In the final gubernatorial debate, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant clashed on the homelessness and tolling.
Bryant said unlike Inslee he would be engaged, an “activist” governor. Inslee argued the state has made progress, and “most of our success in the last four years has been in a bipartisan fashion.”
Here’s some of the highlights and biggest takeaways.
Seattle hired a Director of Homelessness in August to address the city’s homelessness epidemic. Does the state also need a homelessness czar?
“We don’t need a homelessness czar. We need a governor,” Bryant quipped, to the sound of applause.
Video: Bryant on homelessness
Bryant pushed his six point plan to address homelessness: zero tolerance for camping on state lands, giving officials the authority to clean up camps, keeping homelessness spending in check, investing in job counseling, permanent housing, and mental health care, and coordinating the efforts of the Dept. of Social and Health Services and the Dept. of Commerce.
While he didn’t address whether the state needs a homelessness czar, Inslee focused on what the state has already done to address homelessness and pushed the statewide minimum wage as a possible solution.
“They (the homeless) don’t have an addictive problem. They don’t have a mental health problem. What they have is a wage problem,” Inslee said.
Video: Inslee on homelessness
Traffic tends to be one of Washington’s biggest gripe, no matter what your political party. Do we solve it with expanding tolls and HOT lanes?
Bryant opposed additional tolling, and said he wants to take away one of the Interstate 405 HOT lanes and make it a general purpose lane. He also pushed small projects that solve problem on-ramps and highway lanes.
“We don’t need to have more mega-projects,” Bryant said.
Inslee veered from tolling to fund transportation, citing a gas tax hike as a solution. He touted his $16 billion transportation package, which was the largest infrastructure Washington has passed.
Inslee’s positivity vs. Bryant’s criticisms
Bryant needed to convince Washington that Inslee should be out of a job, and he aggressively went at Inslee during the final debate. Bryant’s key points included attacks on Inslee’s investment in education and teachers, investment in mental health, and lack of leadership.
“It’s what you didn’t hear that was important...he doesn’t have a plan,” Bryant said, after a question on education funding.
Bryant even went after Inslee's position on debates, saying he appreciated Inslee being a part of the debate, even though Inslee doesn't like it.
"I love debates...I love taking the oath of office even more," Inslee said.
Inslee stayed positive. While it’s not perfect, he said the state is making progress.
The divide over the death penalty
Both candidates took a moral stance against the death penalty. However, Inslee said he would continue his moratorium on the death penalty, and Bryant said he would uphold the state law.