On October 22, the Camas Youth Advisory Council (CYAC) hosted a forum at Camas Theatre for political candidates vying for four separate offices — the third Washington Congressional District, Clark County Council Chair, and two Washington State Legislative Districts (18th, positions 1 and 2).
This article focuses on the responses between Republican State Representative Brandon Vick and challenger Democrat Chris Thobaben, who are running for the LD 18, position 1 seat in the Washington State House of Representatives. Vick is currently in his third term.
At the forum, each answered a series of questions composed by the CYAC students.
The council opened with a topic very real to students, asking the candidates if they believed the McCleary decision over educators’ salaries was a fix.
Vick affirmed that McCleary made sense, calling it a very good piece of legislation. He also said that salaries were funded as ordered, saying they gave a “big pot of money” to each district to distribute as they wished. Thobaben replied that McCleary was designed to be a fix, but that people did not realize its complexities. He emphasized that teachers are professionals and need to be paid as such.
The next question addressed the levels of transparency in Legislature. Thobaben recalled being on the campaign trail and getting more calls from lobbyists than constituents. He called for complete transparency, saying he wished that everyone could watch as legislation is written to understand the process. Vick discussed looking at Senate Bill 6617, dealing with transparency in government, and how he decided that it was better than the preexisting bill. He also said there needs to be more flexibility in the matter, saying “Open and transparent makes sense to me.”
The third question addressed the second amendment and gun control. Vick was sure that the issue would be one going back and forth for years to come. However, he did not believe in denying one group of people a right. He also asserted that some people still hunt to eat, making guns a necessary tool. Thobaben said that responsible gun owners treat their weapons with respect, and that mass shooters have not been taught how to properly take care of arms. He also advocated for guns being locked up at all times to prevent easy access and avert potential disasters.
Both candidates thanked CYAC for putting together the forum. Thobaben closed with a call for young people to get involved in politics, and Vick ended with a promise to bring big companies and jobs to the area.
By Riley Kankelberg, Camas High School