Picture of Zack Hudgins
Picture of Zack Hudgins

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 Zack Hudgins, who is running for State House District 11, 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)

The recessions of both 2003, and 2008 taught me that government programs benefit the most needy, and cuts hurt the most needy. Progressive taxes could help smooth the sharpness of these cuts, but those in need will be impacted the most by budget shortfalls. Strong organizing by people can help set priorities even in difficult economic times. This Covid-19 crisis could be an opportunity to push through broader health care reform – to cover everyone, transform how we work – to allow smaller city footprints, and prove we can achieve climate goals, and inform our family centered work / life balance – to push for more policies like paid family leave, and pay equity. Investments in areas like a strong work force, digital access and equity, and green energy can offer us ways of bringing down costs and helping more people in the future. A better quality of life coupled with progressive taxes could help us smooth out the ups and downs of the sales tax dependent revenue streams, while building out a growth focused economic future.

Would you vote for a bill that ends the ban on rent control in Washington? Why or Why not? (50 words or less)

Yes. I think local jurisdictions should have the opportunity to experiment with new policies.

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

Since most land use decisions are made at the local level, it is difficult for the state to sit down with a city map and decide where the density should go. The state can however try to set policy guidelines around values such as transit oriented development, density, the SEPA processes, walkability, and progressive ideas of financing and general affordability. The state can encourage Tax Increment Financing programs, asset building programs (things I support and have voted for), and renter stabilization laws (which I have voted for), like longer notice requirements, discrimination prohibitions on income source, and longer times to pay large costs like deposits. The state can allow more financing options for localities and developers, and mandate rates of affordable units in market rate housing. The state can leverage public investments in things like parks to attract private investment – or leverage public investments to spread out the prosperity so that the problems of prosperity don’t turn the central Puget Sound area into another unaffordable San Francisco.

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

I support the WA Conservation Voters Evergreen Futures campaign which pulls together climate action with goals of equity, economic development, and transportation, land use, and green energy. It includes goals such as adding climate to GMA, using an equity lens, actively sequestering carbon pollution, and working on the built environment.

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)

This is such an enormous problem and a huge challenge that absolutely cannot be addressed in under 200 words. We need to continue to fight towards eliminating segregation and disinvestment that leads to poverty, poor jobs, weakened school systems, displacement and unaffordable housing in our communities. We need to include communities in the visioning and implementation of changed neighborhoods, we need to hire locally and decenter the discussion from a rapid development model. We need to establish many types of adequate and decent housing options. We need focus on equitable development models focused on fighting displacement – community land trusts, displacement free zones, affordable housing requirements in development, local hires, local visions, local housing trust funds. We can stabilize renters, control land use, help people build income and assets, and use different financing strategies. I will continue to acknowledge, and educate about, and fight against systems that exclude groups of people and block their entry into the middle class, and block the building of generational wealth. Access to good jobs with good benefits as well as educational opportunities are one path forward, as well as a clear vocal contesting of the current system.

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)

I am a strong advocate and have a strong record of supporting equality and equity in educational access from kindergarten through higher education. Every child should have the opportunity to become their best selves. I have supported tax increases to fund our McCleary obligations, I fought as the prime sponsor of the Dream Act to expand educational opportunities to undocumented kids who graduated from our high schools, I supported smaller class sizes, and fully funding our state need grant. I was the prime sponsor of breakfast after the bell that made sure kids were ready to learn each day. I will continue to fight to close the opportunity gap, and pull resources away from a per child funding methodology towards a need based formula. My kid goes to the local public school, where poverty, homelessness, and a clothes bank in the school are realities that we need to solve.

Do you think Washington state should have an income tax? If yes, what is the legislative path? If not, would you pursue any tax reform? (100 words or less)

Yes. I believe we need a more progressive tax structure. I think an income tax would have to come from the voters to be sustained into law. If it comes only from the legislature, I think there would be distrust of the policy and it could be overturned at the referendum ballot box. I think residents of Washington as a whole would benefit from a better, different and progressive tax structure. I have supported a capital gains tax, and exploring the idea of taxing consumer data under our digital goods or advertising structures.

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)

As an incumbent in the House. I have voted for and do support a clean fuel standard as a step towards meeting our climate goals.

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

More. Between the 18th amendment and Tim Eyman, not enough goes to automobile alternatives. We should strive for between 20% and 50%.

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).

Both – why a trade off? Encourage walkable communities, and electrified vehicles.

The Urbanist Elections Committee’s Take: Vote Hackney

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.