Picture of Dustin Gleaves
Picture of Dustin Gleaves

The Urbanist Elections Committee invited candidates in the Seattle metropolitan region to fill out our questionnaire and participate in our endorsement process. We based our endorsement decisions on the responses and follow-up interviews.

Below is the response from Dustin Gleaves, who is running for State House District 42, Position 1.

What lessons about government revenues and fiscal priorities from the wake of 2008 would you apply in responding to the Covid-19 crisis? (200 words or less)

I fully support a complete funding for our Foundational Public Health Services. As a scientist and co-owner of an infection control laboratory, the COVID-19 crisis and our handling of it are major motivators for my decision to run for office in the first place. I am acutely aware of the public health pitfalls that resulted in our current situation. Funding for proactive contagion management could have saved billions of dollars in reactive measures and economic damage but more importantly, it could have saved lives. I am 100% in favor of funding a foundational public health system which proactively prevents the spread of communicable disease, keeps sufficient contact tracing staff in reserve, and maintains a strategic medical supply reserve capable of adequately providing medical devices for patients and PPE for healthcare professionals.

Would you vote for a bill that ends the ban on rent control in Washington? Yes

Why or Why not? (50 words or less)

Affordable housing is a key issue for me. This issue has mounted for years and to-date the state legislature has failed to address it. Government intervention is required to lower the cost of rent and housing in Washington including authorizing municipalities to exercise rent control.

What role do you see the state playing in enacting land use reform, and what should that reform prioritize? (200 words or less)

Whatcom county was home to the water rights challenges addressed in the Hirst decision. I do not believe we should throw away the GMA, however creative solutions such as water-rights transfer agreements and

What should be the major components of a climate package? (50 words or less)

We must fully fund our dept. of Ecology and empower the dept. to assist small family farms in meeting environmental standards. Regarding CO2 we need a Carbon tax and/or cap-and-trade permitting. To reduce fossil-fuel usage we must electrify transportation and create no added fees for electric vehicles.

What should be the top strategies for the state to fix the cycle of segregation, disinvestment, gentrification, and unaffordable housing in our cities? (200 words or less)

What’s your roadmap to fixing educational inequities in Washington state? How can Washington state comply with its constitutional duties regarding education? (200 words or less)

Do you think Washington state should have an income tax? No

If yes, what is the legislative path? If not, would you pursue any tax reform? (100 words or less)

Washington has one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation and I support a major tax reform which reduces the tax burden for lower-income residents. I support a dynamic sales tax which taxes more for the things that should be discouraged such as fossil fuels or stock-buybacks. I would support income-tax returns as a means of refunding a portion of sales taxes incurred by lower-income earners. The reason I don’t support a direct income tax is because taxation discourages the item which is taxed by artificially increasing the costs, and I don’t want to discourage people from earning a living, I would rather discourage purchase of items which lack prosocial benefits.

While California and Oregon have passed a clean fuels standard aiming to meet their climate goals, Washington did not, as the bill stalled out last session. Would you vote for it? If not, what is the route to meeting our climate goals? (150 words or less)

YES. I am an environmental scientist and I greatly support improvement of clean fuel and other environmental regulation improvements.

What percentage of the state’s transportation budget should be for alternatives to cars, such as transit, biking, and pedestrian infrastructure? (100 words)

At least 5%. We especially need to focus on developing Urban Villages which are walk-able, and to develop public transportation which is convenient enough to meet user needs unimpeded. Research has shows that a bus at the nearest stop must arrive every 15 minutes for people to feel that public transportation is unimpeded.

What should be a higher priority: electrifying personal vehicles or reducing the number of trips made in personal vehicles? Explain how to achieve your priority. (50 words).

I don’t believe the two options are mutually exclusive. Higher legislative priority is to electrifying personal vehicles because it is more likely to be adopted by users and also more readily influenced through policy by limiting EV registration fees and providing state tax rebates on EV purchases. Compelling individuals to reduce commuting is not likely achievable by legislation. It can be encouraged by improving public transit and designing planning policy which creates walk-able communities.

The Urbanist Elections Committee’s Take: No endorsement

Read our full endorsement here

Article Author
Owen Pickford holding a beer, wearing a Sounders shirt in front of a bridge, river and large towers in Tokyo.
Owen Pickford

Owen is a solutions engineer for a software company. He has an amateur interest in urban policy, focusing on housing. His primary mode is a bicycle but isn't ashamed of riding down the hill and taking the bus back up. Feel free to tweet at him: @pickovven.