In Washington State’s 14th legislative district, a tax rebellion is growing against Republican State Senator Curtis King, acknowledged architect, author, and champion of Washington State’s most recent gas tax increase. In November, local voters will have an opportunity to demonstrate whether this rebellion will have an impact at the ballot box.
Washington’s 14th legislative district is mostly rural containing all of Klickitat and Skamania Counties, as well as a large portion of Yakima County and a small slice of Clark County. The City of Yakima is the largest city in this legislative district. Senator Curtis King was born in Yakima, and 2016 is the first re-election where he has an opponent on the ballot. King was originally elected to the position when the previous state senator retired early and King defeated the appointed incumbent in 2007. He was elected in 2008 and 2012 unchallenged by anyone. This year is different.
King’s unpopular tax hike invites challenge
In 2016, King faces an opponent from his own party. Challenger Amanda Richards is a 14-year resident from Klickitat County running as an “Independant GOP.” King’s well publicized championing of the largest gas tax increase in Washington State history (SB 5987) was a large part of the motivation for Richards to challenge him this election year.
As chairman of the State Senate Transportation Committee, Senator King was able to push through the 11.9 cents per gallon tax increase, which ensures Washington State drivers pay the second highest gas tax in the nation at 49.4 cents per gallon (Pennsylvania’s drivers pay 50.3 cents per gallon). When the Federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon is included, Washington State’s drivers pay 67.8 cents per gallon of fuel every time they fill up at the pump. This might be chump change to politicians and bureaucrats in Olympia, but to average citizens it adds up quickly to take a real bite out of a family’s budget.
Unlike most states, Washington voters have an opportunity to vote on tax increases (thanks to initiative 960). These votes are called “advisory votes” and they serve as an opportunity for voters to register their support or opposition to tax increases passed by the legislature and the governor. Based on the advisory vote totals from 2015 (64% voted to repeal the tax increase state-wide) , voters strongly opposed this gas tax hike and in Senator King’s district, the opposition was even more pronounced at( 77% to repeal in Yakima, 76% to repeal in Skamania, 75% to repeal in Klickitat) .
King knows better than the children who voted for him
Throwing fuel on this fire of tax hike opposition, Senator King went on a King5 interview in February of last year and compared the voters in his district to “children” who need discipline. Not surprisingly this quote has fueled some of the growing opposition to Senator King, and this audio clip was featured in a video created by the Richards campaign…
At the current, unofficial count, Rep. David Taylor appears to have lost in the August 2018 primary. According to an article at We the Governed, Republicans showed poorly statewide, and many traditionally strong Republican districts had weak results.
The initial results in a variety of districts around the state – largely considered Republican leaning, but showing Republican weakness last night should be motivating some serious soul searching and galvanizing Republican efforts around the state. Here is a review of a few of these races (please note direct links to election results will change as more late mail-in votes are counted):
In the 15th Legislative District (Yakima County), this district will remain in Republican control, but an intramural fight within the Republican Party has resulted in poor results for the Republican caucus and for everyone who values freedom. In a five way primary runoff for the house seat, longtime Republican incumbent David Taylor appears to have missed surviving the primary results with a disappointing election night return of 20.42%. This result is partly due to a longtime well-known grudge against Representative Taylor by nearby Republican Senator Curtis King (LD-14) who has repeatedly recruited candidates to
run against Taylor. Baring an unusual shift in ballot returns over the next few days, it looks like King succeeded with former Democrat and recently converted Republican Jeremie Dufault who will beat Democrat candidate AJ Cooper in the fall. Representative Taylor was one of the most knowledgeable legislators of either party in Olympia when it came to land use, property rights, planning, and how the hodgepodge of land use laws functioned in Washington State. Losing him from the legislature eliminates a desperately needed knowledgeable, freedom-oriented voice in the legislature. Senator King didn’t like Taylor’s criticism of King’s various gas tax proposals and King’s endless campaign to increase the tax burden on Washington State citizens. This is yet again another example of how Republican intramural fighting will help the Democratic Party agenda of higher taxes next year.
Glen Morgan will be speaking at the April 12th, 2018 Lower Valley Assembly of the Whole in Prosser, WA.
Glen is currently the Executive Director of the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights. Glen Morgan was the Grassroots Director and the Property Rights Director at the Freedom Foundation from 2011 until January 2015. He enjoys creating videos documenting Big Government’s abuses of citizens – particularly on property rights issues.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on property rights, the environmental movement, Big Government, and the importance of citizen activism. In 2014, Bill Whittle called Glen, “The ascended high master of political messaging.” Glen doesn’t consider himself a high master of anything, but he enjoys exploring policy issues in local government and exposing government corruption and incompetence which impacts all of us.
In 2015, Glen was honored with the annual Rodney & Laurel McFarland Award presented by the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) “for exemplary performance in preserving and protecting property rights for the year 2014.”
Glen’s articles have been reproduced in publications ranging from the Heritage Insider to local blog sites. He has also appeared on King5 News, KOMO News, Fox News (Q13), KUOW (NPR), The David Boze show, Todd Herman (Seattle -AM 770)and a variety of other television and radio programs. He frequently testifies on property rights issues at local government hearings and at the Washington State Legislature. Glen is also known for writing opposition statements in the official voter’s guide for voter-approved tax increases. Recently, Glen has also been involved in attempting to address campaign finance reforms to make the process easier and simpler for beginners to be involved in the process.
Glen is also an investigative citizen journalist who frequently meets with anonymous whistleblowers from various state agencies, local governments, and political parties who want to expose wrongdoing where they work.
As a former elected School Director in the Rochester School District from 2011 to 2015, Glen has also been involved in his local community. He is also a current board member of the Thurston County Farm Bureau, and has served on the State Policy Board for the Washington State Farm Bureau. Glen was a candidate for the Thurston County Assessor’s office in 2010, when he received 48% of the vote. Glen was the Project Manager for Stop Taking Our Property (S.T.O.P.) Thurston County, a Freedom Foundation project, and he is always engaged in various policy and advocacy issues throughout Washington State.
As a fifth generation Washingtonian, Glen’s roots run deep in Washington State. His great-great grandmother helped start the Pike Place Market, where multiple generations sold flowers in Seattle for many years. His great-Uncle Ed Dalby installed the first power-generating waterwheel in Union, WA in the early 1920s. Glen’s father helped found the City of Newcastle, and his father served as a City Councilman in that city for years. After graduating from college with a BA in political science from Columbia College in New York City, Glen returned home and worked for small start-up companies and local manufacturing businesses. He currently lives on a small tree farm in Thurston County with his wife and their four children.