more local control of education money and cut the red tape that often hurts schools.

“Having local school boards, principals, superintendents, teachers and parents make more of the decisions in shaping education in our communities, you’re naturally putting more money into the classrooms,” she commented.

The incumbent also is concerned about making higher education available to a wider variety of people. But she also said Washington did a good job of researching the pros and cons of charter schools to create a system that works well.

Ducheane wants stronger priorities in education budgets. For instance, rather than cutting teacher jobs, he said administration could be consolidated. He gave the example of Kitsap County, which is a relatively small county, yet has five school districts.

“We need to fix what we had, which was very good in the past,” Ducheane said of schools. “I remember when I was younger, Washington state was consistently rated No. 1 in the country and now we’re down near 33.”

The challenger also calls himself an “enemy” of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning and charter schools.

Both candidates said the Washington State Ferries has been headed in the wrong direction. But how to turn the tide is another factor.

As a five-year member of the House Transportation Committee, Woods said she sees the intimate relationship between ferries and traffic. She said strengthening ferries, especially the Bremerton run, could relieve state routes 3 and 305.

“I’m going to continue to fight for designated funding for our ferry system so that we don’t have to fight every year just to get the money to maintain what we already have,” she commented.

Woods also said the loss of both passenger-only ferries and food service were things she fought against. She would like to see WSF bring back and expand foot ferries but said she also has backed the current privatization as a stop-gap. She also favors the return of food service and the transition into a smart-card toll system.

“I truly believe, if you’re going to raise fares, you have to give the customer something for that increase,” she said.

For Ducheane, only shoring up and putting greater financial constraints on the ferries will help the system.

“The ferry boats used to be our pride and joy and now they’ve become an embarrassment but it’s been going on for well over a decade now,” Ducheane said.

He said he would favor a short-term tax to help ferries but only if WSF was required in that time to come up with a viable business plan. He, too, said the loss of food service on the ferries is a shame, but doubts it will ever be brought back. He also said he doubts that privatizing service will do any good.

“Privatizing the boats would be a something I’d resist with everything I’ve got,” Ducheane said. “With the proper tax system, we can pay for these things. I’m convinced we can and do it properly.”

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