Overall, the government is not accessible, accountable, or affordable. I chose to focus on these issues because I feel that, for the most part, they are non-partisan issues with solutions that should be non-partisan as well. The office of the Insurance Commissioner is one that most people do not know exists or what it does. We have a huge department of 240 employees and 27 million dollars in salary. If we want government to work, we must make it simpler for the average person to understand and participate. The Washington State Constitution states the following:
“SECTION 1 POLITICAL POWER. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”
For many years, the first part of our own state constitution has been completely forgotten. CONSENT MATTERS.
First and foremost, the Insurance Commissioner and all state level politicians get paid too much. In 2019, the legislature approved a giant salary increase, from $126,555 to $132,600 on July 1, and to $137,700 in 2020 for the position of Insurance Commissioner. I believe that we need to remove all aspects of “profit” from government elected officials. To prove how important this is to me I am going to work to pass a bill to reduce the salary of the insurance commissioner and all state level politicians by 50%. Where other politicians will find excuses why this isn't fair or cannot be done, I will be the one leading the pack and setting an example, walking the principles I speak. I also believe that as an elected official, I should only have access to the same insurance plans the general public has available to them. No more fancy upgrades for the politicians! Reduce the Insurance Commissioner’s salary by 50% and remove state funded insurance plans immediately!
The department has 240 employees and $27 million in salary while being based in Olympia and Seattle. By bringing modern business practices to the department, we could save money for you, the taxpayers. To this end, I will encourage telecommuting and work pods all around the state. By using existing infrastructure of local government buildings and resources, we can position our employees all over the state. This will reduce waste and increase flexibility for the people we work with. Telecommuting will allow us to hire talented people from all over the state, instead of just areas like Olympia. Both of these solutions will allow us to do more with less, making government more efficient, something we all know it struggles with. By allowing satellite style working and telecommuting and even “ZOOM” calls we can bring the government into the 21st century.
In the 21st century there is zero reason for a government or it’s politicians to be inaccessible. We need to embrace all forms of communication and decentralize the department to help accomplish this. The office of the Insurance Commissioner is based in Olympia and only open M-F 8-5pm. In many ways the government process makes it hard for anyone who holds a M-F 9-5 type job to be part of the conversation. The citizens who live in Eastern WA have an even harder time being involved. As a working person and someone who has missed many important hearings at even the local level due to work hours, I would like to take this issue to heart and make it so that more people can be involved.
I would like to see the department stay open with service support staff until 7pm and on Saturdays. I would do this by allowing flexible start times and telecommuting options with a focus on not increasing department budget or staff. This will allow for more hours of availability for people that need help and the working flexibility that many employees desire, a win-win! By moving to a satellite structure with offices around the state we would encourage more in person meetings with citizens who are simply never going to have a chance to come to Olympia. In respect to “customer service” I will encourage greater use of video conferencing, live chat and phone calls in addition to the email system already in place. We can increase our efforts on all social media as well, with a focus on responding to questions that often go unanswered. All these ideas will make sure our government focuses on the people instead of the paid lobbyists that roam the halls of our capital. Have a question? Live video chat with me, in office or out of office!
We live in a country where, even with checks and balances, the government can basically do whatever it wants. Even when things fail, they double down or blame someone else for their issues. I live my personal life in such a way that, good or bad, I always look internally at myself 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I do this to keep myself humble and to ensure I learn whatever lessons I can from both successes and failures. No blaming others, 100% full accountability always. I will bring these same principles into governance and will involve the public in the process. When situations come up, I will do more than put out edited press releases. I pledge to make sure that I am always engaged with the citizens of WA at a grassroots level. I will admit failures, work to remove ideas that do not work and learn how to be a better leader daily.
Accountability for our elected officials is also a major issue. As it sits now, even the most well intentioned politicians end up being more accountable to the lobbyists who fund their campaigns and the political party they associate with than the people who elected them. Even the voting system itself is designed to keep upstart, caring people out of office to further empower the establishment. I take this issue seriously and it’s one of the main reasons why I am proud to be a 3rd party candidate. I am not, and refuse to be controlled by any outside influences. I am not beholden to any political party and I refuse to associate with paid corporate lobbyists. I take zero money from them and vow to publish every attempt by a corporate lobbyist to sway the system. Using the modern methods of communication mentioned earlier, I will work to expose the bias, the corruption and the games that get played in our government. Cronyism has got to stop! I will bring insurance back to the people. No closed door meetings, no secret handshakes, and clear communication not based on MSM (MainStream Media) rhetoric. If a corporate lobbyist calls not only will I hang up on them I will document who they are and share it with the public. No longer will suits and checkbooks rule. We the People are going to be back in charge.
I support a two-term limit for the position of insurance commissioner whereas the incumbent has spent almost 20 years in the position and is one of only eight different insurance commissioners our state has had since the position was created in 1909. Eight people and two political parties have controlled insurance in WA for too long and term limits, while not a silver bullet, will help encourage new ideas and get the next generation involved. To help a diversity of ideas get into office, I also support the ranked choice voting method so that even if their top choice doesn't win they still have a fair chance to be represented by someone they appreciate. Ranked Choice will help you have a better say in who represents you in office.