November 6, 2012 marks the election for Washington state’s governor. The two candidates are Rob McKenna (R) and Jay Inslee (D).
On his website, McKenna said, “It is time to end the cuts, rebuild state support for our schools, and give Washington families an affordable path to college graduation.”
According to McKenna’s plan, students will pay half of the tuition, and the government will pay for the remaining half. He also wants to have more in-state students in Washington universities and promote degree programs that he believes will be most useful in the future, such as science.
For community colleges specifically, McKenna plans on having a 75 percent state support.
It is now at 58 percent. He also wants to expand applied baccalaureate programs at community colleges. He plans to offer enough high-demand classes so that students graduate on time.
Mckenna supports alternatives to public schools, such as charter schools and online schools.
According to Jay Inslee’s website, “All Washington students will have access to post-secondary education or training to pursue the career of her or his choice.” Inslee wants to encourage Running Start in high schools which gives high school students an opportunity to earn a degree at their local community college for a low cost.
Inslee also focuses on public schools and plans to help high school students graduate with skills that will help them in the future. Inslee wants to eliminate achievement and opportunity gaps so that every student has an equal opportunity to succeed.
He also plans to reduce the costs of textbooks by encouraging schools and students to buy books in an online format.
To lessen the cost of college, Inslee wants to encourage students to apply for scholarships early. He also plans on increasing the number of students who can receive the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship. This scholarship promotes bachelor degrees in job fields that are most needed.
Additionally, Inslee will encourage more businesses to be involved in the work study program that many universities offer for students.
South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) student Matthew Stidham said, “I am going to vote for Inslee. It looks like a close race given how most of their policies, gay marriage being a notable exception, are similar.”
Many students said they did not have enough information on the candidates to make a decision or said that they were not voting.
Inslee supports union rights. On behalf of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) region 4603, Kevin Asman said that the union endorses Jay Inslee. The AFT is a labor union that represents all teachers and education-related staff. The union’s mission is to provide a voice for teachers to promote their rights.
Asman said, “[Inslee’s] emphasis of public education is important for students. We believe he will protect funding and an open access to education.”
Inslee was born in Washington and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Washington and his law degree from Willamette University. He has 20 years of experience working for legislative bodies.
Inslee was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1988 where he served on the Higher Education and Housing committees. In 1992 he was elected to the U.S. Congress representing Washington’s fourth congressional district in Central Washington.
Inslee took a break from Congress and moved back to the Puget Sound in 1995. He ran for governor the following year, but lost in the “blanket primary.”
Inslee was elected to Congress again in 1998 and served until March 2012, when he resigned to focus on his race for Washington state governor.
While a representative in Congress, Inslee served on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. He was also part of several Congressional Caucuses, which included the Friends of Animals, Internet, Medicare and Medicaid Fairness, Oceans, International Conservation, and Arts caucuses.
According to his website, Inslee married his “high school sweetheart” Trudi in 1972. They have three sons, and live on Bainbridge Island.
McKenna was born in Texas and moved around the country before settling in Bellevue, WA because his father was in the Army. McKenna graduated from the University of Washington and earned his law degree at the University of Chicago.
He started his career in 1995 when he won a seat on the King County Council. In 2004 McKenna was elected Washington Attorney General and won re-election in 2008. In his first term, McKenna founded the program “Operation: Allied Against Meth,” dedicated to cut down on meth production in Washington.
In his second term McKenna’s peers elected him President of the National Association of Attorneys General.
In 2010, McKenna joined a multi-state lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services without Governor Chris Gregoire’s agreement. The lawsuit aimed to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”.
McKenna lives in Bellevue with wife Marilyn and their four children.