This is our Question and Answer session with Representative Larry Hoff (LD-18), a Republican who is serving in his first legislative term.
Question 1: Why should the people of the 18th District re-elect you?
It’s my experience. There’s a major difference between being a candidate and the experience of working in the Legislature. I’ve worked hard in the Legislature and I brought my experience leading my credit union, when we faced the 2008-09 recession, to work in Olympia. I know how to cut budgets and work through financial challenges. We need that kind of experience in Olympia now.
We don’t need a college professor. It’s a tough time for a new candidate to be productive. We need someone with budget writing experience. The state budget is $9 billion in the hole. Unless we allow ourselves to be taxed to death, then we have to cut.
Government continues to grow like the blob that swallowed New York. The whole emphasis in Olympia is more. These are good people, they’re just looking out for their departments, but we can still serve our citizens with less money, less taxation.
Question 2: What have your two years in Olympia taught you?
They taught me that a total one-party control of all the aspects of government is not healthy. The ability to find middle ground and common sense solutions doesn’t exist. I’ve introduced bills with Democrat support. Too many bills are straight line Republican/Democrat. If there was more of an ability to form again some compromise solutions the state would be better off. I believe in that strongly.
It’s too easy to believe one party’s opinions are always right and that there’s no middle ground.
In 2017-18 there was a GOP majority coalition. Right now, they have 57-41 so some moderate Democrats have been voting with the Republicans. They can let two or three of their moderate Democrats off the hook. Right now the Democrat caucus is split. If we were closer those discussions would have to be stronger. It’s healthy to have stronger dialogue.
If I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that a majority/minority split makes a big difference. We have factions of the local GOP party that want a Democrat to represent the 18th LD (referring to the Senator Ann Rivers race).
Ann is still a Republican. We need those numbers to balance this whole structure out. If my seat went to a Democrat that would give them a supermajority, which leaves GOP without a real voice in the House. We have some districts where the GOP may take back more seats. We need a more balanced House.
Question 3: What are you seeing in the district as a result of the pandemic?
I’m worried about the mental and emotional well-being of our citizens. Store owners are just trying to figure out what is happening here. When can we get some hope? The science doesn’t support continued partial shutdown.
I met with all superintendents in Clark County and they want everyone back in school, too. They are having challenges with teacher’s unions. There are statistics that suggest a very large percentage of students who didn’t open a laptop in the Spring once they were home bound.
What they lose is their interaction. You lose the interaction from the instructors and the teachers. Online learning affects parents and the economic impact of that happening. Mom and dad can’t be at work. It comes back to the emotional leg of the stool on top of all this.
The virus isn’t seriously affecting people that are healthy. We need to open up the rest of our society. I know that our Governor is responding to a small faction of advisors, which is not the Democrat legislature. Key Democrats are calling for a special session, which requires 2/3 of the legislature. There are currently 25 Democrats willing to go against the Governor.
We need a leader that gives us some hope. I’m just not seeing that from our Governor. He’s very partisan, more so than previous Democratic governors.
Question 4: What is your position on SW Washington transportation issues?
An efficient and viable transportation system is essential for the economic and social well-being of our community. One of our region’s biggest transportation challenges is addressing the congestion associated with crossing the Columbia River. Whether making this crossing for commuting to work, engaging in commerce, or for entertainment/social reasons, our citizens are spending far too much of their precious time in traffic. There is no one easy fix to this problem, but rather a series of immediate and long-term decisions and actions.
Our local State Legislators have initiated the first step to disentangle this knot by coming together and passing legislation that begins the process of replacing the inadequate and outmoded I-5 bridge. They also, in this legislation, provided a pathway to address the very real long-term need to begin the discussion and planning for additional crossings and corridors for the future.
I whole heartedly support these efforts, and look forward, as your next State Representative of the 18th District, to collaborating with the rest of our local delegation (and Oregon, who now seems willing to join us at the table) in the pursuit of solving our transportation challenges.
Question 5: What’s your position on taxes?
I believe that we already pay enough taxes within a variety of categories. I also believe that many elements of our state government can be examined with the objective of saving taxpayer dollars. My business background gives me the ability to dig into cost cutting objectives while making sure that when we spend money for essential services, it is done in a fiscally responsible manner.
To learn more Hoff and his campaign, visit www.electlarryhoff.com