The ASEWU sponsored a legislative debate Oct. 30 between the two candidates running for the sixth district legislative seat.
Democratic candidate Dennis Dellwo and Republican candidate Jeff Holy squared off in Showalter Auditorium. Dr. Kevin Pirch, assistant professor of government at EWU, served as moderator.
“One of these two is the person you will send to Olympia to go out there and represent you in the government,” Pirch said to introduce the candidates. He explained that each candidate would have one minute for an opening statement, three minutes to answer each question and then a 30-second rebuttal or response to his opponent’s answer. All the questions were submitted by EWU students.
The candidates were asked their stances on tuition increase and what could be done to combat it.
“What has to be changed is … everyone has to contribute to higher education at a higher rate so we can afford to give more money to the colleges and support them more so the students will pay less,” Dellwo said. “What I would do, and what I commit to do, would be to … bring education back up to where it was so that the students pay a much smaller portion of the cost of education so that you would be able to afford it.”
Holy said he supported sixth district senator Michael Baumgartner’s proposed plan to “take a small part, about less than 1 percent, of the total state sales tax and create a dedicated fund for higher education.”
“You go back a few years and find out the state used to subsidize at 80 percent the cost of education, and the cost to the students was 20 percent,” Holy said. “That’s effectively been reversed. Now you’re paying 80 percent out of pocket, and 20 percent is subsidized by the state.” Holy said he would like to see those numbers level out around 50 percent.
The candidates were asked about their stances on both Referendum-74, which would legalize same-sex marriage, and Initiative-502, which would legalize marijuana for persons over 21.
Dellwo said he is “going to vote in favor of R-74” but is opposed to I-502. “I don’t have any trouble with legalizing it. My only caveat is that federal government is still declaring it a crime. … I personally think it’s been smoked for years, and for us to waste our time arresting people for those kinds of offenses is a waste of our resources.”
Holy said he opposes R-74. “I think that marriage should be between one man and one woman,” he said.
“However, should this pass, the people will have spoken. It’s the will of the people. I don’t have to agree with the law to actually be able to enforce it and make it happen. I’ll do my best … to make it successful if that’s the will of the people.”
Regarding I-502, Holy, a former police office of Spokane, said, “I can’t see putting another intoxicant out there that has the potential to cause more damage that I’ve already dealt with through the years.”
The candidates also discussed their plans to improve transportation in the state and how they would deal with poverty.