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Legislative candidates make political jabs

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Matt Manweller

WA St. Representative - Thirteenth District

Kaj Selmann

House Candidate - Thirteenth District

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 4:00 pm

Editor’s note: A revised version of the story appears below, correcting a candidate question near the end of the article. The question should have been about the role partisanship plays in government, not bipartisanship. Another question about traffic cameras and Selmann's reply is now elaborated on.

MOSES LAKE — The kid gloves came off Thursday morning as 13th district representative candidates Matt Manweller and Kaj Selmann met for their first formal debate.

"We're here in Big Bend Community College and Mr. Selmann says that, 'I'm not an educator. I work for a living," Manweller said after Selmann, a Moses Lake contractor, said he spent his summer "like most of the rest of you, actually having to work for a living" while Manweller campaigned to replace outgoing state Rep. Bill Hinkle, R-Cle Elem.

"So far all of you professors, teachers and educators out there, apparently Mr. Selmann doesn't think you work for a living. I would have to take exception to that," Republican Manweller said. "If you're going to say things like that,  if you're going to walk into a college and then say that professors don't work for a living , then maybe Olympia isn't the best place for you. Walking into the Ways and Means Committee and insulting half of the people in the audience is probably not going to garner a lot of support for the 13th Legislative District."

On the Democratic side of the aisle, Selmann had equally vitriolic statements to share.

"When he's literally stood on the capital steps and called public workers 'generational parasites' ... is just incredibly disingenuous," the Democrat said. "He's an excellent politician. I just don't think that a politician is what we need to actually solve the infrastructure problems that are the most pressing issues for this district."

Both men continued to use pointed language toward one another during the debate.

Selmann won the coin toss and elected to go on the offensive during opening remarks.

"These are problems that have the actions of a builder and not just the sound bytes of a politician," Selmann said of his opponent. "He knows the trigger words for a conservative district: He knows words like 'shrink government,' 'reign in bureaucracy,' and 'unleash power.' Unfortunately, sound bytes don't actually fix things."

In his closing statements, Manweller said that, regardless of who is elected to represent the district, they are going to have to work with a variety of people across both the aisle and the Cascades.

"And I think that today's debate has illustrated which one of us has the temperament in which to do that," he said. "I haven't attacked Kaj ... I came here and wanted to talk about my views of Washington state and my views of how I think we could grow jobs. And at every opportunity Mr. Selmann has attacked me and made little snide comments. I just don't think that that type of personality is going to be effective."

Selmann said from the start that he was not as good of a public speaker as Manweller, a political science professor at Central Washington University.

But the Democrat said his hope was to get down to the issues.

Manweller agreed.

Both men said that, by the end of the debate, they wanted to leave voters with a better idea as to whom to cast their ballot for.

The two debated before a half-filled auditorium at Big Bend Community College, where college President Terry Leas moderated.

Moses Lake Mayor Bill Ecret served as emcee.

Selmann and Manweller were allowed a two-minute response per question, with a one-minute rebuttal.

Any follow-up questions were limited to one minute each.

When it comes to health care, Selmann said that market forces in conjunction with imposed safety nets should drive down costs.

Manweller said that torte reform and creating an open market for insurance companies would do the trick.

The issue of traffic cameras was also touched upon. Washington state allows the use of automated traffic enforcement cameras at traffic lights, schools zones and railroad crossings. However camera evidence may not be used to aid in criminal investigations. Candidates were asked if this restriction was appropriate

"I respect people's right to privacy, but when you're in public, these aren't cameras that are in your homes," Selman said. "These are cameras that are in public intersections, and they should be used to prosecute crimes."

Manweller called the tactic Orwellian, and said he wanted to keep cameras away from public surveillance.

When it comes to job creation, Manweller said the state Department of Ecology is the primary job-killer in the state.

The Republican said that the small business owners he's met with throughout the district tell him to bring regulatory reform, part of which includes Ecology easing regulations.

"Even in an economy when many places are losing businesses and businesses are failing ... we are actually able to bring new business to the area," Selmann said.

When Leas posed a question about the role bipartisanship plays in government, Selmann called it a "corruption and perversion of the process" and that "the system isn't working for the people."

Of the two candidates, Manweller said that he is the only one with a record of bipartisanship.

As a Republican, he was elected as president of the CWU Faculty Senate, "which is overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal," he said.

He served in the post from 2009-2010.

Manweller said he also served time across the aisle in Olympia to advocate on behalf of higher education.

"I actually have a record of bipartisanship that I'm proud of," he said.

On the topic of higher education, Selmann said a college education is a benefit for both the individual and the economy.

"What I'd really like to see is better integration and cooperation between local employers, community colleges, and increasing the use of technology to improve access to that education."

Manweller promoted Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna's proposal to fund college 50/50,  splitting payments between the student and the state.

In 1992, the student was expected to pick up 30 percent of tuition and the state to foot the bill for 70 percent.

Since then, it's flipped, where it's 70/30 student/state.

"In many ways, colleges have become a private-sector entity," Manweller said.

Both candidates agreed that college education should focus more on the job opportunities available in the state.

"We have to make sure that we're offering education for the jobs that we actually have available in Washington," Manweller said. "We don't need more sociology majors who will end up with $30,000 in debt making me coffee."

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Jo Anne Selmann posted at 5:06 pm on Fri, Oct 26, 2012.

    Jo Anne Selmann Posts: 2

    Yikes, even in a retraction, the CBH is just incapable of reporting what happened. To their credit, they got closer. Anyone who's interested in unspun reporting, read the Ellensburg Daily Record, or watch the unedited debate at ifberone.

  • K McLeod posted at 8:26 pm on Tue, Oct 16, 2012.

    K McLeod Posts: 293

    I guess I'm outta my league. Pfft.....

    You sure showed me, and you didn't even misspell the most basic words this time.

  • K McLeod posted at 8:22 pm on Tue, Oct 16, 2012.

    K McLeod Posts: 293

    Well, if you read carefully before firing off a response, you would notice that it says "country" not county.

    All politics are local first.

  • Amarshel posted at 10:03 am on Tue, Oct 16, 2012.

    Amarshel Posts: 51

    To add to my list, democrats are the ones who also said they wouldn't cut education to balance the budget and did it every single time. Democrats are also the one that have led this state for the last 30 years and to one of the highest unemployment rates in america. The mariners have outperformed the democrats of this state. Please please tell me you support the biggest idiot in politcs Jay Inslee [beam]

  • Amarshel posted at 10:00 am on Tue, Oct 16, 2012.

    Amarshel Posts: 51

    No one is saying they are bad people, but they don't represent the views of overwelming majority of this county. Saying this county needs to go in a different direction with a state represenative is the topic well .......lets say you are out of your league joining into this debate. Two this county is growing while everyone else is losing jobs, so a new ephrata needs a new direction the rest of the county is just fine.

  • Amarshel posted at 9:58 am on Tue, Oct 16, 2012.

    Amarshel Posts: 51

    Yep and centralist form and democrats are about as opposite as wet and dry. Democrats ignored the will of the people and turned the back hand to republicans as of late. On a national level democrats are horrid to say the least on finding middle ground led by their presidential canidate.

  • johnny left posted at 4:37 pm on Sat, Oct 13, 2012.

    johnny left Posts: 5

    Yes and but fore the partisan congressional blockage of the last 4yrs we could be further towards a new direction,however; again this is a plea for a centrist choice for the 13th district. And of common interest there is a nice article in today's Ellensburg Daily Record,front page which draws some differences in the candidates without the partisan spin

  • K McLeod posted at 10:05 am on Sat, Oct 13, 2012.

    K McLeod Posts: 293

    Albert Einstein said:

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    That is what we are witnessing in the political and economic world today.

    Look to history and you probably will see our future.

  • K McLeod posted at 10:01 am on Sat, Oct 13, 2012.

    K McLeod Posts: 293

    Many of my neighbors in downtown Ephrata are Democrats, and I know that for a fact.

    And you know what?

    They are great people even though we may disagree on some issues.

    This whole left/right paradigm is getting ridiculous.
    Concerned people need to join forces and take this country in a different direction because it is becoming obvious that what we are currently doing isn't working all that well.

  • johnny left posted at 9:41 pm on Fri, Oct 12, 2012.

    johnny left Posts: 5

    HMM!!! 10 democrats??? remember according to the three counties auditors offices;Kittitas county votes 48% democrat and Grant and Lincoln about 1/3 rd democrat so remember when standing in a random group 1/3 rd to 1/2 probably don't agree with your views.There fore is the need for a centrist form of representation!!!!!

  • Amarshel posted at 10:23 am on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Amarshel Posts: 51

    I love how the 10 democrats in the county are on this board all at once. The notion that we should send a centrist from the most conservative county in the state is silly. We are conservative and we should send someone who will not back down. We send a centrist, everything for eastern washington is the first thing barganed away. But hey the person got things thanks.

  • K McLeod posted at 9:49 am on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    K McLeod Posts: 293

    "...that is why one former Senator and a former Representative were voted the dumbest people in Olympia!"

    Names please.

  • medodo posted at 7:47 am on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    medodo Posts: 62

    Hmmm. A letter says we want our REPRESENTATIVE to leave us alone. The word is self defining, maybe we want our representative to represent us. Maybe they do, and that is why one former Senator and a former Representative were voted the dumbest people in Olympia!

  • Von posted at 1:06 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Von Posts: 3

    I don't even know how Manweller can be as delusional as to believe that he has been a collaborative bipartisan entity; as Johnny Left says, all one has to do is go to YouTube and search for his name and you will find it surprising that he isn't in jail for assault charges. Matt talks about shrinking government all while taking a government paycheck, and he out and outright lies, which is another attribute we want in a 13th District Politician. If the farmers and small businessmen and women were smart-they would be voting for Kaj all the way, regardless of party, Matt Manweller is nothing more than an embarrassment if he is elected. He can't be trusted in Kittitas County, and he can't be Olympia.

  • johnny left posted at 12:42 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    johnny left Posts: 5

    After reading this totally biased article I had to find the unedited u-tube feed of the debate.this leads me to suggest contributors to the paper to do the same and consider pulling your support. Also look up existing u-tubes on Manweller as this lends some context to who we don't want in Olympia supporting us.His comments were very fringe right wing views while Sellmans were centrist this also identifies the candidates .I believe a centrist candidate ,either left or right has a much better opportunity to work and achieve a solution to our problems and challenges,with bipartisanship that makes Kaj the only choice;as his comments and views were not just left talking points like Matt s republican points in a line. As far as the comments pertaining to alienating a segment of population Matt seems to have that down well as every time the vile spills from his dirty little mouth it alienates another segment. Also to put it in context Kaj has had to work through this summer to live,with a paycheck week to week,while Matt has a summer off from a union professorship and a leave of absence[I bet he retains his benefits too] all as he blast prevailing wages,pensions, l&i and others, and unions!!! TALK ABOUT BUTTER-EN YOUR BREAD Then there was the bit on cameras to which Matt proclaimed "I don't want to live in this Washington"[ to which I say then get going and if you will hurry up,don't worry they will mail you the ticket .

  • Beelzebub posted at 8:19 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Beelzebub Posts: 118

    I look forward to gridlock in Olympia.To listen to these politicans campaigning, one would believe they can solve all problems. In fact most problems are the result of what they have previously done and laws they have passed. Centralized planning in the capital results in a "One size fits all" approach. What will it take to get these arrogant state representatives to leave us alone and stop spending us into bankruptcy?

  • bbenson posted at 12:28 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    bbenson Posts: 5

    It is ironic that Mr. Manweller believe he has the "better temperament" to work collaboratively in Olympia. Many in Ellensburg, who have witnessed his "temperament" first hand would strongly disagree. Kaj Selmann, on the other hand, has earned the reputation of a hard worker, a successful businessman and a good listener who wants to represent his constituents with dignity. It's easy to produce smooth talk especially with lots of practice lecturing, as Mr. Manweller has had. It's not particularly intelligent, however, to be filmed in the act of bullying others as Mr. Manweller has been on the streets of Ellensburg. That's not who I want representing me. Go to Kaj Selmann's website and click on the Utube documentaries of his antics. (Yes, his ranting made Utube fame, much to his displeasure, I'm sure). I will proudly be voting for Kaj Selmann whom I know I can trust to research carefully, listen intently, and work tirelessly to help end the gridlock in Olympia and get things done. That is his pledge to us. He will be an effective voice for Eastern Washington. I can't wait for him to begin his work for us.

  • Jo Anne Selmann posted at 6:44 pm on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    Jo Anne Selmann Posts: 2

    Just a few points of clarification :

    When speaking about having to work during the summer, instead of having time to solicit endorsements, Kaj Selmann was speaking to logistic realities of campaigning, not to the work ethic of teachers. This is clear if you review the video footage of the debate which is available through ifiber news. The fact the Professor Manweller immediately and intentionally misconstrued his comments, speaks to Professor Manweller's true political nature.

    On the question of partisanship, Kaj Selmann actually said, "Partisanship is actually one of the biggest hinderances to actually getting things done." The quote about a "corruption and perversion of the process" was in reference to the way money corrupts politics, specifically, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Professor Manweller's involvement in its Washington state affiliate, The Washington Policy Center. It apparently also corrupts the way that our local newspaper reports the news. Other articles from the Herald have been obviously biased on behalf of the candidate, Mathew Shon Manweller, who has spent many, many thousands of donor dollars with the newspaper. This, however, borders on fiction, and is, at least, heinously incompetent reporting.

    And on Professor Manweller's behalf, I'm pretty sure he was talking about tort reform, not trying to change a pastry.